Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
There are a few bloggers I read who are currently mourning the loss of a parent. And I mean they are GRIEVING, HARD, with post after post about how much they miss mom or dad and how sad it is and how they'll never ever get over this loss and ...
... when my Dad died, in 1999, I was sad. He passed away just six weeks after his cancer diagnosis. The doctors had given him six months; I think he just wanted to get it over with. I was scheduled to fly down to Florida to visit with him and Mom, but he died before I got there. I was sad about that; that I didn't get to see him one last time. But his death was not altogether unexpected; he'd been a heavy drinker and smoker his entire life, and he did make it to seventy-six. So I was sad, but I wasn't heartbroken. Everybody dies ...
... except, apparently, for my Mom, who is now eighty-seven. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease eleven years ago, not long after my Dad died. Mom just keeps fading, and fading, and fading. She doesn't know where she is or who anybody is. Sometimes I think she recognizes me, and other times I'm pretty sure she doesn't. Right now she is in respite care in a local nursing home for a week; a trial run, as it were. I'm sure that soon she'll be in nursing care full time, as she is less and less able to function. Ironically, other than the Alzheimer's, she's healthy as a damn horse - I could see her easily going another ten years, a husk of who she used to be.
And will I be sad when she dies? Yes. I'll be sad that she missed out on so many years, there in the fog. I'll miss the woman she used to be, before her brain started getting eaten away by disease. Will I mourn, will I grieve? Maybe, but I don't think so.
Does that make me a bad person? That I won't be falling on my knees, rending my clothes, sobbing my eyes out at her funeral, like all those other bloggers? I hope I'm not a bad person. But maybe I am. Because you know what? I mourned the passing of my cats more than I grieved the loss of my father. My cats were part of my everyday life, and I only saw my Dad a few times a year, due to geographical distance. My cats loved me dearly, and my Dad? Well, I'm sure he loved me, but he was a typical Dad of his time, and shows of affection were not something he did. Put simply, we weren't very close.
So yeah. I cried more over my cats than I did my Dad, and I don't think I'm going to be too awfully broken up when Mom dies.
Man. Maybe I really AM a shit.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Like the man who stopped by and informed me that feral cats will often pal up with wild skunks. No, really! According to him, cats and skunks hang out together all. the. time.
The only experience I have with cats and skunks is that one time Rocky came home after being sprayed by a skunk, but hey! Maybe it was an accident. Maybe the skunk was just trying to be fraynds.
Oh, and then there was the dude who told me that you can get rid of fleas by pouring salt on your carpets. Actually, it turns out there is a little bit of truth to that one, but frankly, I think I'd rather have fleas than have to walk around on crunchy carpets.
You hear about the cats who have been left behind when people move. About the people down the street who have fifteen mangy cats. And about how when the local shelters are called for help, people are told "no". Unfortunately, around here at least, that tends to be the rule rather than the exception. As long as people think that a female cat has to have "just one litter" before she's fixed, as long as people think you can wait until a cat's a year old to get it neutered, as long as people like that awful blogger I stopped reading think it's funny for their cat to impregnate half the cats in the neighborhood, the shelters will continue to be overwhelmed. (The foster group I work for always tries to help - we often do not have a space in foster care for the cats, but we will provide food and, if possible, medical care until space opens up.)
And! you get to hear the stories about how people adopted shelter cats. Or about how they took in the stray that showed up on their doorstep and spent months and thousands of dollars nursing it back to health. One lady talked about how when she adopts a shelter cat, she always picks the "senior citizens", because she knows they don't have much of a chance. And isn't that what you hope will happen - that there's somebody out there who takes the older cats? Turns out, there is.
And now I've got to go google "cats and skunks". I don't think it's true, but hey! Who knows?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
1. Strip Club by Lily Burana - Memoir of a stripper. Interesting.
2. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout - Novel about an uptight mom and her teenage daughter. Both of the main characters were so clueless that it made me cringe, although that may have been what the author was aiming for. Meh.
3. Nickel Mountain by John Gardner - Novel about a diner owner. Bo-ring.
Let's do some movie reviews!
4. Iron Maiden: Flight 666. Documentary. I stumbled across this one on VH1 Classics one night. I was never a big fan of Iron Maiden, until I watched this doc. I didn't know that it was them who did that song "Run to the Hills" - you know, the one that VH1 (or was it MTV) used for an ad, with the still-frame kitten?
Okay, it was VH1. ANYway, this was a really entertaining doc, and the lead dude can flat out SING.
5. You Think You Really Know Me - The Gary Wilson Story - documentary about a local musician popular in the seventies who kind of fell off the face of the earth. Interesting for the local references.
6. Super 8 - Oh, man, this got really good reviews. The first half-hour or so is fantastic, but the rest of it was WAY too Goonies-ish for my taste. I can imagine that pre-adolescent boys LOVED this movie, but me? Meh. And the ending? Don't get me started.
