misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
Note to Dog:

I hear the people in the hall. Really. Including the maintenance guy doing fire door improvements. It is not necessary to bark and/or growl to alert me every time you hear a sound out there. Especially when that sound is a power drill, I can hear it perfectly fine.

Note to Cats:

I understand that you two do not always get along well. I appreciate the fact that you fight much less than you did when Rosalind first came to live here, and I try to just put up with the occasional spats that still happen. HOWEVER...

On the occasions when you do still get into it, and decided to chase each other around the apartment with murder in your eyes, I would really appreciate it if the designated "home free" spot where the chasee can escape the chaser (whoever happens to be in either role at the moment) was NOT MY DESK.

Particularly not while I am working at it. And particularly not when you take a flying leap at the corner where my mouse pad is, while my hand is on said mouse, and land half-on-half-off it, sending the mouse flying in one direction and the mouse pad in three other directions (being as it is composed of three parts, and desperately grabbing at my arm with your claws in order to try not to fall. Neither the mouse, mouse pad nor my arm benefit from that kind of treatment, thank you.
misslynx: (Default)
Recently I noticed that the miniature rose bush in my living room window appeared to be having trouble. Some of the leaves were looking tattered and my initial thought was that it might have some sort of insect infestation. I checked it all over and couldn't see any visible bugs - not even on a really close inspection. Maybe some kind of disease, or mites that were too small to see easily? I wasn't sure...

But today, I heard something as I was working at my computer, and looked over to see that Rosalind, my rather plump calico cat, had somehow managed to squeeze her ample self in between the window fan and the rose bush, where by all the laws of physics she shouldn't have been able to fit (it's a small space and she's a big cat), and had both front paws planted in the rose pot, holding it still while she nibbled on the leaves.

I guess rather than looking for microscopic mites, I should have been casting my suspicions toward a larger form of plant-predator.

I checked around online and apparently roses are not toxic to cats, but still - I'm not growing it as a salad bar for her, but because I like the flowers, and somehow I don't think it will produce many flowers if she eats all its leaves. Maybe I should dust it with cayenne or something to deter her.

Still, I suppose this is what I get for giving her a name with "Rose" in it.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
The Lynxcub was apparently very impressed with Pride this year - not only did he want to go back the same day we were there, but the first question he asked me on Wednesday's visit was "Can we go back to Pride now?" I had to explain to him the nature of yearly events... And then on today's visit, we had the following exchange:

Cub: "What's that?" (pointing to a Salsa on St. Clair poster)

Me: "That's a poster for a street festival called Salsa on St. Clair. It'll be happening here, in this neighbourhood, in about a week - they'll block off the street from cars like they did for that other festival, and there'll be lots of music and dancing. It's kind of like Pride, only different."

Cub: "Why will people be dancing?"

Me: "Because Salsa is a type of dancing, and the kind of music people play for that, and this festival is all about that. And about the part of the world it comes from, Latin America."

Cub (giving me a Look): "Actually, salsa is made from tomatoes!"

Me (trying not to die laughing): "The word can mean more than one thing, honey. 'Salsa' can mean a kind of dance, and the music people dance to, and also the kind of salsa that you eat. I don't really know why they have the same word for both -- it's kind of funny, isn't it?"

Cub (thinks for a moment, then beams delightedly, and starts laughing as if this is the funniest thing he's ever heard in his life): "Yes!!!" (then, wistfully:) "Can Pride be in this neighbourhood?"

. . .

Later, at my place, I found him kneeling in front of my office chair, on which Rosalind was soundly sleeping. He was running his little wooden airplane down her side as though she was a runway.

Me (amused): "What are you doing?"

Cub: "I'm flyin' my airplane!"

Me: "On Rosalind?"

Cub: "Yes!" (and then, as if the explanation should be perfectly obvious to anyone:) "She's an airport cat!"
misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
*sigh* Shes a sweet, lovely, affectionate cat, but wow is she ever NOT GRACEFUL. This is not news, but todays act of feline klutzery was really outstanding.

I was sitting at my computer working, with a fresh cup of tea at my side, and saw that Rosalind was about to jump down from the shelves above my desk, which are one of her favourite haunts. So, having previously experienced the perils of jumping klutzkitty + full cup of tea, I quickly grabbed the cup and moved it directly in front of me, holding onto it with both hands so she couldnt knock it over.But apparently, directly in front of me was where she was aiming...

The good news: she didnt knock the cup over.

The bad news: she landed IN THE CUP. Well, at least one and possibly both of her front legs did. With considerable force, due to a whole lot of cat directly behind them. Tea EVERWHERE, plus wet freakedout cat flying out of the mess at warp speed, splattering more tea as she rocketed off to hide under the bed.

