R is for Rough

Some house guests came to stay with us today.

We weren’t actually expecting them until next weekend (and it was only this morning that we decided we were okay with taking them in in the first place), but circumstances changed, and suddenly now we’ve got visitors – a very nervous young lady and her six infant children.

They say house guests and fish start to stink after 3 days. However, this little family will be staying with us for a couple months.

Normally I might be really anxious about opening up my home to visitors, especially such a large number all at once. But, well, I think you might be able to tell why we’re both really excited to be providing a temporary home for these seven homeless souls.

Without further ado, let me introduce our temporary houseguests. Meet the Supernatural Kittens. Mom’s age is uncertain (although she seems pretty young and she’s quite small), while the babies were born somewhere around last weekend. As usual, click the pictures to embiggen.

2015-04-18 houseguests

Mom, Ruby, is extremely nervous. She’s not feral, but it’s clear she’s fearful and uncertain about humans. We can reach in and pet her, and she’ll purr and knead on her blanket, but that’s about as much as she’s willing to tolerate right now. We’re pretty sure, though, that it won’t be long before she relaxes and figures out that humans can be pretty awesome.

As for the babies, here’s a better shot. As far as we’re able to tell right now, they’re all boys.

Supernatural Kittens

You might notice that the five orange ones all look exactly alike. I’m hoping as they get a bit older they might develop some distinguishing characteristics; otherwise we’re going to have to dab some food coloring on their tummies to tell them apart until they’re old enough for collars. The orange ones are, in no particular order, Sam,Dean, Rufus, Bobby, and Castial. The little black lump to the right of the pile of orange fuzz is actually a tiny little tuxedo, who has been dubbed Crowley.

I have to tell you, this is going to be a really hard couple of months. Having to socialize half a dozen itty bitty teeny weeny kittens.

I mean, look at this. Who’d ever want to spend time with this?

2015-04-18 TinyKitten1

Yeah. Hosting these house guests is going to be rough.

The letter R is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Cats, Life | 1 Comment

Q is for Quick

I’ve done a couple 5ks over the past few years, and have gone through the Couch to 5k program (via the awesome Zombies Run! training app) more than once. But running isn’t ever going to be my thing. For one thing, I have pretty much zero speed. More importantly, running seems to be the key trigger for the exercise-induced asthma. The last few times I’ve tried to run, I just end up wheezing and gasping for breath. Kind of takes all the fun out of it (assuming there was any fun to begin with, which, hint, there wasn’t).

This, however, did not stop me from hovering over the refresh key anxiously at 9am this morning, waiting to register for this. I’ve been wanting to do that event since The Oatmeal announced the first one last year, and when I found out it was going to be in my area this year, I got super excited.

The plan, however, to circumvent the frustrating asthma issue, is to speed walk the 10k, not to run it. I was a short kid growing up and I had a lot of really tall friends. So I learned at an early age to walk really fast (and my default walking speed is *still* usually faster than most of the people around me). There’s seven months between now and the date of the event. Plenty of time for me to train myself to walk even faster, and to be able to keep up a really good speed for 6 miles, without any pesky asthma flare-ups.

Fingers crossed.

The letter Q is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

I is for Inevitable

We knew it was going to be quick. The tumor had popped up in less than two weeks so I couldn’t see that it was going to suddenly start slowing down any time soon.

She was doing more sneezing and she started pawing at her mouth, so it was obvious it was now noticeable to her, and she wasn’t as interested in food. Maybe we might have had another couple good days, or if not ‘good’, at least ‘decent’, but it would have only been for us, not for her.

Last night Richard gave her as much cream cheese as she demanded, as a last treat. Then we put her into the carrier and took her to the emergency vet. The doctor who administered the final shot was the one who saw her when all this first came up. In a way, that was a bit of a comfort because it was clear to all of us that there wasn’t really any other option.

Rosie purred the whole time, and rubbed her head on my hand, demanding attention, until she fell asleep one final time.

Rosie-closeup

Rosemary: 1999-2015.

The letter I is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

Posted in Life | 1 Comment

D is for Dirt

At last year’s Earth Week seedling swap at work, I picked up a tiny little spider plant someone had stuck into a pretty green glass jar and stuck it on my desk because I didn’t have a desk plant and I knew that spider plants were pretty hardy. And also it was free.

For the past year it has been sitting there, mostly ignored, except for the occasional time when it catches my eye and I remember to water it. Shockingly, even in a jar with nothing more than water and a couple rocks, it has managed to somehow survive.

