Tag Archives: cats

Snapshot: July 8, 2015

Feeling: Really really nervous and stressed about next week’s writing class/workshop with Kelley Armstrong. I didn’t realize just how nervous until the university sent me a link to register with the student portal so I can access the class materials—which, I think, consists of all the students’ writing submissions. Including mine. And I realized, OMG, I’m going to get critiqued. By a bunch of people. None of whom I know. Including Kelley Armstrong.

Gulp.

I’m not very good with this stress thing …

Eating: Guess what? I’m back to low-carb! I know I got that brain fog the last time, but it appears I had misread my research and the brain can indeed use ketones as fuel, rather than glucose. So I’m giving low-carb another try. It helps that Ward, the former book-reading demon, has stayed low-carb during my own low-carb ups and downs.

This time around, I’ve been  looking for some good recipes. And I found some! On the weekend, Ward made me these low-carb cream cheese pancakes. So, okay, my food photography isn’t going to stun anyone, but trust me, they tasted much better than they look in the photo. (I have NO clue why the picture looks so blue!) You can click on the link above to see a much much better picture of the pancakes.

These pancakes had a nice sorta pancakey texture and taste. Next time, I’ll leave the cinnamon out (or rather, get Ward to leave it out), as I normally eat pancakes with butter rather than syrup so I prefer just the pancake-like taste. Can you believe it, though? These have NO flour in them!

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Drinking: I haven’t been drinking this, but Ward has. He bought a package of Counting Sheep Coffee a while back and was really wowed by it. He’s been driving all over the place looking for a store that carries it, but has turned up empty-handed. So he emailed the company, and it sounds like they’ve been having trouble getting their product placed in the big stores.

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Right now their site shows only the decaf pods with valerian, but he’d bought a package of their ground decaf and he swore by it. He could have his coffee at night (he says it was a nice and strong decaf) and then fall right asleep.

Reading: So I mentioned in my last post that I’ve finally broken out of my reading slump. It only takes that one book (in my case, Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris) and BOOM! you’re back to reading. At least, I am.

When I finished Elantris I went on to Kelley Armstrong’s Visions. I’d read the first book in the Cainsville series, Omens, and thought I should probably get to Visions. Especially since I’m in her Dark Fantasy class next week. She’ll be doing a reading near the end of the week, and I’m hoping it will be from Deceptions, the third book in the series, which won’t be released until mid-August.

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I also decided to start Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. It’s over 1,000 pages long, so it means this month I’ll be reading two 1,000+ page books, since I’ll also be starting Atlas Shrugged for #AtlasRAL. Atlas Shrugged weighs in at 1,200 pages. Luckily I’m reading both of these in ebook format; my wrists are thanking me already!

Listening: I just started John Scalzi’s Redshirts, partly because I want to start reading Scalzi (I have several of his books on hold right now at the library) and partly because it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton and I figured this might be a good listen while I’m waiting for my pre-ordered audio of Ernest Cline’s Armada, which should be arriving soon. Just not soon enough.

Writing: Nothing. I’ve been too nervous and stressed, thinking about next week’s class.

Working: I finished up that big index I talked about last week. I have three small ones for the end of this week, but they’re fun ones so I’m not too worried about them. I had four articles due this week, and got three of them off my desk yesterday, so that leaves just one more. I need to clear the decks so I can attend next week’s class without worrying too much about work, although I do have another large index coming in over the next few days.

Photo of the week:

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I’m rather proud of this. It’s grass, in case you were wondering.

One of my cats, Hobbes, has been having trouble with hairballs. He’s Siamese, so the hairballs aren’t originating with him. But our other cat, Creeper, is a Snowshoe (the same breed as Grumpy Cat), so he’s on the fluffy side, and Hobbes is the one who’s always cleaning him. Hence the hairballs.

And the strange thing about Hobbes getting hairballs: he can’t be like a normal cat and just hock up the darn thing and be done with it. No, not Hobbes. Instead, he has to spend a few days throwing up and THEN he has to develop an allergic reaction which means he starts scratching his ears and then if I don’t stop him (which is nearly impossible despite anti-histamines and the liberal use of hydrogen peroxide) he develops an infection and has to go on antibiotics.

So I decided to grow some grass for him. Isn’t it just splendid? He’s already been grazing on it.

So that’s been my week! What has yours been like?

Some Sunday Random

I missed posting yesterday but with good reason—my mother fell while running for the bus and ended up fracturing her hip. I spent the evening at the hospital and this morning she went into surgery.

