Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Priorities

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

2D27F9E2-61D5-4290-95E9-6105CA79A6ED.jpgKarsten and I have often talked about disaster preparedness, and a lot of our concern has to do with our six cats. In an emergency, we want to be able to get everyone to safety, of course. That seems marginally feasible with six, but having now seen this picture, I’m so glad I haven’t had to try. My heart goes out to both of the men shown in this picture, as of course it does to all the Iowans trying to make life right again, but I feel a special kinship with this man who appears to put saving his cats above saving anything else in his home. I suspect I’d be that person, too.

(I also can’t help but think that those terrified cats are probably scratching the hell out of him, poor guy!)

Why it’s not easy to get anything done in my home office on Saturday mornings

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Why it’s not easy to get anything done in my home office on Saturday mornings

Originally uploaded by Kate O’


Sorry about all the movie-watching

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Check it out:

“The anonymity of the Netflix Prize dataset has been broken by a pair of computer scientists from the University of Texas[...]. It turns out that [...] it’s straightforward to find a match by comparing the anonymized data against publicly available ratings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)[...] in the process possibly working out their political affiliation, sexual preferences and a number of other personal details”

Oh no! Someone’s going to figure out I’m a bleeding heart bisexual liberal/progressive.

I suppose I should consider this a privacy violation of some sort, since I’m almost certainly represented in the data set, but whatever.

For that matter, my ratings data may very well have been one very useful data set in helping the computer scientists crack the anonymizing code.

Whoops. Sorry I’m such a movie geek.

In honor of my likely indirect contribution to this situation, I offer my first-ever LOLcat.

sorry i watches so many movies

I did it!

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

I finally managed to pull up the blinds in the morning without scaring all the birds away from the feeders.

Normally the cats are looking at me like “gee, thanks, dumbass.” Now they’re entranced by the dozens and dozens of birds on the ground and on the feeders.

Hey, it’s the little things.

What, me? Drunk blogging?

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

I think it’s really great how, even though Black Cherry and Barbra don’t have sex anymore, they totally aren’t awkward about it.

Although come to think of it, Paris might not get my mind off of rats…

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

OK, right off the bat, here’s the sucky thought du jour: I can’t decide if we should go through with the trip we were planning to Europe. Though I’m in luck if I need to travel, because I’ve got bags under my eyes that could hold my entire wardrobe. Why? Because we spent the night in a hotel room with all six cats while we fogged the house for fleas.

I cannot properly do justice to the level of annoying this whole flea thing is. And it’s not just fleas annoying me. Allow me to whine for a moment.

  • I’m pretty sure I saw somewhere that it’s the hottest August ever on record in Nashville. Even if it’s not, it should be. So let’s just get that out of the way right now, ’cause the extreme heat sure isn’t making anything (or anyone) easier to deal with.
  • Remember the rats? Well, they’ve apparently nested underneath and in the walls in the back of our house. (One of my coworkers suspects that this is where the fleas are coming from, but I don’t know if there’s any way to be sure.)OK, and side note — this is a bad story. Feel free to skip to the next bullet — Karsten went out weeks ago and got rid of the junk pile, busted up the old deck, and started digging out the weeds around the house. He hit a nest with tiny wriggling ratlings (it’s easier to call them ratlings than “kittens” when your aim is to get rid of them). It was an awful scene and he was devastated at having hurt them but the aim is, after all, to eliminate the population from our property. So as a compromise, whichever babies weren’t already killed from the impact of the shovel got carried off to an empty lot a few hundred yards away.But anyway, even after all that there are still rats in the walls, and we’re not sure how we’re going to win this one.
  • Baby Clyde is doing better, we think. He apparently had a blockage in his digestive tract so when they x-rayed him, his stomach looked totally full even after a day of intense vomiting. Not sure how or why, but the next day’s x-rays showed his stomach clear and his lower digestive tract filling up, so the vet was satisfied that things looked to be on the right track. But I’m still nervous because we don’t know why he was having trouble in the first place. Which in my mind means it could happen again anytime. But considering I thought he might be dying on Sunday night, I’ll be relieved if all we’re dealing with is a bad case of indigestion.
  • And the fleas! The fleas are driving me nuts. I mean, it’s just exactly the kind of thing that really gets to me. I can’t take any kind of insect in large quantities. I won’t even release ladybugs in the garden ’cause they freak me out en masse, but individually I’ll let them crawl all over my hands and arms. A whole mess of bugs I don’t like under any circumstances invading my living space? Definitely gonna mess with my mind.
  • One of the other cats, Blackberry, has had a long-standing problem with urinating where he shouldn’t. We’ve fought it for a while, but it had been getting worse recently. Took him to the vet and found out he has a pretty serious bladder infection. Uh, OK. Now I feel like a terrible cat person. So we’ve been giving him pills twice a day for weeks, and if you’ve never had to give a pill to a skittish cat, well, you just haven’t experienced life.
  • Between the overages in the house renovation and the flea/rat/vet/hotel expenses, we’ve depleted our checking account to levels we haven’t seen in years. It really sucks and it makes me feel anxious. I think having had the experience of losing nearly everything we owned and getting as close as you can get to bankruptcy without actually filing, I’m having traumatic flashbacks to my anxiety level at that time. Our situation right now in no way resembles our situation then, but it’s hard to shake an experience like that.
  • Oh, and I’m trying to accomplish about a million things simultaneously in the next few months at work. So there’s that, too.

