Finger Lickin' Good!

Apparently, I taste good. Or I need to take a little more time in the shower.

Goblin and Sister are both lickers, but Goblin does it more and is much more demanding about it. Once he's decided it's time to groom his very big, hairles cat companions, he will make sure we sit still and take it. If we try to pull away whatever he's cleaning - fingers, toes, arm or leg - he'll grab hold (with claws), bite the thing to be cleaned into submission, then proceed.

Non-cleaning licks - kisses - are much more casual, involving one or only a few little licks in greeting. This is on fingers, ankles, and even noses during snorgle-time. Even though their tongues are like sandpaper, I'm charmed.

Edit: There wasn't supposed to be any sound with this one - I edited it out, or so I thought. We were watching Meet Joe Black. The movie commentary combined with our own is rather boring, so go ahead and mute it if it takes away from the cuteness of kitty licking.

Kitteh Wrestling!

This is how Goblin and Sister spend agood half of their time. The other half involves mostly sleeping. Yay for videos!

Music in the background is one of Matt's music projects, under his new name, Noisepsalm. (He also does some DJ stuff, under the name DJ Papa Pill; I get the two confused sometimes - oooops!).


For Mama Wren, who loves kitten toes as much as I do.

Thank you, Grampa.

Ok. At an hour-and-a-half before the cut-off time, I have completed my first assignment for my first term back in school. And, I think I kicked butt. I think. The assignment itself was easy, but the first assignment of the term usually is. This one seemed simpler than most.

Should I worry, then, that maybe I missed something important, and did not in fact kick butt?

Nah. I'm pretty sure I nailed what I needed to.

Getting back into the groove of school, I am very very glad I'm only taking one class per term. Although the subject seems pretty simple so far, it's still a challenge just with all the reading I need to do. This is the first class I've had that has two textbooks; all the others just had one. The reading assignment for this first phase (which has only two assignments - one week's worth) was six chapters total. With reading all day Saturday, my only interruptions being taking two breaks to put away clothes and wash dishes, I got through four. That's all day reading. And I'm a reader - I can zoom through an 800-page novel in a day, given the chance (and I have, when I had the chance).

This is tough. This reading is not fun, it's not particularly interesting (although not totally boring either). It is very dry, straightforward and uninspired. I find myself sort of zoning out and then having to go back and reread passages, so that although with all the various charts and such it's really not that much to read, it takes me hours.

So. Glad. I'm. Only. Taking. One. Class.

I will be far less stressed now with the lighter load, and with everything that's going on right now - especially with Matt's shoulder injury - that is more terribly important than I an reasonably express. Further, it will give me more time to do other things, like walking in the mornings with Mama Wren, and taking Tai Chi classes Wednesday evenings (Mama and I are starting that when the next class begins in July). I'll be able to spend time with Matt, with Goblin and Sister, with books, and with artwork.

As things slow down elsewhere in my life, school will become just one more part of the routine, and a calm will settle again. I'm looking forward to that.

This being Memorial Day, I find myself wishing my grandfather - a vet - were still alive so he could see how well I've done and am doing in school. He died before I decided to go back to school; the last thing he know on the subject was of my adamance against further college. He must have been disappointed on that score, but he never pushed me on it. Maybe he knew I'd change my mind one day.

I want to tell him thank you for setting up the fund that made college a possibility for me. I want to thank him for letting me decide when to finally put it to use, and for having the faith in me that although I may do things more slowly - like taking it one class at a time now - I will get them done, and done well if I have any say in the matter.

I can only thank the wind, and hope that if there's a somewhere, he'll hear it.

There is a cemetery just up the road I live on. I wonder if there are any veterans buried there, or just gold miners and gold theives. I should have visited it today - seen if any flags or flowers were there to say thank you to someone long gone. It's too late and too dark tonight, but maybe I'll stop by there tomorrow and talk to the wind.

Tooth Sun Dial

Mama Wren made a post about early-morning thoughts, the kind that tug you along when you're only half-awake and you hope they stick around when you become more lucid, but they don't always. Hers did, and the images her blog invoked just got to me.

I immediately saw a sun dial rimmed with teeth in my head, stark - dark and light. And because of the photo of poppies at the top of that post, the sun dial in my head was in a field of 'em. The image, stark and vibrant and strangely creepy as it was, would not leave me alone, begging to be drawn.

No. Painted.

