Thursday, January 31, 2008

Overview of cats and biting behavior

I spent a lot of time researching cat behavior yesterday. It's as if by osmosis, my crew all understood it already! They shared canned food together in a row last night and the two tuxes are engaged in their usual Morning Kitty Chase and Wrestle.

I am getting a better handle on Syl.vie and her biting, both the reasons and what to do. I think her trunk is extra sensitive, much as a clothing tag prickling irritated skin. She doesn't like to be randomly touched, as in I almost got bit yesterday when I kissed her back (in the midst of a purring session on the bed, so it wasn't entirely random), if only she could have contorted enough to reach me. So I try to pet her head and, if I go below that, I do long strokes. However, there is a problem, I've learned, with the long, relaxing stroke. It reeks of sex and provokes friskiness. Maybe, in part, it is her reacting to a house full of males.

Feline Aggression: Biting, Fighting, Scratching, Attacking
Continuous pleasurable stimulation can overexcite the cat causing aggressive behavior. The cat becomes sexually excited and the resulting aggression is a part of normal sexual behavior.

Kitty, stop biting!
[S]he asserted that the problem was a miscommunication between cat and human. If you're petting the cat with long, slow strokes, the cat will relax and purr, but may eventually start interpreting this as sexual. Then they move to advance up to the next stage of the cat foreplay ladder, which is nipping and biting. Imagine, then, the cat's surprise and confusion when we react badly to the bite and get angry.

Cat bites during petting
Petting aggression in cats is absolutely normal. The reasons for petting aggression are not fully understood but research suggests that it has to do with the fact that the cat has mixed emotions about the whole petting phenomenon. Most adult cats that aren't related don't touch each other much except for fighting and sexual episodes. So even though the cats seems content, it may realize that this is not normal and an instinctive predatory response is elicited which results in biting.

Why does your cat do that?
Why does your cat take a small bite on your arm or cheek and hold on for a few seconds? Some cats, when they are very happy and feeling extremely affectionate toward the Big Unfurry Cat, will gently take a piece of human skin between their teeth and hold it for a few seconds. Think of it as the feline equivalent of kissing.

Cat & Kitten Biting and Scratching
It's is normal for cats and kittens to bite and scratch. If a cat is frightened or feels threatened, it will naturally try to defend itself. If you touch your cat in a sensitive area, he may bite or scratch as a way of telling you to "quit it." There is a fine line between pleasurable petting and irritating handling. When your cat has had enough, the only way it knows how to say, "stop it," is with its claws or teeth. Cats and kittens will also scratch and bite when they are playing and acting out their hunting instincts.

Teach your cat to enjoy being touched and handled so he doesn't feel threatened, defensive or irritated.... [with specific method for training cat to not bite]

How do I stop my cat from biting me?
If your kitten is biting, understand why-first-before you try to stop her. If it is just play time, I don´t try to correct it unless it continues for more than three weeks. After that, when the kitten bites, gently grab their bottom jaw so that you are ´biting back.´ Don´t let go until the kitten is beginning to panic. This is one way to gently let them know you are the boss, and biting is not a good thing to do to you.

Some older cats will feel the need to test you. They will bite, and even attack your hand to see how well you trust them. DON´T PANIC! If the cat is not drawing blood, they may be testing you. Try to leave your hand in place until the cat withdraws, then slowly pull your hand back.

You have determined that your cat/kitten is just playing when he bites you, now what can you do to stop this unwanted behavior.

One method is to allow the kitten to bite your finger, then gently, but firmly, press down on his tongue. This is very effective in teaching your kitten that you will ´bite back´, so he shouldn´t bite you at all.

How do I stop my cat from biting me?
Whenever your cat does bite you, don't pull away. In pulling away, you react the way prey does, and your cat's instinct will be to bite harder and hold on. When she bites you, gently push toward your cat's mouth. This action will disengage your skin from her teeth. It also will confuse her because prey never goes willingly in the direction of the predator's mouth. Once you're disengaged, redirect her toward the toy. She'll get the hang of it in no time.

Ouch!!! How to stop cat aggression toward people.
Thorough and outlined by reasons for biting

Guide to interpreting tails: Tail Talk

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Whispered to Memph all week, "I'm getting you a girlfriend."

I picked up Syl.vie after lunch. Boy, she has spirit. She would not get in the carrier and it wasn't the best start for us. When we got home, I kept her in my room for several hours with Memph and they got along brilliantly. She laid down on the bed so their hindquarters would touch and tails mingle. I'm surprised she's a little bigger than Memph, although his big ol' head wins that contest.

They were sweet together, until J got home and Spence sneaked in. I'd let him and sniff the carrier when I was bringing it home and nobody was unhappy, but Spence was very unhappy face to face, even though he was pretty much fine when I'd brought home - things are easier with a naive, happy-go-lucky kitten. Spence wound up cornering her and they had spats. She was so upset that even Memph and made her mad by evening time.

For sleeping arrangements, I had Spence with me and he was happy having me to himself. The other three slept downstairs in different places. That was tough for Memph, as he is my bedroom cat. I don't remember him sleeping outside my room since his first night here.

Right now, I have and Spence in my room and they are dissatisfied. I trust Memph and Syl.vie together downstairs.

Syl.vie is equally as quick to purr as to bite/scratch. She is very loving, but I have to watch her tolerance level very closely. I reprimand her after an incident, then praise her strongly. If anyone has ideas about this, I'd appreciate it. Funny, the lady who did a follow up call after we got was talking about cats biting and it being because they were played too roughly (think claw hand over the head) as kittens. I hope I can break her of it and that it is being exacerbated by the change.

Syl.vie loves J and rubs all over him. He's fascinated by her half devoured ear and asks her how it happened. All I can say is that I hope it wasn't human-induced.

Notice how huge her eyes are, like saucers. On every other cat I've seen, the eye closes into a slit and you can't see the eyeball. With her, you can still see the bulge of her eyeball, almost like it's human. (She's on to the camera quick, so it was tough photographing her eyes open.) She also has a delicate, squeeking meow that is lovely to the ears.

I'm sure this mess all will pass. This transition happened way too quickly and we're suffering for it, but I think we'll recover soon enough.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

She's ours!

I just got a call that our shelter application was approved! I pick up after lunch! I am so excited to be rescuing her.

Happy dance...

(Poo on you, paranoia.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ode to Gabriel García Márquez

Where to begin on the weekend?

Richard and I have known each other since 1980 when I was a Freshman in college. He's a year older. We were inseparable. We finally dated casually after he graduated; there was some new attraction for me to the idea of him being a bread winner out on his own, particularly when he barely graduated with his 2.000000000001 GPA. The first time we had sex, Breakfast at Wimbledon was on. He's always been such a prep and played collegiate tennis, making me an avid fan. Now we both love Wimbledon just a little more.

Around the time I graduated a year later, he moved to a more exciting town and I would visit him sometimes on the weekends. We never dated exclusively and I think we were both chicken to take the plunge. When ex suddenly asked me to marry him in 1986 and we got married only two weeks later, Richard was stunned. He could not make it to the wedding. We entered a period of silence, which was supported by ex as he hated the thought of me having exes. I finally saw Richard again in 1999 and again in 2004. We keep in touch via phone and email.

Richard and I are huge temptations to each other. We give each other goosebumps. It is visceral. I tingle all over. My goal, however, was to remain platonic this weekend and we were successful. I just wanted to cavort with this married man, not co-mingle. I had seven, oops, nine drinks Saturday, which I know would stymie lots of people, but for me that's just about right. I don't know why I have such a high tolerance. I drink infrequently.

In a funny moment, we entered a bar and he asked what I wanted to drink. Although I'd been drinking beer, I wanted a shooter, but couldn't think of one, so he suggested a Lemon Drop. So Lemon Drop it was. He asked me what I wanted to chase it with, some beer or water. I thought it was an absurd question and replied, "Another Lemon Drop." So that's what I heard the rest of the evening. "Another Lemon Drop." Okay, location joke. You had to be there.

