Monday, April 30, 2007

Wildlife near home

We have a large creek and foot path near our home. The sounds of the trickling water is breathtaking, very much like the cue for Alpha waves. (Heck, I go into the grocery store anymore and get the cue for Alpha waves, because trickling water is the background noise for the produce section.)
(click any to enlarge)

When we came upon this tree the other day, J immediately commented about the raccoons being busy. He's a better naturalist than I already. These grabby little paw prints make you want to shake their talented little destructive hands. Must be good eats.
Bluebells flourish in the naturalized areas under the trees. The blue carpet goes on and on along the path.
I feared with the wind and cold a bit ago that I'd missed the Dogwood blooms, so I was seeking them in particular. Seeing the few I did on our walk made up for the weather. Growing up in the South, I was so accustomed to them growing wild hither and yon. I remember my grandmother's yard with dozens in her wooded back yard. Now, I appreciate the ones I do see, particularly the wild ones scattered under the trees.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Nectar near home

Wisteria is perhaps my favorite flower. It is intoxicating.
(click any to enlarge)
Raised in the South, I always marveled at the free-growing version of wisteria, like above. It was essentially considered a weed, but wisteria beat kudzu hands down! Lavender blossoms with deep purple accents would drown wooded patches along the rural highways.

I remember about 15 years ago seeing my first wisteria bush in someone's yard. I thought "Hurrah for wisteria" with its new status as a desired plant. Only since then have I seen beautiful arbors and pergolas of it. Cultivation also brought the white variety; in fact, the cultivated purple is different and darker than the wild. However, its smell is as sweet as honeysuckle and it makes bumble bees quite happy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Besides the obvious, I am making changes around here, some conscious, some not.

Norma and I have begun walking again. For a few months, we were able to maybe get in once a week. We've literally stepped it up and go almost daily now.

I am working to get people to paint outdoors with me again. Last summer, I probably went out a dozen times with people I drew together. I've been recruiting more lately, but mostly I've heard them reply about wanting to stay in the loop, not actually paint. Alas. I have not painted since the portrait class in December. I am overdue and will go out by myself.

I've said many times that my house is a cluttered mess. I have numbers of boxes, here for five years, never unpacked or really even moved. I don't have enough storage so that they (and a bunch of other crap) are in the middle of things. This pattern was sort of a misplaced personal protest, because I didn't want to be here or divorced. I've been to rearrange, donate, and toss.

Thank goodness EEG and Alpha Theta Training are kicking in. For Earth Day, I cleaned my yard. With the direction of the wind, all the trash for the neighborhood blows into my yard. It is trifling, but good for me finally tackling the mess. It was a long time (years) since I painstakingly pulled the trash and leaves from my bushes. Again, witness the personal protest due to sloppy neighbors and wind patterns, but I've made progress.

I've also realized that AT is helping significantly with my PTSD symptoms, one of the prime AT goals. (Think of me not taking care of my house as a PTSD symptom of divorce, too.) Progress is amazingly subtle. I'll realize that I am doing something I should do, but couldn't before. Or I am not doing something that I could not stop before. The former largely refers to stuff around the house and headaches regarding finances. (I took the insurance check over yesterday to settle the civil suit against me. Great to have that weight off.)

The latter refers to intrusive thoughts. The way I think about PTSD is that a tiny trigger suddenly brings on the fullness of emotion and experience that a larger stressor provided in the past. Little things like stumbling upon a clothes hanger belonging to P suddenly dumped the weight of our entire relationship on my shoulders, it being particularly ironic and unfair how that weight increased exponentially since we broke up. Generally my reactions were internal, but it was so bad for my psyche and cortisol level.

The same goes for babies and SIF. The situation I cited involving Ted a week ago was significant. I had not told him about pregnant women and babies ripping out my heart, although he did know a bit about me wanting additional children. (I never know if guys asking about that means they are still holding out on having kids or ensuring they won't be pestered about it.)

In the last few months, I was better able to handle the topic and steer clear of babies, not even bringing it up, but then something happened. A bunch of students died needlessly and I read 'only child' one too many times. I was understandably jarred, so I made that unusual-for-us request to switch sides of the booth in the restaurant. That happening has only reinforced how much AT has done for me, how far I'd come without even realizing it, and how SIF really has been a PTSD issue for me.

Before, in my busy ADHD mind, I would have floods of thoughts that I could not direct. Hypersensitivity, taking in everything without filter, is a hallmark of ADHD. Combine that sensory overload with unfettered rumination makes for an overwhelmed Cricket. I still believe I think more that others, because I can't really turn my brain off, but now I am better able to direct my thoughts than have them direct me. Generally, I don't even have to try. I have the inkling of a thought I don't want approaching from the perimeter, then it makes a u-turn. Sometimes I realize it happening, but sometimes I don't realize it until it becomes a fuzzy memory later.

This is incredible stuff. And it will stick around when I finish up my course of treatment, which is turning out to be longer than most. It has no side effects, unlike the dozens of meds I suffered through. I am very lucky to be getting it pro bono (I could not have afforded it otherwise, although some insurance does cover it), but even if I weren't, the end of the treatments is the end of the cost. Over is truly over.

For me, I can say, "Well, just do it," when it comes to raking leaves or arranging boxes, although I do have enough crap that it is still overwhelming. Unlike before, I have realistic hope that I will succeed.

I can also now warn myself, "Don't do it," when I have an inkling of a thought about, for example, P or I see a baby. I don't want to say that I am numb to the crap, but I am better able to not let it in.

I am on a two week break from EEG now. Apparently, they institute a break after 50 sessions. Amazing that I've had so many since December. When I go back, I'll have 10 more sessions and another ADHD test. That takes me to July and I doubt she'll want to do more.

Although AT is considered a cure for PTSD and addictions, it is not considered a cure for ADHD; however, the focus it has provided me has been phenomenal. I think I've had about 30 AT sessions - the other forms of EEG and additional therapies didn't give me very much - but I have been able to bring my high beta (brain chatter) down significantly. With my brain under control, I can keep my past under control and focus on the things I need to.

I would like to mention that AT became intensely more successful with me less than 10 sessions ago. I'd been using an eye mask for about 10-15 sessions and that helped my hypersensitivity to a degree. I had to be able to hear the sound shift signaling the alpha and theta changes, so I could not use ear plugs, but I was very distracted by the office noise and nearby construction. The PhD suggested ear phones. I have since shifted to ear buds, although them plugging into the speaker makes them mono and sound comes out only in one bud. I now get AT sound in one ear and have a plug in the other, plus wear an eye mask. It is virtually like sensory deprivation, except for allowing in the trickling water signaling alpha and crashing waves signaling beta. This hypersensitivity towards the things I am supposed to be hearing and the severe limiting of outside distractions has helped me turn the corner. It is Alpha Theta Training for the person with ADHD.

