We are HOME. I have rarely in my life been so tired, and I have spent much of my life being tired. This is non-Euclidean tired that collapses in upon itself. I'm sort of impressed by it.
As usual, Sam was thrilled to see me, Sophie was thrilled to see X, and Alex pretended to have entirely forgotten our names until we ordered pizza and he decided he wanted some. Tili took very good care of them. She also pointed out that our inexplicably huge basil plants grew enormous flower spikes during the three days we were gone. The leaves are yellowing a bit; might be time for more fertilizer.
I cannot overstate how tremendously lucky we are to have such a good travel-bean. They were really clearly Done With Everything around 2 p.m. yesterday, and very polite about our inexplicable failure to take them home right then. They didn't nap much on the train today, though they did sleep on me for about half an hour—it's such a pleasure to be slept on by a baby, and we were all jockeying a bit to be the one that Kit napped on; I only won because J needed to get up to get something and I snagged the sleepy baby and the blanket—but they were generally cheerful and amenable to distraction nonetheless, and as soon as we got home they chugged a bottle and sacked out. They even signed "train" while we were waiting for the train, and they made friends with another toddler who was riding in our car, trading many high-fives and handshakes. They really liked the train trips; we should do more train travel with them.
Next year, more and better planning. Definitely. But on the whole it was a very good con.
Today I joined the general strike. Instead of working, I wrote a post on how to make art in scary and difficult times
, and then I met with the teens I mentor and talked about writing and reading and why we read SF/F and how to overcome writer's block and stop procrastinating. It was exactly the way I wanted to spend the day. I boycotted the inauguration so hard that I mostly managed not to even think about it.
When I was getting dressed I wore all black, which I basically never do. I hadn't planned to, but I opened my dresser drawer and went "Oh, yes, I think the black turtleneck is what I want to wear today, and the black trousers too". I dithered over jewelry and ended up with my origami peace dove necklace. I came out of my room to greet peripateticmeg
, who was here to babysit Kit (they've had a nasty head cold since Tuesday, poor thing), and she was also wearing all black. X said several people at their office were too.
It's been a really spectacularly terrible week in a lot of ways. The baby being sick means all of us have had our sleep and work schedules disrupted, the power to our house went out for five hours on Tuesday (some sort of wiring issue, apparently), I had some shitty family stuff to deal with, a company made J a job offer but is now delaying on finalizing it, our bank messed up our rent payment (no doom, fortunately, as we have a great landlord and a spotless payment history), Alex-the-cat has been an aggressive asshat to the other cats, Sam and Sophie have been hairballing everywhere, friends are also dealing with unhappy and stressful things, and of course the inauguration. But we are holding on and even finding ways to feel good:
* We've had lots of good family dinners, even when we were all almost too tired to talk.
* J and I shared some good hugs today and went for a nice walk in the drizzle. We've both been so busy and tired that we barely see each other. It was wonderful to get a companionable hour together.
* X and I have been having lovely nightly half-hour hangouts on the couch before they go to bed. We talk about the day and make plans and send each other into bouts of exhausted hysterical laughter. I just remembered that we used to do this when they first moved to NYC; I guess we naturally gravitate toward that time of night as together-time.
* Kit is coughing less, and when their fever spikes occasionally it never gets higher than 102 (which is also much less worrying now that they're over a year old) and responds very well to Tylenol.
* grammar_girl livetweeted an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
and it genuinely made me cry.
* I had a quick but delightful dinner with teaberryblue
* Long Hidden
and her husband came to visit me at work and we had a good conversation about crowdfunding for anthologies. (Support her fundraiser for Problem Daughters
, a marginalized feminist SF/F anthology!)
* I made plans to see my mother and brother on Sunday to celebrate my mother's birthday.
* Just now Kit woke up and seamlessly transitioned from lying down to sitting up while I was watching on the monitor. It's been clear for a while that they can do that, but I hadn't seen it. They're super perky right now because their fever is down. They're lying in the crib squeaking contentedly and playing with the teddy bear, who was recently named Face Hugs. (Kit believes teddy bears are for faceplanting onto.)
* I've been catching up on laundry. I always feel better when the hampers are empty.
* I've been really on top of my work schedule since coming back from vacation, even with everything else going on. Hanging out on #yuletide has been wonderful for my productivity because people do "word wars" or "productivity wars" that are basically Pomodoro timer installments except in 20 on/10 off instead of 25 on/5 off. I also reworked my Persuaded
outline from scratch and even wrote a little bit of the opening. The character voices are much clearer this time around, though the story hasn't quite found its own voice yet. It'll get there.
