Assembly. . . or Not

I've got a half-finished cabinet lying on its side in the middle of my living room. I think the current TV stand is laughing at it. Or at me.

Everything ground to a halt because while I remembered to borrow Dad's power screwdriver (which the instructions keep "telling" me I can't use--stupid slash-mark picture...), I forgot to borrow the level. (I think this article is getting it wrong with that caption on the photo at the top.)

The other complication? Well, I decided to vacuum before I started putting furniture together, and silly me, I thought The Cat was securely ensconced in the pots and pans cabinet and wouldn't notice. Out of sight, out of mind. Nooooo, she made a bee-line for the top of the fridge, and when that was not comforting enough for her, she tried to make a break for it.

At which point she jumped down onto the counter and her back legs went out from under her. Yeah, ever since she started getting steroid shots, her one back leg has been a little unsteady for a few days after she gets a new shot. But both legs seemed affected this time. She had kind of an odd expression on her face, too. I switched off the vacuum but she was already scrambling across the kitchen floor--I don't know why she does that; once when she was woozy after anaesthesia, she kept trying to walk. She's so darn stubborn and has a one-track mind, I guess.

Finally she stopped when she got to the other side of a stereo box in the living room. Her head was wobbling as if she were dizzy. If her mission was to freak me out, she succeeded. I figured she wasn't going anywhere, so I quickly put the vacuum back in the closet, and when I came back to the living room, she already had tucked herself behind the patio door curtains with a look that said, "What? Nothing to see here."

I'm hoping she just got herself all stressed out over the vacuum, and combined with her still-overactive thyroid, she just had a little fit. It didn't look like a seizure. But this is all I need--I just talked to my friend today about catsitting while I take a quick trip to see my grandfather this week. I don't want to be reluctant to leave her for fear she'll get stressed out over my absence and have another fit.

Of course, I'm also mad at her now, because she spit out her afternoon pill. She has been pretty much unreceptive to taking a second dose of her medicine--I dunno, maybe she's more starving at 4 a.m. and will eat anything--and I've had enough. I'll call the vet tomorrow and see about getting a liquid form of her meds to mix into her food. She has got to calm the heck down.

Because if kitty ain't calm, ain't nobody calm around here.



The CD changer definitely is 18" D, and rather wide, but I guess it would have to be to hold a tray for six CDs.

Oh, I've had a fun time disconnecting the old stereo and speakers ("The rest is silence," its final words) and removing the unit from the bottom of the TV stand. And then I did a bit of dusting and shuffling the DVD/VCR over to try the CD changer in the old stereo's place. The bad news that it definitely is too deep; however, the good news is that its rear feet are far in enough from the back edge that I can push the unit farther back without compromising its stability. I hope. The even better news that I took a good look and remembered that the panel covering the back of the TV stand actually consists of two pieces--horizontal!!!--which will permit me to take off the bottom panel entirely. I guess if I wanted, I could attach a piece of fabric like a dust ruffle to the remaining top panel.

I think I'm headed in the right direction. I also got an e-mail from the nice older dude who sold his cassette deck to me; it got shipped today. Hooray.

Tomorrow's mission is to pick up the new TV stand and keep cleaning up so I can do the furniture switcheroo. Oh, and cantor the vigil Mass in the middle of that, of course.

But make no mistake: I am on a mission!


Where Am I Gonna Put This Stereo? Part II

We have cousins visiting from out west, and a bunch of "the girls" (two of my cousins who are sisters, and their SIL who is one of the visiting people, and my mom and I) met up for lunch this afternoon. Mom had to pick me up because my whiz kid mechanic found the evil leaky A/C hose and was installing its evilly expensive replacement in my car at the time. After lunch (good tuna wrap and *meh* steak fries for me) was over, Mom dropped me off to pick up my car, and after I cried the whole way home about the cost (not really but I did tell myself it's better than buying a new car), lo and behold there was the big box o' speakers in the vestibule. So I dragged that in along with a shoe order that finally arrived, as well as a leftover half a tuna wrap.

Fed a very interested Cat a taste of the tuna filling, got my things together for my little summer job, and off I went in my air-conditioned-once-more car.