Although I drank what I wanted, I behaved food-wise with a steak salad Saturday night and a fish dish the next day. In weighing myself today, I was down another half pound for a total of two lost last week! I am 55% of my way to my goal in 44% of the time.

We even watched part of Miss America Saturday night; he was watching the time holding it as an even bigger goal than I was. We missed the beginning and I was shocked at Miss Michigan at the end. Where did she come from?

All in all, it was such a good weekend. I felt like an adult and was with someone who really loves and appreciates me and vv. It was rejuvenating. He is truly my best friend and I feel like I'll say that in another 28 years.

We have a dose of Love in the Time of Cholera to us. Maybe our day will come. Just not yet.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Deployment update

Ex called Thursday afternoon. Seems that last week was for medical weeding out, then he'd be drawing equipment, then this week is rifle range qualifying.

He said he's supposed to find out his assignment on Friday. No news until then. He spoke of one guy who found out his assignment at 8am and had to be on a 10am flight. I guess things can move very quickly once assignments come down.

He said the COL, the only guy who out ranks him in their billet (it's the big room with bunk beds just like you'd picture), is probably going to be medically released, so ex will have to be the leader of that group. It will be a rather thankless job that would have the potential for getting him in trouble somehow in a situation where he'd rather be invisible. They have everybody mixed up together, Enlisted, NCO, and Officer. It's strange to me to have so many ages and ranks together, so much potential for fucking up. Ex said that most are going for their second or third tour. Although he's Army, many are Navy, so that's really odd, too. It's all a mish mash mess.

He did have a potential bit of good news. Although he still believes he will not be eligible for retirement, he was told that they're handing out promotions almost like water. The personnel person he spoke to said he'd easily become a COL, that means he'd skip over LT COL, a whole rank. It wouldn't matter for the long run, but for the short run, it's hundreds more a month in his pocket. I think this relates to promotions in times of war; I know that in promotions on the battlefield, the soldier can go up two ranks.

To briefly (ha!) cover why he can't retire and, most importantly, why I won't get half of his retirement, like other personnel each Officer rank has a specific school that must be completed. For Lieutenants, it is Basic Course right at the beginning and is specific for their field. The one for Captains to attain Major is a 3 month residency away from home. The one for Majors to attain Lieutenant Colonel is rarely residency - only the hot dogs get residency as it's for a year and equals a Master's Degree; it is usually correspondence. During the window that ex should have completed this course, his job had him traveling for months at a time. He couldn't do it. He enrolled twice, but failed at coming through. At the time, he was only on yearly contracts as a Reservist, so he had no idea where his career was headed anyway. Although he took his job very seriously, I don't think he felt like he was in a position to take his career seriously anymore.

The process for being promoted is that the personnel file comes before a board. If you're not promoted, it is called being passed over. It's rare to be promoted after you've been passed over. In the past, I'd only heard of people being passed over twice, then they're gone. Recently, ex said he was passed over three times, but I chose to not quiz him on this. Before the third time (which I think was around the time we divorced, so that's why I didn't know about it), he talked to a personnel person who said he only had to be 50% finished with the correspondence course before the next board. Ex enrolled for a third time, the highest number of attempts they allow. When he looked at the materials and outline, he realized there was no way he could complete half of it before the board met again, so it was his third strike. He was forced out in 2002, which coincided with his final yearly contract as a Reservist - it was five years on one job, the most they would allow, and he couldn't find find another Reservist job to transfer to - oh, did he try. He'd maxed out a couple ways.

In the past when he volunteered to go to Iraq (say 2002-2004) and tried to get time toward retirement (he's at 14 years and would need to make 17 to get grandfathered in to attain retirement at 20 years), he was told it was illegal for him to get back in because of the educational requirement and being passed over.

Now in 2008, it obviously isn't illegal (right - ex checked all the rules and nothing had changed besides their desperation) and they will potentially promote him two ranks even, but they will withhold retirement because he didn't complete the course.

I know, it's a fucked up system. He's trying to get 50% life experience credit for the project he's worked on the last 10 years and is waiting to hear if these details can get worked out. The only other thing would be for that Army school to grant him a fourth attempt at it, although that seems pretty absurd to have to do in Iraq. Ex obviously isn't a student at heart.

Word, yo

The Saturday Scavenger word for this week is curious.

Hope that piques yours.

(Thanks not fainthearted. Very glad to do it.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weekend weight maintence

When I did my mid-term weigh in on Friday, I'd already lost 1.5lbs for the week and 5lbs overall. Yippee for water weight taking a dive! And for motivated moderation.

My plan is that tonight (and tomorrow night if I stay over again) I can drink enough to puke and have a both ends sick hangover before my weigh in Monday so I won't gain any weight while I misbehave! One can always hope!

If past times with Richard are taken as predictors, I will be mightily successful. We had a whole conversation this week about the places I puked in my youth. He says he wants me drunk at just the right place between sober and Steeplechase, at which I crawled or, possibly, slimed. It was 1981. It was quite ugly.

Saturday Scavenger Hunt: Sweet

I'm Southern, so sweet describes a personality trait.

My Greek grandfather, not known for his sweetness, had many other talents, one of which was automotive repair. He bought and restored an old 1919 fire engine in his spare time. Extra time, ha! They owned two businesses. And he had a full time job being cranky and chasing mood swings. That's what I got from him.

I remember visiting them in their tourist town. We had to get up at 0:dark:30 one morning for him to go get the illegal, unregistered fire engine out of storage to give us a ride before the police were awake. It was so very cold even though it was late summer; they were so far north.

I waited on the porch with my younger sister, grandmother, and great grandmother for Papou to bring over the fire truck. I was barely 8, but I was nearly as tall as my grandmothers. They didn't want to take the time to change, so we went in our jammies.

I could tell it was a proud moment for him. Very sweet, showing off his baby. When we were done with the ride, he even flipped the siren and I'm sure he was considered very sweet by his neighbors, too.

I think J resembles my grandmother on the right and I most resemble her mother on the left. I was very lucky in that my great grandmother died after I graduated college and my grandmother died just last year.

He died about 15 years ago ... of lung cancer.

This was Papou in a commemorative parade for their town.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Go Miss America!

Have you been watching Miss America: Reality Check on TLC? The last of four episodes is tonight on TLC. Tomorrow night is the Miss America Pageant.

I'm bummed that J will be at ex's tonight and we won't get to watch it together. I'm also (a little) bummed that I'll not be able to watch the pageant tomorrow night for drunken cavorting with Richard.

I remember as a kid gathering around the TV with my mother and sister to watch the pageants. My dad would sometimes show just so he could root for Miss SC.

We loved it when they started getting more technical with the judging and showing numbers. It was fun to watch and fun to see progress into fresh waters. That's why I do like the TLC show. I might not be fashionable, but I do appreciate Miss America being stylish.

I love crazy, inappropriate, ADD Miss Alaska. I became disappointed in the Army Officer Miss Utah, who showed she didn't play well with others. Miss Florida and Miss DC are brave with their obstacles. I wish they'd had time to profile each of them more fully.

Tell me how it goes.

Keeping It Real

I won an award this week, ya'll! And I am so pleased. I Keep It Real.

This is what bipolarlawyercook wrote. But first, she and I have one of those attributes in common. Can you guess? It's not lawyer or cook!

Keeping it Real: Cricket at Churp! Churp! is the Queen of Keeping it Real. Despite having a lot (and I mean a LOT) on her plate, being a single Mom to a growing boy, maintaining a healthy and respectful relationship with her Ex for her son J’s sake, trying to keep “out there” for her own sake, just getting through this crazy thing called life, and now having Ex be deployed in this endless war, Cricket pulls no punches and tells no bullshit as she tells her tales. Her sense of humor and fairness are astounding, and her determination to make the best of things is inspiring.
Wow, just wow! She pegged me - especially that last sentence - if I don't say so myself. I had to brag to my therapist that somebody actually gets me! And my therapist just beamed! What a love fest! (Of course, I know my other very special readers get me, too.) And bless bipolarlawyercook's heart, she didn't even say minutiae-oriented, trivial, obsessive, critical, cat woman, or whiny one time!

