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This is Halloween


My awesome niece will be going around as Supergirl. Since she's too young for candy, she will be collecting for UNICEF, thus still working the whole superhero angle...



That's a Superman itty-bitty in the can. Incidentally, for a couple years there, I dressed up in a Starfleet uniform and took my sister trick-or-treating while I collected for UNICEF.

But yes, my niece is awesome. Expect more pictures on November 1.

Now, a staple of Halloween is ZOMBIES! Learn how to deal with Zombies by watching this educational video about Zombie University.


Followed by a seasonal message from Zombie!


Then we have the quintessential Halloween video, with some dancing and music that is part of our cultural history.


Last, and hopefully not least, is the annual, seasonal, re-release of my short story, based on actual events...

Zombies at Dunkin' Donuts (pdf)

And if you liked that story, feel free to leave a tip by way of a donation to help Rocky, Riffy, and Minerva get their annual shots and diabetic care and so on.

On a related note... HAPPY BIRFDAY ROCKY AND MINERVA!!! And though it's not Riffy's birfday, it was late October, 11 years ago, that I almost hit him with the car on my way to class, was a sucker for hard luck cases, tossed him in the car, skipped class, and thus adopted him. So, all three furkids have some sort of Halloween attachment.

I hope you all enjoyed this seasonal post. Happy Halloween!

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Yes, my niece is a little bit of a diva and doesn't want to share the spotlight...

I'm posting because I totally forgot to mention how utterly fascinating she is as she develops! She is becoming more and more aware of the world around her and is realizing she has some sort of an effect on it. She loves her parents, and is a bit of a "Daddy's girl," in that she will crane her neck around to see where Scott is going if he's moving around like he was last night getting condiments from the kitchen and so on. But she actively tracks people as they move around if someone has her attention.

She's trying to communicate, too. She's been cooing regularly, and there are times when she acts like she wants to make a noise, but isn't sure what noise to make, and you see the frustration build up on her face, and there's some sort of ! or ;*A! Or %ug&. We encourage this by telling her to tell us all about it, and she continues to coo and make noises and such.

And she smiles at people. She's also teething, so, she'll latch on to hands and just start sucking...



At least, we think she's teething, and isn't going to grow up all Hannibal Lechter on us...

She's getting more coordination with her hands and is starting to make motions like waving. Oh, and she's imitating. She watched me eat some corn on the cob, and she brought her hands up to her face. Then she watched Rich eating something, and the hand gestures were like she was putting food in her mouth.

On a final note and on a slightly different track... Yoda remains quite chatty. He still favors asking questions, largely because he gets an answer, which, psychologically, is interaction, and as a flock animal, he craves interaction. Now, his predecessor, Nemo, "waved" at us. He fluffed his wings in response to people waving at him. Guess what Yoda's starting to do? Fluff his feathers when people wave at him.

Then there's Rocky. Earlier today, Mom was out in the garage moving some things around, and she left the door to the house open. Rocky, being curious, went out there to see what she was doing. But because there's chemicals and such out there, I...really don;t want him out there. So, I stood in the doorway and calmly said, "Rocky, I really don't want you out here. Come back inside please." He turned around and came back in the house. No argument, no nothing. Just, "Okay," and turned around and came back in. I didn't have to raise my voice or go chasing after him. I...don't know how I ended up with a cat that responds to voice commands, though, he pretty much only responds to me. But, I'll take it. I think it's a sign of trust and mutual respect. I also think it's evidence, albeit anecdotal, that these little furballs understand a lot more than most people give them credit for understanding.

Cats, birds, and babies... Makes me happy I have a degree in psychology and can appreciate their cognitive abilities. And the three specific examples cited above... Yeah, they're smart. And Yoda and Rocky? Terrifyingly smart. Dani? Dani has opposable thumbs, and I think she'll give us a real run for the money when she gets older, and especially when she starts to read.

Anyway, just wanted to get all that out there before I forget. To say that life is interesting around here is an understatement...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] daytonward!!!



Today has been busy, but productive. Grass is cut, hair is cut, a few other things are done... I still have stuff to take care of. Like the cat boxes, laundry, weekly computer maintenance... Oh well.

Tomorrow is Dani's baptism and then a party at her house afterwards.

My mind has been all over the place with regards to Cammie and so on. I hate this not knowing crap...

Meh.

But...thanks for all the people here and on FB who have offered words of support, encouragement, and so on over the past few weeks. It's appreciated.

