Miss Sophie at 7

Tue, Apr. 19th, 2016 06:44 am
scarlettina: (Angel)
I have been remiss! On April 15, my beloved Sophie turned 7 years old and I did not post my annual portrait of her! I attempted to take pictures this morning, but she was being a squirmy girl so this is the best shot I could get of her. Given that she's 7, and moving into what vets consider seniorhood, the fact that she's still kittenish and playful is, I think, a very good sign indeed.

Click to embiggen
Sophie at 7
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
I caught Sophie and Ezekiel cuddling and cleaning each other last night. I let them be by themselves to continue their rapprochement. We have established peace in our time. Whew!
scarlettina: (Cat fish)
(It's not a word, I know. But I was looking for one of those epic movie-style titles.)

It's a cool, hazy, silver morning in Seattle. Yesterday at lunchtime, I picked up a Feliway plug-in at the vet's office and plugged it in at home. (What's Feliway? According to the official web site, "Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure.") I also had a spritzer bottle of the stuff, care of KA, bless her. Up until this morning, I had established a rhythm: one cat segregated and the other free-ranging in the apartment with a two-fold intent: give them each a good stretch of the legs and scritch/play time with me, and get them used to each other's scents, overlaid by the Feliway.

Now, I live in a condo that has a loft above open to the main floor. There's a ledge up there that you can look down from into the main area. My idea this morning was, rather than having one in a bathroom and one free ranging, I would assign each a floor so they could see but not encounter each other close up. I figured it was a second stage toward getting them acclimated. Zeke had the upstairs because when Sophie's upstairs, she careens down the wall from above--a good 8 feet or so--like a daredevil. I'd never seen Zeke do that . . . until today. So much for my bright idea.

As soon as he landed on the main floor, he took up a position about three feet away and the growling and hissing started. I spritzed the space in between with some Feliway, and that's where the situation remained for a bit. Since then, they've been cautiously walking around each other and around the condo. There's occasional hissing, but it's mild compared to yesterday and especially to two nights ago, when it was all-out thermonuclear conflagration.

We're no longer at war here. I think we've established a very cautious detente. I'm working at home today, in a position where I can see them most of the time. It's quiet. I'm hesitant to say that we're on our way back, but I think the engines are running and we're at least shifted into drive.
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
So last night, in a moment of pure idiocy, I made the mistake of playing a video online that featured an extremely upset cat making unearthly sounds at a human. This had the effect of distressing Sophie and Zeke so badly that they nearly tore each other (and myself) to pieces before I separated them. Fur flew, literally. Sophie overturned the ottoman in the livingroom. The two of them hissed and growled and sirened at each other, bit and clawed at each other. (Neither was injured.) I've never seen them behave this way, either one. These are cats that sleep with each other and clean each other. I was shaken. Badly. I also suffered a wound to the abdomen that I washed and bandaged. (As of this morning, it's still sore.) Zeke escaped not once but twice while I was trying to arrange the two of them in their separate bathrooms for the night, thereby starting the war again. Eventually, KA came over (in the dead of night) with a bottle of Feliway to help me calm the two of them down and help me get to bed. She was the soul of compassion when I just collapsed on her in tears. She was reassuring and kind and helped me finish getting them each settled for the duration.

Zeke woke me at 4 AM meowing plaintively. I visited and have fed both him and Sophie. They were both all love and cuddles this morning. They're still in their respective bathrooms. Eventually I will need to shower, dress and go to work. I may leave them in the bathrooms for the day to continue to let them cool down and then try to reunite them tonight. I may have to reintroduce them to each other as one would new cats.

This whole incident has been so upsetting. Nothing like this has ever happened before, and I'm still upset and unnerved. I hate keeping them isolated this way; neither is used to being alone. But I can't subject them--or myself--to a replay of last night. And I'm going to need more time than I have this morning to reintroduce them to each other.

I love them so much. I hate this.

Sophie is 6!

