Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Oh Christmas tree

I thought I'd end the year with some pics of the Christmas tree.  Happy New Year, everyone!  I know I'll be at home tonight curled up with a Whiskey Sour and the Twilight Zone marathon on TV.  Hope you all have plans for a great night. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Recently Read

As usual, skip this if you wanna.  I feel like a lot of my posts are getting skipped, lately, so I figured I might's well throw this one in here.  Ha.

1.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.  Memoir.  If you read her blog (and who doesn't?), you're familiar with her writing style, and this book is a series of blog-post-like vignettes.  Entertaining.

2.  A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams.  Novel set in the thirties about a woman, her best friend, and their romantic entanglements with the same man.  Eh, they all acted like a bunch of dipsh*ts, but it was a fairly entertaining read.

3.  One Step at a Time by Elena J. Hanuse - Oh, I am a sucker for walk-across-America books.  But this lady had her hubs follow her in an RV, so she could sleep in a bed every night.  Totally understandable, but not quite in the spirit of the genre.

4.  Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King - It's unusual to read a King book with no scary woo-woo stuff in it.  This is basically a police procedural novel.  I usually like the characters' back-stories as much as, or more than, the main plot in his books, and sadly, this book was lacking in that regard.  At "only" 400 pages, short for him, I got the feeling that maybe an editor took a good chunk out of this one.  Still a good read, if not one of his best.  Looking forward to reading his next one, Revival.

5.  Good-Bye, Boise ... Hello, Alaska by Cora Holmes.  Nonfiction account of a family living on a remote Alaskan island.  Very interesting.

6.  Movie Time!  Dallas Buyers Club is about a dude with AIDS in Texas in the early eighties who goes up against the FDA to provide drugs to fellow AIDS patients.  I really, really do not care for Matthew McConaughey, and that car commercial was just bizarre, but man, he is a good actor.  And Jared Leto was just astonishing as Rayon.

7.  Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani - This author is quite popular, so I thought I'd give it a try.  This book is evidently one in a series, and not the first one.  I couldn't get into it and didn't finish it.

8.  Movie time again!  I saw Into the Woods on Christmas day, the first showing of the morning, and that theater was sold out.  Usually when I go to the movies on  Christmas it's a ghost town, but not this time.  See review here.

9.  Another movie review:  Johnny Got His Gun, from 1971.  An anti-war film which I first became aware of thanks to Metallica's song One  many years ago, this movie is about a severely injured WW1 vet.

10.  Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas.  Memoir about coming of age in Harlem in the 30s and 40s.  Good.

So that's what I've been reading/watching lately.  And you?

Monday, December 29, 2014

So, my scroogey, racist boss insisted I come in to work on Friday morning, but by noon, my obligations were fulfilled, and it was a beautiful, sunny day, so I headed for the woods.

Ah, the woods.  Good for what ails ya.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Movie Review: Into the Woods

Saw it yesterday morning.  It was the first showing of the day, and it was sold out. I got one of the last tickets. Woot! It's a Christmas miracle!  There were a few seats in the row ahead of me that had actually been oversold, several times, which led to some interesting usher interactions to watch while the previews were playing.    I've never seen the Broadway show, so it was new to me.  Meryl Streep as the witch is fantastic, of course.  For those of you who might be going to see it because of Johnny Depp, be advised that his part is only about five minutes long.

The story moves right along, and although the complexity of Sondheim's lyrics don't really lead to any big showstoppers, I was singing "Into the woods, la la la la" and "AAAAAAGONY" all afternoon, and the melodies sure do stick with you.

Very entertaining, and a fine way to spend a couple of hours.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On the tenth day of Christmas, somebody gave to me ...

 ... ummmm ...

yeah.  I have NO IDEA.  Note the pointy spike on one end.  A zombie-killing weapon?  I'm stumped.  Ideas, anyone?

Monday, December 22, 2014

What am I even supposed to say to that? (Note: Don't worry, this post isn't about cats)

Okay, first off, this post is NOT ABOUT CATS, so be relieved.

So, I was at work this morning, and one of my jobs is receptionist, so my work area is by the front of the office.  Around eleven, a man walked through the front door, file folder in hand.

"Good morning," I said.  "Can I help you?"

"Wow, you look really tired," the man said.  "I'm here for a meeting  with (insert name here)."

Okay.  Um.  I wasn't tired,  not really, but I did look a little tired; I had noticed that myself when I had glanced in the mirror earlier.  I guess it comes with the territory of being older than dirt, and combine that with a Monday morning after a busy, lousy weekend, and yeah.   I looked tired.

