Saturday, February 28, 2015
I was at the hairdresser's this morning, getting my hair cut, and I mentioned that it had been nineteen below outside when I woke up.
"Oh!", she said. "It was thirty below at my mom's house the other morning!"
Holy Mary Mother of F*CK.
And we're chatting about various stuff, and pretty soon she's talking about the weather again, and she's all, "yeah, we're gonna get another three to six by Monday morning but it won't go below zero tomorrow blah blah blah ..."
and I realized that I had been kind of zoning out.
"You know," I said, shaking my head to clear the fog, "I ... I don't even know how to react to weather news anymore. You could tell me that icebergs were going to be heading down Route 17 and I'd just nod my head, like, "yep, that's coming up, all right ...""
and we both laughed.
Tomorrow is March 1. BY GOD AS MY WITNESS, tomorrow is March 1.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Do any of you watch that show? On TLC? I find it fascinating. The amount of food those people can eat, for one thing. And the way they do it. They'll take, like, a normal bite of a burger, but then, instead of putting it back on the plate, they take another bite, and then they start, like, working their jaw around the side of the burger, and all of a sudden the WHOLE DAMN THING is in their mouth, like watching a snake swallow a rat or something. They have to WORK to get that friggin' burger all in their mouth at once, but dammit, they're gonna DO IT.
It's like watching a competitive eating contest, except with only one competitor, and the contest never ends.
And their family members. OH MY GOD, their family members, who are running out to Burger King at eleven at night to get another sack of burgers to feed a person who is already so fat they can barely get out of bed. It's the definition of enabling, right there.
I'm not making fun of these people. Everybody's got something. It's just ... really, really interesting to watch, is all.
This is the time of year when I start to put on weight. Every year, right on schedule, after months of being inside and not nearly enough working out, the pants start to feel a little tighter. I'm probably up about ten pounds from where I was in the fall, but I know that come spring, when I'm coming home from work and changing into jeans and heading right back outside again, the weight will come off.
And honestly? When I'm thin, in the summer, I start to think that maybe I could stand to GAIN a few pounds. Maybe it wouldn't hurt as much to sit on a hard chair if I had a little padding back there. Maybe ... my face wouldn't look quite as gaunt if I weighed a little more, although I think that gauntness may be more a product of age than weight.
But then comes February, and I actually DO start to gain some weight, and I panic. Oh my GOD my face feels ... full! My stomach feels flabby, despite ninety billion flipping Jillian crunches! I can't get FAT!
And then I feel like an a** hole for even fretting about it, when there are real problems in the world and people out there who weigh FIVE TIMES what I do. Nobody cares about your ten pounds, Rocky.
I just wish I could gain some weight and not have to worry about it, is all. Maybe someday I'll get there.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Yeah, I don't think I'm temperamentally cut out for social media. So don't even ask me what I'm doing on Blogger. Ha.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Yep, there's a mouse in one of my filing cabinets at work.
I first noticed evidence of him about a week ago. I had left a packet of crackers in my "personal" drawer, and something had chewed through the plastic and eaten part of a cracker.
Bemused, I put some of the dry cereal I keep at work to snack on in the drawer. The next day it was gone, and he had thoughtfully left behind some mouse poop pellets.
Next, I put some dry cat food in there. Gone. Apple slices? Check.
At this point I figured that he probably could use a more balanced diet, so I picked up some hamster/gerbil food. He likes it! Or, well, he eats it, anyway. He also ate a green bean and a carrot slice from my lunch soup the other day.
Now, I am just guessing that this is a mouse, judging by what he leaves behind. I've never actually seen him. And I can't for the life of me figure out how he's getting into and out of a metal filing cabinet, but then again I can't access the back of the cabinet because it's built into my work area. Maybe the back of it is open? I dunno.