Did my best to clean up, and tipped my keyboard upside down on paper towels to drain and (hopefully) recover. After laundry, visit with Aidan, and dinner, took keyboard apart to clean it. Now, keyboard is dry and (relatively) clean, but the following keys dont work:

Hyphen/dash
Left square bracket
Apostrophe/quote (youd probably guessed that one by now)
Arrow keys, except up
The entire bottom row, including the SPACE BAR, except for one of the two command keys.

So how, you may wonder, am I typing this? Answer: I copied a space, and am hitting command + V for paste every time I need a space. Bloody annoying, but it works...(Im just glad one of the two command keys was spared.)

*sigh* I so did NOT need a computer problem while in the midst of a massive work crunch. Was going to go to MEC tomorrow and get fenders put on my bike (since I have been discovering that yes, winter cycling IS possible), but I think that may have to wait. New keyboard somewhat more important, I think.

Seriously, Rosalind is a disgrace to the term catlike reflexes. Lumbering catox is more like it.

Just pretend there are quotes around catlike reflexes and a dash in catox, OK?
misslynx: (Default)
Animal updates cut for scatological content, in hopes of not squicking out my flist.
  1. Kiska update )


  2. Rosalind update )


  3. Speaking of construction, I was delighted to see a cement mixer outside my building earlier today. Not as delighted as I would have been if it had been in the act of pouring cement right there, but still... It was obviously getting ready to pour cement somewhere, and I can only hope that it was doing the road surface a little east of me, as that would mean that soon it will do the road in front of my building and then this will all be over. Or at least, the part of it in front of me will be. As far as I can see, pouring the actual road is the last remaining thing that needs doing here, other than stuff like painting lines on it, replacing the signposts and things, etc., all of which will hopefully be a little quieter.

    I am also ridiculously pleased that at least one tree on my block survived the whole construction project. I suppose I could equally well be upset that the others didn't, but on the whole I'm trying to focus on the positive. I'm not sure why they took down all but one of the trees, but it did look like the one they left was the biggest. Maybe there's some city by-law about not killing trees above a certain size or age, or maybe they just figured the smaller ones wouldn't be robust enough to survive and the bigger one would, I don't know. But I'm glad we have one left, and I really hope they replace the others.

    Also, I am very glad that the tree immediately outside my eastern windows is growing out of Filippo's patio rather than on the sidewalk, and thus not subject to any of this. I would be seriously upset if anything happened to that tree.


  4. Very happy to have finally started my Deliria game, though I had to do so with only half the players, as it turned out. One player was sick, and another (her spouse), had to stay home to take care of her. And the original opening scene I had in mind needed them. But I was able to come up with an alternate opening that focussed on the other two player characters, and kept the story on track such that I can still do the original scene I had in mind next time.

    Gaming really is an essential sanity-saving measure for me. There's something about the particular kind of collaborative creativity it involves that feeds something in me that nothing else does. I suppose it's the same part of the mind that, as a child, loves playing make-believe. Maybe some people lose that as they get older, but I don't seem to have, and I'm very happy for that. Writing fiction is probably the closest "respectable", grown-up activity to that, but it doesn't (usually, at least) involve the same kind of interaction with other people, which for me is part of what makes gaming especially enjoyable. It involves not just exercising my own creativity, but bouncing it off of other people's. In some ways that aspect of it reminds me a little bit of playing in a band, but again, slightly different.

    Well, whatever the reason for it, it really does feel like an integral part of my life -- more than just an enjoyable time-waster. When I don't have it, I really miss it, and when I come back to it after not doing it for a while, I have that satisfied feeling like an empty spot in my psyche just got properly filled and all is now right with the world, or at least my corner of it.


  5. And that seems like an appropriately upbeat note to end on, as I have to get to the gym and from thence to a Drupal Users Group meeting. Hope everyone else is doing similarly well.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Round 1: Dog vs. Mattress

There is a layer of eggshell foam over my mattress, which makes it a little softer than the somewhat ancient sofabed mattress would otherwise be. Normally this is under the bottom sheet, but when I am doing laundry, it is exposed because the bedding is off.

So tonight I came home from doing laundry and walked into the bedroom to see chunks of foam strewn from one end of the bed to the other, and several large gaping holes near the middle. And Kiska lying next to the carnage looking up all sweet and innocent as if to say "Oh, you're home! How was laundry?" (I tried to photograph the crime scene, but alas, the photos did not turn out. Damn cell phone camera. Someday I will get a real one...)