Wed, Apr. 15th, 2015 08:43 am
scarlettina: (Happy birthday cupcake!)
Six years ago on Tax Day, my tax kitty was born. Has she been taxing? No, not at all. I say of Ezekiel that he was born for action. Sophie was born for love. Yes, she's a little chubby, but all the better for cuddling. She's still my beautiful girl, and I couldn't ask for a better feline companion. Happy birthday, my Sophie Sestina!

Feline ritual

Tue, Feb. 3rd, 2015 07:59 am
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
The felines in your life will teach you about ritual. Now is when we eat. Now is when we sleep. Now, now, NOW is when we play. They will cry plaintively if this schedule is deviated from for even a moment. Cats are creatures of habit. Woe betide those who break their rhythms.

Ezekiel is both the brainiest and neediest cat I've ever had. So smart he gets bored without constant stimulation, he also requires a proper shape to his day. The human must be up and out of bed sometime around 5 AM. This is the first battle of the day, because the human prefers to stay in bed--not unreasonably--at least until 6. Then it's love-love-love all the way from the bedroom to the kitchen, where more love ensues while I prepare breakfast for the four-legged set. Once breakfast is completed, it's time for attention. Now, I prefer to eat my breakfast and do my LJ/Facebook/NY Times run. But as far as the cats, specifically Zeke, are concerned, now is the time on Sprockets when we play. So he cries and he does gravity experiments. He has broken more than one precious thing in the practice of this ritual abuse.

The answer I've developed is to let him get just worked up enough so that when I finally do get up to pay attention to him, he actually waits for me before running off--which he will invariably do because cats make little sense. Sometimes he runs off to sit next to the very specific toy with which he wishes to play. Sometimes he just runs off. On those days when he does the latter, I grab him up, take him back with me to my chair, settle him in my lap and give him the Morning Scritch. This involves stretching the length of him across my lap, with his head toward my right arm, and then using both hands to scritch his head and neck, whence cometh the motorized purr. Then it's scritches up and down his body, which makes him so happy that he purrs louder, kneads my arm, and drools. And this goes on for quite a while. It amazing how quickly one can get used to drool. I suppose new parents learn this pretty quickly.

The thing is, once we've had the Morning Scritch, I'm pretty much free for a good portion of the rest of the day. Attention Has Been Paid. And once Zeke goes upstairs to sit in the cat tree by the window, woe unto me if I disturb him. Hiss. Growl. But if I work at home or if it's a weekend, there must be play late in the day, around 3:30-4ish. I can't be home unless play is on the schedule. Meowing for play often lasts well into the evening. Sometimes I'll get into bed and Zeke will bring me a toy because the play must continue. But by then he's figured out that it's dark and the human is going to take her long nap.

And Sophie? Sophie is all about the love. But apparently I've loved her enough that she's not quite so needy. We cuddle up when I read. She sits behind my left shoulder on the top edge of the couch when I watch TV; either that, or she crawls under the afghan I'll wrap around myself at those times. She always sleeps with me. I think it's easier being Sophie than it is being Ezekiel. Less work. More relaxing. Not so regimented. I did something right with her. With Zeke, well, if the price I must pay for finding him inscrutable as a kitten is paying attention to him as a full-grown tom, I can live with that. I'll get less sleep, and there will be more slime, but I'll live. In a very structured, ritualized way.
scarlettina: (Just Keep Swimming!)
It is Wednesday morning and the day has dawned cold and clear. Zeke chose this morning to be creatively obnoxious about getting me out of bed, looking for new things to knock off of the furniture. He has also taken to poking at my printer and at the paper tray because it makes annoying noises. Sophie, as usual, tried to cuddle and love me out of bed. Cuddling up to me in a warm, comfy bed, contrary to her thinking, will not do this. Eventually I did get up, partly because I couldn't deal with Zeke's shenanigans anymore and partly because, well, OK, it was time.

Everyone's claws are getting clipped today. Just sayin'.

I'm leaving, on Friday morning, for parts south for the weekend, and I keep looking around the house, wondering what I can do to mitigate feline mischief in my absence. Decluttering seems to be the primary task. Oy.

