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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] disgruntledgrrl!!



So, the big news for today is (dun dun DUNNNN...) the annual vet trip!

First off, mucho thankies to all who donated funds! There was enough money from that and Mom's direct donation that they all are current on their shots and such, that Minerva has enough insulin to get her to about Christmas, and I have just over $10 left over to apply to Minerva's glucose checks. Because of everything going on with Rocky's and then Minerva's diabetes, there was just...nothing left financially. And now? Now, I was able to afford the latest ampule of insulin and get them to the vet in a timely manner (meaning, about the same time as last year) for them to remain current on shots, which means this year, they finally got a 3-year rabies vaccination instead of just a one-year shot.

If I ever get out of debt and have this thing called "disposable income," I shall pay it forward...

Anyway, back to the vet visit... Rocky is doing well. He's at 22.2 pounds, which, for his size, is a little overweight, but not by as much as it sounds, as he is a Big Cat. And they're okay with him having a little extra weight; if his diabetes flares up and he doesn't eat for a day or two, he'll still be okay, instead of, say, shutting down his liver. Heart, lungs, eyes, teeth, ears... Everything else is excellent! Perfect for a cat in remission. He does have allergies and dry skin, which they can't give him anything for, as he's steroid-allergic, meaning, a steroid would send him into a diabetic spike. But otherwise, he's a big, healthy, happy kitty in diabetic remission, which we'll ride for as long as we can.

Riffy is also doing well for an 11-year-old cat. His ear crusties were gone this morning, but I still mentioned it to Doc McHarg, who had done the original partial ear removal and biopsy. She said that if it went away, resolved on its own, then yeah, it's an inflammation issue and not a skin cancer issue. (For the new people: Riffy is all-white, and two years ago, there were crusty scabs on one ear that looked like the skin cancer which eventually led to the demise of another all-white cat we'd had, GiGi. Doc McHarg (nee' Boone) had just started working up there, and indeed, that was the same day I had to bring YoYo up to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge. After assisting with that, she removed part of Riffy's ear, in case it was cancer, to try to halt its spread. Fortunately, it wasn't any squamous carcinoma; just irritation. And she did a good enough job on the surgery that, for the most part, you can't really tell he'd had part of his ear removed. So anyway, yeah, that issue is resolved. He was at 16.2 pounds, which is what he was at last year, so, he's maintaining his weight, which is another sign of good health. Riffy, overall, is almost as big as Rocky, and a little leaner. Dr. Shlusseil once commented that I tend to have big cats, and said it in a way indicating this was a good thing for the cats. His heart murmur was the same - no better, no worse; just stable. As he's asymptomatic - no panting or rapid breathing - this is relegated to, "Be aware of this, but most likely, it's nothing to worry about." Otherwise, he, too, is in excellent health, especially for an 11-year-old.

So, I have three wonderful, healthy cats, despite diabetes and heart murmurs. I am glad to have all three of them in my life, and I am proud to be their "daddy" and their "hoomin." And I look forward to getting them all to enjoy each others' company when we move.

See, both Rocky and Riffy were out of their carriers at the vet. And yeah, they hissed at each other, and Rocky grumbled. But Riffy was out first, and he stuck his head into Rocky's carrier when I was trying to get Rocky out. They would periodically check each other out, then hiss, then sit next to each other and pointedly ignore each other. But no attacking. No swatting or other dominance issues. They kind of acted how I'd expect "normal" new cats to act during an introduction.



Of course, when I got home, I opened the carriers, they came out, hissed at each other, and Rocky went to get a drink of water while Riffy slinked up the stairs. Rocky then went up, hissed at Riffy, then went down the hallway and sat outside my room while I let Riffy back into Mom and Rich's room.

Right now, the hope is that in the new house, with no established territories, they will all get over themselves, stake out new territories and shared territories, and finally get along. Mom has also said that she and Rich, in addition to getting a new, bigger cage for Yoda, are also planning to get a few cat trees for the cats, including a BIG one for the basement, and maybe a few window perches.

At the vet, they recommended getting some Feliway for when we actually move to help calm them all down a bit.

On an aside... One of the things that is so frustrating is how similar Rocky and Riffy are. In temperament, in helpfulness, in intelligence, in caring, in curiosity... Rocky is a little louder, but Riffy's a "talker," too. As is Minerva, once she warms up to someone. They're all very sweet cats, and I'd love to see them all get along and express that sweetness towards each other by cuddling when it's cold out or tag-teaming caring for one of us when we're sick, and so on. I want them all to not be confined or restricted from each other's part of the house and to instead enjoy the big house we're going to, enjoy each other's company, and have full lives.

Anyway, shortly after I got back from the vet, I had lunch, puttered around for awhile, watched some TV, then ended up taking a nap. Things like this take an emotional toll on me. I napped for a good three and a half hours. But now? Time for dinner, then going dancing for a bit. I kind of need it tonight...

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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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Alas, it is Caturday. I have had a productive day. I got most of the housework done. Things like cat boxes and bird cages and whatnot. I'm sitting here realizing that I've only got five days left of my break. It doesn't seem like long enough. At the same time, I was actually glad to have some stuff to do today. It gave my day a little more structure than what I've had the past few days.

That's the thing with this big Christmas/New Years break - The first half of it is so busy with last-minute Christmas prep, and then...nothing. I had hoped this would give me some extra time for reading and writing, but I was so exhausted from...everything...afterwards that I just plain didn't have the mental energy needed for jumping into writing. I'm just about back to my normal level of reading, though.