The book discussion and craft--and I tell you the craft is always the part I worry about--went over well. We had little memo books that we personalized with collages from magazine cut-outs. I had gone through all my magazines yesterday and pulled out any, er, inappropriate articles or ads, and also put together a model one. I think I'm going to use it; I like it. I'll have to take a picture and show you.

There was one girl dragging her feet and goofing off (literally running with scissors and that was the last straw for me), and I don't know why, because she's usually pretty enthusiastic. Sometimes I think the kids come right from day camps and are tired. But at least for once it wasn't the "noodge," as I call her. You know the type--they don't listen, they always have something to say about everything, they like to push the envelope.

She was pretty good today, and the first one to give me a hug at the end, because it's our last meeting. Awwww.

On top of that, the bookstore person in charge of things said she'd be happy to be a reference for me. So, even though fixing my car's A/C pretty much wiped out what I made from this job and then some, I feel as if in a way I broke even.

After that, I headed over to IKEA with the idea of looking at the stand I was considering for the stereo. I even stopped at another place on the way, but nothing was quite right and it was all way outside of my budget, anyway. When I got to IKEA, I saw that the stand under consideration was definitely out, because when I slid open the glass door on the display model, I saw two tempered glass shelves slumped on top of each other, having fallen off the skimpy pegs intended to keep them up. No dice.

Also, after looking around at everything else they had to offer, it hit me: none of them were deep enough to accommodate the 6-CD changer. All these TV stands were for slimmer TVs that people own nowadays. The specs I scribbled down for the equipment said I needed 18" for the CD changer, and nothing was deeper than 15". There was a (Not-Moby-looking) salesperson at one end of the department, but he had been helping a middle-aged couple for quite a while. I figured I'd give him five more minutes, and I walked around a bit more.

Then it hit me: maybe I was approaching this wrong. Maybe I could poach the TV cabinet I already have and love (busted left door hinge and all) for the stereo, and now that I have a "slimmer" TV myself, I could put it on a new smaller stand. I had just come around to that when the salesperson became available, so I discussed it all with him. He showed me an option that still had glass--I love being able to use the remote on stuff that's stowed away--only it's just in the middle. This shelving with these doors. I think the high gloss finish looks cool. Plus it's about $40 cheaper than what I'd come to check out.

The question was, could I fit the CD changer in the old stand? I had to go home and measure, so the nice salesperson printed me a list to take with me. Oh, the drama: The old stand is about 16-1/2" deep. However, I opened the box and measured the CD changer and the measurements are smaller than 18". Hmmmmm.

I already have the back of the stand pulled out a bit because I had to get the old stereo's wiring through for power and speakers, so I am debating an attempt to put it in the same place and/or cut out the back entirely to accommodate it, as long as the feet are flat on the bottom of the stand to keep it stable.

Think it would work?


It's Not Fox in Socks in That Box

Oh, my.

I placed the order for my stereo components yesterday afternoon, and while I was excited about the free shipping I honestly expected the typical free shipping--slowest option.

So imagine my delighted shock when I got home from running errands and went to check my mailbox in the vestibule.

Helloooo, TWO GIANT BOXES!!!

It was a little rough getting them in the door and pushing/pulling them across the lobby floor (too much friction on laminated wood!), but once I hit the hallway carpet, things went much more smoothly down to my door. Naturally, The Cat was a little startled by the large brown square things shoving their way into the apartment, but once they stopped moving she came up to sniff them. She'll be playing in the boxes once they're emptied, I'm sure.

. . . Um, where did I plan to put this new stereo? I think the schmancy new surge protector recommended by the Crutchfield advisor needs to go on its own outlet and not where I have the current stereo--which is one plug, sharing the surge protector for the TV, modem, cable box, and DVD player.

So that means it goes on another wall in my living room, and factoring in the bookshelves I can't move, it looks as if the china cabinet will have to be moved. (Good thing it has wheels.) The Cat won't like that, because she sleeps under it and snuggles against the wall when she's feeling lousy (like earlier today). Oh, but I need a stereo cabinet of sorts, too--maybe this TV stand with legs will make both me and The Cat happy. I guess that means I'm going to have to shop for that and assemble it before I can get the stereo connected.

