Thursday, May 31, 2007

Po' PO

I went to the post office yesterday afternoon. I spoke with the supervisor, who said his boss (the Postmaster? I didn't ask) is out of town and he can't do anything until bossman returns, even though he should have contacted me last week. He then said the carrier was coming back in right then, so I could talk to him. Wait, wait, wait somemore.

Finally, picture a smarmy, sleazy, intimidating Wil.lem Daf.oe and you know what I was dealing with. Going on the offense and leaning out the little window in the heavy door, he confronted me about what type of packaging it was. I told him that I learned through the postal clerk who spoke to him last week that it was an envelope, but I didn't know before that. He said that it fit perfectly in my door, as did every other package I'd gotten from him that he left in my door. He never had a problem before, so he left this one in there, too. I countered that I get so few USPS packages, how could he really know that?

Although I didn't say that I always wondered why he left packages instead of cards, I did say he was grossly mistaken about the safety of my door - and the traffic going by. I've had a stink bomb and an arson report out of it. I've had a bike stolen from the back yard. I've even had a package (a box, I think, which would not have fit in the door - seems like it was some pottery) missing before, but I never reported it because it was inexpensive and I settled it with the ebayer. [I'd been out of town, had no idea when it came, didn't realize it for a few weeks that it'd been missing, so I didn't pursue it. This was about three years ago.] Anyway, making assumptions about my door is wrong.

I asked why he didn't put it in the package box at the mailboxes. He said that people who are in my chest of boxes (the only one of the three chests without a package box) just take the package box keys home and don't get their package out. I retorted that if he knew me as well as he professed, then he knows that I 1) read English and 2) am not stupid. [I didn't say that he did leave me a package like that once and I followed instructions perfectly like a good little postal customer.]

So he got heated, saying he did what he always did, with a glib, Will.em Dafo.e, inauthentic, and aggressive "Sorryyyy" to boot.

The supervisor pushed him away, then said he got what he needed. Previously, the carrier would not confess to him where he'd left the package, but he knew the carrier would tell me when I confronted him. It was a set up. Not only did the carrier say he'd left this package, he said he'd left others in the past. The supervisor will be crafting a "Letter of Demand" stating that the carrier will have to reimburse me - and the only receipt I gave them was for the Paypal total ($70), which included shipping, so I should get the entire amount. This letter will go to the supervisor's boss, who is supposed to return to town tomorrow.

I feel better, except now my postman hates me and that can't be good. If he fucks with my Netflix deliveries, there will be hell to pay. Oh, and my monthly check from ex.

I'm screwed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Laugh a minute

I know, I keep you in chuckles.

Perhaps you'll recall a music post from last week where I excitedly talked about loading an MP3 player for ex for Father's Day? I probably had hundreds more than I needed and I have the songs trimmed to about 600 now for 1.9G. I was getting two inexpensive 2G players, so I could load a big one for myself. Right now, I am using a 256M Woot, which is cheap and doesn't shuffle or generally follow directions.

Thing is, I don't have the new MP3 players. I ordered them off of ebay and, according to tracking, they arrived at 11:21 one morning. I was home about an hour later and my glass outer door was empty. I finally saw the tracking email a couple hours later, but I didn't know if that meant they had arrived at the PO, not my house. The next day, I took my tracking materials and receipts to the post office, learned indeed they had been delivered in an ENVELOPE (for $20 postage fee from the ebayer) and the mailman put them in my door.

Can you say postal fraud?

This is irregular for several reasons. Our mailbox area has two boxes for larger items and these boxes are larger than anything fitting in a mailing envelope. The mailman had said (learned via a conversation with a front desk clerk) they wouldn't fit in "the box" (I guess meaning my mailbox) but there was no reason he needed to leave them in my small box with the larger boxes right next to them to be used. Further, he could have left a card and I could have gone to the post office. Another oddity is the time; our mail is usually here at 4pm, so why was he "in" the neighborhood before lunch?

The cop who answered the call wonders if it was the mailman stealing the envelope, scanned the thing as if delivered when he noticed it as something he'd like, although I have mentioned before that I live in a high walking traffic place for which something like this happening would not be out of character - too easy to blame. According to the mailman (learned via a conversation with a front desk clerk), he remembered putting an envelope with two boxes inside in it between my doors. I have tried to find out from the ebay seller if the word 'electronics' was in the return address, but they never responded to that part, only said they'd give me $1 off on a (more expensive) MP4 player. Too generous.

Just before talking to the cop, I saw the supervisor at the post office, learned the policy was that he indeed should have left a card and he as such is liable. The supervisor was supposed to have called me back last week, but didn't. It was a holiday Monday and I was sick yesterday, so today is the day. I was feeling polite last week, but I am in a horrible mood this week. I don't think I can be polite or constructive.

If he didn't take them, I do not like getting the money (although it fucking better include shipping) out of the mail carrier, but as the cop said he wasn't doing his job correctly. The cop was very supportive, saying I should be dealing with the Postmaster, not a supervisor, and if I needed any help to let him know.

I was trying so hard to be all together for Father's Day and give ex something he'd like. Okay, it gave me joy, something hard to come by around here. I've been compiling the music for many months. The player was the final hurdle and I priced them for a long time, waiting on the right deal. Of course, the ebayer has no more of these, so I'm going to have to pay extra and, what's worse (!), I won't be able to afford a 2G one for myself. Instead, I got two pink 512M off of Woot yesterday for $25. They'll have to suffice for me (and I know them being pink will keep my kid's paws off of them), but somehow I think a pink MP3 player won't float for Father's Day. The search continues.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bed of nails

Not really, but you wouldn't think a cat would love laying on his scratching box from Joe's quite so much. At least he usually scratches there, too.

Actually, I'm the one on the bed of nails. I was already wrestling with the idea that with Saturday comes the one year anniversary of the conversation that broke up P and I, how I thought that was the end and I was relieved, how it drug out when I wanted stuff back, how this went on for the next two and a half months. Then there came all the revelations in February which shattered me. Now with this anniversary (and the harder engagement one coming on July 3), I think of how much he has moved on, despite completely lacking self-awareness (which I am learning is a very nice condition to have), to form an entirely new life.

When I consider him, he is in a different place and I'm sure he thinks he is better off. I am wallowing in the same place. I have not done a fucking thing in the last year. Each time I thought I was over him, something else would come up or be revealed.

His wife recently changed her MySpace picture from the stupid chain-attached "OWNED" sign around her neck to the picture I had posted here before. I wonder what that meant, if being owned by P has gotten old or of she has settled a bit from her newlywed craze. Either way, I think she's matured a bit.