But I DO know that my cats would laugh me out of the family if they knew I was harboring a mouse in my filing cabinet.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
So! The weekend! Despite my intentions, an alarmingly large portion of it was taken up with Rescue Drama. By Sunday afternoon I was able to extract myself out of all the chaos, and I am going to STAY out of the chaos for the foreseeable future. I'll continue to foster, because I love it, but there is no way in hell I'm going to spend any more time on the politics. I'm discovering that rescue work (around here, anyway) is kind of like what they say about sausage-making, i.e., you really, REALLY don't want see the process that leads to the results. It ain't pretty. By the time I removed myself from the situation, I may or may not have exploded all over some rescue people on Facebook, but I have no f*cks left to give for people who are in this for their own selfish motivations. I'm in it for the cats.
Sunday morning I woke with good intentions. I was going to clean the bathroom, do some painting, GET THE FRICKING CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS OFF THE FRONT PORCH, sheesh, but for some reason I got to thinking about home fries. Home fries are one of those foods that I simply cannot cook at home and have it come out tasting anything like it does at the diner. Thoughts of home fries led to thoughts of eggs benedict, and before I knew it, I found myself at the diner, cleaning my plate.
I have no regrets. It was damn good. I *did" manage to get a Jillian workout in, later in the day, so there is that.
And I took a plate of cookies over to my dear neighbor Jud, who continues to snowblow my driveway without being asked. I got to chatting with him and his wife, and pretty soon they were telling me alllll about the rabid fox who had terrorized the neighborhood a couple of years ago. I couldn't help but wonder if it was the fox who had been making appearances in MY backyard a while back, but that really doesn't bear thinking about, does it?
On the plus side, the snow's so gotdam deep that the deer haven't been around. Normally late February is when I start netting the gardens, to prevent the deer from eating the bulb sprouts as they pop up, but seeing as how the gardens are all covered under two feet of snow right now, looks like I can relax for a while yet.
It was nineteen below in my backyard when I got up this morning. This is the time of year when I start thinking about how if I wanted to live in Alaska I'd f*cking well MOVE there, but on the radio this morning they were talking about how it is actually WARMER in Alaska right now than it is here. *sigh* This is ALSO the time of year when it seems impossible that I will ever have to mow the lawn again, let alone a few short months from now, but there ya go.
Daylight savings time is coming. SPRING is coming. I'm hanging on by a thread, here, but I am indeed hanging on.
Monday, February 23, 2015
As usual, skip it if you wanna.
1. Chestnut Street, by Maeve Binchy. Short stories, published posthumously. I'm a big fan of Maeve Binchy, but her style - following the lives of several characters over a span of decades - isn't really compatible with the short story form.
2. Movie review! Life Itself is a doc about the movie reviewer Roger Ebert, who died of cancer. The hospital scenes were tough to watch, but Mr. Ebert himself was fascinating. Very good.
3. Holy Ghost Girl by Donna Johnson. Memoir about growing up in the inner circle of an evangelical faith healer. Interesting.
4. Movie review! Rich Hill is a documentary about poor kids in Rich Hill, Missouri. Depressing, but interesting. So much of a kid's future depends upon what his parents do or fail to do.
5. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta - Memoir about growing up with a drug-addicted mother. The recounting seemed a little clinical and detached, but I have nothing but respect for someone who went through that and came out in one piece.
6. Movie time! The Imitation Game is about Alan Turing, who cracked Germany's Enigma code machine in WWII. Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley are very good. Good movie with a sad ending. But! I have a question about one of the plot points, so if somebody's seen it, please let me know.
7. The World According to Bob by James Bowen - A sequel of sorts to A Street Cat Named Bob, which was a charming memoir about a recovering addict and his cat. Ultimately, The World According to Bob is more of a rehash, covering the same ground over again. Read one or the other, but don't bother with both.
8. On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons - Novel about a wealthy Southern woman during the Civil War. Well-written but detached; I never really got involved with any of the characters.
9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. We all know the scenario: Blogger gets book deal, promptly quits blogging. But in Ms. Brosh's case, it wasn't because fame went to her head, it was because she evidently had a breakdown. If you're familiar with her blog, you know how insanely talented and funny she is, and the book (told in cartoon style) is great. It's just too bad that it precipitated her disappearance from the scene.
side note: Until alarmingly recently, I thought that "Hyperbole" was pronounced "Hyper-bowl". hahahaha yep I'm a dipsh*t.
