Thursday, September 28, 2006

Extreme Cat Sniffing Is Too a Sport

For extreme sports enthusiasts, if you've got bad allergies try a little cat sniffing.

Laughing Boy is allergic to cats. You'd think that wouldn't be a problem, since I didn't have any cats when we got together. My ex had kept the cats, and I'd kept the dogs. Not by choice, but because one of the dogs needed daily meds and attention and I knew the ex wouldn't take the time. So every time I saw a cat, or heard one purr, I'd miss my cats and usually, I'm ashamed to admit, cry a little.

We had just made an offer on this house, and it was accepted so we were impatiently slogging through the house paperwork, and packing. In a spirit of "we're all in this together", during our own packing we went to help a friend's mom move. When her mom bought the place, it had come with a yard full of cats the previous owner had fed, and the cat rescue had just come by and scooped them up. But the neighbor's cat had become used to hanging out on her front porch instead of its own, and came over to me and started purring. I tried not to cry, hoping nobody would notice.

Laughing Boy leaned down and whispered, "When we get the house, we can have a cat."

"But you're allergic!"

"Not to all cats." He leaned down to pet the cat rubbing against my legs. And then he wheezed and stepped back, just out of dander range. "I'll just sniff them until we find one I'm not allergic to."

So the Saturday after we'd moved into our new place, we went out cat sniffing. I had researched the pet chain stores around us, finding out which ones had Cat Rescue Adoptions on Saturdays, and had mapped them out by which one was closest, and the most practical (quickest) way to get from store to store. Because I did not want someone wandering off with OUR cat.

The first store we walked into (two minutes after they opened - we were LATE!) had two teeny tiny five week old kittens, one black girl kitten and her brother, a gray tabby. I picked up the black one, and LB picked up the gray tabby. Who promptly rolled over on his back in LB's hands, and started to purr. The little black kitten, not to be outdone, reached up and licked my chin.

The rescue folks wouldn't let the two be adopted separately, and how could we choose just one anyway. But LB wanted one cat, so maybe he could still breathe on alternate Thursdays. He sniffed the gray kitten quite thoroughly. No allergic reaction. I could tell the tabby was working the room, but I'd fallen for the little black purring one in my hands. So we switched cats, and the black kitten, with impeccable timing, immediately curled up in LB's hand and fell asleep, her chin hanging over his palm, her tongue peeking out between her teeth.

That did it. I didn't even need to beg. LB and the two cats are now inseparable. I have to remind them all now and then that if it weren't for ME, we wouldn't even have cats. They are not impressed.

Now THAT'S love.

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

She's Home But Not Pleased

Doodle's eye is still there for now, but she won't ever see out of that side again. There was too much damage from the pressure. The great news is, taking out the abscessed tooth and cleaning out the pus (sorry) has left her alive and actually trotting around almost like she was never sick. Mere hours after surgery. This morning, as I took her in for her third doctor's visit in as many days, shaking from fever and moaning in pain, I wasn't sure I'd be saying that.

However, her eyeball looks like we superglued hamburger to the cornea, and then hit her a few dozen times. It's swollen, lumpy where it should be clear, and demon blood red to boot. And then, you look over at the right side and there's the same old sweet dopey brown eye as ususal, looking out at us with utter confusion and irritation. "Can we cool it with the vet visits, people? I'm trying to take a nap!"

The vet assured me if all goes well, she'll be over the tooth thing completely by tomorrow morning. If she's still in any pain, it will be from the eye and if we notice her rubbing it over the next couple of weeks, then it should come out. But at least when he says "pain" he means slight discomfort/irritation, and not lying on the floor moaning and shaking.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Not a Good Week

Another insane week. This included 50+ hours at job #1, 20 hours at job #2, 16 hours of commuting, and a cough that kept me up most of the night all week.

And now this weekend, Doodles, the Shi Tzu has developed a bad abscess behind her left eye. This eye had the same sort of abscess two years ago, and they warned us it could recur. To top it off, almost exactly one year ago she poked a hole in that same eye and had to have surgery to save it.

So last night we ended up making an emergency room vet trip at 2 am. They said that if we can't get this abscess under control, she could lose the eye this time. She's not eating, not drinking, and doesn't really want to take her meds. I'm spending a lot of time putting syringes full of food and/or water and/or meds in her mouth. She is one very unhappy cone-headed dog. I'm just lucky she's got such useless teeth, or I'd be looking at a few stitches myself by now.