I had just a moment of wondering what the hell had happened to my bed, before I remembered the times I have seen her circle around several times and paw at her dog bed or my quilt or whatever else was under her in order to arrange it to her liking. And I guess the foam didn't stand up so well to dog pawing... *sigh*

. . .

Round 2: Cat vs. Skin

I haven't posted an update on Rosalind (a.k.a. New Cat) lately, mainly because there's not been anything very dramatic to report. She seems to be settling in nicely, and she and Claribell are, if not precisely getting along, at least fighting less, so I think they're getting used to each other. She is a lovely cat, very affectionate and considerably more kid-friendly than Claribell, who usually hides whenever Aidan comes over. Rosalind not only doesn't hide from him, she'll actually walk right up and headbutt him affectionately or rub against him.

However... She has one major quality that is not happy-making. Or 20, depending on how you look at it. Specifically, 20 razor-sharp implements of death attached to her four paws, and a very severe disinclination to having them clipped. In the whole time she has been here, I have managed to clip one claw, once. And that is not for lack of trying, it's just for lack of succeeding. That cat really puts up a fight if you come anywhere near her with nail clippers, and none of the tactics I have ever used on other recalcitrant cats have had any success with her.

Tonight I tried again, after she drew blood from me unintentionally (well, unintentionally as far as I could tell -- who knows what lurks in the minds of cats?) for about the tenth time. I actually tried the wrapping-her-in-a-towel technique this time, and not only did that not result in being able to clip even one claw -- I also ended up bleeding in about half a dozen places by the end of it. Most of this was not due to her clawing me on purpose (again, as far as I can tell) -- she appears to be a very nonviolent cat. But she gets very wiggly when you try to clip her claws, and flails about all over the place, in the process trying to get purchase on any surface she can in order to get away, and if you happen to be that surface, you suffer the consequences. She does not seem, in general, to have any comprehension of the sharpness of her claws or how much damage they can do to human skin when she flails her paws about or even when she affectionately extends them while being petted, or jumps off your lap, or any of a number of other common everyday things.

I really, really need to figure out some way to clip her claws, but I'm really not sure, short of drugging her or something, how that is ever going to be possible...

. . .

Bonus Round: Cat vs. Cat

Oh, and just in case you think Claribell is innocent due to her not having destroyed my foam mattress cover or injured me (today), she is most assuredly not. While she is attacking Rosalind less often these days, one circumstance that nearly always seems to inspire her to do so is when Rosalind is in the litter box. Now that is just uncalled for. And apart from probably being a violation of the feline equivalent of the Geneva Convention, if such a thing exists (and it really should), this behaviour is also, I think, directly responsible for the occasional piles of poo I have been finding under my bed.

Now, I should really not complain, because better under the bed than on the bed, and poo is a lot easier to clean up than pee, but still...! Claribell really needs to learn some kind of rules of honorable engagement. But since the odds of that are probably very slim, maybe getting a covered box for the bedroom would help some. It would at least limit the possible angles of attack to one.

. . .

I love my pets. I really do. But sometimes I need to work extra hard at reminding myself of that.

Cat update

Feb. 12th, 2009 04:13 am
misslynx: (Default)
We have now had three days with no inappropriate peeing - Sunday night, when I last posted about it, was the last time (thus far... *knocks on wood*).

Monday I got a plastic drop cloth to put over the bed, and have had that on it any time I'm not actually in the bed ever since. And also, a new litter box for her, which I put in the bedroom with fresh litter in it and two paper towels that had been used to clean up her pee, so that it would have her scent and not Claribell's. The other litter box I moved back into the bathroom where it originally was.

I've also been making a point since then of paying her extra attention and reassuring her any time Kiska barks at her or she has a hissing match with Claribell, because I'm pretty sure at least one of the pee incidents happened right after Kiska had barked at her, and another was after a confrontation with Claribell. So basically I'm trying to calm her a little any time I know she's had a stressful experience.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] margrock gave me a sort of anti-stress aromatherapy diffuser for cats (thank you!), though I've used it only sparingly thus far, because I wrote in to the company that made it with some safety questions and haven't yet heard back from them, and I'm paranoid like that...

Anyway, all in all, things seem to be working -- I was initially worried that putting the plastic on the bed would just induce her to pee somewhere else problematic, but thus far it hasn't. She does appear to be using the new litter box -- I haven't seen her in it, but I've found the evidence afterwards, and I don't think it's Claribell, because she's been mostly avoiding the bedroom.

Though increasingly, and especially today, they each seem to be venturing more into the other's territory and checking each other out. No signs of actual friendship yet, but no actual fighting either -- just a lot of wariness, staring, and a bit of hissing. And they've been gradually coming closer together during their encounters -- originally they would stare at each other from across the room, but just now they were both in the front hall, playing staredown through the front wheel of my bike while only about a foot apart. I guess they're gradually easing into each other's presence...