And now the baby is finally asleep, so I'm going to do some knitting for the first time in ages
. I still hold out hope for finishing this sweater before Kit outgrows it, though I think I'd better hurry. They keep getting taller!
- thinking about:
experiences.annoyances, experiences.beauty, experiences.teaching, experiences.work, ideas.politics, people.cats, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina, places.home, projects.crafts.knitting, stuff.clothes, stuff.money, words.books.persuaded, words.writing
- feeling:holding on
There's a Twitter meme going around of "for every person who likes/faves this tweet, I will post one thing that makes me happy". I got 61 likes and added the 62nd myself. :) My list:
1) Dozing on the rocking chair with the baby asleep on me.
2) The first post-travel snuggle with Sam after she's forgiven me for abandoning her.
3) Sitting at the kitchen table drinking hot chocolate at 1 a.m. when the dishwasher and washing machine are humming in the quiet house.
4) When I come into the nursery and Kit carefully sizes me up, checks the inner roster of favorite people, and then gives me a huge smile.
5) Walking in the Botanic Gardens and Prospect Park today, watching spring reclaim the frozen earth from winter.
6) Reading a wonderful book with a powerful, satisfying ending.
7) My regular Skype dates with beloved friends who live far away.
8) Animated conversations with J and X where our ideas and desires are all in perfect harmony.
9) Learning new things, especially new skills and techniques.
10) When something works the way it's supposed to, the very first time I try it.
11) Homemade food I can just enjoy without having to wonder whether it's safe for me to eat.
12) Having the perfect outfit in my closet for whatever my gender is today.
13) Helping teenagers feel good about themselves.
14) Being called on my shit by my honest, loving friends.
15) Feeling good today because I was awesome with self-care yesterday.
16) Rereading an old favorite book and finding that it's still terrific. Take that, Suck Fairy!
17) Making a tight deadline.
18) Living in NYC.
19) Feeling that good post-exercise muscle burn.
20) Walking into an event where lots of people are happy to see me.
21) The fierceness of marginalized people reclaiming the center.
22) The unbearable cuteness of baby-size versions of adult clothes.
23) Having just enough alcohol to get a nice gentle buzz.
24) Having just enough caffeine to be really productive.
25) Catching our usually argumentative cats hanging out together or even snuggling.
26) Family cuddles with the baby.
27) Driving on my own and knowing that I could go anywhere.
28) Steph Curry Vines.
29) Being a parent.
30) The way the top of Kit's head sometimes smells like whiskey.
You know I could easily have made all 30 of these about the baby. I feel I have been very restrained.
31) Pictures of turtles.
32) Being a generally healthy, financially independent adult in charge of my own life.
33) My very different but equally wonderful date nights with X and J.
34) Freshly baked or toasted bread with butter and jam.
35) The kindness and support of other parents and kid-carers as we figure out this parenting thing. You're all wonderful.
36) Eating ice cream outside while it's snowing. I haven't gotten to do this in 2015/2016--maybe on Friday, if the promised snow happens.
37) The number 37. I just like it. I like 17 too, and powers of 2.
Conveniently, I'm 37. And not old.
38) Imagining Kit at different ages.
39) When I wake up and open the curtain and light floods in.
40) Potato chips.
41) Hot showers.
42) The diligence and persistence of people trying to make fandom and conventions safer and more welcoming and more accessible.
43) The times when my brain tries to have anxiety dreams and I make them have happy endings.
"Oh, I left all my luggage on the train? My traveling companion was on the train and must have brought it to our hotel."
44) Beaches in winter.
45) My sturdy little basil plant that started out as stems supertailz
brought me from the grocery store months and months ago.
46) Tax refunds.
47) Our awesome little ungentrified corner of Crown Heights.
48) Friends who are diligent about protecting our baby from their germs. <3
49) Medium-rare steak frites at Les Halles.
50) Our awesome landlords, who are also our awesome downstairs neighbors.
51) All our silly nicknames for Kit.
52) The way I look in my gorgeous Frye boots.
53) Balancing our checkbook every month and feeling all the numbers click into place.
's goal-driven persistence.
57) The vast improvement to our kitchen vibe just from moving one baker's rack. Can't wait to complete our rearrangement!
58) Watching our friends build the lives they want.
59) The scent of petrichor after a summer thunderstorm.
60) Mole de pavo.
61) My cat's tiny squeaky meow. vine.co/v/iWuOWtelEI3
62) Spending a whole day thinking about things that make me happy! Thank you all for the faves. 💕
(I had NO IDEA I could put emoji in LJ/DW posts. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.)