Since I took the week off at Spring Break, I've put it together about the progress I've made. Apparently, taking time off helps the brain to heal and to catch up. Since then, the small changes I suspected before have become bigger, more pronounced, something I think I can depend on. It makes me excited to have these two weeks off. How good can it get later?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

As it turns out

he thinks I should have paid more. He called coming home from work.

At first I told him to just go home and read his email. I had explained myself there. He belittled me for wanting to be all adult and logical as in the first email I'd sent. I guess that's why he called instead, because he is such a poor written communicator. I also think he phoned on a Tuesday evening to joke, sweet talk, and secure a booty call for Wednesday evening, that he really didn't think we are over. Guess I showed him.

I told him that things had turned off for me and it's beyond the point of no return. I said when he yelled at me in the parking lot a few months ago and accused me of things I didn't do/mean, it turned me off. I'd been trying to get it back since, but couldn't.

When it was clear I wasn't backing down, he said he paid for four or five $50 dinners and I should have offered to pick up the tip each time, so I should have been paying more. He never informed me of this policy and I pointed that out. Largely because we'd used the restaurant certificates I'd purchased, we actually only had two occurrences that went in the $50 range; one was the first time he met me out and I had no clue how he would hold it over my head. I heard about it for some time and that clued me in to the rest; the only other time was baby talk last Wednesday. (I think he must have been counting the $50 dinner in which he took his mother out for Easter and invited me out with thirty minutes notice. Imagine, three adults at Mac.aroni Grill for $42. I had a $11.99 entree and water. Gosh, he's a big spender. I guess I should have covered the tip and essentially sprung for my own diinner.)

I reminded him of one time I covered the pool/lunch tab for $32 in the afternoon and he had the gall to tell me to pay the tip for a bill of the same amount that night. He said I should have talked about it. I didn't want to in the restaurant in front of my son and he said I should have later.

I told him I did not discuss some things because he would get angry; actually I didn't feel like always having to defend myself, because he being focused on being right made him not handle any criticism with grace. I don't like his raised voice. He certainly didn't yell all the time, really only yelled twice, but I didn't like him sounding so loud, overbearing, and Ita.lian so often. I'll admit that I am sensitive to harsh words due to the mother I was allotted. I do not respond well and I try to cultivate other types of communication. I don't think I am alone here.

In his mind, teaching is giving. I said to some it may be. To him, I think teaching is imparting, regardless of whether someone else needs or wants to learn a thing. A good teacher doesn't force or control anything. He said he didn't know that the teaching thing bothered me so much; I stated that I'd only put it together in the last week and realized it was an underlying issue regarding his need to control.

In his overwhelming need to pigeon hole people, he said the only other woman who has told him that he was controlling was also bipolar. (He never extended himself to say he'd experienced bipolar before, but he hypocritically accused me of harboring secrets, like the IF thing below.) He now thinks it is a bipolar defect in being too sensitive and fearful of being controlled. (All of you must be bipolar, too, right?)

I just think he's an asshole. Maybe someone with bipolar has guts enough to stand up to him. He had the nerve to say that he'd thought I was sane, but now he wonders. (That is the suckiest part of being bipolar; people love to throw it at you when it doesn't apply because it is viewed as a vulnerable Achilles heel. Ex used to tell me to go take a pill if I ever challenged him on anything. To be fair, anyone with something like bipolar has cultivated so much strength and resilience that they can endure anything, even prejudice.)

I think his relationship foundation rests on four things: being right, affixing blame, gender differences, and categorizing. His personality and presentation revolve around being It-alian, as in it is something to hang his hat on without guilt because he somehow can't help himself. All this makes for a very patriarchal guy, despite the fact that he considers himself liberal and progressive. I'd love Twistie to get hold of him. He'd flap his jaw and get all ruffled.

When I pointed it out, at first he apologized for the baby thing in the restaurant last week. He said he was sorry I felt that way; I politely countered that those are not the right words, that he should be sorry for what he said, not what I interpreted. Then he tap danced and said he likes babies, so it's my thing, my problem, something I should have dealt with. Struggling at his defense, he said I should have told him about the issue and I replied that it is something I want to get over, that I've done well with it lately not bringing it up, and I didn't want it to be a thing. [See comments for the angle I didn't explore.] He said he would have understood, that I could have said 'baby thing' and he'd have exchanged seats without a fuss. Yeah, right.

Finally I told him that we're just not good together. We're like oil and water. Perhaps we're good together on a salad or something (odd analogy, I know), but we're not good alone. I'll admit we really did have fun; we had a lot of laughs and were often on the same wavelength. I honestly think he thought we were good alone, that his call would straighten things out. Oh yeah, and that it would lead to Booty Wednesday.

Overall, he did try to talk calmly and he did have quite gentle moments, maybe with Booty Wednesday as his incentive. I did raise my voice once because he would not let me be heard. However, it did not end well, him classifying my bipolar disorder obviously being my problem with relationships, combined with my over sensitivity.

I replied the best way I could: "Ted, I'm not the one almost 50 years old and never been married."

He hung up on me.

Prior to that, he had agreed to $80, but he switched what it was to be applied toward. He said he would not pay for the gas for the trip, because it was an awful evening. Apparently he remembered me acting like a carry out delivery boy and figured he would pay. However, I pointed out that the last segment of that awful evening was me driving his lucky ass home when I sincerely wanted to leave him far from home. He was fortunate for the privilege to get to reimburse me.

Some time in there when talking finances, I also reminded him that he has scads of retirement. I have none. I have seen this many times where people squirrel away so much for the future that they do not live in the present. The deal is that he wanted me to help finance his present, but he would not listen to me, saying that he's no better off than I am. He said he is not future-oriented; he is fairness-oriented. Fair to whom exactly?

Jeez, I can't get over this. He thought I was his buddy and would cover the tips, him getting angry about that. How very collegiate. He said that as people go out over time, they divide tabs between them. Odd thing is that we've barely gone out, maybe two months since we were 'just friends' riding together and dividing everything. I barely got the honeymoon where I didn't have to pay.

I told him that most guys would not have allowed me to use my $40 tax return on drinks. He resented that I brought it up. In return, I pointed out that most guys would have insisted that I use the tiny, little bonus on my fixed income and get my nails done, to be good to myself. He could not see his lack of generosity for his fear of giving in to a gold digger.

Someplace in there as well, I talked about him being mad all last week, picking fights a lot, too many skirmishes. (My email said I was tired, I just wanted things over. In essence I said he won, I was admitting defeat.) Sometimes especially in the last week I felt a need to defend myself and I didn't like being put in that position. Apparently, he didn't feel the doom I did from all the strife; guess that comes from being the deliverer instead of the receiver. In fact, he prodded me on Saturday about my 'angst,' kind of making fun of me as if he had nothing to do with it. That's what set off the whole fight.

It irks me that he essentially accuses me of not being generous, because I am generous beyond my means. I am generous when my heart is in it, not when I am being taken advantage of. He had the gall to use the words "on the dole" toward me with the idea that someone paying for dates is somehow providing for a charity case.