Well, I can't paint at work (much to my dismay). But, I can sketch. And so I did. This is a very basic version of my mind's image, and not quite right in either the lighting or the details. The image in my head has more teeth and a different spoke-thingy (I'm sure there's an actual intelligent term for the spoke-thingy that casts the shadow that tells the time, but I don't know what it is, so spoke-thingy it shall be, so there.) Something less butterfly-wing-ish, more delicate, decorative but simpler somehow, and - somehow - sinsiter looking.

I want to paint this.

I've been wanting to take up painting again for a long time now, but haven't had much motivation. I recently read Stephen King's Duma Key, which is one of his best stories I've read in a very long time - one of his best, ever, IMHO. It is, of course, about a guy who paints, and - of course - these are no ordinary paintings. It got to me, too.

After reading that book, I was itching to paint, and then mere days later Mama Wren posted her Morning Whimsey post and a (sacrificial?) sun dial with teeth started haunting me, and I simply have to paint it. Without a proper set of paints, no easel, and no canvasses, I put a bug in Mom's ear about it and asked her to pass it along to my dad and grandmother, since my birthday is next month. Maybe I'll get a nice colorful birthday present and finally be able to properly illustrate the time-piece that keeps sneaking up on me, and nipping.


I just got to work, after a run through the Starbucks on Broadway. Much to my delight upon turning into the drive-through I noticed there were only two cars ahead of me, both of which had already placed their orders, so that my own wait for caffiene would be short. So I jauntily moved toward the order kiosk ... and stopped just a few feet shy of it.

The woman in front of me was in a beautiful little white mustang convertible, top down to enjoy the fresh, not-too-cold, not-too-hot morning air. Her hair was cropped short and artfully mussy-spiky, tinted blonde here and there, very classy and modern. And she was oblivious, head down, a good six or seven feet between her and the car in front of her at the pickup window.

I waited.

And sure enough, a few seconds later she rolled forward about a half foot and yes - you guessed it - the hand comes up, cell phone cradled, and plasters itself to the ear. And she stops, one half foot from where she was sitting prior, still not far enough forward for me to be able to order. Since she's looking up now I figure she'll see me in her rearview mirror and move forward, so I wait.

She doesn't.

I toot the horn once, light, polite, and wait.


I toot the horn two times, again quick and polite, no full-on honking, certainly nothing so uncivil as laying on the horn to vent my frustrations in noise.

And the cell-phone-hand comes down and - casually - the woman turns around, sees me, and flashes me a big bright dazzling grin, brilliant white teeth in cherry-red lips. And she just looks at me, grinning.

Trying not to grimace -trying to match her friendly casualty with frindly blankness - I wave my fingers at her in a shooing, "go-forward" motion. Unhurried, she turns back around and rolls forward just enough for me to be able to place my order. There are still several feet between her and the vehicle in front of her, more than enough for her to have moved up further (this "taking up tons of space so that fewer people can order in a timely manner" phenomenon is one I've been meaning to blog about for quite some time now, as pat of some universal Rules of Drive-thru Etiquette).

Happily satisfied that she's no longer blocking me, the cell-phone-hand goes right back up.

Enjoy it while you can. As of July 1, it's hands-free or nothing, and thank gods for that ... Not that it will fix the problem completely - people will still be distracted by their conversations, they'll just have both hands on the wheel when it comes time to swerve and try to avoid the accidents they cause.


As I waited for my drink and watched the woman in the white mustang convertible it occurred to me that despite having been (albeit politely) honked at three times, she seemed completely happy, laid back, and ... well, oblivious. I hated her in that instant, both because she seemed to not have enough basic common sense and alertness to be driving, and becuase that simple small bit of stupidity afforded her escape from the angst of an intelligent person surrounded by idiots. She was joyous, carefree, unruffled and just plain happy, that dazzling bright smile said. It made me think of the stereotyped dumb blondes seen in movies attatched to the arms of rich and powerful men. Beautiful, friendly, smiling ... but no one's home.

Sometimes, like those moments while I watched Little Miss Can't Mess Up My Day, I wish I were stupid. Just a little bit - not a moron, just a bit dim. Sometimes I think I might be less stressed and more able to let things go, relax, and just enjoy life if I weren't so simply smart. And I'm not a genius. I'm not top of the class. There are plenty of things that go over my head, that I juts don't think of, but compered to the seeming vast majority of the people I encounter on a daily basis, I'm damn-near freakin' omnipotent.

I think I need my own little shred of obliviousness now and then, to counter the real world.

Wanted: One clone for immediate hire, full time, great benefits ...