I purchased new pajamas last night, something I haven't done in quite a while. It seemed prudent to do so, seeing as how I'll be staying with friends who shouldn't be subjected to my usually rather minimal sleeping attire. The PJs are soft and pretty and modest enough that I'll wear them even when I'm home by myself, and the top is long enough to be a nightshirt, not just a pajama top, so yay for flexible sleepwear!

I know that it's cold because it's January and that one of January's defining characteristics is that it's cold, but why is it so cold?
scarlettina: (Rainy Day)
Right now, I'm looking for reasons to be cheerful. So here's a list:

1) I got to spend a lovely, quiet Thursday evening with [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden, who was perfect company after a tough week. W had pizza for dinner, then sat by the fireplace place talking, drinking whiskey, and discussing girl things. It was a perfect visit.

2) I got to attend a friend's large, fun 60th birthday this past weekend. She booked the Fremont Abbey for the event, which turned out to be a pretty terrific party venue. She had a DJ and bar upstairs, and a gaming room and food downstairs. I invited [livejournal.com profile] suricattus along to meet some of the locals and party along with us. I danced a lot because I really wanted to, and without realizing it ended up leading some folks doing the Time Warp. Apparently this is now one of my roles--and one I gladly embrace. Rocky Horror was so formative an experience for me; the Time Warp seems to have become my personal folk dance. We had a pretty great time.

3) I had a small group of friends over this past Sunday night to watch the series premier of The Librarians, the new TV series based on the three Noah Wylie TV movies. It was light, goofy fun, very much what was needed. I was glad to have friends over--EB, [livejournal.com profile] suricattus, [livejournal.com profile] varina8 and [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus--for a pleasant, low-key evening.

4) I've been reading a book on loan from [livejournal.com profile] varina8 called People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and quite enjoying it. It's about an old, mysterious, and beautiful haggadah, and the book restorer who's been asked to conserve it and learn about its history. The book alternates between stories from the haggadah's history and the conservator's search and her life. It's very well-written, very well-managed. As I continue to try to navigate my way through writing my own novel, I find myself examining things like structure from an entirely new perspective and it's a fascinating way to read.

5) I spent so much time away from home last week that I've been savoring being home with the kitties. It's hard for me to leave for work--for pretty much anywhere right now--that will mean being away from my four-footed housemates. With the coming of the cold, they've both been pretty cuddly, and I can't say that I object.

I've been feeling and thinking about other things, too, how relentlessly dark it's been, how I seem to be coming down with a cold, how I'm not ready for the holidays, how unhappy I am with my weight right now. But I'm not going to dwell upon them here. Right now, it would serve no purpose. I'm going to go spend some time playing with Zeke. I don't think there's been quite enough of that.

Mother's Day

Sun, May. 11th, 2014 11:49 am
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
So . . . it's Mother's Day in the US. For those of us who lost their mothers young, it's always a tough day. I miss my mom. I was angry at her for years -- when she got sick, when she died. I was angry at her for how she dealt with my father's death, but that's mainly because at 11 years old, I didn't truly understand what she was mourning, and I was busy mourning, too. When I lived back east, Mothers' Day was the day I went to the cemetery. Fathers' Day, too. I had a lot of residual anger at my mom that I've worked my whole adult life to process and, somewhere around 10 years ago or so, it seems to have just evaporated. I'm sure that this was the result of a lot of years of therapy but, more importantly, I'm sure it was also the result of just getting older, accumulating more experience, thinking and processing everything that happened, and then letting go of the things I had no control over back then and things I'll never be able to change. This is part of the process of growing up, maturing -- in one fashion or another. I can love her for who she was and all that she brought with her. I can love her for what she tried to do and for what she succeeded in doing. I can love her for making me and my brother. I can love her.

