Tuesday, January 31, 2012
And SHE couldn't get Molly into the carrier. And I have to admit, I was a leetle bit relieved, because at least I know it wasn't just me. The FC finally had to scruff Molly - pick her up by the scruff of the neck - and deposit her directly down into the tipped-up carrier to get her in.
Poor Molly! But she's off at PetSmart to find her new home, so that's a good thing.
And goodness knows that in foster care, they never take away one cat without bringing in another ...
Meet Itty Bitty.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Oh, and this one really creeped me out:
The artist had hung two puppet-things on the wall, and then projected images of women talking onto the puppets - scary and fascinating at the same time.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Q. How did the cats end up here?
A. They each have their own individual story. Is there a cat you're interested in? I'll tell you his story. Unfortunately, none of the stories involve fulfilling a cat's lifelong dream of ending up in the care of an animal rescue group. (No, that is not my actual response. But it's what I'd LIKE to say, sometimes. Often, people seem to believe that there must be some HAPPY reason the cats are in rescue care.)
Q. I want a declawed cat. Are these cats declawed?
A. (Oh my God do not get me started.) No, the cats are not declawed. And no, you may not adopt a cat and then declaw it. If you are adamant in having a declawed cat, I will help you find cats in local shelters who have already (unfortunately) been declawed. Our rescue group strongly disapproves of declawing. (VERY strongly). Would you be interested in a pamphlet on the declawing process and its effect on a cat? (I know, I know, I sound like some kind of PETA weirdo, here, but jeezus CHRIST declawing is brutal.)
Q. I like that cat, but I'm not sure I'm ready to adopt. Would it be mean to go in and visit with it, and then not adopt it?
A. Absolutely not. Come on in! The cats get bored here, and they can use the company. They won't hold it against you if you visit and then don't adopt. You might go home with a little cat fur on your clothes, though. Oh, and only one child at a time, accompanied by an adult - we don't want the cats to get overwhelmed. (And if your child is afraid of cats, this is really NOT the time or the place to try to work through that fear. Do that with a cat you actually KNOW, please. Our cats are not guinea pigs.)
Q. There was a cat here a few weeks ago who isn't here anymore. Did it get adopted?
A. It may have gotten adopted, or it may have gone back to its foster home for a stay. We don't like to keep the cats here for too long in these cages. After a couple of weeks here, they go back to their foster homes for a break. If you can remember the name of the cat, or its coloring, or even just the cage it was in, I can let you know if it was adopted or if it is on break.
Q. Why are the cats so expensive? They're just strays.
A. (cough) The adoption fee is eighty-five dollars. That includes spaying or neutering, all their required shots, testing for feline diseases, a full vet check-up, and microchipping. If you were to
price that out at a local vet, it would be at least four hundred bucks. Plus, some of the cats are ill or injured when they come to us, and require extensive and sometimes expensive medication before they are healthy and ready to be adopted. In the best of circumstances, the adoption group breaks even, and that's not even counting the food while they are in foster care.
Q. The cats don't stay in those little cages, do they? Do they go into bigger cages at night?
A. They stay in the cages you see until they are adopted, or until they go back to a foster home for a break. They do get one-on-one time in the back with volunteers, when volunteers are available, and the volunteers let them out into the visiting area to stretch their legs and play. But no, there are no "bigger cages" in the back. (And THIS is why I am conflicted when my fosters go to PetSmart. The odds of them being adopted skyrocket, but ... little cages.)
Q. Why are there so many older cats here?
A. Many older cats come to us when their elderly owners have to go into a nursing home. It would be great if people would think about who would take their pets if something happened to them, because a lot of the time, the pets end up here.
Q. Why aren't there any kittens here?
A. In this part of the country, there is a "kitten season", which runs from spring into fall, when kittens are available. Few cats get pregnant in the fall, as this would mean having kittens in the cold winter, which is an evolutionary "no-no", so there aren't very many kittens available in the winter time. (That's why the odds of getting your daughter a kitten for Christmas aren't actually all that great.) The few kittens that do come through this time of year are adopted almost immediately.
So! There's some answers to some of the most common questions I get asked. Please keep in mind that I am by no means an authority, and feel free to correct any of my answers in the comments. I'll do another Q & A post as I get more questions - hopefully I'll get some doozies soon!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I like the man. I voted for him. I will vote for him again. And I truly believe that he is trying his best. But I'm beginning to wonder if he isn't a little bit too worried about his legacy. I think maybe he needs to stop trying to play nice, and start doing the nut-busting it's going to take to accomplish his agenda.
