Friday, January 29, 2016

Freaky Friday!

Because no home is complete without a pinata.  In the living room.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Feeding a Feral

A woman active in the local TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release/Relocate) community contacted me.  She had to go out of town for a week; would I mind feeding one of the ferals she was trying to trap, while she was gone?

Not at all.

At one time, there was a feral colony of up to twenty cats living behind a local big-box shopping center.  The woman who contacted me had been trapping them, one by one over a period of years, and spaying or neutering them.  Then she relocated them (a shopping plaza next to a busy highway is not a great place for a cat to live).  The friendly ones (only a few, unfortunately, were friendly) were placed with families.  The feral ones were placed on a friend's farm.   The woman is lucky in that she has a friend with a farm who is willing to take the cats; most farm cats breed their own replacements, so the ideal "farm home" that people talk about for ferals often doesn't exist in reality.

Now she was down to one cat, a calico, who needed to be trapped.  The cat has already had several litters of kittens that the woman has rehomed. (Obviously, that makes TWO feral cats who need to be neutered; the calico and whoever keeps knocking her up; the woman's priority right now is the calico.) She didn't ask me to try to trap it while she was out of town; she just wanted me to feed it so that it would still be around for another trapping attempt.

Here is where the cat lives.  Home sweet home.

The cat is able to access the underside of the shopping plaza through this opening:

This is where the cat eats. 

After placing down a bowl of food and filling the water bowls with fresh water, I was asked to tilt the wooden board up over the bowls so that the cat could eat without being seen and so that snow would stay off the food.

No, I haven't seen the cat.  I'll be feeding it through Saturday.

Pretty depressing, right?  A lot of people disagree with feeding ferals ("They can fend for themselves!" "If you'd stop feeding those nasty cats they'd go away!"), and a lot of people disagree with TNR ("Why spend money on stray cats when there are people in need?" "Why not just put the cats to sleep?" "Why not just leave those cats alone?"). 

I just hope the woman is able to trap this cat so it can stop having kittens and stop living under Walmart.  That's my hope.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The book I want to read ...

- Is published in a pleasing, not-too-small font.  I don't want to get a headache reading the book I want to read.

- Has no Prologue, Epilogue, or Author's Note.  It starts and ends, definitively.

 - Is set in the past.  Sometime between 1900 and 1950, which is when everything went to sh*t, book-character-wise.

-  Features a family who is living in poverty but is very, very happy, with lots of descriptions of how they "made do", ala The Waltons.

- They're very poor, but nobody gets seriously ill or, God forbid, dies.

- Likewise for their pets and/or farm animals. There are lots of charming anecdotes involving the animals, all of whom are happy and well and apparently live forever.

- Nothing horrifying happens. Nothing scary happens. Nothing that could be remotely considered scary happens.  Everything is fine, with lots of whimsical stories about silly misunderstandings between the children and detailed descriptions of lovingly-prepared meals. There isn't a lot of food, but nobody cares, because they are rich in other things.

- The main characters will be the Mother and Father, who met in school, fell in love, stayed in love, never strayed from each other, and are still happily married at the end of the book.

- This could probably go without saying, but there are no sex scenes.  None.  We all know how the kids got there; we don't need it described to us.

- Nobody ages.  Okay, maybe Mother and Father can age a little bit, but not the kids.  The children all stay the same age.  Like The Simpsons.  That show's a million years old, but the kids are still kids.  Like that.

- In the last chapter, either Mother or Father wins the lottery/inherits money from a long-lost uncle/had previously invented something which totally out of the blue merits a sudden windfall.  The family decides to move into more spacious and comfortable lodging, taking the pets and farm animals with them, and the money ensures that all the children get solid educations.

- The last words are, "And we all lived happily for the rest of our lives."

So, basically, it's like Dickens without the bad parts.  Yep, that's it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Faint praise, indeed

Yesterday, my boss told me I had done "a hell of a job" putting a complicated requisition together.

Anytime I hear anyone told that they're doing "a hell of a job", all I can think of is then-President Bush telling Micheal Brown, the head of FEMA, that he had done "a hell of a job, Brownie" handling Hurricane Katrina.  That, as people were drowning in their homes.

