Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy cat, sad cat

Minnie was such a little sweetie last night--she curled up on my shoulder & tucked her head up under my chin. Not really conducive to sleep, that, but really cute. She's been such a happy kitty since she became an "only cat" again.

Leo's still doing well outside. I've come to regard him as my little conscience, turning up to meow at various doors regularly. It pains me to see him out there pawing at the door, wanting in, but there's nothing I can do about it--the original problem will not go away.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another 20 things about me

Because the only constant is change....
  • I now have one indoor cat and several outdoor ferals.

  • I'm a little depressed about Leo, my formerly-inside-semi-feral who is now living outside (due to inside spraying) & reverting to complete feraldom.

  • Antidepressants mostly work.

  • When I'm depressed, I spend money, including money I don't have (i.e., credit).

  • In spite of recent financial naughtiness, I will be out of debt by the end of 2008 if I have to eat nothing but rice & veggies for the last quarter of the year.

  • For more about my debt situation & reasons to stay right the hell away from debt consolidation scams companies, see my "Tale of Woe."

  • I used to collect elephants. I still have quite a herd on my mantle. I put away the smallest ones so the cats wouldn't eat them.

  • Then I collected jigsaw puzzles, or at any rate acquired a lot of them, mostly from thrift stores. I still have tons, but it's hard to do puzzles with two cats in the house, so I haven't puzzled in a while.

  • I do, however, do puzzling things & think puzzling thoughts, on occasion.

  • Less flippantly, I do crossword puzzles. Lots of 'em. You don't need a lot of space for that, just a working brain & a pencil.

  • I also play Scrabble & routinely thump No.1 Sister at it, poor thing.  ;)

  • No.1 Sister doesn't live in the same town, so we play online at, a site that runs fast & doesn't require Java or Flash or other bandwidth hogs.

  • Other people thump me plenty at Scrabble, & No.1 Sister does sometimes, too. It wouldn't be fun, otherwise.  :)

  • I worked in small newspapers for seven years when I first started out (as an adult on my own, I mean, not as a hatchling).

  • I worked in magazine & book publishing for six years after that.

  • And I work in educational publishing now. Sensing a trend?

  • I've lived in only two states, Oklahoma and Texas.

  • If Texas seceded tomorrow and became its own country again (as certain nutters would like to do), I'd be driving a U-Haul back to Oklahoma the next day. America, as an international entity, does some bloody stupid, illegal, and/or harmful things, but I'm not about to give up my American citizenship.

  • It's been decades since I voted for anyone for president--instead, I've had to settle for voting against one or more candidate(s) by picking the lesser of two or more evils. I'd love to be able to vote for a worthy candidate again. But since the lead Democrats are currently acting like grade-schoolers and the Republicans aren't even under consideration in my mind, that doesn't look likely this year.

  • In spite of the stink of politics, I do vote, always hoping that my vote actually counts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Minnie "noir"

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago, I think. Very dramatic....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Checking in

After a little over a week outdoors again, Leo's still doing fine. I noticed a new spray mark on the sliding glass doors recently & I expect that's Leo's work, which reinforces my decision to let him live outside. He's reverting to his old feral self--the way he was before I brought him into the house--which is, of course, for the best. He still likes a headrub, though. And Mom's still a bit depressed about the whole situation, especially when Leo meows at the door to be let in, which he does fairly often.

Minnie is coming to my bed every night now--like Leo, she's getting back to where she was before Leo came inside. That's a welcome development.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Minnie returns to bed

Minnie finally came back to my bed early this morning--she even got under the covers with me & took a nap. It was very nice after such a long absence. She had basically stopped sleeping on my bed when Leo arrived & took over, despite my reassurances that she was heartily welcome. She just did not like Leo up there...or anywhere else, to be perfectly frank. Which I guess explains why she's such a happy kitty lately.