What magnified the pain of these memories further was a conversation over the weekend. An acquaintance, Rachel, from the singles group who I'd just seen here and there before, but didn't talk much one-on-one. I spent the day with her on Sunday. She asked me questions about Luke, the guy over the holidays who I dated 3-4 months. If you'll recall, I told him off one night in January in a different city, then refused to ride in the van back with the group, that night being when Ted and his buddy let me stay in their room. I felt rejected by him one too many times, the funny thing being that I had broken up with him at Thanksgiving and Xmas as well. He kept wooing me back, would be contrite, was very persuasive, etc.

As it turns out, he was emailing at least two other women from the group during this time, to include Rachel. He was dicking me around, not letting me be, while he was also covering for his future without me. The kicker is his philosophy, which I have learned that he's imposed on at least one other woman from the group since: do not have any sort of relationships with other men, as it detracts from the togetherness and relationship with him. He'd tried to make me give up Richard as a friend, but I said I wouldn't. Any semblance of cheating was too much to him and, just like P with L's mother, I thought was because he'd been cheated on and left in a heap. As it turns out, he thought developing new relationships was fine for himself and perhaps he and P were guilty parties all along.

It's not that I think these guys are worth my time. I don't want them, but the circumstances make me feel stupid, duped, unintelligent, unaware, as if my radar is faulty. Honestly, though I think my radar is fine, I just have a hard time politely/thoroughly breaking things off when I am first aware it isn't working, as with Ted or early on as with P or Luke. They don't listen and it progresses past my mature means of handling it to me coming to a boiling point, during which time they've gone behind my back. I am realizing the dynamic now. I need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Guys. They are not worth it. My cynicism has only grown. This serves to further prove my new theory. When a guy (or anyone) has a 'thing' about something and it is projected on you, it is actually a reflection of who they are (e.g., cheaters or cheapsters) more than what they want from or fear others (e.g., being cheated on or anyone else being cheap.) I'm getting pretty 20/20 about this, need to get it in the forebrain.

Not that I'll be dating any time soon. Instead, today is another day of puking and I am at a loss of why twice in less than two weeks. Perhaps it's a literal purge this time.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The boys

They're actually hanging out in the vicinity of one another.

Memphie is still on to the red pre-flash laser. My son crawled into my bed when I was up doing early morning computing. Isn't the new comforter lovely?

High strung Spencie is a very clean cat. He's gotten his tongue and/or jaw stuck under his collar twice in the past two weeks, that I know of. I've tightened it both times, but I may take it off.

I love cats bald in front of their ears.

Memphie has been known to sweetly head butt/nudge Spencie one second and swat the next. Calm is waiting for the next storm, but calm is nice while it lasts. They are finding their way. Spencie's only been voluntarily getting on the bed for a week. He's gotten used to the idea quickly while Memphie feels invaded if I'm not petting and cooing him into submission.

The three of them are Mama's boys.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

I interrupt this post in the making

to declare that those tickly sensations on my butt were indeed two ticks. [ETA: as was the tickle on my thigh a third.][ETA: as a tickle on my other thigh hours later was a fourth, after a shower, inspection by my son, and a change of clothes.]

I painted for an hour today at a wildlife refuge. I was almost arrested by the park ranger boy scouts for parking where there was not a no parking sign. I don't think I'll go back.

It was the first time I took 8X10 Pastelboard. Usually I get 5X7 and I liked the extra space today very much.

With the added space to maneuver, I do believe I will work on this one at home a little, something I rarely do. I want the road to sit down a bit more on the left. Using digital pictures to analyze is very helpful.

I really wanted to paint today, as I also did after my last podiatrist appointment, to commemorate the date. As I was getting ready to leave for the doctor, my mother called and said my grandmother died in her sleep, just as her mother and father had done before her. She'd been in a nursing home for three years and was healthy except for her Alzheimer's. She would have been 87 in June.

Her husband died in 1994. Until recently, I'd made it to my mid-40s and had three grandparents intact. With my other grandfather going in December, I am suddenly down to one.

I feel bad for my mother. A week ago, Ma had a droopy foot and hand numbness, so she went to the ER from work. They ruled out stroke, but wondered about simultaneously pinched nerves in two locations. She had her MRI Wednesday, then moved into her new house on Thursday. She didn't have phone service yet and of course has no cell, so the nursing home had to call her work this morning, someone from work came to her new house to relay the message, and she had to talk to the home for the news. With all that has been going on, she hasn't seen her mother since Tuesday, whereas she usually visits each day. She feels so badly.

RIP Grandma. We will miss your dirty jokes.

[image removed]

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The verdict is in

Braces sooner rather than later. Today's appointment was supposed to be preliminary, just to chart a plan to come back for more. They kept repeating to not be upset if this appointment today only led to another free consultation down the road.


J gets braces on the top beginning in early July and they'll be on a year, 4th grade. Then he'll have a retainer for about two years and the second phase will begin before the 7th grade, this being a regular mouth of braces once his baby teeth are gone. At least this way, the cost of the braces are going to be divided over many, many years.

The reason for the first phase is to prevent damage or injury to his 'vampire teeth' and to correct the highly vertical angle on his front teeth as well. At present, they sheer downward, cover his lower teeth, clipping and damaging his lower gums.

We didn't expect to have to go through the mill today, but he got x-rays and molds taken. I'd told him about keeping his foot up with the discomfort of the molds, to distract himself, and boy he had his foot up the second she touched him. Although he did well overall, she had to do the top twice; he had trouble with that one.

The orthodontist was highly complimentary about how clean his teeth are, what a good job J does brushing. If only. My son gets over on that one - an unearned bene, because he is awful about brushing. He has no cavities, so he must have good saliva. That's my story...

Goes to show that a mother's intuition is right; I felt we should start now, just didn't know why. The best thing is that the orthodontist said no extractions! And no jaw expanders! Yeah!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two conversations

Some of this is review, but I am nothing if I am not a teller of ancient history. In fact, my new EEG assessment done Sunday by a different practitioner shows that I am a thought powerhouse with no rudder, as if that were really news. I ruminate, because I am. Now, however, I'll be working with someone more effective to retrain my brain in the near future after I get my own equipment. (Although I suspected the clinician who gave me this pro bono was less than bright/professional/competent, I am hearing about her from others and having much more confirmed.)

Additionally, as a rationale for not giving up on the history, repeat posting about stuff like this is justified because I have a lot of new subscribers who came along after I took down most of my archives last year.

Some of this will probably be offensive and not IVF PC, but I cannot help the way I feel based on MY life experiences and my perspective. Please don't get angry if my opinions differ from yours. Some of this has taken two and a half years of blogging to admit. And I've already sat on this post three additional days.