I’m really trying to keep everything in perspective by remembering that we have a house, we have our health, and we’re not broke (yet). But the amount of stuff we’re having to deal with is enough to make me whimper.

So yeah, I can’t decide if we’ve now spent enough unbudgeted money on all these various problems to mean that we should hold off on our long-awaited vacation. The vacation that coincides with our 10 year anniversary. The vacation we’ve been trying to take since 1999. The vacation we could really freakin’ use right about now.

You see what I’m saying? We’ve been really looking forward to this. So to put it off, while it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world, would hurt and would suck and and and. Yes, we’d get over it. But it would be a big disappointment.

Anyway, it’s not time to decide yet. For one thing, I don’t think we’re out of the woods with the whole pest control issue, so there may actually be even more money to spend. But also because we still have a little time before we have to make the decision, and I may yet come up with some genius plan to make everything work. Hey, it could happen.

Mais il y a peu de chances. Le sigh.

A little more at ease

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Well, we’re finishing up at the emergency vet. They’re treating Clyde’s symptoms because most of his vital signs look OK. But the vomiting has the vet concerned and he said if that’s still going on tomorrow, we should take him in to his regular vet. For now, he’s had forced hydration and an anti-nausea shot, and he has to sleep in a cage at home so he doesn’t eat or drink, but there’s hope for some sleep tonight.

Don’t know what to do

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Baby Clyde has been throwing up since this afternoon. He looks pretty ragged. I’m sure we’ll take him to the vet in the morning if he’s still acting and looking this bad, but I can’t decide if we need to take him to the emergency vet now.

Is there a chance, however remote, that this is a delayed reaction to the Hartz flea treatment? You all got me really spooked with that. Should we be calm and wait until morning or freak out and take him in right now?

This is my most beloved cat. He’s wonderful, and he deserves the best treatment. I just don’t know if there’s anything to be gained by taking him in right now.

Ugh. I know I won’t be getting much sleep tonight either way.

Good, Bad, Ugly: weekend recap edition

Monday, August 13th, 2007

The ugly: we spent the entire weekend obsessing over fleas. In 8.67 years of living with multiple cats, they have never had fleas. Admittedly, our cats have been outside (on leashes) more lately than ever but I also think the flea population must be larger this year, probably due to the heat.

Anyway, we’d “treated” the cats with some over-the-counter Hartz crap a few weeks ago, but it obviously didn’t do a thing. Meanwhile, the problem was getting worse. I’ve been busy with work so I couldn’t do much about it myself and had been trying to be patient since I knew Karsten was already dealing with the rat problem in our back yard and I didn’t want to overwhelm him. Besides, he seemed confident that the Hartz stuff would work and that the fleas were minimal anyway. On the contrary, it seemed to me that if you spot one, you can assume there are dozens/hundreds/howeverthehellmany you can’t see. I regularly noticed fleas on the cats, so I printed out web pages with tips on killing fleas and left them on his keyboard. I suggested he just call an exterminator and get it over with but when he did, he only asked about the rats. He just didn’t seem to feel as much urgency as I did about having to coexist with the fleas. It was all starting to freak me out a little. Last week, when I stood in the cat room and could see the fleas jumping around, I had a major meltdown. Karsten felt bad for not realizing how upset I’d been getting about it, but I assured him that everything would be fine it we could just rid the house of fleas. So he picked up the Advantage flea treatment from the vet on Friday and we started treating the cats first thing Saturday morning.