I know that in his way he really did like and care for me. He said constructive things like he wished I'd have spoken up sooner about being unhappy and about what was bothering me (I did on some things, was not heard on others), but I could only counter that I felt I'd receive too much flack. Little did he know that we would have been over sooner, too.

I guess the point is that not speaking up about true relationship things is how you treat Mr. Right Now and he was apparently treating me like Ms. Right. Poor guy. Poor girl who falls for that one.

I'll admit I didn't treat him like a real relationship in many ways, although I sincerely tried to get along, care for him and his whims, provide support, etc. However, I told him several times before that I am not completely myself around him, to include time in bed. Most of the time, I didn't initiate sex because it meant giving him a blow job, not me getting penetration or head. I told him once that if I had a choice between fucking and a blow job, I would not choose the blow job. In fact, he questioned that my stated libido didn't match my actual libido, but I said me being horny did not translate to giving him a blow job. I didn't say how I could not grab his head in the midst of sloppy wet kisses and I felt inhibited overall. He has no idea how much that hairpi.ece gets in the way of his life.

(In fact on Friday talking to our mutual friend, Ted spoke of people being so unfriendly around here. The other two of us commented that we find it pretty easy to talk to folks and get to know them. I wanted to point out so badly that this is just one example of how a rug works in general society. People are put off. He just isn't perceptive enough to realize it!)

Okay, I didn't bring up sex (or his mother) at all tonight, but it is a sore subject I must get the rest down here as I complain. He usually got a couple tough case blow jobs a week, would not allow penetration for a couple months, would not allow me on top when he finally did (half mast once momentarily and I'd even begged several times previous to that, so he willfully denied me and knew what I wanted), and did a paltry job going down on me once in the beginning, but I didn't orgasm fast enough for his mouth and missed out. (It all reinforces how I hate when guys are so cued to masturbation that normal relations don't do it for them.)

He complained during sex each time that I was too difficult a case orgasm-wise. Humph. That certainly made it easier for me the next time. I told him that women faking it ruin it for the rest of us, but he of course felt that no women had faked it with him. I also said that if I could ride on top, I'd be easy, but he wouldn't go for it. I suspect he would have felt controlled somehow. The good news, in part, is that I ejaculated all the time from having so much g-spot stimulation. He liked that idea very much, so it became his focus, not mine, but he'd complain it wasn't quick enough for his ADHD attention span.

Finally, it really bugs me when someone accuses you of not communicating when in actuality it is them not listening. One example: I just wanted sex on top and more than a finger job. How tough is that?

PS - I know this is boring, whiny, and tedious, but I have to have the written record for myself. I don't want to do this again. My "To NOT Do" list grows once more.

Ass or Beast of Burden?

When I took this picture over the weekend, I did not have an ulterior motive. However, somehow the title and subject seem apropos.

I emailed Ted yesterday morning, reminding him about the DVDs and what he owed me. I said there were probably more, but I came up with five things to write down. By this, I meant I recalled these items and I want it all to come to a close now, regardless of what I might be missing.

Imagine this. I bought and loaded him an MP3 player (we're talking hours of researching/downloading songs for him), a tire, round trip driving to another city (1 - when I didn't want to drive, and 2- was even big enough to bring his screaming ass home after that fight), fixings for the wine tasting in which I went out of my way to go to the store he specified, and dinner I brought over several nights. He actually asked for each of these things and specifically said he'd pay me back. I cannot fathom people who do not want to make good.

It was quite humbling to feel as if I had to enumerate such. It went contrary to my nature, but I knew it was the only way I'd get the money. Of course, I don't need "almost $100" that badly (I never put a specific amount); it is a convenient number, as it is about what my car's maintenance costs and I did put in a lot of miles going to his house.

The bottom line, though, is that I want the cheap ass to pay for what he himself offered and I fronted him with the idea that he would pay. And if he feels like a beast of burden, so be it. I suspect this is a lifelong pattern to him and most people don't make him own up.

My tone was business-like and succinct. No underhanded remarks, no cattiness. I'd hoped to set the tone for the anticipated exchange, but that didn't happen. Ted replied last evening that I dared to "ask for money" in a timely fashion (that he'd do it if and when he damn well pleased) and railed that I said there would be more, as if somehow I would be extorting him in the future.

He balked at what I'd listed, then curiously listed them back one by one that he should pay for them. The only thing he said he would not pay for was food I bought to take to his house on a couple Wednesdays - as in, "Go to the Chinese place and get us dinner ... I'll pay you back" bullshit. Okay, so I'll subtract $20 (my half, not his), but not without the statement in return that most adults would want to settle completely.

He'd written, "So I suggest you re-calc babe, and get back to me...if you are that interested," a tone quite unnecessary considering he was chopping a mere $20 off and agreeing to four of five things. It shows again how he thinks he is mirroring someone's statement when he is actually out in left field and clueless. That last phrase he wrote is quoting something innocuous I posted on the board when someone asked advice about something very general, but he's now of the mind to read and interpret it to be nasty. It's all so petty that it is mind boggling and I just want it over.

He is a small, little man. I am an irritation under his skin. Or maybe it's under his

He ended with, "What the hell, Cricket?" so I began my response with "What the hell, Ted?" and was sure to "remind" him about his promises and not "ask" for money, saying that reminding him of such does not make me a gold digger. I also said that my request for timeliness is because of his habit of "forgetting" or "procrastinating" when he's had since February for most of it, plenty of time.

What I did not say was that it largely dated from a few months ago, because I'd put an end to his habit. I stopped driving us or offering to pick up dinner on my way to his place in order to protect myself from his debt being worse. It became a tap dance and I would purposefully go to his house on an empty tank so I wouldn't have to drive. I had to devise ways around his cheapness, although I did contribute often: I did drive other times, take us to dinner, cover large portions/all of darts/beer (ya know, the first time he paid for a complete evening was only a couple weeks ago?), buy the three of us our drinks Friday (I jokingly said I needed to blow my $40 tax return somehow - but know how much he's getting - almost $3000 - and he could not see fit to buy my dinner?), proactively get restaurant certificates so dinners out would be only $10-15 total, and buy he and his mother various treats like Girl Scout cookies and ice cream. I expected him to be a gentleman and not treat me like a buddy, but it's not like I expected him to pay for everything.

Besides, one can only be so much a gold digger when dining on Chinese take out or at the likes of Apple.bees.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Phone snafus

My mother was in a tizzy yesterday. She met a guy for coffee two weeks ago. Last weekend, he'd tried to call her, left a message, but they didn't cross paths. He has a bunch of grown children and, at the last minute, he was inviting her to come out for the day with them; family members were in from out of town. She was bummed to have not gotten the message earlier, because she liked him very much, more than anyone else I've heard her talk about.

Yesterday morning, she had another coffee date with him. He lives close to where her new house is, so meeting early in the morning still allows her to get new house things done.

A couple hours later, she was at her old home and she called the number he'd left so she could inquire about something; it may have pertained to their date coming up on Wednesday, the one in which "we'd decided to have dinner and sex." Thanks for that image, Ma.