I had two conversations recently, one with an online friend and one with my Mor.mon walking friend, Norma. Both of these friends are pretty damn blunt, but I understand blunt.

Although she had no idea of what she stirred, the first (you'll recognize yourself, my friend) asked, after I'd said something about resigning myself to my SIF plight, if I would prefer a fulfilling relationship or another pregnancy. Given my circumstances, the answer is easy and has always been: a fulfilling relationship.

I've had only one pregnancy, never even got the chance or hope to succeed again. I've also never had a soul mate and don't consider myself too good at finding appropriate men. However, at age 44 and 10 months, which am I mostly likely to succeed at now? I am nothing if not pragmatic.

Even when I was ttc with ex and was scheduled for IVF in January 2000, I chose to work on our relationship when he suddenly decided to pull the plug about two months away from IVF beginning. Okay, October 19, 1999, if you must, as we were riding home from my excruciating HSG. As a result, every resentment and grievance fell away and all I did was focus on my family with a full heart. Of course, that didn't work, because what became his prime excuse later (my weight gain over the next months) was precisely because of the fact that I wasn't doing IVF or breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant; I finally went and got a new psychiatrist to prescribed me ela.vil so I could sleep for the first time in a few years. Poof! 30 pounds. That precious, heavy, heavy, heavy sleep felt good, but it didn't feed what my midlife crisis husband needed.

So I completely ditched the baby idea in order to work on my marriage, even if that didn't happen either. I wanted an intact family more than anything.

Six months after my divorce was final, I took up with P. After we were together six months and I was turning 42, we stopped using birth control, which lasted the better part of two years. After about six months of unprotected sex, he sold his condo and had cash, ex announced his new wife's pregnancy, I was devastated, and P offered IVF to me. It was his idea, then he drug his feet over the next month or two and pulled out.

Yes, I've been dumped at the doorstep of IVF by two different men.

Ex's concern (ha!) was the dividing of the 'wealth' (another ha!) that would go to our son. P's concern was about his capabilities as a father, yes, a valid concern and I am proud of him for admitting it, but it was a fear I felt could be cushioned greatly by a child having me as a mother.

However, I ditched neither man because he didn't desire a child. For one, we stopped trying, for the other we continued to try anyway, figuring it was fruitless, though. I loved both of them more than what I had begun to think of as a pie-in-the-sky proposition, pregnancy.

In essence, my goal to have a child requires a union I have not been so lucky to find. With ex's job travel schedule, I feel like I raised J on my own. Only with us separating and his job changing has he become a constant, a decent father and actually a good ex-husband. With P, I had no idea about the depth of his insecurities, his two additional marriages, his ability to cheat on me, how bad his teenaged daughter could get, the dysfunction of his greater family, etc...

So, as much as I wanted a sibling for my son, it is probably best that these relationships did not produce one, regardless of how strong a mother I am.

Because the relationship is primary to me, I could not fathom myself doing DI as a single woman. I've essentially raised a kid on my own and don't want to do it again. With my son, I was so lucky to have hourly care for $3/hr at a military post, so I did get breaks and still felt like a person when ex was away for extended periods. My mom friends were so jealous of this arrangement, but then I was jealous they'd leave the kid(s) with daddy and got to go to gatherings in the evenings.

Another aspect of DI that differs from divorce is the idea of visitation. I don't think sperm banks take a kid back for Wednesday nights and every other weekend. To be a decent mother, I absolutely need some time off the parenting clock and DI would offer none. I'd need support.

It only follows that the idea of DE plus DI now would not work, in part also because to me the idea of actually getting pregnant is so far-fetched, regardless of whose eggs are used. I do not think having a blocked tube explains completely why I never got pregnant (or knew I was pregnant) again. Maybe I was hypothyroid all along. Maybe it was the endometriosis, even though I was declared clean (ha!) in 2001. My beautiful, morphologically perfect uterus would only work once.

As I said, I must admit my desire for a child within the context of a relationship is primary, but I will say that a biological connection is quite important to me, too. Perhaps it is gauche to admit this. My son has over 500 known grandparents going back over 20 generations; I think it would be unfair to introduce another child to such a disparity in a people valuing family history like this. I am a genealogist. I cannot help it. I like that my son looks like me, that he's a math/science kid like me, unlike his father. I like his distinctive, ethnic red hair from both of us and the way he ducks his head and wrinkles his forehead like his father. I am a biologist. I like biology.

It's not that I couldn't love a child that's not mine genetically, though. (The idea of a new nongenetically-related family member - i.e. a step child or new DIL - is very exciting because it gives a whole new family to research!) Not by a long shot. I have.

Although the question was specific to pregnancy, I'm going to cover adoption, too, because I am certainly not anti-adoption. I don't think I've ever discussed this here, but if I have, it'd been flushed from the archives anyway.

Earlier in our marriage (ca 1991 and 1995), we did consider adoption twice: once when he went to Korea for over two years and we agreed (he brought it up) that if he were presented with the prospect of a child, we'd pursue it (back then, military people would adopt this way) and, secondly, when he was in management post-first-military-segment and an employee approached him about taking the baby of her newly pregnant teenaged daughter, because she desperately did not want to raise a grandchild. She even sent home a picture of her daughter with my husband to show how pretty the girl was, what good genes she had.

Both of these are baby-dropped-in-your-lap scenarios from before my fertility was even tested. The first never materialized, perhaps because ex was busy instead incurring gambling debts in the Officer's Club, beginning his mid-life crisis before he was 30. For the second, we'd said we'd take the grandchild of the employee, but I did not get vested in the idea or meet the daughter so as to preserve my sanity. (I'd met the mother briefly some time well prior to this.) I think people assumed us to be infertile because we'd been married nine years by then, so I didn't consider it illogical to be approached. We'd not decided to pursue trying for pregnancy before then, were loose about the idea of children all together, so I had not had a sense of loss about my fertility yet, nor was I exactly chomping at the bit yet to start a family via pregnancy. To be honest, I feared pregnancy, plus I was in the midst of 3.5 years sans period due to endometriosis treatment anyway.

As the girl's pregnancy progressed, the boy's family became involved, then the boy's mother retired and said she'd care for this and another infant grandchild during the day. However, within months after the birth, all had fallen through and the baby was with her mother and grandmother. It was precisely what they'd tried to avoid, although I do not doubt at all that the child is well cared for. The employee/grandmother was truly initiating it out of love of her own daughter, wanting her daughter to have an easier life/education than that of a single mom, and knew of us and the good home she felt we could provide.