Okay, let's go back to books.
7. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall. Novel about an orphan's adventures. Man, I tried, I really did, but I finally gave up on page 318, with another hundred still to go.
8. Here We Go Again by Betty White. I love her, and I thought this would be a memoir of her personal life, but instead it was more like a history of television. I guess it would be interesting if you're into that sort of thing.
9. World of Pies by Karen Stolz - Not as good as "Fanny and Sue", another book of hers, but still charming. A quick read.
So! That's what I've been reading. How about you?
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
And almost immediately afterword, I found out that the foster group was having a fundraising bake sale, and could I bring anything?
Well, I'm not really a baker, but I DID have a gift card to Panera, so ... yeah. Which actually was kind of a waste, because never having been to Panera before, I didn't know that they were charging TWO BUCKS A COOKIE. Which is flippin' highway robbery and a total rip-off, as far as I'm concerned.
Now. At some point between now and New Year's, T. will be inviting me and some of the other neighbors over for coffee and cookies. And I know - I KNOW - that she will ask me if I'd enjoyed using the gift card.
Do I tell her the truth? That I used the card for the bake sale? Or do I lie and tell her I used it for myself, which was her intent? And let's not forget that the LAST time I lied to her, the infamous pizza incident, I felt AWFUL afterward. But I don't want her to feel bad that I used the card for something else.
Gah. This holiday shit is confusing.
Update! I've got another one for ya - I just got a letter informing me that the IRS owes our company three hundred bucks. Good news, right? Except the reason they owe us three hundred bucks is because way back in August, I transposed some numbers on a tax form and overpaid them. The boss is not gonna be happy that I (accidentally) overpaid. Do I fess up NOW, upon receipt of the letter, or wait until next week, after the Christmas bonuses have been distributed?
Honestly? I'm gonna tell him today. I don't want that hanging over my head all weekend. But am I being a schmuck? Should I have waited? You be the judge!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wait a minute, Rocky, you're saying. Didn't you just HAVE a root canal?
Why, yes, yes I did. And here's where things get squicky, so if you don't want to hear about dental stuff, turn away. I hear Pioneer Woman's got pics of a bassett hound up today. Oh wait, that's every day.
What I had done on the Monday after Thanksgiving, f*ck you very much tooth gods, was an emergency pulpotomy, where they pull the nerve to stop the pain. Unfortunately, that is not the total root canal package, as it were, so I had to go back yesterday morning for Step 2 of 4.
Over two hours in the chair. Granted, some of that was due to my glass jaw and having to take a break every fifteen minutes or so, but still, two hours of unspeakable dental shit is a long damn time.
Still all jacked up on novocaine, I made it back to the office, where I promptly informed my boss that I would be leaving early.
You know, it can be kind of risky taking time off in the week before Christmas, considering that we get our year-end bonuses on Christmas Eve, but hey. Sometimes a gal's gotta take that chance.
So I left early, went home, popped a Flexeril, and God only knows what happened after that, 'cause I was OUT.
Best decision I've made in a while.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Their whistlestop engagement started last Saturday, when we had an adoption event at the local Agway. They did remarkably well, mostly just sleeping in their crate as people oohed and aahed over their royal selves. A lot of the attention was directed at another foster cat there, a giGANtic orange named Lawson, who walks on a leash like a dog. No kidding!
Then, they were off to the foster coordinator's home for the rest of the weekend, so that they could go to a clinic in a neighboring county on Monday to have a little *cough* "work" done. Yesterday morning, they went to the vet to get, well, vetted, and yesterday afternoon they came to my office for a couple of hours, and then we all headed home.
When we got to the house, they playplayPLAYED for about half an hour, and then - out like trout. They slept so hard I was half tempted to dress them up in the Santa hats and take some incriminating photos, but they'd had a hard few days - I gave 'em a break.
So! Mouse and Romeo, back for a visit. Welcome, guys! Rest your paws awhile.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Now, on with the story.
I had to run downtown the other day to pick up some papers from a client. I go into his office suite and explain my purpose to the receptionist, who goes and gets the client's secretary, who comes out with the paperwork. I turn around, start back through the offices, and hear someone call out, "Hey Rocky!*"
It's a woman who I SWEAR I had never seen before in my life.
"How have you been?!" she asks.
"ummmm, great!" I reply. "How have YOU been?", frantically searching my brain because oh my God who IS this woman?
"Oh, I've been good," she says, "Are you coming to the Christmas party?"
"Gee, I don't know!", I say. Is it someone new from the foster group? A neighbor's kid? Someone I used to know from someone else's office who is now working for this client? Who IS she?
"Oh, you've GOT to come," she says, describing the party.
