Sunday, December 23, 2007

no place like home

I notice I haven't posted for a while. Big surprise. It's not exactly a valid excuse (as I've been on the internets a bunch), but I am up in Washington visiting the folks for Christmas. Good thing I enjoy their company a bunch cuz I've pretty much been ditched by the niecelets. My brother left for California the day before yesterday (his traditional Christmas locale), though rumor has it I will get a visit on the rebound as they drive back home. Meanwhile my sister is working a bunch (I knew she'd be) and she's currently planning to spend Christmas with friends who live closer to her clinic. I'm trying to lure her to the homestead, but things aren't exactly warm and fuzzy between her and my mom so I don't blame her for staying away. Besides, she got it pretty rough in the family Christmas letter (that I write). Once she gets her copy things might not be so warm and fuzzy with me either... Sadly, she's also dealing with some unexpected kitty drama. She came home to discover a bouquet of poisonous lilies nibbled on by at least one of her six house cats. No word from the roommate yet about which cat might have done the snacking or when, so my sister took her two favorite cats to the ER. Even with intervention, there's no guarantee of survival. Now I'm feeling kinda bad about giving her a hard time in the letter...

So the grown ups took advantage and did the adult Christmas thing - exchanging unwrapped gifts early, over take out and/or leftovers. Dad reluctantly accepted his present yesterday - a new TV. It's twice the size of his old one. (That isn't saying much as the other was a mere 20".) The problem was that the new TV required considerable furniture rearranging. Poor Dad came home in the middle of the project. Plans had been drawn (on graph paper downloaded from the internets - I hope to scan them so you can share in the hilarity), couches were askew, girls were out spending the money... To his credit, Dad stepped up and participated in the shuffle. Mom's Amish armoire suffered a pretty significant ding on its way through the front door, but I reminded her that those who don't lift can't really bitch. Anyway, he missed a nap and has had to throw away a bunch of clutter, but he's admitted to being pleased now that the big items are in place and functioning (thanks to a last minute trip to Radio Shack). He doesn't buy our logic, but Mom and I feel that the TV was essentially free since we saved a thousand bucks by repurposing the armoire instead of picking up a new entertainment cabinet as originally planned.

Turns out installing the TV was easier than the learning curve on Mom's new coffee maker. Two of the first three pots she brewed resulted in a flood. It's actually kind of sad...

The highlight of my trip so far? A new "old tape" from my quotable Mom. After sinking into a chair after a particularly thankless night (the one time all three girls were here), she confided, "Being a mom sucks. And it just keeps on sucking."

There's no place like home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

oh, Canada

I don't normally think of myself as a big fan of Canada, but after attending a few Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation Festivals, I realized that many of the entries I enjoyed were produced by our neighbors to the north. It dawned on me that a country that actually pays its artists can't be all that bad. And, of course, I had an awesome time visiting my sister in Montreal when I was still in high school. I still have the hat the landed mysteriously on my lap at a frat party - it says "this bud's for you" but the Budweiser logo is replaced by a pot leaf. And my favorite veterinarian, Dr. Marty, is Canadian. In fact, sadly he's returned to his homeland, though he reports that the natives don't like that he acts "too American" whatever that means... And it was at the Canadian border that my dad's "border voice" was born. How fun would life be without Dad's border voice? Of course I hope he'll be more cautious in the future, now that the taser has become so popular...

But I believe that perhaps my favorite product of Canada is Kenny vs. Spenny, a show about two best friends who compete against each other in absurd challenges, the winner getting to humiliate the loser. I stumbled across them on cable a few years back but it seemed their fame was short lived. Now they are back with a vengeance thanks to the boys of South Park (their new executive producers). I just finished watching a few of their most recent episodes and found myself alternating between laughter and nausea. Now that's good television. I can't decide if "Who can eat the most meat?" was the most disgusting, or if "Who can drink the most beer?" was worse, thanks to the surprise twist at the end... And don't even get me started on "First guy to get a boner loses"...

Anyway, this week I will be traveling a little closer to Canada than I'd like. I leave Wednesday morning to visit the folks in Washington. Of course this means I am not at all packed. As if I can pack for that kind of cold, anyway. I only have California clothes. In fact, I'm realizing as I go through my faded, stained, and torn wardrobe, I don't even have California clothes. I have sloth clothes - totally inappropriate outside the privacy of one's own home. Sigh.

It seems I will have to buy warm clothes soon enough, though. I am freaking out (just a little) cuz I see (on my on line law school forums) that the gal who is practically my "number twin" (same LSAT, similar GPA) just got into Harvard. This time next year that could actually be me. Yikes.

For now, though, I must return to the task at hand. Assembling belongings and preparing the kitties for abandonment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

happy birthday Bob & Chris

So most of the day passed before I realized it was actually December 12th. I know, what a luxury to have no idea what day it is. But all my bills are on auto pay and at least I knew it was Wednesday. That's the day Thai Boat is closed. Dammit.

Anyway, today is Bob Barker's birthday. Oh, Bob, I miss you so. Drew is okay, I guess, mocking the contestants and all, but still, he's no Bob. At least he knows that.

And, I learned just this year, today is Chris's birthday, my friend from high school. He's perhaps best remembered as our food critic, Won Ton John, though I like to remember him by his college fraternity nickname, Pledge Penis. Apparently he had to carry a dildo with him where ever he went. Oh, how glad am I that I never went Greek? Anyway, I sent him a few drunken emails (toasting to his honor, as is tradition) and am smiling now remembering good times long past...

And, of course, December 12th is the day we lost Erik's cousin, Kate, to a failed heart and lung transplant meant to combat her cystic fibrosis. Even though today is a sadiversary, I like any excuse to think of Kate. What a spitfire. It's really true that the good die young, though my siblings and I always hated how that sounded like an insult coming from my Dad (since we were, after all, still living and his favorite patients had passed...).

Anyhow, believe it or not, this week I got a little seal action. On Sunday I picked up Nobi. He was a regular Where's Waldo, hiding amongst the rocks. My crew was about to give up but then he moved and I spotted him. I told the callers that that is the hardest part (finding them), but as we carried him over countless rocks (one of my crew even fell down) I thought perhaps I had exaggerated... Again I have spared you the gory details, but he was shark bitten and then some. He's not on the current patient list so I'm thinking he's not still around. But with such a large wound, I'm okay with that.

On a happier note, yesterday I got to release a few fur seals and a sea lion. I didn't do much (just took pictures) but I had a grand time. This one is, I think, Farber, who took his sweet time making it down to the water. He wasn't as difficult as Rebelure (who was originally found in Tracey - very inland for those who are not familiar with the Bay Area). We finally let Rebelure back in his carrier just to carry him closer to shore, sparing him some of the confusion and much of the walk. He bolted the second sea water touched his fur, so I'm hoping he's okay. Anyway, it was a joy, reminding me that they don't all die...

And this week I completed a number of personal projects. 2007 is apparently the year of the personalized photo gift. Mostly I did a lot of hounding (needing other people's photos) and arranging and uploading. Sadly, this means I have done very little laundry folding or house cleaning. Poor Erik. I really don't know why he married me.

Oh, and yesterday? Yesterday I learned I am too poor to be this fat. I had finally broken down and resolved to resize my wedding ring (so I could enjoy it in the meanwhile and celebrate the sizing of it back down later...) only to find out that resizing platinum is, well, expensive. ("You don't ask how much it costs to tune up a Ferrari," says the jewelry store guy... Well, yeah, you do if you can't afford your Ferrari, I told him...) So now I have 205 new reasons to shed some weight.

Dammit.

Anyway, hooray for December 12th and for Bob and Chris and Kate. And for fur seals and sea lions and especially for pain meds. And for shiny diamonds on well loved pudgy fingers. For orange cats asleep in boxes and for scratched up faded photos.

I'm off now to work on the family Christmas letter, I guess. Mom hasn't set a due date, but I'm pretty sure I'm late. I leave in a week to go visit (brrr, cold) and I'd like to be done well before then.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

when the game is over

Oops, looks like most of another week has gotten away from me. I blogged a little each day, just not enough to publish. Let's see if I can pull it all together into something semi-coherent.

Sunday was, well, sad. I watched the Big Game (between Cal and Stanford) on TV and, of course, we lost, breaking a five year winning streak. I shouldn't be surprised. Every single year I attended Cal we lost, after all. The one time I actually showed up to watch the Game in person, in fact, has gone down in history as one of our more notable defeats. It was 1990 and we were winning, that is until Stanford scored 9 points in the last 12 seconds of the game. They started with a touchdown, now trailing us by one point, but failed to make the 2 point conversion. In premature joy, Cal fans (not me, though I recognized at least one face in the crowd) rushed the field, embracing victory and causing our team to incur a sizable penalty. The loss of field position, combined with Stanford's recovery of the onside kick, resulted in a Stanford field goal. Perhaps I should do my team a favor and stay away?

Anyway, after the game, though I honestly wasn't in the mood to drink (I know, weird, eh?) I found myself singing my old college drinking song (the official version is here though this one has the final verse as I learned it...) particularly the part that goes, "when the game is over we will buy a keg of booze, we will drink to California till we wobble in our shoes..." I like how it can be interpreted two ways - either we drink to celebrate or we drink to commiserate. Mostly I am impressed / embarrassed to admit that the drinking song is the one thing I have truly retained since my college days.