However, at present, I would not pursue adoption or fostering, because I would not want to do it by myself. It is that simple. I could raise the idea of finances (I've/we've always been strapped) concerning any of this, but the bottom line is having the relationship. I want to parent as a team. My philosophy is like a blues song: if Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy. A mama required to cover each and every base of a single mom's life would not be happy, at least not in my house. I am not a martyr.

To quickly touch again on the step child means of getting children, I have certainly demonstrated how willing I was to stick my neck out for another's child, how I could fend for that child as if my own. It's not a matter of loving a child, it's a matter of being able to be good parents together in the relationship. Obviously, that was lacking with P. I read a quote of my own the other day: "My role was to fix, but to not make anybody feel bad for things needing fixing so badly." That's not a healthy step relationship and I could not change it.

On to my second conversation... I presented my online friend's question (which was not answered with this ridiculous degree of thoroughness) to Norma as a conversation was skirting toward the issue anyway. Norma is rather simple in her world view and conveys that with a distinct lack of tact. I love her anyway.

In essence, she called me a hypocrite a couple ways over.

Bordering on angry, she wondered how I could have wanted a child with P knowing what sort of daughter he had produced and what kind of father he was. The easy answer is with me being the mother. For one thing, unlike in L's case, I would not desert my child. I would challenge the father to behave like a proper father and P did actually learn from me. I also would not leave her to be raised by his alcoholic, psychotic mother. At the time, I didn't realize how bad his family was or how much addictions run through it, but I truly felt that a child with a strong and present mother could overcome almost anything. As I write this now, however, I realize in retrospect the craziness that is his family and how the child would have been a little less mine somehow. (That alone is actually an argument for DI, I know.)

Secondly, Norma cattily agreed that I obviously put the relationship as primary, because she questioned how I could possibly really want a baby if babies and pregnant women send me off the deep end. She concluded that I must really love relationships more than babies if I don't love ALL babies. Without exploding, I told her that thousands of women have PTSD as a result of fertility issues. There are lots of triggers, but others' babies bring about a severe sense of loss, a lingering reminder of a missing personal gain. Other people's babies do not bring joy to many women, women like me. I am not alone in this. She expressed surprise that others are like me. Like I said, she's narrow in her scope.

I hope these explanations satisfied her. She is SIF with an 11yo son, probably spent 2 years trying for another before her very long marital separation. Opposite me, she is the consummate baby ogler, always offering to carry or entertain infants. With her being Mo.rman, she gets plenty of chances. If I were Mor.mon, I would have plenty of chances at PTSD triggers.

Good for her to have such a resolve around babies. Maybe her faith helps and my absolute lack of faith hinders.

Actually, I chalk up my reactions to PTSD in a couple ways beyond the vision of babies and bellies. My marriage ended, him acting like a teenager those last 17 few years. Combine that with my engagement ending and my later realization that he'd cheated on me for six months then promptly married her. Well, those are enough relationship PTSD events for a lifetime. Add to that my one, sole, only, single pregnancy, my miracle of a son who was conceived just under the wire two weeks before his father began a nine month deployment, which was the beginning of the end of our marriage and, ultimately, our chances for children. And being dumped at the IVF alter twice... well, it's all baggage I am beginning to let loose, even as I harp on it now. It took EEG and altering brain waves to get there. I have made so much progress, but I have a long way to go.

So my answers again: I am too old. I am single. I only have one child born of my only pregnancy. I can ultimately change one of these things and neither of the others. I have to be okay with that. I don't have to be single. And I can be happy as the mother of one nonetheless.

To continue my rant a little, as of our conversation last night, Norma seems to think that I need relationships, must be in one, require a man, and her religious background equates that to a need of sex. For one thing, I like meeting people, expanding my horizons, and getting out of the house, so dating suits me as a social outlet - I don't go to church services or church dances (what I call the pot luck mentality for maintaining a sense of community) like she does as she is seeking her social outlets, not to mention I don't have a water cooler to hang out. Further, for me, sex is an expression within a relationship; I do not nor have I ever prowled bars looking for sex. Conversation, yes. Sex, no. I am not motivated by sex outside of dating or a relationship; it is a corner turned once I am dating someone. (Nor was I motivated, as I mentioned above and as she accused again, to stay with any man for the hope of pregnancy; I have demonstrated that I stuck around after well they pulled out of IVF.)

What happens with me and seeing someone is that I am an information gatherer. I know I am not perfect and I don't think others have to be either. It doesn't take one red flag to turn the tide; it takes a small collection as I gather information about overall compatibility. Granted, I need to learn to call things quits earlier, before anyone is attached, but I also need to do so without feeling, um, like I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Blogger's auto save

This new feature is pretty irritating. Things I've formatted and spaced properly go all to hell after the auto save. (See previous post, corrected numerous times.)

It also turns off comments, which is something I definitely do not want to happen. (Happened previous post as well.)

Anybody else notice this stuff?

Ron, are other asking about it, too?

Eight things

you didn't know about me...

Got tagged via the drowned girl, who is in the midst of her first DE cycle. Go make sure she doesn't laugh those boogers out. Glad to find her and have her as a reader, although SIF sadly isn't too much of a focus around here anymore.

First, allow me to say that I blog about so much specific stuff, I don't know how I'll find eight things you don't know about me. Somehow. I rarely talk about food, maybe that's a good way to start.

1) I hate watermelon, but love watermelon candy.

2) I hate banana-flavored anything, but love bananas.

3) I love rice and had sincerely hoped it would a love shared by my son, but he has always hated rice. Always.

4) I hate gum and cannot stand to be in the company of someone chomping on it. I hate it on the sidewalk or the wall. I hate it in a tissue on the table where someone removed it to dine. I hate it in a mother's hand when a kid spits it out there. I just hate it. It gives me the willies.

5) I buy kid six packs of chocolate pudding, but not for my kid. It is a 100 calorie chocolate fix I adore without too much guilt.

6) I think I must be into puddings. I have loved flan since that summer I spent in Spain. I love rice pudding (go figure) as well as tapioca. I do not care about their calories or guilt.

7) I have a favorite cat, wish desperately it was not that way, try hard to compensate for it, but can't change it, except through time. As of last night, they finally shared my bed to sleep for the first time, on and off through the night. The older one kindly approached and sniffed the younger one and there were no hisses or growls from the younger one; come to think of it, I have not heard aggressive/defensive sounds like that for about two weeks. I think the older one wants to snuggle. They've had almost five weeks together. Maybe a few more and they will be snuggling. As it is the last two weeks, they play a lot, but it is rather rough chasing, so it isn't exactly brotherly. Or rather, it is quite brotherly?

8) For the big finale: I am glad to not have another child to take care of by myself or to have to share with someone like ex-f. My sense of loss about not having another child is finally eclipsed by the impracticality of the elements that are my life. More on this tomorrow.