"Well", I say, "Sounds like I'd better not miss it, then!"
"Okay, see you later!", she says, as I make my exit.
You know, it sounded like kind of a lame party, anyway. Just as well that I won't be there.
*Not my real name.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Here is Romeo*:
And here is Mouse:
Doesn't Mouse look like a chunkier version of Dumplin'?
And speaking of chunky, it is a mystery to me how these kittens, rescued ferals, came to me as candidates for Weight Watchers. I mean, I know a kind lady was feeding their colony, but what the heck was she feeding them, Twinkies and steroids? And yes, they have been wormed, so it's not worm-weight. Did I just squick you out? Sorry. You would be amazed at the amount of worms one kitty-belly can hold. Whoops - sorry again.
Look at those fat faces! Look at those big necks! If you look at them from above, it's like looking at the freaking Goodyear Blimp. Blimp. That's what they should have been named: Blimp and Zeppelin. Geez. Needless to say, they are on diets. RockyCat's Kitty Weight Loss Camp diet. No treats for you! Okay, maybe a leeetle one. Now, on to the exercise machines!
In the last week, they have friendlied-up sufficiently so that they will be going to an adoption event tomorrow. And you know what finally turned the tide? Toys. I started out with the "good" toys, the battery-operated ones that spin around and squeak and move, in the spare room where the kittens were hiding. A couple of days after they started venturing out from under the bed to play, I moved the toys into the hallway. Then into the far end of the living room. Then right in the middle of the living room, so if they wanted to play with the awesome toys, they had to tolerate my presence. And petting. And it worked!
Ha. All it took was an Undercover Mouse, and they broke. Patsies.
So anyway, wish us luck for tomorrow! And let's all hope that nobody gets food poisoning from the cupcakes I made for the bake sale.
* I DID NOT NAME THESE KITTENS. I am NOT the one giving the kittens these horrible, awful names, I SWEAR TO YOU. It is not I.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
1. They look like they're freezing their asses off. Here in upstate New York, standing outside a grocery store ringing a bell for hours at a time is NOT where you want to be this time of year. I feel guilty as I rush by them, all bundled up, to get into the nice warm store.
2. Okay, here's where the Grinch in me really comes out. I'm sure that the Salvation Army does many, many good things. And one of the good things is that they have a residence hall, not far from my office, for homeless men. That's good, right? Except, every freaking time I drive past that place, there's a bunch of the guys from the hall out by the curb, smoking.
Now. If somebody wants to smoke, well, that's their right. I did it for many years. But. These are the homeless men, whom the Sal has given a place to live. Where are they getting the money for the cigarettes? In this neck of the woods, cigs are now, like, NINE BUCKS A PACK. Shit, one of the reasons I quit smoking was because it was getting so expensive.
And I've got a sneaking suspicion that the money for the cigarettes? Is coming, directly or not, right out of the bell-ringers' red kettles. Oh, I'm sure the residence hall director isn't exactly saying, "Here, Joe, here's ten bucks, go buy yourself some smokes", but realistically? These homeless men are being supported by the Sal. And are somehow able to afford cigarettes. And I put two and two together, and, well ... it's been a long time since I've put any money into those red kettles.
Just call me Grinch.
Anything about Christmas that ticks you off?
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The new parents were very excited to take Sammy and Deli home and get to know them better. I'm sure it's a great match all around. The new mom actually hugged me when they left, which was pretty cool.
Bye Sammy! Bye Deli!
Lay off the booze, okay?
Bye, guys! Have a great life!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Now, I'm pretty sure I do this every year, so here we go -
That's a turkey, in case you can't tell. Sorry about the crapola pic - I took it through the car window facing the sun.
Monday, December 12, 2011
And now! On Saturday, I happened to be at PetSmart. I had been there earlier in the day, visiting with Sammy and Deli (I miss them so much!), and I had to stop back later that afternoon to fill out some volunteer paperwork.
Oh! And in case you were wondering, I asked the foster coordinator if it was okay if I visited with the fosters at PetSmart. I didn't want to upset them, but the f.c. explained that no, the kitties would enjoy having familiar company, and I could visit all I wanted. So unless I learn otherwise, that visiting does bother the fosters, I'll continue doing so. They sure seemed glad to see me on Saturday.
So! I was at PetSmart. There were a couple of people there, a man and a woman about my age, looking at the cats in the adoption center. I couldn't help but overhear the woman saying how she wished there was someone there to show the cats (the volunteers working that day had stepped out for a minute and people can't access the animals when volunteers aren't there), so because I can't seem to mind my own business (cringe), I asked who they were interested in.
"These two", the woman said, pointing to Sammy and Deli.
