Cat Update

Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:17 pm
eilonwy2017: (Default)
As you probably know, when Tamnonlinear died ten months ago (and holy crap that STILL doesn't feel real and I think of her and miss her every damn day), I adopted two of her six cats. (Pyrite took 2 others. The last two went to a neighbor/friend of Tam's sister-in-law.)

One of the reasons I took in Mia and Jessie, specifically, was that they were the most skittish of the six and I figured they'd have the hardest time finding homes. Of Tam's household, Jessie was often the biggest cat but always the most scared. When we talked on the phone, she'd sometimes have him in her lap or nearby but if she moved wrong or another cat came too close, he'd zoom off. The times I visited, I almost never saw Mia or Jessie even though they were cats who had the run of most of the house (as opposed to some cats who had only certain rooms.)

Tam's SIL brought the cats halfway to me and I installed them in my office/library. They hid. Jessie spent all of his time hiding behind a curtain, on a tiny window ledge, and if I came too close he'd start shaking. Mia would come out to eat but spent most of her time under one spot or another. In time, I started leaving the library door open, in the hopes that they'd join the rest of my household. The other three cats (Marlowe, Callie, and Widget) were not super welcoming but there weren't huge fights either when one of those three went into the library.

Months past. Jessie stayed behind his curtain. Mia would sometimes come out of the room if it were getting late and she hadn't been fed yet. The only progress I made was that if I had tuna, Mia would take it from my fingers. (Can you blame her? Tuna, yum.)

Then Widget, the smallest cat in this household, started bullying Mia and Jessie. She'd go into their room and corner one or the other. There would be horrific howls and I was terrified that someone would hurt another, although whenever I got to the room it was to witness a standoff rather than a fight. But it got so that Widget would corner Jessie in the litterbox or eat his food.

Also, it became clear that Mia and Jessie weren't looking to join the larger household any time soon, so the library had to become more comfortable. They needed more routes to travel in there, so they could avoid Widget if necessary. (I wasn't willing to lock Widget out of that room because it would mean locking Mia and Jessie in it.) So, I thought, perhaps some upward space. I initially thought just a few shelves to get to the top of a bookcase. (It's a library so there are lots of bookcases. Most of them have books on top.) Then my parents arrived and turned the room into a paradise for Mia and Jessie.

I moved a bunch of stuff out and a futon (from my parents) in, which Mia immediately *loved*. Suddenly she was sleeping out in the open as long as no one bothered her. Then we took down Jessie's curtains (they'd gotten so gross from 10 months of him living behind one) but gave him boxes in the window to hid within. He took to them immediately, too, suddenly looking more comfortable but still safe and with a view. We moved out my printer, making the desk area entirely cat friendly. We put in a cat tree and several shelves so that cats could get not only to the top of the bookcase but then over ALL the bookcases on an 8 foot shelf along the rest long wall of the room, where cats can then hop down a few other steps and be at the litterbox (or up and going in the oppose direction.) Suddenly the room was more open and the cats had travel paths.

The difference is NIGHT AND DAY. Jessie not only allows me to pet him (without shaking) but he rubs his head into my hand, he nibbles on my fingers, licks them, and purrs. (Also, he drools, it turns out.) So far this has only happened when he's in one of his boxes, until tonight when I got a few pets in while he was out and about.

Mia took to the shelves, sleeping in the bed on top of the bookcase and running down the 8 foot shelf like it had always been there. An excellent improvement.

I started napping in the library (since there's a futon) and waking up to find that Mia was relatively nearby.

Today though? While I was lying on the futon, she joined me. She let me pet her. She then curled up at my legs. Then she came closer so that she was curled up at my side and I pet her and she purred and we stayed that way for about an HOUR. It was amazing. I mean, yes, it's a normal cat thing to do, but this is after 10 months where I could not even touch her. (The one time in November or December when I tried to move them from one room to another, they were so frightened that they lashed out and the scars on my arm haven't quite faded away.)

I want to write a thank you note to Jackson Galaxy because everything came from reading his book (and my parents watching his show.)  A local carpet/flooring shop gave me a remnant (for free!) with which we could make all the shelves safer. And my parents are my *heroes* for coming down to KY and building these things. My parents don't even like cats all that much.... 

So what about the other three cats, you might be asking? My parents built them a whole damn catio. Seriously! My house has two decks and we made the smaller one into an enclosed space for the cats to play outside! Marlowe and Callie LOVE it. As soon as I go towards that door, they're following me. Marlowe even bats at the door to tell me he wants out. I can't say their behavior generally has changed but they were already pretty well adjusted. Widget isn't sure how she feels about the catio (I brought her out once whereas Callie and Marlowe, from day one, just went on through the door. Widget spent her whole time outside staring at the door to go back in.)

I hope Tam would approve. 

eilonwy2017: (Default)
I'm fairly certain I set up a DW account a long time ago, but I cannot remember who/where and it wasn't "Eilonwy", tragically. (It had already been taken.) So here I am, part of what is probably the Final Great LJ Migration. (Thanks, Putin.)

I don't know if anyone is reading this, since I haven't checked out how the friend importing worked, and I haven't gone to find my DW friends yet, etc. But just in case, Hi!

The main reason I went ahead an imported everything and came over here, other than to save all my stuff somewhere, is to keep anyone updated who might be interested, on Mia and Jessie, the cats I adopted from TamNonLinear. (I don't know how to make links to journals from DW yet. So much to relearn. So many years at LJ.)

So a quick update before I head off to teach a class. Mia has gotten more outgoing. She yells at me if I haven't fed her recently enough. She comes out of her hiding spot frequently. I now leave the door to their room open (albeit with a baby gate) if I'm home (even at night) and she has never come out of that room (nor have the other three gone in) but she will come up to the gate at times. Most impressively, she will now take tuna from my fingers. (Well, y'know, tuna, so can you blame her?)

Pretty much no update on Jessie. He remains hidden behind a curtain at all times.

I can also say that Jaimie and Jasper are doing very well. They've integrated into their new home (although it did mean changes in the pet hierarchy/structure.) They're very loving with Pyrite (LJ name... don't know if she has a DW) and all is well there.

I suppose at some point this journal MIGHT have something other than tweets, cat updates, and commentary on how damn much I miss Tam (every damn day), but... not today. :)
eilonwy2017: (why this is hell nor am i out of it)
I got home last to PA last night after 10 hours of driving. It's the third time I've been home in two months (Thanksgiving, [ profile] tamnonlinear's memorial, now Christmas.) Before this I hadn't been home since last Christmas. (I usually come home in summer, but it was a crappy summer, I was sick with, as it turned out was probably iron deficiency, and I couldn't face the drive.)

I brought three out of five cats home. (Mia and Jessie would in no way be okay with getting put into boxes-- if I could even have done so--, driven for 10 hours, and then forced to live in two rooms with three other cats. They are being checked on daily by a good friend.) The cats, of course, hate the drive. Marlowe and Callie cry most of the way. Widget, in recent years, has become a terrible traveler. She used to be completely fine, but now she drools all over herself and usually poos a few times, too. Yesterday was the worst day of the year for Miss Widget... and it was capped off with a quick bath. Every year since she started to get some bad at traveling, I tell myself that next year I won't bring the cats. Yes, I'm away for almost 3 weeks, but they've had me away longer. This year the reason I brought them was because Marlowe goes through phases where he scratches his back to ribbons and he started doing this again while I was gone for Thanksgiving. The vet and I can't quite figure out what's going on with that. (The vet is convinced it's flea allergy, but I've never seen fleas on Marlowe, he gets flea treatments, etc.) I think it's seasonal allergies, but I can't quite figure out the pattern. The other option is stress, and with his getting the scratchies while I was gone, on top of having moved several new cats in (and out) of the house, although he never saw them, I worried what my being gone for 3 weeks without him might do. Once I decided to bring Marlowe, I had to have my Callie-cat (she's my baby girl who sleeps cuddled up with me) and my Widget (she's the adorable fluff ball of equal parts sweetness and rage.) So into the car they went.

And now that I'm sitting here in PA typing this, glad to be away from KY, from work, from being alone in isolated rural appalachia, I'm so glad to have my fuzzies with me. Widget was asking for love (always a delightful surprise, since she's the most catlike of my cats) and is now curled up on a novel beside me. Marlowe was wedged beside me for a while, purring up a storm, 'til he got bored. Callie is at my feet, curled up on a blankie, and she spent the night beside me. They are a comfort.

I feel guilty about Mia and Jessie, though.