Verdict: I think the new girl is starting to settle in after all... And that means two things:

One, I really do need to decide on a permanent new name for her. I think I have pretty much narrowed it down to Emilia or Rosalind (yes, I'm still stuck on the Shakespeare thing). Just have to decide which...

And two, pictures! )

In other news, I have absolutely no idea why I'm still awake, but I should probably remedy that immediately.
misslynx: (Default)
She just did it again.

The details )
misslynx: (Default)
Well, after spending several hours at my dad's place working on his book manuscript (my unofficial part-time job, as editor and potentially co-author), I came to find no further cat accidents anywhere. Not only that, but it looked like the litter box had actually been used recently, although of course that could have been Claribell.

Gathered up everything from the bathtub (sheets, two blankets, comforter, quilted mattress cover and eggshell foam) and took all but the foam to the laundromat (which was harder with everything soaking wet than I had anticipated -- had to break it into two trips) and washed it all. Rinsed out the foam a bit further and hung it over the shower rod -- I don't think it is going to be odour-free, and I might have to get rid of it, but that's better than having to get rid of the mattress like I'd thought I was going to. Thankfully, the multi-layered construction of it meant that the pee had not actually gotten down as far as I'd originally thought.

Still no cat accidents, as of this writing. And... Miss New Cat has come out of the bedroom, at least two or three times this evening. She came into the washroom and rubbed against my legs while I was hauling everything out of the tub, discovered the scratching post in the kitchen and sharpened her claws on it, and when I came back home while my stuff was in the dryer, she was perched up on the kitchen counter. And Claribell and Kiska did not seem to be reacting much at all to her wandering around the apartment, apart from Claribell glaring at her balefully from her perch up on a shelf.

So I think, hopefully, maybe, she may be settling in and things may be OK. I guess we'll see...
misslynx: (Default)
Note to self: never post about how unexpectedly smoothly something is going. That's just asking for trouble.

Incident the first )

Incident the second )
misslynx: (Default)
So at last... There is a new arrival in my household. A sweet, slightly plump 3-year-old calico cat who is currently hiding under my bed. Her name is apparently Allie, but I think I will have to find a new name for her, because having her have the same name as a longtime close human friend of mine would be confusing all around.

Thus far, there have been no cat theatrics. I was originally going to do the usual close-the-new-cat-up-in-a-separate-room thing, but my bedroom door doesn't currently close all the way, and the bathroom has no radiator in it and would get very cold if it were closed off. So I followed an alternate new-cat methodology I'd encountered somewhere: I put the carrier down in the middle of the floor, within Claribell's sight, and then went about doing other things for a little while, including petting Claribell, while ignoring the cat carrier. After a little time had passed, I went over and opened the carrier, gave the kitty within one quick scritch (which you're technically not supposed to do according to this method, but I figured she probably needed some reassurance), and then again walked off and basically pretended she wasn't there.

The idea behind this whole pretend-the-new-cat-isn't-there thing is to allow the cats to get acquainted on their own terms, and minimize the likelihood of the original cat thinking of the new one as a rival for your affections. So far it seems to be working out pretty well. Allie stayed inside the carrier for about half an hour even after I opened it, poking her head out now and then to look around but not actually coming out. Eventually she slipped out and made the rounds of the apartment, sniffing everything, before retreating under the bed. Claribell watched her like a hawk for some time, and eventually after she'd been under the bed for a while, went in there and poked her head in under the edge of the bed and growled a bit, but then seemed to lose interest and wandered off. And that's all the interaction they've had thus far in the three hours that Allie has been here.

Kiska has been a little more attentive than Claribell, and I had to strongly discourage her from trying to referee the brief growling match they had. But so far, all is basically well.

Further bulletins as warranted, and a photo to come once the new arrival comes out into the light again.

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rackle for pointing me in the direction of her friend who had taken in a small family of kitties abandoned by their previous owner and was seeking homes for them.

. . .

In other news, the Cough That Wouldn't Die finally seems to be on the way out. I'm only coughing a little now, and the coughs are now "productive" - basically, it feels like my lungs are clearing themselves out. About time...
misslynx: (Amber)

R.I.P. Amber
1993-2009



Why does doing the right thing have to hurt so much?

Amber

Jan. 20th, 2009 01:11 pm
misslynx: (Amber)
I haven't posted about this in a while, but Amber, my eldest cat, is not doing well. She's been sick with pancreatitis for some time, and I've been having to feed her by thinning the prescription food from the vet with water, sucking it into a syringe, and squirting it into her mouth a little at a time, plus giving her subcutaneous fluids from a drip bag occasionally when she seems dehydrated.