I always wanted to be a mother. I very much wanted to have children. I think I've written about this here before: that I wanted to have a family, but I didn't want to do it alone. I considered single motherhood. I wrote up a list of the friends I thought I'd ask about donating sperm, though I never floated the suggestion with any of them. (My list today would be significantly different than it was back then, with one key exception.) But in the end, doing it with a partner was key, and I never quite managed to find that partner. (Not saying it won't happen, but the childbearing aspect is pretty much a non-starter at this point.) And so there are no children. It still makes me sad. And I still find myself thinking things like, "When I have a daughter . . ." I can't seem to break the habit.

On Facebook today, I've seen people saying things like:
  • "And for all women who chose not to be moms: you made a valid choice that was right for you."

  • "My deepest love and respect to any who have accepted that extraordinary challenge; to all who seek to do so; and to all who made the equally righteous choice to leave motherhood to others for one reason or another."

  • "So, happy Mothers' Day to all you women out there; chances are that, even if you haven't mothered a human child, you've mothered a cat or a puppy or a friend in need. Cheers, all of you, all of us."

I find these posts enormously comforting. I made my choice for the right reasons, even though they were hard reasons. But they were the right ones; of this I am certain. It's a balm to me to see acknowledgment of those choices as valid and worthy.

And you know, if that last quote has any bearing at all, then for Flatbush, Merlin, Spanky, Sophie and Ezekiel, I've been a mother -- mother enough at any rate. And if it's not too self-aggrandizing to say so, I think maybe I've been a mother to a friend every now and then.

I'll take that, for what it's worth.
scarlettina: (Happy birthday cupcake!)
Five years ago today, a little calico tortie cat was born. She has grown into a beautiful queen. She is the first girl cat I've ever had, and she has a kind of sweetness that reminds me of my dear Merlin in his later years. Mostly what she wants is company, cuddles and a warm patch of sunshine. When she's happy, she does sommersaults. She's five years old, my sweet little clown, my lovely girl.

Just look at her--how she started and what she looks like today.



And here she is with her younger brother. Are they the best of friends? No. But they have definitely achieved a friendly detente. (Sophie's learned to look at the camera; Zeke hasn't quite figured out yet that he's doomed to a life as a photographic subject at Chez [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina. He'll get there.)

scarlettina: (Five)
1) LJ and post-writing: I'm getting lazy about my LJ posts, posting a lot of "5 Things" lists and not going in-depth. Bad me. But I've got two in-depth posts brewing that I hope to add this weekend: one on the Oscar-nominated Animated Short Films, which I saw last night with [livejournal.com profile] varina8 and one on all the evangelizing going on online about self-publishing and about writers who can't bother themselves to take an interest in the success of their own work.

2) Light-fixture shopping: Today I'm going light-fixture shopping. It should be fun, but I also admit that I'm a little intimidated. What if I get the wrong thing? What if the people in my life disagree with my choice of light fixture? What if . . . what if . . . what if? My plan is to photograph the room where the fixture will go, measure said room, and to engage the help of knowledgeable sales people wherever I go to look at fixtures. I may be intimidated, but I won't let that stop me. I'm laying groundwork for larger work to come.

3) Craftiness: I knitted a thing. Well, I knitted a scarf. I did it with a knitting loom, which somehow made it easier and more sustainable for me than using needles. It's a pretty thing in brown and pink. Will I knit another thing? Not sure, though I have a mild, incessant urge to go yarn shopping. I fear it.

4) Smashed penny stuff: I find myself once more on the Board of Governors of The Elongated Collectors. As such, I am the administrator for the club's annual coin design challenge. Members submit designs and the board selects a winner, said design to be turned into a smashed penny and distributed to the club. I really enjoy this event. My greatest regret, especially this year, is that as the administrator I can't submit a design. Why do I regret it this year? Because the theme is celebrating science and science fiction! :: sigh ::

5) Cats: Zeke and Sophie are both happy and healthy. But I am required by Their Royal Highnesses to rise from my bed at stupid-early in the morning, even on a holiday weekend. This makes for a cranky [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina. I may go back to bed for a bit before I actually go out to face the day.
scarlettina: (Snowflake 2)
1) Vague-booking about social drama: The phrase "I thought this was a safe space" is often--not always, but often--deployed as a guilt trip when someone says something or does something inappropriate and is called on it. That shit just makes me crazy. And it makes me crazier when it's used by someone whom I thought was either more straightforward or less manipulative than their use of the phrase indicates they really are.