I need this feline comfort, at the moment. On top of the other Big Bads of this year (the illness and death of Shelby-turtle, the election and its aftermath, the loss of Abby, which still hurts like a punch to the gut), my family's beloved labrador passed away Tuesday night. She was a dog with personality-- with a capital P. She was wonderful. In her later years, she was a stately matriarch, watching the world spin, but always ready for a belly scratch. She howled at the train passes our house, and taught the younger dogs to do it, too (including a doberman -- not a breed known for howling.) When she had surgery to fix her throat (so she could breathe) she could no longer howl (or bark) and she went deaf so she didn't hear the train anymore, but she still let her needs be known. Since puppyhood, she'd clap her jaws-- not bark, just a clapping sound-- and you'd known she needed something. When younger, this was accompanied by a jump, which was adorbale, although disconcerting if you weren't familiar with it. She liked ice cubes in her water, and even if there was already water in her bowl, she preferred it to be freshly poured, so there was always a pitcher of water for the dogs in the fridge. She loved walks. I took her for one on Thanksgiving, and it was very short because she limped and tired very easily, but it was a joy to see how happy the walk made her. She loved chewing on coke bottles (the 20 oz kind), but would lose interest as soon as she got the cap chewed off. She'd roll on her back for tummy scratches, but inevitably she'd start to sneeze  after a bit and you'd have to get out of the way of her flailing limbs. Every night after dinner, she'd dash into the dining room and rub her face and back on the carpet. She loved ear rubs, and would just leeeeaaaan into them in a way that you felt you were doing something good and proper. She won fans everywhere she went-- even at the acupunturist, where she'd placidly let them stick her. (The acupuncture genuinely helped her keep going and mobile the last 2 years.)

I didn't get home to say goodbye to Miss Murphy. Last week she stopped being able to keep food down. A vet diagnosed her with mega-esophagus and aspirated bronchitis and sent her home. The next day, my parents had her back at the vet and she was hospitalized. Tests were run and more were planned. By Monday, it was clear that things were bad. Tuesday night they had to let her go. I think it was one of the hardest choices my parents have ever made, because Murphy was that special of a dog. I didn't get home until last night. The house still has two large dogs, and in the past years Murphy was a quieter presence than she'd been before, but it's still a palpable, painful loss. I look at the bed she usually slept on, and it's either empty or Katie is in it, and it's just wrong.

Hug your loved ones, both human and pets, a little closer today, okay?
eilonwy2017: (Silly Gosling)
The memorial service for [ profile] tamnonlinear was last week. It was incredibly helpful, in some ways. I'm grateful her family hed one; they weren't sure at first that they would. There was a slideshow of photos of Tam, for which I'm grateful since I have only a couple of pictures of her. (Tam hated being photographed. Since I don't like to be either, it wasn't something I pushed. I have far more pictures of her cats than I do of her.) I met some of Tam's other friends and fellow volunteers, which was good. Just seeing a fraction of the lives Tam touched was helpful. She would have hated the memorial itself, I think, but I think perhaps these sorts of things are for the people left behind.

I've been thinking a lot about what there is besides the now. I know that Abby did not believe in more than this life, which makes my grief more painful, in a way. I hope that there's more beyond this. I believe that there is. I want to believe that we'll see our loved ones again, that I'll see Abby again. To know that she didn't believe that takes away some of my dealing-with-grief strategy.

(I'm having trouble with words today.)

Abby is the person who persuaded me to listen to Hamilton. I'd heard of it elsewhere and planned to get around to listening to it at some point, but Abby was the person who actively talked about it with me and persuaded me. Her glee and enjoyment of the minutae-- historical and musical and dramatic-- was addicctive. For the last year, I listened to Hamilton nearly constantly.

I've barely been able to listen to it since Abby's death. I've made six ten-hour drives in the past month. Previously, Hamilton was my go-to driving music. Now I've managed to listen to it once, over the span of two of those drives. Too much of it its too close to home. Individual lines stick out in ways that they hadn't before, and I'll think about Abby and just burst into tears. (See the subject line, for example.)

It's not just Hamilton of course. I'll look out at my garden and remember planting the spring bulbs while on the phone with Abby. I'll post something online and catch sight of the user icon for this post ("silly gosling") which Abby made for me. (I don't remember entirely why-- and that hurts. It had to do with being like a silly goose but not as bad.) The keys to her house are still on my key ring.

I'm functioning now. I'm tending to cry only once or twice a day instead of constantly. But part of me doesn't want to be happy, not really. I'll catch myself smiling and just feel awful because of it. My friend is gone, the world is worse because of this, and being happy feels like a betrayal of that and of her.

I looked up to Abby. I'm an only child, so I don't have the ingrained feeling for the word 'sister' that most people do, but I don't think I'm stretching things too much to say that I thought of her like an older sister. (I don't say that to lessen her relationship with her actual siblings.) This loss has flattened me in ways that I can't really express. I miss her so much.

I'm not making much sense.

Let me just finish by writing an update on Abby's cats. Kala and Caliel are doing well in their new home, according to Abby's SIL. Kala has become outgoing and well-adjusted. Caliel has claimed a room to himself and is relatively reclusive but seems happy.

Jaimie and Jasper were with me for about 10 days. They were a true comfort because they're lapcats and sweethearts.  They've since been delivered to their new home with [ profile] pyrite and are doing really well. They both sit in her lap (at the same time!) and have gotten a pretty clean bill of health from their first vet visit. They'll need a dental cleaning soon, and fingers crossed that there aren't any surprises there, but so far so good.

And that leaves me with Jessie and Mia. There's no real change there. They're terrified of me and everything else. But they're eating well and I can hear them out of hiding when I'm not in the room. I tried to move them to the guest room (so that they'd have more space and I'd be more comfortable when hanging out with them) but that went ... incredibly badly. I scared those cats so badly (unintentionally) that I was sobbing and felt like I'd let Abby down. (I was also crying due to the scratches in my arms...)  So the two continue to live in my home library. I'm about to leave town for a couple weeks, and I feel guilty about that. A good friend will be checking on Mia and Jessie every day, though. (I'm taking my other three cats with me.) When I get back, I'm going to make a kind of schedule, wherein I hang out with Jessie and Mia, even though they'll avoid me, for at least an hour a day. I don't know when they'll be ready to be part of the bigger household, but they'll always be safe, at least.


Dec. 6th, 2016 12:54 pm
eilonwy2017: (Callie pitcher picture)
I'm still here.

This is both a defiant proclamation (that I've come through what I assume/hope is the worst of the grief and its attendant depression) and a comment that has a bit of defeatism in it, when the 'here' in question is eastern Kentucky, unsuccessful, lonely, and still feeling helpless about both my own life and that of the world around me.

[ profile] tamnonlinear is in my thoughts all the time-- because I miss her, because I mourn her, becuase I have cat questions, and because as much as I love her, I now fear becoming her.

How selfish is that? To mix up my grief over her death with identification with her situation. I don't mean to claim her experience for my own-- there are many differences, she is a different person. But I looked up to her, I admired her, I modeled some of my experiences on hers, so there are similarities. And to say "I won't walk that path" doesn't feel strong; it feels like a betrayal of her somehow.

Her memorial is Saturday. I'm driving up Friday, since it's a 9 hour drive. In the strangest bout of synchronicity, my parents had already planned to be in the area where the memorial is being held during that weekend. So they've gotten me a hotel room for Friday night and on Saturday, after the service, I'll drive up to my parents' house, about 90 minutes away, 'til Monday (when I'll come back here to finish the exam period of the semester, then drive back up for the holidays.) My parents will be there for a concert and they are also going to Longwood Gardens. They invited me along, but I declined. I've never been, but I equate them with Abby, and when I go for the first time, I want to be able to think about her and not be inundated by the Christmas decorations that are up this time of year. (Looking at you, [ profile] sihaya09)

It's only been a month. There had been times in our friendship when we'd gone longer than that without contact, so on a logical basis it almost seems like it shouldn't matter, but of course there is nothing logical about any of this. Her loss is an enormous hole in my life. Sometimes I find myself smiling or having an okay time, and then I'll suddenly remember that Abby's gone and it feels like someone has kicked me in the stomach. (I'm writing this in my office, which is stupid because it's office hours so students might walk in and I'm sititng here weeping.) It feels like a betrayal to be happy. I don't want to be happy again, in some very real way, because that somehow means I've gotten over it.

I know that my grief and depression have upset other people. I've got my parents worried. I've heard through the grapevine that several colleagues are just avoiding me at work because they don't know what to do about my obvious sadness. (Don't get me wrong-- people at work have also been excellent and very willing to cover my classes and exams.) I work at a religiously affilated institution in the bible belt, so we start meetings with a prayer-- at Thursday's faculty meeting, I just started weeping. I don't know why but every time someone prays around me right now, I cry. I'm not very religious, so I don't know what's up with this.

