Speaking Cat

My sweet Lou is quite ill with what we hope is just a bad sinus infection. Cats are stoic creatures by nature, and by the time I realized how poorly she was feeling I felt even worse than she did. A sleepless night with my arm curled around her, crying into her fur, all the melodramatics you’d expect from a crazy cat lady who has been through too many deaths in the past year to deal with the thought of another one. I am grateful for our wonderful vet, who is honest and kind.

I like to think I am the type of pet owner who would be able to let go of an animal if their quality of life is irredeemably poor. I believe I am, though the thought of not having this sweet girl with me shatters me in a way that is so gut-punching that it is difficult to articulate. I couldn’t be so selfish as to put her through pain to ease my own, though. Hell, the reason I am vegetarian is that I can’t bear the thought of an animal suffering so I can eat a cheap sandwich.

Louisa’s sinus infection is bad enough that she is miserable and lethargic, and, being a cat, she has no real way of understanding that she will get better if she lets me force the antibiotic-slurry down her gullet every twelve hours. She hates her medicine, and, though I try to explain what I’m doing, I don’t actually speak cat-language, and to her, I’m sure it seems like some weird game or sport. And yet she seeks the comfort of snuggling next to me, and purring loudly enough to remind me that her lungs are clear, and that aside from the terrible boogers and sad face she’s actually quite strong. I have a long claw-gouge in my shin and a claw-hole in my T-shirt to remind of this also. She may be knocked down but she is far from out.

It’s been a long, long, long

Eh, it hasn’t really been so long since my last post, not when you consider the multiple-year-break I took, right? Sometimes I get tired of staring at computers. I use a nifty time-tracker for work, and it always boggles my mind a little bit at the end of the day, when I see that I’ve racked up 10 or more hours of computer time. Almost half of a whole day, my ass in a chair, eyes blinking at words on an illuminated screen. Three screens, even, if you count all the monitors I have on my desk. And then if you add in all the time I stare at my iPhone, or my Kindle… egads. I actually went organic and read a couple of old-timey paper-type books to clear my head a bit. A vacation from artificial illumination!

In the novel I’m writing, I mentioned the Katie John books in passing and immediately, in the real world, was afflicted with this squirrely, needy impulse to read Honestly, Katie John! again, immediately. Of course, it’s not available as an e-book so there was no near-instant gratification and I had to order a copy, which arrived a week later with a badly glued broken spine that split it into three floppy segments. [The seller was gracious and immediately refunded my couple of bucks and I’ll gladly shop with them again.] Poor book! I read it anyway, cradling the fragile book-chunks in my hand through an immensely delightful afternoon on the balcony. A fantastic and funny book that has held up, with some wonderful dark, introspective elements too. Warped me tremendously when I read it as a little kid. It always pleases me to discover that what I remember as a classic is still a classic. Like I’m proving myself right or something.

From Crazy Cat Lady Corner: Louisa did indeed spend the night at the vet for a spa mini-break, and is still kind of a mess over it. Stress always causes her respiratory virus to flare up, so she’s extra-sniffly, and extra-annoyed with me about the constant eye-wiping and medical-goo-administering happening. The poor dear. She spent her 8th “birthday” with me feeling like she was being tortured, and it’s so much worse for me than it is on her, which I tell her but she doesn’t want to believe. The grande dame is on the mend, though, which is all that matters.

Stars! They’re Just Like Us!

Had a pretty remarkable dream last night, quite cinematic in a journalism-exposé sort of way. I was some sort of famous person, an actress or someone, talking with a journalist about paparazzi and relationships and the sort of topics that are completely and utterly foreign to my real life. At one point, I turned to the camera and addressed the audience:

Those magazines at the checkout counter, People and US Weekly and Star and everything else, are banking on the idea that you think you can’t have an amazing life, that your life is so puny and sad that you have to live vicariously through others. I think the people who buy those magazines, the people who follow celebrity gossip, have bought into a lie, because that’s what it is: a lie. You want romance? Go out and get it? Adventure? Ditto. Whatever your heart desires is out there, you just have to take it. Put those magazines out of business and be the celebrity of your own life.

It was weirdly vividly real. Words of wisdom from my subconscious’s nether-regions! I’ll remember them if I’m ever tempted to spend an evening with Oh No They Didn’t.

Anyway. Another quiet night on the balcony, which is bedecked with candle-lanterns and not-dead-yet greenery. With Jay back in town after weeks and weeks away, I thought my social life was on the upswing, but alas, he came home to a genealogist’s nightmare: a tub of antique family photos, forgotten outside a few days ago during well-intended spring-cleaning, rapidly mildewing into horror because of a cracked lid and some torrential rain. So he’s been up to his eyeballs in, I don’t know, whatever concoctions and whatsits are needed to allay the deterioration. I thought I saw a bottle of hand sanitizer in one of the pictures he sent me but I have no idea what was going on other than that his pictures were dying, so I wasn’t going to ask too many questions.