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Well, there's a ray of hope. At least as far as general transportation is concerned...

Mom said that she remembers that I paid for a 93 Saab to the tune of $3200, plus a couple hundred for tax, title, and tags, plus tires so it would pass inspection, plus a battery. So while she was at work, with nothing to do, she searched Carmax a little and found a 2009 Pontiac G5 for just under $10k. She said that if Cammie is indeed dead and no warranty coverage on the engine, she'd put $2k down on it and reduce my rent so that I'd be able to make the monthly payments.

So, it's better than a bike and shitty public transportation. On the one hand, I am annoyed that I can't be self-sufficient and need to rely on the kindness of others. On the other hand, I'm kinda happy that past kindnesses are remembered and help given for them.

But, we still need to hear back on the final fate of Cammie, if there's any warranty coverage, and so on...

In other news, I had a bit of a happy moment. Mom had to leave for work before Rich got back from his meetings and appointments and errands, so, I got to babysit Dani for just under an hour. Mom had barely left and I got the hungry cry, so, I fed her the last ounce of milk she had in her bottle. Got a decent burp or two out of her when that was done. A few minutes later, she started getting fussy, so, off to the changing table we went, and the diaper indicator changed from yellow to blue, with a stop-off at green, indicating a change was needed. So, I changed her, getting hung up only on finding the damn sticky tabs on the new diaper. They tuck and fold those things so far away you have to open up the whole damn diaper and scout along the edges. Meanwhile, Dani's looking at me like, "C'mon, Uncle Dave, get with the program!" Anyway, I found the tabs, put the new diaper on her (after cleaning her up with the appropriate baby wipes, of course), snapped her onesie back up... And I got a smile for my efforts.

Picked her back up, and we went into the rec room, and I put on the Star Trek DVD I had been watching, since "Uncle Grandpa" was on Cartoon Network, and I can't stand that one. So, I rocked her in the recliner and she fell asleep as we watched the second half of "The Doomsday Machine." Then I had to use the bathroom, so, I put her in the napper in the pack-n-play. And then Scott showed up to pick her up. Dani barely peeked past closed eyes while Scott buckled her in the car seat and all.

So, she went home clean, alive, and not fussing. I...guess I did the babysitting thing right...

So, I can join the small circle of people who have changed Dani, fed her, and so on. Oh, and when she hits the teen years, I can say, "I used to change your diapers!"
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] dydan, [personal profile] lydy, [personal profile] greygirlbeast, [profile] cookie_chef, [profile] evilest_kitten, and [personal profile] devils_sidekick!!!



Yes, some of those are belated. Yes, things have been a bit busy around here.

So. Saturday. Mom and Mandie convinced me to exhume the body of the poor kitty I hit and take it to the VCA Emergency vet on Marrow's Road in Newark. They did a microchip scan for free, and declared with certainty, since they checked twice, that the poor thing did not have a microchip. The vet seemed to think that, despite the fact he looked sufficiently nourished, he could still be a feral, and some strays and ferals take very good care of themselves.

Mom told them that I found the body in street and moved it and so on, but in retrospect, I'm sure the vet knew I was the one that hit the poor kitty. The whole thing sounded analogous to, "What could anal leakage be a symptom of? I'm asking for a friend..." Nevertheless, the veterinarian kept thanking us for being so humane and thorough and such. For not just leaving the body in the road to get hit by every other car that came down, for making an effort to see if he had owners, and so on. I found a bit of closure there. Or at least, I got a step closer to closure. I still have a ways to go.

The veterinarian also recommended wrapping the box in aluminum foil to keep the decay scent in the box and keep scavengers from digging up the body and so on. Granted, I never had a problem with Yoda's grave, or Lucky's or BamBam's. Still, I made what Mom called a "spaceship grave" for him. It's all good.

Something else that helped me a lot: Riffy. Given that I first "met" him when I almost hit him with the car on my way to class, and saw him almost get hit by another car... He had been living in a storm sewer, and would go up to the college kids living in the dorm there looking for food and getting handouts, so, to him, cars meant the possibility of food. And he was hungry, so, he was going up to cars looking for food. Sucker for hard-luck cases that I am, I skipped class, tossed him in the car, and brought him home and fed him and so on. Eleven years later, here he is, doting on my niece and so on. Now if he would just come out and play with Rocky...

Riffy reminded me that if I could have stopped, I would have. That if I'd known the kitty was there... But, I never saw him. Hell, at first, I thought I'd hit a branch, and was wondering where the branch came from, since there was nothing in the street beforehand...