I don't know that I want to be sad, but in a real way, I also don't want to be happy. Which I'm sure is a problem and I'll bring it up with my therapist... except that she already seems to not know what to do with with me and we've only had three sessions. Under different circumstances (i.e. not eastern Kentucky) I'd find a different therapist, but that's pretty much not an option here. Mental health services are few and far between...  All services are few and far between. For example, I tried to find a suicide loss support group-- nearest one is in WV, 2 hours away.

One consolation is that Abby's cats are safe. Kala and Caliel are doing very well in their new home, although their personalities have changed. Caliel has chosen a room for himself and rarely leaves it, though he is friendly when humans join him. Kala has become outgoing and attention seeking. So all is well there. Jasper and Jaimie are, until tomorrow, in my guest room. They are doing super well. They are delightful and cuddly and seem pretty happy. They're little old lady cats now, which is weird since I always think of them as youngsters, but that doesn't mean they're less mischevious, as least Jasper. I slept in their room last night and was frequently woken up by demands for attention. They're a little shyer and act a little older than Callie (who is their elder by a few months) but they're delightful. I'm really sad to give them up, but since it's to [ profile] pyrite, I know I'll get lots of updates. And anyway, 7 cats is too many, and it's been really hard splitting my attention amongst them.

(When I remember/figure out how to post pictures to LJ, I'll do so of the kitties.)

That brings me to Jessie and Mia who have been in my home office for a little over three weeks now. I always know where they are because when I come to the door, they hide in the same places they always do. Well, Mia hides. I'm not convinced Jessie ever moves from his spot by the window, hiding behind a curtain. He's skinny and I'm really worried about him. I don't know how to convince them that I will not eat them, that I love them and want them to be happy and comfortable. They were barely comfortable with Abby and only ever on their own terms, and I'm pretty much a stranger.

I've put blankets and pillows in the office so that I have some place to sit comfortably and read, since I can't actually interact with Jessie and Mia. Today they'd been pushed against the door-- so clearly at least one of the cats gets up to something when I'm not there... and potentially they're trying to barricade the door so I can't come in. (Don't they understand I bring the food?!)

So there is a lot of work to be done there... and by work I mainly mean patience and making sure I spend all the time I can with them. (But without upsetting the other three cats. Mr. Marlowe gets sulky without me. If I go away for a few days, he scratches his back raw. When I'm with Jessie and Mia or Jasper and Jaimie, he sits outside the door and cries.)

And this would be why I don't get to keep Jasper and Jaimie.

I tell myself that it will be amazing and an achievement when Jessie and Mia trust me. But I also remember Abby, who was so much better at this than I am, felt the same way about Orpheus, and he never quite got comfortable enough with her to be in her lap. These two are already 12 and their world has been upended. I want to give them everything I can to make them happy, for their own sakes and for Abby's, but there's so little I can do, in real terms...

I think this is enough for now. I have to teach soon and need to stop being all weepy before then. (It's the last day of classes. I can do this.) Tomorrow I drive to Knoxville with the Js (I will be weepy then, too.) Friday I drive to PA for the memorial. I'm going to stay at my parents' house through Sunday so I can go to a church service for people who are grieving during the holidays. I envision a lot more crying in the next few days.
eilonwy2017: (Callie pitcher picture)
(This is a hell of a way to come back to Livejournal. More about that choice some other day.)

Wednesday morning I received the kind of phone call no one wants. After a brief game of phone tag, I learned that [ profile] tamnonlinear is gone. She died by suicide sometime the night before.

There is a hole in my heart and my life that I cannot begin to fill, especially not with something as insubstatial as words. And yet, to not write something, to not try to capture at least a piece of the woman who was Abby, and pin it down to memory now, when the memories (and yes, the grief) are freshest, would be a disservice and dishonor to her memory. She was far, far more than this one act. And yet, I find myself paralyzed in finding words...

I was blessed to know a few sides of Abby, but she was a wonder of infinite facets. She touched lives wherever she went, even digitally, and the world is a darker, sadder place without her, for those who knew her in person and those who knew her by her online words.

I don't think it would surprise anyone that Abby's final online words were about her cats. She had 6 these days (Jasper, Jaime, Mia, Jessie, Caliel, and Kala). Abby had what she called a "sucker light," meaning that animals, especially cats, knew she was an easy mark. I don't know if she still did, but for many years she kept cans of cat food in her car just in case she had to rescue a feral or stray. She'd take in these abandoned animals, get them to trust again, and then find them excellent homes. The cats she were harder to place-- too shy, too feral, too unhealthy. I think she found them kindred, as she thought of herself as prickly and maybe broken.

As I write this, I'm in my home office and somewhere in here-- completely hidden at the moment-- are Mia and Jessie. They're terrified and confused and I so desperately want to help them, but I know it will take time and patience.

Time and patience are things I learned a lot about from Abby. She didn't complain when a former-feral or rescue cat didn't give her love or trust her, or, in the case of some of a few notable cats, howled in the basement for a few months or lived inside the springs of a recliner for a while. She loved them just the same and they learned that and they responded to that and they loved her back. She once built a wee palace for a cat she named Portia who was too timid to come inside but wanted to watch everything within Abby's home (especially her other cats.) The house Abby built had a window against the window to Abby's kitchen, so that Portia could see, and it had a heated bed and shingles on the roof to keep it dry. Eventually Portia trusted Abby enough to accept pets and love and companionship.

It wasn't just cats, though, for which Abby had seemingly infinite patience and attention for the minutest of details. She had a patch of woods near her house where she'd frequently spend time. It became the final resting place of the cats who passed away. She knew every inch of it. She spent one summer and fall watching the decay of a deer, and years watching the surprisng growth of a sycamore tree that had been damaged when it was young. Closer to home, she cultivated a wild backyard, happy to let things grow and flourish where they were planted, usually through happenstance and nature. She'd ruthlessly take out invasive species and nurture what nature otherwise brought her. (Which was sometimes possums.)

She was unsentimental. She didn't keep things, especially compared to my own packrat existence. She claimed that she hated people, but she belied that statement every single day. She would go without food to donate to an internet friend's fund. When I went through tough times, she gave me a key to her house so that I could come over, any time, and crash (I was driving from one state to another to do so) no matter what. Last year, when she changed the locks on her house, she mailed me a key so that I wasn't locked out.

Over the years her interests shifted, as they do for all of us. I remember her doing Scottish dancing. She took me with her once and I was as terrible and it was fun. She frequently went to Chanty Sings and renaiszsance faires. In the last few years, her attention turned to clinic escorting, with the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force. She was, from my understanding, very good at it, and very good at being non-confrontational with protestors, even when I think she would have, in many ways, preferred to gve them a dose of logic.

She was always up for some adveture, though like me maybe not always too much adventure. I remember one time we had planend to meet up with some of her friends in DC, but it was rainy and trafficy and we didn't have an exact address and she gave up and we went back to her place instead. On another adeventure, though, when I was researching my disseration, she happily came with me-- drove, in fact-- to see two outdoor Shakespearean productions. I had planned to see the first one twice, a park production of As You Like It, I think, but we agreed it wasn't very good. So Abby hopped online and the next night found us driving around farmland and unknown roads to find a production of Titus Andronicus done with a set made of an antique farmtruck with stuff glued to it, a bunch of hay bales, and imagination. We sat on a blanket from her car and ate oreos and it was one of the most fun evenings of theatre I've ever experienced, made better by the company.

Abby was brilliant and widely read. At the foot of her bed there was a trunk and it always held stacks of what she was reading or would be next. Retellings of "Tam Lin", of course, some of which, by the way, she hated, were always around so that she could include them on, but there were also books on science and language and various novels.

I know those books were there because when I would visit, she would give mer her room and she'd retreat to sleep in her office on a smaller bed. I'd have been perfectly happy sleeping in the office, but Abby gave comfort to friends. Her room was painted beautifully in blue and had a bed whose headboard was decorated in a magpie collection of shiny objects-- one of the few places you'd find baubles in Abby's house. Often, the sheets were leopard print; one of those weird quirks about Abby that always seemed just a bit out of place was her fondness for leopard print.

She did not, however, like pictures. Art in her house did not have faces. She would not let herself be photographed except under extreme duress. I have no photographs of her. When I try to picture her in my mind, I see her wild red curls, her big glasses, and an expression that was somehow both puzzled by the whole world and patiently waiting for it to catch up and catch on. She also looked good in hats; she claimed it was one of her talents, but that it wasn't a particularly useful one.