Even though I wasn't drinking, I managed to miss the sunset. Instead I found myself running around my front yard trying to catch a chicken. I wasn't entirely surprised to see a chicken in my yard (I know I have a neighbor that keeps them) and I was even less surprised she successfully eluded us. The hen disappeared into some thick brush and soon even the cats gave up tracking her. I haven't seen her since but she'd been out two nights already so I'd like to think she is having the time of her life. I'd also like to think that OC has the good sense not to try to eat her as I imagine she can inflict some serious damage...

I was in the mood to drink by Monday morning, however. Kitty Wake Up Hour (also known as dawn) began early that day, around 3 am. I tried to ignore the intermittent kitty noises (skirmishes mainly, cleverly timed to coincide with each time I fell back asleep) but by 5 am I knew resistance was futile. Cursing my kitties, rolling over for one more chance at escape, I cut myself in the chin with my thumbnail. Bleeding, I decided it was time to get up. Later I punished by Monkey (the chief instigator) by driving him a whole mile to the nearest vet clinic to verify his microchip was working (it was) and afterwards I did the drinking I didn't feel like doing Sunday. My afternoon nap cured most of my ill will (after all, napping overcomes wrath), but I could not summon the inspiration to take an evening walk.

Tuesday I was prepared for Kitty Wake Up Hour, having gone to bed quite early Monday, and I even woke up feeling industrious. I did some chores before Erik got home (fed hummingbirds, cleaned house) which made me grumpy, apparently. Erik asked me, laughing, if I was angry and if I needed some oatmeal. I did. It turned out I needed even more than oatmeal. Apparently I needed to bake cookies (a double batch, cuz what's the point of making all that mess and noise for less?) and later I even made Tuna Noodle. I love Tuna Noodle. Where Twix is the candy of love, Tuna Noodle is the food of love. The irony is my mom first came up with the recipe in an attempt to punish my dad. Turns out he loved it and it became a family favorite. I haven't made it in what seems like ages. I don't like eating tuna (I don't believe any of it is truly dolphin safe) but I had some on hand to help increase the liquid in OC's diet. By the way, I only ever buy white albacore cuz the one thing I have retained from my 10th grade social studies teacher, Mr. Lalicata (who once worked in a tuna factory), is that anything less is just not worth eating. He didn't give us any details, but the look on his face told us we didn't want to know. The only other thing I recall from Mr. Lalicata's class was that he once stayed home sick and we were assigned a scary substitute teacher, Mr. Mubarak, who talked to us incessantly throughout our test. None of us were surprised to see Mr. Mubarak on the news a few days later. Apparently he (allegedly) stole his kids and fled to the middle east.

Anyway, Tuesday I tried to take my evening walk but I found the beach flooded by an extremely high tide. You might think I would've consulted a tide book, but no. Instead I kept driving to different beaches thinking somehow they might be experiencing a different tide? Frustrated, I walked a frontage road for a while, but not really long enough.

So today I ate cookies and leftovers and I caught up on some Christmas tasks. I have also killed all too much time on the internets, finding this cool pumpkin and this one, too. I was amused to learn that Erik's been killing time at work playing this game. As for Wednesday's walk, well, it hasn't happened yet. But the sunset's looking spectacular so I am off to savor it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

big loser

Last night I didn't post because I got side tracked (read: drunk) with company. We had my brother-in-law and his vet tech girlfriend over so that Monkey could get his microchip implanted. He's been quite the escape artist lately - darting out into the yard at every opportunity - so I wanted to get some identification in him as soon as possible. His extra Monkey toes make him visually identifiable, sure, but only the microchip protects him from the big bad people at Animal Control. So I could've taken him to the vet and had them implant the chip, but I mistakenly thought it would be less stressful to do it at home - sparing him the drive and all. As it turns out, it was pretty stressful for me to have to participate. The needle was huge and, apparently, quite dull. We ended up attempting a couple few times before finally breaking the skin. Poor Monkey. Now I know why they prefer to put the chips in when our pets are knocked out being spayed or neutered. Anyway, the irony is that now I very much want to take him to the vet just to verify the chip is working. At least I can just take him to a nearby clinic (any one with a universal reader) rather than having to drive him 20 minutes to the vets I trust. Anyway, afterwards we toasted his braveness and we called it Monkey's bris...

So that's my excuse for being a weenie and reconfirming my status as a NaBloPoMo loser.

Speaking of losers, I don't think I even enjoy watching Survivor any more. The person I am rooting for invariably ends up losing. This week they blindsided my sexy gravedigger. Granted, it's his own damn fault for not playing one of his two immunity idols, but still. Now there isn't anyone left who I'd want to see win a million dollars. I'm sure that won't prevent me from tuning in, though. There are still some people I'd like to see win it even less than others...

Now, though, I'm feeling like a loser cuz I am ignoring my husband on one of his few days off. I've considered dragging him out to the movies but I think I will spare him the drive as well. But now he wants me to press his back - no surprise as we both haven't been to the chiropractor in a couple of weeks. That makes us super dork losers cuz we're running out of time to maximize our number of insurance sponsored visits. I'd go tomorrow but I am in charge of seals and though it has been slow, slow, slow, with my luck I would get a call and have to cancel. Maybe we can get him in, though.

Now my computer wants to restart and install software updates so that's my cue...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

blatant cheating

As I write this, it's technically already the 29th so I have failed NaBloPoMo again. I couldn't resist setting the blogger timestamp back, however, because I am, at my core, a big fat cheater. I cheat at board games (I have been banned from ever again being the Monopoly banker), evidently I cheat on my taxes (I file early, omitting the information on that stupid form that tells me I made $19 in taxable dividends that never comes til April...), and, yes, I have cheated in school (almost exclusively for the benefit of others - though I did learn that my 6th grade BFF and I mutually cheated off each other during spelling tests...). At least I don't cheat on my husband. That's a whole different ball game.

Anyway, nothing much happened today so I was not very inspired to post. Then I was gmail chatting with my sister as the midnight hour approached. So, yeah, I am late. You know, I used to do this in my work reality as well. If something was due by the end of a certain day I would always ask if it had to be the end of their day (6 pm) or if it could be the end of my day (wee hours in the morning). I think this is why I was told I had poor time management skills during the peer portion of my employee review.

The coolest thing that happened today for me was that my tongue felt its first static electricity when Erik kissed me goodbye before leaving for work. It was painful but kinda romantic. I love static electricity weather. I encourage the static, running the heat extra and putting on my fuzzy shirt. Poor OC used to be my primary static victim but I have since found that Monkey makes a fine light show as well. Ah, poor Monkey. Today I fed him the Farty Feast because tomorrow he is scheduled to have his microchip implanted. Though it's only the size of a grain of rice, that means the needle is bigger than a grain of rice. Which is huge for a needle. Anyway, I'm trying to suck up to him so he will forgive me.

But now it is late. So I am off to bed. Tomorrow (today) I shall post again. Probably.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

should be walking

I know I'm done being sick cuz now I'm sick of being in the house. While I accept that it is relatively early in the evening (8 pm), it just looks so dark and cold and windy outside that I am feeling rather house bound all the same. I mean, even OC is inside (sitting by the heater and being harassed by Monkey).

At least we all got some fresh air at sunset. We enjoyed family time on the deck. I got the two kitties playing with a string tied to the corner of the deck which is affectionately known as Ambush Alley (cuz cats who sit on the deck are eye level with bipeds coming up from the street - allowing for awesome sneak attacks). OC got a little too into the action and ended up rolling off Ambush Alley and onto the path below. Erik reports that he totally pulled it off, proving the whole cats-land-on-their-feet thing.

Anyway, Erik had to go to work early and I'm thinking if I'm not walking I should at least be cleaning the house. I haven't even unpacked from San Diego, having used snot as my excuse for sloth. The movement would probly do me good and it would certainly make the environment nicer.

So I guess I'm off to do that. Another lame post for NaBloPoMo. Sorry for phoning it in.

Oh, speaking of phoning it in, I did get to enjoy a rather lengthy gmail chat today with an old high school buddy of mine. He started out accusing me of drunk dialing him recently (though I don't have his number and haven't actually been drunk much) and ended up threatening to drunk dial me in the near future (as he was going out drinking with his dad... you know, the one who once called me a "grub"...). In between we made empty promises to get together in real life in the Bay Area. Someday. Anyway, I love how hearing from old high school cute boys brings out the frisky teen in me. And I love how the distance (time and space) brings out juicy revelations of various teenage secrets... And then of course there are the standard stories that must be revisited. For example, I'm always disappointed that he doesn't remember showing me his penis is class, while he is always pleased to hear that at least I found it memorable. Anyway, I'm not sure what exactly prompted it, but at some point he called me a goth nerd slut. And I smiled cuz that's so much better than grub.

On that note...

Monday, November 26, 2007

feeling kinda dirty

It's not really my style to post twice in one day, but since I owe a few days I figured I could handle sharing this little quickie update. I'm feeling all super white trashy cuz I just used the internets to order crappy pizza. It's not that I feel so dirty cuz I'm planning to eat crappy pizza (though it is not healthy, I know that, thank you, and I will feel appropriately nasty afterwards, I'm sure...). No, I feel dirty cuz I'm all a twitter that I didn't have to phone it in.