A woman answered his phone. For the first call, my mother hung up, as it was the wrong number. Then she grew suspicious and called back. Turns out the man gave my mother a false name and he's been married for two years, divorced from a long marriage with eight kids. His physical description checks out as does his back story with locations, education, retirement, and children. It's the same guy, different name.

The wife was calm, but flabbergasted, of course. They'd mixed up cell phones that morning by accident. She kept exclaiming over and over, as my mother recited details he'd told her, "You're not a kook. You're not a kook."

They had two conversations. The first, while the wife was at work, outlined the basics and then she called my mother after work from home in the afternoon. My mother's repeated mantra was, "That Son of a Bitch," as she loathes the thought of dating married men and is very careful not to. During this talk, they filled in lots more details when the unsuspecting, cheating husband came home to an ambush. The wife merely handed him the phone and said he had a call.

My mother asked, "Is this Tim or Jim?" and he quickly replied that it was a wrong number. Little did he realize it wasn't a new call. His wife piped up, "Oh, no, it isn't a wrong number. This woman knows entirely too much about you." Click. Tim/Jim hung up.

Supposedly, the newlyweds would have been reported by observers to be the lovey dovey-ist one you ever saw, the model couple. In fact, the wife told my mother they'd had sex Saturday morning, just before my mother's coffee date with him at 7:30am. I'm sure that was exhilarating for him. Further, the wife said she was on the outing last Saturday, so I guess his late invitation to my mother was a ploy to act available, then it was convenient to be on the water and supposedly not have cell phone access.

We know how to pick 'em, huh? In a lapse, me saying something that she would say, I told her that it was nice to find out after a mere two dates instead of two and a half years like me. Actually, I think it finally hit home with her what I've been through. However, she broke up a marriage by accident and I actively chose not to, although it still niggles my brain sometimes.

Simultaneous to their coffee date, Ted and I had a phone conversation. I do believe it was our last fight; parts are recounted below, but I won't got into it all. He took to yelling at me, yelled that he wasn't yelling, then cancelled our plans together for the day. Fine and good. Part of the crux is that he refuses to believe he is OCD in addition to his ADHD, although those words never came up. In the past, he's said his habits are due to being raised by an organized engineer, but I counter that what made Daddy alcoholic and controlling makes his brother alcoholic and him obsessive.

My point is that I have realized another angle of him that is controlling - of me, not of how his possessions are arranged or lists made. He considers himself to be very teacherly; I used the word 'didactic,' it went over his head, but he tried repeatedly to use it and could not pronounce it - par for his course in trying to imitate intelligent speech - but I am getting catty here as I digress . I agree that he is 'dimacatic,' however he needs to realize that sometimes it is not welcomed or appropriate. He took great offense that I didn't want advice on talking to ex about something I don't want to fix, particularly because I have known ex for 33 years now and do not need a "guy's perspective" on talking to him.

Everything boils down to gender. I think he hates women because he hates his mother. I think he tortures her by not providing for her, not getting something so simple as food for her cat or milk for her coffee. She gets upset and her overwrought (and unpaid) neighbors buy for her (about which I would be horrified that others had to step in for me!), then he counts down how many days the items will last, which serves to get her upset again as she runs out, and finally he decides to do for her. He has her over a barrel and she yells that he's just like his father.

He had the gall yesterday in the early part of our conversation to say that he refuses to allow her to treat him that way. I did really try to just provide support on this topic and not judge the way he wanted to handle his mother, me thinking all the while that life would be so much better if he just bought the cat food. And besides, why did he need to dick her around? Why be so dismissive? She just lives a mile away. Instead, I came up with something atypical for me, "Oh, you twoooo." It was biting my tongue.

A while later, he gave that phrase back to me after I'd talked about ex and summer visitation (I don't get much time off this year), after he gave me advice on talking to ex, after I was compelled to remind him of something he already knew: ex and I generally have a good relationship, we both probably bite our tongues out of respect, and we do try to keep the peace, so I don't need advice about talking to him, as if we had arguments all the time. I didn't like the implication. Ted came back with an "Oh you twoooo" and I felt like it was condescending. It didn't apply. Ex and I rarely fight, unlike he and his mother. Ted countered that he and I had used the same words, but would not acknowledge that the same words could be used differently. He has a thick skull and he yells so much there's no getting a word in edgewise. Just the night before, he'd twisted my words in both talking to his mother about getting cat food and with a mutual friend we'd met at a bar. I was sick of my words being twisted.

Then he got really pissed when I said that I didn't want to be taught. What true teacher, i.e. not a control freak, crams advice down the throat of another? He has no clue that he has no right to stick his nose in, that there are times he should just listen and keep his mouth shut. He cannot hold his tongue. He feels like he's a teacher to the core and needs someone to appreciate that.

Anyway, the cheap ass owes me about $100 and I left about 5DVDs at his house. I could forfeit it all, but I feel the need to be a teacher. He needs to pay the debts he owes and not conveniently "forget."

Enough already. With the whole lot of 'em.

In this my final (I hope) Ted bashing, I do want to convey one other thing, though, because I more fully understand it now. It revolves around the teaching thing and collides with my pet issue. We went to dinner last Wednesday. Gentleman that he is, he was ahead of me and sat on one side of the booth. When I got there, I quietly asked if he would switch sides with me. Of course, he made a big production about it and wanted to know why. In the throes of my infant self protection mode, I'd spied a 3mo old at the next table and I wanted to be next to it instead of having it in my face. He was incredulous that I would not want to look at a baby. See how good I've been at the SIF stuff lately, people? Ted and I have been talking since January and he had no idea. I replied some days are worse than others and I was choosing not to expose myself during that dinner.

Well, I realize now I was wrong to request changing seats. I would have been better off facing the baby, sucking it up, and not drawing attention to something he could teach me about.

Look, the baby is eating a cracker.

Look at that head of hair.

Look the mom is playing with her.

How old do you think the baby is?

Look at those fertile parents with two children under 3!
[Okay, that's my interpretation.]

I could not get him to give it up. He had to show me how wonderful that baby was, although he would never admit to cramming it down my throat. He was a teacher with a lesson plan and a right to force that lesson on anyone within listening distance.

Obviously, although it's not official, this break up has been a long time coming. He was Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Right, but I was willing to settle for a while. No longer.

My mother summed it up well. (When did she get so smart?) She asked if I remembered what I told my sister twenty five years ago when Sis asked why I didn't like her boyfriend, the one who wrecked her car and she took the blame, the one who stole from our house to support his crack habit. I replied to my sister, "It's because I've never heard you say anything nice about him."


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Only loneliest

As they add to the bios for the slain at VT, I take note of something, almost by default. It catches my eye when they say that a dead student was an only child. I think the media knows how that strikes the heart even harder. They rarely say s/he was one of three (except to say something more extreme, like 9th of 10), but they point out the only child status. At least three were only children. One other was the only born just after the death of a sibling.

