Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I may have mentioned previously that our cats love water.  That is a bit of an understatement.  Kimi-Cat,  as a kitten, actually fell into the toilet when she was watching the water swirl down the drain - and it didn't upset her.  Katsu sleeps in wet sinks - she waits until you are done washing your face or brushing your teeth and then curls up.  Wet showers with dripping water are wonderful places to relax or play depending on your kitty mood.  Barring those sources of water, the kitchen sink is a good spot to get wet.

Rufus particularly loves getting the kitchen floor soaking wet by playing in his water dish. When he drank, he used to put one foot in the water no doubt holding the water dish still so it wouldn't run away. When the kittens got bigger,  we got a bigger dish and he began putting both feet into the water dish.  We started to suspect that he was trying to wash his feet after using the litter box - which would explain why his sisters would go thirsty until we rinsed and refilled the water bowl. After all, who wants to drink water with litter at the bottom and your brother's fur floating at the top?

From "washing his feet" he graduated to pushing the water around with his paws, batting at it to  make waves.   He seemed to never tire of it.  It came to be routine to pick him up for a cuddle and wind up with two very wet kitty feet on your chest.

 Then the large puddles began to appear.  At first we thought it was an accident.  Then we noticed that prior to the floor becoming wet there were ominous thumping sounds coming from the kitchen.  It was Rufus rocking the water bowl...up onto the edge of the tray, back down onto the tray - oh the splashing of the water was wonderful!  We got a bigger heavier bowl.  The thumping got louder as he figured out how to get the dish completely off of the tray and onto the floor.
We got a water bowl with no lip on it so that he could not get his paws underneath the bowl.  This did not deter him.  Rufus is nothing if not determined, especially when it comes to water and to strawberry ice cream.  It was more difficult for him to move the  bowl, but he could do it, sadly swamping the food tray as well as the floor.  This meant that if he played with the water bowl early in the morning, there was the potential for three cats to be without drinking water (or food) for the entire day.
Last weekend we purchased a "spill proof bowl" that has a cover on it with just a little hole in the middle for the cat to access the water - no space for standing in the water while drinking, no space for playing in the water...  this would WORK we thought excitedly.  Somebody with a cat like Rufus had come up with a solution - NOT.
Within the first hour, he had figured out how to lift the bowl by it's cover and dump it upside down on the floor...
We got a large ceramic (heavy) bowl.  It is quite ugly, but has the advantage of weighing a ton (well, probably 2 pounds).  And Rufus doesn't appear to be able to move the bowl.  Unfortunately the glazed interior has a black pattern on the bowl's bottom that stands out beautifully against its white background.
And for the last two days, Rufus has dilligently been trying to remove the pattern from the bottom of the bowl.  first with one paw, then with the other.
I give up.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Easy to be Hard

Parenting.  The hardest job you'll ever do.

The sentiment is overused and trite.  But like many oft used phrases; it is trite, but true.

When is it the hardest?  When your 9 month old is running a fever and can't tell you where it hurts?  When your 6 year old's beloved pet dies?  The first breakup of a serious relationship?

The answer is that it gets harder as they get older.  When the problem can't be solved with hugs and some motherly words of wisdom.

I used to make fun of my mother.  The fact that I was over 40, living half-way across the country, and I still needed to "call in" so that she wouldn't worry.  She would still weigh in on our decisions:  major purchases, childrearing, vacation plans.  I  would laugh with The Bearded One on late Saturday afternoons as we left the harbor.  "Time to call Mom.  She'll be worrying."  And yes, she was.  She would be waiting for the call telling her we were safely off the water.  I laughed.  And now I am ashamed of it.

I'm sitting here, at 1:15 in the morning.  Unable to sleep.  Half watching Hoarders.  Worrying.  And it isn't a laughing matter anymore.  It just hurts that I can't make it better.  That Stubble has to find his own way.  That there is nothing that I can do to make it easier.

So here I sit.  Feeling sad.  Feeling guilty.  Feeling like a Mom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

let me count the ways...