Leo was still healthy & vocal this morning, after last night's harsh cold. I have visions of walking out to feed the cats one morning & finding him curled up in a frozen ball on the back step. Yes, that's major guilt talking...but not enough to bring him back inside, or even let him remain inside when he manages to streak in past my attempts to block the door, as he did last night. I chased him around the house for ten minutes, stopped for a breather, and finally caught him in his "comfort zone" under the dining table. I put him out and this time he didn't try to get back in.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Still feel like sh*t

...but I'm not relenting. Leo is still living outside. I did run to the thrift store after work yesterday, though, & bought a quilt & two flannel blankets to better insulate the little doghouses in the garage so Leo would be warmer (him & whoever he invites into the other doghouse). The temperature was supposed to get down to 17 last night & I was afraid for my poor pee-monster. It didn't get that cold (the water in the feeding stations wasn't frozen this morning), but the weatherman's saying 17 for tonight, too. Anyway, I've done what I can.

I do love on him whenever I go out & he's there (which is almost every time) so he knows Mama doesn't hate him. I doubt that's much comfort on cold nights, though.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Leo is thoroughly and finally in the doghouse.

I went into the kitchen this morning to get Minnie and Leo their stinky meat and discovered a puddle of pee on the kitchen counter...and spray all over the backsplash & wall...and on the TOASTER and probably inside the damn thing, too. The toaster hit the trash & Mom went BALLISTIC. I herded both cats out the door (no problem with Minnie; Leo I had to chase all over the house first) and set about cleaning up the mess. Washed the whole area several times, the last time with bleach, then went over it with my UV light like a CSI tech looking for blood (pee fluoresces under UV).

Spraying in the area of the litterboxes is one thing, but doing it on my kitchen counter....That's a deal-breaker.

I'll continue to take care of Leo, but he's not allowed in the house anymore.

And, of course, I feel like an ogre--but a highly justified one.

I keep two feeding stations on my back porch, and I have two little doghouses in the garage, currently seated on thick pieces of styrofoam, to provide a warm place to sleep for any kitty who needs it. Leo will be fine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Snowballs in Hell

For the first time in living memory, Baghdad got snow. Now we know it really does snow in Hell. (But, no, it wasn't enough to make snowballs.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Let's get ready to RUMBLE!

Minnie invented a new game this morning--instead of plain old mouse hockey on the kitchen linoleum, let's play BATHTUB mouse hockey! Man, I wish I'd had a camera right then, as she was runnin' & rollin' all over the tub after that mouse!

Leo used his new hooded litterbox yesterday after I got home from work (when he gets excited, he often hasta "go") and seemed to have no problem with it at all. There was also no problem giving him his pill this morning--those Pill Pockets really work!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Plans B and C

*sigh*...Another mess to clean up this morning. I bought a hooded litterbox with a nice, big opening so it wouldn't be scary, but I hadn't put the hood on yet, just set it near the base, in the hopes that Leo the Pee Monster would gradually get used to it. In the meantime, I tacked up another plastic garbage bag as a backdrop to the new litterbox's base. Naturally, he sprayed on the side instead of the back--right where the plastic backdrop ended. So to hell with subtlety--I slapped the hood on (after cleaning up the base) & he can just get used to it.

The hooded litterbox was Plan B. For Plan C, I'll restart him on the anxiety pills, which I got refilled today. Here's hoping this works. I gotta wonder, though, how long he can stay on those things & whether he'll grow a fifth leg from overuse.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

20 more things about me

Because it's there....
  • I'm an atheist. I totally believe people reap what they sow, but not in an oppressive Christian-religion kinda way. I do not believe in a supernatural god(s).

  • If there is a heaven, the only ones who'd qualify for it are cats, dogs, & Mother Teresa.

  • Which is not to say that cats & dogs are nice all the time, but mostly...and when they're not, well, they're animals, whaddaya expect.

  • I prefer cats to people, hands down.

  • I have the ashes of one of my ferals (Leo's older brother, Whitetip) in a white cat-shaped urn in my office.

  • I like getting new computer toys.

  • I like it even better when the company pays for 'em.