When I consider that most only children were not created that way by choice, I wonder the additional pain these parents feel, magnified by the old wounds of infertility. Their biggest fear, or at least mine, is that their only is no longer. There is neither an heir nor a spare. Only gets even lonelier.

I periodically tell my son that he needs to outlive me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ex thinks he's funny

This was in my emails this morning. Too bad his birthday was last week.


Want to be forever eliminated from the guest list? Just take this to your next "pot luck" dinner!!!

Kitty Litter Cake




This is for all you cooks out there looking for something a little different......


1 box spice or German chocolate cake mix
1 box of white cake mix
1 package white sandwich cookies
1 large package vanilla instant pudding mix
A few drops green food coloring
12 small Tootsie Rolls or equivalent

1 NEW cat-litter box
1 NEW cat-litter box liner
1 NEW pooper scooper

1) Prepare and bake cake mixes, according to directions, in any size
pan. Prepare pudding and chill. Crumble cookies in small batches in
blender or food processor Add a few drops of green food coloring to 1
cup of cookie crumbs. Mix with a fork or shake in a jar. Set aside.

2) When cakes are at room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl.
Toss with half of the remaining cookie crumbs and enough pudding to
make the mixture moist but not soggy. Place liner in litter box and
pour in mixture.

3) Unwrap 3 Tootsie Rolls and heat in a microwave until soft and
pliable. Shapethe blunt ends into slightly curved points. Repeat with
three more rolls. Bury the rolls decoratively in the cake mixture.
Sprinkle remaining white cookie crumbs over the mixture, then scatter
green crumbs lightly over top.

4) Heat 5 more Tootsie Rolls until almost melted. Scrape them on top of
the cake and sprinkle with crumbs from the litter box. Heat the
remaining Tootsie Roll until pliable and hang it over the edge of the
box. Place box on a sheet of newspaper and serve with scooper. Enjoy!


"Kitty Litter Cake"

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Come a long way fast

Spenc-er likes the people in this house.

We make him purrfectly happy.

He likes his belly rubbed and is a champion kneader. He is our downstairs cat.

Lovely Memphie patiently awaits Spenc-er's decision to like him, too. He's now our upstairs cat, except when Spenc-er is feeling especially frisky and, frankly, aggressive, coming upstairs. Spenc-er isn't too keen on a kitty big brother just yet. It's evolved to Memphie keeping his distance over the whole thing. It will get better, I repeat.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Under the head of the bed, meet fighting, growling, whining, hissing, tough guy Spenc-er.

His pretty face doesn't cover for his spunk.

Under the foot of the bed, meet the clowns.

They'll all be friends before we know it. Memphie, who rebels at having his picture taken, is very curious, sniffed the new guy, didn't get a warm reception either time, so will try again later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Independant, neither D nor R

I wrote the following random email to Richard, my dear friend who is a university employee and U-S-A To-day is saying a lot of schools are feeling squirrely...

I know it's not the prevailing theme, but I don't think the whole, open campus should have been locked down after what seemed like a domestic shooting.

Just like after the first plane hit the tower, nobody could know a second would come or that the buildings would fall.

I hate when people have the benefit of hindsight and think they know everything.

Ted and I had a fight about it last night and he crazily accused me of falling under Bush's spell. Huh?

[He's begun to think almost all news that isn't war news is planted, trumped up as a diversion by this administration. He thinks they'll ride this diversion a long time. He compares these student's parents to those of soldiers who finally rose up with a voice years after the fact, him hoping that the students'/professors' families will be heard.]

Ex called to tell me about the initial reports yesterday. His impression was that the world would think us weak, dozens of people too chicken to take out a single gunman. He [lifetime NRA member who bought the same for his son and step son last Xmas] thinks there should have been 30 guns fired in return. I think I'd have thrown a heavy book or something at least.

Only hours later and completely unsolicited, Ted ranted at how violent the world would think us. How the students were all sitting ducks.

Although I am not Republican, I am leaning that way here:
  • Isolated incident
  • Don't blame the people in charge
  • Fight back
[Edited out something too specific from the email...] Speaking of P, I want to forward him some related news piece and say, "See what happens when you cheat."But I'll keep that threat here.

RIP Janie

Janie died in the wee hours this morning.

She had started to paddle with a lisp yesterday morning. I noticed last night that the skin behind her head was beginning to blanch and figured the end was near.

Janie was a tough little fish, lasting over two weeks on antibiotics and almost daily water changes.

Yesterday when we took Memphie of The Enduring Ear Mites to the vet, we wandered around the store. I'd decided to get an additional antibiotic and an anti-parasite med for Janie. I got to talk to the fish manager for a long time, but he couldn't figure out her ailments. He said that tetracycline is the strongest stuff they had, so he was sure that it wasn't an underlying bacterial infection anymore. I agreed, even though the bacteria came back the second day each time I changed the water. We looked through two books on bettas, but they were woeful on pictures of the diseases. I had gone there to work on parasites, but the store had nary a one parasite medicine for the water. They had one food, but I knew that wouldn't help a lot, given she had not eaten in several days. So I bought a sulfa antibiotic, but I didn't get a chance to mix it up.

The good news is that the fish manager said I could bring back all the products I'd tried and get a full refund.

J was quite upset upon rising to learn his fish had died. In the last few fish hospital weeks, he'd taken almost no interest and he didn't routinely feed her before that. Nonetheless, he did feel bad when she died. We gave her a commode funeral. Afterwards, I told him that I was grateful he didn't request that Janie be taxidermied and mounted.

Coincidentally, we will lose and gain a pet on the same day. This afternoon, we meet the cat that needs a new home. The owner has two tiny kids and wants a break. is about a year old and he was a rescue for her. Reportedly, he's very affectionate and cuddly.

I hope he doesn't get ear mites, too.

However, Janie Fish Stew is no longer a concern in the Cricketson feline world. RIP sweet, friendly, tough, affectionate little fish. Janie, you touched us in your mere 3.5 months with us.

Monday, April 16, 2007


If you have a need to talk to a school-aged child about the events at Virginia Tech, here are suggestions from school psychologists.

The curiosity has begun here already. In fact, as they got out of school early because of the winds, one kid on the bus said it was because of the stuff that happened at Tech. How did this kid already know at lunchtime? Does he have news texted to him?

J asked me this evening if we ever went on lock down at my school. I said we didn't, but we did have tornado drills all the time in the Midwest. Further, although I didn't mention it, we had bomb scares constantly and had to stand in the parking lot in lines between the cars for hours, no jackets, no lunch. Miserable.

So I asked him exactly what lock down at his school meant and if they did that today. He said they had a drill last week and it is for protection if the bank nearby gets held up. I guess I'm relieved he didn't refer Columbine-y things about containing gunmen and protecting victims, what I figure is his school's real rationale.