I've never used so many exclamation points in a single paragraph in my life. Thanks, bipolarlawyercook, for making my week. Go check out her other award winners in some very creative categories. They are my 'to do' list now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Annals of Libertarian and Humane Cat Procurement

I don't want A cat. I want THIS cat. She is a treasure.

Yesterday, gentle J visited with her at the shelter. She climbed up on his lap, curled in a ball, and purred happily. He's wanted a lap cat so badly. I wish I had a camera to record his "I'm a proud papa" moment.

Because I'd seen him out playing the day before, I also got out a buff kitten around's age and Pa.sha could have cared less, just kept on walking around. I was quite relieved that she doesn't mind sniffing, space-invading, obnoxious kittens. ( is all that and more!)

I got in trouble with the cat caretaker (the one I had yesterday who thought I was the owner) in that I'd removed the two cats from the cages. Apparently it was against the rules without her there, but it wasn't my fault that 1) she wasn't doing her job; 2) the rules weren't posted; and 3) another employee told me to help myself in the cat room. Heck, we'd been in there 10-15 minutes before she found us there; some customer service. However, I felt I couldn't balk too much, because they hold all the cards, but it didn't set the best tone.

My visit at the front desk wasn't as smooth as the first day, either, although it started out alright. I did hand over Sad!e's old vet's paperwork and they were suitably overwhelmed at the volume. She took it to her boss and he said to just copy the first page. I hope Sad!e's lack of vaccinations in her old age won't be haunting us; they could still call the vet and query.

A little later, the same clerk finished off our application with J's "Stamp of Approval in Cat Handling" like I'd gotten the day before. Then I learned that they'd be calling "some time next week" to say whether our application is approved. I had previously assumed that the 7-10 day delay after submitting the application was because of something like a volunteer vet coming in once a week to fix/vaccinate and get the animals into their new home.

It never occurred to me that I'd have to wait a week or more for bureaucracy, then wait more time for the vet procedures to be done. It seems that they have a system that sustains their large numbers of employees who are constantly milling about and joking around. I just don't get it. They make these animals remain in cages weeks on end in a pseudo-humane system that is decidedly inhumane. In the best interests of the animal, we'd rather kill it than give it to you!

Confession time: I do have one thing they can ping me on. I didn't include on the application. Because he'd been recently vetted when I got him last April and she'd done it herself through her work in a rescue organization, there's no paperwork for him. This shelter could find out about him if they ask around enough with my application with's rescue organization. This shelter seems that interested in poking holes and, goodness knows, with a week to look, they could find it.

This BS high kill shelter has me paranoid.

Do you know how much it will piss me off 1) if they got my son involved/evaluated/excited in dramatic forced visitation fashion for which he had to miss school and then they pulled the plug, and 2) that I've wasted about three hours of driving time in two days?

One other thing: I tried to put in an application for the buff kitten, too. Just look at him and he purrs. He would take up the slack for Spen.cer, because crazy is more than Spence can handle alone. I was told that they would not adopt out cats of such dissimilar ages. Huh? I replied that I had just submitted paperwork testifying to me having a 5mo old kitten, so the buff kitty would have a ready playmate. She hemmed and hawed. She rolled her eyes, acted huffy, then said she'd talk to her supervisor. Of course, the verdict was no, them saying that the buff kitten has an application in on him already. I am doubting it. Then the animal control guy (it was sweet - he "had" a tabby kitten there he would visit and tote around, although she was going home to a family that day) spoke up and said they allow two cats to go out at a time. I don't need another two year old, so I guess I don't qualify.

They would fucking rather kill them.

Thanks for reading yet another rant in the Annals of Libertarian and Humane Cat Procurement.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let the image do (most of) the talkin'

As if...

As Obese Population Rises, More Candidates Courting The Fat Vote

Have you seen Tom's freako video? Craig Fer.guson does Tom imitation.

Strange Heath Led.ger interview from the fall - his behavior is bizarre. What a loss.

Come to Mama, Baby. I'll whip you into shape.

J will meet her today in my second of three trips to another state to save this lap kitty.

Is this mattress genius or ridiculous?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


OMG! She is a LUV-A-PUNKIN, which is my highest order of compliment.

I had a hard time locating her in the cages; there is one cat room with a couple dozen in it and I also got a tour of the sick room, which had 4 cats and two very friendly rabbits.

Finally found Pa.sha in the corner on the lower level in the dark. She looked to be cowering and fearful, then I opened up the cage. She came out and stayed on my lap for the next 15 minutes and it eventually took three tries to get her back in the cage. She didn't even try to poke around the room or step off my lap. She paced around on me, then found herself a comfy spot. She purred and was absolutely attentive and loving. She has part of her ear missing, like someone took a bite out of the tip. Very stylish.

The employee watching us thought that Pa.sha was my cat and I had been the one to surrender her last week. She literally acted like my cat.

Although it was very difficult, I did not look too closely at the other cats. They were gorgeous and sweet and deserved homes, too.

The process is involved. I have to bring J back tomorrow, because all family members have to meet the animal. I'm going to have to take him out of school to go over there.

I also have to bring the vet records for Sad!e, because they want records for all animals the last three years. I hope they don't look too hard at Sad!e's. I hope they're overwhelmed because hers printed over 10 pages, but they don't go back that far in time. I opted out of shots for her when she was about 9, because I'd read older cats don't need to continue shots. We'll see how that flies - a high kill shelter would rather kill a cat than give it to me because I discontinued shots on a geriatric cat who otherwise had excellent care? I hope not.

If J and Sad!e pass this hurdle tomorrow, we have to give them another 7-10 days before we can get her. Ridiculous and drawn out, but it's government work.

Speaking of which, I was expecting a facility that was run down and sad. There were no dripping ceilings or stench. It was a nice place and I didn't mind sitting on the floor to pet the kitty. There seemed to be way too many employees, but I guess they're doing their jobs, except in the adoption turn around arena.

Can't wait to tell my son when he gets home from school. Yesterday, he was all, "But Maaaa, we don't neeeeeed four cats. But if you reeeeally want it, I guess it's okaaaay."

Yada food yada cat yada

I weighed myself yesterday morning and am down 1.5lbs for the week, 3.5 total. I am presently 35% of the way toward my goal in only 27% of the time.

Except for the Chipotle salad, I haven't eaten out, which has helped. This weekend coming up will be a big test - it will involve beer and real food. I am meeting my best friend, Richard, in a beautiful town about two hours from here where he has a conference to attend.

2222222222222222222222222222222']]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]78uy12iu7*/ tHANKS, bEAU.

My goal is to behave in more way than one. We've had this thing for over 25 years. I am sleeping over at the hotel, but I am bringing my gawd awful Porky Pig jammies as insurance.

I saw an interesting article in USA Today concerning better ways to eat out, comparisons of meals at the same restaurant. The book is called Eat This, Not That! Some of the superior choices were surprising, like a burger over a (large, oversized) grilled chicken at McD's.

I am seriously craving a big juicy burger at the place voted best burger by a local magazine each year. Yeah, plus fries with malt vinegar. OMG!!!

This entry from the book also stands out to me: Two slices of Oizza Hut THIN 'N' CRISPY HAM and PINEAPPLE PIZZA set you back 360 calories, 12g fat. Two slices of the Supreme pan pizza have 620 calories, 32g fat. I know I am going to need some pizza soon. Thin and light on the toppings makes it fairly manageable.

I should buy the book.