Here we go again, kiddies.

I have officially re-entered school, and my new term starts, well ... today. The class officially opens Wednesday, but it's up and I can access it, the syllabus, discussion board, etc., all today. Which, of course, I will - despite my grumblings at having to be all grown-up and responsible-ish again. I was rather enjoying the evening- and weekends-time off. 'Specially now that I've got kittens to play with (they're so distracting!)

So - big sigh - it's back to the grindstone. Not that this is really anything new: even though I was off of school for a few terms, I was still busting butt moving and cleaning and organizing and now taking care of Matt.

Matt just finally had surgery on his left shoulder last Friday, to fix the tear in the rotator cuff he suffered from having a 30-40 lb grate fall on him from overhead while working down in the pit at the car wash and lube shop where he works. The doctor had scheduled a room for three hours, and wasn't sure exactly what he'd find but didn't expect it to take that long.

It took four hours.

The doc took plenty of photos while he was cutting and sewing and grinding and stitching, and told Matt he needed to show them to the worker's comp people, his boss, and the horrid phyisical therapy chiropractor (who is the boss' friend, who denied Matt pain killers for two months) so they can see for themselves that Matt was not "milking" the paid time off, and that there really was something very very wrong with his shoulder. I want to be there when he shows his boss, who - when Matt told him he'd be needing surgery for it - had the gall to say to Matt that he couldn't believe a "glancing blow like that could do that much damage."

I want to be there when he shows the boss' chiropractor buddy who treated him like shit - even flat out ignoring him and walking away at one point while Matt was asking about what he could do at home to ease the pain - just why the physical therapy wasn't working, why Matt was in his office several times a week, why he legitimately needed painkillers stronger than over-the-counter Tylenol.

Matt is in incredible pain, and has only the use of his right arm at the moment, needing help with all sorts of things. While I'm more than willing and happy to help, I wokr full time, and will now be doing school work in the evenings, leaving him mostly to fend for himself. He's getting better at doing things one-handed, but he can't do it all, and there are times when his pain is so bad that what he could do while he Vicodin is fresh he can't do till he takes more again, and I have to help out more. This will certainly not be an insurmountable issue, I just worry about either not being able to help him when he needs it or not being able to devote enough time to school work. Or both.

While he's first in my heart, school is first in practicality so that we can get the hell out of Dodge as soon as possible. This makes for conflicting interests, and I worry that I won't be there when he needs me, or when my class group needs me, or that the kittens' needs will be ignored, or the fishes, or Harry's.

Or mine.

This break from school hasn't been a vacation - it's been a life saver. We are now even further understaffed at work, so that while I can take a day or maybe even two off here and there, every now and then, I can't take a real, full one- or two-week vacation, and I really realy need that. I need a real break away from everything that's going on in my life right now. I need to get away from work, from school, from cleaning the house (or ignoring it and hating the mess), from Matt's entirely understandable grumpiness that has worn me down anyway after so long and made me feel like shit from his words and my reasonable but maybe selfish reaction to them, from bills and and shopping - and yes, even from the kittens. Cute as they are, funny and sweet and snorglable as they are, they're a handfull, too, and I need a break from running after them, stopping them from chewing on wires, keeping them away from the stove, locking them into the kitchen and dining room area at night (all night now, too, not just from 9:30 to 12:30) to play themselves into exhaustion away from us while we try to sleep.

I need to run away from the world for a week or so, and I cannot do it. I am unable (and with Matt on disability, I can't afford to anyway) to take the time off work. I cannot leave Matt alone right now because he's hurt and one-armed at the moment and bored and loney to the point of depression. I am starting school again, and so am handcuffed to the world by my computer. I have kittens to train and take care of and keep off of Matt's bad arm (they jumped onto and then launched themselves off of it yesterday while he was sleeping, the little shits). I have dishes to wash (Matt can't right now) and meals to make (he can't do that either). I have laundry to do and a cat-box to clean, a fish tank to clean, a lizard water-dish to clean, and somewhere in all of that I need to keep me clean too.

I've decided that, like going to the bathroom and sometimes eating, showers are a horrible waste of time. I mean, you're just going to get dirty again anyway, right? There are so many other things I could do and need to be doing in that half-hour period of time where I'm locked away from the world in the shower.