But wait! I just looked at the "Your order has been shipped!" e-mail again, and there are more than two tracking numbers assigned. There is a third box scheduled for delivery by the end of the day tomorrow (Thursday). I guess I don't have all of it, anyway. Additionally, the cassette deck I bought on eBay won't be coming until the beginning of next week.

Stay tuned, because there will be more stereo stories for sure.


About that Cranky Kitty

Probably because The Cat had me up at 4, 5, and 6 a.m., I slept through the phone ringing when the vet called with her test results at 8:30.

Her doctor left a message saying that her thyroid numbers are still too high. (That might explain why she's continuing to bounce off the walls and yowl all morning.) He upped her meds to twice a day. Also, he did not like that her white blood count is on the low side. He wants to keep an eye on that as well.

So I guess we'll be heading back there in a few weeks to get a re-test. Fun times.

At least we weren't having infernal heat Monday morning. I actually had been begging The Cat all last week during the heat wave not to take a turn for the worse, because I didn't want to drag her out in 100-degree weather. Oh, and apparently we also lucked out because I discovered that the car's A/C was not cold today when I went to run errands. Again. I'm guessing it's a leak the mechanic couldn't find last time because it was the first time fixing the freon. (Just when I was feeling all grateful that they'd fixed the A/C and installed my "new" car stereo.) I called them and they can't take me until Thursday morning. I made them promise to take me first thing, because I have my last summer reading group for my little summer job that afternoon.

Which means I get to go shopping for craft supplies with the "2-55" model of air conditioning.

You know: Put down 2 windows and drive 55.

(That's an old joke my senior neighbor lady told me when I was a kid.)

I have a feeling that I might be the cranky kitty riding in the car tomorrow.


Gone Shopping

No major post tonight, because I am looking at stereo components. I just feel it's time to do it. My problem (every Libra's problem, I suspect) is that there are too many choices.

Either tomorrow or Wednesday, I will have an update about The Cat. She had a scheduled trip to the vet this morning--in retrospect, I realize 10 a.m. is squarely in the middle of her a.m. naptime, so no wonder she was mighty cranky--mostly to re-check her thyroid now that she has resumed taking her medicine, and also to give her a new steroid shot. (She's conked out atop the kitchen cabinets right now after having paid a brief visit to nuzzle the laptop and get a chin-scratching.

So we'll see if we get to keep our current routine or if we have to make changes.

In the meantime, I'm picking out electronics.



The Birthday Cat

The Cat turned 14 today, and she told me--in between naps and bites of tuna--that she has a few birthday wishes:

1. Never to see the vet again. I told her sorry, not gonna happen. . . and in fact the office manager wished her a happy birthday when she called to confirm Monday's appointment! She'll probably get another steroid shot, which has helped a lot, and she's been pretty good about taking her thyroid meds (at around 5 in the morning from her half-asleep human).

2. Keep the tuna coming. The main goal is to keep The Cat eating, and if possible, eating grain-free and limited-ingredient proteins for her sensitive stomach. I can't seem to wean her off Fancy Feast, but we've come to a compromise where she eats B.G. Tuna topped with Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys Shredded Yellowfin Tuna. Supposedly the green bits in the Elegant Medleys are "garden greens." Huh.

3. Get her "fluff" back. Her shorn belly has been regrowing for the past nearly three months, and while it is getting harder to tell she ever was shaved, I can still tell she's still missing that little extra fluffy something.

4. Death to the chipmunks!
(I told her it's not really polite to use your wishes that way, but they really do get on her nerves when they pop up on the patio, whereupon she starts seeing red and chirping trash talk at them. She even let a robin who was poking around for worms in the grass have it the other day. He looked a little dumbfounded.)

5. She also wanted to wish a happy birthday to two others celebrating birthdays today: Fiona at Little Lioness and Baby Kitty at Confessions of a Plate Addict (a fave stop of our friend PammyPam)!

Because the current temperature outside according to the Weather Channel is 100 (feels like 112!) and the A/C is doing its best to cool the apartment to a budgeted 76-77, The Cat has flopped herself atop the fridge (that would be the freezer, I guess) to catch the breeze from the ceiling fan.