PS - We had a funny here yesterday morning. J went to the bus stop at his regular time and came home, saying he'd apparently missed the bus. It took a while to get my car cleaned/warmed, but I drove him, went to the school's front door, and it was locked. Duh! Happy MLK! We cudda slept in.

PPS - I'll assume the shelter was closed b/c of the holiday, as there was no answer a couple times, although I read afterward that they're so busy they don't answer the phone sometimes. I think the black female was relinquished there on Thursday, but I suspect they gave her the long weekend, not just 24 hours. Poor thing, she was adopted from there last March as a kitten and her owners would have had to know that she was going back to a high kill place. I'm driving over today to just see, although it is a hike. Am also bringing old towels, sheets, and blankets to donate.

I'll have to submit an application and they don't allow animals to go until a second visit after they do shots and fixing if needed. If I can get her, I am changing her name to It suits my female naming convention: Sassy, Sallie, and Sad!e; alternates are Steffi and Sukey. Hurray for Internet baby name sites. Didn't think I'd have a use for a site like that. If she is taken, I may consider another if it is fixed. It doesn't have to be black. I don't want to be the crazy cat witch lady. And if it's a boy, maybe Flet.cher or for the sons I never had. Gosh, I didn't have enough children for the names I want to use.

Monday, January 21, 2008


The kitty transition is going well. Beau sneaked out of J's room last evening, very curious about the outside world. The way it went down, he was curious about getting out and Spence was very curious about checking him out. It worked out better than springing them on each other. Beau is a very confident kitten.

When he was winding down last night Beau chose J's bunk as his place to light. I had he and J sleep together again with the door closed. This morning, spats are decreasing and the tuxes are playing chase and reverse chase. I think Spence is getting a much needed work out.

Memph loved the Fancy Feast last evening and pretty much ate the whole can, which had been divided in three. His skin has been getting a winter flake, so I think he needs the extra oils. He has not minded too much when he's seen the kitten, although they haven't really interacted. I'll have to do the canned food again tonight and maybe they'll eat together this time.
It's nice J is out of school today; he's lapping up the kitty time.

Okay, kick me, but I am toying with the thought of another cat. I'd been watching CL and someone puts ads for animals in a local high kill shelter on there. There's a young, spayed female available, which means she has shots and less chance of diseases. She's an owner turn in, which means she only has 24 hours, although they seem to keep them longer when possible. Anyway, with it going well with Beau and Spence, maybe it would work to save this green-eyed black girl? Do kick me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bunkbed cat

We went to a rescued cat fair yesterday and got us a baby. He's only five months old; we'd anticipated going older, but I think he fit our needs the best.

He's a tux who was accustomed to sleeping with another kitten and a teenaged boy, a big plus. He had as his best friend an older and very mischievous tux and was accustomed to other cats and dogs, too.

His name is Hamil.ton, but when they called the foster mom for me so we could talk, she said he answers to Beaur.egard. Kinda funny that. So Beau.regard it is. I could tell she was having a hard time letting him go. He's quite full of personality and I think he will stand up to Spen.cer very well, plus sleep with J.

As an aside, I learned the way to change an animal's name is to call them both names for a while, as in Beaure.gard becomes ZippyBeaureg.ard who becomes just Zippy.

At the fair, they called the mom again to inquire about his food, so I could buy some and transition him. A little while later, she called back and said she'd be happy to take him back if I needed to return him.

I feel like I cut out part of her heart, but I really think he'll do well here, as long as he and Spencie butt heads less than they play. I am learning that tux cats are natural born check-er-out-ers, busy, nosy, curious. I think there's plenty of space for both of them. And lots of junk to poke through.

We're easing Beaureg.ard in slowly; he's going to hang in J's room a few days. Spencie has shown great interest, hovering around the door. At the beginning, Memphie sniffed the carrier and took off when the baby hissed. Typical. Since then, Memph has forgotten and is his regular self, coming out of hiding for his doses of loving.

One of the rescue ladies says she's seen it before like the situation at our house when one needs a playmate and one feels bullied; the new one becomes a playmate and they forget about the old cat. That has been my goal. Glad I came up with what is deemed the proper solution.

What I didn't expect was to have three black cats out of the deal, but personality is more important than color. He's been pretty entertaining already. He likes J's bunk bed and easily jaunts up the ladder to the top, which he has claimed for himself, then uses the ladder to get back down again, too.

He loves to drape his paws over the rail and watch the world go by. He's already on to the flash, so pictures were hard to get.

He has his food/water/litter in there and we'll give it several days like this, if I can keep J patient. He wants to let Beau out today.

Spencie is captivated by the closed door and hearing J talk to the kitten, plus the kitten's belled collar. He's tried to get in there a few times, but the baby hisses. Once or twice, Spence hissed, too, and that is new for him. Although it's early in the process, I think we got a kitten that will warm to our rhythms quickly and I think Spencie is curious enough to make him a playmate.

Later today, we'll give all three cats yummy Fancy Feast wet food treats on either side of J's bedroom door. My cats haven't gotten Fancy Feast in a while, but I think they'll tolerate each other enough to get the treat. The philosophy behind this is, "Hey, yumyumyum, this treat is great. And there's a cat on the other side of the door, but this is great anyway. The world is still good, even with that other cat in it."

After that, we'll put Spencie in J's room and let the baby out. Instead of letting him roam the whole house, though, we'll do my room with Memphie in it. I need to think it through.

I figure with all the work that went into choosing a cat, I should introduce them by the book. Right now, he's safe and secure in J's room. Kinda hard to break that innocence just yet.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Scavenger Word: Ah-ha

Ah-ha brings to mind both negative and positive connotations. Because of my rather PMS-y mood, I'll cover the "gotcha version" first and the "discovery version" second.

This was the biggest ah-ha in my life and it wasn't pleasant. Granted, I didn't take these pictures, but I know who probably did. For my newer readers, this was my fiance. He was less greasy and didn't have a mullet when he was with just me. Turns out, he was cheating on me the last six months of our relationship/engagement, then immediately moved in with her and married her four months later. I found out a few months after that. I called and confronted him. I had put up with a lot of crap with his teenaged daughter during my 2.5 years with him. I am better off without him, but I am still pissed at how it went down and how it affects relationships in the future. "Ah-ha! My trust is gone."

Although I can be raw and crass, I have entirely too much class of the likes of them. I am more of a belle than a redneck, not what he needed. "Ah-ha, I caught you, you scumbag! May you die a painful death a thousand times over."

See the tie? I bought it for him. Quel audacity!

Okay, I'm going to take a shower...

Back. Deep breath. This is J after running the bases. You can see how jacked he was. "Ah-ha! I can go where the Major Leaguers go!"

This is J and my father. "Ah-ha! It didn't bite your arm off!"

"Ah-ha! I can control two ton cars going 200mph on a super speedway! Woosh!"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Diversions and possibilities

At a time when PMS-related comfort food and binges are off limits, I present the next best thing: Dale, Jr. Classic and Dale, Jr. Rock N Roll.

Gosh, I have a thing for baby goats and this delightful guy satisfied my craving.

I hope we get our own little warm fuzzy this weekend. I found a rescue outfit that doesn't require home visits or do SS-inspired inspections later. (Can you believe how many rescue organizations there are a around here?) We're going to see the kitties in a pet store tomorrow and they have about 6 that suit our needs. I have the application filled out and as long as they don't spring an exorbitant price or a complicated contract on me (some orgs have applications AND contracts), we're set. I'll be able to interview the foster parents and figure something out. One pair of brothers, who happen to be a black and tux just like our two, actually sleep with the teenaged son of the fosters; that's a real selling point to J.

Maybe a bonded two will prove better than one, a united front against Spence? Extra play! But then would that still leave Memph ripe for picking if the cats divide two and two? My heart is in the right place; I'm trying to do the right thing. Unhappy kitties are just sad all around, although Memph isn't completely unhappy. He is a real purr monster who demands, "Cack!," when he wants to be petted. But speaking of Monster... that's Spence's nickname.