Fortunately my mother is very healthy; she’s physically active, meditates regularly and has an extremely busy schedule most days. She broke the ball in the joint of her hip, so that’s all they’re replacing—it’s not a full hip replacement. They expect her to be able to put some weight on it by tomorrow, so it sounds like recovery time should be fairly quick.

I think the hardest part of the process will be keeping her in bed to fully recuperate. She asked the orthopaedic surgeon if she’d be able to walk again. He said, “Of course.” So then she asked him, “What about running? Will I be able to run?” He looked at her and said, “Were you running before?” and she said, “Of course I was.”

Update: My mom’s doing well after the surgery, still a little sleepy but looking good. Thanks everyone, for all the well wishes!

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We’re also dealing with sick kitties too. Poor Hobbes went from his seasonal allergy which was causing him to scratch himself bloody to an upper respiratory inspection which is likely to be feline herpes syndrome. It’s quite a common condition in cats—many of them get the virus when they’re kittens and it tends to manifest when they’re stressed, which Hobbes has definitely been lately. The treatment consists of dosing him with the amino acid lysine.

We were hoping Creeper would be fine, but his eyes started running yesterday and today he sneezed a few times. So he’s on the lysine too—much easier with him as he’s the one who’s the big eater around here.

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So there’s going to be lots of recuperation going on around here! That’s been my weekend so far. How is your weekend going?

Saturday Random: birthdays, Hayley’s mood reel, cats and cones

Is it just me, or are the days just flying by? I can’t believe it’s Saturday already. It’s the book-reading demon‘s birthday today, so we’re celebrating with dinner out. Despite his new reading habits, he’s not getting bookish gifts this year—I’m not very good about remembering things like birthdays or anniversaries (both mine and other people’s), and didn’t realize until Wednesday that his birthday was on the weekend. So it was a mad dash to find some time to do some gift shopping, once with Dylan and then once by myself. No time for a leisurely browse through the bookstore, either physically or online. He’s getting clothes and cooking magazines instead.

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My daughter Hayley is the producer and director of photography (DOP) of the short film JOY, which will be premiering at the RUFF (Ryerson University Film Festival) on May 1. This year RUFF will be screening at Ryerson Theatre, a larger venue that also screens TIFF films. Very exciting stuff!

This is the mood reel for JOY. (A mood reel is created before the actual film is made, to “suggest the feel and sensibility of a film“. Yes, I had to google this.)

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It is such a sad sight to behold whenever one of our cats has to wear the so-called “cone of shame”. Both of them get so depressed when they have to wear the cone, and I can’t blame them, as they lose their ability to perceive through their whiskers, which they count on a lot for day-to-day kitty navigation through the world.

Unfortunately though, I’m not the only one coming down with the itchies around here. Hobbes began scratching at both his ears last week (vet says it’s allergies from the seasonal change in weather—apparently he sees a lot of this among pets at this time of the year. Another who knew? thing for me). The resulting sores ended up getting infected, so now he’s on antibiotics and steroids. We had to put the cone on him the first day to stop him from scratching more.

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This is him looking down sadly at me the whole time I was working on Thursday night. He never sits facing that direction on normal days, but of course he had to remind me how sad he was. When he wasn’t moping around on the back of my office chair, that is.

Luckily he’s healing up quickly. We put the nasty cone back in the cupboard, where hopefully it won’t be needed again.

How’s your Saturday going?

Saturday Random: a bit of gratitude, planner woes and cat pics

Starting today’s Saturday random with a little gratitude. This morning Dylan was sitting next to me in bed, much as we do most mornings, only no schoolwork for him as he gets the weekends off. It was just me and him. I was on my phone and he was playing with a couple of LEGO cars he’d created. He turned to me and said, “I like it when it’s just the two of us in the mornings, and the cats.” I hugged him right there and then.

Mind you, this is the same kid who woke me up at the ungodly (to me) hour of 6:45 a.m.. I’ve been so tired, I actually had to take a short nap before I started writing this post.

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Some planner woes. After a week of using the Passion Planner to track my time, I’ve come to the conclusion it won’t work for me. The reason? The planner charts the day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. As you’ve probably guessed by now, my typical day is more like 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

So now I’m on the hunt for a planner that will accommodate my typical day. I suspect now I probably won’t find it in a ready-made product (with all the stuff I read online about productivity and your morning routine, I think a 6:00 a.m. start is not only more common, but also seen as more productive). I’m hoping there’s some freelance creative person out there who’s made a really awesome planner printable to help her account for her day, a day that looks more like mine than the typical planner does.