"I ... uh ... feel okay," I told the man.  "I'll let (insert name here) know  you're here."

You know what?  I'm not sure that it's really appropriate to tell a total stranger, "you look really tired."  But maybe I'm being oversensitive?  I dunno.  What do you think?

Now maybe I'm wondering if I should have said, "I may look tired, but you sure look ugly."  Ha.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dear Readers, She Took the Cats

In the end,  I decided I did not want to be involved in a pissing match over ownership of Callie and Bindi.  I knew that while conditions at her home were overcrowded to say the least, that Callie and Bindi would be well fed there and would be warm and out of the cold. They are feral and not particularly interested in human companionship; if they had been, I never would have let them go.

I had always worried about having unvaccinated cats in the house, especially with Ponyboy's immune system issues.  I had worried that if Callie or Bindi had become injured or ill, I would have no way to get them to the vet, outside of live-trapping them.  They had never been leuk-tested or vaccinated against leukemia, something that they could have picked up from one of the neighborhood cats and brought home to my cats.

To put it plainly, I was not sure that I was prepared to care for these two ferals for the next twenty years, or however long they would live.  

She was not willing to sign them over to the new rescue, and I was not willing to keep them  indefinitely in limbo as far as ownership went.  I made a judgement call.

I cannot help but feel that I threw those two ferals under the bus tonight, and feel free to judge me on that.  I just had to weigh the needs of my own cats, and future fosters, against the needs of these two, and in the end, I let them go.

I told  them not to take any crap from anybody.  I told them that they were tough cookies, and would be just fine  in their new home.  I told them that now they would be reunited with their brother and sister, who are living at that home.  I told them to not forget to write.

And  then I cried.

Friday, December 19, 2014

All she had to do was sign a piece of paper

I wrote a little while ago about how I was no longer affiliated with the rescue for which I had been volunteering.  Long story short, the woman running it had gone from "rescue" to "hoarder", and I did not want to be associated with that.

I have started volunteering for a new rescue, a well-run, well-funded rescue, who offered to put Callie and Bindi, the feral fosters, under their umbrella.  I would continue to foster them, and the new rescue would pay for their vetting/food/etc.  The ideal scenario!

The new rescue contacted the old rescue, as the woman running the old rescue needed to sign a release form transferring ownership of the ferals.  A formality which happens all the time between rescues, usually when one rescue becomes overcrowded.

She refused.

Nope, she said.  She wanted them back.

In the year and a half I have been fostering these cats, she never once asked how they were doing.  She never once offered to help pay for their food (I did the math; I have spent well over $500.00 in food alone for these two cats), or to take them to the vet to get their shots updated, or even to pay for their flea treatments.  Not once.

And now she wants them back.  Out of pure spite.

Oh, and then she qualified it.  Well, she said, she guess she'd let me adopt them, as long as I paid her a hundred bucks, and as long as the new rescue agreed to never, ever hold adoption events in the store where she currently holds hers, and as long as nobody ever said anything bad about her ever.  (I'm not even kidding.  She had inserted a requirement in her list of demands about not smack-talking.)



Legally, this is a tricky area.  I have had possession of the cats for over a year, during which I made repeated verbal requests for her to come and get them, which she ignored.  As recently as October, I had asked her to come take the cats, with no reply.  However, her name is on their most recent vet records, from when they were spayed, so technically, she could make a case for ownership.  BUT.  See again:  I have the cats.

Complicating the matter is the fact that these cats are not really adoptable.  They are feral, but honestly I'm not even sure they'd make good barn cats (the fate of some ferals), because they're not real great hunters.  But again, I am prepared to continue to care for these cats.  And I would have no problem with them going to another home, and until recently I would not have had a problem with them going back to her home.  But not now.  Not when there are far, FAR too many cats at her home because she won't stop taking them in.  Her home is currently overrun with cats who are not up to date on their vaccinations, who are not leuk-tested, and who are not taken to the vet when they are ill, because she is overwhelmed and out of control.

But little miss crazypants wants the two ferals back.

 The new rescue and I informed her that her attempts at extortion and coercion were not appreciated.  That we would hold events whenever and wherever we wanted.  We advised her that free speech was still a thing.  That if she wanted the cats back, she would have to come to my home this Saturday and crate them herself.  That if she did not show up on Saturday, she was, basically, sh*t out of luck.

We'll see if she shows.