Val (Vet extraordinaire who now mostly emails her blog updates - love that)
Brite (Who is entirely too quiet, because she is too entertaining and I want more)
Shinny (Hearty congrats on the double line!)
DD (Fingers crossed on your 2ww)
Donna (Who has had some bumps but is finally close to riding her horse, Missy)

Perhaps you've done this, but surely there are eight other things?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Not so good

at nausea.

I guess nobody is and I'm just spoiled to rarely get nauseated.

It began yesterday morning as I prepared for my new job (!) , but I figured it was nerves. Then as I was arriving at his place a little too early, I drove around the block and heaved three or four times. Nerves? Thank goodness I have bags and napkins in the car. I didn't feel that badly, so I proceeded to his place, hoping it wouldn't get worse and that it wouldn't start up on the other end. To be fair, I told him what had happened after he showed me the easy office stuff he wanted me to do, he asked "nerves?" and he offered that I leave, but I chose to stay, because I didn't really feel either bad or nervous. A little while later, the hypoglycemia kicked in, although it didn't hinder me working. I had half a toasted bagel for lunch, the perfect comfort food for me.

He was finished with the concept of organizing by 1, paid me for both Monday and Friday, and that truly felt good. I am saving it separately to put toward my own EEG equipment.

When I got home, I felt nauseated again all afternoon, finally resorting to some Pepto. I was able to eat some, though. Now it's the middle of the night and I am nauseated again. Hey! At least I was already awake before my regular night sweats kicked in!

Last evening, I researched if a thyr*ine overdose involved nausea and vomiting. Nothing is a simple stomach bug with me. Several websites list diarrhea and cramping, but none listed nausea or vomiting. I want to say I'm off the hook for it being Synthr*id, but anything is possible with my body. I've been on 75ug twice a day for a week yesterday; I overdosed on Lev*xyl at 125ug a year and a half ago. That overdose involved lack of sleep (check, progressively worse since Wednesday), tension, anxiety, diarrhea, flightiness which was probably palpitations, and loss of appetite. I don't have the mental angst and I truly want to eat, so I don't think it's an overdose, but I don't trust my body.

Let's see how the weekend goes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Flower chrysalis



Almost Loose

Hanging Free

Bulgarian Honey Garlic: Pod to Bells

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Silly excitement

More flowers to come, but in the mean time...

I remember in the days of P during the second quarter of his year long unemployment after he'd sold his house and had some change, he bought his daughter an iPod and himself a different brand. She downloaded her own stuff online from the scary, teenaged dark side. Pig that he is, he went hog wild on Lime.wire (thanks to Brite for reminding me of the site) and would carry on about his finds, as I would brainstorm about what else he should get. His player had lots more space than his daughter's, songs in the thousands.

I have often wondered if he took the time to unload some of my favorites (I sort of doubt it b/c he refused to keep the playlists on his computer in case the FBI came by to investigate Lime.wire users!), because he had Celtic/Blues/etc to satisfy me. I think he probably kept it all on (plus is listening to it twice daily on the train) and, when his wife hears it, she thinks these odd things are actually his taste.

I guess I am finally jealous he didn't get me one, too. Nor did he get me a new computer the same summer he got both of them new hardware. Shoot. Silly, silly me, I forgot nobody gives back to me, they just take... Now hasn't this post gone a place I didn't want to go? Hook me up to some EEG NOW! The three week break killed me. You've witnessed lingering and re-heightened PTSD.

So, late last fall, Luke, ye of the slow ass computer, asked me to load his new MP3 player and I had to figure out Lime.wire for myself. I loaded his player and he was very happy. I think it was only about 250MB, so about 120 songs.

I'd gotten my son a little 125MB from Woot for his birthday for about $15 and finally loaded it after Luke's. He was thrilled, truly, but he lost it over the winter - probably someplace in the house. So I got three more via Woot, 250s this time, including one for Ted because he is also a technically-challenged ye of a slow ass computer, aka El Cheapitude.

My son's is a work in progress, but Ted's got about 120 songs and he was quite pleased. So pleased to take advantage of me, in fact, that he struggled to pay the mere $18 + $5 shipping. Ass.

I'd let the third one gather dust until last week when I realized that I do deserve one for myself, too. These SanDisk ones, though, are cheap, do not shuffle, get stuck, are pains to manipulate. You get what you pay for. Typical Woot. Fine for a kid who''s gonna loose it and an ass who's gonna get lost.

My delay in loading one for me was because I debated if the third one should be for ex. I considered whether it should be for his Spring birthday or Father's Day, but I concluded that I wanted to give him a nicer one. He has refused to load a player for himself (he does not like that Lime.wire is reciprocal in access), but I know his musical tastes perfectly. See, his love of classic country and his lesser love of classic rock mean that nothing much changes over time. And I chuckle at how much better I know him than his new wife does.

So I bought two more via eBay, nicer ones for me and him, with J getting quite jealous. They were only $25 each and have 2GB storage on them. I haven't received the gadgets yet, but I started the playlist for ex, gathered from some of that stuff I had already and a bunch more downloads off Lime.wire. Right now, 2GB is about 670 songs. It has taken so fucking long to get to that point, but I am continually weeding stuff out, so it's not a matter of finding songs to include.

On Lime.wire, people label songs with the wrong singers, so you have to check if things are covers or incorrect. Also, sometimes there are skips and you need to download from another source. Sometimes the end is clipped off. Again, you get what you pay for. Takes time.

Anyway, I titled this 'Silly excitement' before I wrote this meandering post. And I'll keep it labelled that way. I have been so excited at the prospect of giving ex something he will enjoy so.damn.much. Of late, he's bought me a very nice camera and he also bought me a lawn mower, with the added bonus of teaching J to mow and monitoring him each week, too. He's due for a good gift in return.

Even though it has been a little painful looking up these old coots at Lime.wire, guys who used to be my friends, too, and we saw together. I do like their goods still: Dwight Yo.akum (saw him, sexy mofo - if he has his hat on), George Jone.s (saw him, too - he actually showed up!), Merle Hagg.ard (saw him with The Jud.ds), Willie Nel.son (was to see him, but he broke his thumb that week riding a bicycle), David Allen Co.e (was to be with Willie), plus so many more. You didn't know I am reformed (or not) country, huh? My long hair just can't cover up my redneck.

I tried hard with each song to make sure my motivation for including it was for him, not me. I remember P making me CD after CD when he was loading his MP3 player, maybe it was to make up for me not having a MP3 player like them, but I soon discovered that his Cricket Mix 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on and so on were actually for him and his tastes, not mine. Do you know how fucking much I hate Can.ned Heat now, as if I ever liked them before? That falsetto shit was his all time favorite song.