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The requisite cat photos. Mainly because I still haven’t gotten around to designing a Saturday Random graphic yet, and the way the blog works, I need to have a graphic in each post or there will be a yucky big blank square beside the post title in my “latest posts” list on the sidebar.

Creeper says “hi”.

 Creeper says hi, sort of

And so does Hobbes

Hobbes says hi

How is your Saturday shaping up? 

Snapshot: February 10, 2015

Photos of the Week:

Creeper in box 1

Creeper in box 2

Yes, Creeper wins again. We finally figured out how to stop him from sleeping on Dylan’s laptop keyboard. He loves this box and spends all his time in it now. It sits on top of the dining room table next to Dylan’s laptop, and when we want to move him, we just move the entire box. He doesn’t seem to mind – he just stays put.

We do have another cat, Hobbes, by the way. More about him later in this post.

Wearing: Black top, black pants BUT! green cardigan

Feeling: Not stressed. Which, I have to say, is a great feeling.

Eating: Sausage fried with onion and spinach.

Drinking: A glass of malbec.

Reading: Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory by Lucy Mangan. Mainly because I realized today it has to go back to the library on Friday. It’s a nice book, full of colour photos. I never realized Roald Dahl was married to the actress Patricia Neal! Or that he suffered so many tragedies in his life.

Spread from Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory

The cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the left is the same cover as the book that I have.

Listening: I finished Stephen King’s  IT. It had gotten a little too intense for me near the end, but luckily the ebook copy I’d put on hold at the library came through right about then, so I switched over to ebook for the last few chapters. I enjoyed the read, but I have to say this: you know the scene with Bev and the boys near the end? (If you’ve read the book you’ll know exactly what scene I mean.) Yuck. And I don’t think it had to be in there like that. Surely something else could have happened to show the bond they all share? I mean, I could think of a few different things. Yes.

I’m listening to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl right now. I’d started listening to it last year, and even though I’d fallen in love with the whole Simon and Baz story, I’d put it down and never got around to picking it up again. Until the other night. And I’m really enjoying it. Particularly the Simon and Baz bits. (I know, I know – the story’s not really about Simon and Baz. But I can’t help it.)

Writing: I’m still brainstorming my dark fantasy, Sweetness & Dank – I have about 25,000 words written but have decided I don’t want to proceed until I at least know how it ends. Memory’s been helping me brainstorm the bad guy bits, thank goodness. Bad guys are my weak point.

I’ve got manuscript chapters to critique for Memory (she’s my writing buddy), and also for Suey and Kathy, who are both in the online writing group I’m in. I’m really looking forward to getting to them!

Working: I wrote ten legal blog posts today for my legal blogging client. As for the rest of this week, I have an article due for LegalZoom, and that’s it! Ahhhh. It feels good to have some downtime! I have a few more LegalZoom assignments coming my way, which will be nice.

Creating: Nothing! But that should change …

Thoughts: I now have a way to gauge how well my morning mindfulness practice is “taking” in terms of the rest of the day. This little guy here helps me:

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This is Hobbes. He’s like one of those babies you can’t take a picture of unless he’s sleeping, because when they’re awake they’re always crying. Only in his case it’s because when he’s awake he’s non-stop, all over the place. Every picture is a blur then.

He is the naughty little rascal around here. When he does something naughty and I don’t get upset, I know I’m managing to hang on to those peaceful, mindfulness feelings. About an hour ago, he jumped to the top of one of our bookcases and knocked over (and broke) a small raku wall hanging we were storing up there. I didn’t get upset. (Don’t ask about my husband, though.) After all, Hobbes likes to jump up there and I kind of figure we should have hung the wall hanging on the wall. Because, you know, it’s a wall hanging, right?

But then just a few minutes ago, while I was intent on writing this post, he kept jumping up onto my desk. Which he’s not allowed to do when I’m working because he ALWAYS walks on my keyboard. And I did not feel so relaxed about things then. Good bye, mindfulness.

Looking forward to: I have a lunch date with a good friend of mine tomorrow. Hooray for lunch dates! I haven’t gone out for lunch or dinner with a friend since the beginning of December, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.

The rest of today: I’m going to do some blog hopping, play a Kairosoft game on my tablet (I am kind of addicted to their games) and then go to bed. Yes, my idea of fun!

The Gift

This is my contribution to the 2013 Virtual Advent tour. When Marg and Kelly gave me my date – Friday the 13th! – I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. And then, this week, I knew exactly what I would write.

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This is Hobbes. He joined our family four weeks ago, a much awaited little brother for Creeper, who’s getting so big now. Hobbes hasn’t been a part of our family for very long, but he’s wiggled his way easily into our hearts.