I'm working on closing out files for 2013 and starting files for 2014. I sincerely hope 2014 is a better year. Granted, 2013 was off to a rough start, largely with the problems at work and with the car needing a transmission overhaul. And no one's said boo to me at work since March, and the car is doing well with new tires and the new blower motor. In 2014, I need to get the windshield replaced, and then it'll be due for inspection at the end of the summer. Joy. Between now and then, I'm hoping to maybe at least patch the hole with something. Doct tape, maybe. And continue to use that rust inhibitor and maybe get some spray-on car paint to deal with some of the worst rust blemishes and see if that doesn't improve the appearance enough that the State inspectors won't actively try to fail it again this year.

Financially, I'm about where I was a year ago. Maybe a little bit better, since what I still owe Gary for the tires is less than what I owed him for the engine at this point a year ago. The only other roblem with the car I see in the immediate future is needing to replace the power window motors. The one on the passenger side has been dead for over a year, but I don't think I need it to pass inspection. The one on the driver's side still works, and I need it to work in general, what with needing to put it up and down every time I park my car in the garage on campus. Fortunately, it's only a $200-$300 repair, if need be.

I'm also hoping to be able to see my optmetrist and get contact lenses again.

Oh, and I'll still need to get money set aside for Minerva and her $600 dental work that she needs.

In other news... I've noticed my sleep has been better this break. Usually, I fall into a habit of staying up until 4 or 5 in the morning during the break and sleeping in until noon. This year, I've been waking up around nine or so and going to bed at my "normal" time. I'm thinking the androderm patches are having some luck in regulating my sleep/wake cycle a bit better. My energy is a little better, though my back is still giving me problems. I'm not devouring Christmas cookies like I was at the beginning of the break. I don't think I've gained more than a pound. With the energy level being a little better, I'm getting antsy. Thing is, I have so many little, organizational projects, my biggest problem is picking a place to start and just...starting. I'm not yet freaking out over the fact that my break is more than half over, but, depending on what I get done in the next day or so will determine how much I freak out on Wednesday.

I'm also trying to finish up a few books before the end of the year. Especially Neal Stephenson's Anathem. I liked he beginning of it, and I'm liking the end of it. The middle kind of lost me in a few places, but things started making sense at the end. Next up is Reamde, by the same author. Stephenson tends to write near 1000 page tomes, and part of wanting to get through these books is the fact that they're heavy to carry around. I mean, I got Reamde about a month before I got my Kindle. Anything else he writes will go on the Kindle.

Did I mention how I wrote about 17k words from early October through mid-December? I...haven't written that much in a long, long time. But now, I need to work on outlines, which is maybe a little harder to measure than actually writing a story, since word count is useless (for me, anyway) and I'm looking more at how many scenes I map out. But I'm still fleshing out settings and such. I've also found some security in giving myself "permission" to sketch physical scenes, such as rooms, to help myself better visualize elements of a story. And then I'll go ahead and describe those scenes. Because I don't think any of you wants to be subjected to my drawing tragedies.

Looking ahead... I'm hoping I'll at least continue dancing regularly in 2014. Part of me is tempted to start taking lessons again as soon as I pay off Gary, but, responsibility sets in, and I'll likely use that money to pay off other debts and to save for any other emergencies. I'm hoping I can get into a routine or, maybe more accurately, a rhythm with regards to outlining/mapping stories.

Oh, and a big THANK YOU to everyone who actually took the time to read "Terminator:East" and "Christmas Spirit" and comment on them. Such commenting boosts my morale and encourages me to keep writing.

On a final note... I watched the Original Trek episode "Dagger of the Mind" today with Rocky and Yoda. It's about as close to a Star Trek Christmas episode as we get. And maybe I should be...concerned...that Rocky and Yoda had their own running commentary as we were watching it.

More later...

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I haven't gotten much done today, certainly not as much as yesterday, but then, I didn't have as much to do...

I finished the laundry. Yaay! I also spent some time outside, masking off certain parts of the car, and trying out that rust-inhibiting, black-drying primer on some of the rust areas. So far, I'm not all that impressed, but then, it's still drying, and the real test will be if the rust growth is at least slowed significantly.

Mom is finishing up painting the exterior of the upstairs window with painting her bedroom window. So, her window was open, and she's getting ready to come out on the "first floor roof," and Riffy's right there at the window, all curious. And he sees me, and is ready to come out.

Now, I figured he hated me, or had at least lost interest in me, because of Rocky, even though I had originally gotten Rocky as a playmate and companion to him after Loki, my sister's cat, moved out when she moved out.

Anyway, to prevent any tragic problems, Mom put Riffy in Minerva's room.

Just checked on them... Minerva hasn't run under her bed yet, and Riffy is just hanging out on the windowsill. This is progress, since before, Riffy hid in a corner and Minerva growled from under her bed. Now, she is at least affording Riffy the same courtesy (?) she gives Rocky... She's Not Happy about Rocky being in there, but, she'll stay on her bed until Rocky hops on the bed with her. As soon as he looks away, she darts under the bed. If he's lucky, he'll get close enough to where he is obviously sniffing her, at which point, she'll smack him across the face and then run under the bed, whether he's watching or not.

But, yeah, this is the first time Riffy and Minerva have "interacted" since the annual trip to the vet a little over a year ago. At that point, they just didn't give a shit about each other.

Anyway, whilst painting, Mom managed to let the window close, and couldn't get it back open from the outside. She started banging on it. I...had just laid down since my hip was killing me from working on the car, so, I wasn't paying much attention. Fortunately, Rocky pulled his "Lassie: Timmy's in the well!" routine, and I finally heard the noise and went to open the window to let Mom back in.

Life around here is... Yeah.