One of her talents that many people enjoyed, though, was her ability to bake brownies. These weren't from a mix or a powder-- they were alchemical magic, different every time, requiring days of work and created anew each time she made them. When I raised money to TNR a colony of feral cats, she donated batches for a raffle, and they raised a lot of money and made their recipients very happy.

She made other things the way she made brownies, too-- she decided she didn't want carpets, so she pulled them up. She decided she couldn't find the winter coat she really wanted, so she went forward and made one. She had no training in either of these activities, she just moved forward and did them and eventually it worked.

The last time I saw Abby in person was a few years back while I was still living in AZ. A friend and I had found two cats, one of which had been attacked and needed surgery to remove an eye. The friend and I got the cats healthy, but couldn't find homes for them, especially together. So, when I flew home to PA for a holiday, Abby bought me a second ticket (since you cannot fly with more than one animal) and paid for the cats' airfare, then drove to PA from MD to get the cats and then drove them down to someone in the Carolinas who she trusted to adopt them. (The last I heard, from Abby, about these two, included pictures of them being incredibly well loved and happy.)

The last time Abby and I texted was a little more than a week before her death. I had texted to tell her that my turtle, Shelby, had passed away, since she'd known he'd been sick a long time. She of course expressed her sorrow. I said that on the bright side, since Shelby had liked people so much, he had seemed pretty pleased by having to go to the vet every three days for shots, because he had a fan club. The last text she sent me, since it was late and we ended the conversation there, was that that's not the worst thing to say about about a life. He had a thing he liked to do and he did it.

Abby, I think you had a lot of things you liked and I hope you got to do them. I'm so very, very sorry that none of us saw how much you were hurting, that we weren't more intrusive and insistent on helping. I think you knew that so many of us love you, and I wish you had made a different choice, and had held on longer, but I have also walked those dark paths with the depression demons, and I can understand their seductive, insidious voices.

I don't know how to live up to her legacy of compassion and kindness. I still have the key tso her house, now just talismans to a memory of a loved one lost. I have three cats from her-- Callie, who I adopted from her the first time I met her and who is my baby girl, and Mia and Jessie who ... I've been writring for almost an hour now and I still haven't seen them, but they're in here somewhere... I have little reminders, ways that our friendship has changed me, such as how I shout "Monster!" every time I pull out the vacuum cleaner in order to warn the cats what's coming. I have deep, deep regrets and I have memories.

And I know she'd want us to be kind to ourselves. It's how she finished almsot every converasation with me, exorting me to be kind to myself, something that I know doesn't come easily to a lot of us depression sufferers. I wish, oh I wish... But in the moment I assume that the end felt like a kindness. I wish she'd not been alone. I wish she'd not been in such pain. I wish... I wish...

Be kind to yourselves.
eilonwy2017: (Fin!)
'Tis the season of playoff hockey. Sadly, my beloved Arizona Coyotes had a truly magnificently terrible year, placing second worst in the entire league (just above the Buffalo Sabres) so I do not get the joy that is following my own team through the post season.

Fortunately, the Canucks and the Predators, two out of my four favorite teams, did make it at least into the first round.

And doesn't Marlowe look delighted by that fact? (I also had him wearing a Canucks bandana on Wednesday. He didn't care about that. Mostly he looks grumpy here because a) he has a slightly grumpy resting face and b) if I have my phone in his face, he's not getting pets. He actually spent almost all of yesterday asleep on that chair with those two plushies.)

Yes, Swoops the bat still exists and yes, he still has a Predators jersey (although he's wearing it over his Coyotes jersey, which is hand embroidered. He's actually been photographed with 5 Coyotes players-- well, 2 are former now-- because he's that awesome. Actually, mostly because I'm a big enough dork that when I still lived in phoenix and could get to practices, I sometimes asked-- got Flurry to ask-- players to post with him and they were all nice enough to say yes.)

I digress. Actually, I don't have much to say except that it's playoff time and I'm rooting Canucks. Go Canucks, go! I found a way to get all the playoff games streamed through my roku (huzzah!) which is Most Excellent as I do not have cable and while I do have Game Center, they do not play nationally televised games, and all playoff games are  (more or less) nationally televised.

I have to admit, though, it's actually been hard to watch hockey this season. Not (just) because the Coyotes were so mind-bogglingly bad, but because I so desperately miss playing and that's just not an option here unless I want to drive two hours each way to get to a rink. Which would be fine once in a while, but the only way to be halfway decent, and the only way for me to enjoy myself on the ice, is to do it regularly which ... I just can't see myself doing. Four hours drive in a day to play maybe 60 minutes of hockey? With strangers?!?!?!?!

Other than my friends/family, hockey is absolutely 100% the thing I miss most, living out here in the rural wilds. But perhaps that's another post-- the adventures I've had this year in homeowning in rural Appalachia...
eilonwy2017: (Mouse)
I had been looking forward to this weekend for weeks. I had zero plans outside the house and inside the house the plans were to prep for next week's classes, clean, and WATCH ALL THE TV. (By TV I mean streaming and DVDs.)

Last night's setback was minor-- I wanted to watch Bon Cop Bad Cop but apparently that is not streaming anywhere. So I caught up on Criminal Minds and watched another three episodes of La Femme Nikita. So that was fine. I also read a bit and got a good night's sleep.

Late morning today, I got up and went on morning autopilot. This includes feeding the cats their gooshy food, making tea, and making breakfast for me. Breakfast always includes tea. Mmmm, tea.

Lately, I've been making tea in an electric kettle-- for this past week only, in fact. Way too many times I've gone to campus and had to turn around partway there because I was afraid I'd left my stove on (from using an ordinary kettle on said stove.) Last week it was so bad that I skipped office hours to drive home from campus after worrying for hours that I'd managed to burn my house down. (Spoiler: I had not.)

[ profile] pyrite surprised me with a solution-- an electric kettle that turns itself off once the water is hot and which, best of all, glows blue while the water is heating. Blue!!

Do you see where this is going? Sigh.

In my autopilot, I filled up the new electric tea kettle with water from faucet and then... instead of putting it on its electric pad to heat, I put it on a burner on the stovetop. A burner on "high" because that's where my ordinary kettle goes.... I just wasn't paying attention.

A few minutes later, my house was filled with smoke and plastic had melted onto my stovetop and off the bottom of my electric tea kettle.

I turned off the burner and turned on a fan and then just sort of stared at the bubbling mess for a minute, completely at a loss as to how to even begin to fix this situation. My best guess was a metal scraper of some kind (I initially thought a spatula) but I feared that would ruin the stovetop. I mostly held it together, and I called my parents. Because yes, I'm 36, but I still call my parents in situations like this.

They very kindly did not laugh at me (much) and they did not yell at me (I'm 36 but I still fear disappointing my parents) and they thought through the situation (and asked for pictures, heh) and agreed that a scraper (like for spackle) would be the way to start. They also suggested putting the heat on low while doing this. And they said it wasn't worth being upset about (I was mostly upset over the fear that I'd need a new stove because holy crap I don't have that kind of money) and that it would make a funny story some day. (Since I'm sharing it here, you can see I've already gotten to the mostly-funny stage.)

Fortunately, the majority of the plastic came up in one piece, making the situation almost immediately much better. (I didn't even need to turn the heat on for most of the scraping situation.) I seemed to have caught the plastic at just the right moment between completely liquid melted goop and brittle, easily breakability (which it became once it was in the garbage and cooler, I saw.)

Some more scraping, and then some scrubbing with stovetop cleaner and the windows open for a loooooooong time and things are more or less back to normal in my kitchen. I feel awful for ruining [ profile] pyrite's present, but no one was hurt, nothing exploded, and my house no longer smells like burnt plastic.

I guess I put this on the list of Kitchen Stupidities by Eilonwy, along with setting my wok on fire (about 8 years ago.) My parents still tell a story about making rum cake and not knowing they were supposed to use 151 in the recipe and blowing the oven door open/partly off, so I guess everyone makes the occasional stupidity....

I'll leave you with this picture of Marlowe, a kitty I adopted this past fall. This is from a few weeks ago, but an accurate picture of him wanting me to pay attention to him, rather than to lesson planning. :)
eilonwy2017: (Yarn!chester Sam and Callie)
Mind you, I'm guessing here, since I don't actually speak fluent cat, no matter how much of a crazy cat lady you all think I am. But as I was cleaning just now I discovered that someone had been up on the highest shelf of Yarn!chesters.

