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vet tech #5: You're here for Toby?
Toby: I WANT TO GO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME.
h.l: Yes.
vet tech #5: He's kind of done with us.
Toby: I WANT TO GO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME.
vet tech #5: ...as you can probably tell.
the story continuesCollapse )

It's been a very long, very stressful 48 hours, but I think we're gonna be okay.

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Toby: Heyyyyy biped.
here's luck: Hi, buddy. How are you doing?
Toby: I'm good!
vet tech #1: He is on a LOT of pain meds right now.
h.l: Well, catheters are no fun.
Toby: No, I'm good! I'm goooood. But I have this... thing...
h.l: Yeah, that's quite the neck ruff you've got there.
Toby: I don't like it.
h.l: I know, sweetie.
Toby: Biped. Biped!
h.l: Hi, Toby.
Toby: Biped, it was bedtime but none of the bipeds went to bed! It was upsetting. And confusing.
h.l: Well, it's an all-night clinic, sweetie. They're not supposed to go to bed.
Toby: They petted me!
vet tech #1: We took a vote. It was unanimous. He is the sweetest cat on earth.
h.l: I really agree.
Toby: Biped, I missed you.
vet tech #1: Oh my god, is that his purr?
h.l: Yep.
vet tech #1: Is it always that loud?
h.l: Yep.
vet tech #1: Oh my god. Guys! Guys, come hear this!
vet tech #2: He's purring!
vet tech #3: Is that a cat or a small aircraft?
vet tech #2: He is just the sweetest.
vet tech #3: Like, actually the sweetest. We took a vote.
Toby: Biped! Biped. I missed you.
h.l: I know, buddy. I missed you too.
vet tech #2: Awwww, pretty boy.
Toby: They keep saying I'm pretty!
vet tech #1: You ARE pretty, honey.
Toby: Usually my dope of a brother is the pretty one! But now I am pretty!
h.l: ...and possibly a little woozy.
Toby: No, I'm good! It's good! Oh, scritches!
h.l: Thanks, guys.
vet tech #1: No problem. He's adorable. Bye, honey!
Toby: Wha-- No! No box. NO BOX. DO NOT WANT.
h.l: Sorry, buddy, we gotta get you back to the regular vet.
Toby: No. No! NO. NO CARS.
h.l: I'm sorry, buddy, but we gotta.
Toby: NO CARS. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS.

[10-minute drive later]

Toby: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS.
h.l: Okay, we're back. I have the last of the IV fluids, and the catheter still seems to be in okay.
Toby: I WANNA GO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME.
vet tech #4: Okay, good. I will have the vet call you to follow up, but--
Toby: HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME.
vet tech #4: --the plan is that he will get the catheter out early this afternoon and then we'll monitor him for a few hours to make sure he's doing okay--
Toby: HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME.
vet tech #4: --and then you can take him home late this afternoon. Does that sound okay?
h.l: Yes. Thank you.
Toby: Biped. Biped! I want to go home.
h.l: I know, buddy. Just a few more hours.
Toby: Biped, I have tried to be good, but I want to go home now. I don't like the cone or the tubes or the needles or the box or the car. And my tummy is sore. And everything is kind of OW.
h.l: I know, buddy.
Toby: I want a lap and a nap and my dope of a brother.
h.l: Your brother misses you too. He looked for you for five hours yesterday. Which is sort of astonishing from Mister Short Attention Span Theater, so he must miss you a lot.
Toby: Please can we go home?
h.l: Oh, sweetie. Not yet. Soon.
Toby: Biped. Biped!
vet tech #4: Let me take him back and get him settled. The vet will call in a little bit to update you, and we'll go from there.
h.l: Okay. Bye, sweetie. Be good.
Toby: Biped! Biped, NO.
h.l: Soon, buddy, I promise.

The moral of this story is that it is really hard to pick up a small, helpless, inarticulate creature from the all-night clinic, and then, instead of taking him home, take him back to the place where he's already spent one traumatic day of anesthesia and surgery and recovery. I feel absolutely traitorous.