A week ago Friday, after he’d been with us just three short weeks, Hobbes got sick. He was throwing up and had very severe diarrhea. The vet gave him a subcutaneous injection of fluids to deal with the dehydration, and took some blood for sampling. We had a very worrying couple of days, as Hobbes grew more and more lethargic.

By Saturday night, I knew there was a chance we might lose him. He was only eighteen weeks old, and two days was a long time for a kitten so young to be so sick. Visions of all the things that could be wrong with him – an obstruction from something non-edible he might have eaten, genetic kidney problems, various fatal feline viruses – danced in my head.

I didn’t want to think about a Christmas without him.

I was supposed to go to a Christmas party that night, but I stayed home instead. I Googled around and found a recipe for homemade Pedialyte, or “oral dehydration salts”. I prepared a batch and syringe-fed it to Hobbes, as well as leaving it out in the cats’ water bowl. I also switched his diet to one of plain chicken pureed with more of the homemade Pedialyte.

And on Sunday morning, he woke me up – to feed him! He was feeling hungry again, and while he wasn’t anywhere near his usual perky kitten self, he was definitely much better than he’d been the night before. He had drunk the entire bowl of homemade Pedialyte some time during the night. And he hadn’t thrown up the chicken mixture.

Long story short, he’s now almost back to 100%. We’re pretty sure the culprit is an allergy to fish – we hadn’t realized until that weekend, but all the flavours of the brand of cat food we were feeding him contained fish of some kind. I’d noticed, too, that one of his eyes would get all weepy after I syringe-fed him a mixture of his cat food and water. The same hadn’t happened when I syringe-fed him the chicken mixture.

That Saturday was a terrible, terrible day, but Sunday brought me an extra early Christmas gift.  I hear him running like mad through the apartment, wrestling with Creeper, meowing plaintively at his food bowl when he’s hungry, and I smile. I am so very, very grateful.

I can think about Christmas again. Creeper and Hobbes’ first Christmas with us.

And Creeper’s pretty happy to have his little playful brother back again.

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Meet Creeper

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Creeper is ten weeks old –  he’s been with us in his “forever home” for a week and a half now. My ten-year-old, Dylan, got the privilege of naming him, hence “Creeper” (from Minecraft. According to my husband Ward, Dylan’s probably the only kid out there who thinks the creepers on Minecraft are cute).

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Creeper is a Snowshoe cat, a mix between Siamese and American Shorthair.  My daughter Hayley informed me that the famous Grumpy Cat is also a Snowshoe, and she insists that our cute little Creeper has a lovable angry look, just like Grumpy Cat. I don’t know. I don’t quite see it. Do you?

Creeper does have the beginnings of a raccoon-like mask on his face. It will be so interesting to see how he grows into adult cathood!

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In most of the pictures we have of Creeper, he’s fast asleep (and very adorable, I must add). That’s because when he’s awake, he’s a ball of non-stop furry energy, and most pictures we take while he’s awake are nothing but creamy blurs of fur. He runs madly around the place, plays with all his favourite toys, tests our fingers out for teething purposes (his teeth are still coming in) and then, having completely exhausted his kitten store of energy, he settles down to nap – and these are long naps: kittens can sleep for up to 18 hours a day!

And he’s a talker. If he’s quiet, you know he’s either fast asleep, or too busy playing with a toy. When he gets up from his nap, he saunters into the living room and announces himself, always. When he’s bored with playing but not yet ready for sleep, he’ll keep up a steady flow of conversation with anyone within earshot. That’s the Siamese coming out in him!

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Creeper is also friendly and sociable. He gets that from his Siamese heritage, too – a lot of people think Siamese cats are haughty and snobbish, like the ones in The Lady and the Tramp, but nothing could be further from the truth. Siamese cats tend to be very friendly, affectionate and sociable, and Creeper has more than his fair share of all these traits.

When we first brought him home, there was no running and hiding under furniture for him. No, he took his time and explored every inch of the place, and then played with us, and then fell asleep on my lap. When you pick him up, he purrs. And he loves to cuddle!

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We haven’t had a kitten in the house for a long time. It’s been an interesting week, that’s for sure! Kittens definitely have that magical ability to crawl right into your heart and stay there.

Cat Shadows

It’s a little ironic that my last post in May talked about “the week that got away from me”, because May itself turned out to be the month that got away from me.