And I've been tryng to fit walking every morning into all of it. I haven't walked for a few days now, what with Matt's surgery, and probably won't again until he's doing considerably better than he is now. He's not been sleeping well (too much stress, now too much pain) so I don't want to risk waking him when he's finally zonked out in the morning, and because of taking care of him and being paranoid about accidentally bumping his bad arm in the night, I haven't been sleeping well the last couple days either. I hope to be walking again within a few weeks, but we'll see how things go.

I feel a little overwhelmed right now. Hence the lack of posts lately, despite my having a bunch of great kitten photos and even a few videos to post, along with just some things I've wanted to blog about. For instance - we've got some pretty weird people in El Dorado County. As I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts, I type up legal documents for publication in our newspaper at work. One of the things I get to type up is name changes, which are usually pretty boring; just adoptions and marriages and "I hate my parents so I'm coming up with my very own name which is nothing at all like the one that my parents - who I hate, remember? - gave me, which I will probably regret in, oh, say five years. Maybe even two."


There is an apparently very non-boring man in El Dorado County who is legally and officially changing his name to Flesh Moy Plezure.

No, really. He apparently has three different last names he has used in the course of his life, and has also used the longer as well as the shortened version of his first name, and so listed out every single version of his real name he's ever gone by, and changed them all to Flesh Moy Plezure. I have to wonder if he's a porn star, or simply a fat, balding, socially inept, mid-thirties gamer/computer geek still living in his parents' basement who either lost a bet or serisouly thinks it's cool to change one's real-life name to relfect one's World of Warcraft screenname.

I need a break from El Dorado County, too.

A vacation is simply not going to happen anytime soon - maybe not even at all this year - so I have to look forward to the occasional day or two I can manage to snag here and there. Right now I'm looking forward to the Sunday before my birthday I'll have off because I'll be out of town that weekend and one of Matt's friends' wedding, and the Tuesday two days later I'll have off so long as nothing comes up, which is my birthday.

Before that I get next Monday (Memorial Day) off, and I suppose that's great too, except that a) Matt will not be feeling up to getting out anywhere, and b) damn-near everyone else has that day off too, so even if he were just fine I don't want to deal with the traffic and the whiny kids and rude parents who will be flooding the area. So it's really not much to look forward to other than being able to sleep in.

So all this is to say, basically, pardon my recent absence and bear with me. I probably won't be feeling too terribly chatty for a little while yet.

Kittens and Bugs.

Ok, I'm finally back from the land of kittens. It was a long, arduous journey filled with harrowing experiences with kitten fur, tongues, tail and toes. Oh, and the occasional whisker. Dangerous territory, I tell you, but I survived and have photos for recounting the adventure ...

Yeah, ok. So I admit, I have spent the last several days giggling helplessly at kitten antics and just haven't been able to draw myself away from it. But I promised photos, and I have them (including the fantastic argyle sock sweater - idea from So without further ado, here they are:


Day 1, photo 1. As soon as I got home from work Thursday (the day I got the kitties) I immediately went looking for Goblin (orange tabby) and his sister, Sister (black one). I found them curled up together under the edge of the bed, and as Sister blinked sleepily up at me, I snapped the shot. Ok, say it with me now: "D'awwwwwww!!!"

Argyle sock sweater

Ok, here's the argyle sock sweater, as modeled by Goblin. Sister has one too, but she's a little less tolerant of it.

Sock sweater two

A better shot of the sweater.


A proper introduction to Goblin ...


And to Sister.

Goblin closeup

Sister closeup

Divider swat

They like to play fight through this metalwork room divider in my bedroom.

Divider swat two

Ok, Goblin likes to play fight through the divider. Sister ignores him till she decides it's time to put him in his place (she's made it clear she's Top Cat), and gives in to the antics.

Goblin yawn

Even sleepy, he wants to play.

And, just cos I have been bowled-over-impressed by the macros setting on my new camera, here are some bugs that Mama Wren and I saw on the El Dorado Trail while walking a few days ago:

Centipede one

Found this cool looking centipede first. It's only about an inch long.

Centipede one again

Experimenting with the macros setting and distance, here's a closer shot.

Centipede two

Another centipede. There was a third one, like this but darker, but that shot didn't turn out so well.

Mosquito Hawk

Mosquito Hawk. Creepy, but cool too and very useful. They really do eat mosquitos, which makes them like super heroes in my book.

Rollie Pollie

And last but not least, a Rollie Pollie (Wood Louse). I love these lil' guys, and remember collecting and playing with them as a wee tyke in Sacramento. I still grin when I see them.

I love my kitties. I love my camera. The combination is heaven.