Today I finally remembered to take the pot that’s been sitting on the front porch for weeks (specifically put there for this precise purpose) to work with me. After a lunch meeting, I carried the little spider plant in its little glass jar into the kitchen and, with some difficulty, extracted it from its rocky, uncomfortable jar, and gave it a new home.

Here is hoping that if it was strong enough to survive a year of benign neglect with no soil, that it will take to a nice big pot of dirt and start to actually thrive. Here’s also hoping that the pot didn’t pick up any extra 8-legged ‘friends’ during its time sitting on my front porch.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor in this for something. Feel free to let this be deep and meaningful, if that sort of thing appeals.

You know. Or not.

The letter D is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

S is for Singing

Gathering, after weeks off. Calls of greeting.

Collecting new sheet music, all of it composed specifically for us.

Squinting in the low light, as the sunlight outside the windows fades, until suddenly someone remembers, oh yeah, there’s a light switch over there, and then we can suddenly see again.

Muddling through new rhythms; new chords.

Picking out notes on the piano.

Laughter as the text of a piece goes somewhere delightfully unexpected.

Chatter in between songs. Snippets of older pieces, sometimes sung deliberately off key.

Anticipation for a new project. Excitement.

Voices rising. Making music.

The letter S is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Music | 1 Comment

B is for Boxes

No one in this house is at ALL a fan.

BoxcatIngrid1

BoxcatNutmeg2

BoxcatSherman1

BoxcatNutmeg1

BoxcatSherman2

BoxcatRupert1

BoxcatIngrid2

The letter B is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Posted in Cats | 1 Comment

Y is for Yardwork

I loathe yardwork. Words cannot adequately express how much I hate doing it.

And yet, once or twice a year, there is nothing else to do but suck it up and go out into the front yard and deal with it.

Today was that day. Whee.

We used to have grass (or rather, weeds that vaguely resembled grass once mowed) in the front yard, but three years ago we ripped out the whole front yard and replaced it with drought-tolerant landscaping. And by ‘we’, I mean we paid someone a large sum of money to do it, because see above for the loathing of yard work. The bonus of having a drought-tolerant yard is that it is usually far less maintenance than grass, but no amount of ground cover will prevent the weeds from eventually making their way through.

Richard’s been congested and wheezy the last couple days so he stayed inside, out of range of all the the allergens, and worked on other household chores. I, meanwhile, grabbed a bucket, and headed out to the front yard to do battle with the weeds.

Two hours later, the yard was (mostly) weed free. After that, we decided to take a ‘break’ from house work and headed off to Home Depot to pick up some new mulch.

They laid down a lovely bed of black bark, three years ago when we first had the landscaping put in. We haven’t added any since, so yard’s been starting to look a bit bare. Conveniently Home Depot was having a sale – buy 5 for $10 – so we bought 5 bags and headed home to get back to work.

Hah. Those 5 bags were not close to enough. I stayed beyond to keep spreading out the mulch while Richard headed back to fill the trunk back up again. Five more bags, and nope, still not quite enough, so back we went for one more round. Turns out it takes 15 bags (or 30 cubic feet) of mulch to cover our entire front yard, and I suspect we probably ought to have actually laid down more, except laying down 15 bags was tedious enough and did I already mention that I really, really loathe working in the yard?

But at least the front yard is clean and tidy, and with the new mulch it looks quite nice (although the bar was pretty low, considering the sheer volume of weeds). We showered off the dirt and grime from the day’s work and headed off to our favorite local English pub, where Richard had fish and chips and I had an absolutely incredible vegetarian pasty topped with welsh rarebit sauce. And now I can rest easy for another year and ignore the front yard completely like I normally do, until it’s time to do it all over again.

The letter Y is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

M is for Moving

Rumor has it that there are people out there, real live actual people, who actually enjoy working in an open office environment.

I have yet to actually meet any of these mythical people in person. But article after article claims that such people actually exist, and think it is awesome and wonderful and inspiring and whee!

In case it isn’t obvious, I am not one of those people. Nor, for that matter, is anyone else I have ever talked to, leading me to suspect that the only people who actually honestly think this sort of arrangement is actually *good* for productivity are the manager types who never have to actually *sit* in such an arrangement to experience why it sucks.