Mid-May, we lost our cat, Dexter. It was both expected – and very unexpected. Expected because Dexter was 16 and a half years old, which is old for a cat, especially a pure-bred one (she was a Devon Rex). And unexpected because it all seemed to happen so quickly. Within the space of a few weeks, she’d suddenly lost all this weight and become almost skin and bones. Still her normal, ornery and plucky self, until the night she wasn’t.

The vet explained to us that, unlike dogs, who will let you know when something’s wrong, cats tend to stay mum about their health until the very last stages.

It’s been difficult for us, and especially for my son Sean. Dexter was mainly Sean’s cat – she’d sit on his lap while he played on the Xbox or the computer, and it was his bed she’d sleep in every night.

One of the hardest things about parenting is seeing your child in such grief, and knowing you can’t do anything about it, except let him grieve, let him ride out his grief.

Things have been returning back to normal, but it still feels like Dexter’s around. I see cat shadows everywhere, in all her usual places. I’ll be in the kitchen getting something, and for a second I catch a glimpse of her enormous bat-like ears and big eyes peering at me from around the fridge, where we kept her food and water bowl. Or in the afternoons, when the sun comes pouring into the living room, there have been moments when I would swear she’s in her usual sunny perch on the back of the sofa, stretched full out, glorying in all the sun’s rays.

Dexter

Cats have a way of getting into your heart. Dexter was never “my” cat – she’d always been more Sean’s and Hayley’s. But in the evenings when Sean wasn’t home, she’d sometimes deign to sit next to me on the sofa while I read. Or she’d stand in the kitchen and look at me, twitching her big ears, and meow that loud meow, demanding food or maybe fresh water. She had a knack of getting all of us to feed her at separate times; we used to joke that she was meowing, “I’ve been starving all day. No-one’s fed me, not even a little bit”, even though one or the other of us had just fed her mere minutes before.

This apartment feels strange with her gone. And at the same time, all the cat shadows make it feel like she’s not really gone.

Odds and Ends

It’s been quite a week – I’ve finished a couple of deadlines, spent Wednesday morning getting a test done (no worries, all is well), Wednesday night feeling pleasantly drowsy, pampered and well-fed, (oh, and I spent Tuesday night very hungry since my test required an all-liquid diet the day before), and today I finally managed to get back into Twitter and Facebook mode after having to stay away during the weeks I was drenched with deadlines.

(I don’t think I mean “drenched”. I think I mean another word, but for the life of me, I can’t think of another suitable word right now.)

So I thought it’s time for a nice odds and ends post!

2010 Blog Improvement Project

I joined the Blog Improvement Project last year, but quite late, after people had already dived into the first few assignments, and I never really did end up truly participating. But since I have plans to revamp the template here, and clean up my categories and tags and things like that (and couldn’t participate in Bloggiesta because of deadline woes), I thought it might be nice to participate this year.

This year the BIP is being run by both Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, who hosted last year’s BIP, and Jackie at Farm Lane Books, and it has it’s own site: 2010 Blog Improvement Project.

Have you joined? What kinds of things are you looking forward to doing this year with your blog?

Work Sanity: The Art of Taking Breaks

During my recent avalanche of deadlines, I made sure to take several breaks each day. In addition to pampering myself with baths, I also used games as incentives. When I finished a chapter, I’d indulge myself with a few rounds of the following games (but beware. They can be addictive.)

Mah Jongg Dimensions. This game is hosted at AARP, but luckily you don’t have to be retired to play it. It seems simple, but you only get five minutes and the second and third levels have a lot more tiles. Very fun.

Yumsters 2. Don’t ask me why I became so beguiled with these musical worms. But I was. And I took that trek across all those countries with them many, many times on my iPhone.

Suduko. I played this on my iPhone – and I admit freely, I finally clued in that Suduko is solved EXACTLY like a logic puzzle. I love logic puzzles. I never loved Suduko. Now I do.

If You Like Cats …

(And I do.) My not-aunt Margaret sent me the link to this video (she’s also the one responsible for the Mah Jongg Dimensions game, too. In fact, I tremble in fear before opening her emails because she finds the most addictive and fun stuff online, guaranteed to fritter away chunks of my time).

This video’s on the long side (and it’s been around for a while, so you might have already seen it), but it is totally worth it (if you like cats, that is).

The bit near the end when Maru plays with the boxes is just priceless!

So those are my odds and ends. I’m really looking forward to the weekend – I have a few days to rest, relax and (fingers crossed) get back to my writing. No, I haven’t forgotten that I am writer, and a writer writes. (Not to mention the manuscript of NANTUCKET which is still waiting for me to read in its entirety for the first time …)

Any odds and ends going on with you?