On that note, I think Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of New York, is going to run for pres in 2016. And I think he's got a good shot at it. Because he's the grab-you-by-the-throat-and-f*ck-you-up-if-you-don't-do-it-my-way type of politician the Democratic party needs. Sad but true.
Oh! Jackie Bray! The woman in the audience whom Obama pointed out as a rags-to-riches story? Veneers.
It seems kind of odd that the President is just a year older than I am. And my dentist is YOUNGER than I am. By quite a bit. When did I get so old?
So that's my thoughts on last night. Yours?
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
And the thing about the tax forms is that they change every goddam year. Shit, sometimes every quarter. They're always tweaked, just a leetle bit, just enough so you have to learn a bunch of new shit just to be able to figure out what particular information they are asking for.
I love the (tax) code! NOT. CHRIST.
So here I am, filling out this one particular yearly form, and you've got to take the payroll numbers and subtract this and multiply by that and simple, right?
Except this year they've added a twist. This year you've got to take your final numbers, then divide it into the first half of the year and the second half of the year. You have to reverse-engineer the numbers.
And for the love of GOD I cannot figure this out. The numbers are NOT complying. They are NOT adding up, no many how many times I work it through.
And why did they do this? Why did they split the year, causing my brain to melt? BECAUSE THEY CAN.
I think for my next career I want to work for the IRS. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
Monday, January 23, 2012
It's so funny - the first thing a lot of people do when they see the cats is whip out their cell phones and start taking pictures. So, of course I got out MY camera and took a picture of THEM. I wonder if someone was taking a picture of me taking a picture of them taking pictures of the cats?
The weather was awful and the roads were terrible, so I was really surprised at the number of people who came out. And we got adoption applications on three kittens! Yay! Unfortunately, none of them were for Romeo and Mouse. Boo.
So it was off to Petsmart with the boys. Oh, I felt awful. I DO NOT LIKE seeing cats in cages, especially young ones. But I did a shift at the adoption center on Sunday, so I was able to take them (and the other cats there) out of their cage so they could play for a while. Lots of people were interested in them at Petsmart. If they don't get adopted after a couple of weeks, they'll come back to stay with me for a while. Of course I'm torn. I WANT them to get adopted, but geez, the house sure is quiet ...
and how is Molly? Oh, it took Miss Molly all of about two minutes on Saturday to decide that she liked the house MUCH BETTER without those annoying damn kittens in it. I even got her chasing like crazy after the laser pointer - a ten year old cat playing like a maniac. THAT was fun. She's still pretty grumpy a lot of the time, poor old girl. And she gets overstimulated - If I pay attention to her for too long, she'll start to hiss and swat at me. Easy, cat!
Here she is on my lap:
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Hello. My name is Rocky, and I have OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
At least, I think I do. I've never actually been diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure that if you think you have to tap the toaster - with all five fingers of your right hand simultaneously - sixteen times exactly to prevent something awful from happening, you've got OCD.
Sometimes it gets worse, and sometimes it's better. When I'm under a lot of stress, it can get pretty bad. But I cope.
But it can get tiring, thinking that you have to open and close the shampoo bottle a certain number of times or else something bad will happen.
And the "something bad" in the OCD scenario was almost always something involving The Runt and Little Girl. As much as I tried to tell myself that it was ridiculous, that it was just some short-circuit in my brain wiring, that there was NO WAY that something bad would happen to the cats if I didn't open the fridge X number of times, I still kept doing it. Better safe than sorry!
And then two things happened. One, I heard the phrase "magical thinking" used to describe this kind of behavior. And to me, the term "magical" evokes unicorns and fairies and other things that DO NOT EXIST. And whenever the OCD would kick in (pat the side of the couch eight times. Now eight more times. Now eight more times ... ) I would say to myself, "Cut out the magical thinking, already." and it helped.
And then the second thing happened. The Runt and Little Girl died. Yep, the worst thing happened. The thing that all that stupid, ridiculous OCD crap was supposed to prevent ... happened. And I was just as sure as I've ever been sure of anything in my life that it was not my failure to shut the front door five times on some random morning that caused their deaths. They died. Of heart disease. A congenital medical condition that was NOT CAUSED by my slipping up and forgetting the check the hall light twenty times one night before I went to bed.