Anyway, I am...slowly getting over the accident. The unnamed kitty is re-interred in the back yard, and he will hopefully rest in peace. If he did belong to someone, then hopefully he will at least have been shown the same consideration had he lived a full life with them. If he was a stray or feral, then hopefully his death will suck a little less than what most get.

Yesterday, I played the part of the social butterfly. I went over to my sister's house for a bit, where Mom and Rich were, and my cousin was visiting. 'Twas a good visit. The I headed over to Doke's at [profile] thumpermarni's insistence for his annual Memorial Day party. Again, it was all good. Got to watch some Harry Potter and part of Blade Runner. There was some ultra-conservative, religious, conspiracy-theory, Illuminati-touting asswipe that was spouting off, and that's when I left the room. Though, small tidbit: when you start talking about Christianity as the one true religion, maybe you shouldn't be dropping f-bombs in front of your toddler as you rail against the liberal government controlling you through the media and claiming that in 50 years, there will be no more religion, first amendment, or marriage in America...

Instead, I went into another room, where Darryl was playing music through his phone and subjected us to Ace of Base. My 90s dancing seemed to go over well...

[profile] thumpermarni also gave me this book she saw way back when and got for me... The Star Wars Vault. Rocky and I looked at a little of it last night, and it's got some interesting trivia and ephemera...

Today, just trying to get some stuff done around the house. Mom's cleaning Yoda's cage, finally. Mandie and Danielle are over, helping and such, though, Danielle's been really fussy the past hour or so. It might be the different house and all the activity. Mandie's helping a little with some cleaning and packing. We're going to BBQ some 'burgers and 'dogs later, and Mandie, Scott, and Danielle will be joining us.

I...am feeling a little wiped out. That whole shyness thing, then going to a big party... Those who are a bit introverted know how parties and socializing can really wipe you out. Then again, it's been a busy weekend, and the whole bit with the tragic unnamed kitty has taken a lot out of me.

Oh, at least I cleaned the bathroom yesterday, and I also got some stuff done on the car. In addition to getting the windshield replaced, I found my tube of goop and fixed the trim on the rear bumper that was peeling off. I also used the last of my brass paper fasteners to tack up a section of falling headliner, and wrapped the sun visor in duct tape to take care of the split in the upholstery on it that was leaking cardboard. Yeah, it all sounds kind of pathetic, but, temporary repairs until I can get the body and interior restored. At least it runs well.

And with the new fuel pump and spark plugs, my gas mileage has gone up quite significantly. Even though spark plugs are good for three years, I'm thinking I should go back to replacing them every other year. Decent double platinum plugs aren't that expensive and the cost of replacing them every other year is more than made up in gas savings.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Work and chiro afterwards. Grocery shopping and comics stop on Wednesday, and Rocky for his weekly glucose check on Thursday. My life is so exciting... /sarcasm

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] mercurykitty AND [personal profile] tacit!!



It...has been a busy weekend. Yesterday felt like a bit of a lazy day, but, it was okay for it to be. First off, my eight-year-old angel fish, Spectrum (all my angel fish are named Spectrum) died. This is the second long-lived angel fish I've had. The last one lived about eight years, too. Anyway, he was the last fish in the tank. I have since shut down the tank. When the weather gets nicer, I'll drain the rest of the water down, toss the gravel, clean everything up, and store it until we move. The plus side of Spectrum's passing is that now I don't have to worry about moving him, switching tanks for transport, and so on, and doing everything quickly so that he doesn't die of hypothermia and expertly so he doesn't die of water shock. Now, I can simply move the tank and equipment, and after we get set up in the new place, put everything together, get new gravel, fill it with water, take a few days to balance out the water, then get new fish.

I briefly thought about just simply...not having a fish tank anymore. But, it's been a bit of a hobby for me for almost 20 years, and when the tank is clean and there are fish in there, people like to come in and see the fish and watch them for a bit. In the new house, I'll have the tank set up in my "office" in the basement so people can more easily enjoy the fish.

The other downer for yesterday was that Mom's aunt, Aunt Carolyn, lost her battle with cancer. Even though she was Mom's aunt, she was only about 10 years older, if that. My prayers are with her second husband, Fred, down in Florida, where they moved to after they got married. They were very active with Habitat for Humanity, until her cancer came back. She had originally had kidney cancer, which she beat, but then came down with lung cancer. She's been in hospice for about two months.