Crazy cat people.  Holy F*CK.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My car is ready! My car is ready!

I got a call from the body shop this afternoon - my hero car has been repaired and is ready to be picked up.

After two weeks driving around in an Accent, I cannot WAIT to get my brave Elantra back.  I may KISS that car when I see it.

It's a Christmas miracle!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Oh my god is this a thing now? Please tell me that this isn't, like, a thing now ...

I was leafing through a Sears flyer this morning and came across this:

And I was all, "A onesie?  Is that model really wearing a onesie?"  But the flyer described it as a "printed jumpsuit".  Oh, okay.  That makes it okay then.  NOT.

And then I thought, well, maybe it's supposed to be pajamas.  Like that weird robe thing that was big a few years ago.  But the model is wearing shoes - why you would you wear shoes with your p.j.s? 

It was time to go online to the Sears site and do a little "jumpsuit" (their word, not mine) investigating.  Which is when I came across this:

Okay, so, she's wearing it outside, so I'm guessing they're not trying to market these as p.j.s?  But my God, that is one hideous ... article of clothing.  If she wasn't anorexic, there would definitely be some camel toe going on, there.  And why is Sears using an anorexic model?  Sears?  What is wrong with you, Sears?  And those sunglasses ... Mary Kate?  is that Mary Kate Olsen?  There is so much I do not understand in that picture.

I kept going.

Oh my God ... this has to be a joke, right?  A prank?

I just ... really?  REALLY?! 

And then I came across the piece de resistance.  I had NO idea there was a market for clothing for double-peg-legged pirates, but - VOILA!:

 Let's just ... ignore the double built-in peg legs for a moment, if we may, and look at the hands.  Look at the hands.  I guess this is a ... rear view?  I DO NOT UNDERSTAND OH PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.

Sears.  *shakes head sadly*  I don't get it.  AT ALL.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Grind

I was out Christmas shopping yesterday (and I am now all done THANK GOODNESS), and came across an old meat grinder at an antiques store.  The ones I'd seen before at antiques stores were pretty pricy, but they were only asking five bucks for this one so hell yeah.

I remember my Mom making sausage with one of these when I was a kid.  And grinding up ham for ham salad.

I will probably never make sausage OR ham salad, but it's nice to have a reminder of my Mom.

There is something to be said for nostalgia.  And cast iron.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pro Tip: Leave the kids at home

So, I had to go to a funeral this morning, and there were no less than five babies in attendance.

Is this ... is this a thing now?  Taking infants to funerals?

Because, predictably, each one of those babies lost their sh*t at somewhere between the fifteen-minute and one-hour mark, and not predictably, as far as I'm concerned, the parents of the each of those kids let them wail on for quite some little time before carting them out of the sanctuary.

Manners, people.  LEARN THEM.  Oh, and there's this thing?  Perhaps you've heard of it?  Called a babysitter?  What. the. actual. f*ck.

Oh, I know it's churlish, complaining about babies.  But it just struck me as RUDE.  We are there to mourn a loss, NOT to listen to your child scream.

So, yeah, a funeral.  It was at a Methodist church, so I figured, easy-peasy, a couple prayers, a couple hymns, the eulogy and we're out of there.

But!  Turns out the funeral was not held at this dude's home church, for whatever reason.  Turns out he belonged to an evangelical congregation, and they were just borrowing this particular church.  For the service.

Evangelicals, man.  The service started with no less than four Christian music videos, and they were just warming up. The wife gave the eulogy, which was ... admirable, as she held it together amazingly well.  And because they're evangelicals, things skewed more toward the "yay!  He gets to meet Jesus now!" end of the spectrum, as opposed to the "oh no he's dead" viewpoint, so that was nice.

Funerals.  We'll each be the guest of honor at some point.  Leave the kids at home for mine, is all I'm asking.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


... oh, wait, I think it's for me.  Never mind.

Attempts at card creation continue, with Santa's little pains in the a** helpers assisting:

I guess cat-in-the-box was inevitable at some point - why should my guys be any different from cats worldwide?:

It's not too late to request a card, seeing as how card-making is limping along at a feeble pace.  Shoot me an email at rockycat24 AT yahoo DOT com if you want a late, cat-hair-coated card.  You know you want one.

Last weekend, Ponyboy decided he wanted to go along to help me pick out the Christmas tree:

And some of the cats just want to be under the tree.