She's a good kitty and I hope she has some good times as a 14-year-old. And of course some fun and slightly mischievous times as well.

"Wash the dishes, hooman!"
But I can't--you're on my dishwashing towel!


We Lost Tonight, But YOU Can Win! (GIVEAWAY) (Updated)

(Any other takers??? There's a new post coming shortly so don't miss out!)

I heard that last week's trivia night (that I missed because I was at choir practice) was rough on the team. They totally got smoked. So I came in ready for redemption tonight. . . and all I can say is,
I hate Switzerland. Two questions about Switzerland, and we got them both wrong. Oh, I had the right answer in my head for the first one, but I was outnumbered so I figured I had to be wrong, because geography is not one of my strengths.

It was a heartbreaker at the end of the night--first, second, and third place separated by a point each. We had nine out of ten right on the music round (my "ringer" round--seriously, teammates said, "It's all on you!"), and we still had our point-doubler option to use, so if we'd gotten all ten right we would've tied for first. Dammit. Stupid Katy Perry contraction title. I'm finding it harder to know exact titles of songs that come out these days because I'm not seeing them in print. I gotta watch more VH1 or something. I've actually been trying to watch "Jump Start" (before they get to the Morning Buzz) weekday mornings while I'm drinking my coffee, but my tolerance for both inane/crass videos and annoying songs (especially the country crossovers or rap) just isn't high enough to keep it on for long.

Still, I walked out with a t-shirt on my arm, because we got the most right on the last round. (Go figure.) It's the same tee I won last go-around, and I also have on hand several unclaimed keychain bottle openers and can cozies that were piled into my arms from two weeks ago.

So I'm giving them away this week! Put in a comment with your first and second choices, and then I'll divvy things up and let you know so you can send me an e-mail with your mailing address (which will not be shared or used for any other purpose except maybe a Christmas card).

BTW, they all have beer brand logos, if that might be a concern. Or it might be a plus, I don't know.

Your Choices:

Two (2) Can Cozies, black foam with white print, with the logo that pretty much looks like this (only there are mountains in the background).

Four (4) keyring bottle openers, black with silver print, simpler logo but same brand as can cozies. Lightweight plastic. (one claimed by Dave E.)

One (1) t-shirt, heather gray with blue and white printing of this brand (it might be a rare promo tee, because I can't find images of the particular logo anywhere), size XL, 90% cotton/10% poly. I can attest that these make nice sleepshirts (even if I can fit three of me in 'em). (Claimed by Sara)

First come, first served--and if I don't get a whole lot of responses, you might get extras. No judgment about your drinking habits if you respond. This stuff makes great gifts, too, so if you have a special person in your life who might enjoy it--or maybe someone who might go easier on you if you hand him/her a present--go ahead and ask.

Seriously, you are helping the de-cluttering situation by taking these lovely things off my hands.


A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes???

Every so often on this li'l blog, the subject of being single comes up. (You know, the "Maiden" part of being a "Maiden Aunt.") I try not to bemoan being single but instead talk about both the ups and downs of the single life, as well as my hopes for (and, uh, eventual progress towards) marriage.

I figured the dream I had yesterday morning was a cue to bring up the subject.

At the beginning of my dream, it seemed to be the morning of my wedding (!) and I needed to put on my dress. I look up at rows of people seated in what looks like a balcony, and I'm searching for my sister, to get her assistance. I'm asking out loud for my sister. She's not there.

So I give up and go inside what is supposed to be my parents' house (for purposes of the dream), and my mom is sitting in front of the TV, smoking a cigarette. (IRL, she does smoke, so that's not weird.) She says something like she'll help me as soon as she's done, but she's not exactly springing out of the armchair. I'm watching the time tick by on a clock: 9:00, 9:10, 9:15. . . Doesn't anybody care that I have to be somewhere? And where's my sister?

And then the whole dress situation is weird. I find myself debating what kind of dress to wear to dinner that night because I'm meeting the groom's parents then. Uh, I haven't met them yet? And I'm having dinner with them the same day as the wedding?