(I keep meaning to take a picture of the most recent Yarn!chester display. The lowest level is atop my DVD racks and it's Sam, Bobby, Dean and Cas. Then there's the top of the stereo cabinet, beside the DVD rack, and that's Pamela, Ellen, Jo, Ash, Chuck and Becky, as well as most of the props, including some of the 'set pieces' from my Two of Pentacles card that you haven't seen yet because I haven't yet gotten it back from the mods. Then Mary, John, Meg, the YED, Lilith and Henricksen are on the very tallest shelf along with the original Sam and Dean. At one point I'd planned on having a kind dead vs. alive thing going on, but people die a *lot* on SPN, and also sometimes they aren't dead and sometimes they are, and yeah... So now it's the four I need most often for taking to Flurry's within easy reach, people who were at the Roadhouse or might have enjoyed it, and then everyone else. Got that?)

ANYWAY. As I was cleaning I discovered that someone (read: Callie) had toppled the YED over, although he was still on his shelf, simply clinging to the legs of a wooden giraffe to keep from tumbling to the ground. And Henricksen was not only no the floor but partially undressed!! Somehow he'd lost half his FBI jacket, although he was still firmly in his FBI bullet-proof vest.

So my reading of the situation? One of my fuzzies (and not Jack because there's no way he could get his chubby 18pound self atop the stereo cabinet, let alone the top shelf, let alone without destroying all the things) thinks that while it was good that there were references to the YED, more would have been better, and also, dammit, bring back Henricksen somehow.

At least, that's how I read the yarn-feline-situation. :D
eilonwy2017: (Jack sleeps)
Let's see... where was I? (I've bolded key phrases in case you want to skim. I know I'm too verbose.)

Oh yes, Thursday's Glasses Debacle, for starters. Remember how surprised I was at how quickly my glasses arrived? Well I did, indeed, rush over ot Mesa to pick up my glasses. Unfortunately, the helpful lady wasn't there, but I didn't really expect her to be (she had said she tends to work at a different branch.) So a guy who looks a bit like the son from Married with Children sits me down at the front desk. Directly in front of me there is a large sign assuring customers that every pair of glasses goes through 14 different quality checks. The sales-guy pulls out my glasses and tries them on me. As expected, they look crooked (because I have a crooked face. Bleh.) So he adjusts them and adjusts them some more. Then he adjusts them so that they're sooper tight and I'm trying to decide if I want him to unadjust them somewhat, as he's working on adjust my sunglasses, when I realize that the smudge on the left lens really isn't coming off. Sales-guy hands me a bottle of cleaner to use, which is nice, but hey, lookit that, it's not a smudge at all. No indeed, my glasses, despite the 14 quality checks, has a spider-web of lines through the left lens. Clearly this is a problem with the coating on them, and just as clearly this is going to require a new lens.

Le sigh. Still, several good things happened. First, there's enough time to get new ones because I went right when I got the phone call. (My glasses should be done aaaany day now, 'cause they were put at the top of the list, since they were flawed, and are being overnighted to the store.) Second, I really like the frames, even though they're rather plain. They've very similar in shape to the ones I have, but are slightly wider. This does mean a bit more curve to the lenses, which is a shame, but it's more flattering to my face. Also, my sunglasses are fine-- except for a strange tendency for shiny things to look a bit odd when the sun hits them. Car windshields (not from the inside of the car, thankfully) look as if I were looking at them through red/blue 3-d lenses. OH! And when I wear them, the driver's side window of my car, from the inside, has polka dots. It's *very* weird.

In other news, I have continued my almost-daily workouts. I only managed a half hour on Friday and Saturday, because I had scheduled stuff, but I did an hour today. It seems weird to me that if I do an hour on the elliptical or the cycle or the treadmill, that's 3 Weight Watchers Activity Points. But if I do a half hour on the elliptical AND a half hour on something else, that's 4 points (2 points each.) ... Sure.

Today I did the first 30minutes on the treadmill at a 4% incline and I tried to do a minute of jogging (at 5.0) every 3minutes (so 2 minutes walking, 1 minute jogging.) After I got a side sticker (and a flashback to being an unathletic child, thankyouverymuch), I toned it down to every 4minutes (3minutes walking, 1 minute jogging.) This worked only for another two cycles before I felt lightheaded and like I was going to vomit. It takes a lot of effort to jog this one-hundred-and-too-much pound frame, I guess. :( So I did the last 15 minutes at a 5% incline, walking at 4.0 (instead of the 3.7 I was doing earlier.) So, yeah, that kinda sucked.

The 30minutes on the elliptical, while a bit tough since I was already tired, did feel rather easy by comparison. I was using the elliptical with hand thingies, so could only adjust difficulty, not the, um, other, adjusty thingie... The "weight loss" program is 4minutes of level 8 and 4minutes of level 1. I bumped it up to level 2 instead.

So hey. Tomorrow I'll weigh myself. However, despite working out more this week than ever before in my life (and just as importantly, more regularly), I'm not sure if I'll have lost weight this week. I was dipping into my weekly points more this week than usual, and then on Thursday, Flurije gave me a piece of carrot cake. And while the points I assigned to it were based on guesswork, it was not a good idea. Despite pizza on Friday, food at Flurry's yesterday, and a cast party today, though, I think I behaved relatively well-ish the rest of the week. So we'll see.

This new exercise regime is now approximately 6weeks old. I don't feel different at all, other than guilty when I don't work out. And I do NOT have any extra energy. In fact, even though it's only 9:30, I fully intend t go to bed after I finish this (long) LJ entry and figure out what I'm teaching tomorrow. And that's after not getting up 'til 11 this morning. Pathetic.

Someday, a CPAP machine... maybe... (Speaking of which, did I mention that insurance turned me down again? I'm going to the doctor again on Tuesday to see if we can do something else about it. Not holding my breath, though.)

Oh yes, I mentioned that today I was at the cast party for the Second Shepherd's Play. The best part, frankly, was that I picked up A., who was the Angel in the play, and that meant I got to meet her cat, Ronan. I don't really approve, frankly, of going to breeders, especially backyard breeders, to get a pet, but Ronan, who is an American Shorthair, is really freakin' cute and sweet.

The "party" was at the annoying professor's house, and some of it was really awkward. Fortunately, they have a beagle named Rabbi Otto, and that helped immensely. (Pets are good for many things. Like distraction at awkward events.)

The topic of conversation came back to the Icelandic Volcano several times because the Other (not-annoying) Professor was supposed to travel to England on Tuesday, and because, of course, I'm supposed to go to England in less than 2 weeks. Eep. I'm quite nervous about the situation, frankly. I really wanna gooooo. I think we should all leave offerings to the god Vulcan so that the volcano quietens, at least 'til June.

In other news, my house is a DISASTER. I have MANY papers to grade. My vacuum is still broken. And I have so much I WANT to do (put the last touch on the newest ami, do my wee mini-project, photograph my spn_tarot card, etc.) but no time. :P And I got accidentally a little bit spoiled for the season finale of SPN, which is a bit annoying. I'm not a spoilerphobe, but for the second half of this season I haven't been actively seeking spoilers out, either, and have been enjoying show more because of it. (Someday I'll write about my opinion on spoilers, and on why I think season 5 has been better without spoilers, but not tonight.) No comment on said spoiler (for the sake of spoilerphobes, but I'm cranky about having been spoiled.
eilonwy2017: (Hotch: glee)
Weirdly, I do still read my LJ friends page every day, but I don't seem to have as much to say as I used to...

NOTE: I added the headers after the fact (having just written things as they came to me) so if they're a bit awkward, apologies.)

Working Out
I've been working out again. (I mentioned this earlier, but I've been keeping at it.) I used the elliptical Sunday and Monday, went walking on Tuesday and used the elliptical again on Wednesday. Thursday I took a day off 'cause Wednesday night my left leg started aching from the knee down. I decided it seems to be because I walk oddly, with a twist to my ankle, so a rest was in order. (Also, I had terrible cramps on Thursday.) Today (Friday) I went hiking at the Lost Dutchman National Park with Flurry. It was only a 2.4mile hike (and we took 2hours to do it) but none of it was level, and some of it was even scrambling over rocks. There'll be pictures posted eventually-- it was pretty day.

Tomorrow probably no work out because I'm going to the Ren Faire with Flurry and a few other TAs/grad students, and that will be lots of walking, too.

I'm way behind on my grading. There are 36 Shakespeare papers waiting for my attention... but I don't think the prof wants us to hand them back 'til Friday anyway, so ... heh.