Okay, the questioning, ruminating uncertainty that comes with me and PMS is striking hard. Deep breath. It will work out. I hate these bcps.

PS - I may or not weigh today as I was really munchy yesterday. I ate only stuff I consider to be on my diet, but I ate too much. And I probably have water gain.

PPS - I did break down and weigh - down .5lb for my half week split. I feel like I have worked very hard for a mere 2.5lbs gone, but I figure they wouldn't be gone if I hadn't have worked. I'll be looking for the water weight over the weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Off to see the Wizard

Back before he was two, J really looked more like his dad than me. I remember being shocked at the turn around two years later. This was taken in 1999 as we visited our old church at Easter in the little town we lived for 10 years before coming here 10 years ago. I was an SIF virgin. I still believed in god. My, how times have changed.

I had just completed nine months of continuous weight loss each and every week; we had a weight loss loop from around the country and I was very strict, pridefully so. I lost about 25lbs and that weight is about 30lbs less than what I weigh now. The weight in the picture is my goal. It's about a size 12. Reasonable.

Ex leaves today to drive to where he must report. He doesn't know how long he'll be there or where he'll go after.

He came by yesterday for some parenting business and I must admit he looked a bit dashing in his uniform. (Picture later.) He is still absolutely dumbstruck about going, but said he's fine with doing the time. The part he's not okay with is the lack of retirement. Maybe I'll explain that more fully later.

I learned that his powerful buddy had talked to the guy controlling the deployment list, a job the buddy used to have, and the list guy was going to give ex a bye. All ex needed was his current boss to sign off that he's needed at his military-oriented government job. His boss, a Marine COL who has never played war and is only biding time, said he flippantly thought it would be a good experience for ex, so he would not sign.

Powerful buddy queried ex as to the exact spelling of the Marine's name. I have a feeling something special will be coming his way.

Last time ex deployed, we thought he was going to Bosnia, but it wound up cushy Germany. It was really scary not knowing. Almost to the day, it was 11 years ago. The next day after he left I realized I was pregnant; J was born 10 days before his father returned.

This deployment makes me long for that innocence, wishing I could turn up pregnant tomorrow. Not by ex, just by somebody. Besides that and a dread of how J will react, I don't feel anything for ex. Although I am periodically still angry about old things with him and, on the flip side, I can consider him a friend who makes the daily phone calls he couldn't while married, I don't have strong emotion about him leaving. He's not mine, I don't want him, I don't love him.

It's better than the stormy years, though, when all I wanted was his life insurance money. At present, I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hassles: rescue organizations and vets

Val, my dear Vet pal, speak up anytime. I am criticizing some things relating to your profession; I'm being honest, but don't want to step on your toes. You might say I've just been lucky, but I think I've been a judicious pet owner.

I am finding these rescue organizations' applications and contracts annoying.

Found one contract yesterday saying they could inspect at any time and if the cat isn't up on vaccinations, they'll charge $250 or the cost of vaccination, whichever is greater, then take the cat. Yesterday, I cited one that had a similar $700 fee. You'll see why this concept is ridiculous in a bit.

First, though, when I feed and vet a cat, I consider it mine, not on loan from a rescue organization. I don't care for Big Brother to breathe down my neck. If they want to hover, then I would put them to work and make the litter box their responsibility.

I think I am entirely too Libertarian to use a rescue outfit again. Memph came from one, but theirs only had provision about vet care at the time of adoption, not down the line or in a threatening way. Come to think of it, they didn't even follow up with me about the initial vetting. I would use them again, but their animals are in cages at pet stores, so nothing is known about their personalities, i.e. Memph seemed so friendly and attentive, but we all know his best friend is the underside of my bed. I guess that's the difference; once an animal is put into foster care, the rescue org feels like they own it and just put it out on loan.

Another application I read yesterday really bothered me. It asked if you'd be willing to spend _____$100 _____$200 _____$500+ on a vet bill, with a couple lines for "Why?" if you wouldn't spend $500. This is obnoxious, telling me how to spend my money, and the answers do not necessarily represent outcome.

I'll give an example with Sad!e. She was alert but frothy and woozy one evening when she was almost 16.5 yo. I took her to the ER Vet thinking she'd had a mild stroke. The vet took blood for kidney failure and thyroid problems, plus did UA, but all later came back fine, so it was a mild stroke. The vet wanted to hold her for observation overnight, but I said I could not afford it, so we made a phone date for the next morning. I guess it cost around $125, because the vet kindly waived her fees of about the same amount; Sadie did get on an antibiotic and steroid. By the next morning, Sad!e, who thrived in her own home like cats do, had already followed me up and down the stairs and was just about her old self.

The vet, who was in shock at my old lady's progress, said we needed to work on fluids, said usually they'd go the in house IV route, but they'd show me sub-cutaneous means the next day, if need be, to save money at home. To avoid that, I opened a can of tuna, squeezed out the water, and my parched cat lapped it up over the day. Again, the vet was shocked and I think she added tuna water to her repertoire for when cats won't drink. I appreciated the vet so much for supporting me in going low tech at home.

Do you think my cat would have thrived more if she'd have stayed in the hospital on IV? No. Would I have been a better cat owner if I had thrown more bucks at her? No. I shudder to think what the whole shebang would have cost. It definitely would have put me in that $500 column, but that wouldn't have offered a superior outcome.

About eight months later, Sad!e was diagnosed with renal insufficiency, the gray area on the way to renal failure, which takes many cats. She was put on two daily meds and I was told to bring her in monthly for blood work, which would run something like $75-100/mo. Instead, I took her in every six months or so when the script needed refills; monthly monitoring would have provided useless feedback, because there wasn't much you could do for the cat beyond sub-cutaneous fluids and I could tell by her behavior how she was feeling. She lived almost two years after her diagnosis, the vast majority of it quite happy and healthy with little interference.

Again, I didn't throw a heap of money at Sad!e, but still had a satisfying outcome.

They're pets and you do the best for them, but there are lots of definitions of best. I don't want a rescue org defining what my best should be.

Now if $500 came easily to me, fine. However, I fail to see the logic in going in the hole to treat a suffering and dying animal. And if the animal isn't in that dire of a condition, then compromises can be made.

This leads me to an article from ever-trusted Slate: But Doc, the Dog's Already Dead! How to say no to your vet, by Emily Yoffe (Slate's ever wise Dear Prudence). Read it, especially the Lyme's Disease part (there are crooks in every field); I'm going to excerpt a different part. I would like to read Busby's book, How To Afford Veterinary Care Without Mortgaging the Kids. Here is what the vet says about vaccines. (Emphasis added.)

Busby also rails against the useless procedures foisted on healthy animals. Take yearly vaccinations. He writes, "[A]lmost all veterinarians insist on repeating these vaccinations over and over again throughout the life of the pet. Never forget how often they need to be given to you or your kids. ONCE!!!" Busby says that after the essential shots and boosters for puppies and kittens are completed, pets enjoy the same lifelong immunity humans do. (Legal requirements force more frequent rabies shots.) He points out unnecessary treatments are not necessarily benign because the treatments themselves can cause side effects. I know. My wonderful cat Shlomo died at age 16 because I followed the yearly vaccination recommendations. A component of the feline leukemia vaccine caused an injection-site cancer. (For a thorough discussion of the problem with pet overvaccination, see
See, even vaccines are bogus and a rip off, not to mention a health hazard. Why should a rescue organization force me to throw money at something useless, plus put my animal at risk of cancer? And then penalize me if I don't? Again, there are many levels of best.

To be honest, I do not know why cats they insist stay indoors need shots anyway. The "in case they get out" part doesn't hold water. If that were truly the case, they'd require tags and microchipping. Instead, I think it is a racket, manipulating pet owners into something unnecessary which then hangs over their heads as an excuse to take the animal.