For the past several years I’ve been in a somewhat open office arrangement. Like any giant behemoth of a company, my office is comprised primarily of cubicles, surrounding clusters of actual offices. Higher ups get the offices, of course, and while I might dream wistfully of having a space with a door, I do not dream at all wistfully of having all the responsibility that comes with the position required to get that space-with-a-door. So I recognize that this attitude means I will always have a cube. But the one to which I was assigned when we first moved over to this office only had two walls and it was located in what was referred to as ‘the pit’. It was right next to a main thoroughfare which meant people tended to cluster behind it and have conversations. Plus two walls meant that I was constantly being distracted by noise and movement from all sides.

This week, however, I decided I had had enough. So I scouted out the empty spaces around the office and then I found a little cube in the back. It is right next to a conference room, which means occasionally there’s some chatter (but you know the awesome thing about conference rooms? They have a DOOR. That CLOSES. And SHUTS OUT THE CHATTER), but it also has three walls, all tall enough that people can’t just peer at me over them and startle me. And three walls also means that there is only one direction from which I can be distracted.

I’ve been camped out in that space the past couple days, ‘test driving’ the cube (to see if the conference-related chatter might be a stumbling block), but today is the day I officially moved. Throughout the day today I’ve been slowly loading up a big cart with all my stuff from the old cube, and moving it over to the new one.

It isn’t an office. And there isn’t a door. But there is a bookshelf (which I really really needed because we have a lot of reference material between the two of us in my tiny little department), and as I mentioned, it has three high walls. I can do my work and not be constantly distracted by things behind me or beside me. And it is awesome.

The letter M is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

C is for…

Cancer.

It isn’t a surprise. Not really. We wanted it to be something else but I think we both knew before the appointment this morning what the vet was going to say. There is more going on than just the tumor (likely bone infection), but really, the actual diagnosis doesn’t make a difference. What matters is that it’s eventually going to kill her.

We’ll pamper our elderly little tortie cat as much as we can over the next few weeks or months or however long her good days will last, and we will monitor her quality of life. At her age there isn’t really anything else we can do. Right now the vet doesn’t think it’s bothering her, but that’s only a matter of time. And when it looks like she is starting to feel bad, then we will make the hardest decision and we will help her go.

The letter C is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Cats | 2 Comments

E is for Elections

I woke up this morning filled with a tiny amount of glee. No, it wasn’t because it was actually raining outside, and as California is smack in the middle of a rather nasty drought, any amount of water falling from the sky is cause for celebration. And no, it wasn’t because the sickly elderly cat only woke me up for food once last night instead of twice, so I actually got more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep for a change.

No, today I woke up full of happy because today is April 7th and thus it is the LAST DAY OF ROBOCALLS thank the great FSM may you all be touched by his noodly appendage etc., etc.

We’ve been in the middle of a special election in our neighborhood because the previous city council member decided in the middle of his term to become a state assemblyman instead, leaving an opening. There’ve been people canvassing the neighborhood, fliers showing up on our porch and hanging from our door and tucked into the mailbox, and of course, the bane of every single election season, the relentless robocalls urging us to vote for .

Seriously, if they ever allow people to opt out of election-related calls (a Do Not Call list for the political spectrum) I bet people would be tripping all over each other to sign up. Has anyone ever changed their mind on who they are voting for based on a robocall? Anyone? Ever? In the history of robocalls?

Yeah, no.

There are two people running to fill the spot left vacant on the city council, and we have no opinions one way or the other. They both seem like nice people and they both list all the relevant talking points on their respective campaign paraphernalia, and unlike with most elections, I don’t get the sense of having to hold my nose and just vote for the lesser of two evils. As a result, neither Richard or I could give a rat’s patooty which one of them actually wins.

I admit, because we really do not care which of them takes the seat, it was tempting to just sit this election out. But in order to preserve our permanent absentee voter status, we have to keep on voting in every election. So we decided, as there are two of us, we’d each vote for one of them, thus managing to both fulfill our patriotic duty of filling in a bubble on a ballot, as well as effectively cancelling out both our votes. Ha, take *that*, adulthood!

And meanwhile we’ve finally reached the end of having to screen our calls, and sort the mail directly into the recycling bin (spam, spam, election spam, more election spam, for crying out loud people save the trees, spam, more spam, oh, a bill, spam). Okay, maybe the mail sorting isn’t going to change; it’s just that the ‘spam’ part of it won’t include the election fluff.

Well, at least until the next election ramps up. And considering how things go in this country, that should be …. any day now.

Ugh.

The letter E is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Posted in Life | 1 Comment