I believe I need to study the school psychologist site some more for myself.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Self serving bloodwork update, for future reference

Beginning thyroid treatment Nov 05, my total cholesterol was 287, not all that bad in my grand scheme, as it had been over 400 before. It's genetic, runs in the family. In April 06, it was down to 222. It was so significant that I would have been satisfied, but Dr. Thyroid wasn't. She figured a cholesterol med should be prescribed by my GP. Yet I drug my feet because of the expense.

Last fall, Wally World put out a list of $4 prescriptions and a statin was on the list. Of course, the pill dosage they offered was only a quarter of a normal dose, so it costs $16 per month. Actually it costs $8 every two weeks because it is so popular that WallyPharm refuses to dispense the whole wad. Yeah, I just love extra trips to visit Wally.

Around the time Sad!e was sick and died, the statin was dead to me as well. I absolutely forgot about it in my nightly spillage of the pillage. Despite being back on it only about two or three weeks, when I got my bloodwork back on Friday, I learned that my total cholesterol is a mere 194. That is some significant progress - 100 points in a year and a half.

Back before I was 26 or so, before my body fell apart at age 30, before doctors gave me lupron, induced menopause, and shot up my cholesterol numbers, I remember having cholesterol numbers of 140 and 180. I'd thought that the genetic cholesterol curse had bypassed me. Ha! Maybe if I can get the cholesterol down this far, I can get that same girlish figure back, too.

Good news also that my HDL was up to 44, admirable for me because it usually hovers a good 10 points lower.

My triglycerides are down over a century, but still come in at 300. Bad, I know, but not as bad as they were.

I'll admit that I have not altered my diet for this. The only thing I've done is to begin buying whole oats bread. I get bacon on a burger, eat fries, sour cream, ice cream, whatever. Granted I don't eat out as much as I used to, but I have homemade nachos all the time. Cool, if I can eat what I want and let it all play out to my benefit. I deserve a break someplace in my life. The weight loss has stalled because of the changing thyroxine dosage (which according to the below is still not enough), but hopefully that'll be straightened out again soon.

As I'd mentioned several months ago, last time it was measured, my fasting glucose was 104, a tiny bit high, but not exceedingly. In fact, none of my doctors caught it, but I certainly did. Seroquel, my sleeping pill, and its class of drugs raises glucose and the risk of diabetes. Having been off Seroquel for two months, mine is now 88. Obviously the effect is reversible, but it still happened to me, Ms. Side Effect. I desperately want to sleep again. I desperately need more Seroquel. I desperately would need to change my strategy on it. Before I took it nightly for the blessed routine; it's really nice feeling reassured you can sleep. However, Seroquel doesn't have to be taken routinely; you can skip nights. I would consider trying it again, taking the lowest dosage, and limiting myself to four times a week or so. Now for the $180 it costs from Canada...

And on to the thyroid. Normal TSH is about 0.5 to 4.5. Some doctors do not take numbers seriously until they are out of those bounds. My psychiatrist would periodically measure my TSH - it was a lab test I used to love to run for some reason, so it always stuck out to me since. Mine used to always be 1.5 or so, right where a normal should be. Probably 2-3 years ago, it began creeping above 2, 3, 4, 5 and then I began to freak, officially learning that if it gets above 2.5 or if you have symptoms, you should be treated.

Mine got up to 5.7, then after treatment which was constantly being tweaked, it went to the 4s, then in the 2s. Last week, it was just above 3. It's gone back in the wrong direction, but that might be because when I began on bcps in Dec, she lowered my thyroxine dosage and began to titrate back up. Then I began on a different bcp (no more crankiness, no more crying!) last month and that might have done something.

Anyway, TSH of 3 isn't where it should be. It explains my fatigue and the ball-of-my-right-foot-pain-to-where-I- will-limp, as I still dally with depression, another hypothyroid side effect.

My T4 is high 13.5 (norm 4.2-11.0) and that's probably because I take thyroxine (T4), but I'm not completely sure. In May, I hope Dr. Thyroid is willing to order extra tests to see about thyroid antibodies, etc.

Some days I feel well. Some days I actually feel unencumbered by all of this. Then I am reminded of how tenuous it all is. Health is so fleeting. Especially for someone complicated like I am.

PS - The woman with the cat and the sick baby froom Saturday didn't call back yesterday; J wants to call her and I want to wait it out a bit.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

1,3,4 - it's all the same, right?

Miss Sad!e liked being Queen Cat. I respected that.

However, we are in for a population growth spurt now.

Last week, I interviewed by email for two cats who need a new home. They are confined to the tiny apt bedroom of a college student. She wants them to be able to stretch out and to get more attention. She is giving them away through a rescue organization, but it does not entail rescue fees. Just a little donation to the rescue people for advertising.

The owner is out of town this weekend or we'd have seen them already. I believe we'll meet on Tuesday evening.

In the meantime, I found a cat who needs a home soon - a home with small children and a mom who sounds overwhelmed in general. We were going to meet him this afternoon, but their baby had a fever and needed to go to the ER. Maybe tomorrow.

All these cats have their shots and are fixed. The first two are even declawed, something I wouldn't do, but I won't hold it against them either.

Memphie seems very lonely when I leave, is extra skiddish when I return. I think having some companions would help. I'm not gone for long stretches often. It's usually just a few hours at a time, but I will go to Ted's for over 24 hours every other weekend, plus overnight on Wednesdays. It takes Memphie much longer to warm up after that.

He seems to relish being the center of attention. Will definitely try to keep that up. He's blossomed and I know additional cats will feel like a setback initially. I think he'll come around. They're all supposed to be friendly, affectionate cats.

And they all deserve to feel special.

The Infertile Cat Lady

Thursday, April 12, 2007

If I were in a normal relationship

and a decade younger, I'd wonder if I were pregnant. I don't have to worry about that now, but I usually would have started Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. It's Thursday night and nothing's in sight. Odd.

I would call this a success, however. The bcps I took Dec-Mar made me cranky for two weeks each month and overly weepy. This new kind delivered neither, but I was overly tired last week and expected a doozy of a period, not a non-entity. I guess it's all a matter of things settling in, but I am so glad this version doesn't play with my head.

The night sweats weren't menopause and they have kinda sorta stayed constant at several times a week, with one or two weekly being severe enough to drench the bed. Because I was changing the bcps, I wanted to only change one variable and kept my thyroxine dosage about the same - 112ug and 125ug each about half the time. If the night sweats are thyroxine overdose, when I move down to just 112ug next week, I'll be able to tell. Or I'll get cold and know I need more thyroxine. I want a higher dosage so I'll begin losing weight again.

On the fish front, Janie Betta is hanging in there. Today she had better use of her fins, although her tail isn't helping much as she swims. I did see some effort and movement, though, so I think this antibiotic is working. I'll give her a couple more days on the higher dosage. All through this, her appetite hung in there, but the last few days it as fallen even as her strength has increased. I'm not worried just yet.

We may be adopting two more cats who need a home. This pair is being given away by their owner and we're being interviewed via email. I think J and I will meet them this weekend.