On a final note... Rich is much more ambulatory these days. But when he sits down in the rec room and props his foot up, Yoda asks him if he's okay and if he'd like some water. Not like Yoda will get up and get Rich some water, but, it's still nice to know he asks. I dunno. Maybe he thinks Rocky will get the water.

Hard to believe it's just about October now. But what's worse is remembering that tomorrow is Monday.

*sigh*

Comics )
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] sir_cat, [personal profile] oxymoron67, AND [personal profile] klingonguy!!!



So... High-speed, low-budget post...

I slept in all of fifteen minutes this morning, since Rocky wanted food and insulin, Yoda wanted food, and Brigid and Brandon needed to go out and go potty. Oh well. Though, I've been napping on and off all day...

That's not to say I haven't been at least somewhat productive. I've gotten a start on laundry. I cleaned my bathroom. I've watered the plants. I've gotten other odds and ends done. I'm mid-way though taking care of the cat boxes and trash, but, I'm slowly whacking back my to-do list for the weekend. My goal is to have next to nothing to worry about for Monday. And the less I have to worry about for tomorrow, the better.

Not much else. Rocky is happy it's the weekend and has been following me around most of the time. He, Yoda, and I watched the series finale for Star Trek: The Next Generation, "All Good Things..." Now, I have finally seen all of the TNG episodes. Yes, there were a few that I never saw because I had set the VCR to tape them, only to have a hockey game or somesuch pre-empt them. Actually, that's why I stopped watching Voyager in the seventh season... It was never on when it was supposed to be, so, setting the VCR was useless. I'll eventually get Voyager (and DS9 and the enhanced Original Series [I have the regular Original Series on DVD]) on DVD.

To top it off, the last year of TNG was my senior year of high school, so, I was also a bit busy with graduating and getting ready for college. In fact, the original air date of "All Good Things..." was my high school graduation night. And I just never...watched the beginning of the episode. But now, I have seen the TNG run in its entirety. That last episode was like some sort of warped Christmas Carol as well. I mean, it starts and ends with Picard demanding to know the date. And he's visited by the past, the present, and the future.

Thing is, and thanks to all the wonderful Trek authors, I had a hard time watching "All Good Things..." as an end to TNG. Leaving aside the movies, the fact is that the books have done a more than adequate job in continuing the TNG story/saga. (Not to mention, DS9 and Voyager, too.)

Not much else. So, back to work, I suppose...

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It has been a busy few days. Half week. Something like that.

Mom is now Mrs. Magner.

It's a good thing I took Thursday and Friday off. Thursday, I took care of the errands of running to craft shops - Michael's and Joann's - to get stuff pertaining to flowers, decorations, and various other wedding festivities. I also picked up my tux. This might not sound like much, but, given that I'm not super artsy or anything, and being given a list of items I'd never heard of and sent on a seek-and-obtain mission to get them... It's kind of like a commercial scavenger hunt. I've been told that this was a "nice guy" thing to do, as other males would have simply looked askance. On the bright side, I got everything that was needed and managed to get the pew clips for just $1.oo instead of $2.00.

Friday, I dealt with more back issues and spent half the day with an ice pack on my back. I was originally going to deliver the goodie bags to the hotels where out-of-town guests were staying, but, my brother-in-law Scott got roped into that. My brother-in-law is awesome like that. Instead, we just had the rehearsal dinner Friday night. After the dinner, I went out for coffee and quiet time, and when I got home, I had apparently missed the festivities of the bridal attendants who helped finish making the centerpieces and assembling flower stuff. Instead, Mom was busy printing out the programs. Since she had had little sleep the night before, I helped fold them and cut the insert pages and so on. I did what I could to help her get to bed at a decent time in preparation for the next day's events. Except, she couldn't find the tiara hairpiece, and we spent the next hour and a half going through the house looking for it, to no avail. Turns out, it was with the rest of her stuff for her dress at the church.

Because I was up late, I got up a little later than originally planned on Saturday. Mom had already left with the rest of her entourage for hair and make-up. Rich called from down the street to make sure it was safe to come home and get breakfast, which it was. He left to get the lunch sub tray and pick up one of the groomsmen and head to the church. I stayed to grab a shower, make sure all the furkids had food and water, give Rocky his insulin, put the dogs out to go potty, and so on. I should note that the humidity was oppressive, and I was sweating even after my rather cold shower. Also, all the furkids were off the wall. Brigid and Brandon were almost constantly barking, which was excessive even for them. Yoda seemed to be permanently hungry and doing the alarm noise ad nauseum. Rocky was bordering on aggressive and howling more often than usual. Fortunately, I got everyone calmed down enough before I left. Giving Yoda a leftover stuffed shell from the rehearsal dinner seemed to mollify him immensely, and he was then able to call for Rocky and yell at the dogs, which helped get them all under control. Anyway, after the kids were taken care of, I made a pass through the house for anything that might have been forgotten and left for the church.

At the church, I changed into my tux. Of course, the room we had was sweltering. Thankfully, the rest of the church was decently air conditioned. While getting dressed, I helped Paul and Rich with their tuxes. While competitive dancing doesn't need a full tux at the level I danced, and even dance tuxes are different from regular tuxes, I still had done enough shows to know how to take care of bow ties and cuff links and so on. The tux pants we had were adjustable. Of course, I had a broken adjuster. Fortunately, Mandie had safety pins and helped me out.

Then began the busy-ness.

Somehow, I was drafted at random to take care of the boutinears. I found the 'fridge with the flowers in them, snagged my sister to help me figure out who gets what, and began distrubution of flowers. I had barely gotten that done that people started arriving. Got the young ladies set up with the programs and started escorting people to seats. Did what I could remembering who Mom said was to get front-row seats. This has a lot to do with the people who were there for us during some of the shittiest times of the past ten years.