Why do I love Tootsie Rolls?  Is it their chocolaty goodness?  Is it that they are never too hard or too soft for a good chew?  Is it that they bring back the feelings of innocent childhood where happiness could be had for a penny?
Yeah, all of that.
So it came as a huge surprise to me that in a Halloween candy survey, Tootsie Rolls were at the bottom of the list of favorites along with corn candy.  The corn candy thing I can relate to.  Corn Candy is colorful and good for garnishing autumn baked goods.  It is not good for much else.  Tootsie Rolls, however, are good for lots of things.  They are a handy snack that can be easily carried.  They taste much better (and are more satisfying than) a granola bar.  They do not crumble.  They work just as well as a strand alone candy as they do a candy center.  And best of all, they make Kitty Litter Cake realistic and truly disgusting.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Politics of Fear

I was never going to mention politics in this blog.  It isn't a political blog. But the Fear is very real and it is mine.

It is my fear for Me.  The job that I have been doing for the last two decades is so specialized that were I to lose it, I would be virtually unemployable, especially at my age...

My fear is for my Son.  In college, working hard, and for what?  Will he be working three part-time jobs none of them with benefits in order to make ends meet.  What if there are no jobs out there?  Unemployment is high.  And getting higher.  How will he afford to marry, to have a family?  I can't see any clear answers to those questions.

My fear is for my Husband.  We had plans to retire.  He has been saving for retirement since he was in his 20's.  Yes, his 20's.  He was working a job with a retirement plan that he could opt into and he did.  And put away a little extra every month.  We watched it growing and he patted himself on the back for showing great foresight.  We weren't going to get caught like so many who had not planned well for their future...
But those investments cannot be touched and are tied to the stock markets.  We have watched them nose dive several times over the years - always believing what we were told:  It is a long term investment.   Give it time, and it will recover.  But that was before the current economic meltdown, the financial crisis in Europe, computerized trading, and a global economy...
That was before continuing unemployment that shows no signs of abating.  And a retirement that is receeding farther and farther into our future. 

We are told on the one hand that we can't increase revenue by raising taxes, because that would hurt the "job creators" - well, I have a corollary then:  Let them either create jobs - good jobs.  Jobs that can support a family.  Jobs that provide benefits.  Jobs that will allow workers to begin purchasing durable goods again, so we can increase prodction so that we can hire more people so that they can earn money and spend money.....and buy houses and cars.  Or let them pay taxes.

One or the other.

If they choose to hold back to see how things go...letting people twist in the wind, unable to find work as their unemployment benefits run out...

If they choose to "invest in America" by creating meaningful, decently paying jobs, well then - they have made their contribution.

Only seems fair.

Thanks for listening.  I feel better now.  Not less fearful, mind you, but better.

Rays of Sunshine on the Horizon

Things are looking up.  The weather is cooling (as much as it ever does here) so sleeping is better.  Two weeks of additional SSRIs have readjusted the neurotransmitters.

There are other things as well:  I have increased the frequency and duration of my morning exercise and I am attempting to cut most junk food out of my life - Doritos, Tootsie Rolls, Cookies, Ice Cream...

Junk food does not include Ice Cream, you say?  There is actual food value in Ice Cream, you say?  Well, nothing says, "I don't care, just leave me alone to get fat" like a carton of Blue Bunny "Kneedeep in Chocolate" or Ben and Jerry's "Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream" - both of which I can finish off in one sitting.  And if there was a second carton around, I would go for that too.

I have little to no resistance to ice cream of any variety - Pumpkin: perfect for Fall.  Strawberry: memories of summer.  Vanilla with Carmel Sauce and topped with apple chunks (McDonald's): celebrates the harvest.  I could go on and on.

But I won't.  I'm feeling immensely better.  So much so that I can almost believe that my family was mistaken in noticing the tell tale signs of depression.  Except that they weren't.

Here's hoping that the changes in medication and lifestyle lead to a productive fall and winter and a joyous holiday season.

thanks, Roses!