Please let my life continue to be this boring.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Keeping myself awake

I need blood drawn in an hour. I should not go back to bed or I will blow it off. This will be the most boring post ever. Maybe I should not write it, as it might put me to sleep, too.

Last night was a long night. They're all long, but this was worse.

It may have been because I dared to drink a Diet Coke at 5pm. Ted had a flat tire, I went to meet him, traffic was exceedingly backed up, so we hung out at Wendy's. BTW, their new chunky chicken salad sandwich - skip it. Vanilla Frostie - keeper. I got myself one, then bribed my late ass back into J's good graces with one and the frozen goodness was declared to be better than McDon.ald's.

Each time (twice?) I thought to doze off, I got noise. Once, Memphie, who has basically been a floor and bed cat, something for which me and my piles been very grateful, decided to jump onto my tall dresser. This is where I dump my scads of cheap silver jewelry I purchased off ebay. Much is now behind said dresser. I'll be more pissed when I can't find anything. No energy to be pissed now. Maybe it scared him enough to not try it again.

Many hours later, I fell asleep around 7am. At 8am, Ted called. In my grogginess, I could not find the phone, because duh! it was charging on the hook. I didn't bother to try to call him back. I fell asleep for my last precious 20 minutes, which snoozed into 30. I'd called him twice last evening per the plan and, of course, he never answered.

Sporadic naps is how my night often goes. I never got over responding to and keeping a baby's schedule. I should keep a log and talk about how boring it is to be computing instead of sleeping at 3am. I bet I knew before any of you that Johnny Cash's old house, turned BeeGee uninhabited abode, turned pile of ash, is now just a couple chimneys. Yeah, lucky with the news, I am. We finally saw Walk the Line last week, so the news stands out.

Writing now also is keeping me from eating, except these Jelly Bellys next to me are calling loudly. I only have to fast for the bloodwork a little while longer. I hope the statin has lowered my cholesterol into just being closer to normal; I hate that drug. You're supposed to take it in the evening and it gives me heartburn; last night it was nausea. Yuck. I'll learn my TSH soon, too. I see my psych dr on Friday and forgot (read: licked my fingers when I was fasting, then it was a snow day the next day) and didn't do it last month.

I do have a bit of good news. Last evening, I went through some piles of papers and threw a bunch of useless crap away. I am very proud to be motivated to make a dent, particularly as terminally tired as I've been. Maybe it was the evening caffeine, a double-edged sword? Anyway, being motivated to actually look at unopened envelopes made me realize a few things. I actually have 1200 minutes on my cell phone rolled over. Jeez, Crick, use the thing!

And all this sparse living (excepting vet bills) has left me a tiny bit of money in the bank and I may splurge on a $100 art class in the coming months. In a course outline I found, there's a colored pencil class and I have been dying to learn how to use this fancy 70some set of Prismacolor I bought off ebay last year. I think I can work the timing of it with ex having J. Further, my previous art teacher, who I like as a person but she drives me crazy as a teacher, is doing a workshop soon and I am even considering that; it's largely during the school day.

Art is good for the soul, even if I could use the same money (almost doubled) to buy some sleeping medicine from Canada to make life ever so much easier, even if it does increase the risk of diabetes and my glucose was a little elevated a few months ago, but I will have a guage on my glucose level again after today.

Maybe taking a class is good for sleep.

Maybe just the prospect of taking a class is good for sleep.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm guilty

Back when I was dating Luke, I posted about our philosophies concerning Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now, how many are guilty for settling for Mr. Right Now instead of diligently (or patiently) seeking Mr. Right.

I am presently guilty. Ted is Mr. Friend Now when we both need one. I don't know where he stands with me, but he often calls me "Hon" and I sometimes call him "Sweetie."

It feels false and true simultaneously. We do share some wavelengths somewhere when they're not colliding.

We went to a party over the weekend, rode together. Well, I made him drive. My gas tank was empty and I didn't want to fill it just yet. He balked, but I didn't care. It was typical, me making a conscious decision not to be eternally generous, forcing his cheap ass to step up. Then he said, "Oh, I get it. You just want to get drunk." I honestly had not considered that angle, but hey! it worked for me...

I told him well in advance that we would not act like a couple, that I had decided months ago I didn't want anyone to know about my relationships within the group in order to try to avoid anyone categorizing or judging me. He has an intense need for privacy, so he understood. And he behaved. Until the wee hours, we barely talked, well entertained by the others. I figure I talk to him all the time anyway. Then he started using my darts as I finished off bottle #4 on the couch nearby...

You know, when you go to a wine tasting, it is very handy to like a bottle that nobody else cared for, especially when there's a lot remaining.

By the way, why does he have his mouth opens in pictures all the time? He's like a loud adult brat and then it all makes sense when you learn he has ADHD. It took me a while to realize he definitely has a soft side, too.

I got naughty and smoked a cigarette, which he had to capture digitally as it is so repulsive to him. Truth be told, you wouldn't think a single cigarette would smell so damn nasty the next morning. I need to not do that. Even my cat rejected me. Ted said I looked like a pro, acting like he refused to believe that the last time I smoked was a quarter ago and the previous time was over a year before that. To say I'm casual would be an overstatement...

I do miss those little Thompson iguana green cigars I used to smoke at tailgating with that other guy, though.

We got back to Ted's house very early in the morning, some of the last to leave the party. We had regular, penetrative, non-Clintonian sex for the first time. I knew ahead of time he's Mr. From Behind and that really doesn't do a lot for me. The next morning, Miss Grind It Out On Top was told I needed to move more, or else it would deflate.


Not the best thing to hear as I rode him for the first time after waiting three months. Just in the last few years, I finally got my style down and know what my finicky body wants. I'm not easy in that regard. I do not want to change what I've cultivated.

We are incompatible. But I'm hanging in there. It's something to do for us both that doesn't feel like settling either. In fact, I met his demented mother Sunday evening after she'd complained she'd had a lonely Easter. She liked me (I think because I talked to her like an adult instead of a toddler, but that was a liberty I could take - plus I gave her jelly beans) and she kept asking him my name afterwards. I knew she wouldn't remember me, so it wasn't the usually momentous occasion.

Nothing is quite straightforward.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Peeps: more than a sugar buzz

What a way to celebrate this sugary holiday!

Check this out: Peeps Show Extraordinaire.

Because of my successes

Janie Betta is still kicking, but not by much. I say that daily. Success here is defined by her still being alive. Essentially, she won't die, not that we want her to, and she's become my science experiment. The main betta care website says to not play god and don't kill them, because they bounce back, so I keep saving her and playing atheist god anyway, by default. Beginning last Sunday, she's gone through tetracycline for half a day, several days of erythromycin, several days of both tetracycline and erythromycin combined, and then extra super strength tetracycline and erythromycin combo.

The photo above shows how her tail droops. She can still splay the end occasionally and she can turn a loop, but her tail doesn't work to help her swim. It means she has an internal infection as well as the cotton mouth bacterium externally.