Then the ceremony begins. Or, at least, the processional. They changed, at the last minute, where us groomsmen where entering from, which was neither here nor there, but, anyway. Then the ceremony begins. And fortunately, my sister and I get along rather well these days, so, I see the look of horror slowly crossing her face right before she mouths to me, in front of the pastor and the priest (Rich is Catholic, so, we had two officiants), "Oh shit! I lost the ring!"

You know that sinking feeling you get right when you realized you jumped out of the plane before strapping on your parachute?

So, I start thinking about my options. Do I pass out, let them cart me out of the sanctuary and then spring to life and go look for the ring? No, too dramatic. Sneak out? Might be considered rude. Fake a coughing fit or a bad sneeze? Yeah, that could work, but, let's save that as a last resort. And to note, this was planned to be a short ceremony. I look around me, as there's a piano behind me, some sound equipment off to the side... Maybe there's a coupling or somesuch that could work in a pinch. No such luck. So then it dawns on me that at least two of the other groomsmen are married. I whispered urgently to Nutsy next to me the situation and ask if he has a ring we can borrow. No, he's had problems getting his ring on lately, BUT, he had his father's wedding band on his keychain. Unfortunately, his fingers are still a little too swollen to get it off, so, I got it off, and we passed it down to my sister. Crisis averted. The ring, the "real" ring, was recovered shortly after the ceremony. It fell off of Mandie when she was adjusting Mom's train right before the processional.

After that was the receiving line and becoming borderline germophobic. Thankfully, there were the anti-bacterial hand sanitizer bottles throughout the narthex. After that was getting my Magic Murder Bag (Venture Brother's reference) packed with my clothes, and then pictures. Before the rain. Woot.

Fortunately, the rain stopped by the time we got to the reception, and we had a nice walk-in.

Pictures )

Now, the wonderful people at ThinkGeek.com have dinosaur plushies...



Thanks to internet memes, Mom and Rich have this joke about "I love you this much" with the picture of a T-Rex whose arms aren't very long, and so it doesn't look like very much. So when I got one of my regular e-mails from Think Geek advertising these new plushies, I got two of the T-Rex for Mom and Rich for a wedding present. I figured it would be a cute novelty thing that they'd like and would be better than a picture frame or somesuch.

Turns out, they were a big hit with them. They have been playing with their dinosaurs (curse their sudden and inevitable betrayal!) since I gave them to them. In fact, they had left them with the caterer to put on their sweetheart table (to raised eyebrows). You can even see one of them in one of the pictures above. Anyway, Mom told me that just about everyone, at some point, had come up to their table and asked about the dinosaurs, so, they had to explain the joke about 100 times. Mom says she should have just gotten on the mike and explained. I'm just glad I managed to get them a gift they enjoy, and are still enjoying. Especially when I wasn't expecting it to be such a hit.

Mom and Rich had a nice dance to their song (can't remember the title, but it's by Lady Antebellum). Mom and I danced a Fox Trot to Michael Buble's rendition of "The Best is Yet to Come." Mandie and Rich danced to "Thank Heaven For Little Girls." Then Mandie and I did a Cha Cha/Hustle to some 70s song. That was way too long.

At this point, I need to pat myself on the back while thanking my coaches Lisa Bently and Pete Taylor. They both taught the difference between competitive dancing and performance dancing. Both when dancing with Mom and with my sister, I thankfully knew enough floorcraft to make sure they were the center of attention. Having taught enough dance classes and having a derth of experience working with new dancers, my leading skills are still sharp, though I'm sure my sister felt tossed around a little. But, hey... performance! It was eough to impress pretty much everyone.

As for me? My footwork was atrocious (note to self: NEVER go to a wedding where I know I'll be utilizing my Captain Tango skills without my dance shoes!). My frame was okay and I felt my leading was on par with bludgeoning my partner to go in the right direction. However, again, I am forced to remember what I've been taught about the differences between competitive dancing and performance dancing: In competitive dancing, the judges know the steps and the technique and will grade you on it. In performance dancing, the audience doesn't give a fuck (Pete's words).

They had remarks from the best man and maid (matron?) of honor, which included my sister. She wasn't expecting that part, and the invective she used when she was called up was amusing. Nevertheless, she made a good speech and managed to use our phrase of "putting the 'fun' into 'dysfuntional.'" I don't think I've ever seen her husband, Scott, laugh so hard.

On an aside: I have to say I'm very proud to have Scott as my brother-in-law. He's cool to begin with, and I am glad that he takes care of my sister so well. He helped her where he could, made sure she had something to drink, and so on. After three (or is it four?) years of marriage, and years of dating before that, and he still dotes on her, is something nice to see in this day and age. Such treatment, I think, went a long way to keeping my sister on an even keel throughout. It was a good example of, "It's not her problem, it's our problem to solve." Hence, the support thing.

I think that about covers the reception. Afterwards, we changed and loaded up the cars and trucks and tralers with decorations, gifts, and so on. Managed to get the bulk of the stuff loaded before the clouds opened up again.

To give Mom and Rich some time to themselves, Mandie insisted I stay with her and Scott last night. So, I stopped at the house, gave Rocky his shot, refilled everyone's food and water, packed an overnight bag, and left.

Loki, one of Mandie's cats, who was adopted when she still lived with me and Mom, was taught well by TomTom. He remembers me from when we lived together, and in the same way TomTom would make sure to visit with Mandie when she came over after she'd moved out, Loki makes sure to visit with me whenever I go to my sister's. Anyway, he followed me around while I got set up in her guest room, looking at me funny. "Why are you here? What are you doing? You're not normally over here this late. Why are you sleeping here?"