- thinking about:
behavior.kindness, behavior.parenting, experiences.driving, experiences.joy, experiences.kindness, experiences.reading, food, mind.dreamtime, people.cats, people.friends, people.groups.fandom, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina, places.home, places.us.ny.new york, places.us.ny.new york.brooklyn, stuff.clothes, stuff.money
Here it is mid-October already. The time, it does fly.
This is what we've done so far in October:( Long list is long )
Not included on there is all of us having day jobs (including big projects/crunch time on all fronts), date nights, hobbies, chores, constantly working on being a better family (improving conflict resolution, practicing asking for things we want and need, supporting one another through our various anxieties around pregnancy and birth and parenthood), etc. Fortunately the list for the second half of October is slightly less daunting.
is on my lower back, about 5 cm by 2.5 cm, and totally benign. It's been there for years and years. I wouldn't even bother having it removed except that it does get a very little bit bigger every year and is starting to occasionally ache a little, which means I'm going to have to have it out eventually. Better to do that now while it's moderate-size (which means a quicker procedure and faster healing) and while I'm not picking up a baby all the time (stitches on my lower back = no lifting heavy things for a couple of weeks). So there will probably be an outpatient procedure for that sometime in November, whee.
On the hobby front, I've been obsessing over annotating the Hamilton lyrics on Genius
; just putting the subject line on this post reminded me of an annotation I'd wanted to make and suddenly it's half an hour later. (I've so far resisted the siren song of annotating every TMBG song ever, because a) I do not have time and b) no, really, I don't have time. I permitted myself to mark up "Vestibule"
and that is it.) (For now.) I've also been growing some nice virtual succulent gardens in Viridi
I finally finished knitting a pair of baby booties, and I'd like to try making a blanket or sleep sack next. The booties were pretty tough on my arms but I'm hoping working with larger needles will be easier. Now I just have to survive the rampant gendering in the comments of every single Ravelry pattern for babies. THE BABY DOES NOT CARE WHAT COLOR THE SLEEP SACK IS. Anyway, this looks cute
and I might try to make it, maybe using this technique
for ribbing to see whether it makes me hate ribbing any less.
I've turned in my Best Books list for 2015, which in theory means I can read for fun now, but I have no idea what I actually want to read. Maybe I'll reread some old favorites.
It's very firmly fall now. Right now it's 40F outside. Inside, the heat's come on, but I haven't put plastic over my window or taken out my air conditioner yet, so there's still a bit of a draft in my room. The cats think this is the best weather ever, and have been super cuddly. Sam keeps walking all over me. Alex usually avoids X's bed, which is Sophie's territory, but the other day X woke up from a nap to find all three cats hanging out on the bed together (though all carefully positioned at the maximum possible distance from one another). Even the usually aloof Sophie sat on J tonight while X and J and I were cuddling! We were all completely astonished.
Our early wintergift to ourselves was heaps of warm clothing from L.L. Bean: robes, slippers, flannel shirts, insulating undershirts, a fits-over-the-bump winter coat for X, all that lovely stuff. I got a Black Watch plaid flannel nightshirt that goes down to my knees and it's the best thing ever. I think I'm going to snuggle up in it and go get lots of good sleep.
- thinking about:
behavior.accomplishments, body, body.health, body.skin, experiences.books, experiences.reading, experiences.seasons, experiences.seasons.autumn, experiences.theatre, experiences.theatre.hamilton, experiences.work, food, food.cooking, people.cats, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina, places.home, projects.crafts, projects.crafts.knitting, stuff.books, stuff.clothes
Yesterday was a wonderful wonderful day and I only cried once (though that once was not very much fun). Today was a wonderful wonderful day and I didn't cry at all
. I think my hormones are finally fucking off and leaving me in peace. I swear my PMS has been way worse since X got pregnant. They're offgassing hormones or something.
I got the crying over with early in the day yesterday, so X and I had most of the afternoon and the entire evening to spend on more enjoyable pursuits. (J was upstate visiting his mother.) X took a two-hour nap. I took a long soothing shower, got dressed, started a load of laundry, decided what to make for dinner, shopped, and cooked
. I also pasteurized a jarful of honey for X, using my awesome ThermoClamp
thermometer holder. It was cool enough in our kitchen that when X woke up they came out to hang out at the table and keep me company while I was cooking. HELLO AUTUMN I MISSED YOU.
I made a very mild coconut curry
that we both really liked, so that's a new thing on the list of known-good meals, which is always nice. I did the dishes and then we snuggled up and watched The Aristocats
, because we noticed that Alex had struck a pose that was 100% pure O'Malley, and once we identified it we agreed that watching the movie was required. If you want to know what Alex is like, just watch O'Malley strut around while singing about how great he is. All the body language is exactly the same.