And the OCD got better. Better than it's been in YEARS. The relief of finally, truly BELIEVING that I could not stop disaster by stepping on each porch step two times was incredible.
Am I cured? Naw. Every once in a while, I catch myself thinking, "If I just shut the bathroom medicine cabinet four times, I won't get into an accident on the slippery roads this morning", and then I tell myself, "This is ridiculous. STOP with the magical thinking, already", and I'm able to rein myself in.
Baby steps, peeps. I've been doing this behavior since I was in junior high, and it's not going to go away overnight. But I am taking baby steps.
There. I fessed up. I feel better now.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Look, I used to really like Dooce. She was one of the first bloggers I read regularly. And then she got famous. And rich.
And instead of blogging about her day-to-day life and the random shit we all deal with, she was blogging about flying to New York! to sign a book deal! And going to Africa with supermodels! And buying a new humongous house! And she was showing photos of her fabulous new furniture! And her incredibly, unbelievably expensive wallpaper!
And I couldn't relate. It wasn't even interesting to me, because if I suddenly got famous and rich I would do things differently than she. Humongous houses and wallpaper so expensive it might as well be made out of hummingbird wings are just not what trips my trigger.
The same thing happened with Pioneer Woman. I used to read her every day, until she got famous and rich and became One Of Them. Instead of one of us ... er ... me.
And so when Dooce, who has blogged extensively about how her husband is the greatest man ever in the history of the world, and about how she loves him SO MUCH, and about how if your marriage hits a rough patch, you just need to go for counseling and everything will be ALL BETTER, God, didn't you already know that? - when she announced that she and hubs were splitting up ... I was glad.
Because she is One Of Them. And I am not. Schadenfreude, baby. Sometimes it just feels damn good. And if that makes me a bad person, well, so be it. I never claimed to be Mother Teresa.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
"Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say" ...
I always wondered where the title came from - what the heck did "25 or 6 to 4" mean?
So I finally did some digging, and here's what I found:
From Songfacts.com -
"This was written by Robert Lamm, who is a keyboard player and singer for Chicago. It's about trying to write a song, with the title referring to the time of day: either 3:35AM (25 to 4) or 3:34AM (26 to 4). Lamm explained on The Chris Isaak Hour: "I was living with a bunch of hippies up above Sunset Strip. One of the advantages of this particular house was that it was in the Hollywood Hills and I could look out over the city late at night. I wanted to try to describe the process of writing the song that I was writing. So, 'waiting for the break of day, searching for something to say, flashing lights against the sky' - there was a neon sign across the city. That song came from the fact that it was 25 or 6 to 4am in the morning when I looked at my watch - I was looking for a line to finish the chorus.Most songs that were written, especially in the early days, whenever I got them to the band and we started rehearsing them, that's when the songs took shape - once these guys got hold of them. There was definitely a lot of raw material, I thought it was a song when I wrote the words down, I wrote the changes down and I brought the charts to rehearsal, but it wasn't really a song until they all played it.""
Ohhhhh. NOW I get it.
Monday, January 16, 2012
She forgot how to use a knife to cut her food a while back, so I have to make sure when I order our food that I get her something fork-able. Oh, and she can't really read any more - I mean, she can read individual words, but she doesn't understand what they mean, so I just ask her what she'd like to eat (Chicken and biscuits? Spaghetti? Grilled cheese?) and then order for her. She'll drink coffee, but you have to be quick and put the creamer in fast to cool it down, or she'll grab it and take a great big diner-hot swig. Because she's forgotten that she likes her coffee with cream.
You know, I knew that Alzheimer's was a snot, but I guess it never even occurred to me that someone could forget how to eat. Although they say that a lot of Alzheimer's patients die when they forget how to breathe, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.
So, anyway, after lunch we went shopping. She can't figure out stairs any more and escalators are out of the question (hoo boy are they EVER), so we usually go to the local mall. There's only one escalator and that's in Sears and who shops in Sears anyway, right?
The red sweater. Every time we go shopping, she wants to get a red sweater. So about the first fifteen times or so, I bought her a red sweater, until one day I was at my sister's house (my mom lives with her) and I asked my sister what mom did with all of those red sweaters. "I don't know," my sister said. "They just seem to disappear." Ha ha here's another fun fact about Alzheimer's patients - If you buy them new clothes, even if they are THERE when you buy the clothes, they don't recognize the clothes as belonging to THEM, so they throw the clothes away. Isn't that fun?