But he's doing as well as can be expected, the vet is pleased with his recovery so far, and it does look like I'll be able to bring him home this evening.

Thanks to everyone who left kind thoughts and good wishes yesterday; I appreciate them, and Toby would certainly purr at you if you were here.

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Toby was sick when I got home from work last night. I took him to the vet this morning. Long story short: he's being prepped for surgery right now, and I am freaking out. The veterinary surgeon was positive, expects him to make a full recovery, etc., but -- he's my kitten, and I'm so worried, and Theo is now wandering the house looking for him and crying, and I am just... really not in good shape. I don't know how I'm going to get anything done today.

If you have good thoughts to spare for a very sick, very sad little tabby cat and his distraught sibling, please aim them in this direction.

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1. Taxes done and filed!

2. Toby and Theo have squished themselves into their little wicker cat-house and are purr-snoring away.

3. I have queued up a truly hilarious number of Arrow gifsets over on Tumblr. *facepalm*

4. For lunch: pork & hominy chili (aka cheater's pozole verde). Om nom nom.

5. I made a batch of my favorite cookies earlier this week, and now that the taxes are done I am going to go eat one.

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Toby: Hey. Hey. Hey. Biped. Hey.
here's luck: Hi Toby. What's up?
Toby: There's a thing downstairs you need to come see.
h.l: Toby, sweetie, I'm working.
Toby: Biped. There's a thing downstairs you need to come see.
h.l: Is this a food dish thing?
Toby: No.
h.l: Is it a litterbox thing?
Toby: Biped. Stop stalling. This is serious.
h.l: Okay, okay.
[Toby pads down stairs, biped thumps down after]
the story continues...Collapse )

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vagabondage said: I encourage you to make more feline related posts.

I actually have more photos to upload, but I'm on the wrong computer to do that right now, so instead I give you: The Blanketmouse Personality Test.

translations under the cutCollapse )

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[personal profile] dadi prompted: I want to read about how your cats are doing!

The cats have all gotten their winter coats and thus are extra round and cuddly at the moment! They have also become heat-seeking missiles; no lap, heat vent, or pile of warm laundry goes unused.

I should mention that I say "all" rather than "both" because, in addition to Toby and Theo, the household now includes Cassiopeia, code name: The Grumpy Plushie.

images and more infoCollapse )

Anyway -- we got home and of course the boys were all very curious about her, but she spent a week in a room by herself, getting acclimated, before I started introducing them to each other one at a time. The Grumpy Plushie is a very bossy kitty, but fairly laid-back under normal circumstances; however, she was accustomed to being an only kitty. The ensuing interactions went like this:

translations from the felineCollapse )

Once Toby got over his initial terror, he decided that her arrival was the best thing ever. After The Princess Cat died, Toby took over her job of keeping me on a schedule -- sitting on the computer keyboard if I was up past bedtime, rousting me out of bed in the morning. As soon as a new bossy girl kitty arrived on the scene, he abdicated that role. What's hilarious about this is that The Grumpy Plushie does not seem to care about the house running on a regular schedule; she doesn't harass me to go to bed or get up or feed cats at specific times. Toby, on the other hand, prefers a consistent schedule; if it's bedtime and I'm still downstairs, he goes upstairs without me and when I get up there I find him asleep between the pillows. But he doesn't like being in charge; spending his formative years with The Princess Cat appears to have instilled in him the firm belief that being in charge is the job of bossy girl kitties. Now that The Grumpy Plushie is here, keeping me in line is no longer his job. He is much more relaxed.

In general, The GP finds the boys baffling, especially their flagrant cuddling with each other. On more than one occasion last winter I would come into the living room to find Toby and Theo cuddling with The Big Kitty on the sofa and The Grumpy Plushie sitting on the coffee table regarding them with an expression of alarm: "What on earth are you doing? Why are you all touching each other like that?" She's very fond of cuddling with people -- a total lap cat -- but still pretty skeptical of cuddling with Other Cats.