I slept like the dead, but woke up around 10:30 to the sound of someone going through my stuff. I sat up on the bed, and sure enough, Loki and Lily were rummaging through my book bag and overnight bag. I asked them, "What are you two doing?" And they both looked at me like, "We're um, um, um... We were going to iron your clothes and put your books away for you. Hi. How are you?" This might be off-putting or just plain weird for most people, except, my cats do the same thing, so, yeah. They do better security than the TSA.

In general, I'm glad the wedding went off almost without a hitch. The only hitch being the intended hitch of Mom and Rich getting hitched. I'm glad my sister and I get along well these days, which has been the case since we had to break Mom out of a nursing home three years ago when she got her hip replaced. That helped a lot this weekend with averting possible situations and whatnot.

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Alas, another Monday...

Finally feeling a little better today. Or, I was, earlier. I got up on time, even got to work a few minutes early. Went for my chiro appointment after work. And now? I'm oscillating between feeling blasé and wanting to jump out of my skin. Hopefully, my body will settle down a little and I'll get some reading done.

Work itself wasn't too bad. I am now able to use my sick and vacation time, save for the "bank" time. In any event, there were no problems making arrangements for my dental appointment next week. Other than that, it was a productive, yet quiet day.

Not much else. We need a new dishwasher. The motor in the current one is on its last legs. Mom and Rich have started looking for a suitable replacement.

Rocky was extremely hyper a little while ago. He was playing with one of his new toys he got for Christmas, jumping on and off the bed, running up and down the hall. Keep in mind, he's 20-22 pounds, so, you hear him quite well. Fortunately, he did not lose his toy and is instead "feeding" it while he's zonked on the bed. Meanwhile, Yoda admonishes Mom and Rich, "You be good now" as they leave for dinner. Yes, folks, this is my life, strange as it is.

In other news...

Conan the Librarian rage! Tony Lee from Career Cast and making an article for CNBC apparently shat out an article that said that being a librarian is one of the least stressful occupations. Granted, I'm not a librarian, but I play one on TV work in a library, I can say that this guy has no fucking clue. I mean, seriously, if this job was so stress-free, do you think I'd bitch about it on a regular basis? Anyway, there is, instead, this post on Blogger that reams this guy a new one. And this is a public library. Add in a collegiate/research library, and you have kids who complain about technology and hours, faculty that complain that they're not treated as gods, and frat rats coming in expecting you to practically research and write their paper for them.

And if that wasn't stressful enough... The Onion reports on AP Style, Chicago Gang Violence Among Copy Editors.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] annastesia AND [personal profile] az_starshine!!



Rocky and I are slowly recovering. We've both been napping a LOT this weekend. I think we're both just plain burnt out from the past few weeks.

Other than that...not much else going on. Slowly plugging through the weekend chores. Slowly regaining the ability to breathe through my nose. Oh, and Yoda, in addition to asking, "You okay there?" now also asks, "What'cha doin'?" Again, the fact that he gets a response, and thus interaction, makes him ask these questions often. Eventually, he'll have enough question phrases to conduct interviews.

Anyway, I'm going to try to take it easy for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, this goes through my mind...



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Ugh.

Woke up with a nasty headache and sinus congestion. I blame the weather, the impending heat wave, and everyone cutting their grass over the past few days. Including myself. And tonight, I've had some esophagitis issues and resultant anxiety. I am Not Happy. To round all this out, I had some anxiety this morning, since I had nightmares all last night and woke up several times. So, I didn't sleep well. Despite that, I couldn't seem to sleep for more than an hour at a time during the day. So, in addition to the anxiety, I have a decidedly disconnected feeling today.

Rocky pretty much stayed with me all day, whether I was napping or downstairs watching TV. He, Yoda, Bonnie, and I finished watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day and started watching season two, volume one of the original Transformers. You know, the introduction of Spike's girlfriend, Carlie, has Carlie as a rather strong female character. She's not only a grad student at MIT, but she also manages to hang out with the Autobots and even plants a bomb on Decepticon HQ. And her grasp of particle physics allows her to sabotage Wheeljack's stolen invention - the Immobilizer (which sounds like a knee brace used right after surgery to me). She's just shy of a Mary Sue character, which makes her a welcome addition instead of annoying.

I still say T2 is an awesome movie and not only my favorite Terminator movie, but also one of my all-time favorites. Sadly, it's depressing on how, in the same way no one listens to Sarah Connor, our defense department doesn't listen to many people about programming machines to do our killing for us. Terminators, Cylons... We're screwed because human hubris makes those people think they'll stay in control. Then again, because we can't value other human lives, we're pretty much boned in any event.

To be clear: I'm not against artificial intelligence. In fact, done right, AI can be more human than human intelligence. And when you program a machine to not kill, but rather to protect life, as Asimov does, then we get Data, KITT, and Emergency Medical Holograms. It's creating machines that can learn to kill that bothers me. It's bad enough that we kill, but, and apologies if this seems a bit cavalier, but, have we gotten so lazy that we need machines to kill for us? If that's the case, then maybe we deserve what we've got coming to us.

But then, I lose faith in humanity a little bit every day...

Books read so far in 2012... )

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It's been a busy day... I've gotten lots done, including cutting the grass, whacking down some little trees, getting cat boxes and such taken care of, making my sandwiches for the coming work week, getting some computer stuff done, and so on. I still need to vacuum the house and do my laundry, but, that'll be done soon enough.