After that, X went to bed, and I did... something. Read a book, maybe? Or maybe that was Friday. I can't even remember now. Anyway, I toddled off to bed around 4 with earplugs in.
I slept a full 7.5 hours, the longest sleep I've had in ages, and didn't remember my dreams at all. X and I had a leisurely early afternoon at home and then went out and got haircuts. On the train we read a couple of RIE parenting books and talked about the parts we liked and didn't; I think there's enough useful stuff in there to be worth inflicting on J so we can all discuss together.
Our barber has been on vacation for five weeks, so we had gotten very shaggy. It feels so good to be shorn again, especially on a gloriously breezy day. We exclaimed constantly about the weather. It was cool and cloudy and just perfect. We got rained on slightly, but didn't mind at all.
We decided to walk up to Bed Bath & Beyond, and on the way we passed the new outpost of Dylan's Candy Bar at Union Square. Half an hour and a shocking amount of money later, we staggered out, clutching sticks of rock candy and mentally apologizing to our dentists. That place is dangerous
. I'm pretty sure we should not ever bring our child there. (We probably will anyway.)
We eventually made it up to BB&B and got the one thing we were shopping for and the inevitable dozen other things we realized we needed. About halfway through, X started getting tired and achy, so they sat in the cafe while I went through the checkout line. By the time I was done, they were ready to go home, but I could feel my blood sugar crashing post–rock candy, so we ducked into a nearby Pain Quotidien and had a lovely quiet early dinner, aided by a charming but slightly addled (or bored) server named Titus who said things like "I hope I've been able to serve your needs" and "I can acquiesce that for you".
J texted that he had arrived at Penn Station just as we were finishing up, and we hoped we'd run into him on the 3 train, but we got home just a few minutes ahead of him. He heated up and ate some leftovers while we put away the things we'd bought, and then we all snuggled up together like it was going out of style. With the window open just a crack, my room was almost too cold. It was marvelous.
X and J went to bed; I did dishes and got some work done and snuggled Sam. I snacked on baguette with butter and honey, my own private little Rosh Hashanah observance. Eventually I had to close my window--it's all the way down to 59 degrees outside. Today might have been the last shorts-wearing day of the year. I've kind of forgotten what it's like to wear layers and have my legs covered, but if the weather stays like this I'll remember pretty quickly.
More like this, please. Lots more. Lots and lots and lots. May this be the beginning of a sweet, sweet new year.
- thinking about:
behavior.love, body.hair, body.reproductive system, body.sleep, events.holidays, events.holidays.rosh hashanah, experiences.joy, experiences.seasons, experiences.seasons.autumn, experiences.weather, food, food.cooking, food.cooking.curry, food.cooking.curry.coconut, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.anxiety, people.cats, people.josh, people.xtina
"My arms aren't that
sore, I can totally go to the gym and work with a new personal trainer," I said on Monday.
"Ow, ow ow
ow," I said on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.( Arms blah )
Other than my perennially cranky limbs, my health's been very good. I've been moving around enough to keep my knees happy. I don't remember the last time anyone in the house had so much as a cold. My ears are being very well behaved. I have a weird ongoing thing where it sometimes feels like food is caught in my throat, but my ENT checked it out and says it's just congestion.
I finally went to a decent allergist (after years of thinking I should) and learned that I'm allergic to roaches and dust mites; we don't have roaches but we do have a lot of dust, given all the books and all the cats, so I guess that's a good reason to change my sheets weekly, have the sainted Angela over to clean the house monthly, and maybe get an air purifier for my room. I could also get allergy shots but there's no guarantee they'll help, I hate injections, and it just seems like more than I can emotionally cope with right now. Ask me again when I've slept.
Still not caught up on sleep post-RWA. Hoping to fix that this week.
=====( Being good partners )
J went out of town for a week. Every day he was gone, Alex got more and more vocal and unhappy and lonely and affectionate. When he came back Alex glued himself to J and would not leave his side until J went to bed and shut the door. Then Alex plunked down sadly outside J's room, looking woefully at me every time I walked by. Apparently he has decided that he's J's cat. J wasn't consulted about this but doesn't appear to be displeased. He still gets to pick our next cat. :)
The cats are generally getting along very well. There's still occasional chasing and swatting and hissing, but you know, they're cats. Sam and Sophie generally hang out on X's bed all day, grudgingly managing to get within a foot or two of each other. Alex sleeps in my room at night, up on top of the dresser; Sam sleeps on my bed or windowsill.