TMI Crazy Cat Lady Corner:

Louisa is sick again, so the earlier segment of my evening was spent being splattered and soaked with poo-water since she needed a bath, and she, being a cat, does not appreciate the fine art of bathing. We have a vet appointment for Monday, which I am hoping does not go the way her last vet appointment did: three days at the vet for a colonic spa getaway, which ended in her biting a sweet vet tech and me feeling so horribly, horribly guilty that I sent them an Edible Arrangement thanking them for so nicely handling the nasty task of de-constipating her. You just pumped five pounds of poop out of my cat, here’s some pineapple cut into flower-shapes for your trouble! I hope you don’t lose your hand to the bite. (Nobody lost a hand.) Of all her health issues over the years, the mega-colon issues are the worst. Sigh.

/end cat-poo talk

Ah, the breeze in the trees… I have half a mind to sleep out here, though the bugs would eat me and the neighbors might think I’m crazier than they originally suspected.

Your mind plays tricks on you! You play tricks back!

A friend in Chicago mentions that Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is being screened in some sort of awesome outdoors event tonight and man, I am totally there in spirit. I can recite this film, I work lines into conversation daily, and it has become part of my DNA, I love it so much. A most remarkable bildungsroman, one for the ages.

It rained all day today, a nice cooling, refreshing sort of precipitation that beckoned me all day to go out in play in it. While I did pause for a moment and consider that today should have been a rest day from running, since that outing petered out so quickly I decided yesterday didn’t count and I went out after work anyway. I’m glad I did, since I did indeed do just fine, though my legs may disagree with me in the morning.

One thing I’ve done to shake things up a bit is to listen to audiobooks instead of music on my jogs. My mind just goes crazy with music. I can’t zone out and just enjoy the exertion… I start to count minutes, and run math problems in my head. Like: If EYE OF THE TIGER is four minutes long, and LET IT OUT is six minutes, I’ve already gone halfway around this block and I think that’s almost a mile and if the next song is three minutes blah blah maybe I should STOP because blah blah crazy talk. It’s mentally exhausting, and depressing and annoying. My only issue with Bossypants is that I start laughing, which causes me to lose precious, precious oxygen when I might need it most, and also makes me look like even more of a crazy person. Ah, whatever, like I’m any stranger to letting my freak-flag fly, right?

There’s another line of storms rolling in with a cold front, but I’m still lurking out on my balcony, even though it’s nearly 10:00 and I wonder — briefly, I don’t care overly much — if my neighbors think I’m some sort of creeper, lingering out here the way I do. It’s the first habitable balcony I’ve ever had, with a comfortable chair and citronella candles and a view of treetops and green lawn. It’s the best place for writing, though my goodness the cats do whine about wanting to come out here with me. Two out of the three are slender and sprightly enough to slip through or over the railing and to their doom (the whiners) and the one who isn’t despises the very idea of the outdoors as anything other than a feline soap opera starring birds and squirrels, viewed from a comfortable cushioned perch behind a well-glassed window. You can’t please all of them all the time, except for treat-time, which is actually Medicine-Time, but don’t tell them that, because, bless their hearts, they haven’t figured out the miracle that is pill pockets just yet.

Beware of Cats

Cat chat! In the interest of not turning this into The Sagbottom Cathouse for Wayward Kittens, let’s just do a bit of a system purge and get it all out of the way now. Also, my massage-therapist friend gave me the full business this afternoon and my brain is still somewhere up there in the clouds.

So there’s three cats in the family now. Louisa, on the left, has been with me for nearly eight years now. This is pretty much her house and we all just live here. Haggis, on the right, stalked into my life in Christmas of 2006 — when I track down those archives we can all relive the terror and, uh, puddles of those early days — and is now literally half the cat he used to be. That’s a good thing, and while he loves to gripe all day long, he is a lovebug. And then there’s Obi The Destroyer in the middle. A rescue from a friend’s daughter, he’s completely insane, has claws that defy clipping and are sharper than anything in Sweeney Todd’s toolbelt.

Feline harmony! This scene lasted 14 seconds.

Haggis is a really devoted fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries.

Pretty, darling, heart-of-my-heart Louisa.

Obi couldn’t get enough of Star Wars Uncut.

It’s been interesting, pairing a cat who is essentially a tween with a couple who are, shall we say, wise in their golden years. And by interesting I mean, what the hell was I thinking?

Illustrating my point.

And: scene.

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