Each cat had to be isolated so they wouldn’t lick the stuff off of each other, which meant that we could only treat three cats at a time: two of them were stuck in cages while a third got to be loose, but stuck inside a closed-off room. Meanwhile, we vacuumed the house, sprinkled boric acid powder on all the carpets and fabric surfaces and used a broom to push it down into the fibers, and washed the curtains and bedclothes in the hottest water and dried them in the hottest drier they could withstand.

By mid-day Saturday, there were dead and dying fleas all over the house. So I went around and vacuumed everything again yesterday, but they’re still dropping off. It’s gross, but it means the treatment is working, so I’ll take it.

The bad: it was miserably hot outside. I mean it. Hot. It was 104 yesterday. It makes me feel like I’m melting. And since we wanted to escape the house once we got through each day’s flea treatment, we were limited in our options.

Though actually, that didn’t go too badly: we ended up going to see a movie (”Becoming Jane”; it was OK), eating out for every meal (all the food was great), thrift shopping (I found some cute stuff), and hanging out with some Sam and Alyssa Cornett, two songwriting friends who were visiting from Chicago (which was fun).

So I guess the bad was really just that every time we stepped outside, we felt like we were about to melt into flesh puddles.

The good: even in my jangled state of mind, I wrote a few songs. Hanging around songwriters last night got me all fired up. When we got home, I dashed off two songs in fifteen minutes along with a few other ideas I’ll come back to eventually. One of the reasons I was so inspired was that, although the songs our friends were playing last night were written well and were enjoyable, they were so consistently about relationships ending badly that I felt double-dog-dared to write a heartfelt song that wasn’t about that. So I did.

Feline songwriting

Monday, February 6th, 2006

I was working in MasterWriter when I got up to admire a bluejay outside the window. When I came back, Barbra was sitting on my laptop keyboard, writing a song. Here’s what he wrote:

yttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttgyuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
- (c) 2006 Barbra Streisand O’Neill-Soltauer, aspiring cat songwriter

I’m not sure what the melody’s supposed to be. If anyone has any idea, please let me know.

The year in review

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Borrowed from and many others; edited for stuff I care about answering. I linked to a lot of stuff throughout; my apologies if any links lead to where you, dear reader, cannot follow.

Review of 2004

What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?

Ran a road race. It was the Park Forest Scenic 10, and it was quite the learning experience.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did, for the most part.

I wanted to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) but I only ran a 10-mile race. Still, it’s close.
I’m doing OK with the three goals around my nutrition.
I haven’t really made much progress on my guitar playing.
I have sort of made more time for songwriting.
The debt is effectively gone.
And I’ve done better with organizing my wardrobe, but I’m planning to address this in the new house in a major way.

What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

More time with friends, more time for songwriting, more money to spend on fun things. I’m starting to get closer to attaining all of these, and I want that trend to continue.

What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Work dates come to mind first: March 29th, when we launched our product to the corporate campus; November 15th, when we shut down the legacy product.

And, of course, November 2nd.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I dunno, maybe writing 15 songs in 30 days, even if that fell far short of my 30-song goal.

What was your biggest failure?

I can’t think of anything significant. I feel good about that.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I injured my knee doing a 10-mile run on May 31st. I probably already had an injury, but the long run flared it up. That turned into iliotibial band troubles, which led to hip troubles, which led to possible bursitis and a prolonged break from running. I stopped running for the month of June, but spent July and August training for the Scenic 10, and I wasn’t fully recovered. I laid off for the rest of September, October, and ran a few miles in late November before realizing I still wasn’t recovered. I probably won’t be running again for a few more months, much to my frustration and dismay.

What was the best thing you bought?

My Clie.

Where did most of your money go?

This year was all about finishing up the debt repayment. And since I’m such a Quicken addict, I can give you percentages. Aren’t you excited?

The vast majority of it went toward paying off a single credit card. (23.94%)
Another large sum went to taxes. (13.53%)
Then rent. (9.27%)
Then another credit card. (7.99%)
Then savings for future house renovations, 401(k), and downpayment, respectively. (7.67%, 6.20%, 5.79%)
Household expenses. (4.58%)
Another two credit cards. (3.06% and 2.59%)
Groceries. (2.11%)
Car stuff. (1.66%)

Ain’t we got fun?