The other thing I can't explain is that I am really, really, really thirsty. I keep thinking it and saying it, and I can't seem to get anything to drink or any relief. It feels so awful that it just overwhelms me.

I woke up at that point. I had to get ready for church.

I've been interested in dream interpretation since my teens, so naturally I was wondering what, if anything, it all meant. There's a dream dictionary I look at every once in a while, and so I looked up a few key terms: Wedding, Thirst, and Sister.


Granted, church yesterday was kind of a big deal, because like last year there was a special Mass and I had to sing, so. . . maybe the whole wedding thing was my "anxiety" about singing (and what I was going to wear, because eyes would be on me).

The other stuff? Well, I have been missing Younger Sister quite a bit lately. I haven't seen her in a few months, and in the past week or so, other than a few e-mails we haven't talked much. The good news is that today I happened to be dropping off some things at my parents' when she called Mom to ask about what to give Dad for his upcoming birthday. Mom handed the phone to me to confer, and then when Mom had the phone again we all had a good laugh about possible appropriate fitness magazines for Dad ("Silver Fitness"? I suggested).

And the thirst? I don't know. "To dream that you are thirsty, symbolizes an unmet need. There is an emotional void in your life. Or you may be seeking for some inspiration, motivation or just an extra push." Possible on all three counts, I suppose. There's a lot of loneliness in my life still. I'm struggling with my writing--dying to do more of it beyond note-taking, but hard to devote the time.

The final part--where I need an extra push--is that I am determined to get my apartment completely cleaned up and de-cluttered so that I can get that new stereo I've wanted for a long time now. I made a good dent this weekend, but it has been frustrating not to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With all the job searching, new job stuff, cat illness stuff. . . I've been treading clutter-water for way too long now.

I know, it didn't happen overnight, so it's not going to get better overnight, either. (Unless elves come around.) I just wish I knew how to take care of it faster.

Same thing with the loneliness, I guess.


I Might Lose Librarian Street Cred for This

Total amount of pages of Harry Potter read:

uh, 20?

I think?

BEFORE YOU HAVE AT ME, please let me try to explain.

Every time I pick up a book, something happens.

The first time, I started reading and got through those 20 pages or whatever, and my dad, who was going on a business trip, asked if he could borrow it. Because my parents had just given me the set of the first three books for Christmas, I felt I had an obligation to lend it to him. (I know; you probably can HAVE AT ME for that, too.)

He hogged the book and did not give it back to me until he was finished! He did redeem himself by bringing me the fourth book from England (and I hear it's very cool to have a British copy). However, by then, I was in the middle of a ton of other things and couldn't pick it up.

Second attempt: I think this was in 2008. My cousins (the ones who accompanied me to California last Fall) invited me to spend a few days with them at the shore. I always bring things to read--especially because I'm not a good sleeper away from home--so I grabbed what I thought was the first book and put it in my suitcase. When I pulled it out and started looking for where I left off. . . nothing looked familiar. I looked at the cover. It was the second book!

After that? Well. . . other books have taken priority. Things for school. Things I needed to review and consider adding to collections. Book club.

Reading Harry Potter just has not happened for me. Yet.

My English professor and former advisor when I was an undergrad said while we were studying Proust that she knew someone who dreamed of booking a hotel room for a weekend, unplugging the phone, putting up the "Do Not Disturb' sign, and reading all of Proust's books.

Maybe I should do something similar.

And I know some of you are thinking that if I really wanted to read them, I would.

But I am telling you, I am afraid of what will happen next time I try to crack the first book.

It's as if the universe does not want me to read the series.


Let's Talk BOOKS, People.

Anything to keep from thinking about the hot weather--oh, and did I mention that the A/C in my car stopped working Sunday morning? It's always fun to find out on your way to church. (You know, 'cause you really shouldn't swear. GOSH!)

Here are a few titles I have read recently, outside of stuff for the book club. I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but you've been warned.