Toby's new goal in life, however, is to cuddle with The Grumpy Plushie. She is officially opposed to this idea, but on the other hand she is even more of a heat-seeking missile than the rest of the cats, and she has figured out that ridiculous boy cats, while ridiculous, are also warm. So while she will not voluntarily cuddle with Toby, she will allow him to cuddle with her; she maintains plausible deniability by refusing to look at him. He waits until she's asleep, or nearly so, and then sneaks up on her.

It started with Toby tucking his cold little paws under her warm self.

snuggles!Collapse )

The boys continue to be their usual sweet selves.

photographic evidenceCollapse )

And now, a quick glimpse of Life With Theo from last spring:

I was downstairs working, as one does, when I heard Theo howling upstairs. This is not exactly an unfamiliar phenomenon, so I kept working. But then he KEPT howling. And howling. And howling.

Finally I went upstairs and discovered that he had crawled into the duvet cover (which had come off the down comforter the previous night so the comforter could go into storage for the summer).... and could not find his way out. He had dragged the cover halfway across the room and was tangled up in it, wailing mournfully about the perfidy of snuggly bedding.

At some point I will post my highly scientific Comparative Study of Cat Responses to the Game of Blanket Mouse, which is about as good a window on their personalities as one can get without a bat (the house remains, mercifully, bat-free). But it's late and I'm tired, so this will have to do for now.

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1) After their breakfast, Toby and Theo did what they have done every morning for most of their lives, which is go sit by the coffee table and wait for The Big Kitty to come wash their faces. For the past three mornings, when The Big Kitty did not appear, Theo wandered through the house calling for him. This morning, he washed his brother's face instead.

2) I had an out-of-town professional meeting with a group of people who always make me feel connected, supported, and understood.

3) Because of the meeting's location, I got to go out for lunch and eat Indian food that I did not cook myself. This is a big deal, trust me.

4) Again because of the meeting's location, I had the opportunity to go to a reasonably good wine shop, where I purchased half of a mixed case of wine: five robust red blends suitable for the sort of food I will be cooking now that the weather's finally cooled off plus an inexpensive Sangiovese to have with pizza.

5) I have everything I need to make pork & hominy chili for lunch tomorrow followed by spiced pumpkin frozen custard for dessert.

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It's been a week, people. There's been the obvious emotional upheaval -- I have been on a hair trigger all week and on more than one occasion have had to excuse myself from a meeting or whatever to cry in the bathroom: dignified adulthood, party of 0 -- but also straight-up physical exhaustion; I brought home 40 student drafts last week and 2/3 of them had to be handed back on Tuesday and the other 1/3 by today, so I have been staying up past midnight and getting up at 5am and that is just not the way I live my life under normal circumstances, okay? I am really, really tired. (I do get a bit of a break this weekend, which is good.)

That I have survived as well as I have has been largely due to my students, who have gone above and beyond this week. I am so proud of them and so glad I get to hang out with them. Being in the classroom has been extra-draining, because I don't feel up to being ON like that, but it doesn't really matter how I feel, I *have* to be on -- and the reward is that by focusing on them, I can get out of my own head for a little while.

ETA: I should say: I am probably not going to be up to answering individual comments on Monday's post, but I appreciate them all so, so much. Thank you.




...so, hey, thirty posts in thirty days! Weird. I still have things to post from VVC and from London, I have some thoughts on Glee I want to try to post before the new season begins, and I will probably have at least a few things to say about the season premieres of some of the other shows starting up next week. I want to keep posting regularly, though perhaps not daily; the problem with daily posting is that I end up prioritizing posting over commenting, and thus I have weeks' worth of other people's posts open in tabs waiting for me to have the time *and* brainpower to comment. If the goal of 30-in-30 is to make things feel more friendly around here again -- and that has been the goal for me -- commenting is at least as important as posting.

Also important: vidding. My reasons for not-vidding lately are many and varied and only some of them have to do with being busy with other things -- pretty much all my vids have been made when I was busy (...or should have been busy) with other things anyway, so that excuse has always been flimsy. I am no workaholic and I do not live a life of constant toil, but I also don't generally have great sweeping vistas of free time stretching out before me, and yet somehow vidding has happened, albeit intermittently, over the last eleven years. I need to remember that that wasn't magic; I made it happen by making specific choices about my time and what I do with it.