10. Summer Lightning by Judith Richards. Novel about a little boy growing up in the Everglades just prior to WWII. A little implausible - the boy was precocious, to say the least - but still a good, lighthearted read. Recommended.
11. One more movie - Boyhood. About, well, a boy growing up. It was just fascinating to watch all the characters age, and the movie itself was very good. I was surprised that it didn't win Best Picture last night after all the hype; now I'll have to rent Birdman, to see if it really was the better pic.
So! That's what I'm reading and watching. How about you?
Friday, February 20, 2015
I will tell you what, you take a bunch of crazy cat ladies and get them arguing, and the sh*t hits the fan in a MOST spectacular fashion!
After getting very involved in the original and ensuing chaos, I'm gonna kick back for the weekend and see how things play out.
HOWEVER. It is very likely that a new rescue will form out of all of this. Anybody got any great names?
Right now I'm strongly favoring Nation of Millions Animal Rescue, but I'm guessing that's probably too militant for the rest of the ladies. Ha.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Well. There was a little kerfuffle on Facebook last night, and now our group is not going to trivia.
We had all been on a Facebook thread the past few days, getting our group organized for the event and talking some friendly smack. But then our rescue took a couple of phone calls yesterday afternoon, and I sat and thought and thought, and I had to go and post this:
"Sorry, guys, I won't be there on Saturday night. I've had problems with the local Humane Society for a long time, mainly because they always seem to be "full" whenever someone calls for help, but today was the last straw. Sue took two calls from people looking for help with stray cats, one of whom has frostbite. The high temp tomorrow is supposed to be 6 degrees. The Humane Society turned them both down. In 2013, the last year for which records are available, the local HS took in over $600,000.00 in donations. Six hundred grand. And yet the rescues for which I have volunteered, all of which operate on very skinny shoestrings, are constantly getting calls from people turned down by the HS. That's it. I'm done. I will take the fifteen bucks I would have spent on the trivia ticket, add the ten bucks I would have spent at the bar, and put it in the donation jar at the our rescue's next adoption event, March 15. Or I might end up using it to buy cat food, because it could very well happen that one of those cats the Humane Society just turned down ends up in my foster room tomorrow. Probably the frostbitten one. Sheesh.
"I understand that no rescue can help every single person who calls. But I've been volunteering for a long time, and I don't know ANYONE who has ever been helped by the local HS. I don't know where they're getting their animals from, but it ain't from phone calls. Seems like the only time they ever step in is when a case has already gotten so much publicity that they can't afford not to. And they don't even offer help with resources. No, "I'm sorry, we're full, but have you tried ..." No wait list, no nothing. Just "Nope, we're full." Eff that."
Which led to people commenting like this:
"This will probably be my last one too. I can't quite get over the "paid" volunteers."
which led to this:
"Their volunteers are paid? That kind of negates the whole concept of being volunteers, doesn't it? $600,000 is crazy. Wow."
"I 'm okay not going and maybe doing something else. Or do we go out for wings and just enjoy each others company? Or we could take the money we were going to spend and donate it. It doesn't have to be to one of the local rescues. It could be to an out of town rescue."
"The more the winds howl and the snow blows tonight I just can't get my mind off of those two babies. I know we can't save everyone but Rocky's right on this one. I'm sorry I know it was my idea but I'd rather put my money towards their care. I know it was my idea but I'm going to back out as well."
"I can donate some funds, transport to the vet, whatever will help!"
"Let me know what you need & I'll see what I can do."
whoa Nelly, there went Rocky, radicalizing the crazy cat ladies.
Sue, the volunteer who took the original calls, is going to get ahold of the callers today and do whatever is needed to get those cats out of the weather. One of our volunteers has an "in" with another local rescue who may be able to help. And yeah, I may end up with a frostbitten cat in my spare bedroom.