I can't tell you how annoying it is to have to call and order pizza. Actually, I can tell you. I dread it. And I am the person who can ask anyone to do anything over the telephone (which sounds like a naughty reference to phone sex, but sadly it is not...). I'm not sure what makes ordering pizza any different, but there's just no joy in it. Maybe it's cuz I know I am talking to someone who most likely doesn't like their job. Or maybe it's cuz I am admitting defeat, having given up on eating anything nutritious... Or maybe it's cuz I know I will either pay too much for good pizza or pay too little for cardboard...

I can tell you it is even more annoying on the other end (as my hubby used to work in the pizza industry) as no one ever EVER knows what they want to order before they dial. So I was all excited to find that my local Domino's is part of the on line Domino's. Like we're a real city or something. Frankly, I'm mildly suspicious that the pizza won't come - just like the cab Erik ordered when we first moved to Cayucos and had no car thanks to a towing incident. (Have I told you all about that? If not, someday. It's a great story best told over cocktails...)

Anyway, I'm excited. The only thing that could've made it better is if I could've paid with PayPal, but at least I had cash on hand.

And, oh my goodness, it's here already.

a tale of two kitties

Today I am proud to announce that Monkey completed his second ever trifecta. Luckily I had my camera handy, but only after I heard the tell-tale clattering of his body scrambling between the stove hood and the back wall.

Here he is realizing he can't return to the pie safe. I love how I've captured his useless little extra digit. And notice all the paw prints in the very thick dust? Yes, I keep a tidy house, people. And the Christmas lights and garland - very festive, eh? Except it's all leftover from last year and half the lights have burned out... Anyway, back to our story.


Here he is preparing to leave the slanted stove hood, looking forlornly towards the unreachable pie safe. This photo makes it look deceptively easy to navigate the terrain, but believe me, he never really has solid footing up there. What I like is you can see the sunflowers leftover from my sister's birthday and the dried flower wreath my landlady gave me on my wedding day. And through the glare you can just make out my backyard hummingbird feeder...

Sadly, my aging reflexes caught only the final moment of his landing on the fridge. And everything is super blurry, of course.

But here you can clearly make out his pride in a job well done. He's actually beginning to look quite a bit like Blackers, except for the mutant toes, that is.

Meanwhile OC started his day with a warm compress on what might be an abscess on his ear. Finding nothing purulent under his scabs, I spared him a trip to the vet for now. He later spent his free time catching yet another a bird. Perhaps because he remembered that the last live bird he brought in the house was set free, he decided to dine on this one outside. Unfortunately he happened to walk past our front door (which is glass) just as I was passing by myself. After some pursuit and inspection, I found his prey was still alive. Per our agreement, I claimed it as my own. I credit my improved bird releasing techniques to my work with sea lions. Poor Fabe used to get hit with a stick while OC just gets his jaw gently popped open... Anyway, I know the bird rescue lady will protest that OC's snack is now dying of infection in the wild, but I didn't think about bringing them both inside before I separated them and the poor thing flew off instantly. OC tried to give chase but he quit a few feet away, spitting feathers out of his mouth and giving me a dirty look.

Today I think I was inspired to spend extra special time appreciating my kitties cuz I learned from my neighbor that her aging orange cat, Georgie, has finally forsaken solid foods. He had a swell Thanksgiving feast of white meat turkey but has since shown no interest in anything. I'm not sure if / when she'll euthanize but I offered to give Georgie subcutaneous fluids if she wants to string him along for an extra day or two. I know I regret letting Fabe die hungry (I only let him go once he couldn't even do tuna juice...), but I also totally understand wanting to extend the time you've got together. And I know my neighbor loves that cat. She put up with some serious litter box infractions for a very long time (which only stopped when she cleverly replaced his litter with topsoil...).

On an altogether different note, I just got an email from Netflix informing me that My Super Ex-Girlfriend is on its way. I've been dying to see it ever since the eldest nieces informed me that it inspired their grandmother (my mother-in-law) to tell them that, "there is more to love than just rough sex." Seriously, I've got to compile a book of crazy mother quotes (most from my own mom) including the classic, "I don't not dislike you."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

not in the mood

I'm not really in the mood to post. Could be the call of more sleep or the crick in my neck or the cat on my mouse or my complete and utter lack of inspiration, but whatever. If it weren't November I wouldn't be sitting here.

Anyway, at least today I always knew if it was day or night. And today I napped like a normal person - on the couch with the television on - at least until the phone rang. It was a request to move a dead otter from a drop box to the freezer. Gross, I know, but this seal rescuing business isn't always glamorous and my Fish & Game boyfriend (who would normally deal with the dead otters) has been out of town since the SF oil spill and now is tied up with the Monterey mystery spill... His freezer is very very full of what we fondly call "otter pops." Anyway, after my errand I pretty much did nothing - no unpacking from my trip, no folding of clothes or cleaning of house. But I did enjoy OC's insidedness (thank you cold weather) and I most recently fret about his other bloody ear (I'm thinking draining abscess...) and, well, that's about my day. My cold has moved out of my nose and into my throat with all the soreness and coughing and weird inside ear itchiness that goes along with the migration of the snot... But this is good because it means we are almost done.

So sorry I had nothing to say. But at least, I guess, I said it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

oops, i did it again

Yeah, so I blew NaBloPoMo again. The sad thing is I was even logged in to blogger for some time yesterday but I was trying to deal with this being tagged for a meme thing (whatever a meme is...) and after I completed all my research and set up my reply, the snot took over and I fell asleep. In fact, you should be happy to hear from me today as I am still under the influence of boogers. I woke up at 6:30 and medicated my cat thinking surely it was 6:30 in the morning (time for meds) and not 6:30 in the evening (way too early for meds). I'll tell you, as an unemployed princess parasite, I have grown accustomed to losing track of the day of the week (it's sort of a neat, spoiled feeling) but losing track of the time of day is rather disconcerting.

So now I am forcing myself to be awake just long enough that I can go back to bed like a normal person. Monkey seems pleased with my decision - he has been feeling neglected lately. Today I weighed him and found he is a full 9 pounds - almost twice the size he was when we got him 2 months ago. I don't think he's done growing, either. He still has awkward proportions and a little baby face. While I'm excited for him he's getting bigger and can get into even better trouble, I'm sad for OC . It is clear that Monkey thinks he is the Alpha male and OC seems to accept that. OC really missed the opportunity to assert himself, to dominate, when Monkey was still tiny. Sometimes, though, when Monkey is being especially annoying we'll hold his paws and let OC get a few free swats in but really, all OC wants is food and privacy. He seems to get enough violence outside the home - his ear's been bloodied so much recently it is balding and I have fished no fewer than 3 stray claws out of his head this past month... Though I'd rather not see him so torn up, I realize this is nothing compared to what he suffered under the reign of Blackers.

Anyway, since I seem to have little on my brain except whining about how my sniffles are becoming a cough, I thought I'd offer this link that I stumbled across today with the Best of Craigslist. I found it through my law school prep site so they liked this one but I particularly enjoyed this entry. Besides, Monkey wants to play fetch and it's just about time for Erik to get ready for work. Maybe tomorrow I'll do that meme (unless I get some seals...).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

sorta snotty

So it looks like I took more than memories home from San Diego. My head is full of someone's snot and has been since last night. My sister and my niece aren't sick so it looks like I'm patient zero. (Though I did see some serious boogers in Grace's face on the beach one day...) I'm assuming I got sick at Sea World or the Zoo. What are theme parks if not breeding grounds for opportunistic disease?

In any event, I'm grateful to be sick. I've got the perfect excuse to laze around (something I would've done anyway) and I got to ditch family dinner without feeling guilty. Erik's with his mom and his brother now but before he left he cooked me a few of the basics (stuffing, cranberry sauce, cheesecake, turkey) so I wouldn't miss out (and, I'm sure, so he could enjoy the leftovers). I still have no idea how I got so lucky to find such a treasure of a husband, but today is about being grateful not questioning your blessings.

So other than the snot, it's been a fine day. I hung on the deck some with my kitties (we call that "family time") and OC even snuggled me in the bed a bit (very rare since Monkey's arrival). The sunset was beautiful (my style, very clear and slow) and I got to talk to my mom on the phone. Now, though, I'm tuckered and off to bed again. Just didn't want to blow NaBloPoMo for the third time...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

home safe

I have found that blowing off NaBloPoMo is something like blowing a diet. Now that I have "lost" I'm just not all that motivated to come up with something just for the sake of posting. In fact, having just arrived home from San Diego at 1 am this morning, I'm not really motivated to do anything other than sleep. Having spent some time catching up on my regular blogs, however, I realized I'd better post at least a bit of an update or Merry ME will worry I did not make it home safely.

So after completing my last post I spent a couple hours on the beach with Grace while my sister got a pedicure. Grace loves the beach - running in and out of the freezing waves, grabbing shells and shell fragments and tossing them near our shoes, building and stomping on sand castles, making friends with any and every unsuspecting child that shows up in her general vicinity. Though I, too, love the beach, I found that making sure my niece wasn't lost to the waves at this particularly steep (and therefore dangerous) shore break was exhausting. Rewarding, sure, and precious, yes, but every moment was mildly terrifying.