We still have no idea how they'll all react to the appearance of a baby. We'll figure that out when it happens, I guess.
=====( Baby prep )
And because I totally needed a new side gig while all this is going on:
Introducing Reading While Cooking
and I are collaborating on this literary and culinary advice column. Submit a request with your preferences and restrictions, and we'll recommend books and recipes for you. The first post went up today
and we plan to do at least one a month, maybe more.
We're very grateful to the people who have put requests in our queue, since we couldn't really do an advice column without people who want advice. If you want some tasty things to read and eat, send us a request
It's the first time I've tried using Patreon; so far we have one backer who's pledging a whole $2 per post. :) But it's a start. If we're not profitable by the end of the year, we'll probably consider the project a glorious failed experiment--as so many books and recipes are--and move on to something else. In the meantime, we're having fun.
- thinking about:
behavior.being useful, behavior.love, behavior.planning, body.allergies, body.arms, body.exercise, body.hands, body.health, body.pain, body.sleep, body.strength, experiences.annoyances, experiences.marriage, experiences.work.freelance, food, food.cooking, people.cats, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina, places.home, projects, projects.reading while cooking, stuff.books, stuff.tech
Java J. Jasper, 1996(?)–2014. He was the tallest, longest, hardest-working, kindest, most elegant, absolute bestest cat.
In his youth he was an escape artist--I believe he's gotten out of every home we've ever lived in, most notably by unlatching a window screen, going down the fire escape, and jumping onto an air conditioner four stories off the ground--and an athlete who once broke his jaw by misjudging a leap from the top of a bookcase. He aged gracefully into a dignified gentleman, tolerating years of medication for pancreatitis while acting as though he'd never been sick a day in his life. He took his responsibilities extremely seriously: kneading his favorite fuzzy red blankets like he had a biscuit quota, watching vigilantly to make sure we didn't drown in the shower, and cuddling anyone who was sad or unwell. He was strongwilled and could be demanding and insistent, especially if a person was eating chicken or steak and he felt he deserved a taste; there was never any question that he was Top Cat, and he was quite comfortable bossing around people as well as other kitties. But he was a gentle giant, never a fighter, and when we picked him up or dragged him into our laps he patiently put up with our shenanigans (though afterwards he would wash vigorously to recover his dignity). He had a purr like a motorboat and shared it more generously than any cat I've ever known. He was happiest curled up in a cardboard box, sprawled on a windowsill or in a sunbeam, stretched out on Josh's chest, hanging out on a bed with a person nearby, or licking Sam's head. (When we knew his life was nearing its end, both Josh and X independently brought Sam over to him so he could groom her one last time.)
Java was a tolerant step-cat to me and X. He was a bemused but affectionate foster parent to Sam, and he carefully and patiently taught her how to cat. When we disturbed his old age by bringing home Sophie and Alex, he graciously made room for them, brooking no disruption of his routine while magnificently ignoring their social errors. He was friendly and respectful to our human guests. Most of all he was Josh's cat, and Josh was his person, for 17 good long happy years.
He will be greatly greatly missed.( Photos )
Comments are off because I can't handle it right now, but your well-wishes are much appreciated.
In an effort to fight seasonal depression, I've put "do something fun" on my daily checklist.
Acquiring a stray cat counts as doing something fun, right?
This is the foundling cat. We have so far resolutely refrained from naming him. We weren't going to get a fourth cat until we moved, you see. The rule is one cat per bedroom, and we have three cats and three bedrooms, so we are full up.
But he rubbed on my ankles and practically demanded to be taken in. I was pretty sure he was the cat we've often seen in and around the nasty deli on the corner (which we suspect of being the deli that kicked out Jasmine, not least because this cat looks just like her; compare video of Jasmine
and a photo of the foundling
), so I went in there and said "Your cat's been loving on everyone up and down the block, did he get locked out?". The counter guy shrugged and said "Not our cat". At that point I became so suffused with rage at people who toss domesticated cats out on the street that I felt a moral obligation to give the kitty at least a temporary home.
We agreed that my room would be the quarantine zone, so X and I lured him in. It was remarkably easy, as he's quite a tolerant cat; he clearly doesn't like being picked up, but while he struggles and looks uncomfortable, he doesn't bite or scratch. I set up a litter pan and a couple of dishes of food, and rubbed him down with a washcloth in lieu of a full bath, and resigned myself to sending all my bedding out to be washed once it became clear that the grubby and indubitably flea-ridden cat was also a bed-exploring and person-snuggling cat.