But!  I really did do a good job on that req.  The previous requisition had ended up in the weeds, so I had some cleanup to do.  A little backstory:  The boss was out of the country for the past month and a half.  And when he went, he just ... went.  He didn't bother to get his work in order before he left, he didn't inform most of our clientele that he was going, he just left.  And left behind one snot of a mess for me to try to sort out while he was gone.

We were in the middle of overseeing a major construction project with many contractors, a requisition (which my boss had prepared) in the works, and the out-of-town financing bank arbitrarily deciding that they were only going to pay the contractors (and us) 90%.  Just because. 

It was fun!

No, it wasn't.  It was terrible.  My boss left me in an awful position. It was a week before Christmas, and I was scrambling with the owner of the project and our local banker contact to get those contractors paid in full.  I've never worked so hard in my life.

But I learned a ton.  And I got those contractors paid.  And ...

I really don't want to work here anymore.

It's not just that the boss is racist, although of course that's a huge part of it.  It's also that the boss just doesn't seem to care anymore, and is in very poor health, and is already planning to swan off to the Continent again in March for a month or so.

If he doesn't care, why should I?

And one part of me says, oh hell, just stick it out.  The job is easy (well, most of the time), the pay is fair, the benefits are fine, why leave?  If and when the boss drops dead or pulls the plug on the company, at least that way I'll be eligible for six months' unemployment while I'm looking for my next gig.  If I quit, I won't get any unemployment.

ANOTHER part of me says, well, just start looking around.  I've updated my resume and references, dusted off my linked-in profile, and could just totter over to the local, state-run job service to see what's up.  Keep working here, but start sniffing around to see what's out there.  Because what if there's a great job, just waiting for me, except I don't know about it?

Look, I get it.  No job is perfect.  Work is work, after all.  And I know I've talked before about leaving here, but then stuck it out. But I'm increasingly wondering if it's time to take a look around.  Because I'm really, REALLY not looking forward to March.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ay Caramba!

I had to go to the dermatologist for a (long overdue) check-up last week, and there was an area on my back that she wanted to freeze with liquid nitrogen.  "It'll only take a few seconds," she said.  "You'll feel a sensation of cold, and that's about it."  And she got to work.

Things it felt like:

- Being stung by a million tiny bees in a very concentrated spot.

- Being shot at point-blank range with the world's smallest buckshot.

- Being stabbed with teeny-tiny little-bitty knives, a whole bunch of them, all at once.

Things it did NOT feel like:

-"A sensation of cold".


Monday, January 18, 2016

Pics from the weekend

I did an adoption event in a town about an hour away this past Saturday.  There are some interesting buildings along the way, so I put my camera in the front seat and did some not-dangerous-at-all, I-risked-only-myself picture-taking.

 Round barns are kind of a thing in the neck of the woods through which I was traveling.  Look how even the little entryway in the front is round!:

It was a very foggy morning.  Same barn, different angle:

A small-town jail, complete with turret:

The reason for the trip:

I stopped for coffee (and baklava!) with a friend afterward:

and more round barns:

Road trip complete.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Freaky Friday!

Yeah, I figured I'd do a few of these Freaky Fridays, until I forget to take more pictures again, which ought to happen by some time next week, so if you don't care for Freaky Friday, don't worry, it won't be long until I forget to do it.  Again.

So!  I posted a while back about the side-eye, eff-you frog that I got at a booth at the State Fair this past summer.  I LOVE that frog table!  And a few weeks ago, I was at a local antiques store when I saw the side-eye frog's cousin.

I almost didn't buy it, and in fact I DIDN'T buy it when I first saw it, because it was in kind of rough shape and they wanted twenty-five bucks for it, but I kept THINKING about it, and THINKING about it, which led to me finally rushing back to the antiques store before they closed up early on New Year's Eve, to see if the side-eye frog's cousin was still there.


I'm pretty sure that this one is supposed to be a cat?  Because of the whiskers?  He's pretty dinged up, and his tail is missing, but look!  He has drop-leaves on the sides!  (In the pic, his left drop-leaf is in the up position, and the right drop-leaf is down.  And I am pretty sure that he came from THE SAME BOOTH AT THE STATE FAIR, because the numbering system used on the underside to indicate which legs go where is the exact same sticker system as used on the side-eye frog.