I'd post pictures, but you really, really don't want to see them.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Deal Breakers

I'm stealing an idea from Dooce's site. Well, okay, not really stealing. Because she got the idea from Maggie aka Mighty Girl's new book, "No One Cares What You Had for Lunch:100 Ideas For Your Blog". (Not to imply I'm on a blog-name basis with either of these bright and witty women). Back to the point, Dooce asked on her site what the deal breakers were when it comes to dating men.

I'll have to add the caveat that I ended up, many moons ago, married to my "high school sweetheart". And I met my current boyfriend, whom I've been with for seven years now, just a few months after that first relationship crashed and burned in a surreal, Jerry Springer fashion. So the number of men I've slept with, if counted on one hand, would leave me with fingers - plural - left over. But after I left my hard core, absolutely-serious I-really-mean it deal breakers over at Dooce's site (no abusers, no felons, no animal-haters, etc), I realized that there are probably a few dozen more personal "oh no he didn't" deal breakers. Obviously I haven't had the opportunity to test market every single item on my list, so some of them were market tested and passed on to me by friends and relatives.

I would like to point out that this list is made with the full knowledge that all of the not-counted-on-one-hand men of the world out there could quite honestly point out, "we weren't asking you out!" Duly noted.

Since someone did recently die and make me Queen, I feel free to compile my list anyway. Note: none of these items below have ever applied to the current boyfriend. Laughing Boy is actually freak-of-nature perfect, in each and every way. And he doesn't read this blog, so I don't even have to say that.

Anyway, without any further codacils and subsections...

I won't go out with you if you:

- are more than or equal to two decades older or younger than I am

- expect your wife to get up before you at 3:30 am just to iron your underwear so it's warm when you put it on. One of the ex-husband's coworker's wives did this. No lie. This ain't Alaska, buddy. Cold boxers aren't gonna kill you. And if you want toasty privates, you know where the dryer is.

- wear birkenstocks with any socks.

- wear any sandals with black socks.

- wear any clogs with white socks in public.

- wear a toupee. Bald, yes of course. Toupeed up? Nope, never.

- feel you have a right to dictate when, how and where I depilate. You take care of your hair, I'll take care of mine. And no, now that you mention it, your toupee is so very obviously NOT your hair. No matter how much you paid for it.

- do not have a mouth full of teeth or teeth-like-substitutes. They don't have to all be yours. But they do have to be present and accounted for.

- have breath worse than my Shi Tzu.

- dislike dogs

- dislike cats

- dislike me, but pretend you're just "correcting me" for my own good.

- somehow manage to loudly crunch breakfast cereal while simultaneously suctioning the milk through your molars at high speed, creating a sloshing slurping sucking noise that can be heard two rooms away. Come on buddy, mornings are bad enough!

- work 60+ hours a week at your job, but pitch an actual bona fide hissy fit because I'm still at work when you want to go out some night. And then proceed to lecture me on what's wrong with my work schedule, job, career, and financial situation. Um, not that that's ever happened to me or anyone I know. Just in case you were wondering. You know.

- expect me to "manage" your card sending and gift giving obligations. They're your family. And you've had forty plus years to notice your Mom's birthday is in August. The correct answer is "August". You know them, you can pick out a sweater/scarf/tie/wallet/watch they'd actually like in two minutes. I'll spend two hours agonizing, and I guarantee you they'll still stare at it with something akin to horror. At which point you'll loudly insist that you wanted to get them the sweater/scarf/tie/wallet/watch they would have preferred, but I had insisted on "this... what exactly is it, honey?" instead. And then you spend the hour and a half drive home telling me exactly why that one gift, right there, was exactly the wrong thing to get Aunt Adelaide because of her freakish intaglio phobia. Unless I accidentally manage to pick out, purchase and painstakingly gift wrap something they love, at which point you march out this song and dance about how you spent all weekend looking and finally found it in that perfect little shop outside blah blah blah. Only I put the gift receipt in the box, the gift receipt that clearly does NOT say cute little shop outside blah blah blah. Um, not that that's ever happened to me or anyone I know. Just in case you were wondering. You know.