My goal, of course, isn't to put vets out of business, but I need to be a customer with a brain, not a money machine spewing at needless interventions. Although Sad!e's ER vet really worked with me, it's as if pet owners are treated the same way that health insurers are: eh? they'll pay out of obligation so the test will be ordered and the procedure performed, regardless of need. That's how Sad!e's regular vet treated Sad!e, them wanting monthly testing. The prevailing philosophy of vets and rescue organizations seems to be to shame the owner into forking over the bucks in the name of health and sentimentality. The problem is the pet owners aren't bottomless pits like insurance companies are viewed and I, for one, resent being considered a bad pet owner or a poor prospect by a rescue organization if I choose to not spend my money on things that are generally fluff.

Although my cats are members of the family, eat premium food, are treated with the utmost in low tech care (i.e., Sad!e's pills, K gel, sub-q fluids, special food), and loved wholeheartedly, I don't forget they're cats who I am treating like children.

With my son never getting sick, I don't think he's been to the pediatrician in 2.5 years. Am I being irresponsible if he doesn't need to go? Will I be fined $700 by someone?

Why are cats being elevated higher than my kid?

It's just no wonder so many animals are in these rescue organizations.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

As an aside

I'm up to crash number three. :::shaking head:::

I have plumb amazed myself at how much time I can spend looking for a new cat online.

Some rescue outfits have grand descriptions and I want to take all the kitties home.

Unfortunately, those and many other rescuers require a home visit, something I am not willing to do. Yup, I'm that bad a house keeper and refuse the scrutiny.

Unfortunately we were at a pet store and happened upon an adoption fair two weekends ago and J fell in love with one. This cat is a muted gray tabby about nine months old. He is both very playful and very loving, just purred and reclined in the woman's arms. This organization requires home visits, but I am going to request a bye this weekend just to satisfy J.

We really need the playful to satisfy and hopefully distract him from chasing, who has a hard time getting out from under the bed to eat or pee. We need the loving because our cats love me long time and love J less. It's not him as much as what chunks of the day they spend with me. J desperately wants a cat to sit on his lap without me as the impetus.

This muted gray kitty is named Murp.hy, which is way too close to, so we've contemplated changing it to Mon.ty or

I've found other cats online, too. One very active one has a heart murmur, though, and I know I have limited funds to invest if it got worse; I should inquire how bad it is. Two others are equally active and come from homes, not rescue, but it's not clear yet about fixing and shots. They're both around six to nine months.

As a cat lover, it seems odd to have to prove myself to the rescue organizations, but they require it. I remember one that would check down the line about vet care in the future and charge $700 if it wasn't kept up. The one that I got Memph from required a vet check within 72 hours; between that and the adoption, I was out about $300 mighty quick.

Unfortunately, they're not up front about these additional expenses and invasions of privacy and you have to dig. I've learned that not only should you match cats, you should match rescue organizations. I could have educated Ellen a long time ago.

Tell you the truth, I'm a bit tired of looking, but I have extra incentive. Ex leaves this weekend and I really want a new cat as a distraction for my son.

Paltry announcement

Blogging adjourned.

Changing from the html to the compose screens in Blogger has twice crashed this pathetic browser and lost two different posts.

More later, perhaps, once we make up.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Reasons to lose

I want to be clear about some things. There are practical reasons for me wanting to lose weight beyond aesthetics or (cough) health, because neither are really my priority. I know, I'm warped. Granted, I am only a size 16-18/1X, so I don't have a lot of the problems having to do with excessive weight, but here are some of my issues. Read at your own risk. They are not attractive.

The reasons I want to lose weight:
  • I want to wear those clothes in the back of the closet, particularly the cruise dinner dresses.
  • I am tired of my muffin top creeping up and choking me like a pillow from my step mother.
  • I want my feet to hurt less.
  • My thighs! The chafing!
  • I want my arms to not feel so short.
  • It'd be nice to possibly wear heels again.
  • I don't want my underwear to be used to put out a fire.
  • I want better balance.
  • (It relates to wiping my ass.)
  • I hate the sweat under my double chin when I look down.
  • I want to bend over and not feel like my innards are going to blow.
  • I want to go bowling and not have to overcompensate to get my arm around my hip.
  • I want less junk in the junk area so that I fit better sexually, particularly because I only seem to attract midget microdicked men.
  • Large clothing takes up too much space in the closet, drawer, and suitcase.
  • I want to be able to roll over in bed and not have to reposition the stuff that didn't complete the journey.
  • This being between clothing sizes means nothing fits.
  • I want it to be easier to clip and occasionally paint my toe nails.
Now (drumroll) I can proudly announce that I am down 2.0lbs since January 1. For my primary goal of 10lbs by March 17, which is 11 weeks total, I am 20% of the way in 18% of the time.

Keep it up, girlie. Slow and steady wins the race.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Multi-media East Coast Tween Sex Talk

I am working diligently on gathering materials and ideas for the sex talk I will have with 10yo J in the coming weeks or months.

What do you think about this sexxxxy sex ed poster?

But really, should sex ed encourage hard ons?

It is tough to come to the realization, but I know I've failed a bit already. "The days of 'the talk' are over. Think sound bytes." Although I've always answered his questions, what I was lead to believe was the proper way, I don't think he's asked enough questions, not because he's not curious, but because he's basically shy.

Variations of The Talk
Short version:Talking With Kids About Sex and Relationships
WebMD long version, age by age: Sexuality Education: What To Tell Your Children

Here are Juno actors, Jason Bateman and Michael Cera, trying to cover the mechanics of The Sex Talk.

The MidWest Teen Sex Show is a bit more successful as it graphically and humorously talks about sex and all sorts of teenaged unmentionables. Yeah, used to be, Mom threw a book at you to learn about sex. Now she pulls up YouTube or a podcast.

Check out this episode about parents and The Talk, but don't miss the podcasts about male and female masturbation, the first time, birth control, and back door explorations. (Seriously, watch one. You'll laugh your momma lovin' behind off.)

I guess it beats Freaks and Geeks.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Scavenger Word: Hmmm

No, literally, and it was tough. Check out other efforts in the sidebar here.

Yesterday, however, I had a situation that indeed made me go "hmmm." My neighborhood was invaded by a troupe legion gaggle multitude school swarm throng group flock host horde community of turkey vultures.

I was walking to the mailbox and noticed two large birds with great wing spans circling. Without looking too closely, I figured they were hawks, although I've seen owls around here, too. I thought to myself that I was glad the cats are indoor only. When I realized the birds weren't being territorial and then saw a few more flying, I knew the answer was turkey vultures.

I found their roosting tree just across the field from my house, maybe 100 yards away:
Enlarge it. There are at least 10 in this picture.
This guy kept to himself and was right outside my front door:
Obviously the neighborhood is in a state of decline.

Before the exciting invasion, I could only be so creative as to apply "hmmm" to two types of hummers. Go figure.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The other part of the equation

Besides healthful teas, I take supplements twice a day. Some I already took; some I've added back. The ones on the tray I take along with 5 prescriptions and the ones on the left are waiting in the wings. Generally the green and brown ones are the cheaper Wal-Mart/grocery store versions and the white ones are from the health food store. I try to put together a few day's worth at once in the little cups. It's much less overwhelming that way, to do it while the tea heats and brews. Otherwise, I just take the meds, calcium, and multi when I am lazy.
Because of the way my thyroid is being treated with mega doses of thyroxine (or as I am in the process of working back up to the proper dosages) and the way it melts bones, I must religiously take extra calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D especially, plus I opt for a complete multi-vitamin twice daily. Because my joints often hurt, particularly while I'm in bed, I take glucosamine; I like that one on the tray because it has D in it, too, but I can't remember where I got it. When that runs out, I have to take a separate D.

Now with this diet, I've added back CLA, L-Carnitine, Pantetheine, and Cayenne from when I did the Fat Flush Plan a few years ago, all stuff I had already, but wasn't taking. Besides Cayenne, the latter bunch is quite expensive, like $30+ a bottle. Ran out and need to buy another bottle of Chromium Picolinate, but at least that one is cheap.