TV: MI-5/Spooks
Flurry and I have been watching the first season of Fame (yes, the early '80s tv show) on Netflix instant. It holds up remarkably well for being nigh on 30 years old. And has a more diverse cast than most shows on tv now. But the song gets stuck in your head.

I've just finished watching MI-5 (ie: Spooks) series 7. I am desperate (DESPERATE) now for series 8. It's one thing to wait for something that no one can see (like series 9, airing in the UK in October), but it's another thing to know that it's available via the UK iTunes (having been on UK tv) but not available to us poor Americans. (That said, I know that it's often the other way 'round with tv, so I shouldn't complain. But I'm going to. Complain, complain, complain.) Any UK peeps wanna hook a fan-girl up?

May's Travel
Speaking of the UK, planning for my trip continues, albeit slowly. I'm in that "how much luggage?" process. Everything, of course, says to pack as light as possible ("You can never have too much money or too little luggage.") And fair enough-- but I am going to be gone for a month. And while there will be laundry facilities, I think I'd have trouble trying to pack in just a carry-on, despite all the recommendations that I do so. My current plan is one checked piece of luggage (with room in it for souvenirs, although I'm already going into serious debt just for the trip itself, so plan on doing my best to rein in any extra spending) and my backpack as my carry-on, complete with my not-yet-purchased mini computer. Clothing will consist of lots of black for mix-and-match purposes, and layers. A pair of jeans, a pair of nice trousers, a plain skirt or two (I am, after all, going to London for the theatre.) I need to buy new Mary Jane style Sketchers since I wear them with jeans and skirts and they're comfortable for walking around in. My current pair, however, has been worn out with wearing (there are holes in the sides...) I haven't decided on sneakers yet, as I don't wear them normally (only for working out) so I always feel like I'm sticking out (even more than Americans have to) as a tourist in them, and such. We'll see... I haven't decided on a coat yet either. The information I got from the group I'm going with said not to bring one (just to wear layers) but I'm usually cold. And I'll be in the German Alps at the end of the trip....

Any advice from travelers? :)

Reading: Kate Griffin (and refs to Neil Gaiman)
I've finally begun reading A Madness of Angels (by Kate Griffin, whose real name is apparently Catherine Webb.) I had picked up an ARC at Bookman's back before comps. [ profile] maiafire mentioned the series (apparently there's at least a second one) last week, so I finally picked it up. My fiction reading of late has been total candy (and by this I mean trashy romance novels set in the regency), so it took a wee bit to get into the right mindset for the book, but I'm now loving it. I'm about a 1/3 of the way through and I really wish that I had more spring break so I could just spend the time reading this book (and not grading, or researching or whatevs.) The only downsides are that 1. As I say, it's an ARC so there are typos and grammar issues (which I really hope didn't make it into the real printing) that drop me out of the story at times and 2. it's clearly written by someone who knows London intimately. I ... don't. I'm fine with, say, 85-90% of Britishisms and references, but when you start getting into specifics about geography of the city, I know I'm missing references. (There was an acronym-- forgetting it now-- that I just had no clue about and had to let sail past me, even though it seemed at least tangentially relevant to the plot.)

Maiafire had quoted a blurb about the series calling it "Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for the digital age" and it's quite right. (And I love Neverwhere.) But one of the things that that comparison made me realize was that for all its creativity, Neverwhere was really quite straight forward. It helped that the main character (Richard Richard Mayhew Dick) was the outsider and point of view character for the audience. While Matthew Swift (the main character for Griffin's series) has been out of the, er, loop for a few years, and while he is trying to figure things out, he's deep in the events, and himself is a mystery (unlike Richard Mayhew) and so the reader isn't led by the hand. This isn't a bad thing either way, really. It's just an observation. I do feel a bit disloyal to Neverwhere , though, for having made the comparison.

(Then again, I've bene feeling grouchy at Neil Gaiman ever since he announced his engagement to Amanda Palmer, and grouchier still when she announced Evelyn, Evelyn and complained about being attacked by disabled feminists. So, whatever.)

The Play
We are now two weeks out from the performance of The Second Shepherd's Play and it is, as expected, a complete disaster. Wheee. We had rehearsal yesterday but since we have no director and the person in charge (ish) (ie: his vanity project) can't be bothered to actually plan for rehearsal space (arg!), this necessitated wandering about campus for a while as I carried two bags full of props and my spinning wheel. I am now bruised from the latter-- it's not heavy but it is bulky and awkward. Also, I tried to make constructive comments after our customary runthrough (being the only person in the room with, oh, I dunno, directing experience) and was, as per usual, pretty much ignored by Mr Vanity Project. Rehearsal again on Sunday. Yay.

Mainly it makes me want to direct again.

Cooking, badly
In a bid to get healthier, (read: weigh less) I've been trying to cook. I have been, however, repeatedly reminded that I am, in fact, a terrible cook. :P

Updated Project-Cat a few days ago with a sad post. :( Today, however, when I left to go to Flurry's house (to go hiking) I had seven healthy looking cats sitting around the food dish and that made me happy.

Aaaand that's that. :) I'll probably upload pictures of hiking and tomorrow's ren fair on Sunday or Tuesday... I'll post about it here, in case anyone's curious. :)

(Icon is Hotch from Criminal Minds because it's the closest I have to Lucas from MI-5. I should fix this.)
eilonwy2017: (Cranky Kitty)
I'm thinking about moving. Frankly, I had planned on staying in this flat from day one (2006) 'til I finished my PhD and moved away to teach in some non-Arizona place. But ever since the new owners and their new management company started putting pressure on "improving" this place, it's become annoying to live here.

(Not, of course, that I didn't have complaints before, but they were always singular. Such as the Great Bathroom Disaster of last year, or Air Conditioning Catastrophe of 2007.)

It's every week, it seems, that we get a notice on our doors saying, "we're going to be coming in." Last time of course it was the two weeks of hot water heater installation. This time it's to clean the air conditioning coils. Not a bad thing, inherently. "Preventative maintenance" and all that-- but they're going to come sometime in the next five days. Really? You can't be any more useful than that? Man, they make cable installation look timely!!

I know that I rent this space from someone else-- I am not the owner. But it is my home. And I do pay rent to make this my space as long as I'm renting it. But that's not how I'm being treated, y'know?

I double checked in the office if the only place the workers have to get to is the vent in the hallway (as per the information on our doors), and they said yes, but I don't trust them because the hot water heater people were fucking everywhere. (Um, please read "fucking" in the previous sentence as an adjective and not as a verb, 'cause, ew.)

I'm home all of today (still sick. Oh okay, I could teach, but I pushed myself yesterday at rehearsal and it was a mistake) and at least most of tomorrow, so I'm hoping they come then. I doubt it, though. If they don't come when I'm here I'll move the cats into the bedroom and hope that the office people are right this time.

I'm getting really scared about May. I'll be gone for a month, and I have arranged a small army of friends to come take care of my cats each day, but now I'm worried that maintenance will need to come in and will let the cats out. But I can't afford to board my cats for a month and that would be unfair to the cats (tiny wee room vs. apartment.)

Then there's the issue of the colony cats. I was brushed off today when I asked if they'd heard anything. (Mind you, the person I spoke with in the office today brushed off everything I inquired about. I honestly felt like I was rude for taking so much of her time so that I could pay my !#@$#@ rent and such. ARG.) At this point I don't mind the status quo too much, but...

See, then there's Mad Mabel. She showed up on my doorstep yesterday and asked me to come speak with her. O-kay. She regaled me with tales of how awful the plumbers were when they were here two weeks ago and how this is harassment, etc. Mind you, I still think she's insane, but she's not entirely wrong. She thinks they're trying to force her out of her apartment. Here's the thing-- what she thinks is harassment is simply unmindfulness and the same thing that's going on to all of us. BUT they are hoping she'll leave-- I've heard office people say so.

She wants me to join her in a legal action. Um. Yeah, no. 'Cause I 100% agree that what they're doing is rude and disrespectful to their renters, but they've done nothing illegal. (Our leases say they can come in with 48hours notice. They give notice. They're just jackasses about it.)

So anyway, she has decided she will no longer feed or water the cats. AND she wants me to not feed/water them in the place we've always fed/watered them (which is by her front door.) She wants me to feed them on the 3rd floor. Which, okay, on one level, hey, easier for me. But it's unfair to the cats. Up on the third floor, they don't have as many options to flee (and they're feral, they flee humans.) AND having them up there is going to make people in this building see them as a bigger problem because they'll be contained in a smaller area (not literally contained, but you know) when feeding, etc. But I don't really see an alternative at the moment, so I moved the water dish upstairs, and fed the kitties up here this morning.