- play with your "junk" - over or under your pants - in public. I used to work with a guy who did this both ways CONSTANTLY. And not hand-in-his-pocket a little adjustment subtly. Hand down the front of his shorts, moving so much you'd have thought he was making a french braid. During lunch. I'm still shuddering. Thank god I'm nearsighted. And never had to shake his hand.

- make racist jokes, and then when I'm offended explain that you didn't MEAN it, so they weren't really racist jokes and I can't be offended because I'm not (insert ethnic group here). I'm pretty sure that the only qualification you'd need to be offended by that joke is "ears".

- consider each and every conversation a debate that MUST BE WON. By you. Especially, and most gleefully, when you're wrong.

- treat waitstaff like servants.

- are cheap. I can understand not having much money, honestly. That describes my bank balance perfectly, so I understand it all too well. And in my brief dating experience, I still always offered to pay half, or picked up the check every other time. But if you don't even have enough money to cover the valet parking, the time to mention it is before we finish dessert at the restaurant that you picked, invited me to, and drove to. The restaurant where you proceeded to order appetizers, salad, the lobster special, two bottles of wine, dessert and a glass of port. And only then announced that you forgot your wallet. Oh, and would I take a check. A postdated check, because you don't get paid until next week. Not that this has ever... oh, never mind. And yes, the postdated check bounced. Twice.

- own a hand gun.

- giggle like a 14 year old girl, with your curled fists pressed up against your face. Seriously. Also still shuddering.

- use chewing tobacco.

- wake me up by slapping me on the butt and hollering, "Come on hunny, it's 6:30! Get that FATTTTT ass outta bed already! I'm starving!" Now that little paragraph, right there, is wrong on so many levels, I'm just going to put it down and back away.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Green With Envy

I love Ice dot com.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't wear a lot of jewelry. Couldn't afford it for one thing. Don't get that dressed up very often for another.

However, I do like peridots and garnets, even though my birthstone is diamond. But diamonds are insanely expensive, and the politics of their mining is atrocious, so along with the stone comes all my liberal guilt baggage.

Add to that, I'm a hard one to buy gifts for as I don't have "normal" taste in things. If it's pink and pastel and girly, or heart shaped, I'm not gonna swoon when the lid comes off the box. Oh, I'll make all the right noises. But you won't ever see me wearing it. If you want to know the sorts of things I fall for, I watched the first Matrix, entranced. Why? Trinity's boots.

So a couple of weeks ago, I got a promotional e-mail from Ice dot com, and this was front and center:

I shrieked, and then shrieked again when I saw that it was under $75, For A Limited Time Only after the Promotional Extra 20% Off. Black granite. White gold. Peridot. Black silk cord, but I bet it would be easy to replace it with a leather one... "Mine! Mine! Mine!" like the seagulls in "Finding Nemo".

Only I click on the necklace, and the page won't load. Won't! Load! I grumble and go to bed. The next day, still won't load. Try my other computer, and finally get the page to load, only they're OUT OF STOCK!

Okay, I tell myself. Don't panic. The fine print in the e-mail says the offer is good until the end of September. I check back the next day, page won't load. The day after that, loads but out of stock. The day after that, page won't load. The day after...

After about nine days (eight and a half days longer than Instant-Gratification Woman (TM) usually lasts), I get fed up and call Ice dot com. Explain that the page won't load. He can't even find it in their computer, so he has me send him the promotional e-mail.

"Oh. Yeah. There it is. We're out of those right now, unfortunately. Sorry." He really is being very kind and helpful, yet somehow inexplicably is not Telling Me What I Want To Hear. I hate it when that happens.

"Okay." I do some deep breathing. "Fine. Thank you for checking. Do you know when you're getting more?"

He comes back and says six to eight weeks.

"Ah." I bite back my first, second and third response. Because this is, of course, Not His Fault. "After your sale is over."

"Yes. Sorry."

That word again!

But I still checked back. Every day. Because I am stubborn and I like to pretend the universe would not taunt me like that. Page won't load, out of stock, page won't load...

And then Saturday, 1 am! The page loads and...

In five to seven business days, it will be mine. All mine! And at the sale price, no less. I envy me, being me, just for today.

Now if I can just find a pair of these...