So, although I'd love to include Miss Rait.t's (saw her for my 40th birthday and was stupefied) "Love Me Like a Man" (Oh they want me to rock them / like my back ain't got no bone / I want a man to rock me / like my… backbone was his own / Darlin' I know you can), I will not make such statements musically. However, I will include John Hiatt (who will be well represented although ex has probably never heard of him but would definitely enjoy his style - I swoon over Eth.ylene and want a man to love me that way), the Out.laws (Ghost Ri.ders in the Sky) ,and the Allma.n Brothers (saw all three of these groups with P), with the latter's "Whi.pping Post" (which they did not perform when we sat stunned in the bored audience; their playlist sucked royally) particularly because sometimes I feeeeeeel like I've been

Yeah, by every man I meet.

Okay, a little agenda snuck in.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moving outdoors

Usually going to the exhibit later in the season, we saw fewer butterflies Saturday, both indoors and out. As people exit, travellers will ride on clothing into the great beyond, so the gardens nearby can be as exotic and butterfly-laden as the exhibit inside.

Rather than being able to show outdoor butterflies, here are some stellar flowers shining on their own: iris, pansies, peonies, etc.

My next post will be on the strangest flower I have ever seen, a series on the stages of this odd stalk.













PS - My son has his first orthodontics visit next week. I want so much for him to smile with his teeth showing again.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Excuse me while I WORK!

Oh, don't get too excited. It's only 8-ish hours per week, but at $20/hour, it's definitely money. I'd like to do 1-2 5 hour days per week and let it average out.

I am going to be a personal assistant, as in organizer for a fellow pile person. Despite me being a hopeless clutterbug (read: slob) in my own home, I did this very successfully before with my neighbor, probably just 8-10 hours total. She felt like I should become a professional organizer, a phrase I passed on to the guy and it made him choose me. He wants me to come to his place 1-2 times per week until almost the end of June, six weeks total, when J gets out of school and ends his vacation with his dad.

He was having a medical procedure today and needed a ride home, so I met him today with my first assignment. I go to start organizing on Friday.

He's about my age, tall, and handsome with a very sweet demeanor. I think this little job will be a breeze.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007


I went to my thyroid doctor for a check up/6 month pap and showed her the rash on my neck, because hypothyroidism frequently causes slow skin turnover, dryness, acne, and general dermal unhappiness. The rash is pretty much covered by my hair, splotches beginning at each ear running down and back, which I remember having as far back as December at least. I'd changed shampoos last week and the flat spots went from pinkish to brown, so I thought it was getting better.

Nah, thinks Dr. Thyroid. It's a fungus infection and needs to be treated with a cream for two weeks.

She thinks it's tinea. Besides looking a little funny and feeling dry, I really haven't had any symptoms, so that's why I didn't worry too much about getting it treated.

Some of you might realize what tinea is: athlete's foot. Or, better yet, jock itch.

How on earth might I get jock itch on my neck?

I take that question back.

Better yet, maybe I gave tinea to an asshole.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I chuckled evilly all evening

I'd had a niggling in my brain that I should research the availability of practice tests for J's standardized testing soon. He's a math/science kid like me, unlike his English/verbal father, so I knew practice in the latter would be prudent.

Little did I know how much would be out there for the asking online. Previous tests for Science, Math, and Reading/Writing are readily available back until 2000. They are rather extensive. Reading ones are 22 pages long, but I was smart and figured he could use his youthful eyes, me printing two pages on each sheet.

This morning when he got back from his dad's, I made him do two and a half tests before school. His reading comprehension is great (22/25, two of those missed were ones he skipped) and 20/20 on the half a science test he took.

Problems come with the writing part, 11/20 with one of those missed being skipped. He is unable to identify when to put in a question mark or choose the correct homophone, particularly when it is in multiple choice format. He does fine with punctuation/capitalization when he has to write a sentence out, correcting the example above. I will ponder strategies for him to at least pass the writing portion. It'll be tough, as I definitely remember having a difference of opinion about the 'proper' order of sentences in a paragraph or eliminating specific sentences. Just now, I told him to not be creative as he thinks about things. There is right and there is righter and it doesn't matter if his opinionated little butt is right if there is a righter choice; for example in some instances, see if there's a choice that will give their words back to them. (He got 14/20 on that test.)

Although past tests of history/social studies are not available, there are interactive tests online put out by some of the school districts. He said he was not very confident in this area (and the study materials they gave out were woeful), but he jammed online in a Jeopardy game after school, getting 58/60. There are a bunch more specific subject matter tests he'll be able to practice on. The economics stuff is so confusing.

With math, science, reading, and history/social studies, I think he can pass advanced and I want him to have that goal, a concept he didn't know existed before I brought it up. And, jeez, if he just passes writing, I'll be happy.

We have our work cut out for us. Happy Mother's Day to me. I hope it is raining.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Winding path

I have been posting every other day, but I am rather a loss today.

Sometimes I wonder where have all the bloggers gone? I get so few comments in comparison to others, even though I diligently try to comment elsewhere. Also, so many bloggers I used to enjoy are gone or nearly gone. Jeez, I usta could count on Kellie for a comment and some conversation, at least. This place feels lonely to me now.

Hence, blogging is holding less attraction for me. I would prefer if it were more social and my attempts to make it more social, pretty, uplifting, homey, or sweet have largely failed, so I don't know where to go. Strangely, my subscribers continue to increase (Hi People! Thanks!), probably double on the two feeds since last year, so I can only figure that someone is reading.

Tonight, I debate another form of socialization: drinking beer in the neighborhood bar and probably seeing the 35yo guy I'd met there in January/February (his wife had left him only six weeks earlier) and who recalled my every word when I saw him again last week in the moments before Ted arrived. Seems like his name is Justin, I forget, but he seems very sweet, just not right for me. He's naive and good and kind and smiling and generous with a new promotion and money to burn. What on earth would I do with a guy like that? Mostly, I remember him saying he's very inexperienced in bed. When a guy says his wife would not have sex with him, I do not think frigidity, I think more along the likes of ED or PE. Or general bumbling. I don't mind teaching, but I'm not sure I have it in me right now.

Besides, dating 'on the economy,' to quote a military term, is risky.

That said, I joined eHarmo.ny Sunday. Of all folks, a child psychiatrist contacted me Sunday morning. It went down strangely: I was notified at 9:45 that we matched, then at 10:45, he requested communication. Over the course of the day, he sent me five stock questions and I sent him five stock questions. These are things you essentially can't mess up. Then Monday morning, I got notice that he'd closed communication because he was in a relationship. Why on earth open communications then? I guess I'd rather know now than later. Is he schizophrenic or demented? Or did he score on big time Sunday night?