I think I'll have to find some other places to put little piles of dry food out, too, though. In the bushes, etc.

Of course, if (and eventually, regardless, when) I move, what happens to the cats? ARG.

Mind you, I despise moving. I know not many people enjoy it, but I really loathe it. I'm a home-body. I like to stay home. I like to have a home. I like my books and my stuff and ... yeah.

It wouldn't be a bad thing to start getting rid of stuff now, of course. (Well, not this particular instant, but you know what I mean.)

And moving is expensive-- paying people or at least renting a truck. (And if it's just me, and it's August, I'll have to pay someone.)

And the management company that runs this place runs a lot of places, so I'd have to look particularly for some place not them.

Oh boy, a project for June and July.

But maybe things'll get better...
eilonwy2017: (Forget Me Not)
Sick-- as in, I am sick. It's allergies/sinus, so no big deal, in the grand scheme of things, but it's making me miserable. Thus far I've medicated with OTC stuff, but if I don't feel better by the time I get through class tomorrow, I'm hitting up the health center. I doubt they can do much-- they may well not even give me antibiotics-- but I could probably get them to prescribe me some Allegra, which works much better for me than Claritin. I currently have a voice, but it hurts to use it. And I have a headache, sinus pressure, drainage, a cough, and all that good stuff.

But what really sucks about it is the canceled plans. [ profile] doctor12am was supposed to be visiting me. :( But I made him postpone 'cause I'm too sick to clean, and will likely be too sick to be any fun over the weekend. :( (Case in point, it is 4pm on Thursday. Thus far I have gotten up, had breakfast, fed the cats, took my meds, read some of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and slept. I am now having lunch.)

Ecobooks -- in news that will surprise absolutely no one, EcoBooks, the store at which I was very briefly employed, has closed. Upon driving home from a student dinner last night (celebrating my comps victory, no less), I passed the shop and thought it looked quite odd. So I pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall, and drove more slowly, and closely, past it. The signs all over the doors said, "Everything must go" (and, more oddly, "peace please.") The innards, however, were completely empty (yet oddly with the lights on)-- no bookshelves, no books, no couches, no tables/knickknacks, etc. Only the bright green giant counter that Savas had built (with his own two hands!) remained. As I say, no surprise (although I thought it might hang on a few more months) although annoyed 'cause I had $100 worth of credit there. :P

Project-Cat-- No major news over in Project-Cat, but I have been posting regularly and you should check it out. Cute pictures of kitties, various happenings around the colony, that sort of thing. (The big news, I guess, is that Mad Mabel seems to have stopped caring for the cats. As near as I can tell, she's been caring for them for a decade, and now? Not so much. This means more work and more expense for me. Le sigh.)
eilonwy2017: (Jack in the Box)
Rambling about Lampshades, actually )

In other apartment news, the water heater fixing is now going to take (for the whole complex) 'til Wednesday of this week. When I came home this past Wednesday, there was a new water heater just sitting on my porch. On Thursday I tried to take a nap, but had a hard time, knowing that plumbers might come at any minute to work on the water heater. At one point I heard a WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP of someone bringing something very heavy up the stairs to the third floor. I willed the person to go to a different apartment, but alas, there was a LOT of knocking on my door, despite my yelling, "JUST A MINUTE" as I fumbled for my glasses. I opened it to find a guy with ...

a new water heater. One that looked just like the one on my porch.

"Yes?" I asked

"I have to put this on your terrace." The man had an accent, Greek perhaps?

I looked at the water heater on this clearly exhausted man's dolly, then back to the one prominently displayed on my "terrace." "Umm, there's already a new water heater on my terrace."

He looked at me, he looked at the water heater he'd lugged up many flights of stairs. "There is clearly a mistake." He looked so forlorn, poor guy.

I said goodbye and that was that, other than the WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP of his taking the water heater back down the stairs.

I ran into the plumber guys on Friday as I was coming home and cheerfully asked them how it was going and how far they'd gotten (meaning, how far in this building, and had they gotten to my flat yet.) The first guy i asked didn't speak English, but he must have thought I cared deeply about my question because he went and got someone else. This person thought I was angry, and was cranky right back at me, saying how they had to put in the washer/dryer hookups and the water heater so how could they be done?! I just looked at him all, "O-kay, I was just wondering... dood."

But with this attitude, I figured they hadn't gotten to my flat at all. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that now accompanying my new water heater in the middle of my deck ("terrace") there was two large pieces of wallboard and all the stuff that had once been inside the closet on the porch. All of it destined to be sitting there 'til Monday. Lovely. Frankly, at the time I was angry. I'm just hoping they really will be done on Monday so that I can stop having to lock my cats in the bathroom. Grr.

The only good thing about the apartment complex at the moment is the new fitness room. The one woman who works at the office is sooper nice to me, even though I'm always making trouble, and when I stopped by on Friday to ask if the plumbers were going to be working over the weekend (and so glad that they were not), she showed me the new fitness room, even though it's not officially open 'til Thursday.

It's gorgeous. All new equipment! Four treadmills! Two ellipticals, one with the swingy arm things! A stationary bike (or two?) And ALL of those have their own cable televisions and ipod jacks! (There's also a flat screen tv near the weight lifting equipment.) Dood, the last fitness room? It had 3 treadmills, one of which worked, and a dying elliptical. They were always promising they'd get a radio in there, but never did (not that it mattered, since I used my iPod, but still.) So, I am pleased. I was worried, though, that we'd only be able to use it while the office was open, but no, for a $25 deposit you can get a swipe card that lets you in any time between 6am and 10pm. So I am pleased. (And with it right next to the office, separated only by a glass door, it seems to me that if a piece of equipment stops working, it'll get attention far faster than the old room.)

Oh. While at Target today I bought an inexpensive oven thermometer so I can finally satisfy myself that the oven doesn't (or does) work, and get that fixed soonish too. Whee.

Hopefully once the water heater business is finished, and (if) the feral cat situation is cleared up in a satisfactory manner (meaning the cats aren't removed, and I'm allowed to continue taking care of them, along with Mad Mabel), I'll go back to enjoying living here-- or, really, more the neutral stance I've always had about the place.
eilonwy2017: (Kittens looking!)
The following is what I posted on Project-Cat last night:

As I left my flat tonight to join a friend (Beatrice's mom, in fact) I found a note on my door. It wasn't unexpected as I had spoken with management and the office staff told me there'd be notes upon everyone's doors announcing the new fitness center.

But there was another message included with the fitness announcement. I'll quote in its entirety:

"Finally, please refrain from feeding any stray cats that are on the property. We are working to reduce the stray cat population and would appreciate your assistance with the issue."

First, I had permission to take care of this colony-- permission from the management company, not just from the apartment complex. But the complex has been sinking a lot of money into upgrades lately...

Second, "working to reduce the stray cat population" does not sound good. The only way to effectively reduce the population, as you, dear readers, know, is TNR, and that takes time, and does not require not feeding, and has already been done, as you know. In fact, in the two years since the TNR project, the population has remained steady and stable. No, in this context, "working tor reduce the population" has got to mean something much less ethical-- trap and kill.

I will be asking for specifics on Monday-- the office is closed on weekends, of course. However, if I'm not just borrowing trouble, but am, in fact, correct with my above assessment, I will need your help.

Thus far, I have kept the apartment complex's name out of this blog, out of my commentary on the situation. However, if they are planning on killing these cats, I will be asking for your help in a letter/email/phone call campaign. A few minutes of your time to deluge first the apartment complex and then the management company in voicing displeasure would be helpful.

So watch this space on Monday afternoon/evening (I'm in AZ, so a few hours behind East Coast time), and get ready to mobilize the troops to save these kitties again.

So now it's 8am Saturday and I've had a bit of time to think. Everything above is still true, which is why I'm not putting these thoughts on P-C, and I'm still going to go to the office and get things clarified on Monday, and try to garner support of if things are Worst Case. But things may not be as dire as I originally assumed. First, there's the fact that I just don't know what's going on. But the second is, what precisely are the apartment complex's options?

1. Call the ASPCA to trap (and kill) the feral cats. The ASPCA will, apparently, do this, for a (hopefully hefty) fee, but there are a lot of not-feral, not-stay indoor-outdoor pet cats around here, too, some with collars, some without. (Whiskey (formerly Sam) and his little sibling (a black kitty) are indoor/outdoor, and they wear collars. Tigger, a gray tabby who is not neutered, which pisses me off, who belongs to a first-floor neighbor, does not wear a collar and is indoor outdoor.) And the trappers couldn't just go by friendliness as some of the colony cats are friendly, and some friendly (owned) cats get angry when in a trap. So the apartment complex would be risking killing their residents' pets.