As you can tell, the herbal component is being ignored, mostly because I have to be careful due to my allergies. I have some blue-green algae I should pull back out. I need to look into that and research more.

Here's a less puffy me au naturale with I love how his long nose matches mine.

So, do you supplement or use herbs? What do you like and can you recommend anything? Or do you think I'm crazy with all this? People come in and laugh at my kitchen counter. You're seeing the new cleaned up version after I tucked the unused ones in a cabinet!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Food and so on

Even though I haven't lost my resolve.

Besides deployment, it is all I can think about. Truth be told, I guess being on a strict diet is good for staving off anxiety eating.

[Sip tea.]

I had the best salad yesterday. I was out shopping (okay, out at Wal-Mart) and was needing to wait someplace for an hour for prescriptions. Compared to the nearby pickings, I figured Chipotle would be better than Taco Bell, KFC, Panara, McD's, or Burger King. Except for the sheer volume of the salad and, come to think of it, all their food, Chipotle was a great choice. I had black beans with extra salsa, corn salsa, and grilled chicken on romaine. Did I mention how good it was? And I behaved, leaving some uneaten and not even using their dressing. I have a new place to go feel decadent. Next time, I'll get it to go regardless and I'll leave a lot more in order to make it two meals.

As I walked through Wal-Mart, I was struck by being so glad I had the self control not to walk down the food aisles. No cookies!

[Sip tea.]

I have found the best hot breakfast cereal at the local grocery store: Simple Harvest. It's by Quaker Oats and has a variety of grains, plus pecans and molasses, which are listed last. I haven't compared it, but it seems less bad than regular instant oatmeal, of course, because I buy the sweet maple brown sugar variety. I know there are some good hot or cold combo cereals at places like Whole Foods. Need to check them out. Any suggestions?

A treat for us is boiled eggs. When I was a kid, I wouldn't touch them. J scarfs them down. I need to go to Whole Foods and get some of the high zinc kind again. In lieu of black pepper on them, I use ground coriander, which is lovely. Like cayenne, it is a spice that raises metabolism.

[Sip tea.]

On New Year's Day I weighed myself. My usual habit is to weigh once a month the week after my period. I know I will be weighing myself more often now, but I know I need to not get discouraged about fluctuations.

I decided that weighing myself Mondays and Thursdays or Fridays would be the level of feedback I need. When I weighed myself a few days after the initial time following some good, solid dieting, I was up two pounds (!!) and urged myself not to get discouraged. Monday, at the one week mark, I weighed again and had lost one overall, or essentially lost three. Not sure how to consider it.

[Sip tea.]

I saw my therapist yesterday for the first time in three weeks and I told her I'd started dieting; she said she could tell it in my face. I was especially glad she said that, as I'd noticed that I was looking puffy in pictures. I know this was probably because of my thyroid, but having a reason doesn't make it feel any better.

I also bought Yogi Detox tea per bipolarlawyercook's recommendation. Thanks! I like it. The store was out of dandelion and this has dandelion in it, plus a whole bunch more. I think I'll do one bag daily for a month, per their recommendation. When I begin to run out of some of this bounty of green tea I have on hand, I plan to buy some white tea, too.


In unrelated news, J's passport took less than two weeks to come back. They said it would be 4-6 weeks. My renewal last month took less than 10 days, but I didn't expect such quickness for a new passport. I guess we're set for our cruise.


Ex broke down and ordered uniforms yesterday. He's resigned to going. His report date is January 20. He'll find out after that where he'll be assigned. Last night at scouts (what a frustrating deal - they're still discussing what night we're going to meet), the den leader said he has a coworker who is almost 60 and out 12 years, yet he was called up, too. He must have had a good address. It is scary they are dredging the bottom of the barrel like this.


J will have his first strings recital February 20. His dad was very disappointed to be missing it, so I am making J practice his violin extra so he can give his recital to his dad. I think there are six or seven songs the kids should be practicing and each one will play only about half the songs in groups with other kids during the recital.

Have I mentioned the violin J uses? It is a very old Sears model that ex's grandmother used to play in weddings and at parties. I would estimate that it's from around 1920. J is very careful and feels honored to use it. I had it restrung a few years ago and it kept its tune over time.

It is so cool seeing J's fingers move up and down over the strings. The little songs are recognizable as music, not just squawks. He seems genuinely excited by this now.

I want to make a video of J playing in the concert that ex could possibly watch from afar. When I recently tried to upload a video from my Canon camera on to YouTube, it was rejected, saying it was an incorrect format. Does anyone have any ideas about this? Are there other video hosting places that accept more formats? Is there a way to translate formats?


Wow. For mostly thinking about food, I had a lot to say.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sexual favors

First, check out Stuff on My Cat. Memphie was featured wearing many of my hairbrushes! Go say how handsome he is.

On to today's feature...

Monkey guys pay for sex. They groom the female, then light candles and offer back rubs and foot massages.

It influences rates of sex per hour, the number of occurrences almost tripling after some good foreplay grooming.

I remember back in my married days that would happen with little a different spin. How many of you put out if he takes out the trash, makes a dinner, cleans the kitchen, builds a deck, doesn't fart all evening?

We had a secret code: clean sheets. Nothing feels better than clean sheets, well, besides getting them dirty. Ex would change the sheets if he was feeling amorous. Mr. Inhibited certainly couldn't otherwise verbalize his desires, but cotton spoke loudly for him.

What about you? What chores, tasks, or achievements have you doling out favors? Does the level of the doling coincide with the difficulty of the task? Or do you just have good signals?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More cleaning house

As I clean out my draft box like yesterday, here are a couple year end articles that I found interesting. The first is a varied list of all kinds of stuff we didn't know before last year.

The second is a means to exchange gift cards you don't want. There are several websites set up and you can trade, say, a Bath and Body Works for a Lowe's.


I know I don't look my best, but mostly I don't care, although I do know I look better made up. I don't begrudge anyone who does, but I don't go for fancy hair cuts, coloring, nails, or an extravagent wardrobe. Mostly, this all flashes dollar signs in my eyes; I tend to not do or even want if I can't afford it.

This Time article is about eeking our your best if you are on the elder side, like I apparently am now. Just a look at the picture tells me that one must be skinny, blonde, and wear tight clothing that is not age-appropriate.

There is a section about hair color:

I think that most women will look younger with colored hair. Now, there's this
big gray-hair movement. I understand and appreciate women who have silver hair,
and I think that they can look amazing, but it's such a luxury to be able to go
To me, she is saying it is a luxury to be yourself. I find it very frustrating. Perhaps that's another reason I am not frou frou: I have a thing about authenticity and being true to myself. I understand completely that other's feel like their being a better version of themselves with the fluff, but that's not how my warped brain processes this stuff for me.

Another excerpt:

What would you say to the person who dismisses all of this as an excess of vanity?
I really, really believe that we have to stop thinking of beauty as superficial because it's what makes us feel good. It gives you the confidence you need to exist in this world, and to survive. If anyone has any doubts about it, think of the days that you're sick and you never get out of your bathrobe and you look like hell — you feel like hell! But the times you get dressed up and look in the mirror and say, "My God! I look fantastic!" — it's such an up. I remember when I was sick and my aunt used to say, "Take a shower. Do your hair. Put makeup on." It does make a difference. I just think if you treat yourself better, you'll just feel so much better, competent and happier.

I don't know about you, but I feel fabulous in my bathrobe! Contrasting that, if I've gone to the Poor House tending hair, nails, and wardrobe, I will not be feeling better.

There's one exception: when Clinton and Stacy give me $5000 and do my hair and make up, then I'd cave.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tea makes me teetee

I wrote this a few weeks ago after a weekend J was gone:

So, what did you do all weekend, Cricket?

I drank tea.

Any tea in particular?