2) Weather: The entire rest of the country is being challenging by extreme weather. In Seattle we've got sub-freezing temperatures, which is pretty extreme for this part of the nation, but it's been dry and clear. The fact is we're getting off pretty easy compared to, for example, New York, Pennsylvania, and so on. This doesn't lessen the fact that it's freaking cold and I'm wearing more layers than I would prefer.

3) Cat-sitting: My cat-sitter has sent out a card announcing that she's retiring at the end of June. I knew it would come--she's an older woman--but I'm really sad. She's been a fixture of my time in Seattle, and though our relationship has mostly consisted of phone calls, I'll miss her. I've contacted her about two more kitty visits before she retires, and I've put into motion the obtaining of what I hope will be an appropriate farewell gift for her.

4) Making things: I recently picked up a knitting loom and am nearly done with my first scarf, a stretch of brown and pink wool that I'm looking forward to wearing. I don't know whether or not I'll keep up with this, but it's been a fun project, and I expect to finish it this weekend. We'll see what happens from here.

5) Foolscap: The convention was last weekend. It marks a year since my last car accident and the start of my experiment in carless living. We know how the experiment turned out. It was a fun weekend, but the convention came up so quickly, with so little fanfare from the concom, that it was an unexpected occupation of my time and I'm behind on a number of projects as a result. This weekend, also crazy busy--but at least planned busy-ness, will be partly spent catching up. But I'm going to be behind in stuff for a while yet.
scarlettina: (Crankyverse)
I had a perfectly lovely evening last night, attending the Paramount Theater's Silent Movie Monday with SA to see the first-ever cinematic adaptation of "Peter Pan" with live accompaniment. The music was provided by Jim Riggs playing the theater's Mighty Wurlitzer, a magnificent machine that produces remarkable, orchestral music, along with harpist Leslie McMichael, providing additional music. The score was composed by both Riggs and McMichael--separate scores that they interleaved for the performance. The movie was charming and the music quite lovely.

Came home and went to bed early, completely wiped out but very happy.

My plan was to get up, shower, have breakfast, write a check for my neighbor who did some electrical work for me last weekend, and then head to the bus.

Th best laid plans of Zeke's human owner seldom go well . . . because I discovered that Zeke had overturned a plant pot. So now, instead of getting to work nice and early, I'll be late because I have to clean up his damn mess and try to save the African violet that he overturned.

scarlettina: (Five)
1) Books: Having enjoyed Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, I picked up Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in her Finishing School series. I understand that its target audience is YA, but I've read some excellent YA titles. This? I'm halfway through and I'm just finding it a little tiresome. It's the second book I've put down unfinished recently (the first having been Murder in Belleville by Cara Black; I just didn't care) which, for me, is rather remarkable. Moving on to Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, which I'm finding entertaining, though the rambling sentences and extended parentheticals may drive me to distraction. We'll see.

2) Sports: After yesterday's championship qualifier at CLink Stadium, it looks like the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl. I've never in my life cared about football, but the spirit of the 12th Man* is so strong in Seattle, I find it rubbing off on me a bit. The anticipation around town this week was very strong and after last night's win, spirits are very high. Toward the end of the game yesterday, I saw a firework through my living room window explode over Lake Union. People are excited. I may actually watch the Super Bowl this year for more than just the commercials.

3) State of me: I was very low yesterday morning, getting almost no writing done at our Sunday morning meet-up and hating everything I've written recently. I was aggravated with myself and impatient with everything. I think some of this is hormonal and some of it seasonal. I also think it has to do with the amount of sugar I ingested yesterday morning. I must be far more careful with what I put into my body. I must get far better with my self-care. I'm sure I'll be writing more about this another time. This morning? Not so much.