After a quick shower for the sandy ones, the three of us made it to the Zoo by noon. The first thing we did was sit down to an overpriced calorie laden lunch. We laughed at how our father would so not approve. He would never condone resting without seeing a single animal and he would have lamented how much money we'd spent in so little time. He would have been proud, however, at how we snuck Grace in for free. Though she'll be four in January, she is the size of a normal two year old (just 30 pounds - more than 10 times her birth weight...). We didn't technically lie - we just omitted the truth. Very Catholic of us, I know. But we did coach her on lying about her age (we got her to agree to say, if asked, that she was 2, though she'd still hold up 3 fingers) and we asked her not to talk when we went through the gates (I cringed a little at the quote: "just like when Mommy's on her cell phone..." wondering how often Grace's spectacular gift for gab is stifled when I'm chatting it up with my sister...).

Anyway, we soon made our way out and about and trekked for five hours across the park. I know in my heart that the San Diego Zoo is a gold star in the industry but seeing it through my adult filter I was a bit conflicted and blue. The elephants, for example, are in line for a swanky new pad. But in the meanwhile they stand in a dusty busy intersection, pacing, bored. The male elephant was even reaching over the fence and tossing rocks at the crowd. The polar bears, as I expected, looked hot and dirty and, again, bored and so very caged. The gorillas and orangutans are in these groovy glassed in exhibits where they can choose to sit right up against the viewing wall but the looks on their faces are universally more vacant that I would expect from a primate in the wild. They seem jaded as I imagine I would be if viewed by throngs of people passing by each day.

There were highlights, of course, like the pandas on loan from China. And the hippo exhibit - the best. Again we were just separated by glass but these magnificent creatures cared only about each other, not their audience. They floated and fought and defecated all within inches of Grace's wide eyes. I loved when she squealed, "I touched it!" after one of the two swam right past our spot on the glass. We were apparently still on a schedule, however, as Suz rushed us away. I laughed (/complained) that here she was much like our Dad - keeping pace by walking ten feet ahead most of the time, always rushing to the next destination, never enjoying the moment.

Though we didn't have time for the guided bus tour (which would have been a welcome rest for our tired feet) we did brave the sky ride. Grace was scared to get on but had a blast once she was soaring above the Zoo. The grown ups had the reverse experience. We lamented that due to the hour and the distance that we'd have to board a second time to get back to the exit before closing. To reassure Grace (and myself) I explained that the periodic rumbling (of the tram passing through the series of wheels at the poles that kept it up) was just the sound of the ride farting. This little white lie then became a source of hilarity for me (and embarrassment for Suz) when Grace told Emily (a 2 year old who she'd befriended who left to take the bus) that we weren't going to the bus, we were taking "the farts."

I did notice, however, that unlike the day before, children were having meltdowns left and right. The Zoo is just more physically (and for me, emotionally) more demanding than Sea World, I guess. So it was little surprise that I had a meltdown of my own soon after leaving. I think I would have been fine but I was dragged off to dinner that I was too drained to survive. In contrast to the mojitos and tapas served to us in a private cabana the night before, we went to a crowded salad bar (as in line out the door) fairly far inland (through traffic) and we sat in a room full of school aged girls celebrating the end of their soccer season. I could handle the clapping and the trophies but once the whistles came out of the gift bags I had to flee. I waited in the car for another hour while my sister finished hanging out with her old friends. And by waited I mean I called my mom and nearly cried about how exhausted and trapped and sort of neglected I felt.

After finally getting a shower and some rest we spent one last morning at the beach. Grace put on her own suit - backwards so the bow could be on the front. Again we were rushed by my sister - this time out of the hotel. Though I'd secured us a late check out, Suz couldn't stand the tranquility of the beach and packed the car while we played in the waves. She then stood with the front door open (creating a wind tunnel) as I tried to dress for the day (hair wet from my final shower) and collect my belongings. We ended up leaving 45 minutes sooner than we had to. I'm not sure what the hurry was. Her flight out wasn't for seven more hours. Anyway, we then went, my small car filled to the brim with luggage, to kill time by shopping. We found our way to the border outlets (Mom would be proud) after a few wrong turns in San Ysidro (or, as I was calling it, Amerijuana). As we wrapped up our wandering, we paid homage to Dad by suggesting we "get out of this hell hole" and calculating how much money we spent in order to "save" that 10 or 20 or 30 %.

We shared some precious moments on the way to the airport. When left alone with Grace I snapped this priceless photo, proving once again that I should not be trusted with small children. I also initiated a game of eyeball licking (complete with a song, "I'm gonna lick your eyeball, eyeball...") that involved much face scratching (mine) and some involuntary retching (hers). I thought perhaps the teary eyes and gagging were from laughing too much, but when I was able to replicate the effect later at a calmer moment I wondered if it was my coffee breath? Erik has offered to lick my eyeballs to see if throwing up a little is just a natural biological response to have your optical orifice assaulted, but I don't trust him as he once gave me an eyelid hickey in college.

Anyhow, I left when they passed through security (Grace was spun - my hug goodbye consisted of much forehead pushing and some grimacing and growling) and I sat in only about a half hour of traffic. Thanks to caffeine and sugar and hours on my cell phone, I found my way home safely. I knew I'd be the sleepiest through my own dimly lit, deer filled county. I even considered crashing on a friend's couch but I really just wanted to be in my own bed. Today I am most definitely grateful that I did not encounter any wildlife in those wee hours. I know I was too loopy to respond correctly...

It's great to be back. Monkey looks bigger. OC is healthy. (BTW, we did fight a little about the vet bills but in a casual sort of sisterly way. I kept working it into conversation and she kept shooting me dirty looks. Then she finally asked if I was going to keep bringing it up forever and I said I'd drop it as soon as she paid me the two grand...) Erik is cuter than ever.

But for now it is back to bed with me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

mmm mojitos

So yesterday got away from me and I didn't make it to a place with internet access. Alas, I have failed NaBloPoMo. I pretty much figured that was a risk when planning this trip. At least it was just because we were too cheap to pay for internet at the hotel and not because we ruined the laptop when the vase / ice bucket fell over and soaked the works.

Though I am now a big loser, it was worth it. I had a great day with my sister and my niecelet celebrating Suz's birthday. We started with a breakast date (blackberry banana pancakes, papas locos, fruit bowl) followed by a walk around Mission Bay. We met a nice dog (Debit) and a friendly orange cat. Next we went to Sea World. As you can imagine, I have mixed feelings about Sea World (mostly just the Orcas), but I must say the shows were amazing. Grace in particular had the time of her life. The dolphins drenched us, despite our shared poncho, the dogs and cats were delightful (I now want to teach Monkey to climb across a rope upside down), and the sea lions were just silly. (For the record, I prefer the old 80's haunted castle show to today's submarine set, though the tricks are clearly the same...) Grace was brave and fed the sea lions little slimy fish through a feeding tube. It was priceless. Afterwards I noticed she swapped her half a soft pretzel for my uninfected half...

Anyway, afterwards we went out for tapas and mojitos. Grace slept through the whole thing, missing out on the delightful company of her cousins' Uncle Frankie and his boyfriend Josh. On the drive home she woke long enough to realize we'd left her tiny baby Orca at the restaurant. We performed a swift bit of stuffed marine mammal rescue and went home to go to bed.

Today is all about the zoo. Everyone's ready to go so we are out of here. Now that I've already failed I probly won't try too hard to post tomorrow but I'll be home Wednesday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

napping overcomes wrath

This is my new motto - "napping overcomes wrath" - borrowed from the Tao of Cat glasses available at Common Goods, my favorite junk mail. After ditching my seal meeting I got 10 hours of sleep. I'm in the final stages of departure prep. OC's fed and medicated, Monkey's fed and needs to be scooped up after, Erik's loading the car, and then I just shower and go. I'm hoping since it is Saturday the drive will take the optimistic 5 and a half hours that Google estimates instead of the 8 and a quarter alternative (with traffic). I haven't driven to San Diego since college and then, I recall, I got sick on the Grapevine (fever, weird, huh?) and I had to get a hotel for the night. Of course, then I was coming from Berkeley (and bringing Fabe along) so it was just a super horrendous drive. So this will be a breeze, right? Right.

And I am also still hung up on my other favorite quote - "frustration and anger pays off in the end" - as that is how I found my iPod charging cord while packing last night.

Okay, as my dad would say, time to get a move on, sportsfans.

Friday, November 16, 2007

anti social

I'm currently ditching a seal meeting I usually enjoy. It's the Year in Review, a slide show held by the vet(s) explaining some of the year's more interesting cases and trends. Although I'd like to claim I'm ditching because I am behind on my packing, I'm actually down to the bits and pieces. And while I should be catching up on my sleep, as I've talked myself into a truly early departure, I'm wide awake. I could also say I'm staying home to spend more time with my hubby, but the truth is he was willing to go to my seal thing. So I'm left with only one reality. I am antisocial at my core.

Though I've known this for ages, Erik and I often refer to one specific night that perfectly captures my distaste for gatherings. We were living in Santa Cruz then, so I was waiting tables. My fellow food servers were having a Halloween party. I loved my coworkers (okay, most of my coworkers, some of them I hated...) and I even made brownies (just the normal kind, nothing herbal...) to bring as a favor. I had only a half assed costume, I remember, and that may have started the anxiety. Long story short, I drove to my friend's house and then around it, a few times, circling the block, until ultimately I was crying, with my brownies, because I didn't want to go. I followed my heart and went home and I'm sure I wasn't missed. I'm also sure I didn't miss much. But I learned a lot. For one thing, I am truly a neurotic freak. For another, it's best to have a stellar costume when going to a costume party. Finally, it's okay not to go.