At first she seemed to be getting a bit better, and would lick and bite the syringe when I was feeding her, and sometimes lap up a little of the food from the bowl, but she stopped doing that several weeks ago, and over the past while has gone from passively accepting the feeding to resisting it a bit to, in the last couple of days, actively fighting it, to the point where she ends up wearing more of the food than she eats. She also seems to have gotten progressively weaker, more lethargic, and more disoriented.

She's gotten dramatically worse in the past day or two - I was supposed to bring her in the vet on Sunday but I was too sick, and had to reschedule for today. Yesterday at several points I considered calling and asking if I could bring her in right away, but held off mainly because I felt like if she was dying, maybe a peaceful death at home would be better for her.

But she has an appointment today at 2, and I'm bringing her in, to try and get an honest assessment of where she's at. I'm pretty sure she will not be coming home today - but whether that's because she's staying in the hospital on IV or something, or not coming home at all, is the question.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Had a very weird experience walking Kiska earlier tonight. Just past the park I usually take her to, she was up on the lawn of a house sniffing at things, when I saw a small, long-haired ginger cat looking at us. Out of habit, I called to the cat, although I didn't really expect him to come near with Kiska there. But he did, though a little hesitantly, and came up and rubbed against my hand, though glancing warily at Kiska and making a few little warning "wrr-rrr-rrr" type sounds under his breath.

Kiska noticed the cat and came over closer, because Kiska is made of optimism where cats are concerned, and expects all strange cats to want to be her friend, despite the fact that in the five years I've had her, this has almost never been the case. I expected the cat to run away, but no -- he glared up and her, and then walked across the little wall he was standing on, directly in front of Kiska, who was only inches away. I had just started to compliment him on being fearless, when he suddenly turned around took a whack at her with his paw. She yelped and jumped back, then, giving him a wide berth, jumped down the sidewalk and stayed on the far side of me, glancing nervously at the cat, who by now I guess she was pretty certain was not her friend.

The cat, looking very pleased with himself, strolled back along the wall and rubbed up against me again -- and then jumped off the wall and went charging straight for Kiska. He got in one good swiped before she yelped and ran out into the street, and I got in between them and pushed him back.

Since this was now well beyond admirable fearlessness in a cat and into sheer thuggishness, I tried saying emphatically "NO! BAD kitty!" while keeping Kiska behind me and urging her to get moving, which at this point took very little urging. So we started off, only to look back and see that the cat was following us, with a look of determination in his eyes. The fact that Kiska outweighed him by about ten times didn't seem to deter him at all (nor did it reassure Kiska any -- she was definitely trying to put some distance between her and this cat).

I stopped and told him to go back, which being a cat he ignored completely. His body language didn't look aggressive, and he seemed to be looking at me more than at Kiska, so I thought maybe he'd just swiped at her because she was on his territory before, and he was now following us just because he was affection-starved or something. So I reached out to him, somewhat against my better judgment, and he came up and rubbed adorably on my hand looking all sweet and cute again -- and then, as soon as he had me off guard, darted past me and tried to attack Kiska again!

I intercepted him, just barely, and yelled "BAD kitty! GO HOME!", pointing back to the house where we'd found him, but he just kept trying to duck around me to get at Kiska again. So I nudge him back with one foot, and then took off with Kiska, not running, but walking very fast. Looked back: he was following us again.

When we crossed the street diagonally to our block, he stayed on the corner, and began mewing piteously, as thought to say "Wait! Wait! Why are you leaving? Look at me! I am cute and adorable! How could you possibly abandon me like this? Don't you realize that I have not been petted or given attention EVER?"

Not about to be fooled at this point, I left him there, and when I eventually couldn't hear the mewing any more, glanced back just to be sure -- and the damn cat had crossed the street and was heading after us again. So for the remaining long block down to our building Kiska and I played Dodge The Ginger Avenger, with me running interference when necessary -- and the cat nearly always trying to get friendly with me in between bouts of trying to assassinate my dog.

At one point we passed another pedestrian, and the cat seemed to get distracted, looking up at the new person with the same "Love me! Love me NOW!" sort of look that he had tried on me, but apparently got nowhere. I glanced back hopefully and saw no sign of the cat, and thought momentarily that we had escaped -- only to suddenly have him dart out from behind a hedge and go after Kiska again.

We picked up the pace and soon seemed to have lost him again, and finally made it home with no sign of the cat -- until suddenly he appeared from behind a parked car and tried to chase Kiska right into the building.