I...wasn't especially close to her. But I am very grateful for something she did. About a year after Dad died, Aunt Carolyn was talking to Mom and said she sounded like Mom needed a break. She paid Mom's air fare for her to go down and spend about a week down there with her and Fred. The trip was a rather healing one for Mom. And for that kindness towards Mom, I am very thankful to her.

There will be a funeral and burial down there in Florida. Given everything happening right now with new jobs, new babies, and new houses, we just...can't get away. Which sucks. But I'll admit I'd rather be playing with my niece than traveling.

Mom and Rich are down in Odessa today, signing the almost-final papers for the new house. They want a letter from Mom's new employer stating that she is employed and such before they make the final papers for the mortgage and such and start construction. But after today, it's pretty much a done deal and we don't have to worry about someone else snatching up the lot or anything.

So many ways in which life is changing. Starting anew...

I've gotten most of the housework for the weekend done. Just need to take care of some computer things and finish up my laundry. I might also go visit my sister and niece and do my grocery shopping. Alas, I still haven't gotten to work on my taxes. And next weekend? I'm scheduled for the ALYX blood donation (hopefully, my hemoglobin will be high enough for it, or else I'll try again next month). And next week is a vacuuming weekend, though, I'm going to try to get that done before I go donate some RBCs. But I was hoping to go dancing next Saturday night, but, we'll see how my energy level is after donating.

Anyway, more later...

Comics )
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Mom and I went to visit Mandie and Danielle last night...

Mandie is doing much better and is out of the High Risk area. Danielle had to spend a day in the NICU under, essentially, a heat lamp to stabilize her temperature, which turns out to be a common, minor problem to babies born a few weeks early. But she was reunited with her mommy, and her mommy was moved to a regular room.

I got to hold Danielle for a little bit. First off, she's only the fifth baby I've gotten to hold. The first was my sister, the second was a neighbor's baby, third and fourth were cousin's babies. Danielle is the fifth. And I got to hold her for a good half hour, or at least, it felt like that.

Again, she has a hell of a personality already! A nurse came in to take Mandie's temperature and blood pressure, and then to take Danielle's temperature (via armpit). Danielle didn't fuss, but gave the nurse a hell of a stink eye.

Holding her, I felt her moving through the blankets and swaddling she was in. Little feet kicking slightly, little arms moving around, and her picking up her head slightly. She went through a range of facial expressions, opened her eyes and looked at me a few times... In many ways, it's like her brain is running constant diagnoses on everything, calibrating for whatever responses it's getting.

Mandie says she hasn't been fussing or crying very much. I think this is because Danielle's getting all her needs met. And getting showered with tons of attention and luvins. And it occurred to me that she's an exceptionally lucky baby. We may not be rich or anything, but she was born to two loving parents who have loving, supportive families. There is an abundance of both practical and textbook knowledge among everyone. And there is an abundance of unconditional love.

There will be pets who, when they meet her, will accept her into the family as unconditionally as the rest of us, largely because they, the pets in question, were accepted and loved unconditionally. This is a situation where karma comes in and repays kindness a thousandfold. I'd lay money that Loki and Lily will give Danielle the gargoyle treatment, standing watch. Lily may take a few days to warm up to this pink thing that makes noise and such, but I'm sure she'll step up to the plate. Loki will probably fall over himself to be her first buddy.

I'm reminded of the TNG episode "The Defector" when Romulan Admiral Aladir Jerok explains his defection to Captain Picard, that as a parent, there comes a time when you look into your child's face and realize that you have to change the world for her. I may only be her uncle, but I feel the same press to make the world suck less for her benefit.

And there's a part of me that feels badly for all the kids out there who aren't as lucky as Danielle.

But yeah, Danielle's one of the quiet ones. She'll be the type to have a secret lab in her closet at the age of eight, working on cold fusion or something.

I told Mandie that yeah, her and Scott's lives are now forever changed, but I'm realizing that with the closeness of the relationship, Mom's, Rich's, and my life have all been changed as well, as well as our counterparts in Scott's family. Though this is Mom's and Rich's first time as grandparents, and my first time as an uncle. It's still sinking in for me that I'm an uncle, and figuring out what that means in general and what it means for me.

So...yeah...

Though of one thing I'm certain... I need to re-learn how to change diapers. Two things, actually... I'm going to be taking and posting lots of pictures...

With the camera phone, so, the quality isn't as good, but still... )

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