The tree is up and the lights are on, but it's not decorated yet.  I'm not done shopping, I have yet to ship my packages, the cards are not done, and a very helpful friend reminded me on Facebook this morning that there are fifteen days until Christmas.  If everything gets done, it's gonna be a Christmas miracle.

Deck those halls!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

All I need is a torch to cut a hole in the floor to stick my feet through

I dropped off my car yesterday at the collision place, where the grievous injuries it suffered while bravely protecting a church parking lot full of people will be repaired.  Yes, I have decided that the narrative for this event will be that my car is a hero.  Medals/honorary ceremonies welcome.

So then I had to go get my rental, which is a Hyundai Accent, and may I just say that the ... quality difference between the Hyundai Accent and the Hyundai Elantra Touring (my hero car) is surprisingly wide.

While the Elantra is nice and roomy and solid, I am pretty sure that the Accent may actually weigh less than I do, which does not bode well in a week like this one, when we are supposed to get another foot of snow.  Oh, and I have not yet remembered to put my snow brush/ice scrapers/other accoutrements of living in the great Northeast into the Accent, which means I will be out in the office parking lot brushing the snow off with my arms this afternoon.  Good times!

I am fairly certain the the Accent's acceleration would only be improved if I stuck my feet out and pedaled, ala Fred Flintstone.  Also, judging by the noise generated upon ignition, I am pretty sure that the car is powered by hamsters.

But!   I will soldier on, until my valiant Elantra is returned to me, refreshed and ready to protect good church-goers everywhere.

I know that someday, they will be erecting statues in honor of my hero car.  I can hardly wait.

Monday, December 08, 2014

So, a cockatoo and a macaw walk into a bar ...

Saturday night, I went to a fundraiser for a local bird rescue.  I'm not real big on birds, but the fundraiser was at a bar, so you'd better believe I was there.   Ha.

I once knew a woman whose parrot bit off her husband's thumb.  No lie.  So there was no way I was letting those giant beaks anywhere near ME.  These bird people are insane.

Sorry for the dark pics.  Did I mention the fundraiser was at a bar?  Hell yeah.

All kidding aside, it was a lot of fun, and for a good cause.  Big birds live, like, forever, so they sometimes outlive their original owners.  Plus, they're really smart, no really, and sometimes people buy them without understanding that they need a lot of interaction to thrive.  So this local rescue takes in birds in need, rehabilitates them, and finds them new homes.

The birds did not seem to mind being in a bar at all.  And when the music started up, this dude got his dance moves on:

He was rocking out to the band.  Good times!  and good birds.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Cards here! Getcher Christmas cards here!

The only thing more enticing to a cat than a spread-open newspaper is, evidently,  spread-open Christmas crap.

Yep, it's that time of year again.  Time for Christmas cards!  You know the routine - If you got a card last year, you're on the list for this year.  If you've never gotten a card before, email me (rockycat24 AT yahoo DOT com), and you'll be on the list.  If  you've gotten cards in the past and were less than thrilled (hey, I make these things myself - they can't ALL be gems), feel free to email me to be taken off the list.

Tis the season!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Ain't got no time to mess around

I have a neighbor, Brian, who lives across the park from me.  I often see him when he's walking his dogs, and sometimes we stop and chat.  He's real friendly and likes to shoot the breeze.

In an odd twist, he also works in a building that is right across the street from my office building.  We wave to each other from our respective parking lots, and sometimes cross over the street to talk. 

I noticed this morning that his pickup hadn't been in his building's parking lot for a couple of days.  Hmm, I thought, that's odd.  Maybe he and his wife are on vacation.

I was paging through the paper while I had my morning office coffee and I noticed his name.

In the obits.

He died.  Last Saturday.  Unexpectedly.  At the age of 55.

Coincidentally, that was the same day I turned 52.

Don't know how to say this without sounding trite, but if you've got something you want to do, DO IT.  If you've got someplace you want to go, go there.  If you've got toxic people in your life, kick 'em out, and bring the people you love closer to you.

Ain't got no time to mess around.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

And in OTHER momentous news* ... NOW WITH UPDATES

I found out last night that the dude who hit-and-runned me did indeed have car insurance, which is accepting 100% liability and will pay the entire claim, including my deductible.  A total of $3,791.00.  Holy crap.

It's a Christmas miracle!  Ha.

I also got a copy of the police report, and turns out the dude was drunk.  At eleven o'clock in the morning. Yikes.

And now, for MORE momentous news* ... drum roll please ... Callie let me touch her.