Evidently there are crazies both at eHarmon.y and in the psychiatric field. Goodness, who can you trust?

I am shocked at how many matches come up, something like 30 are active in my file right now within a week, not including the ones I've closed. I wish I felt better about my chances ... I try to just think of it for entertainment value, not much more. I'm not so keen on the term "soul mate," anyhoo. Never had one and don't expect to find one.

Speaking of a lack of soul mates, I emailed Ted my final, final, final answer last night, explaining that the drama is his, because I tried to do this quietly and maturely two weeks ago. I doubt if he's gotten the message yet, literally and figuratively. It was great fun having his six minute voice mail message, another two minute one, and his long email to take to my therapist today, particularly when he actually said to show his email to my friends and therapist. To quote her, "It seems so pathetic anyway," that he would be so misguided and shallow, saying the garbage he did and being so clueless. The word she used and I wish I had: integrity. He has none, yet he thinks he does. I'll give it to P; he lacked on integrity, but he knew it. Ex, he has integrity, he's just shallow.

Speaking of ex, he took a large pay cut for his job when the employer changed entities 18 months ago. He's been offered another job in a field he used to work in, but it's with a guy he consults for and pays only about every 4-5 months, not so reliable. Ex is considering the job and he'd be the big boss at the location, plus it would supposedly double or triple his pay. It is a hand full of hours from here. What pricked my ears was him saying, "There, I'd be able to afford for J to go to private school!" I bit my tongue. No need to fight with Mr. Pie-In-The-Sky just yet. Seems that he envisions us all moving to this nothing, tiny, podunk, racing town (it's not that far from where we used to live, so I've been through there) together. I've referred to his concept as an enclave or commune. Nope, not I, said the city-loving suburban girl. I'll pick that battle later.

Speaking a bit about J, he's got standardized tests coming up. I've been comparing them to the SAT (I know, stage mom), that he needs to learn how to take standardized tests and perform well. Today they did a practice math test from a previous year. He was the only in his class to get 50 out of 50. The closest other kid missed three. I am very proud, not only for him getting them right, but for him having the patience and attention span to do it. Kudos kiddo. Please keep it up. Mama needs you to get a scholarship one day.

Hmmm, so much for not really having anything to blog.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend update

Things are not going well on the Ted front. He's made things difficult and is dragging stuff out. He is incredulous that someone would dare to disagree with him, seems to want to teach me he's right, and is pulling the mental illness card. Honestly, do you know of anyone who works harder on mental health than I? I am monitored out the ying yang, am stable with no mood swings or even PMS, and am getting a bum rap. It's too easy to pin things on, but I must 'need help,' with him even willing to go explain things to my therapist(!), because I logically and rationally point out differing viewpoints to him. This per a six minute message on my voice mail yesterday. Jeez, who's obsessive?

I know that if he didn't have BPD to blame, it would be my being female. It's no win.

I did get $60 out of him last week, so I had some success. Enough success. He keeps bugging me that he doesn't want us to end badly, he cares for me and that's why he's so concerned, and he wants us to maintain our friendship. It's the old saying, "If this is how you treat your friends..." He's a fucking control freak with blinders on, I have gotten under his skin with my observations, and it has unsettled him. Yesterday, he called three times, but I only spoke to him the first (except I couldn't get a word in edge-wise), and he emailed me a lengthy, ill composed, and pathetic diatribe with agenda-laden, cherry picked, twisting-my-words statements I'd made in the past and he didn't respond in the least to any of my concerns about how he treated me.

Truly, going on 50 and never been married, exactly what he deserves. I say, "Go away, asshole. Quit treating me like your mother. I don't need friends like you and you don't know the meaning of care. For you, it is control."

On the podiatrist front, I basically have healthy feet by x-ray, well except for pain in the ball on my right foot (and beginning pain in the left farther out), pain specifically in the joint of my second right toe. He said it's a common location for inflammation. He figures it is because we stepped up our walking routine again, so he gave me inserts and told me to buy new running shoes, which I was able to luck into at a decent price with a sale this weekend. The inserts are for my heels and arches. They elevate my foot so that the back of my foot takes all the stress from walking and almost no weight goes on the balls. They seem to work, although they aren't very comfortable and fit each foot in a distractingly different way. He said the inserts, plus mega anti-inflammatories in the next three weeks, cures 95% of the occurrences. So now I know.

Norma and I have walked twice since I got the New Balan.ce shoes and inserts. I do not have pain afterwards or the next morning. My feet are still tender as I go down stairs, especially bare footed, but at least I don't think that exercising is hurting things. Permission to take extra anti-inflammatories is a beautiful thing, too.

It was rainy and overcast over the weekend, so I didn't go out to paint. However, I did read a book from my favorite author, Michael Co.nnelly. I got it last week at a thrift shop. Unusual for me, I went to three thrift shops last week looking for shorts for my son. I think I found only one pair (but found two in two previous trips to one store in the last month, again, an unusual pattern), but I spent much more on myself.

I cannot believe that I bought a comforter set for $30. My current ensemble is from Laura Ashley, one that isn't very frou frou and suited the bedroom's testosterone at the time, but it is nine years old. I cannot believe that part - where has the time gone? Anyway, it is showing some wear on the edges, but I have not been eager to replace it, my comfortable friend. However, I spied a very luxurious set at a thrift store and I learned it had only been there two days. Pattern wise, it is almost identical to my current one: olive green-based oak leaves on one side and gold-based floral on the other. The clincher, however, is that it is custom made Et.han Allen. And it had fresh dry cleaning tags plus four shams. My old bed skirt will work just fine.

I haven't put it on my bed yet, a change I'm working myself up to. Goodness knows, I have enough pictures of my cat or my kid on my bed around here, you're all probably ready for some new scenery.

On the cleaning front, I got a new vacuum cleaner on Free.cycle recently and picked it up this weekend. Came with extra bags, too. Maybe I'll even use it. I have a small one I use sometimes and have a larger one that was P's mother's hand-me-down to him that he rejected. Never used the thing. I hate having it, but now I'll be able to part with it and hand it on to someone else. Good riddance.

Speaking of P. This Monday a year ago is when I last saw him. Good riddance. You may remember a stupid suit hanger and sock he left after that visit? For a long time, it hung on my door knob, then I moved it to the outside molding of my closet. Finally a month ago, I put it in my closet. I mentioned it to Norma yesterday and she made me give it to her. She is a good friend. She also listened to Ted's messages and read the emails, which he even said to show my friends and therapist, as if they would support him. He is absolutely laughable to her; she lost patience long ago. (I haven't posted the emails here because he already knew about blog search engines and would be the type to research. At least he's too cheap to buy a new computer, so research would be a pain.)