4) Travel: I'm going to be in New York City for a few days in March and have been trying to find lodging for myself and my travel partner. I've been contacting places to stay through VRBO.com, with which I've had excellent luck before, but so far, bupkiss. Not that I haven't found anything. I've found several lovely apartments listed as available, but one declined our reservation, and the other two haven't responded--just radio silence. I'll be following up on the second and third today, and if I can't get anything nailed down, then I'll be pursuing a fallback position that will be perfectly adequate but not what we thought would be optimal. I really want to get this lodging issue nailed down so I can focus on other elements of the trip, and this chasing about for lodging is very frustrating.

5) Cats: Zeke is beginning to mellow. He's about a year and a half now, and he's getting a little more chill. He still has his asshole moments, knocking things off of shelves for attention, walking around the house whining because he's not getting what he wants--I guess that doesn't make him an asshole so much as a teenager. But he's handsome and he's becoming a bit of a cuddlebug, about which I cannot complain. Sophie is her usual sweet and affectionate self. She has taken to a fur mouse I purchased for her, tossing it about, carrying it around in her mouth and so on. I am purely delighted with her, as always.

Bonus! 6) Watched Downton Abbey and the season premiere of Sherlock last night. I want to care more about Downton than I'm finding that I do this season. I may watch the episode via the Masterpiece web site again later this week to figure out why I'm not as engaged. The Sherlock episode was terrific. I'm wildly curious about who targeted Watson in with the rest of it. I may need to watch that episode again, too. Cumberbatch and Freeman have such great chemistry together; they're a delight.

* 12th Man: This term refers to Seahawks fandom, which is practically a tangible force inside the stadium and throughout the region. It's a big deal in these parts. There are "12" flags all over town.
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
I don't have children. I wanted them very much, but I wanted to share the experience, not to do it alone. I thought about that decision hard and for a very long time. I thought about doing it myself, friends or lovers I might ask to be donors. I thought about what raising a child alone might be like. I didn't want it, not because I thought it would be hard, but because I wanted a particular kind of experience for any child I might have, and I wasn't sure I could provide it by myself. Since I've never managed to find a life partner with whom to share them, I don't have children.

What I have is cats.

When my third cat, Merlin (that's him in the icon there), was old, he became a heat-seeker because he got so thin and frail that he was always cold. This meant that he'd spend a lot of time on my lap or my chest. (Also, on top of the TV, by the baseboard heaters, and so on.) Something that I never noticed with Blackie or Flatbush, but that I noticed with Merlin because he was so thin, was that as he settled onto me and fell asleep, I could feel him breathing, sighing and, sometimes, I could feel his purr or heartbeat against my leg or my chest: completely vulnerable, completely OK with that. I remember the first time I felt it: it was a little awe-inspiring, because my first thought was, "His life is in my hands." I never thought of having a companion animal in that way before. I have never not appreciated that since then.

Sophie is curled up on my lap as I type this now, and I can feel the vibration of her purr against my leg. She is completely relaxed. It implies a complete trust that I find both remarkable and humbling. I am responsible for her health, happiness and safety. The trust implied in her surrendering herself to sleep in my lap both willingly and, in fact, rather insisting upon it, never fails to impress me. I guess I'm doing something right.

I worry sometimes that she gets bored or lonely. I worry that Zeke isn't quite the right companion for her (or she for him), no matter how marvelous I think he is. I worry that I don't provide him with enough stimulation; he's so assertive about play. I worry that he feels rejected when I just can't accommodate him for one reason or another. I worry that Sophie gets jealous that I play with Zeke more than I do with her because he's so pushy about it.

I don't know if this experience has anything in common with parenthood. It has been suggested to me that it's folly to compare the experiences. And yet, this is what I've got. I've raised four cats from kittenhood, and all I can hope is that I've been at least as good a companion to them as they have been to me. Better I hope. More aware. They wait for me when I'm gone; Sophie is always on the steps to the front door when I arrive home. Sometimes, but not always, Zeke waits there, too. It's my obligation to make their time interesting, comfortable, healthy and safe. I do the best I can.