...I have posted some version of that paragraph an embarrassing number of times over the years, but I'm largely at peace with that at this point; it is clearly one of those things that I just have to go on re-learning periodically. Ah well.

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I said goodbye to The Big Kitty this evening.

painful details under the cutCollapse )

Once upon a time, my then-boyfriend and I drove out to a farm town a half-hour from our new home to meet some kittens being fostered by a member of the county's cat rescue society. When we entered the back room, one of the four kittens stayed in the windowsill, one kept on playing with a toy, one marched up to the boyfriend and emitted a tiny but unmistakably imperious meow, and the last one, her littermate, ambled up to me and began, with great concentration and mixed success, to attempt to untie my shoelaces.

"Hi, kitten," I said, and leaned down to scritch under his chin. He purred.

I picked him up and rubbed my cheek on the top of his tiny head. The purr increased in volume.

I cuddled him to my chest. He promptly scrambled into the bib pocket of my overalls and curled up there, still purring.

"Hey, buster," I said. "Are you gonna be my best buddy?"

And for seventeen years, he was.

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I had hoped to be able to post about progress on the computer upgrade. Instead I am posting to say that as of this morning The Big Kitty is exhibiting some symptoms that may be signs of kidney failure.

I had a long phone conversation with the vet this morning. We agreed that at this point, even if it is kidney failure, there is nothing to be done about it; he's seventeen, he's been fading for a long time now, and the most we can hope to do is keep him comfortable. So I'll be taking him in for some blood work on Monday afternoon.

I'm disabling comments because expressions of sympathy will make me start crying again, and I am really tired of crying; I've been crying for most of the day. I haven't been able to focus on work or on the computer or anything else, really, and if I can't get it together by tomorrow this is going to be a bad week regardless of anything else that happens. I need to get some sleep so I can get up in the morning and sit on the sofa and do some work while The Big Kitty sleeps on my ankles. I'll know more on Monday. In the meantime, I'm going to be grateful for whatever time we have left.

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Toby has adopted his usual morning nap location: my shins. However, instead of facing away from me and tucking his front paws between my ankles (his normal position), he has draped himself sideways across my legs so that he can peer sleepily around the edge of the laptop screen every few minutes.

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My part of the midwest has been slapped with an Excessive Heat Advisory: between the heat and the humidity, the heat index for yesterday and today was up over 110. Translation: stay where it's air-conditioned, and if you have to leave, hydrate continually and try to move as little as possible.

I've hauled the window a/c unit out of the closet and installed it in my bedroom, and the cats and I have retreated up there for the duration. I haven't been able to work in the garden at all, though I've made my morning rounds to tuck tomatoes back into their cages, monitor bean growth, etc. The squash, melons, and cucumber vines have all decided that this hideous weather is their personal tropical paradise; the main shoot of the larger of the two cucumber plants grew more than four inches between yesterday morning and this morning, which I find rather terrifying.

We emerge periodically in search of food; I've made a big batch of hummus and last night made croutons and caesar dressing, so I'm set for a few days until the heat breaks.

Yesterday, when I went down for lunch, Toby accompanied me in the spirit of solidarity; the rest of the cats remained stretched out on the bed, right where the a/c blows directly on them, and barely opened their eyes to acknowledge my departure. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, something wet brushed against my leg, which turned out to be Toby: the humidity had almost instantly condensed on the surface of his air-conditioned fur, and he was damp all over his body, though not, so far as I could tell, his ears. It took him a while to notice, at which point he began to wash himself frantically for about a minute before giving it up as hopeless and flopping onto the kitchen floor, where he lay looking rather as if all his bones had melted in the heat.

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Dear adolescent robins,

Clearly you are determined to eat all my raspberries when they are about three-quarters ripe, i.e., sufficiently unpalatable that I don't want to beat you to them. This is not an acceptable state of affairs.