  • The first computer I ever used was a Compugraphic 7200 headline phototypesetter. You can see one here:, along with a lot of other equipment I used to use & work I used to do (no, not at that exact place).

  • I went to vo-tech to learn to use that fine machine. I also learned to run small presses, shoot negatives on a giant horizontal galley camera, strip negatives, burn plates, and staple assembled brochures on a whizzy machine that nearly took a girl's finger off once (not mine). VO-TECH RULES!

  • I discovered that vo-tech Offset Printing class accidentally shortly before the semester was to start; before that, I'd signed up for banking (bore me!).

  • I did not go to college, although I considered doing so a couple of times way after the usual college age. My budget said, "Forget it." Anyway, I had a library card; what did I need college for?

  • While at vo-tech, I also used a Mergenthaler LinoTerm phototypesetter; I don't recall the model number.

  • I blew my vo-tech teacher away when I started typing on the LinoTerm & hammered up to 100 wpm.

  • I learned to type on my mother's cast-iron Underwood dinosaur. It's like typing with weights tied to your fingers. No freakin' wonder I nearly melted the plastic keyboard on the LinoTerm.

  • I still type pretty dern fast.

  • Fast typing isn't a requirement in my present job, but it doesn't hurt.

  • I used to be a dedicated Mac user.

  • I switched to PCs only for better compatibility with my work computer, in case I had to bring work home.

  • I don't bring as much work home as I used to, but I still have a PC. Sorry, but it's cheaper and just as functional. Plus I'm more confident with PCs now than I used to be.

  • I've done web scripting in Cold Fusion, ASP, and JavaScript, but not computer programming (although I tried to learn C++). Actual programming is just too much for my brain.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

'Splain me dis cat

Yesterday & the day before, Leo sprayed in his tall litterbox; today, he just did a polite little pee in the short box. No pills on any of those days, because I ran out. I'm glad he only sprays the plastic "shield" tacked up at the back of his tall box, but I sure am curious as to why he sometimes does it & other times doesn't. "You got some 'splainin' to do...."

---- =^..^= ---- | ---- =^..^= ----

Alas, here we are at the last few days of my nice long Xmas vacation. The only bad thing about long vacations (or even short weekends) is having to start waking up at the unholy hour of 6am again on Monday. Boy, am I looking forward to my planned semi-retirement, when I shall refuse to wake up before 8am ever again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Birthday girl

Here's Minnie relaxing on her official 4th birthday.  :)  Love that furry belly!

20 things about me

Cuz I know you're fascinated....
  1. I'm old enough to know better, but young enough that most of my parts still work (not that I use 'em much).

  2. I have a vestibular (balance) disorder.

  3. I have two cats, one former stray, one still semi-feral.

  4. Right before I acquired those two cats, I had sworn off all pets of any kind, period....

  5. ...because my relationship with my first pets (also two cats) did not go well.

  6. My cats Minnie & Leo are the indoor/outdoor variety, which works a whole lot better for me.

  7. I feed, trap, neuter/spay, and return ferals to the "colony" wandering in & out of my backyard.

  8. Hence, my two indoor/outdoor cats--they just got friendly & stayed.

  9. I have help from a local organization to TNR my ferals; I couldn't do it on my own.

  10. I've written a huge amount on a lousy epic begun in my teens which I'm going to shred one of these days.

  11. My great hope is to write something decent someday.

  12. I used to be an artist, but that's pretty much gone now.

  13. My hands shake, but that's not entirely why I don't draw anymore.

  14. I don't know why my hands shake, but they have for years.

  15. I've had some, uh, questionable relationships.

  16. I've been married & divorced twice, and that's the end of that.

  17. I'm on an antidepressant that, thank goodness, kills my libido entirely.

  18. I'm looking forward to getting out of debt by the end of 2008 (knock wood).

  19. Most of my wardrobe comes from thrift stores.

  20. Most of my money (after debt payments) goes toward books & movies. (Relevant quote: "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." --Erasmus)