Within 24 hours we'd taken him to the vet, gotten confirmation that he's neutered and FIV/FeLV-negative, gotten him some medication to combat fleas and worms, and all completely fallen in love with him. He's incredibly sweet. His purr is amazingly loud and frequently deployed. He's an adolescent boy and still recovering from his time on the street, so he literally eats as much as our
three cats combined, but he doesn't demand food; he just waits for us to notice that the dish is empty and fill it again. (See that "other"? I already think of him as our fourth cat, despite myself.) When I go to bed he rustles around a bit and then settles down and doesn't keep me up or wake me up. When we let him see the other cats he hisses a bit and then runs away; there's been one bout of territorial spraying but he was considerate enough to do it on a bag of things that already needed to be dry cleaned. He's curious about everything and wants to stick his nose everywhere, but on his own terms, and when he encounters evidence of other felines he runs away. He's SUPER friendly to people. He's quite athletic but doesn't like being up high; he'd rather hide on the bottom shelf of a bookcase or behind the radiator. He's death to toy mice as long as they stay still long enough for him to sneak up on them. When Josh and I bathed him he made a few squeaky noises and squirmed a lot but was about as well-behaved as a cat being bathed can be expected to be, and within a few minutes he was purring and loving on us again. He's sweet and adorable and smart and great.
He's been our tenant for four days, during which time we've gone from "of course we can't keep him" to discussing possible names. At this point it's really just a question of how well the other cats tolerate him and vice versa. I hope hope hope it works out.
I have been doing non-cat fun things: going to a totally rocking TMBG concert where they played every single song off their first album plus a whole array of crowdpleasers, having an amazing dinner with Miriam and supertailz
, knitting, and, on one slightly desperate night, playing with that day's animated Google Doodle and deciding that was fun enough to count. But mostly I am all KITTY KITTY KITTY. And that's okay.
EDIT: Of course, immediately after I post this he got to the "PEE ON ALL THE THINGS" stage. Time to pave the room in puppy pads.
Whenever I go to the store and ask xtina
what she wants me to get, she always replies, "A kitten." Yesterday I complied.
A couple weeks ago, SPIBaseball
and I were walking from my apartment to a restaurant. About a block from home, we passed an apartment building with a fenced-in front garden, and a very friendly cat--a gorgeous tabby with a torn right ear--meowed at us from behind the fence. She came right over and demanded lots of petting and love. In fact, she was so friendly that I went into the building and asked the doorman whether anyone had lost a cat. He said she'd been living in the garden for a week, and he and some residents had been feeding her.
A neighbor popped out and said she'd tried to find someone to adopt the cat but no one would take her. In that entire building! She'd posted pictures to Facebook and emailed friends, with no luck. "Found cat" posters also had no effect.
It's December. December is a nasty time for kitties to be outside, even if they're in cozy gardens and people are feeding them.
I called J and got his approval to foster the cat if we could manage to coax her into a carrier. X's phone was dead, but I know her and kitties and was certain she would have no objection. So I ran home and got one of our carriers and a tin of wet food, and we managed to lure the cat out from behind the fence. She wouldn't go into the carrier on her own, though, and while I did actually manage to scruff her and pick her up, she squirmed away before I could quite get her into the bag. Once she'd run back into the garden she would not come out again, and we couldn't go in because the gate was locked. I left the carrier and my contact info with Chris the doorman and Marjorie the neighbor and asked them to call if they managed to snag the kitty.
Every couple of days I'd stop by; sometimes the cat was there, sometimes not. J got to meet her a time or two. It was wet and cold and we fretted, but Chris assured us she was still meowing every day to demand dinner. We emailed back and forth with Marjorie, giving her cat-catching tips and cheering on her efforts to regain the cat's trust.
Yesterday I went out to the store mid-afternoon, and on the way I spotted the cat. She had been snubbing me since the carrier incident, but now she was all friendly again. I noticed she'd lost weight and worried that she'd been pregnant and then had kittens. I gave her some pettings and made a mental note to get a tin of food for her at the store. "I'll be back in a few minutes," I promised her, since she looked very distraught that I was walking away. "I just need to go shopping first."
Just as I got to the cash register, my phone rang: it was Marjorie telling me she'd caught the cat! I juggled groceries and phone and promised to be right there. The awesome neighborhood pet store is on the way, so I stopped in and bought a litter pan and some litter, which I begged them to deliver even though it was outside their normal delivery hours. They were kind enough to agree; I think they were entertained by my excitement over acquiring a stray cat. Then I dashed to the building, where Chris led me down to the basement and handed me a carrier with a very, very loud cat in it. He looked a bit wistful--they'd gotten to be friends--and I assured him that he can come visit her anytime.