WAY down the list, you start to see things like:
Vacation (0.99%) - but this includes the trips to Chicago for my dad’s chemo treatments. Whee.
Songwriting (0.66%) - we’ll spend more on this in 2005 when we record some more demos.
Dining (0.65%) - we don’t eat out much.
Entertainment (0.50%) - and most of that has probably been spent in the past month.
Recreation (0.12%) - this includes my race fees and running shoes. Whoop de doo!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our new kitten, Bopper.

What song will always remind you of 2004?

“Live Like You Were Dying” written by Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols and recorded by Tim McGraw.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Take vacation time. I worked a hell of a lot of hours. All that overtime certainly helped pay off the debt, but I have serious knots in my shoulders to show for it. Our in-town vacation, while fun, wasn’t nearly enough.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish there’d been no reason for all those trips to Chicago for my dad’s treatments. But I’m glad I was able to be there and help out, and I’m certainly grateful to for generously volunteering to watch our kitties during one of those trips. And when I say I want less of it in 2005, I mean that I want my dad to be healthy again.

What was the best book you read?

“About A Boy” by Nick Hornby. Much better than the film, although I love Hugh Grant (or “Huge Grunt,” as Karsten and his sister refer to him) in just about anything.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don’t know, really! Maybe it was the discovery that I can, in fact, write lyrics to existing melody. Not that I haven’t done it before this year, but I usually choke when faced with a melody I have a lot of respect for.

What did you want and get?

Pre-qualification for the mortgage I wanted. I’d say “a house,” but we haven’t quite signed the paperwork yet.

What was your favorite film of this year?

It may be 10 years old, but I just saw “Before Sunrise” a few months ago, and I loved it so much. “Before Sunset” was very good, too, but it felt a little contrived whereas “Sunrise” just felt spontaneous and beautiful. Wow.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

My birthday hasn’t come around yet in 2004. I’ll be 31 on 12/23.

What is at least one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having to deal with my sister’s ridiculous crap on top of everything else.

Who did you miss the most this year?

My good friend and former co-worker, Tom Johnson. He’s a nut, and I love ‘im, and I miss hanging out with him.

Who was the best new person you met?

No one but Karsten has ever made more of an impression on me in a shorter span of time than has. I was hoping to find good friends this year, and he’s a great find and a definite keeper.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, keep a brave face, and enjoy yourself every minute you can. Life is short and precious.

(Actually, I’m sure I learned that long before 2004, but it’s a lesson I keep learning again and again.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need

New kitten!

Monday, October 4th, 2004

She’s here! She’s finally here!

Hot off the presses, here are some pictures of Bopper, the newest addition to our kitty family.

It wasn’t easy meeting five cats, some of whom are more than four times your size!
http://www.honeybowtie.com/kate/kitties/images/bopper_faceoff_10042004.jpg

But how could anyone resist Her Royal Cuteness?
http://www.honeybowtie.com/kate/kitties/images/bopper_fromabove_10042004.jpg

After many hours, everyone kept their distance, but Bopper was still very curious.
http://www.honeybowtie.com/kate/kitties/images/bopper_profile_10042004.jpg

Now she’s finally relaxing after a long, scary day of meeting five huge cats:
http://www.honeybowtie.com/kate/kitties/images/bopper_relaxing_10042004.jpg

Edit: Here’s another one, too adorable not to share:
http://www.honeybowtie.com/kate/kitties/images/bopper_ninjapose_10042004.jpg

Cozy Baby Clyde and Karsten

Sunday, July 11th, 2004

Cozy photo taken this afternoon.

Baby Clyde and Karsten

That’s Baby Clyde the Wonder Potto curled up in Karsten’s arm nook.

And the detractors say cats are distant. They’ve never spent a quiet Sunday afternoon at our home.

New nickname for Baby Clyde

Sunday, July 11th, 2004

Several of our nicknames for Baby Clyde involve the word “potto” because his wide, round eyes and somewhat pointy nose remind us both of a potto. He also has the longest and most dense fur of all the cats, and he sheds like crazy whenever we pet him, which is many times throughout the day. So Karsten came up with a new nickname for him.

(more…)

Coming out to my cat

Saturday, December 13th, 2003

I just woke up from a dream in which I was coming out to my cat, Blackberry.

Halfway through telling Blackberry I’m bi (”so that means I sleep with both men and women” — I dream of not-very-good definitions of bisexuality) he turned into my coworker who’s Indian (as in, from India).

I think this dream is trying to tell me something. I think Blackberry may be Indian, too. Or at least, he has an Indian accent. We’ve always said Blackberry has a “funny”-sounding meow. Now I feel horribly monocultural. Maybe he was just meowing with an accent.