And so now, when I have nights like tonight, I imagine myself driving around the block with my brownies, crying, and I spare myself the struggle. I just don't go. I'm not sure if a psychologist would think this was a grand solution, but I do. And most of my friends are used to my flake factor.

Anyway, other than my anxiety (which tonight is clearly being fed by my impending travels and by some more not newsworthy intragroup drama played out on the email battlefield...) I've had a fairly fine day. I watched my Netflix (by the way, Wendy, Wendigo was lame - was it meant to be lame? would it have been more scary if I weren't folding laundry half the time? I mean, I didn't even have to turn down the volume, ever, and there was very little blood shed, for a scary movie that is...).

I got some good seal news - the entangled girl from August is back. Still entangled, a bit deeper, of course, but well hydrated. Still hanging out on the same basically inaccessible dock. So perhaps we'll have another shot at catching her...

And OC caught and ate a bird. I don't know why, but I had Monkey watch OC eat it. He's always so fascinated with his uncle. I figured he might as well get to admire his victory. Afterwards Monkey touched the leftover feathers and shook his paw like he didn't like the feeling of sticky death. Then I felt I had subjected him to some sort of kitty child abuse.

Finally, I think I like the new hippie kitty litter. I do not feel overwhelmed with the smell of cat butt and this is good. It could just be that the whole contraption is fresh or that the fog spared me the heat of the day, but whatever.

Oh, and the Harry Potter Cockroach Clusters came. I haven't eaten one yet (to make sure they are nice and yucky but not poisoned) but they are here and they are glorious.

So tonight I am grateful for being true to myself, even if it's lame to be antisocial. And I am grateful for the opportunity to spend the weekend with my niece, even if I have to drive a ton to do it. And I am grateful to my vet, who wouldn't let me kill OC, cuz OC is so happy on his good hunting days.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep up the blogging in San Diego. My sis is bringing a lap top, so it's feasible. Who knows, I might even have something interesting to say?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

thank you, governator

Today Erik finally got his court ordered back pay for a raise that's been making its way through the legislature since April. It's a pretty significant bump and it wouldn't have been possible without the Governator's signature. Though I'm sure it was a rubber stamp sort of thing, today I am grateful for Arnie.

Even better, today the contractors finished installing the new stairs to our house. They even dismantled the steep and scary temporary steps. While I appreciate the safety features of the new entryway, mostly I'm excited that the construction might actually be over. Like soon. And I can have my deck back. And peace and quiet.

Best of all, today Erik took the day off to spend some extra time with me. We walked, we napped (okay, I napped, he tossed and turned - what can I say? I've got mad sleeping skills...), and soon we will watch movies and enjoy enchiladas... That is, if I ever start making them. I've been marinating the tofu for days trying to muster up the enthusiasm to actually cook it.

So again, I'll keep this brief. No lamenting about how the SF oil spill has finally found its way to my seals. No retelling of the funny story about Monkey's misstep into the toilet (the one where he turned unsuccessfully to the unfurling roll of toilet paper to save him...). No cursing the fact that I discovered an old friend will be in town for Christmas (when I am out of town). And no anxiety about my upcoming road trip.

Because today I have financial breathing room, impending privacy, and the pleasure of my husband's company. Hooray.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

lazy day

Today was unseasonably warm, a perfect excuse for a lazy day. Since the construction we've endured for the past six weeks is a major impediment to getting fresh air, it was sort of an uncomfortable lazy day. Too loud and too hot to sleep, too crowded to walk around half dressed. Monkey hid out in the bathroom. OC was wherever OC goes. Erik and I took turns either cruising the internet or trying to nap on the not sunny side of the couch.

Finally came sunset, blessed sunset. Erik and I watched the earth turn from the deck. OC rolled around in the sawdust while Monkey checked out the wildlife (under strict supervision, of course). He got particularly excited over a bee and a butterfly, but he really loves the hummingbirds. I love how the hummingbirds spend more energy chasing each other off than they do feeding. Until that magic moment where they realize it's getting dark and they decide to get along. I think that's why I like hummingbirds so much - they only share when they have to.

So tonight I am grateful for sunsets and fresh air and off shore winds. And for two kitties. And for the walk I'm about to take.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

midnight stroll

I realized I once again forgot my gratitude theme in Monday's entry. Well, it's pretty obvious I am grateful that I do not have to be a contestant on the Amazing Race.

But now I am grateful for something even more immediate. I am grateful that my little black Monkey did not wander too far out into the big black night after I foolishly forgot to close the kitchen window. Yup, my little man has seen the world and he likes it. This isn't the first time he's snuck out. It's just the first time he didn't have an adult in hot pursuit. I can't believe I forgot the window. We have this ritual - lock Monkey in one room, air out the rest of the house, close up the house, lock Monkey in the house, air out Monkey's room. It works like a charm. Except usually we do this in the daytime, when both of us are home. More brains for remembering windows and more eyes for keeping track of Monkey.

This time I did it sleepy and I left him unattended for at least 10 minutes while I showered, brushed my teeth, and got ready for bed. It took me a few more minutes to realize he was gone. It was too quiet. I looked for him under the bed. No sign. I was about to look for him in the couch (yes, in the couch, he climbs up and claws at my butt through the cushions). Then I saw the window. My heart stopped. I grabbed some shoes, cursing the fact that I never have a working flashlight.

He didn't come when I called but I heard him exploring. Or at least I thought I did. Turns out I was wrong cuz I actually found him on the opposite side of the yard, checking out this random tiny deck we have. He saw me and gave chase. I missed him as he passed by. He contemplated going under the house (I'd never get him there) but opted for going around the house instead. Then, miraculously, he came back around the corner and headed for the bushes. He always heads for the bushes. They're totally not thick enough to conceal him but I believe he may feel invisible just the same. He pauses there, front sticking out one side, butt sticking out the other, and then he gets caught. Thank goodness kittens are dumb.

Once inside he did a few laps around the living room and contemplated the trifecta. I even heard him crash full speed into the now closed window. He's calmer now, back in my lap like normal, but something's changed. Just a little. He's got more pride in his purr, more purpose in his stride. Really, I think we're both relieved his adventure is over. For now. But my little boy is growing up. And it's scary.

Monday, November 12, 2007

my own private hell

Today in the quest for family friendly television programming (and by family, I mean me and Erik, of course, cuz the cats don't really seem to care...) I tuned into last night's Amazing Race. I'm not exactly sure why I tape the Race because even watching it makes me tense. I can only imagine being a part of it. I guess that's my problem. I can't not imagine being a part of it. In my imagination I am forced to compete by Satan. Or perhaps, if I'm feeling particularly Catholic, maybe I'm just in purgatory atoning for my sins... Obviously I am NEVER eliminated. I spend my eternity hungry and dirty, constantly in airports, in a hurry, in a panic, often getting yelled at by someone I love. I'm almost certain I'm either dehydrated or frantically searching for a clean place to pee. And when I am not in a rush, I am bored and home sick. If the Amazing Race was fixed and I was somehow guaranteed that I would win, I still wouldn't participate. A million dollars is not enough money to force me to travel the world. At least not under those conditions. And not with today's exchange rate.

I must say, though, I laughed out loud when Nicolas commented that his grandfather's successful crossing of the muddy bog (in his underwear) proved "that frustration and anger pays off in the end."

Alternatively, I imagine I might spend eternity having my body pecked apart by the demonic reincarnations of the bazillion birds my cats have killed. Today I spared myself at least one attacker, however, as I discovered OC with his prey still intact. Monkey thought his uncle was pretty cool to bring a bird in the house. Then they both suffered the ultimate injustice of being restrained and detained while the bird went free. Monkey is currently expressing his lingering disappointment by playing a particularly vigorous version of a game we like to call "Bite and Kick." It's a game I used to play with Blackers but he would consistently bite my hand and kick my forearm. No matter how often I redirect him, Monkey ultimately kicks my hand and works his way up to the tender back side of my upper arm for better biting. Sometimes he even nips the neighboring boob. I know, I am creating a monster.

A monster who once again has graced the litter box with his presence while I sat here typing. So I guess I'm off to deal with that. Another version of my own private hell...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

the trifecta

Though I spent most of the last twelve hours sticking needles in to sea lions, the highlight of my day was definitely watching Monkey complete his trifecta. He's obviously been planning it for weeks. The first step was dominating the big screen TV. It's old school and boxy so the surface area on top has been irresistible to him. My attempts to restrict his access proved fruitless so I finally removed all things breakable from my favorite clutter zone and surrendered it to the kitten. Though the TV was fascinating before, once Monkey was allowed on it, he decided to jump from the TV to the top of the pie safe. That's fine, I figure. Nothing up there to disturb and I found he would still land fairly lightly on my beloved TV. The pie safe proved to be only a pit stop, however, as Monkey soon decided to jump from it across the doorway and onto our slanted stove hood. His first attempt happened early in the morning so I only heard it. The bending of metal, the scraping of claws, the mew of exploration. Erik promptly rescued the stranded explorer and I thought little of it. A couple days later I found Monkey there again and had to coax him down myself. This morning I finally saw it happen and I'm even more amazed he can pull it off as his front paws land way lower than I might expect. Anyway, today he had no interest in rescue. He had a plan. He jumped from his slanted perch all the way across the kitchen to the top of the fridge. Pie safe, stove hood, refrigerator. Trifecta. He was so proud.