But one thing I *won't* be doing is going to trivia Saturday night. Dammit. I was looking forward to the food ...
Aw, hell. Viva la revolution!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
A local rescue group's trivia event is rolling around again, and the rescue for which I volunteer is putting together a team.
The food was pretty awful the last time we went, so some of us are taking food to share. One person is bringing pizza, and another is bringing chips/dip/etc.
I was thinking about bringing chicken wings, but they're awfully messy to eat. Then I was thinking about bringing a couple of shrimp rings, but that seems kind of unoriginal. THEN I was thinking bruschetta, but that's pretty similar to pizza. Does anybody have any easy snack-food-type ideas? It can't be anything that has to be served hot, because I've gotta shlep it to the event. And preferably not something that's gonna cost an arm and a leg.
Monday, February 16, 2015
... and I had an adoption event to do.
Hauling tables and crates out of the car in a pet store parking lot on a Sunday morning when it's below zero and the winds are blowing at thirty miles an hour and the roads were crap all the way there is not exactly my idea of a good time, but I made a commitment. Dammit. Ha.
It was nice and warm in the store.
There's two cats in this photo - can you spot them both?:
This guy is my favorite - goodness knows I've got a thing for the orange boys:
This is our newest addition, Bandit:
Bandit held up admirably at his first event. He started showing up at one of our foster homes a couple of years ago. They thought he was around eight months old at the time. They started setting out a bowl of food on the back patio when he would come around, but he'd run off if they tried to get close. Last winter, they put a styrofoam cooler shelter for him underneath their deck, and by the spring they could pet him. Last summer he started tentatively coming into the house, and when he became able to be picked up, they scheduled an appointment with the vet. After two years on the streets, Bandit now prefers to be indoors, and he is neutered, vaccinated, tested neg for FIV/leuk, and ready for a new home. Good boy!
We took applications on two of the cats, and there is interest in one more. Booya!
So I'm glad I bit the bullet and went out on that bitter cold day after all.
Oh! Oh! And while I was at the event, my snowblowing neighbor Jud not only snowblowed my driveway, he also snowblowed the cats' habitrails out back! (I shovel trails in the backyard when the snow gets deep so the cats can go out and get some exercise.) And I'm trying to picture the scene: Jud comes over and snowblows the driveway. He sees the path I've got shoveled along the side of the house to the back door and starts to snowblow that. He comes around the back corner of the house and sees ... a bunch of random trails shoveled through the back yard. At which point he thinks I'm certifiably insane, but then he shrugs, starts up the snowblower again, and snowblows all the trails! I definitely owe him a plate of cookies this weekend, AND an explanation. Although he'll probably still think I'm crazy. And I guess I am.
Friday, February 13, 2015
So! Yesterday I met with the department chairman of the medical information technology program at the local community college to see about going back to school.
And now I'm wondering if I might be better off just taking selected courses applicable to the type of positions I would be applying for, as opposed to going all-in for a degree.
A main problem is that the degree program I am interested in has a mandatory, full-time five week clinical internship, and I do not see myself as being able to swing that, at least not at this point in time. And the money thing comes into play as well, of course.
I was musing about this on Facebook last night when a woman I know through rescue volunteering, who works in admissions for the local SUNY campus, messaged me. Would I send her my resume?
Let's see what happens.
Oh, and happy Freaky Friday the Thirteenth, everybody!
Thursday, February 12, 2015
So, I get this letter in the mail yesterday, from a company called "Homeserve".
The header reads, "Information for (name of my town) homeowners with homes built before 1962."
"Dear (my name),
"This letter is to inform you that the original water service line buried underground on your property was installed before 1962. If you have not replaced this line, it may be at risk for age-related leaks or ruptures. We have found that your property is not covered with Exterior Water Line Coverage from us."
You're darn tootin' my property ain't covered! Water line insurance? WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK?
The gist of the letter, of course, is that for the low, low monthly rate of only $5.49 per month, I can insure my water lines! It's a godsend, I tell ya!