1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Funny story: I follow the author on Twitter, and I like her quirky humor. It turns out she is fro
m Philly and had a book signing in the area for her newest book. . . and of course it was on the one Saturday out of the month I had to sing. So I called when I got out of church, and I asked if she'd still be there 45 minutes from then (the time it would take me to get there). They said probably not, so I asked if they could have her sign a book for me. They asked me if a paperback was O.K., and while I didn't understand the question entirely, I said Fine. Because they were doing me a favor.
When I got to the bookstore the following day, and the nice cashier retrieved the book from the back office, I realized the paperback was of the previous book. I have no idea why they did that, unless maybe they figured it was not a guaranteed sale and they did not want a personalized hardcover book they couldn't resell.
So, I bought both books. (Very crafty, bookstore people.) But hey, I got a teacher discount, so they were 20% off (as mentioned previously, two books for $22.03). And the author wrote me a funny note about being on Twitter, so that was cool.

Summary: In the first book, Ginny, a thoughtful but somewhat mousy teen from New Jersey, receives a mysterious package from her beloved but recently deceased artsy aunt. In it are thirteen letters that send her on an adventure through Europe that teaches her a great deal about not only her aunt but also herself. The sequel focuses on getting to that last envelope.

My thoughts: Overall, I liked them, although the premise of the sequel was a little thin for me, so I'd have to say the first one is definitely better. But in both I enjoyed the descriptions of Europe and the places Ginny visited, as well, as the intertwining of ideas about art. I found them easy to read and hard to put down.
Yes, it's YA fiction. Yes, as usual, the author shows her penchant for connecting teen girls with older guys--I don't get it, but it did not bother me as much in this series as the other one I've read, mostly because the main character, Ginny, is 17 in the first book and 18 in the sequel. And there really was nothing offensive in it--even a few cautionary moments about traveling in foreign countries. So if you like this genre, these would be up your alley.

2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Summary: Again, this is YA fiction, but just barely. It's a raw, often brutal, fictional portayal of one family's struggle to survive when Stalin deported many Lithuanians to the outskirts of Russia, and they ended up in Siberia. Not a easy read--or in my case, an easy listen, as I did it in the car on audiobook.

My thoughts: I recommend it and I think it will win awards (as it is on a number of lists already). It was tough to listen to, and I found the ending a little abrupt, but overall it was a real page-turner (well, I was hanging on every word as I listened). I related to the main character Lina's artistic abilities and vision--she draws, in secret, many of the atrocities she witnesses.
In short, it's as close to a present-day Hunger Games as you could get, and a good deal of what transpires in the story really did happen.

3. When Martha's Away by Bruce Ingman
Summary: I was inspired to borrow this from the library by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a great childrens' book illustration blog, a while ago. This hilarious children's story is narrated by Lionel the cat, who reveals what he does when his owner, Martha, leaves the house. His activities include long-distance phoning his cousin, cooking his own lunch, and inviting kitty friends over for fun things like a piano concert.

Best page: "I play with your toys. Audrey from across the road comes over quite often to play doctor." (Illustration: a white cat with a red medical kit in her teeth trots over a crosswalk. Illustration opposite page: Audrey the cat wears a stethoscope and listens to Lionel's heart.)
What were you thinking?

I always joke with The Cat when I get home that she had all her cat friends over for poker while I was gone. Use your kid (or borrow someone else's kid) so you have an excuse to read this and have a good laugh.

Currently, I am reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. It's a look at how the internet has changed reading, including a look back at how the printing press changed reading, too. It seems to be a collection of essays, although in sequence. I'm about a third of the way through. . . and I just realized it's due back on the 18th and I'm out of renewals (stupid interlibrary loan limits). So I guess I'd better pick up the pace on it. It's a little heady, so I'm not really able to just pick it up and put it down a few minutes here and there. But it's interesting stuff.

On the YA side, I am reading Ghost Medicine by Andrew Smith. I did not expect to get so into it, because it is centered around teen boys on a California ranch, but it is really well written and has real heart. It's not that fast-paced, but the chapters are on the shorter side and full of detail and action. I keep thinking to myself, This is like the next step up for kids who read Gary Paulsen, if that means anything to you.

As a bonus middle-grade offering, I am listening to Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor, which I found on some book list somewhere that I can't remember. I don't like the actor reading the book, because for some reason she seems to have a Southern accent in spite of the fact that the family moved from Ohio to upstate New York. It's not a Midwestern accent; I know what that sounds like. But I like the tone of the story and its gentle but honest look at a kid who although dealing with divorce, an irresponsible mom, a learning disability, and the onset of adolescence, never loses her ability to just be a decent, very likeable kid.