Mom and Rich went to the monthly "dinner and a movie" at Church. I was debating grilling up a burger or a chicken breast when my sister showed up with surplus eggplant parmigiana. In some ways, I feel like a louse for depending on free food. Then I look at all the stuff around the house and yard that I got done today, and decide that it's all good and it all works out.

And...it was really good eggplant parmigiana! Plenty for tomorrow night's dinner, too.

Yoda really liked Mandie's visit, asking if we were okay about every other minute. Though if we didn't answer quickly enough, he'd ask again, louder and more insistent. I think he likes asking the question because he gets a response/interaction. Then Rocky sat on Mandie's lap and didn't make it easy for her to leave. When she took out her keys, he reached for them like a hyperactive 2-year-old.

Then there's Bridget... She started to follow me up the stairs, and then Rocky was following me, but behind her, and when she turned around, Rocky puffed himself up, which, of course, freaked out Bridget. So, she came the rest of the way up the stairs, and Rocky started to come up a few more steps, and then Yoda started calling and whistling for her. Which just confused Bridget even more and put her in even more of a confused/stuck state.

So, it's been a productive and interesting day thus far.

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Posting in the clear for a TomTom update...

He seems to be doing better. He's eating more, which, right now, means he's got more leakage and diarrhea. He...seems a little embarrassed by his butt problems, and has been staying off the bed, even though I have a layer of towels on the bed to absorb things. Now, I took the lid off the litter box I dragged in my room so he'd have more room with his SuperKitty Cone Cape (TM) and used the top of it as a step up/step down for him to get up onto the bed. Well, he's taken to using it like a little hut instead, and I put some clean towels in there for him. I'm accepting that I'll be doing a daily load of towels until this is all resolved.

Oh, as for the eating... Last night, I put a little bit of the gravy from the regular wet food onto his low-bulk stuff, and that seemed to make it a little more appetizing for him.

This morning, as expected, I was a little late because I had to take care of his meds. I saved the one pill he only takes in the AM for last, and I finally had a successful morning medicating with him. Meaning, I got everything in him and got him to swallow and such. Size matters, but so does taste, apparently... Anyway, thanks to those who have suggested pill pockets, which we use for YoYo for his Clomicalm, but, the one's TomTom is having problems with are larger than pill pockets and have already been cut in half, and I worry that trying to cut them smaller will cause them to shatter and leave me with a mess and even more difficulties getting them into TomTom. TomTom doesn't like them, but he's not actively trying to bite me, which makes it a little easier for me to shove them most of the way to the back of his throat, and then I muzzle him until he swallows. The one AM pill causing problems is probably bitter, because he salivates like crazy, and that affects everything else. Saving it for last, like I did today, eliminated most of the problem.

But he's alert, purring, and, though a little put off by his butt problems and the fact he's confined to just one room, he still seems happy to just be home. Even better: no vomiting.

Rocky is still hissing at him, but with less vigor and vehemence. TomTom probably still smells funny because of his butt problems and such. But Rocky has calmed down considerably since we set up a space for him in the office.

Bonnie seems a bit lonely. She sings, but not nearly as much. But she's still singing, which is a plus. Yoda seems normal. If anything... He's always talked to Bonnie and greeted her by name. He never much cared for Clyde, and I wonder if there wasn't some sort of jealousy there. But Yoda hasn't showed any changed in behavior, which is good. However, he's started messing with the dogs. Well, with Bridgett, anyway. The other night, Rich was calling the dogs to bed, and Brandon went right up. So, he called for Bridgett, and Bridgett would head for the stairs, and then Yoda, in Rich's voice (African Greys have no gravelly, parrot voice of their own; when they learn to talk, they mimic the voice that taught them a particular word or phrase) would whistle for and call Bridgett. That dog ran between Yoda's cage and the steps for a few minutes before an annoyed Rich came down to physically get her. At which point, I told him to go easy on Bridgett, because she was a bit confused.

Yes, my life is interesting sometimes...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] greygirlbeast AND [profile] cookie_chef!!



What a day so far...

TomTom is home! He's doing well... I have him all set up here in my room with food, water, and litter. I need to make some sort of "bed" for him on ground level and keep him off my bed for awhile because he's got some "anal leakage" issues right now. And...he's got several prescriptions I have to stay on top of. Fortunately, only two weeks...

I told him his flexible "cone of shame" isn't a "cone of shame." It's a superkitty cape! I've also made the remark that he still has more guts than humans I know...

Rocky seemed glad to see TomTom, but now is hissing at him from beyond the door because he (TomTom) smells like vet. And I guess Rocky's not happy about being kept out of here.

Yoda is driving me nuts. He does the alarm noise, I give him fruit, and he throws it all away and does the alarm noise again. Why? He wants bananas, and he's pissed that we ran out yesterday or the day before and I haven't made a special trip for him. As is, I'm heading out in a little bit to get a haircut, and I'll probably swing by Path Mark for milk and bananas. Brat.

Anyway, I'm just glad to have TomTom home and on the mend, runny butt or no. I'll probably be doing some extra laundry, though...

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So...it's been a semi-relaxing, semi-productive weekend thus far. I still have some stuff I want to take care of, like finishing my laundry, but otherwise, it's going okay. I spent the better part of the day yesterday cleaning out my linen closet so Rich can get to the pipes to fix my shower. I didn't think it would take all that much time, but, there was more crap there to go through than I thought. On the bright side, I threw out some broken stuff and a ton of things that were past expiration or not used or whatever. Old contact lens stuff and weird shampoos and stuff like that. I'm hoping that when the shower is fixed and I can put all this crap away that that will take a little less time and things will be a little better organized.