I couldn't stick around to celebrate long, however, as Spooner, yesterday's sea lion from our south county, needed more pain meds. He was so flat yesterday that he was rescued with a towel - no net. This is unheard of, really. Unfortunately, he never got much perkier. In addition to the wounds on his flipper (a shark, we'd guess) he had a throat full of brown slobber (so probly also suffering domoic acid toxicity). Even though he was needy and kinda sad, I'm glad we kept him overnight as we are much better equipped to give round the clock care than our neighbors to the north.

If we had decided to ship Spooner yesterday, we probly would've aborted the plan immediately. We got the call on this fellow right as Spooner would've hit the road. As I mentioned yesterday, this sea lion's call (like Spooner's) sat with the answering service for three hours before it made its way to us. Thus we named him Three Hour. He was a little too crazy fresh off the beach to do much last night, but we did give him some of the good drugs later on to help him sleep. And today we got some fluids in to him. He never did fully seize but he had the bobbing head, seizy eyes, and trembling so he got some more good drugs for the road.

Then, ironically, we had to wait nearly 3 hours before we could ship them off today. The gal I had lined up to do the transport got tied up at church. It turned out to be a good thing, however, as both Spooner and Three Hour looked the most seizy just before they shipped. I was glad we were able to treat the convulsions they might have otherwise had on the road. I was pretty happy to see them go, though, cuz it meant I could finally get on with the scrubbing and mopping and ultimately find my way to a shower and a nap. I forced myself to get out of bed to post this blog (and to not destroy my sort of morningish post LSAT lifestyle) but soon I will snooze again.

So today I am thankful for my folks cuz today they bought me a plane ticket to go visit them for Christmas. (Wendy, I'll be there late the 19th, leaving early the 28th - let me know if you can play any time in between?...)

And I'm grateful for fuzzy socks. I usually only wear mine when I've been lax on the laundry, but whatever, they're super cozy.

And I'm grateful for help. The last time I had seals I had to do all the clean up alone and it really sucked. Life is so much better when you've got people on your team.

And I'm super grateful for OC's health. As of yesterday he's gone six weeks without incident. He's been around a bunch everyday (mostly in his bachelor pad half of the house) but this morning he hung out on the couch with me. He even had bore witness to the trifecta. (He seemed unimpressed.) And he grabbed my head and bit it, but I think it was a display of affection?

Ugh. And I'm grateful that now that I am done with this post I can scoop Monkey's stinking litter box. I really think this new litter (Arm & Hammer) is extra lame at stench control. I do like the lemony scent it gives off while scooping, but seriously, who wants to smell anything while scooping? Anyway, it's been so bad that I've tricked myself into buying the most expensive litter (World's Best? it's made of corn or something...) to try next. I'm almost wondering if I scoop too often? If I'm always stirring it up, so to speak. But I don't think twice a day is extreme (generous, but not obsessive) and it seems counterintuitive to suggest that a dirty box might smell less...

So on with it, I guess.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

strangers with candy

It went against my better judgment, but today I bought candy from strangers. Specifically, I bought those cool out of stock Harry Potter Cockroach Clusters from a woman on eBay. I'm extra suspicious cuz I paid less than the candy sites were asking. I wasn't suspicious enough not to buy out her entire supply, however. Gummy crunchy (probly stale, hopefully not poisoned) candy bugs, here I come.

Anyway, then I got some actual seal action today. Both of my sea lions had to wait patiently on their beaches for over three hours before I got the messages that they were there. I was shocked to find them still around, all lethargic and tucked and easily captured. I won't have pictures until tomorrow (in fact, I'm already in a hurry to get back to the one who needs late night meds) but the first one, Spooner, has a puncture wound on his right front flipper. The second one, Three Hour, is just goofy and drooly and probly bound to seize.

It shouldn't surprise me, that I got some action, but we have been really reallly slow for a couple of months now. Other than a few exceptions, I've been the only person to get any activity in that time. Not that I am complaining, of course. The seals are what I'm in this for. But I still think it's funny. I scaled back my dates and still dominated the rescue scene. Lucky me.

Thanks to Spooner I will be up again very early to give him more pain meds. Just the thought of it is making me sleepy.

But in the meanwhile, tonight I am thankful for meds. How cool is that that we can make animals (including ourselves) more comfortable? That we can conquer infections and control seizures? Awesome, I say.

And I am thankful for naps, even though I missed mine today.

And for pizza delivery, cuz that's just what Erik needed. Poor neglected undernourished husband.

Friday, November 09, 2007

it's beginning to feel a lot like christmas

Okay, I still haven't bought my plane ticket, but I have decided I will be going to see the family for Christmas. I realize that caving in early destroys any imaginary negotiating advantage I might have had with my sister, but it also removes my temptation to ruin her birthday by fighting about money. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have won anyway. And really, it will be quite fun to see my nieces enjoying Christmas.

Since I'll be there, I will have to come prepared - you know, with gifts and all. I'm not much of a gift giver. I tend to avoid holidays and birthdays as I dread obligatory spending. I also sort of suck at it. With me it's feast or famine. I send nothing or I spend too much (money I obviously don't have) on stuff the kids don't really like. (Yes, sister-in-law who has no internet access, I know that the Dora Castle I bought this Spring has already been "donated" to Grandma's house and I know the girls were never allowed access to the craft scissors I sent last year...) Having wasted too much of my day surfing the web, I have decided on just the right thing. I absolutely have to get the girls this novelty soap. Yep, that would be soap that looks just like dog poop. Would they expect anything less from me? I just can't decide if this toilet / plunger candy is also fun or just sort of fun? And can I tell you how sad I am that these candy cockroaches are out of stock? I know, don't you wish you had an Anti like me?

Anyway, when I get back I will be attending an underground after Christmas party. (Oh the drama there. I mostly shy away from mentioning specifics since, well, it's totally unprofessional and what is there to gain? But this year to celebrate the holidays my volunteer group has decided to hold an expensive event instead of our traditional potluck. And by group, I mean staff person, cuz the topic was never open to debate and all input to the contrary has been summarily shot down. So those of us who can't (or don't want to) afford it have decided to gather surreptitiously for a private party. I'm pretty sure we'll get in trouble, but, seriously, I think it is tacky to ask for our money on top of our time. And the tragedy is that it's mostly the hardcore old timers who object. I know some of that is fear of change, but if it's not broken, why fix it?) Since we've decided we'll still play the gift exchange game, I will now have to add these mints that taste like bacon to my already purchased item (this groovy sea lion pen). The old timers, you see, are way fond of bacon.

I actually sort of wish I could say more about the drama. Very few of my rescue friends know of my blog. Even fewer of them read it. And we're all fairly like minded about the politics anyhow. I just don't know if it would be cathartic for me to express my angst or if it would only add fuel to the fire? In truth, I think I would come off sounding quite whiny. But maybe that would be good for me - to see how petty all the scandals are when translated to the real world. I guess a certain level of discord is inevitable, especially in an estrogen dominated environment. (No offense, ladies, but you know it is true...) Mostly I am really disappointed in how entrenched in it I can become. I like to think of myself as fairly easy-going but I fear I might be a bitch. Or, as I was dubbed in April, "not a nice girl."

Oh well.

Oh. So what am I grateful for today? Hm. I am grateful that OC and Monkey hung out with me on the couch this afternoon. There was very little hissing and even less swatting involved. I used it as an excuse to skip my evening walk (didn't want to break up the magic) so that's kind of a bummer, but it was worth it. I love family time.

And I am grateful that (so far) we haven't had to rescue any oiled mammals in San Francisco, but I'm still pretty pissed about the poor birds. And the poor media coverage.

And I'm grateful for clean sheets. I don't know why I don't change ours more often. (Wait, I do know. It sucks to make the bed. It's practically an aerobic exercise. And with our opposite schedules, someone's almost always sleeping anyway...) Anyway, they're clean now and I'm so looking forward to trying them out.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

losers

Tonight I'm feeling sort of weepy. It could be PMS, but I'm thinking it's more about the fate of the shorebirds who make their living in the San Francisco Bay. You know, the ones who are now oil-covered and dead. I don't know if I'm more upset with the ship that hit the Bay Bridge or the Coast Guard who trusted their initial reports. Apparently, the crew estimated they'd spilled only 140 gallons of fuel. Twelve hours passed before the Coast Guard realized this estimate was off by, oh, I don't know, about 58,000 gallons. Of course it was dark then, so another 12 hours passed before anyone started containing the oil that is poisoning the wildlife.

The pictures are haunting. I even recognize some of the people in them - staffers with The Marine Mammal Center, picking up birds from the beach right down the hill from the hospital. I can't see them without seeing myself. Though I haven't yet made the time to attend official Oiled Wildlife Training, as a volunteer with TMMC, I would be called upon to do the same thing if we had a spill down here. Except we'd be scooping up a lot of dead otters, too. And it won't stop at birds. My heart aches for the sexy male sea lions who gather at Pier 39 and for those extraordinary Bay Area red-pelaged harbor seals.