After less than a day on super strength double antibiotics, this morning she had streamers of cottony bacteria off her upper fin. This is one stubborn infection, but as long as Janie Betta sticks around to be treated, I will try to make her better. Today, I'll go buy minocycline, which is absorbed through the skin, thus good for internal and external infections. There's one last combo antibiotic left that I could buy after this one. In addition to the antibiotics, she gets copper II sulfate and aquarium salts. I read in one place that increasing aquarium salts could leech out the extra internal fluids, but I haven't tried that yet.

This shows how her swollen body gives her a twist. Her left side gill has been more inflamed than the right, but her right torso is more swollen. She's still very aware, though. Each time I raised the camera, she ducked away to the other side of her bowl. Or she'd go to the curves of the bowl so I couldn't see her at all. When it was just me, she came close. She's a smart little fish.

BTW, the fabric is from my quilting days. When I took all the rocks and plant out of Janie's bowl, it glowed like a beacon due to the light above, so I put fabric under it, not intending to pick fabric that looks like rocks. Alas, it works.

Memphie tells J a secret, but it's no secret. Memphie loves it here. He's a success story. He's become a bed cat. He sleeps on top at night now, so I've finally seen him sleep. He likes to lay at my calf level between thrashing J and I, which makes for a crowded bed, actually a good thing in my book.

Here he props his head on my calf, his favorite night time stance. One of his other favorite things is to get his belly rubbed and he'll roll around with glee. His goal, though, is to have his lower abdomen rubbed and for your hand to rest between his legs as in this picture. I would say he's such a guy, but I like to sleep with my hand between my legs, too.

I've largely gotten him adjust to proper days and nights. Around midnight, he started playing last evening, but that was fine - much better than 2am.

We're still cleaning his ears, but he's pretty good about it. He goes back to the vet in a week for more shots and I sure would like to not have to worry about mites any longer. I am very allergic to mites, a gift from when Sad!e was wee and infested for many months.

Memphie's skin is dandruffy, so I decided to feed him canned fish several days ago; I had almost two cases left from Sad!e days. Now he asks for it in his sweet, girly meow, urging me downstairs. I'm changing up the times I give this treat so that he doesn't get too accustomed to it. I didn't want a canned food cat again, but it is for health reasons again. I have a bag of Nutro hard food for him to start soon and have begun mixing it in with the Hill's; Nutro has the proper Omega 3 and 6 nutrition, so it should help, too.

Further, I believe Mem.phis has tapeworms, so I have two reasons to go to the pet store today.
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Friday, April 06, 2007

Because ... wow!

Last week, I wrote my 1000th post, but didn't realize it until days later.

Today, my counter went above 150,000.

I am in awe of the power of the published, written word. It's been two and a half years feeding this addiction.

Much better than some ol' diary that the world can discover decades later. Just get it on out for the world to see now.

Then take down most of it because of serious and painful harassment that extended over some time.

But recover enough to blog honestly again.

It's all a cycle. That's blogging to me, recording the dynamics and how they change.

Thanks for reading and for when you decide to comment. [hint]

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Because buds inspire such hope...

apple tree espalier

butterfly bush

red bud?

bleeding hearts

This was today from the same park as the other day. New buds everywhere, we were there shortly after a rain. It was so crisp and beautiful. More pictures to follow.

Janie Betta is still living. We did the second dose of ethromycin today. Her cotton moustache is thinning. Good news.

Rinsing Mem.phis' ears was easier today, too. He actually hung out after the 'procedure,' lingered all friendly, and worked into a purr easily. He was on the bed several times during the night - voluntarily - yet he is getting time acclimated, better about not playing all night. He's becoming more friendly overall, remaining close after he's decided he's finished being petted. I think we're all getting used to one another.
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I feel like Dr. Doolittle

except the talking and understanding part.

Of course, it is well established all that I did to care for Sad!e - pills, gels, food, subcutaneous fluids, vitamin injections, etc. It was a labor of love.

With Mem.phis, we are merely battling ear mites, but it is a losing battle, both with the crap that I get out of his ears every other day and with the idea of catching him to torture him. (Val - help!) Last week, I touched him Thursday to clean his ears and the next time I touched him was on Saturday, to again clean his ears. Not good. Since then, we catch him just to torture him without cleaning his ears. Yeah, he loves us.

Janie Betta, my simple pet, now has the mange, too. Probably two months ago, I got all smart and decided that she needed a real plant, even though she breathes from the surface and doesn't need a real plant at all, not in the very least. Well, the plant apparently had some growth on it and I've had trouble with her water since. First, she looked as if she'd had a run in with some batting, then all the rocks and the fake plant started having a dusting of rust each time the water got older. I usually changed it every two weeks.

Then Janie developed a moustache late last week, so the batting was winning. Turns out, she has cotton mouth = body fungus (although it is bacterial) and $22 later (on a $5 fish) yesterday I thought we were on track. I'd researched online what to buy - aquarium salt, copper sulfate, and tetracycline.

You know how they say not to believe everything you read on the Internet? Or a store clerk either? Last evening, I was bored enough to read the tiny print of the product insert and learned that cotton mouth is actually a gram positive bacteria (higher order bacterium) and tetracycline is for gram negative. So we raced to the store before closing and spent another $7 on erythromycin. And in an extreme measure of hope, I bought her another plastic plant because I don't want to put any of the old stuff back in her currently nekked bowl: $30 yesterday on Janie Betta.

Changing chemicals on a fish, scary proposition. This poor little fish has been through the wringer and I didn't expect her to last overnight, but she did. Almost immediately last evening, the fibrous bacteria growing from her feelers was gone. This morning, she seems to have some giddy up, even though she still has her white moustache.

Throughout this, her eating has slowed, but she always ate everything at each meal. I was even feeding her extra, but the pet store guy from last night (vs. the one from a different version of the chain yesterday morning) said you need to give their system a rest and feed less instead of more.

For all I've done wrong, Janie Betta seems like she'll pull through. Her scales still look crispy like armour, but she is 'breathing' much more calmly. They don't use their gills, but the gills still move and last night they were swollen and heaving after changing the water. She looked miserable and overtaxed. I think the bacteria was mad, in rebellion.

The course with the antibiotic is to change portions of the water every other day essentially as dosages, four times total and that should do it.

Let's not lose another pet around here.

And let's let me off the hook for animal care duties some time soon. I want to do no more than put out food and water for a while.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Because we're commando

or something like that. heh

We visited a new museum today.

Don't I look more trim as J captures me outside the impressive building? I look like I am wearing a huge dunce cap, though. Actually the building is quite a spectacle, especially when viewed from the nearby highway at night.

My son settles in to help call in mortar coordinates. He said he'd love to be a model for the place just like this guy or one of the next ones. I replied how boring it would be during the day, but it would noisy and smoky and crazy and scary after hours, even better than Night at the Museum.

As I said, lifelike.

For Baggage, because it is such a girlie organization. Semper Fi.
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