I got Kiska inside and closed the door, trying to figure out what to do about the cat, who promptly strolled over onto the patio of the Italian restaurant I live above. My apartment is right on the corner of a busy street, and psycho or not, I didn't want the cat to get run over. But on the other hand, given his apparent volatility, I wasn't sure I wanted to try and carry him back to his home -- Kiska may be up to date on her vaccinations, but I'm not! Not to mention that I didn't know if the house where we first saw him even was his home. He didn't have a collar on, though he clearly wasn't a stray -- long-haired cats get matted very quickly if they're not groomed regularly, and his coat was perfectly silky and tangle-free.

Eventually, I lost sight of him and went inside to soothe Kiska's frazzled nerves, leaving Ninja Kitty to find his own way home, though I felt kind of bad about it. I suppose it's weird to be concerned with the well-being of a canicidal and possibly insane stalker cat who seems to have devoted himself to the downfall of my dog, but I do hope he gets home OK.

But I think I may be a little warier of befriending strange cats in the future, because some are clearly stranger than others.
misslynx: (Aidan looking up)
Aidan: "Dat!" (pointing at coffee cup)

Me: "That's muime's* coffee. Can you say 'decaf soy latte'?"

[livejournal.com profile] kettunainen: Well, I guess it's better than 'Up against the wall, motherfucker!'..."

Me: The rallying cry of the counterculture, then and now.

. . .

Later, we were in a park (with Aidan in his spiffy new Newt Suit and rain boots), and he tripped and fell down, and started to cry. I picked him and was trying to soothe him when a friendly black and white cat that had been hanging around walked right up to us on the ledge we were sitting on, and began to rub against Aidan, purring. That distracted him from his unhappy better than anything I could have done, probably. We went from loud sobs to "Cah! Meowm! Meowm!" in mere seconds.

I don't know if the cat recognized that he was in distress and was trying to help, or just really wanted attention, but I think I will choose to fondly believe the former.

. . .

* For anyone who wasn't around when it was settled on or doesn't remember, muime (pronounced mwee-va, more or less) is an Irish word that can variously mean foster mother, stepmother, or other non-bio-mother-figure, and it's what I decided on for Aidan to call me in order to solve the two-mommies problem.
misslynx: (Default)
Every visit I have with Aidan, I keep thinking of all the cute or impressive things he's doing and making mental notes to post them on LJ. And yet, most of the time by the time I've dropped him off, either I'm tired, or hungry and need to cook, or have messages from clients that want answering, and somehow I never get around to posting them.

So this time, I've just got to actually do it, because the number of cute and/or awesome things he has been doing is mounting up too high to be borne. So, in no particular order, some great Aidan moments/discoveries/accomplishments of late:
  • Meow: Aidan is very big on meowing lately. He meows just about every time he sees a cat, including in pictures, from a distance, through a window, etc. He also meows any time he's approaching my apartment building, and all the way up the stairs once inside. Apparently, due to the cats in residence, my new home has been christened House of Meow. His version of meow tends to have an extra m at the end, so it's more like "mee-yom", but the intonation makes it unmistakably a meow.

    He'll even use it to refer to cats when they're not present — one time recently in the park I said it was time to go back to my place, and he replied "Meyom, meyom, da-ga!" (da-ga is Aidanese for dog). At first this seemed a bit random, but then he repeated it, looking intently at me the way he does when he's clearly trying to get something specific across, and I realized he was basically saying "Cat, cat, dog" — as in, yes, we're going to the place where there are two cat and a dog.

  • Dogs: He is fascinated by dogs, but also seems little scared of them, though sometimes it looks more like play-scared than real scared. Every time we see a dog — Kiska or any other — he seems absolutely enthralled, and usually wants to go closer to them to get a better look, but if the dog approaches him or even looks at him, he'll fling himself into my arms or hide behind my legs as though he's terrified and in need of protection, though most of the time he's smiling when he does it. He's even done this when Kiska looks up at him through the doorway when she's lying in her dog bed in the next room.

    I think it may be partly the fact that yes, dogs are mostly bigger than him and thus maybe a bit scary for real, but it also seems to be at least partly a game, especially when he peeks out from his hiding place coyly until he catches the dog's eye, then squeaks and hides his face again. But he can't be all that scared because he always wants to go see dogs in the park. One of his favourite recent dog encounters recently was with a golden retriever that was leashed to a signpost in the park, so he could position himself just a few inches beyond where the dog could reach, watching it from the closest possible safe distance (we'd already established with the dog's owner that it was friendly, BTW). After a while of watching like that — and rebuffing all attempts to get him to do anything other than stay watching the dog — he finally tiptoed up behind it while it was lying down with its back to him, and petted it, very gently. Of course, as soon as it turned its head to see who was petting it, he squeaked and dived back to safety in my arms, but he had a delighted look on his face even then.