Then I called my folks. All they knew was that the Bridge was okay. Great job, America's media, getting to the heart of the story. Maybe tomorrow they will mention how the Coast Guard failed to drug test the boat's crew for 24 hours. Maybe then they'll let you know how San Francisco's mayor is chomping at the bit ready to sue whoever is responsible for this.

My uncle might be right. I might have to be an environmental lawyer, after all.

So tonight I am grateful that I am not a shorebird. And I'm grateful I haven't had to work an oil spill myself. And I'm grateful there's a bottle of wine in the kitchen. I'm thinking it's time to open it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

still tickled

Obsessed with my potential sister drama, I failed to give you the scoop on my last day in Oakland. As I alluded to before, it was mostly uneventful. Though the family spent the day at school and/or work, I was implored to stick around in order to spend some time with the girls after class. I checked my email. I surfed the web. I downloaded marine mammal ringtones I can't get in my third world county. (No VCast available here, though Verizon will happily bill me for the service if I forget to cancel before my free trial expires...) I watched my soap opera. I finished reading the Lord of the Flies. (I know, strange that I've never read it, eh? Actually there are so many books I feel I've missed. I really should've been an English major. My GPA would be higher, I know that. Anyway, thanks to a tiff between the English teachers at my jr. and sr. high, I have read the Scarlet Letter twice. That should count for something?). Then I tried to nap but I found I'd had to much coffee.

Ultimately the girls got home. Their mom was still at work and their dad was doing errands, so under my supervision they pretended to do homework while making phone calls and sending text messages. There was much snacking and some mild gossiping.

While Zoe created a CD (this generation's version of the mix tape) for her boyfriend, I finally let Sadie cut my hair. Since I knew I was driving home, I couldn't turn to the cheap wine for comfort. As a result, Miss Sadie had to put up with a lot of whining. Mostly I complained that the scissors selected would be lucky to cut paper. In fact, much of the initial work was performed by something more akin to tearing than snipping. Luckily, a slightly better pair of scissors was uncovered after my repeated protests. I then demanded she choose between texting and trimming, as she was constantly putting down the scissors to pick up her cell. She tried to get me to text for her by proxy (I believe the exact message I was asked to send was, "So who do you sort of like?") but then she realized how lame I am at texting and she let me off the hook. Next we clashed over style - the techniques she's applied to her own luxurious locks just don't work on puny hair. At least she didn't try to do anything super creative (clearly I had broken her spirit) so in the end, it actually looks pretty good, I think. Still, I have cured Sadie of any desire to cut my hair in the future.

Finally their mom came home. After some random discussions - mostly about dentists, Kryptonite (of course), and a clown that Zoe had witnessed unicycling down their street - somehow, they were then asked by their mom to demonstrate just how it is they freak with boys at their dances. (I suspect the inspiration was this video they'd found on YouTube of two guys enjoying the Bloodhound Gang's song Bad Touch a little too much...) I loved that they honestly tried, but they just couldn't find their groove, seeing as how they are sisters and all. I loved it even more that when they gave up, their mother recognized their unspoken confusion and suggested that one of them put something in their pants to simulate the adolescent woody that usually is part of the equation. I laughed even harder when she offered an empty film canister in place of an apple, as the canister was "more to scale." I practically died when she then corrected their simulated spanking move, to more accurately reflect the sex act it is intended to mimic. Good times were had by all. I have found that the greatest thing about your best friend having kids is that you end up with more best friends.

Anyway, we ended the evening around the computer watching some of their other YouTube favorites including the First semester Spanish Spanish love song and the William Tell Overature Mom. I was ultimately able to sneak out when it looked like they might actually start their studies. On the drive home, though I knew it was bad, I kept trying to correct the on my radio (thank you Daylight Savings). So today I am grateful for guardian angels. I'm pretty sure they're the only reason I didn't crash. And nieces, cuz, really, they're awesome. And for the freedom I have to visit them. Mostly, though, I am grateful for laughter so pure it makes you almost pee your pants.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the plot thickens

So my next scheduled road trip is south to see my sister. It's her birthday and she decided to spend it in San Diego. With me. And, of course, her daughter Grace. (Formerly known as Baby G, now that she is potty trained and has a real bed and an extended vocabulary and even hair she is quite insistent that she is a big girl...) Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to it though I am always reminded when returning from the road just how much of a homebody I really am. I love just being home. Doing nothing. Seeing kitties. Taking naps.

Anyway, while talking to my sister (and Grace, who still sometimes just nods while on the phone) about our pending plans, I have once again been invited to come play Anti to the Rescue. This time she'd like me to be up the week after Christmas. The thing is, my parents have invited me for the week before Christmas. Sounds great, eh? I've got no job. I could stay for both weeks, right? But my husband has Christmas and Christmas Eve off. He never has Christmas off. It's not like we do anything - we don't really decorate (though we've been using Christmas lights to illuminate our bedroom since last year), we don't exchange gifts, we don't make a token appearance at church, we don't even cook a turkey or a ham - but it seems like I shouldn't abandon him with cat care duties during the holiday.

And then, for those who have been following the plot closely, there's the whole empty promises made over fondue issue that lurks between me and my sister. While I've worked really hard to let it go, I'm still a little bitter that I was duped into taking on a cat I can't afford. (He is still doing great, by the way, which is way awesome.) Thing is, if I'm honest and seek to negotiate some sort of financial settlement I know it will ruin her birthday weekend. I really don't want to drive all the way to San Diego just to fight with my sister. But if I ditch my husband for my sister without standing up for myself (and essentially my husband, who has to pay OC's butt related bills), I'll be a big weenie. And as Dr. Phil is fond of saying, you teach people how to treat you and I really don't want to be endorsing my status as sister / doormat.

On the other hand, Grace is super fun and we'd have a groovy time hanging out together. And Suzanne wouldn't actually be out of town (just working nights) so I'm not even certain I'd have to do the whole live in the animal house thing. I guess I'll play it by ear.

In the meanwhile, I still owe you the low down of my last couple days visiting my other nieces. But for now I have a burrito waiting in the kitchen and a litter box to scoop.

I've noticed I've sort of abandoned my gratitude theme (which turned out to be so not original anyway), so tonight I am grateful for dishwashers. Random, I know, but really, I can still remember life before my dishwasher and things are so much easier now.

Monday, November 05, 2007

on the road again

Though I was alone with internet access all day I didn't have anything new to report. Now that I made it home to my sleepy beach town (and sleepier husband), I'm more interested in him than you. Sorry. The truth hurts.

So as I used to say in elementary school - Longer Letter Later or Sorry So Short.

Tomorrow. I promise.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

horsing around

So I spent the day out in the country with horses. Although I'm fairly comfortable working with 200 pound wild pinnipeds, I find horses frightening. My sister-in-law / best friend, however, loves horses and since she has a full time job, weekends are her riding time. Far be it from me to stand between a woman and her passion.

I only had one true horse incident. I was trusted with the most compliant of her three horses, Tuffy, and was asked to release him in the round pen so he could roll around. Well, I released him near the pen, not exactly in it. It was no surprise to anyone when he ran away. Thankfully Sadie was nearby to bail me out and redirect the old boy.

Other than that, I'd say it was a great day. A little too much sun and sugar, but plenty of juicy teenage gossip. Unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy. I am being tested. If I can be trusted with the details of last night's party I will be rewarded with more information in the future.

In a moment of weakness, however, I sort of agreed to let Sadie cut my hair tonight. This is something she and her sister have been begging to do for ages. In fact, Zoe, who's on the road for softball, will be seriously jealous that Sadie had first shot. Anyway, I figure my hair is already pathetic. How much worse could it get? As long as I can pull it into a ponytail (my staple look), I'll survive.

This does mean, though, that I'll likely need to drink the rest of that cheap wine to soldier through it. That kills any possibility of driving home tonight (which I always consider and often reject) which means a night spent camping on the floor. Which requires, of course, more wine. You can see the vicious cycle, eh?

In any event, it has been, as usual, a pleasure to reconnect to the girls in my life. I sure hope I don't get Alzheimer's so that I'll have a prayer of savoring these memories for years to come...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

at home away from home

They say the road to a friend's house is never long. It can be, however, crowded and torturous, particularly with a full bladder. I left yesterday almost a full hour later than I'd planned and paid the price by spending nearly another whole hour sitting in Bay Area traffic. What's worse, because I was coming into town, my niece and her mom had to suffer traffic themselves in order to come home and meet me when they might have otherwise gone out to see a movie. But I'm not complaining. I made it here safely on my fine bouncy new tires. No sooner did I get my stuff settled in then I ordered up some temptation (a bottle of two buck chuck) from Trader Joe's. Allegedly there's also pizza and carrot cake on the grocery list so I have a feeling my diet is slightly doomed this weekend. And by diet, of course I mean "life long plan for eating healthfully" for I know better than to believe in short term crash diets.

Yes, invisible internet friends, I have been eating healthfully behind your backs for more than a week now. It feels great. I'm still not wearing my wedding ring (but then again I never bring it to the ghetto) but I'm starting to notice a pleasant downward trend in my overall size. I know I can do it (return to a normal size) because I did it six years ago. I just don't exactly know why I undid it. I used to say it was stress from my promotion but that doesn't explain why I kept gaining after quitting my job. Oh wait, then there was the stress from the year of fighting cancer. And many therapy sessions involving gelato. But the year after that? I have no excuse... (Other than September and the whole cat death / LSAT thing...) I think I do know why I've been dragging my feet getting back to it, though. My 20th high school reunion is in 1 1/2 years. Figuring it takes about a year to lose the weight, by starting late there is almost no way I can be gigantic by then even if I have issues with maintenance. Sick, I know. But pragmatic, eh?