She Walks in Beauty Like The Night

You'll note that good old George Gordon, Lord Byron did not say "She walks in nasty old chinos half an inch too short with the ugliest front pleats to ever appear outside the mall food court like the night".

So why, exactly, are those hateful atrocities still hanging in my closet?

I have three kinds of clothes in my forlorn little closet:

1) cool vintage outfits I had from when I was dancing and/or younger. No one who has ever had to attend a formal Christmas party last minute could throw out that 1950's black velvet quilted circle skirt with the original sparse scattering of tiny rhinestones, pearls and metal studs. I feel pretty just standing next to it. But no, it doesn't zip shut with me in it. At the moment.

2) Nasty "office appropriate clothes" from when I stopped dancing and had to find a new way to support myself. The temp office jobs thankfully didn't last long, and I hated with a displaced passion everything I bought in that one surly Ross-Dress-For-Hell shopping spree that spawned the aforementioned chinos of ugliness. But the clothes were all still "wearable", so I couldn't just throw them all away. They did, however, make me look so ugly I would wear my childhood 1970's Holly Hobby yellow and orange polyester bedspread to work before I would resort to those pants. I still have all the clothes. Still hate all the clothes.

3) Things that I bought in the last five years that actually fit.

Item 3 accounts for, at best guess, 1/5 of my total wardrobe. Somehow, I reached adulthood with the warped idea that I can't throw out anything until I have something to replace it with. Today I woke up and, in a grand fit of clarity, realized if I'm never going to wear it ever again, then I don't have to keep it. And "they" can't make me.

Don't panic. The vintage clothes are staying, until I find them a good home. Or lose twenty pounds. Yeah, I lied and said twenty. Yet another stellar reason I don't have a web cam.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Songs of Life, Songs of Joy

No, I don't have any songs for you. Sorry. But the antibiotics have swooped in and allowed me to take a full breath for the first time in weeks. My coughing up a lung is down to a few times a day, and I actually slept through the night last night for the first time in who knows how long.

And, joy of joys, Laughing Boy is feeling better too. It's amazing how responsible I feel for his every ache and pain when he catches whatever I have. Luckily, he had a couple of days warning that it was coming, so he loaded up on vitamins and zinc. So he hasn't been as sick.

Work is still trickling in, which is also good. Just enough to keep solvent, and yet a light enough workload to get through while sick. Hmmmm. It's just all going toooo smoothly. My paranoia meter is ticking ever upwards.

But while we were laid low, we had Terry Pratchett books to keep us amused, and "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" along with the latest season of "Arrested Development" DVDs to watch. So, when you toss in the convenient hot Thai chicken soup delivered, in spite of the occasional 11 hour work days it was more like being home from school sick. You're really glad you're not at school, but you're pissed off you're too sick to truly enjoy lying on the couch watching cartoons all afternoon. I feel a bit sorry for sick kids home from school without cable today. Instead of hours of Brady Bunch reruns and Loony Tunes anvils, they've got Jerry Springer and Maury to while away the tedious afternoon hours.

Obviously, I'm not quite well enough to be let loose on an unsuspecting internet, what with the half coherent babbling and all. But it's nice to be back anyway!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sorry I Haven't Gotten Back To You

... It's not that I suddenly became bored with the sound of my own voice, believe me. It's just that I've run out of new ways to say mucus bites.

Off to the doctor's tomorrow for some antibiotics or something. Less fluid in my lungs would be good.

Whine for everyone!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Love That Man

As if the sushi-making wasn't enough love and devotion, it is midnight and my man is out buying me new cough and cold supplies. Cheerfully, with a smile and a kiss on his way out the door. Even though he has the same cold/cough and was running his behind off at work all day after a long long night of very little sleep. Not for any fun reasons, the sleeplessness; rather, he was jolted out of an almost-sleep every five minutes because my cough sounds like a kennel full of dogs at feeding time. No one could sleep through a cough like that, cough-er or cough-ee.

In desperation, hoping that someone somewhere would be able to sleep even a little bit, I staggered into my home office to sleep on the floor. And after half an hour, he came in and curled up next to me. That's why I love him.

No word at all on why he loves me, since I rewarded him by barking in his ear all night long. And not in a good way. If there even is a good way to bark in someone's ear. Just thought I'd clarify that, just in case.

Ye gods, what is in this cold medicine, anyway?