I walked home with the cat, running into our landlord on the way. Fortunately he doesn't mind us having cats, though since he lives in the apartment below ours, he was probably a bit concerned that the new occupant was going MEOW MEOW MEOW WOE MEOW very loudly and steadily. When I got in to our apartment, Sam and Java were likewise concerned.
I'd warned X--who told me "It took you long enough! I've been asking you to bring a cat home from the store for weeks
!"--so she had her room all set up as a cat sanctuary. We got the cat out of the carrier and in front of bowls of food and water. She mostly wanted to hide in the corner and say MEOW MEOW MEOW WOE MEOW a lot.
A minute later maryrobinette
arrived for our planned tea date, so she and I hung out in the living room and had tea while listening to intermittent faint meowing and reassuring Sam and Java that everything was okay; X stayed in her room to get a bit of work done and make friends with the new cat. Then the doorbell rang again with the litter and litter pan delivery and there was more bustling to get that set up, and it was all a very exciting evening.
Mary and I had a very nice chat despite the distractions, and after she headed out, X and I made a moderately successful split pea soup for dinner. Then we hung out in her room, sitting on chairs near the cat and giving her space to approach us. She briefly hid in the closet just to prove she could, but once she started to feel more secure about food and less freaked out, she came over and showed us how to pet her: head pettins yes, chin scritchins yes, rump no. She showed us her belly (and even let me rub it!), which made it abundantly clear that there were no nursing kittens hidden in the garden waiting desperately for mama cat to come home. We were very relieved. We tried getting her to play with the red dot and the feather-onna-stick, but she greeted them with disdain: "I've eaten REAL birds. What is this?" If she has a predator instinct, it's very well hidden. Domestication is clearly her destiny. And she loves people! When we left the room and then came back, she'd scold us for being gone.
Occasionally Sam or Java would try to talk to the new cat through the door. Her reaction was to go very still, neither threat-posturing nor fleeing. Later in the evening she wandered over toward the door, though she didn't quite approach it. Java and Sam seem much more curious than freaked out, and they're probably mostly annoyed about not being able to go into X's room, which is usually their sanctuary. (I caught some sort of ick from Boston friends and am home sick today, and the first thing I did was let Sam and Java come into my room and sleep on my bed with me all morning and into the afternoon, so they know they haven't been forgotten or abandoned. They're much calmer now than they were last night.) I think eventual introductions will go well, based on that, but we're going to take it very very slowly.
Between 5:30 p.m. yesterday when I brought her home and 3 a.m. when I went to bed, the new cat ate three tins' worth of wet food--as much food as Java and Sam jointly eat in a day. Today at 5 p.m. I checked on her and her dish was empty again. I know X fed her this morning before going to work, so that's four tins of food in 24 hours, which is astonishing. She looks pretty solid but it's just because her fur is short and thick; underneath it she's all skin and bones. She drools a bit when she's purring, which suggests a need for some dental work. Her torn ear-tip looks well healed but one never knows. I suspect she has not been spayed, though it'll be hard to know for sure until/unless she goes into heat. (I guess we could shave her belly and look for a scar.) She's polydactyl, which means we'll need to make sure her nails aren't growing in odd directions. She could also use a bath. My guess is that the first round of vet visits is going to be fairly expensive, but after that she'll be fine; she's a sturdy survivor. Impossible to know for sure how old she is, but my wild-ass guess is 2 or 3, though the way she's eating might indicate adolescence as well as starvation. She's a grey-brown tabby with tiger stripes and big eyes and giant paws and a stupendously poofy tail and a voice like a siren. We all love her already. I really hope she gets along well with the other cats and we can make her part of the family.
As for a name: Chris called her Bubbles, but... no. I suggested naming her after a Klingon warrior, since she has such a fierce battle cry; on the other hand, her real talent is for being charming and friendly, which is not such a Klingon warrior thing. It's surprisingly difficult to think of fictional characters whose main survival skill is being friendly to everyone. X suggested Sophie, which we both really like even though we haven't yet determined whether she's wise. We'll see what sticks. In the meantime, she's Tiger, Paws, Toes, Little Miss, Cutie, Gorgeous, Sugarlump, etc. She doesn't seem to care what we call her, as long as we don't call her late for dinner.
EDIT: My mother suggests Mitzy, since taking her in was a mitzvah. Awwww.
's Twitter feed for photos.
Today was a fucking epic rockstar day.
1) I slept. Not a ton, but it was good sleep and I got up feeling well-rested.
2) I did every single thing on my to-do list plus two things I had forgotten to list, and every part of the day that was about timing went like clockwork.