So these are my companions. They're smart and funny and mischievous. I want to be worthy of the complete trust implied when I feel them relax completely on my lap, take a deep breath, and exhale with a purr.

Love and loyalty

Wed, Oct. 2nd, 2013 08:40 pm
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
Quite some time ago, I spent about 6 months with a man I was pretty fond of. It all ended rather badly, mainly because he was a dysfunctional coward. But the one good thing he did that stuck was give Sophie what I came to call the mouse-snake, a toy that was a mouse head with a rattle inside, and a long fur tail. She took the tail apart within a couple of months, but has preserved the head, loved the head, carried the head around with her ever since.

Tonight I came home to find the head in two pieces on the staircase: the rattle inside and the fur covering separate from each other. I picked them both up, saluted their faithful service and, while Sophie wasn't looking, put them in the kitchen garbage.

I just came out of the bathroom to find them both on the kitchen floor. She'd opened the cabinet, gotten into the garbage and pulled them out. That, my friends, is true love.

Now I'm trying to figure out if there's cat-safe glue somewhere that I can use to repair the thing. I was thinking about epoxying it all together, but I suspect it wouldn't be safe so--not doing that. I've also poked around the internet trying to find another one of these toys--to no avail. I'll figure something out. Sophie needs her mouse-snake.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) I am in the process of cleaning up my bedroom. It's fascinating what such archeology can turn up, especially given my epic levels of clutter tolerance. Here's one thing I've realized over the last couple of days: Leaving things in piles for stupid-long periods of time enables me to detach from them emotionally, making them easier to dispose of when I finally dismantle the piles. I don't think I ever consciously understood this before. It's not a technique I recommend but apparently it's one way I deal with separation anxiety from clothes and other emotionally-freighted inanimate objects. Back in the dark corners of my head, I fear this is the first step toward my becoming a hoarder.

2) Cats are creatures of habit. I have always known this; it's a thing you come to understand after living with them for decades. But Zeke takes it to a whole new level. Mornings are models of clockwork efficiency:
--Wake up human at 5 AM on the dot by confirming that gravity still functions. Method: Knock the glasses case off the night table.
--Meow for breakfast.
--Eat breakfast and then attempt to eat other cat's breakfast.
--Meow for playtime. Ensure that gravity still functions by attempting to knock toy dalek off shelf, thereby rousing human from breakfast table.
--Playtime: chase feather toy. Fetch feather toy.
--Meow for attention.
--Settle into human's lap, knead arm, soak sleeve with drool.
--Retreat to quiet corner and chill.
This pattern occurs every morning. Every morning. There is no breaking it. This is why it's hard for me to write in the mornings. Zeke must be attended to. If I put him in the carrier, it's 20 minutes of piteous meowing, which also interferes with writing.

3) Sophie attempted to rip open my arm yesterday. Actually, she succeeded in a pretty spectacular fashion. As I removed her from the kitchen table, she inflicted upon my wrist a three-inch gouge that, 24 hours later, is still sore, not to mention the lighter, 5-inch scratch further up that same arm. I look like something out of Frankenstein's laboratory. It will most certainly leave a mark.

4) Winter is coming. My bedding is in transitional mode. Yesterday I removed and washed the summer bedding and replaced it with summer sheets and a winter quilt. It's not quite yet cold enough for me to put on the jersey sheets yet, though I suspect the time is coming. Must start transitioning the closet as well.

5) I'm starting a work-out routine again. I'll probably write more about this at some point soon, but there's a gym in the basement of my office building equipped with not just the usual gym accoutrements but a full-time manager and trainers. I have an appointment with a trainer today. I'm hoping to kickstart my weight loss again. Should be interesting.
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
Just call him Danger Cat.