Happy Love Thursday!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hack Hack Cough

Not to be indelicate but this cough is so "productive", shall we say, I feel like a Pez dispenser.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Laughing Boy and I had been going out for six months when he dropped the bombshell.

I was going through a rough patch, working three jobs and trying to pick up the pieces of my life after a messy divorce the year before. I was so tired, my body was craving strange foods. And what it wanted most of the time, for every lunch and every dinner, was sushi. Spicy tuna rolls, fresh water eel, salmon sashimi. Mercury be d*@%mned, my body wanted protein and not the kind with legs.

One evening, I got out of work too late and my favorite sushi place was closed. It was then that LB said it. "I could make you some."

Excuse me?

"They sell sushi grade ahi and salmon at Hole Foods. I could make you some spicy tuna rolls. I took a class."

He took a class. And he kept this from me for how long?

He doesn't just make sushi. He approaches making sushi with the same attention to detail as the rest of his life. That weekend, he went to three Asian food stores to find Japanese mayonnaise and fresh wasabi. He tracked down the freshest avacado and pickled ginger. He bought sushi grade ahi and salmon from four different sources, to make sure what he ended up using was absolutely fresh. And then he made spicy tuna rolls, california rolls, rainbow rolls. He made some rolls with the rice on the outside, sprinkled with roe. Salmon sashimi. Ahi, thinly sliced and buttery soft.


And after I'd eaten everything in sight, I asked him. Why did you keep this from me? All those sushi lunches and sashimi dinners, and not a word.

"It never came up."

It's official. He's a guy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Blighted Landscape of My Life

I find myself mourning the loss of my tiny, stunted ficus. It's not that it was a happy, robust plant. It's just that it had, against all odds, managed to survive life with me for eight long years. Sometimes with only one lonely leaf clinging stubbornly to a brittle branch, yet it lingered. It deserved better thanks for its dogged determination. I can at least be comforted that it was happy in its final weeks. It had put out almost thirty five vivid green and white leaves in the last two months. Yes, I counted them. I felt the need to salute the loss of the sole survivor of my black thumb.

Laughing Boy, on the other hand, can just look at a plant and it grows extra branches. He is surprised, for good reason, when one of his plants doesn't make it. The first time I went to plunk down $10 on a "Color Bowl" of annuals at the garden center, he stopped me.

"But that's only going to last a few weeks."

I blinked at him in confusion. "And?"

"Well, don't you want to buy something that will last longer?"

He has come to understand, with bitter resignation, my slightly guilty/hysterical giggling at that question.

Banana Dog, selecting a victim

The plants in this picture are not the ones that Banana has slaughtered (yet), but you can tell that these have not had an easy time of it either. Laughing Boy constantly nurses them back from the brink in between my random acts of kindness (aka erratic overwatering and/or neglect).

And now, in spite of all Laughing Boy's hard work, Banana Dog is carrying on my legacy. I'm not sure how I will break the news.

I'm A Survivor

So, the cold's still here, but we've reached an agreement. I sit still as much as possible and, in exchange, it lets me get my work done. The annoying double cough every two seconds is my house arrest ankle bracelet, reminding me not to stroll too far from the bed and fluids.

Not to turn this blog into "What Did Banana Destroy Today?", but... Oh, come on, you knew there was a "but"! While I was out cold yesterday, Banana Dog slaughtered my little ficus that was in a pot on the back porch. She danced me out there so proudly, I could see she had no idea that this was not something that I would look on with the joy and contentment of a job well done. The "bad dog!" took her completely by surprise. She ended up putting herself into a time out in her pen, with the door open, and wouldn't come out until I sat on the floor with her. Which doesn't mean she won't continue her reign of terror in the backyard. Total herbological annihilation is her ultimate goal, and she's getting there remarkably quickly.

In other news:
Douglas Adams said, "I love deadlines! I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

The good part of freelancing is where I get to sit here, coughing on my keyboard, taking naps whenever I must. As long as the work gets done, they're pleased. The bad part is, while I strictly adhere to their firm deadline for getting the work done, they never seem to pay any attention to my firm deadline for getting paid. For that matter, they never pay attention to any sentence that contains the word "pay", for fear the word "check" would follow close behind.

Perhaps if I go in and cough on them until they find their pen.