Yeah, so we leave the mall and head for home, and we're doing 65 down Route 17 when I look over and notice that mom does not have her seat belt on. Every time mom gets in the car, I remind her to put on her seat belt, because that's another thing she's forgotten. Every. blinking. time. she gets in the car, I tell her to put her seat belt on.
Except yesterday, leaving the mall, I forgot. Probably because it flustered me when she forgot how to shut the car door, but still, I forgot. So we're going down Route 17, I tell her to put her seat belt on, and
she reaches for the door handle. She was going to open the door. She had no seat belt on. We were going 65.
Holy. f*cking. shit.
I SLAMMED my hand down on the master lock, right before she grabbed the handle.
Except holy shit I almost killed my mom.
Are we having fun yet?
Thursday, January 12, 2012
"I didn't stay here", she replied, a little huffy. "I've never SEEN this place before."
Man oh man. An entire week, she had just left the place, and she had no memory of it at all.
That Alzheimer's is some weird shit.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I think the worst job ever would have to be notating the sheet music for Rush songs. Those dudes change times/keys every other beat.
I was watching Miranda Lambert on an old Austin City Limits a while back and she was rocking out in four-inch stilettos. All I could think was "ouch". That's gotta hurt.
In the two-and-a-half years since I bought my place, only one other home in the approximately sixty-house neighborhood has gone on sale. I'm beginning to wonder if I unwittingly bought into a Twilight Zone episode. ("Oh, you'll love it here ... we've been here FOREVER ...")
Evidently this is going to be the year without a winter. It's supposed to drop into the twenties this weekend, and then right back up to the forties next week. I'm so damn glad I could cry.
What's up with YOU? I could use a little distraction from my aching jaw right about now.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 09, 2012
So! Yesterday was my first day volunteering at the adoption center at PetSmart. And it was ... interesting.
It's very good people-watching, if you're into that sort of thing. I talked to a lot of people, some of whom wanted to visit with the cats.
And these cats are from a different foster group than the one I work with, so I had a whole new crew to meet. Most of whom were, well ...
... oh boy, here I go getting in trouble again ...
... Most of the cats up for adoption are fat. Like, really fat. And I just don't understand it. I mean, I could see it if they had just come into the system, and their former owner was a little old lady who just couldn't resist feeding Miss Bootsie one more piece of chicken. But most of these cats, the older ones especially, have been in foster care for quite a while now. Why are they so fat? I mean, I guess I can understand how some of the foster parents would be, like, "oh, poor leetle abandoned kitty, let me give you another dish of food", but you know what?
It's not doing the cat any favors.
Shit, when Romeo and Mouse first came to me, they were overweight. At five months old. I immediately started food restrictions, keeping in mind that they ARE growing kitties and NEED a certain amount of nutrition, and you know what? They're slimming down. They no longer look like little kitty sumo wrestlers. And they're more active. And Romeo's wheezing and breathing problems seem to be improving.
And oh my God, I've got another inductee into RockyCat's Kitty Weight Loss Camp, which I will tell you about tomorrow. Promise.
But it made me kind of mad to see all those fat-ass cats at the adoption center. A common comment from people stopping by: "Oh my God that cat is HUGE!"
Other than that, it was a fun afternoon. I'll be doing it two afternoons a month, unless someone from the adoption center reads this, in which case I'll probably not be doing it again. Heh. Guys, somebody's got to speak the truth, am I right?
Oh! And the glass-tapping! Oh my God the glass-tapping!
The cats are in plexi-glass fronted cages, so that passers-by can see them. And EVEN THOUGH there are SIGNS ON THE DAMN GLASS saying DO NOT TAP ON THE GLASS, do you know what I heard all afternoon?
taptaptap. taptaptap hey kitty kitty taptaptapTAPTAP KNOCKKNOCK
Poor kitties. To their credit, they seemed to be used to it. But still.
DON'T TAP ON THE GODDAM GLASS, GODDAM IT.
Oh, and come see the kitties! They'd love to see you.
Friday, January 06, 2012
A metal highway sign, out the middle of several hundred acres of state lands. At first I thought it was a joke, but as I continued walking, I saw a bunch of them, used as trail markers. I don't know, maybe they're more cost effective, but it seems like a giant metal sign has got to be more expensive than a little plastic disk. And somehow it just takes away from the ambiance, ya know? If I want to look at highway signs, I'll head for I-86. Sheesh.