I wonder how many of my elderly neighbors bit on this one. Sheesh.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Monday, February 09, 2015
Okay, first off, the ghost bra has re-appeared! I found it in the storage container under the bed where I keep my t-shirts. I am going with the theory that it got folded in between two t-shirts, which then got put away, because the alternative, that a ghost moved my bra, is not one I want to contemplate.
And! I've been thinking about getting a game cam for a long time, to see what kind of critters live in the brush around my property. The matter took on some urgency when something began coming into the garage in the night through the pet door and scaring my cats. What could it be? Saturday morning, I picked up a game cam. A new toy! Saturday night, I set it up in the garage, along with some dry cat food as bait. Sunday morning I could not WAIT to find out what had visited.
Holy crap you guys I've got zombie cats in my neighborhood.
(Yes, evidently I was under the impression that it's still 2014 when I programmed the camera. It's fixed now.) I'm pretty sure this big tom lives up the street from me. Their family has a little boy who came to visit the foster kittens quite often last spring.
The flash from the cam didn't seem to bother them at all. I wonder if they can see so well in the dark that the flash doesn't register?
Oh no! Another zombie cat!
dun dun dun dun dun dun she's headed for the food.
I think THIS pretty long-haired cat lives kitty-corner (ha! see what I did there?) across the street from me.
They came, they snacked, they left. Mystery solved. And now I've got the game cam set up back in the brush. I can't WAIT to find out what's out there. Bigfoot, maybe.
Friday, February 06, 2015
Breaking news: I am alive and happy, and Bob is ... still dead. HA. I swear, I would go dance on his grave if I knew where it was.
So, I volunteer for local animal rescue groups, and I do a lot of cat fostering. And you would not BELIEVE how complicated cat colors can get.
I mean, there's your basic solid-colored cats (except gray cats are called "blues" - erm, okay), and then your two-colored cats (black and white, which are either tuxedos or cow kitties depending on the markings), but then there's tabbies and torties and torbies and calicos and dilute calicos and calibies and blahblahblah it all get confusing REAL QUICK.
So I got a cheat sheet:
I LOVE this chart. It starts up top with fur shadings and eye colors, and then goes down into the different mixes. It's the periodic tables of cats. I hung it in my living room and I spend more time than I care to admit trying to learn all the different variations. Is fascinating.
And in other freaky news, it was fifteen below in my backyard this morning. I'm sorry, but that sh*t ain't right. COME ON SPRING!
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
So, just when I put up that post about things being pretty boring around here, I pick up the obits section of the local paper and find out an old boyfriend has died.
Where to even begin about Bob? Well, let's see, when were we involved ... I left my (ex)husband in 1989. I think I met Bob in 1990-ish. He moved in with me, and I think I moved out in 1993. So ... twenty-two years ago? My, how time does fly.
I met Bob in a bar and pursued him pretty hard, I'll be honest about that. He was tall, good-looking, funny, and had a good job at the time. By the time I found out he was also an alcoholic with a violent temper, he had already moved in. Not long after that, he got fired from his job for showing up drunk. Yeah, a real prize.
Those years with Bob were awful. I didn't have a strong enough sense of myself, after my crappy marriage, to know to just end things quickly, to cut my damn losses. I kept thinking that Bob would stop drinking, that he'd get another job, that he'd stop ... hitting me. Plus, my entire family hated Bob, and I couldn't let them be proven right, could I? Yeah, I was a dip.
Things didn't get better. Things just kept getting worse and worse. The drinking just kept getting worse, to the point where he was hiding bottles all over the place. He was drunk all the time. He started showing up to my work drunk. The hitting continued as well. And he never could hold a job for very long.
To be honest, I don't remember what the final straw was. How I finally got up the guts to walk away. There just came a day when I knew, I knew as surely as I'd ever known anything in my life, that I didn't deserve to be treated that way. That if I stayed, I'd get dragged down to his level.