So now I have a drop-leaf cat to go with the side-eye, eff-you frog.  Perfection.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Okay, YOU be the judge

Because I evidently can't let anything go, and this whole thing from last night is STILL upsetting me, here is the picture my sister (not Texas; another sister) (Alabama it was Alabama OF COURSE it was Alabama) posted to Facebook:

HOW is that not racist, exactly?  HOW?

I could not help myself.  That offensive pic showed up in MY FEED.  I commented:

"What the hell does that even mean? That the Obamas aren't "classy" because they're black? Jesus Christ."

When someone else commented that the picture wasn't racist, but was instead meant to be a commentary on Michelle Obama's table manners (HUH?), I said,

"If you post a pic of a bunch of rich white people in evening attire, calling them "classy", as a dig at the non-white people currently in the White House? Yeah, I'd call that racist. If you wanted to make a comment about their political leanings, you would have posted a policy paper or something."

Facebook:  Bringing those holiday dinnertable arguments with your racist relatives into the Modern Age.  *sigh*

And if there is anybody who can explain to me how that picture is NOT racist, I'd be more than happy to hear it.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oh my God, f*cking facebook.

Okay, first of all, this post has some un-bleeped f-bombs.  Because, facebook, what the FUCK?  You've been warned.

Yes.  Facebook.  I'm on it, because a lot of the rescues I'm involved with have active fundraising pages, etc., there, and yeah, it is a good way to kill time and see how messed up other people are.  ha.

But sometimes it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Today, a rescue acquaintance I am "friends" with was posting about the heartbreaking decision to put her beloved cat, who had been ailing for the past year, to sleep today.  And while this is a woman with whom I never interacted on facebook, mainly because her political views are diametrically opposed to my own, I did post a couple of condolence comments on her posts.   Because I've been there, and I know how hard it is.

And THEN, I got home from work, and I was SO EXCITED because my little hibiscus tree, which I had almost given up on this past fall thanks to a dramatic full-leaf-drop, was blooming.  And I posted a pic of it on facebook, with a little backstory about how it almost didn't make it and I almost threw it out back in the fall, and the woman mentioned above, who NEVER comments on any of my posts, jumped in with "See?  U never gave up, and u kept it alive".


Maybe this is all in my head, and I SURE HOPE SO, but I'm afraid that she may have somehow (incorrectly) connected the decision to put her cat down with my (totally lighthearted) post about keeping an apparently-dying tree alive.


Here's the thing.  I am "friends" with a TON of people on facebook.  I get a mega-million posts in my feed every day.  If I started trying to tailor my own posts to avoid possibly saying something that might inadvertently upset someone reading MY stuff, I wouldn't be able to post ANYthing, which, frankly, would be just fine, but still.

what to do what to do

I replied to her comment,  saying that I probably SHOULD have thrown the tree out except I'm kind of a hoarder, haha.  And then I said that I was sorry for her loss, and that the last, best thing we can do for the cats in our care is help them when it's time for them to go, and that I hoped she'd take care of herself.


So, yeah, massive facebook clunker, now I feel AWFUL.

but then!  BUT THEN!  It gets better.  Or, you know, WORSE.

Because right after THAT whole disaster, a post of a SISTER of mine (no, not Texas) shows up in my feed.  She'd posted a picture of the Bush family in evening attire, with the caption, "Remember when our presidents were classy?"


I commented.  I HAD TO.  "What the hell does that even mean?," I said.  "That the Obamas aren't "classy" because they're black?  Jesus Christ."

Oh my GOD.  Social media.  I gotta get offa there.  CHRIST.

But wait! Look!  My hibiscus:

At least I can post it here.

Monday, January 11, 2016


There's a can of air freshener in the bathroom at work labeled as "country scent".  When I was a little kid and the family would go someplace in the car with Dad driving, whenever we'd pass someplace out in the country with distinct odor of cow manure, Dad would theatrically inhale and dramatically exclaim, "Ahhhh!  Smell that country air!," at which point we'd all burst out laughing.  So to me, "country scent" = "cow poop". 

There was a container of divinity on the clearance table in the Walmart bakery last weekend (divinity the candy, not divinity the state of being), and I bought it out of curiosity, as I'd never had it before.  Turns out it tastes a lot like marshmallow fluff.  Huh.  