Thursday, January 05, 2012
2. If I haven't been working out for a while, and then I start up again, on Day 2, I'm so sore I can barely get out of bed. Why do they never show Day 2 on The Biggest Loser? Here's a bunch of overweight, out-of-shape people, working out on Day 1 until they puke, but you never see them all moaning and groaning and crawling out of bed the next day. I wonder why?
3. Do you work out when you're sick? I mean, obv, if you're flat on your back with the flu, you're not up to working out, but what about if you've got a head cold? And what about if you're injured? Do you work out anyway?
4. Similarly, do you go to work when you're sick? Not talking about throwing-up kind of sick, but just general feeling-like-shit kind of sick. My work does not offer sick days, so I generally prefer to dose myself up with Dayquil and go make some money rather than stay home and have to take a vacation day. How about you?
5. Okay, since I can't seem to get off this particular subject, how about Mental Health days? Do you ever skip work? Maybe I'm confessing my dweebiness, here, but I've never done it. Have you? Was it amazing? Did you feel guilty? Were you all, "Hell YEAH, let's do it again tomorrow!"?
6. Ever quit a job?
Okay, let's get off the sick-and-work thing.
7. Ever broken a law? I mean, other than the bullshit ones, like underage drinking and smoking pot and ... whoops. Shutting up now. Feel free to comment anonymously on this one.
Okay, I think I've duggen myself a big enough hole, here. Let's hear some answers!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
I know where all of the cats I see in the neighborhood live. The big white cat lives three doors up. The cow kitties live one street over. The old tuxedo cat lives five houses up and across.
But there's one cat, a big ol' long-haired gray cat, who started hanging around a few months before Little Girl died. Sometimes I'd see him in the garage in the morning, and a couple of times I found him in the house at night. (There's a pet door that leads from the garage into the house.) Little Girl didn't seem to mind him, though, so I just started putting her food up at bedtime so that gray cat didn't think he could get free meals at my place. I was pretty sure he belonged to someone, because he'd only come around once in a while, and he looked healthy and of good weight. A little tubby, actually. And after Little Girl died, I shut the pet doors. No more gray cat.
But last night, well, it was supposed to get down into the single digits. And I wasn't absolutely certain that gray cat had a home. And I kept thinking about Mouse and Romeo, my fosters, who, if it wasn't for a network of volunteers, would have been huddled out in the cold last night.
And I opened up the pet door from the outdoors into the garage. I KNOW. I know that I might come to regret this in the spring, when I've suddenly got fifteen freaking ferals out in the garage. But I figure as long as I'm not feeding gray cat, just giving him a space to get out of the elements, it's okay. Right? Is it okay? Yeah, you can see I'm a leetle conflicted on this one.
Did gray cat come in the garage last night? I don't think so. Which actually makes me feel good, because that means he has someplace else to go. Will I leave that pet door open for the rest of the winter? Possibly. Because evidently, I'm a big fat f*cking pushover.
And Oh! Oh! I have GOT to ask! Did anybody watch The Biggest Loser last night? That kid named, I shit you not, "Chism"? Am I the only one who thinks that's an awful name for a kid? Can you IMAGINE what he got called on the playground? Is there some big movie star of whom I am unaware who is named "Chism", thus making the name okay? Because I'm thinking that naming your kid "Chism" is NOT VERY NICE. Sheesh.
Monday, January 02, 2012
I will tell you what, 2o11 just about did me in. I know that there have been harder years, but they were a long time ago and faded in memory. 2011 is just as vivid as can be, unfortunately. I'm just glad it's over. Whew! Over over over. And I've come to the conclusion that emerging from 2011 still hopeful for the future makes me either incredibly resilient or really, really stupid.
So! Did anybody go out and tear it up for New Year's Eve? I quit doing that many, many years ago, when I woke up one New Year's Day and realized that (a) I had no idea how I had gotten home the night before, and (b) I had no idea where my car was.
This New Year's Eve, I spent the day in Ithaca.
Here's Buttermilk Falls:
The trails were closed for the winter, but some intrepid souls were going up anyway. Better them than me, is all I've got to say about that.
New Year's morning was bright and sunny, so I headed for Oakley Corners. By the time I was done hiking, things had taken a dark turn:
Ha! talk about Dismal Swamp.
If you had an awful 2011, I hope your 2012 is better. If you had a great 2011, I wish you more of the same for 2012.
Happy New Year!