Last night, I went over to Jess' place because she wanted to have a Big Bang Theory marathon. She had a drinking game set up, but, since I can't drink, she made popcorn for me to use instead. Anyway, we watched the first four or five episodes of the third season. It was fun.

Since she lives in Wilmington in an area I'm not familiar with at all, I finally tried out the GPS "tomtom" unit my co-worker gave me when she got a new GPS a year ago... Anyway, the device worked out really well! Got there, got home, no problems, easy peazy... Woot!

This weekend, I also went to Concord Pet and got some rawhide bones and chew bones for Bridgett and Brandon. There seems to be happiness on their end and less destruction of cat toys. Hoomin wins! I also got a laser pointer that has a diffuser to make shapes of a butterfly, a smiley face, a star, and a mousie in addition to the Red Dot. I tried it out with TomTom and Rocky. Hilarity ensued. For a 15-year-old, TomTom is still quite spry! Then there was when I projected a laser butterfly on TomTom's hind leg, and Rocky did that little bunny hop thing to tackle it. As if that wasn't funny enough, TomTom just looked at him and said, "Really? Are you really that fucking stupid?" Anyway, I need to try it on Riffy and Minerva. I'm hoping to engage them in cooperative dot hunting with Rocky to see if that will help them all bond a little better.

To give another little peak into my supposed brain... I stopped at Path Mark last night to get another big bag of cat crunchies, since I had just emptied the last one. On the way to the cat aisle, I passed the produce section and got excited when I saw they had peaches. Because they haven't had peaches the last time I went there and needed fruit for the parrot. So, I think all the pets got something from me this weekend. I guess I should be too surprised - or put off - that I can't move around here without some critter hugging or licking me.

Eh, it is what it is.

Weekend Comics )
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] awallens!!!



Feeling a little drained at the moment. Today was my appointment at the blood bank. Alas, I wasn't able to do the ALYX donation, since my hemoglobin was too low. It was great for whole blood donation, but not for them taking twice as many RBCs away. It could be allergies, or it could be asthma. In any event, I may try ALYX later. Maybe even over winter. In the meantime, whole blood donation is still pretty damn good, and I'll be donating again in July.

Since then, I've been getting some weekend chore stuff done and napping. Really feeling drained this time around. Probably still a little out of it from the severe GERD bout the other night. On the bright side, this is a lite chore weekend, so, hopefully, it'll be a nice, relaxing, recharging, restful weekend for me. Then again, the stepgoggies are here.

On a semi-related note... I'm reading Jackson Galaxy's book Cat Daddy. I've tried the "I Love You" blink with TomTom, but, so far, there's no reaction. Then again, he's pretty secure anyway, so... Yeah. Last night, he was sleeping on my head, as usual, and I touched his paw. In response, the purring went from "idling lawnmower" to "Saturn V rocket" and he insisted on licking my face. Not really a problem, except for the really bad fishy cat food breath. Oh well. Both Rocky and TomTom like that contact thing... Many times, I wake up and one of them has a paw resting lightly on my face or my hand.

My sister's cat, MiMi, used to crawl under the covers so she could snuggle under my chin. I still miss her, but, at least she opened a place in my sister's life for Lily.

You know... I really think the side project memoir of all the furkids I've had might stand a good chance for publication, all things considered. Gods know I have enough amusing stories of all the cats, dogs, and parrots, not to mention stories of their interactions together, from Yoda liking to ride on Boomer's head, to Nemo making Sugar psychotic with respect to squeaky toys, and back to Yoda for trying to teach the cats to say his name. Then I think about the times I lay on the couch and Yoda asks, "You okay there, bud?" Like he's going to do anything if I'm not okay. And the time TomTom and Rocky got me when Mom couldn't get up after her hip replacement. Or Rocky waking me up earlier this week when the house had no power, I had no alarm clock, and I needed to get to work.

When I hear stories of other peoples' pets performing similar intelligent acts of helpfulness and loyalty, I have to wonder if Human arrogance isn't actually a hindrance in our evaluation of these creatures' intelligence and awareness. One popular test they do on animals in general to disprove their self-awareness is to put them in front of a mirror and watch the animal either react to the image as a threat or whatever, but to not give any evidence that they recognize the image as themselves. And yet...four weeks ago, Bridgett and Brandon were on the steps, which have a mirror at the bottom, and they were at eye level of the mirror. They saw me coming in the mirror, then looked at me. Then they saw other movement and turned around to see TomTom at the top of the steps. In short, they were reacting to the reflection and understood that they saw the reflections of other actions and looked at the appropriate areas. I'm not sure if this has been replicated in a laboratory setting. Now, this doesn't quite go with the whole "mark them with lipstick and see if they try to wipe it off" thing, though (1) I see humans at Rocky Horror who don't remove the lipstick... Maybe these animals think that they're being marked in some sort of initiation like the kids going to RHPS. Maybe (2), given their lesser acuity, they don't really see the lipstick or they aren't familiar enough with their own reflection to know that something's different. I mean, honestly, we tend not to see certain zits right away or notice the formation of certain scars. In conclusion, I think the animals are fucking with us. Intentionally. So that they get spoiled with toys, food, and have the supposedly superior race fetch food for them, clean up their poop, pay for their food and health care, and show them off to their friends. A bit of an oversimplification? Perhaps. But the intelligence of cooperation, adaptability, routine, and so on is still there and higher than what people in general are aware of. Then again, I'm still convinced that the average person is an idiot.

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HAPPY BELATED BIRFDAY[profile] thumpermarni!!!



HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] lurkitty, [profile] layered_deep, [profile] jonbonjewvi, AND [personal profile] berthablue!!!