I think that Drew Barrymore is a terrible actress.  I mean, she's cute as all get-out, but my God, she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.  There, I said it.

Kate, aka Simply Kate, the Christmas card I sent you got returned - evidently you've moved again?  Rats!  I tried to send you one,  honest!  Hope you and the hubs and the new baby are doing super.

I'm always looking for new stuff to make for dinner, and I realized the other day that I'd never had Swedish meatballs.  So I looked up a recipe, made it, and ... meh.  Just tasted like meatballs in gravy to me.  But maybe I was doing it wrong.  Anybody have a knock-out Swedish meatball recipe that tastes like something other than meatballs in gravy?  Thanks.

The Christmas tree is down!  And the Foster Campers have moved into another foster home, so that I can take a little break.  The house seems empty now.  *sniff*

And!  Today is Ponyboy's (approximate) birthday!  Happy fifth birthday, old man!

Friday, January 08, 2016

Freaky Friday: Reliquary

Yaaaaay!  Time for Freaky Friday!

A while back, a contractor found the world's smallest shed snakeskin in my doorframe when he was replacing my front door..  I thought it was the coolest thing, and placed it in a little box.

A while after that, I got around to decorating the box.

A while after THAT, this past summer, I found an awesome shadow box at Hobby Lobby, and tucked it away to give to myself for Christmas.

This past weekend, things finally came together, and ... voila:

Reliquary for a snakeskin.  Only at my house, folks.  Only at my house.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

and this ain't even all of 'em

I FINALLY got around to a long-delayed project this past weekend ... the foster wall.


Pretty boring, right?  Just a list of the foster cats, and a framed photo enlargement.  That stuff came down:

And up went ... The Alumni:

It may not look like a lot, but some of those pics have several cats in them - there are two litters of six kittens, a litter of four, etc. 

And I still need to get Chloe, Watson, Apple Pie, Mikey, Auguste (formerly Frida), Georgia, Henri, Taffy, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Rowena, Perseus and (whew) Lyra up there!  Then it will be done. For now.  Ha.

Monday, January 04, 2016


It had been unseasonably warm here recently, and when I got home from work one night, the park next door looked like this:

All I could think of was that old Stephen King story, "The Mist".  *shudder*

Tinks says, "Hey, thanks, laydee, you got me a car for Christmas!":

Tinks LOVES to lie on the car when it's in the garage - probably because the hood is warm when I first pull it in.  He'll climb up on the roof, then slide down the windshield, leaving little smeared pawprints behind.  It's adorable.  He doesn't pay any attention at all to the car when it's in the driveway.

Tinks also likes to sprawl at my feet in the morning when I'm getting ready for work:

It's funny how much darker his coat as gotten as he's grown older.

Foster Camper Rowena says, "Hey!  No pics of my bare belleh!"

Yep, all the Foster Campers, and a bunch of the shelter cats (27 in all!) went and got tutored on Christmas Eve.  And in case you ever wonder why shelters are asking for money all the time, if the shelter had had to pay for all those operations (13 spays, 14 neuters), even at the cheapest vet's "rescue rate" it would have cost TWO GRAND.  Luckily, this round was covered under a grant offered by a local vet school, but most of the time, that money comes right out of the shelter's pocket.

*end of lecture, and THANK YOU to all the readers here who so generously contributed to the shelter this year!*

Oh!  But I do have a question!  When these fosters came back to me after spending a week in another foster home prior to their spay/neuter appointments, Sam Winchester had quite a severe case of diarrhea.  They actually couldn't neuter him with the other rescue cats because they said he was too dehydrated.  I had a stool sample tested and he was negative for all the usual culprits - worms, coccidia, etc.  The rescue suggested I try a grain-free diet for him, which I started on Friday, and since then the situation has been improving.  Now I'm wondering if grain-free food truly is better, and whether I should switch the perma-cats to grain-free.  Anybody have any experience in this area?  I'd appreciate your input.

Meanwhile, Permacat Sodapop insists that "I'M DA BAYBEE!  I'M DA ONLY BAYBEE CAT IN DIS HOUSE!":

Okay, Soda.  You're da baybee.

And finally, I was finally able to get some cleaning done in the Foster Room the other day, and when I moved a dresser away from the wall, look what I found!:

Man, those cats really need to improve their ping-pong game.