After these, I will be working my way down the summer reading list for school, starting with seventh going into eighth grade. Probably too ambitious at this point in the summer, but I'm going to give it a try. On top of that, I was tipped off by CCR that Heartless is out, so I ordered that from the bookstore that runs my little summer job and probably will be waiting for me (with teacher discount!) Thursday.

Feel free to share what you're reading, or if any of these titles have grabbed your interest!


Kitty Resumes Her "Hyper" Meds

After the constant meowing and pawing and racing around, and all sorts of mayhem. . .

"For the hundredth time, Cat, there's no gateway to an alternate universe in there!"


. . . I decided it was time to ask the vet about putting The Cat back on her hyperthyroid meds.

Seriously, she fell out of bed--with the bed--at about 3:00 this morning. I heard a crash and sat up in bed, and when I didn't see any furniture fallen over (and my hamper had fallen over the morning before), I got up and looked for the cat.

I found her in the space between my dresser and the wall, wedged behind a box, and she looked shocked. I don't know how she did it. I mean, a few times before, she has taken a running leap onto the dresser where the bed is, and skidded it off the dresser, but I kind of think either she woke up with a start and fell over, or she got up on the wrong side of the bed (for real). After I lifted her out and set her on my bed, she ran off immediately, so she was not hurt. Thank God. But I am tired.

Checking out a thousand-legger on the ceiling at bedtime last night.
Her bed's in the background.

The vet called around 9:15 and gave me the go-ahead. He's happy the steroids seem to be working still, so if they continue to hold up, then I don't have to haul the fuzzball back in for tests for another two weeks.

Which gives her more time to hunt thousand-leggers (ew).

50% Humidity. Ahhhhhh.

I'm almost squarely between two towns, so I averaged out the humidity readings for both, and it's around 50%. After the swampiness of the last couple days--not to mention the downpours yesterday afternoon--today's weather is heavenly. Granted, it could be a little bit cooler, but the breeze is nice and I've got the sliding patio door open. That buys me a little time before I have to put on the A/C. I feel as if I've had it on almost continuously. . . not looking forward to the utility bill on all that.

So, right now I'm finishing my iced coffee. I bought it on the way home from the podiatrist and then I brewed a cup of decaf and dumped that in. (Sorry to offend any coffee purists, but I don't like my coffee all that sweet.)

[Oh, look--the power just went out. And then on. And then off again. And then on. I hope it stays on because I kinda need a modem to publish this.]

Yeah, so I went to the podiatrist. I was concerned about how badly I've been wrecking my feet since I started working in schools. I mean, they hurt every day at the end of the day when I was in school. And they just don't look as. . . pretty. . . as they used to. (O.K., you got me--I'm vain about my feet. When you don't have a model's body, you play up the good things you do have. I have beautiful eyes and pretty nice hair. But the feet are starting to go.)

I probably would not have gone to a podiatrist, except that I knew a former neighbor is one and her whole family is really nice. I used to watch her and her sisters twirl batons on the front lawn to practice for their high school drill team. (Is is obvious I have always wanted an older sister? I think my first "dream older sister" was Marie Osmond back in the days of Donny & Marie. I'm not kidding.) Anyway, the doc has a private practice and was able to fit me in this week. She just came back from a trip where she and her husband took their teenage sons to see some places in the Mediterranean. Sounded cool. She's very invested in their education and feels strongly that travel is a great way to learn.

Foot advice: Well, I definitely have been hard on my feet. I need to work in lower heels and put cushions for the ball of my foot in the fronts of my shoes. She mentioned some shoe brands that might be more comfortable, as well as the FootSmart catalog (which recently started coming in the mail for some strange reason) for the cushions. It all costs money, but honestly, I want to prevent crippling myself for as long as possible, if I can.

I guess in a way we also were catching up a bit (how are your parents, etc.), so of course she asked if I was seeing anyone. Then she shared the story of how she met her husband (introduced by mutual friend) at 30, and married at 31. I said, hey, if you know anybody nice. . . she asked me if it was O.K. if she used my phone number on file to give me a buzz if she thought of anyone. That was sweet.