And I guess that wraps things up. I want to talk about some excellent documentaries I've watched recently. It's incredible how powerful film can be.

Until then, as Italian misogynist Ted would say, ciao.

Friday, May 04, 2007


I had an early doctor's appt with a podiatrist - the balls of my feet are hurting me and limit my desire to walk or do stairs - and I took my pastels to make the best of having to be out.

Although I knew the architectural elements would be a pain to try to convey with fat pastels on a small 5x7 pastel board, I tried the gazebo anyway. For only about an hour's work, I am satisfied.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

First fruit

Today was a lovely day. It was overcast and didn't make for the best painting light, but I met a friend out and painted anyway for the first time plein air this season. Although I haven't photographed the works yet, I did two 5x7s of the scenes below. It was so relaxing. And it was great to catch up with my painting friend, whose had an even worse time of life that I have recently. She's in a great place now, though, and sounds wonderful.

Another reason it was so relaxing was the meeting I had beforehand. It was with a mother, Emily, who didn't like the service her son had received from the EEG PhD flake I have (but I get for free; she'd paid $4K), so she bought her own equipment and got formally trained. There is a whole group of people who meet monthly and the basis of them forming this group was them not appreciating the work of this PhD. It feels great to have such validation.

When I mentioned my meeting plans to my therapist yesterday, she was aghast at a group forming out of backlash, yet she was redeemed. She'd trusted my eval, but this reinforces it. In talking more, she revealed that in the past she'd wanted to include EEG as part of her work with children and ADHD, but didn't feel like she had the capacity to understand the nuances. Now she's encouraging me to take out a loan and do it freelance for her.

A girl can dream, huh? I would like to be better enough to feel like I could follow through and do a good job. That would take purchasing the equipment and working on myself somemore, first, to develop my confidence and focus. Emily said the group provides complete support, so I could take it as far as I want and do/don't pursue formal training accordlingly. They'd help me just to continue to do Alpha Theta Training and to incorporate a protocol for my ADD son. Or they'd help me out with the training angle and provide more complex support. There's a multi-day session in this area in a few months. Very convenient. What a find!
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

On the cat front

Both cats seem to be doing well, just not together yet. The baby has been with us two weeks today and Val says the average social acclimation period is three weeks.

Once with a lot of sweet talk from me last week, they did co-exist in the hallway outside my office, sitting about four feet apart. Then Memphie slowly initiated some nose-to-nose contact. There's nothing better than watching a slow motion cat looking askance, paranoid, but with a positive agenda.

Overall, Memphie seems more inclined for positive contact. Spenc-er acts as if he is, cooing sweetly and invitingly, then freaking out if Memphie gets too close. Memphie did sneak up to sniff on Spenc-er a number of times as Spenc-er was laying in the window, so Memphis got away with it without incident.

It is hurting my heart that Spenc-er isn't in the fold yet; that primarily means that he sleeps apart from us. He is very vocal and has this pathetic, lonely cry I'll hear downstairs. He's such a social cat that I hate him sleeping alone, most often in the living room or office. I am very conscious he went from a loud, crazy household to our relatively quiet one and I don't want him bored or depressed. That said, I am shocked at how much has grown; even my son's noticed. He was already 18ish months old, but he's longer and wider, so I guess he is thriving. Wish I had weighed him when we got him.

Whereas Memphie's domain is my bedroom and his favorite spot is the center of the bed, Spenc-er does have custody of the office, so he's good company for the vast amounts of time I spend in here. He likes me to hold him like a baby, is very pliable, and will sprawl out on the desk or curl up at my feet. However, I got him to be my bedtime cuddling cat and I know with his last owner he was. Time, takes time.

I think they'll become friends. With Memphie, the interest is there. Sometimes he's misunderstood, as he wants to play and Spenc-er get spastic about being chased when it is all in good fun.

Although I've kept their nails clipped, they are both scratching. I have found cats have either a horizontal or vertical scratching preference. Seems that Memphie is vertical and I am thrilled he found and expendible box he likes. Spenc-er is a horizontal scratcher. Just this weekend, he discovered our Trader Joe's Double Wide Cat Scratcher, reviewed here and seen here. I have never had a cat appreciate catnip before, but I am glad that Spenc-er likes the cheap scratching action, even if he doesn't care too much about the catnip.

Neither cat liked the Trader Joe's canned tuna cat food. Bummer. At only $.33 vs. the half-sized Fancy Feast at $.44, I was hoping for the bargain. I had almost two cases left of Fancy Feast from Sad!e and swore I would not have another canned food cat. I talk tough sometimes. They get from 1/2 to one can total when I go to bed to help them sleep better at night, but they start asking for it in the afternoon. They love the stuff, mostly the licking off of the broth from the extra water I add, just like Sad!e did. I sneak in hairball gel, as Memphie seems to really need that.

Spenc-er has found his own buffet downstairs. With the concrete foundation, we sometimes get critters in. Spenc-er is adept at finding them and playing with them. I've caught him with rolly pollies a few times. Today it was a salamander; by the time I found the poor creature, his tail was mostly gone and he was tuckered out. When I easily picked him up to put him outside, he swung around to bite me, but he didn't have anything left in him to make it hurt. Then Spenc-er cried that I took his toy away.

Memphie hogs the middle of the bed, if he's not chilling underneath. Sometimes he even hides in the covers and risks getting crushed. It's come close. This cat is so hard to photograph! I wanted to show his fangs that earned him the pet store names of Nemesis and Vampire, but this is the best I could do. He's on to the camera and it's a shame because he has a kind and loving face with his saucer eyes open. I'd love to share that! He has a high pitched talk, but a low rumbling purr, a sweet cat, a real mama's boy, who loves to be brushed and is getting more cuddly and less parallel. We marvel at the red underglow in his black coat. It is beautiful in the sunlight. We also marvel at his play. At over six years old, he plays as much as a cat half his age. I think he is incredibly happy.

Here's Spenc-er in one of his favorite places, my office chair. He'll claim it while it's still warm, then I have to claim it back with him fussing in protest. If he's not up here, he's often at my feet. Or sprawled out the length of the open window where there's plenty of activity due to people walking by. With the confidence of adolescence, he's a dependent, independent little cat (who is now bigger than Memph) and will always speak when spoken to, quickly purring even when he's just having his picture taken. His last owner quite appropriately labeled his vocalizations singing. Very attached, he will sit by the front door and wait for us to return, then call out a greeting when we get back. Spenc-er's collar has three bells on it so I can hear the difference in the two cats.