So I left. It was hard. I wasn't making a lot of money at the time and had a car that barely ran, but I knew I had to get out. Oh, he begged and cried and pleaded on the phone, and he knew where I lived and he'd show up at my door at all hours, and it was awful. It was awful to wake up at two in the morning with him banging on the door, drunk and angry, yelling to be let in. But it wasn't as awful as living with him had been. Life was a picnic compared to that.
You know, he was my last long-term relationship, and I think the awfulness of that whole mess is part of the reason why I've stayed single since. I would rather, much rather, be alone that be involved with that kind of asshole ever again.
Supposedly, years after I'd left him, he sobered up, at least for a while. He had moved down to Florida, and he called me once, saying that he was doing a twelve-step program and had called to try to make amends.
I think I screamed at him for about five minutes before I finally slammed down the phone. I was angry, so angry, that I'd wasted all those years on him. All those years when I could have been doing other things, instead of covering up for his drunk, violent self. All those years when he made me feel like crap. Like I was nothing. I'll tell you what, it felt pretty damn good to yell at him on the phone, to tell him what I really felt about how he had treated me, and then hang up. I remember feeling such a sense of relief, like, finally, FINALLY, it's all over.
He died a few days ago, in Florida, of lung cancer. He was fifty-five. The obit asked for donations to be made to a local Florida charity; I looked it up on line, and it's a homeless shelter. I guess he never did manage to put his life together.
Goodbye, Bob. You asshole.
I know the pickings have been mighty slim around here lately - what can I say? It's that time of year.
What have I been doing lately? Well, let's see - workouts continue apace. I've been alternating ab work with the Jillians, with the result that, just like last year, I can see an actual six-pack lurking somewhere in my middle. Unfortunately, also just like last year, I continue to eat like a horse, so instead of losing weight I'm gaining it. HowEVER, I know that once the weather warms up, I will start to LOSE weight, just like every year, so I'm not sweating it. I would, though, dearly love to see that six-pack before I stop working out in the spring. JUST ONCE, I'd like to have visible stomach muscles.
The cats are fine; cabin fever has set in. Every time I shovel the driveway, I also shovel out their habitrail out back. Tinks, especially, likes to go out there and run around like a mad cat, then come tearing into the house, run around inside, and head right back out for more. Soda alternates blasting around like he's on fire with sleeping mightily in the cat condo. Pony continues to pick play-fights with Soda until somebody's yowling and I start to yell.
TV? Yeah no not much. Nothing I watch holds my interest, and then I start flipping channels and finally settle on something, ANYthing, to have on while I read. I did get "Boyhood" from netflix the other day, so we'll see if that's any good.
Work is work. I have a meeting at the local community college next week with an advisor to see about returning to school. Their standard degree offerings don't quite match what I'm interested in, so I am going to need to see if they would be amenable to me designing my own program. And preliminary results from the finance office would seem to indicate that I will be financing this entirely on my own, so it looks like it might take a little longer to work through. eh. We'll see.
I continue my association with the new rescue group - there's a volunteer meeting this weekend, and a bunch of us are going to be attending another rescue's trivia fundraiser in a couple of weeks. We will also be doing more adoption events soon, and by the time spring rolls around I'm sure I'll be fostering again.
So! That's it. A whole lot of nothin'. What's up with you?
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Monday, February 02, 2015
We got a butt-ton of snow last night. I figured it would take me a couple of hours to dig out this morning. Just as I got started shoveling, over came my crazy neighbor L.
With her snowblower. Right behind her was another neighbor, J., with HIS snowblower.
"I decided it was time to learn how to use this thing!" yelled L. "All these years, B. (her equally crazy husband, who is no longer able to do physical work) did it! J.'s showing me how! I'm gonna use your driveway to practice!"
Well, bless her heart. Between the two of them, they had my driveway done in about twenty minutes.
Excuse me while I go deliver some fresh-baked sugar cookies.
Neighbors. They may be crazy, but they've got your back.
Update: I actually divvied the cookies onto three plates: One for L., one for J., and one for T., the old lady who lives across the street. When I took T's cookies to her, she traded for a piece of pumpkin pie. Win!