  • Music: Aidan is a tremendous music lover, and seems to like dancing as much as any of his parents. He knows how to turn on the clock radio in my bedroom, and also how to adjust the volume, and any time I take him in there, he'll go straight for the radio, turn it on, and then start bouncing around happily on his knees, flapping his arms in his own unique style of dancing. If we're out in the living room, he likes to have music on the computer — today I hadn't put any on at first, and at a certain point he looked pointedly at the computer and then at me, and said "Dat!" So I fired up iTunes, and he immediately started dancing happily. I guess the computer has now been identified as Source Of Music just like the radio, and it's only a matter of time before he finds a way to turn it on himself. Hell, he's already figured out not just which button turns on my cell phone, but also which one takes the keypad lock off, disturbingly enough. Which brings me to:

  • Phones: He's obsessed with telephones. He's always trying to get his hands on my cell phone, and when at home, the landline as well. When he doesn't have one of those, sometimes he'll pick up any other random object of a similar shape and size and pretend it's a phone. What he does with them is press them to his ear like he's talking on the phone, and while originally he would say "I!" ("Hi!" with the h dropped, basically), he's now graduated to "Ello!" He's also now started deciding that the phone is sometimes for me, and will hold the phone up to my ear instead. And earlier today, even Kiska had a phone call, apparently.

  • Gargoyles: Speaking of taking after certain of his parents, he's fascinated with the stone gargoyle on my bedroom windowsill. He often stares at it with great interest, sometimes tracing its various parts with his fingers. One time, a few visits back, he tried to feed it a piece of apple. He held the apple out to it as if expecting it to come to life and take it from his hands. When this failed to happen, he looked annoyed for a moment, and then reached out and smashed the apple into the gargoyle's little fanged mouth. Apparently satisfied that it had had its share, he was then able to go back to eating.

    But we had some particular gargoyle progress today — I'd been saying the word "gargoyle" to him before when he was focussed on it, but today he clearly said "ga-go" back when I said it. And repeated it several times, as though trying to get used to the word.

    He also started touching specific parts of it, and was able to associate them with parts of his body. First he was poking its eyes, so I said "eyes", and pointed to its eyes, then his, then mine. He watched with that sort of intent learning look that he has sometimes, as I repeated it a couple of times, and then he pointed to its eyes and then his and said "eye!" I did the same with noses, which made him laugh, and then, without prompting, he touched the gargoyle's tongue, then stuck his own tongue out and touched it! And a bit later when playing in the next room, he suddenly pointed at his eye and said "eye!"

  • In general, watching him learn about the world, and about how to communicate, is one of the coolest things about having a child this age in my life. Every single visit it seems like he's picking up new words or signs, or in some other way coming to new realizations. watching him do all that is like discovering the world, and language, all over again. It's both adorable and impressive, by turns.
And there are also PICTURES )
misslynx: (Can't brain)
OK, not to keep harping endless on the new bike, but since it's been raining for most of the day, the only thing I can really do with it right now is attach the various accessories I got for it. Thus far, bell and lights have been successfully attached, though in the case of the rear light it was a little tricky as they tell you not to remove the original reflectors, and with the reflector on there there was not much room for the light, but I managed to squeeze it in.

However, I have been defeated by the hardware for the U-bar lock, or more specifically the bracket thingie with which one is supposed to attach it to the bike. Also the complete lack of instructions it came with. I was initially pleased to see a little folded up piece of paper wedged inside the bracket, but when I unfolded it, it was just the warranty, plus instructions on how to lock your bike -- uh, I think I knew that part, thanks.

Here is what it came with:
  • The main bracket thingie. I think I can tell which side is supposed to go on the bike and which on the lock, because one of them has little rubber things inside it to adjust for different frame sizes and the other does not.
  • Two nut-and-bolt combos. I think these are supposed to go on what I think is probably the lock side of the bracket, as it has two holes in it. Of course, it may be that that is actually the bike side and I was supposed to put the little rubber things in there, even though they were initially in the other one.
  • Two little washers. Since there are two, I am guessing they probably go somewhere in with the nuts and bolts, but I don't know exactly where. On the nut side? The bolt side? In the middle?
  • A little square piece of metal with a round hole in it.
  • A strange contraption I can't make head nor tail of, which has a sort of nut and bolt arrangement with a pin through the head of the bolt attaching it to a sort of rectangular thing that wraps around it and has a round bit on the end. I assume this goes with what is probably the bike side, i.e. the side that has not got two holes in it. That side has one hole, and then below the hole it sort of flares out a bit for no apparent reason that I can tell.
Does that description make any sense to anyone?