3) I bought plane tickets for the London trip!
4) I went to lunch with zia_narratora
, and ate spicy curry, and my ear unblocked! And the curry was yummy and the conversation was too. Tea is such a lovely person.
5) I had exactly enough time for a haircut between lunch and workout, and Yelp led me to a great barbershop. My head is finally fuzzy again! Five weeks between haircuts is really way too long.
6) At my workout I did PUSH-UPS. And TRICEPS DIPS. And they felt so good that I did them again. And I still had enough arm afterwards to high-five Chelsea, the awesome trainer I've been working with. (I also had a less fun moment when I was doing a lot of core work, which means tensing my abs--those very same abs that I have carefully taught myself to deliberately relax as an antidote to panic attacks--while leaning against a balance ball. Being literally wobbly amplified the emotional wobbly and I had to take a breather. Chelsea was lovely and brought me water and then stepped out of the room so I could center myself. I sat there and thought, Well, I have paid $85 to have this studio for an hour, and if I want to spend 20 minutes of that hour crying I can do that. But I don't think that's how I want or need to spend that money and time, so let's keep going.
We did and it was just fine. So I call that a net win.) Chelsea even gave me homework, so I can keep working out my arms in between sessions. I cannot even explain how exciting this all is. I never thought I would do another push-up, ever. Today I did thirty of them! From the waist, not full-plank, but still. Tremendous.
7) I edited 4000 words of the book I'm working on.
8) "At some point I must try Julia Child's chicken waterzooi," I said
, and tonight I did, since J and X and I were dining with friends who weren't interested in fish. The creaminess of it reminded me of many years ago when Mi Cucina on Hudson & Jane was a good restaurant and served utterly sublime pollo y rajas con crema with wonderful crispy cubes of potato (if there's a name for those in Spanish, I don't know it), so crispy potatoes became our side dish. We drank Thomas Henry chardonnay
, with which I promptly fell in love--glorious notes of caramel!--and sopped our bowls with French bread and it was very, very good.( Crispy potatoes )( Chicken waterzooi )
Both recipes supposedly serve four, so we doubled them. They just barely served six. Fortunately the waterzooi is intensely rich and we had bread as well as potatoes, so no one went hungry.
(recipes crossposted to omnomnom
Afterwards we went out for gelato. I am so full, my goodness.
Many thanks to our hosts d_aulnoy
(who shopped) and schrodingersgnu
(who helped with cooking) and our dining companion vschanoes
(who cleaned), all of whom made delightful conversation as we stuffed ourselves. What a marvelous evening.
9) I briefly entertained the Gnubaby and felt only somewhat awkward and at a loss. This is an improvement over my usual interactions with babies. I am not a native speaker of baby, but X is planning to have one in a couple of years, so I'm taking every opportunity to learn. (This is an extra reason why I'm really looking forward to hanging out with my friends in London who are parents, and especially the poly parents.) The Gnubaby was getting a bit tired-cranky, but I distracted him by tapping his shoulders in waltz time, which worked very well. d_aulnoy
says we can come over and practice baby anytime we like, and I think we may take her up on it once X is out of crunch mode at work and J and I are done traveling.
10) On the way home, J and X helped me sort out some of my feelings about charging for advice. More on that in another post.
11) I brushed the cats and now they are all sleek and soft. Well, Sam was already soft, but now she's softer. Java's getting lazy and arthritic in his old age and he doesn't always crane his neck all the way around to lick his back, so he gets mats there sometimes, and I like to brush them out. He tolerates it. Sam doesn't need the brushing, but she loves it and boofs the brush and purrs like a Harley and is all cuddly after. They are such good kitties.
And now I have stayed up far too late reading the archives of "Scandinavia and the World" because I sent the link to schrodingersgnu
, so I will feed the kitties and pass the out.
- thinking about:
behavior.accomplishments, behavior.planning, body.arms, body.ears, body.exercise, body.hair, experiences.joy, experiences.socializing, experiences.travel, experiences.work.freelance, food, food.cooking, food.cooking.potatoes, food.cooking.stew, food.cooking.stew.waterzooi, food.drinks, food.drinks.wine, food.recipes, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.anxiety, people.cats, people.children
( Kittykittykitty )
I'd call this a pretty promising beginning, generally: they're not out-and-out fighting, the hostility seems to be reduced to avoidance, and Java is still being cuddly with us and not appearing to be too put out. I'm not going to worry about Sam hiding unless it becomes a litterbox issue or she doesn't come out to eat or drink. My guess is that she'll find her own time to gather her courage (or bodily need) and emerge, and she and Java can work out rules for box-sharing and the like.