It also was very sweet of her that she didn't charge me. Her feeling was that she didn't have to do anything other than give a bit of advice--probably a nice break from looking at elderly people's feet and trimming nails and stuff (seriously, I don't know any people other than seniors who go to podiatrists).

So far this month, I've gotten free rye bread (the girl at Whole Foods accidentally chopped off the back end of the loaf she was slicing) and free foot advice.

I guess I should put the money I saved toward stuff for my aching feet.


A Few Quick Bullets

1. Nothing says "Summer" like chef's salad for lunch. It also says, "It's too hot to cook," and "Here's to the end of the heat wave tomorrow." Of course, chef's salad is dictated by what's in the fridge at the time: Boston lettuce, leftover tomato, a couple hard-boiled eggs, a piece of deli turkey (purchased to entice The Cat but sometimes she shares), light honey-mustard dressing. Yum.

2. The Cat is O.K. She was a bit weird over the weekend--fussy, crying, pullling the door mat back under the door (demanding to go out in the hallway). One suspected cause of the weirdness was that there were a lot of firecrackers and fireworks being set off, every night from Thursday through Independence Day. My community has a courtyard out front. . . right across from my apartment because I'm towards the middle.
The other thing I'm wondering about is the possible return of her hyperthyroid. She's been off the medication because she got the steroid shot, and that was a few weeks ago. Gotta call the vet about that; that might mean yet another road trip with kitty cries from the back of the car.
In the meantime, I think I'm going to pick up a catnip toy for her at the pet supply store near my summer job.

3. In my little summer job news, I covered two Tuesday classes for another teacher--little kids, kindergarteners and first graders. She planned the crafts already and had the supplies there for me. Because it was the day after July 4th, some kids didn't show. I had four kids in each group, and while the first group was fine, the second was kind of a disaster. The craft didn't exactly work (using markers to decorate wiffleballs--the marker didn't stick) and the kids were, well, kinda nutty. The other teacher had brought in a bat to play baseball, but there was no way I was handing these kids a bat. They'd beat me to a pulp and then take to the cars in the parking lot.
But hey, I made $90 (other teacher makes more than I do!), which is nice to have since I just got invitations to one cousin's baby shower and another cousin's fiancee's bridal shower. (Easy come, easy go.)
Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but between the goofy kids and and the heat (we meet outside), it was nice to get to trivia (albeit late) and talk to some sane people. And have a Guinness. Oh, and kick butt. We won!

4. My July 4th weekend was pretty O.K. Went to the casino with the parents on Friday to see fireworks. They were awesome. Even more awesome: I got carded! That's twice in about a month! This time, security ran my license through the machine and it came out legit. Good to know; it's fairly new because I renewed it at my last birthday.
Saturday, I had lunch with a friend and we ventured into a huge used bookstore. HUGE.
Sunday, I went to a picnic at the new house of a childhood friend I don't see all that often. First grilled hot dog of the summer! Oh, and the house is very nice, so I'm happy for her and her husband and their little boy. I also saw one of my sister's friends, and it turns out her husband went to the school where I work. He got a kick out of knowing which of his teachers are still there.
Monday, I went to the local parade and then to my cousin's house for the annual picnic. Not as many people came this time, but it was fun seeing my great-aunt and some cousins from out of town. My two second cousins who are siblings both graduated from high school. The brother has Down Syndrome and is a regular firecracker--he loved my red Phillies tee, and told me he has a girlfriend (cute!). The sister is very artsy and crazy about horses, so I told her about Sara's horse and she told me about her latest riding adventure. Oh, and I had another grilled hot dog, natch.

Well, I gotta go get ready to hit the road for my summer reading group. We're talking about Bad Kitty Gets a Bath today. They are going to design their own pet bubble bath, on a drawing page I modified from the Bad Kitty website. (Yes, you can click where you want Bad Kitty to scratch on the furniture! Try it!)
I can't wait to see what the girls in the group come up with.

I've been doing a bunch of reading, so I hope to get a books post up soon. Gather your books so you can share, too!