Yes, an anti-oxidant green tea that turns a pretty red like a beet: Salada Strawberry. This often with a second bag of dandelion tea, because that doesn't taste so good alone and it's great for the liver. Occasionally with a spoon of honey.

Pray tell, why spend a weekend drinking tea?

Because it was cold and windy outside. We were due for a storm, only got some rain, but it was still frigid.

Oh, and if I'm drinking tea, I'm not eating. Green tea is my new diet aid.

How's that for boring?
Well, the conversation pretty much applies to daily now. I had decided to give up cookies for the new year, but have extended that to most food as well. I am trying to eat two healthy meals a day. Tea pretty much keeps me from snacking, although I do find it challenging to go in the kitchen so often. I want to lose some weight for the cruise especially.

Below is one of the Salada trio, the only one I could find online. Citrus has all these antioxidants - the strawberry and blueberry have even more than the citrus by including those anti-oxidants dealing with color.

Salada citrus
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 30 mg 50%
Vitamin A (beta carotene) 1500 IU 30%
Vitamin E (dl alpha tocopheryl acetate) 9 IU 30%
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) 1.41 g *
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) 87.5 mg *
*Daily value not established.
Other ingredients: Natural lemon, lime, and orange flavors with other natural flavors.
As I'd mentioned, another tea I like is dandelion, which I like to double up with other teas. Dandelion is good for the liver and digestion.

I am using tea for other properties than taste and I hope that I am not OD'ing on the anti-oxidants. Do you have a healthful tea you can recommend? Something that has extra benefits? I try to stay away from chamomile, because it is related to ragweed, but it's all fair game otherwise.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Parenting and parenting in absentia

Empathy comes very naturally to me. That means I can communicate a good "that sucks" to someone who is hurting, even if I have never hurt in that manner before, to include things like miscarriages. I guess that could be a definition of empathy: to have compassion where experience doesn't exist.

That's all I ask. I realize my life is different than any of yours and feeling alone serves to intensify those perceived differences.

Thank you for responding, those of you who did.

For my edification:

Yesterday I called a weekend meeting with ex and his wife. I was surprised he was up for it only a few hours later. That said, it was frustratingly interrupted a thousand times, but I think I got my concerns out. I had a good balance of resolvedness vs. bitterness about the past not repeating itself.

Did you know that regular ol' life insurance doesn't pay to soldiers in times of war? I wanted to make sure none of that has changed and it hasn't. He has his military insurance he kept when he got out before still going to me. One relief.

I also spoke of when J balks at me, as he has been for a few weeks. He's been acting the tween. I have seriously wanted to smack him, but have restrained. During these periods which happen every so often, ex always maintains that J behaves completely perfectly over there, that they don't have problems. Yesterday, I decided to face-to-face describe that when J does this, it indicates that he is attached, that he can open up enough to show his arse. Wifey spoke up, agreeing, saying that it shows trust and offering additional explanations. What they didn't realize, perhaps, is that J not acting up over there implies a best behavior inhibition by default. This concept applies below when I talk about visitation and about nudity/sex.

I decided to shame ex and to educate his wife a bit about ex and communication. I used to do so fucking much when he was serving overseas. Besides having a number of $700 phone bills (in 1992 dollars) and many $400+, I would send him large care packages ($40+ just in shipping) and do whatever it took to make him feel loved and remembered.

It was not reciprocated. He's "Me!Me!Me!" all the time. I got perhaps a hand full of letters during the 26 months he was in Korea. I remember a postcard from when he was stationed in Germany. That's about it. No packages of local goodies for me. I felt forgotten.

After recounting this and more, I told him yesterday in a low she-wolf warning tone that he better not make his son feel abandoned like he did me. I told him I would not be sending expensive care packages and I will not be paying phone bills. The initiative must be his.

Let's just see what wifey experiences. She was married to a traveling military man before, but of course she seemed to handle it much better than I in a sort of high road mentality. I could better describe it as shallowness, too.

As an aside, I have noticed, for example, that everyone else clears their plates after dinner, except ex and the baby. She serves him in the June Cleaver way that he complained that I never could - or want to. Service R Us is her. She can put herself on hold for her traveling military man, too. She's a martyr, just like his mom.

Although it would have been good fodder for wifey, I didn't say that he'd never had a secretive type job (something she brought up about her ex) which would inhibit communication home or a job that had extended crazy hours; I wish I had. Instead, although I didn't mention it, he had plenty of time to rack up a $2000 gambling debt at the O Club in Korea playing poker and grocery shopped daily in Germany for the Weber to grill on their huge penthouse balcony each evening, followed by bar hopping. For that job, he had it rigged so he only worked one day in three!

See, I think she still respects him and I find it funny.

Moving on, he said he knows that there are some provisions for mothers of military dependants and base privileges. He's supposed to research that. It's not so much that I want to go on base; I mostly don't want to get tangled in some military BS for which I don't have the means to straighten out. Granted, just going on base to get J an ID card will feel like an ordeal. I hate dealing with the military on even the lowest level. I am afraid of their traps and their invasion of my privacy.

I told him that I would be informing each of J's teachers about the deployment and hopefully be getting feedback if anything goes wrong.

I told him that I would be talking to J about sex sometime soon, that I knew last fall that I needed to, but I just couldn't see doing so with a kid who still believed in Santa Claus! Now I think the SC stuff is over (although I think he fears admitting it would reduce his haul) and it's time to give his questions heartier answers.

In a funny moment that I was tactful enough not to laugh, I mentioned that I want to tackle the subject because I think J is getting some misconceptions that sex is bad or dirty and I want him to have a healthier attitude. Rather uncharacteristically, ex piped up that he thinks he was inhibited sexually by his mother's style.


I had a hard time not laughing or finding plenty of ways to elaborate. (If you'll recall he was being sexually abused by a babysitter when he was 5-6 and his mother was in denial about it, letting it continue another year after he'd told both her and the babysitter's wife. I'm sure wifey doesn't know, even as an explanation for why he's really so inhibited. And ex thinks I'm crazy that I'm not comfortable with J around his mother, someone too spineless to advocate.)

So we discussed many things. I did mention that I always felt secondary with his work and I am finding it very frustrating to be tertiary in this situation, especially as it pertains to my son.

The last thing we discussed was visitation. Seems they're all breezy over there and don't use the word. Seems that they don't get the idea that visitation means he's visiting his dad. In a nice way that pisses me off anyway, they think of it as him living part time with all of them. They don't seem to understand that their daughter's talking about J and her wanting to see him is not my business. Their world revolves around that little girl and I hate seeing J secondary to her. It bugs me.

When they learned of the deployment, they independently thought of visitation continuing as it has to keep the routine. I immediately thought of visitation ending, because I have divorce documents saying that he goes to visit his dad, not his step mom, half sister, or step brother. (Of course, around this time, wifey made a comment to the little girl about her brother - not half brother - indicating J - and their warm, fuzzy, coddling-to-the-girl mind set pisses me off. J uses the proper terms around here.) I know they want visitation to sustain the little girl; that's the real angle, keeping her routine with her (half) brother coming around.

So, although I do not appreciate their angle, I am respecting ex's wishes to maintain the routine and visitation. Wifey has agreed to get a medical power of attorney so that she can take J for medical care in the case of an emergency. While that is a solution, I am not comfortable with it, but will have to live with it. A power of attorney does not equal custody. Although she is a devoted mother, when it comes to most things, I see she and I having inherent parenting style differences; she's a martyr. Ex has mentioned in the past that he was trying to get her to come around and, by default, thinks he and I have more similar parenting styles. Heck, I trained him.

At least she and I get along on the surface. She seems to want to work with me and balked when I said that I cannot fathom her providing respite care for me while she's essentially a single mom as well. She insists on the routine for the children and that she'd hire a babysitter when she needed.

I just wish I could be a martyr like that.

Naw, not really. But, heck, I guess I'll use it.