2. Call an exterminator to put out poison. Exterminators will do this (bastards). But this option is even less likely. Not only would this place indoor/outdoor cats in danger, it would put in danger the residents' dogs, and presumably even the residents' children who play outdoors.

So. We'll see.

But I'm not sitting idly by and hoping that negative options are enough. I'm also going to write up some documents that prove that the TNR has worked in the main, as well as find information to cite that points out that a) extermination doesn't actually work (more ferals move in) and b) not feeding the cats doesn't make them go away, it makes the eat garbage which is a bigger problem, and feeding them doesn't cause more to come because cats are territorial, and the proof of that is that my colony has not grown.

The other hopeful part is that the water dish down on the first floor (where Mad Mabel feeds the ferals) is still there. Maintenance has not stolen it. (And it's very clearly a water dish meant for animals-- I bought it, because it gets fucking hot here and clean water is important, obviously.)

So. Fingers crossed. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, it seems.

Thank you very, very much to those of you who have already agreed to write letters/call/email on the cats' behalf. I hope more of you will agree to same, if it becomes necessary. I will also, if necessary, do my best to contact local media (eek), and I'll be asking advice of Altered Tails, the organization that runs AzCATS (which is the branch that deals with ferals.)

ALSO, this may mean a kickstart to the necessity of TNRing the remaining un-altered cats (the ones I didn't catch, the two who have shown up since (mostly thanks to Tigger, I'm certain). Two new cats in a colony after TWO YEARS? That's what I call a stable colony. (Since there is no cold period here (it's Phoenix, after all) outdoor cats here can have up tot 3 litters of cats per year, with 4-6 kittens per litter. Kittens mature rapidly and start having their own litters, as early as 4months.One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring can result in 420,000 kittens in seven years. In two years, even including the 8 kittens taken from it, my colony has had 10 cats. (Also, Sam could not have come from this colony-- he was friendly. That makes 9.)

I know I'm (basically) preaching to the choir here, but ... yeah.

eilonwy2017: (Some days)
Okay, so I know ridiculously few people in Phoenix, despite living here, as I mentioned in the previous post, almost 4 years now. But I *do* know a lot of people 'round the country (and world!) via LJ, and all of *you* know a ton of people, and maybe you know some in Arizona? And maybe they're considering adopting a cat or know someone who is?

[ profile] tempe_rivka posted in [ profile] note_to_cat (specifically here) about how she has to go into assisted living. Unfortunately, she can only take one cat with her-- and she has four. Obviously the only way to make this heart breaking situation any better is to (quickly) find loving homes for these fur-kids. It looks like she has a tortie, a black dsh, and two maine coons. (You can read more about them on her LJ, too, and I reposted her pictures on Project-Cat, too.)

The situation makes me weepy, and I desperately wish that I could help, but you all know that I'm maxed out with my three fuzzies (one of whom is, o course, not supposed to be here). So, if you could pass this along? Boost the signal? (Think about adopting?)
eilonwy2017: (Mouse Thing)
Today I totally overslept-- I was supposed to be at rehearsal at noon, so I set my alarm for 10am. I, uh, got up at 1pm. Fuuuuuck.

Everything else has been more or less good, though. I cleaned, I made a new CD for my alarm clock (I figure part of the reason I've been sleeping through the alarms is that I've become used to the music...? Hey, it's possible. This mix is called "Wake the hell up" and is volume 1. Heh.), I've chatted with my parents, I've vacuumed, and before that, I fixed my vacuum, and I have watched the Puppy Bowl.

How often do you have to change the belt on your vacuum? It seems like it's a bit too often that I have to... Grr. Oh well.

So why all the cleaning, you might ask. Yesterday I found out that the apartment complex people are demanding entrance into my apartment for the next five days. I am not a happy camper. They are checking the water heater (I'd like a new one please, sometimes I don't get hot water for my showers) , and things like that. And, if I want to pay $35/month, they'll put a washer/dryer in my balcony closet. I'm really tempted-- I would love to be able to do a load of laundry whenever I wanted. I'd have clean clothes more often, I'd be more likely to put stuff away because it wouldn't mean putting away HUGE loads of stuff all at once. But by the same token, I don't spend $35/month on laundry now, so it'd be doubling what I pay by going to the laundry room. Do I really want to pay for that convenience?

This also leads the problem of Widget. Last time they wanted access to my apartment, Miss Widget spent the night at Flurije's-- but that didn't go well. Flurry got no sleep and Beatrice was angry for a week. I asked [ profile] wild_donkey_man, but he won't be around much this week and so was reluctant. Similarly, two other friends last night at a dinner party I attended said they'd take her, but it was clear that it'd be a hassle for anyone. So I guess I'm going to take my chances and just hope that whoever has to come in doesn't notice or doesn't care... It's unclear from the highlighted map as to whether they need access to my bathroom-- if they don't, I'll keep all three in there so that none of them can run out. I'm really scared that the workpeople will let one of the fuzzies dash out. :(

Also, they want three closets cleaned out -- uh, no? How the hell am I supposed to do that? And how much do they really mean? Naturally I have questions about all of this-- timing, where they really need to get to, how much access they need, etc. But can I ask? NO. Because they put the notice on our doors at 6pm on Friday-- right when the office is closing. These serve as 48hours notice, but you can't call and ask them any questions during that time because the office is closed 'til Monday morning! ARG.

In other news, PUPPY BOWL VI. I love the puppy bowl. I get almost as excited about the puppy bowl as people do about the Super Bowl. And this year, not only was there a kitty half time, but there were BUNNY CHEERLEADERS and piloting the blimp there were HAMSTERS. Heeee!

I had more to say, but that was all ages ago, 'cause since writing the above Flurry and I have ordered and eaten Chinese food and watched an episode of Make it or Break it and now I have to comment on at least 7 student papers. :P

So, hopefully, more on last night's soiree and other fun things at another time.
eilonwy2017: (Work)

Firstly, I actually updated Project-Cat!! Whoa! It's the first in a series of regular updates, I hope.

Secondly, I put seven cat toys up for sale in my Etsy Shop. Woot.

And lastly, if you're on Facebook, you can see new pictures I uploaded of my cats-- they're in their Catbook pages... Yes, I'm a dork. But the pictures are adorable. (Also, I have now uploaded them to their own Flickr Set.)


I'll do anything to avoid commenting on student drafts... Heh.

I'm going to update the Project-Cat Flickr page now, too, although it'll be pretty much the same pictures as the ones I put up on Project-Cat today. I just like to have them all online in one place.

Of course, leave it to me to get all this updating done on a Friday afternoon when no one is online to see it. Le sigh.


Jan. 12th, 2010 12:32 am
eilonwy2017: (Stole Your Soul)
Am about to go to bed (after trying to get more reading done). Today was a pretty good day-- I was at a playreading tonight of Blurt Master Constable, which is actually a better play than one would expect from comments heard. (It really helps to read these things aloud, though.) Also, mmmm, pizza.

Then, tonight, instead of doing reading (BAD ME) I uploaded pictures. The ones here are the non Yarn!Chester ones. These are of alpacas and cats and dogs. (Not all in one photo.) There are several of a chihuahua and a kitten playing. Enjoy!

Have a preview...




eilonwy2017: (crochet)
$3.50 mice! (They'll be $4 if/when I post them on Etsy, sometime this week.) Shipping is $5 (priority mail) no matter how many you buy.

Kitties all over love these-- I made a bunch over the holiday and every recipient was pleased by them. Some of the kitties, however, had other kitty friends steal them away!

And they're not just for kitties. One collie and two chihuahuas also love these mousies. I wasn't sure about this until on Christmas day my cousin's chihuahua stole the mousie I made for my grandmother's kitten. He rubbed his face all over it, just like a kitten, and carried it around. (Picture of the chihuahua and the bunny I later made for him here.)

There'll be more mice in the future, but I am now out of catnip, so it'll be a bit 'til my shipment comes in.

Mice are all the same size, and knit of wool and stuff with only organic catnip (no other filler.)


1. Lime green with dark purple ears/tail
2. variegated orange with variegated yellow ears/tail
3. white with variegated blue ears/tail
4. dark pink with dark purple ears/tail
5. variegated pink with dark pink ears/tail
6. dark pink (same dark pink ears/tail)
7. variegated orange with solid orange ears/tail
8. mauve (dark lavender?) (same color ears/tail) (one still available)
9. variegated dark teal with oatmeal ears/tail
10. mauve (dark lavender?) with variegated teal ears/tail

So, comment if you're interested. :)

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