Anyway, in terms of gratitude, today I am grateful that my nieces still love me even though they have already hit puberty. I love their stories, their fashion advice, their generosity of spirit. Even as I savor their dwindling innocence, I look forward to knowing them as adults. What a gift a niece is...

I'm also grateful for warm showers and hot tea.

Another great thing about my home away from home (besides the family in it)? Real life city access to things like good food and free ringtones. I have finally downloaded the marine mammal center sound effects I've been craving for months. I faced so many barriers - at first it was my phone (wrong model), then my carrier (darned Verizon), and ultimately my county (no service). Now the stars have finally aligned.

And, of course, I am grateful for my best friend, now sister-in-law. My constant cheerleader who never has enough room in her life to get mad at me. She's off riding her horses now, a passion I fully support especially as I know it helped her get through her cancer. Tonight the niecelet's off to a party (gotta squeeze them in between softball seasons, I'm told) so it will be girls' night for us. At our age I'm sure that means something wild like staying up until oh, ten or eleven or so. I'm so looking forward to it.


And again I am grateful for my husband who has by now most likely had to scoop Monkey's litterbox.

Friday, November 02, 2007

dia de los gatitos muertos

All night I've been resisting the temptation to shamelessly copy MerryMe's recent blog entry about All Saint's Day. To make matters worse, today is dia de los muertos, the Mexican version of the same holiday, which I personally think is oh so much cooler cuz of all the papier mache skeletons you can buy. Still I held back. I learned that imitation is not always flattery way back in the 8th grade when I was shunned by my former best friend for buying a pair of go go boots shortly after she did. But then I realized that today is also the 2 month sadiversary of the passing of my squished kitty, Blackers and so I have an actual bonafide reason to be celebrating my dead.

I'm not sure I'm doing lists this year, and he was only 3 years old so that's not much of a list, but in cat years that's like 21, right? So here are 21 reasons I loved Blackers:
  1. Blackers was a good hunter. He often brought me dead things, including a gopher, a mouse, and half of a black bird scattered around my bathroom.
  2. Blackers had a great singing voice. I couldn't help but smile when he sang to the birds at the feeders. The big birds got him most excited.
  3. Blackers was wicked. He always drew blood when he'd bite my arm and kick my legs - a ritual we practiced everyday.
  4. Unfortunately, he was also wicked to other cats, particularly O.C. I didn't blame him (though I did squirt him). I knew it was just in his nature.
  5. Having grown up in Kuwait City, Blackers spoke Farci. He totally responded when our Palestinian neighbor spoke to him in his native tongue.
  6. Blackers was stealthy. I could tell he enjoyed popping out of the darkness and pouncing on my freshly showered legs.
  7. Blackers never made me worry. He was always at home and he would never let a stranger abduct him.
  8. Blackers made me proud, being super tough at the vet. He even bent the needle when he was in for a routine vaccination.
  9. Blackers was also brave, particularly when he had to sit in the tree for an hour while our evil neighbor weed whacked his yard and refused to put his ever barking dogs inside.
  10. Blackers learned from his mistakes. I never saw him in the dog yard again.
  11. Blackers was athletic. He often ran up trees just to see if he could.
  12. He was also vain. He'd often test his waist line but seeing if he could still fit in the crack between the garage and the neighboring shed.
  13. Blackers had expensive taste in food. He accepted only the best.
  14. Blackers was dense, bigger than he looked, and that boy was ripped. We think it's cuz he was neutered late but it's also due to his breed.
  15. Blackers was shiny. He had this great short coat that just glistened in the sun.
  16. As my Aunt Fran once told her son, my cuzen Bob, Blackers was handsome but not particularly photogenic.
  17. Blackers was determined. He really didn't care about the Super Soaker peace maker. He wouldn't leave the house until he decided the fight was over.
  18. He also refused to be caged. He once escaped out the kitchen window when he was trapped inside for the cat sitter.
  19. He kept his bladder to himself. This is rather unusual for a cat.
  20. He did, however, love to scratch the couches. But now I'm sort of glad as I have something to remember him by.
  21. Finally, he went quickly, hopefully without any suffering. We're calling him our James Dean of cats - living large, dying young, being unbearably handsome the whole time. Like James Dean, the loss of Blackers is a tragedy, but like the actor, my cat was a treasure who will now become a legend...
And, of course, in terms of my on line gratitude journal, today I am grateful for kitties. Especially Pepper and Frisbee, Fabian and Blackers, and O.C. and Monkey.

I am also grateful for photographs, which help me remember my kitties. I only wish I had more and better pictures.

And I am grateful for the bouncy new tires on my old truck as they will take me safely to Oakland to visit the eldest nieces. I've got to leave right away or I'll have to wait hours to miss the traffic, so ta for now...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

time flies when you're uninspired

With only 4 and a half hours left in the first day of November and no sign of my muse, it's pretty clear I'll have to resort to a theme to make it through NaBloPoMo. Since I never took Oprah's advice to keep a gratitude journal, I'm thinking the internet is as good a place as any. And November's all about the thanks giving, eh? Sure, sounds good to me. It's almost like I put some thought into it, isn't it?

So today I am grateful for my chiropractor. I know I've said it before, so I'm wondering if this doesn't count? But really, she does fine things for my torqued torso and today in particular she got my neck to release on the one side where it never lets go.

And of course I am grateful for my husband. Without his income and insurance I would never have found my chiropractic haven. The poor guy worked a double shift last night and is currently sneaking in two hours of sleep before he's due back. I hate watching him do overtimes, but we have been living off fumes for the past few months, so I'm extra grateful he's digging in and spending extra time at the loony bin.

For that matter, I am grateful that I did not talk myself into buying an HD Tivo today. It was closer than it should've been. I was weak after spending two solid hours of my morning trying to get my current Tivo and my new cable box to make friends. Only after calling a tech (twice - first time I got disconnected after ten minutes on hold) did I discover that I've got a bit of a Sophie's choice on my hands - either Tivo can watch Showtime or we can watch it live, but we can't have both unless we have HD. To add pressure, as an old school Tivo subscriber, I could transfer my lifetime subscription to this new imaginary HD Tivo for a mere $200 (suspiciously, this is the same amount my original lifetime subscription actually cost...) but the offer ends on November 8th. Bastards.

Anyway, since I'm also grateful OC is still okay. He was "condition suspect" for a few days there but he really seems to look fine. I was a wee bit worried that Halloween lockdown would have unintended intestinal consequences but so far no sign. He was even being exceptionally cute today. He chased me all the way down to my car as I was trying to leave for the chiropractor. I thought it was love but when I got home I saw his food bowl was empty. Yep, he was giving me love for food. He knows the drill.

And now I am grateful I have finished one of my thirty posts. I don't know why I'm so tired (hmm? watching movies till 3 and waking up kitty style at 6 am?) but I've really got to head to bed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

it's my blogiversary

Today marks my blog's first birthday - my blogiversary? my blorthday? Google tells me that in this year of blogging madness I have posted a mere 109 times. According to my computer's calculator, that's an average of about twice a week. (You know, god forbid I do math on paper or in my head anymore. As Barbie says, "Math is hard." Although apparently she only said, "Math class is tough," and, to be fair, that could be due to a bad teacher...) Anyway, when you factor in the reason I started blogging (NaBloPoMo) and the streak of 30 consecutive posts that followed, my average is even less impressive. Since this is in a sense a new year, I suppose I should make a resolution to improve this statistic. As I've already signed back up for NaBloPoMo, I guess I can at least promise you November. And this won't be easy folks, as I am on the road for at least 8 of these 30 days (first to see the eldest nieces, then to see the youngest).

To make matters worse, my life is agonizingly ordinary in the absence of seal rescues. Not only is winter the slow season, but I've also scaled back on my scheduled days. At first I was on hiatus to study for the LSAT, but during that break I realized Erik was right. He pointed out that I had found a way to make something fun into something more like a job... So now I'm only on as much as the next person (instead of twice that often) and so far I don't regret it. There is some reason to believe we may see another slew of northern fur seal pups this year, though, in which case I will seethe with jealousy whenever I miss seeing one. But I can always add myself later...

While it's tough on the blogging, I'm actually really grateful my life is boring these days. In particular, this means that OC is in good health. Since making drastic dietary changes, he's beaten his average stretch (3 weeks between enemas) and he seems super happy. Except tonight, of course, as he's been quite upset at being locked up for Halloween. Luckily I got to sneak out at the height of his protests. I left to see Saw IV, leaving Erik here to deal with the kitties. (BTW, I wasn't expecting much of Saw IV, but I must say it was my favorite so far. I may even go see it again or at least rent it when it makes its way to Netflix...) Anyway, I was delighted to return to sleeping kitties and a well lit house. I even made it home before Erik left for work so I could be absolutely certain that no one wearing a pig mask was lurking in my closet. I'm so not freaked out, in fact, I think I may watch Hostel 2 before bed. Seems fitting for the holiday, and Erik hates to watch scary movies with me so I have to squeeze them in while he's at work.

Well, better post now or it will be November already. Yikes.