I have four cats, and while one is not even remotely interested in you and one is useless for hunting anything more self-propelled than glitterballs, two of them are experienced and effective hunters of small flying things. I am seriously considering turning them loose on you this evening, you little fuckers.

no love,

h.l

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The viburnums are budding, the chives are sprouting, the strawberry patch is greening, last night's pizza dough rose beautifully, we're in the middle of a thunderstorm, and I just brushed enough fur off Toby to knit myself a new pair of kittens.

Must be spring.

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Some of you may recall that I currently have three cats, that there are bats living in the walls of my house, and that, on two previous occasions, these facts have converged in the interaction of bats with cats.

The events dramatized here actually date from a couple of months ago even though, for reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, I am only now getting around to posting about them.

I suspect that what follows will make very little sense if you have not read the previous post about the flying mouse affair.

a one act playCollapse )

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I am safely home from my peregrinations, having done my part to support the midwest's independent purveyors of books, music, food, and wine. I had lunch with my favorite former boss and dinner with two favorite former students. I watched truepenny work on posting and sitting trot and met June the Barn Kitten. I made truepenny and mirrorthaw watch Castle and Sherlock. I read a lot. I saw awesome shows. All in all, a productive trip, I feel.

The cats were happy to see me when I got home; they all slept under the covers with me last night (sequentially, not simultaneously), and were snuggled close when I woke this morning.

And now I have to go dig out my driveway (my car is currently in the parking lot of the local bar because after eight hours of driving I reeeeally didn't feel like shoveling) and dig out my walkways so the postal delivery guy won't hate me anymore, and then I have to grade grade grade grade grade for the next few days. I am trying to be zen about this, but I have started fantasizing about cleaning the house, which is always a sign that my stress levels are higher than I'm allowing myself to consciously recognize.

Still: the end's in sight!

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Thanks to all who commented on the last post; I'm not up to responding to comments individually, but please know that I read and appreciated every one, and the emails as well.

I feel like I've been underwater for the last three months and am finally surfacing only to discover that the boat's gone down while I was otherwise occupied. My students, predictably, are the best life raft I could ask for. I feel a little guilty about that -- how can they be so awesome when I so clearly don't deserve it right now? -- but I am deeply grateful for them, for their intelligence and patience and goodwill, and I am trying to trust that I will be able to live up to them sooner rather than later.

I am going to have to do some teaching-related and work-related stuff this weekend, because the backlog there is kind of making me want to hide under the bed. But I've been running on fumes for weeks now, so I also need to refuel a bit. And since the weather's lovely, that means going out to spend a good bit of the day in my garden. One of my colleagues is bringing her young daughters over this morning so they can pick raspberries; I'm going to weed the strawberries and plant some long-neglected shrubs that have been sitting forlornly in their pots at the edge of the driveway.

And this evening I'm going to start remastering "Goodbye," the FNL vid that premiered at VVC, because I like that vid and I want to be able to watch it without wincing at glitches, and also because I want to make it available for download in the indeterminate but hopefully not too distant future.

I keep reminding myself that living a balanced life is not something one achieves; it's an ongoing process of negotiation and adjustment and self-calibration. But those things are -- well, they're difficult, and these days I mostly feel tired and sad and not up to the task. So I have also been reminding myself that I can't help how I feel, but I can help how I behave.

Years ago a friend sent me a card that said "I refuse to be ruled by the tyranny of immediacy; I make choices." I stuck it to my computer monitor and it was one of the things that got me through the final death-march of my dissertation. I am thinking of it again today (and wondering where it ended up in the course of the various interim home and office moves) and taking a deep breath and choosing -- to go out and dig in the dirt, to come inside at dusk and be creative, to read and think about the essays I am asking my students to read and think about, to call someone I care about with whom I haven't spoken in too long, to sit for a while with one of the three remaining cats on my lap. Because the fact that I am tired and sad doesn't make the rest of the world I love mean less.

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I let The Princess Cat go last night.

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User: heresluck
Name: here's luck
Website: heresluck.net
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