Yes, this girl:

This feral foster girl, who has been in my house for a year and a half, and has resisted all efforts to be tamed, actually let me touch her last night.

Oh, there was a little subterfuge involved.  I put down her food bowl in front of her and she stayed (she usually runs away as soon as I put the bowl down and only comes back when I leave the room), and I reached my hand down and she stayed, and I touched her and she stayed.

The angels sang, I am telling you right now.

Of course, it'll prolly be another year and a half before she lets me do it again, but it counts.  It TOTALLY counts.  I touched her.

Another Christmas miracle.  They're everywhere, I'm tellin' ya.

UPDATED TO ADD:  Dudes, it just happened again - she let me touch her paw.  Now I'm freaked out because I think this cat is haunted.  There could be no other reason.

*you may or may not consider this news momentous. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

You can't fire me, I quit!

I am no longer volunteering for the rescue I've been with for the past couple of years.

Long story short, the woman who runs it was rapidly veering from "rescuer" to "hoarder".  She still hadn't filed for her 501(c)(3) (the thing that makes you an official non-profit), she was taking on more and more cats, and she wasn't caring for them properly.  The cats were all spayed or neutered and they were well fed, but they were not being kept up to date on their vaccinations, and they were not flea- and worm-treated. None were leukemia tested, which is a recipe for disaster when there are a lot of cats in one house. Sick cats were not being seen by a vet in a timely manner (unless I took them and paid for them out-of-pocket, as I did with Talon).  She stopped responding to calls from people who wanted to adopt cats, which is suicide for a rescue.

Any time I would question her on what was going on, she would either try to shrug it off, or she would take GREAT UMBRAGE that I would have the NERVE to question her methods, and things finally came to a head a couple of weeks ago.  She wasn't willing to discuss my concerns and she wasn't willing to see that things were out of control (she has over sixty cats in her home right now; I mean, COME ON), and so we parted ways.  I'm still not sure if I was fired or if I quit*, but regardless, I'm out.

And then things got nasty, with one of her (grown) daughters posting a bunch of crap on Facebook about how "until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes you can't judge them" blahblahblah and no, I have not walked a mile in this person's shoes.  I do not know what personal struggles she may have.  All I know is that she was dropping the ball, badly, when it counted, and when rescued cats were counting on HER.  She was not reaching out for help; she was not seeking additional resources for her situation; she was doubling down and attacking one of the people who could have helped her, had she handled things differently, so no.  I'm not walking in her shoes; that is not my responsibility.  I'm getting out.

As soon as the word got out, another rescue contacted me and asked me to volunteer for them.  They are an official 501(c)(3), they are very well run, and all of their cats are properly vetted. 

I feel sorry for the cats at the first rescue; they are the ones who will suffer because the woman who runs the rescue is in waaaaaaay over her head.  But I was no longer willing to enable her by keeping quiet, and so at some point the local Humane Society will likely step in and take her cats, which is NOT a happy ending by any means, but sweet Jesus, SIXTY CATS IN ONE HOUSE.

Callie and Bindi, the feral fosters, are still with me.  The woman who runs the rescue has made no efforts to come and get them, and frankly, I do not want them to go back to her unless and until she gets her sh*t together.  (See:  60 CATS.)    They are safe and sound with me, until a new home is found for them, and the new rescue will be assisting me with that.  Because they are still feral, the odds of finding them a new place are not real great, but that's okay, too.  I am not going to begrudge them a safe place to live just because they're not pettable. 


* From email:  Her:  "Well you certainly made me feel like I may have offended you my godess of catdom. Thank you for putting me in-line. How about if you are going to be snotty, don't bother (volunteering)".  Me:  "Awesome. Come get your (foster) cats."

Now I want to get a t-shirt printed up that says Godess (sic) of Catdom. Ha.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Sunday in the Park with Rocky

Yesterday I had nine billion things to do, but the weather was warm (in the forties!  Holla!) so I headed for State Park.

Yeah, I was fairly confident that the beach would be closed:

and the lifeguard chairs have been stowed away:

and there may have been ice on the lakes:

But it was still a pretty day for a walk.

The cross-country skiers have taken over the golf course:

This oak tree wasn't ready to drop its leaves:

 A lot of the park pavilions were built by WPA workers in the thirties:

Check out this old fireplace - I think those picnic tables date from the thirties, too :)

 Save the ash trees!

 Well, look who's here:


She watched me for a while, then flipped her tail and left:

Watching from a safe distance:

Sunday in the park.  Not a bad day at all.