BTW, googling "attaching bracket for U-bar bike lock" turns up one set of detailed instructions for a completely different sort of bracket with no parts in common with this one, and a bunch of irrelevant stuff having to do with car racks, motorcycles and wheelchairs. Googling "attaching bracket for SuperCycle U-bar bike lock" in hopes of getting more specific results turns up... absolutely nothing.

I also have a rear carrier to attach, but given that it comes with even more hardware (specifically, two short bolts, one medium one, one long one, a whole bunch of nuts and washers, two flexible clear plastic bits, and three unidentifiable metal things of various random shapes and numbers of holes), and likewise no instructions, I'm thinking I may need to enlist an expert on that one. Anyone feel like an expert?

Oh, one more question: apparently one is supposed to register one's bike with the police in order to enhance the near-zero chances of recovering it if it's stolen to something a little less near zero. This entails finding a serial number on it somewhere. The web page for this helpfully says that it should be "somewhere on the frame". Anyone have any more specific info than that on where I might find this number?

Really wondering why bikes don't come with instruction manuals...

Also, note to Claribell: STOP HELPING!

Imagined rejoinder from Claribell: "Oh, don't be silly. It's not like you're managing well on your own, and I keep trying to show you that the correct place for all those little bits of hardware is all over the floor under various pieces furniture, or possibly in my mouth, but you're just not paying attention. No wonder you humans get so frustrated with this stuff. You're just not smart enough to throw it all on the floor and bat it around randomly like we cats are, are you?"
misslynx: (needs must)
I can has 36 hour day plz?

Or just stop time for a week or so while I get caught up. That would do it too...

Maybe more like a month.
misslynx: (Amber)
Amber seems to be doing OK on her new medication regimen. She's eating well, and has put back on a bit of weight, her fur is a little softer, and she seems a little less agitated and has once or twice even let me sleep through the whole night without getting up to feed her partway through.

And I have discovered that the only good way to get a pill inside that cat is to crush it up and mix it into a little bit of canned cat food or plain yogourt. Anything else is an invitation to arterial bleeding (on my part).

Towards the end of this week she needs to go back in for a follow-up appointment and get her thyroid levels checked again to make sure the medication is having the desired effect.

Thanks to all who sent their good wishes/energy/etc.

Hopefully she will not be overly traumatized by moving next week...
misslynx: (Amber)
I picked Amber up from the vet today. The verdict is that it does indeed appear to be hyperthyroidism, although the test results are not really quite as clear-cut as they could be. Her thyroid levels were above normal, but only by a little bit - not as high as hyperthyroid cats often area. But Dr. Toole said that if she had been that sick with just about anything else, her thyroid levels would probably have been at least somewhat depressed, so their being higher than normal plus the other signs made it by far the most likely thing.

So I now have a little bottle of pills, from which I am supposed to give her half a tablet every 12 hours. If anything changes (other than just gradual improvement) I'm to let him know right away, and she needs to go back in two weeks to have her thyroid levels re-checked.

She seems much improved - when I let her out of the carrier, despite being in the room where she eats and spends most of her time, she ran out of the room and proceeded to run all over the apartment, going everywhere except where I wanted her to be, which is pretty much standard Amber behaviour. :-) Then she demanded to be fed, and after eating, she lounged on the floor in front of the bookshelves in the hallway, licking at the part of her front leg that was shaved for the IV with annoyance but otherwise seeming pretty much her normal self. Although those who know Amber will probably be thinking "You mean she's got a normal self?"

The down side: the vet bill was a lot more than I thought it would be. Who knew that full blood & urine workup + chest x-rays + a solid weekend in the hospital on an IV receiving various medications would add up to nearly $1100?! Guess that definitely rules out the radioactive iodine option - that involves a 1-2 week hospital stay, which would be freakishly expensive even aside from the actual treatment itself. Plus, they then have to stay in isolation at home for another two months or something like that, with their owner only being allowed around them for about an hour a day, because, well, they're radioactive. For a 16-year-old cat, really not such a great idea.

So, pills it is. And I am incredibly thankful that among Dr. Toole's many virtues is flexibility about payment arrangements, because I will not be able to pay off the majority of that bill until the Show Your Ontario money comes in. I made a partial payment with most of what I had left in the bank, and the rest will just have to wait a little while.

Thanks to everyone who sent energy, good wishes, etc. It was much appreciated.

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misslynx

April 2011

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