Yesterday, for some reason, Zeke decided that it was time to make his break for it any way he could. In the morning, he zipped out the front door while I was juggling bags of recycling for disposal. He got all the way to the front of the building, and I had to navigate a path under the shrubs and trees to grab him and bring him in. He didn't protest my retrieval, but I think he knew he'd done something he shouldn't do.

Later in the afternoon, I was here with MD. We were geeking out over things genealogical when we heard a scrabble-scrabble-thump from the balcony. Zeke had gone over the edge. I ran down to the backyard, but didn't see him anywhere. Then I heard a meow from above. Somehow, he had caught himself on the balcony below mine. He looked fine, but I had to get him--and my neighbor was to be out of town the whole weekend. In the end, we got the emergency key for that apartment from the condo association secretary and, with permission from the neighbor, got in and retrieved my little daredevil.

Inspection revealed that he'd shattered and torn a couple of claws. He was a little bloody but the claws were all still there. His paws were a little tender but he was otherwise just a fine. One phone call to the vet later and I knew what I had to do to care for him. He spent the rest of the day being remarkably quiet (for him), curled up on a towel on the big easy chair in my living room. Guess he'd had enough excitement for one day.

This cat has been more destructive and has tested his boundaries more than any other cat I've ever had. There's never a dull moment with Ezekiel.
scarlettina: (Happy birthday cupcake!)
When he came to my home, he looked like this:
Ezekiel wants to play

Today, on his first birthday, he looks like this:
Ezekiel's glamour shot

Happy birthday to my sweet gray ghost, my little gray terrorist, my Ezekiel. I'm so glad you joined my family.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) My birthday is tomorrow and I still don't know what I want to do with the day. On the one hand, I feel like the best gift I could give myself is a trip to University Village for a haircut and a meeting at the Genius Bar to deal with my borked iPhoto (assuming appointments are available for each so close to the date). In other words, the best gift I could give myself is to feel better about how I look and to get a daily-use tool back in working order. On the other hand, I feel like I ought to go have an adventure somewhere, whether it's a trip to Woodland Park Zoo to see the new jaguar cubs or to sit on the beach and sun myself at Golden Gardens or maybe rent a car for the day and take a day trip: Centralia for antiquing (not that I need anything, mind) or somewhere I can take pictures (maybe the Skagit Wildlife Area. Treats, I suppose, are more the order of the day than practicality. Must make a decision soon, though. Last year my birthday was a perfect, perfect day, full of celebration; this year I want to be fairly low-key--just simple.

2) Last night, I went with [livejournal.com profile] varina8 to see Fill the Void at SIFF, an Israeli film made by a Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox Jewish) woman director with a cast and crew of both Haredi and secular members. It's a practically unprecedented project and a very, very good film. There was a lot of press about it when it first came out, which is how I first learned about it. (Excellent interview with the director and with the star of the film.) It tells the story of a young woman, Shira, who's about to get married when her older, married sister dies in childbirth. When her brother-in-law tells the family he's going to take the new baby and move to Belgium to marry again, Shira's mother, unable to deal with this second loss, proposes he stay and marry Shira instead. Shira must choose what she's going to do. The film is sensitive and beautifully shot, with lovely, understated performances. It's won all sorts of awards and, I think, deserved the recognition. Recommended.

3) Sophie's had digestive issues lately. An impromptu visit to the vet on Saturday resulted in getting some medication for her. I know she's OK; her behavior is otherwise normal and healthy. But she's clearly had digestive distress. I'm glad I could take the time to get her looked at.

4) Zeke broke the malachite lion figurine that I brought home from Kenya. I'll be getting out the epoxy to fix it. I have something else I have to fix that way, too.

5) It's busy, stressful days at work right now. I'm trying so hard to be focused and productive, but there's stuff all around that's distracting, stressful, personalities at the office who intend to help but just make things more fraught. It's the way of business, I know. Generally speaking, I'm liking the work and the people. It's just a tough time there right now. I'm going away for the weekend in two weeks; I can't wait for the break.


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