You just KNOW that I had to start chit-chatting, explaining that I had been their foster mom and talking about the cats, while we waited for the volunteers to come back and open up the adoption center. The woman explained that they had had a cat who had just passed away, and they were looking for one or possibly two kittens to adopt. They had a golden retriever who got along well with cats, and they were really, really looking forward to taking in a kitten or two.
So I kept on talking, telling them how sweet Sammy and Deli were, and how they loved biscuits and peas and pasta, and how they liked to sleep next to each other, and the woman kept saying, "I can't believe you just happened to stop by. It's like it was meant to be. What are the odds? It's like, the angels are singing because you came by just now."
And she was laughing and a little bit teary, and when I left, they were in the adoption center visiting with Sammy and Deli, who were being their adorable selves.
Now. A lot of weird, weird things happen in foster world. Who knows? They may have visited with Sammy and Deli and decided that they weren't the cats for them. But they looked awfully happy when I left.
Fingers crossed, guys, fingers crossed.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Don't worry, I won't put those embarrassing pictures of you guys in Santa hats up on the internet or anythin ... whoops.
Okay, readers, cross your fingers and send good thoughts this way. These guys need a home.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
On Tuesday, I got an email from my brother titled "Cancer Update". And you know how there are some emails you just don't want to open? The ones where it's hard to click on?
My brother has been diagnosed with throat cancer.
This good, fine, funny, gentle man has been diagnosed with cancer.
They are hopeful that it's curable, but the treatment is going to be ... not pleasant. Thirty-three consecutive sessions of radiation therapy.
The kicker, of course, is that after being a life-long smoker, he quit. Over two years ago. It wasn't soon enough.
You know, I always had a laissez-faire attitude about smoking. Hell, I did it myself, for almost thirty years. But now? No. This is too hard. It affects too many people. There are no benefits.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
I guess I'm ready.
If it's going to be December and dark by four o'clock in the afternoon, we might as well have snow. This has been a weird fall - last weekend, I was out putting up the outside Christmas decorations in fifty-degree temps, which just seemed ... wrong. As much as I hate winter, I can't get amped for Christmas without some cold weather. And I'm gonna get it - By this weekend, when I will (hopefully) be getting a tree, the high is supposed to be thirty degrees.
Of course, cold weather means icy roads which means that everyone who has forgotten how to drive in the nine months since we last had snowy weather, i.e., EVERYONE, will be sliding around and skidding into each other and deck the halls and call your insurance agent on your cell from the side of the road.
Winter? Well, it's gonna get here, whether I like it or not, so we might as well get it over with. I guess.
Ho ho ho?
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
I haven't seen her recently, so at Thanksgiving I asked her dad how she was doing.
"Oh, well, she's still drinking", he said. "But just beer now. No more of that vodka. It's the hard stuff that caused the pancreatitis. Beer's okay."
Well. All you have to do is google "pancreatitis diet" to know that beer is not "okay" when you have pancreatitis.
Evidently my niece has convinced her family, and possibly herself, that she can drink oceans of beer, and as long as she stays away from the "hard stuff", it's "okay".
I guess denial is a powerful thing. And so is addiction. This niece's boyfriend claims he "has" to keep drinking, because when he stops, he has seizures. And if he keeps having seizures, he'll lose his job, so, he says, drinking is actually job security.
I used to know a barfly who had to have a couple of beers first thing in the morning in order to get her hands steady enough to put on her eyeliner.
And oh, man, I knew a guy who woke up one morning after a historic bender and couldn't remember his name.
I think I know too many drunks.
Friday, December 02, 2011
2. People who don't let other people merge into traffic. See also: People who start to merge three miles before a lane closure. UR DOIN IT RONG. You are supposed to use BOTH LANES of traffic up to the point of the closure, BOTH LANES, and then take turns merging. If you merge three miles back, thinking that you're being a good doo-bee, and then refuse to let anybody in at the point of closure? YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.
3. Calling people "ginger" instead of redheads. "He's a ginger." I don't know why this grates on me so much; it just does.
Okay! Must be I'm getting mellow in my old age, because I can only think of three things right now. How about you? Anything driving you crazy this morning?
Thursday, December 01, 2011
So! Here's the deal: If you got a card from me last year, you are on the list for this year. If you did NOT get a card from me last year and you would LIKE a card, email me (rockycat24 AT yahoo DOT com) and you'll go on the list for this year. If you DID get a card from me last year and you now hate me and are not speaking to me, email me (that doesn't count as speaking, heh) and you'll go OFF the list.
Got it? Personally, I'm kind of confused. Bottom line? If you want a Christmas card, and you haven't gotten one from me before, email me. Rockycat24 AT yahoo DOT com. Most of the cards will be homemade, and as I am quite possibly the least-crafty person on earth, prepare to receive a card that looks like it was made by a third-grader. Peeps who got cards in previous years, you KNOW what I'm talking about.
Let the gluing-together-of-the-fingers begin!