AND A SPECIAL HAPPY BIRFDAY TO MY SEESTER [profile] anaidiana!!!



Anyway, it's been a busy weekend. Mandie's birfday get-together last night was nice. Good food and all. I'm grateful my sister and I are getting along much better these days. Between last night and today, I've been productive, what with laundry, lunch prep for the week, figuring things out, and so on. I think I know how to rearrange my computer area for better computer spill protection. Ultimately, it may also lead to a more spacious and comfortable work area.

Today (yesterday, actually), I put up what little of the outdoor lights we have and brought up the Christmas decorations. The outdoor lights are set up, but not plugged in. If we want to expand, that's great. But the initial bulk, such as it is, is done, and if it's dark and snowing and freezing, it's just a matter of pulling off the plastic bag and plugging in the setup. And the rest of the stuff is up, so, hopefully, with working on just a little bit here, a little bit there, I can actually enjoy the Christmas season rather than throwing everything up at the last minute, as has been the case for about the last decade. It would be nice to have the tree up and decorated for a week before Christmas and actually enjoy the lights and such.

Alas, my back is quite sore at the moment, though. Fortunately, I have a chiro appointment at the end of the week.

Got LOTS of reading done, too. I'm hoping to get my reading projects down to something a little more manageable. But I have lots of good books that have been on my shelves for a decade, plus trying to get some of the current/contemporary stuff read, plus all the stuff I've already bought for Kindle, plus holiday reading. I'm almost done Jim Butcher's Ghost Story (Dresden Files), and... It's great! I actually gave my sister the first three books of the series for her birfday and hope my anticipation of her enjoying the series, too, is on the mark. I love the pop cult references throughout, especially the Star Wars references. And the Princess Bride reference in Ghost Story was...great! I really hope Mr. Butcher plans more for this series...

I'm also reading Christopher L. Bennett's Star Trek: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within. It's an e-novella, and it came out last month, but... Some of the stuff with the Unificationists and non-violent protests on the Kinshaya homeworld... Wow! This was written, I'm fairly certain, before the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the parallels aren't perfect, but, can we say, "socially relevant?" I'm only on chapter four, but, given the clashes between police and such, and the scene I just read in the story, I can't help but wonder if police presence and indeed police brutality are intentional to rouse the protesters to where they have to choose between well-being and self-defense, or defending the elderly or handicapped who may be being beaten, in order to make the non-violent civil disobedience into violent rebellion, which then allows the State to 1) use violent and eventually deadly force against protesters and 2) discourage assembly to protest with the excuse that it turns violent and hence turning free speech into something that is a danger to public safety, allowing an argument to exist that the right of peaceable assembly is not safe for democracy. Flawed, I know, and I'm perhaps expressing this inadequately and clumsily, but, something worth thinking about. And this bit (along with wishing my sister natal day felicitations) is why this entry is in the clear and hence able to show up on Networked Blogs on Facebook.

I still need to write my essay on Paine's "Common Sense" and applying it to events going on these days as I see it. I have my notes (thank gods), and when I glance at them, I can remember rather clearly what I intend to write about.

Of course, your mileage may vary (YMMV), and that's okay. If there's anything erupting here or on FB, just...keep it civil, no personal attacks, and agree to disagree.

Back to Mandie's birfday gathering... I have to say, I have party animals here. By that, I mean that TomTom was happy to see my sister and was very present throughout the evening, even settling down next to her while she opened presents and such. He seems to really like it when she visits. Rocky, of course, gets attention from everyone and has a tendency to try to beg food from Scott. And Yoda? Before dinner, he was acting up, so, he ended up in Time Out (cage covered, TV and lights off). Note: avians tend to be quiet when in the dark, thus not giving away their position to predators. Both with the Grey we had before, Nemo, and with the one we have now, Yoda, well, we have to throw that one out the window. While eating dinner, and later, while chatting in the living room, Yoda insisted on being part of the group, even though he was in Time Out in another room, by interjecting into conversations, making noises we had referred to, laughing, and so on. Like Nemo, Yoda gives very situationally-appropriate responses.

And people wonder why I'm unsurprised at animal intelligence. Fascinated, but unsurprised.

Anyway, time for a shower and then bed. I'm hoping my computer will be done tomorrow and I can get it back here and back up and running. That is, done later today. Whatever.

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Quick post...

I like thunderstorms. I think they're beautiful. And mayhaps my fascination of them comes from Back to the Future...

However... Poor Minerva is scared of them. She's hiding under the bed in her room. Poor kid. Gods know if and how many she was caught in when she was on her own. Given her worm situation when I adopted her, Dr. Lon is pretty sure she was on her own for quite some time. As in, months.

TomTom was on his own for a few months before we adopted him or, more appropriately, before he chose us and moved in about 14 years ago. I honestly don't remember if he was ever scared of thunderstorms. I know Riffy was for awhile, given that I adopted him roughly two weeks after a "mild" hurricane came around here. Though he doesn't seem much phased by them these days. Boomer was scared of thunderstorms and, though he got better over time, when we first got him, he tried to hide under the coffee table in the rec room. He was a 70-pound Australian Cattle Dog, and the table in question only had about a foot's worth of clearance on the bottom. You can imagine the amusing aspects of him barely getting his head and front paws under the table to hide from the storm.

Yoda's firth thunderstorm resulted in his getting scared and dropping all his tail feathers. It was close to his first spring molt, so, it wasn't too bad.

Behind me are two cats on my bed. TomTom, asleep on his kooshes, without a care in the world. Rocky at the foot of my bed, snoring quietly. That's security.

And the funny that went through my mind? Thunder, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS! HO!

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