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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Everybody Wants to Be a Cat

Lately I've been missing my cat -- or to be more precise, my sister's cat. Charlene died in March this year while my parents were in the Dominican Republic celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

We've always been cat people: my parents had two cats in the earlier stages of their relationship, Ginger and Twinkle (Ginger, the black "mutt" type, was so named because she and her brother Fred used to "dance," like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers). They also had a German shepherd named Heidi who was of less-than-average intelligence, even for a dog. She died before I was around, having eaten a raw chicken.

Since then, my parents have been cats-only, and my sister and I grew up with cats. Twinkle, the sweet, older-than-dirt seal point Siamese, was fairly tolerant of us as kids. Ginger hated us (well, we were kids; we wanted to hold and pet). They both passed when we were 7-8 and 5-6. Twinkle was 21.

Charlene and Snowpaws were giveaway kittens from my dad's route (he worked for the post office, delivering mail until he retired almost 5 years ago) -- someone who didn't spay their female cat. So my dad brought two replacement cats home in a cardboard box: Charlene, a skinny black cat who clearly had tiger stripes when she sat in the sun, and Snowpaws, her black-with-white-chest-and-feet, Maine Coon-looking brother. Snowpaws ran away after about three years. We put up signs and hoped and prayed, but eventually figured someone else was feeding him, because he never came back.

A few years later we got a chocolate-point apple-head Siamese, Coco Puff. Appleheads, as you can see from the photo, are built more like typical American Shorthairs, not super-skinny with angular features like wedgehead Siamese cats -- that's what Twinkle was.

So Sara and I grew up with mainly Charlene and Coco, who (like many cats) loved to sit in the windows. Even when it was cold, they still sat on the backs of chairs to get a good look at what was going on outside -- especially at the living room window in front. Charlene loved that window, and would sit there every year during Beggars' Night. It was really uncanny.

Once I moved out and into an apartment of my own with my (now) husband, I got cats of my own, Trouble and Tiger (you can probably guess what he looks like; I'll just say he's orange rather than grey). Adam even loves them. Well, really, he loves all kitties. He gets excited every time he sees one, even if it's ours that he sees every day.

But I've still come home to my childhood cats and they're still my cats. I even think of my sister-in-law's cat as somewhat my cat, because the in-laws are my family now too, and family cats belong to everyone in the family. Plus, Griffin loves me. (Then again, so do most of the strays in the neighborhood -- we have a ton of those. Must just be my animal magnetism. That and my secret desire to adopt them all.)

After Adam was born, I didn't cry much. I cried all the time when I was pregnant, and really I cried a lot even before that. I suffer from chronic clinical depression, and I've been on and off of medications for the past seven years. But somehow, after we brought the baby home from the hospital, I only expressed negative feelings with anger and frustration; I never cried. So when Charlene died, my sister cried for a whole week. Me? I cried when I found out that she died in her sleep. But then I didn't cry again. Not until I read a really sad blog.

Now Halloween is drawing closer once again. I've been thinking about how for 15 years, Charlene sat in that window, and I bragged to my friends that I had a cat content enough to be part of the decorations. I love my current cats, of course.

But I still miss my kitty.

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Burger King Corp. If you'd like to participate (and be entered for a chance to win a $250 VISA gift card!), write your own post about your pets by midnight tonight (Pacific Time). Click on the PBN link above for details.

Also, sorry for the depressing nature of this particular post. I promise my next post will be lighter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Weekend

...but still good.

Thursday night (yeah, I know; not exactly the weekend, but I promise it's related): After work I went straight to my (mostly) weekly therapy session. I think the therapy is helping, but I really need to get in with a family doctor to get back on antidepressants. I say "a" doctor because I still technically don't have one, exactly. Since we moved back to Ohio, we've searched for a doctor closer than 30 minutes away that takes our insurance. Until a few weeks ago, we had been unable to find one -- in 7 months, people! Now I'm just waiting for the insurance company to send me a new card: the doctor we found won't schedule an appointment with anyone until her name is on the insurance card, which of course takes 7 to 10 business days to get changed... blah blah blah. Crossing my fingers that the card comes soon.

After therapy I picked up my son and we went to JoAnn Fabrics. Brandon and I had been talking about what he would be for Halloween since last Halloween: Superman. We considered all the superheroes (we're geeks, remember?), and we settled on Superman (or -baby, as the case may be) because he doesn't wear any kind of mask or hat-type thing. Babies hate things on their head, so it's perfect, right? I wasn't sure whether to sew or buy, since I found a really cheap one online, but he was kinda in between the infant and toddler sizes. So I will sew. And I have since decided that I must be a crazy person little ambitious -- Halloween seems a lot closer from this side of the weekend. It's happened before. It'll probably happen again.

Friday afternoon Brandon got a call from Aaron and Christina, who wanted to know if we would like to go see Celtic Thunder Sunday night. An hour later, my sister-in-law Abby called about possibly visiting this weekend and offering to babysit so we could have a date. Amazing how things come together like that.

Saturday Brandon went to pick up Abby from OU (she's in her first freshman quarter there) while Adam and I picked up the house. Or rather, I tried to clean and simultaneously tried to keep Adam out of the cat food. Since he's discovered his mobility, he likes to dump their food bowl onto the floor. Sigh. At least he doesn't eat it.

We went to my mom's house for the OSU game as usual. Abby, Adam, and I fell asleep. After the game we went to Target so Abby could get some new clothes for school. It was really nice to get out of the house and not go to the grocery store, work, or a movie. Plus, Brandon and I got to play "personal stylist," which we love. We love to watch Project Runway, I like What Not to Wear on occasion, and we enjoyed both Queer Eye for a Straight Guy and How to Look Good Naked while they were on. But we don't have much money, so we like to shop for other people, like our sisters.

I worked on Adam's costume a little over both Saturday and Sunday. So far, I've cut out the pieces for the "S," the onesie, the cape, and half the pants. Still have the other leg of the pants, the red underwear thing, and the belt to cut out. Then sew it all. I may or may not do the additional yellow "S" on the cape. We'll see how much time I have. I'm definitely not sewing boots -- Abby bought him a pair of red socks.

Sunday we watched the Bengals game, I did a ton of laundry, and Abby looked for some poster- board and her own Halloween costume. Then Brandon and I went to Aaron and Christina's house before the show.

We took one car to save on gas and parking, had a nice, brief dinner, and went to the Schottenstein Center for the show. Parking turned out to be free (the tickets were, too, but we knew about that -- Christina knows someone who got us the tickets), but the seats were kinda tiny and the auditorium was really warm and stuffy. Other than that, it was fantastic!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Celtic Thunder, they are an all-male, 5-piece Irish band with a wide range of ages (16 to 41), tones of voice, and singing styles. They are accompanied by a slew of very talented instrumentalists, as well. You may have seen their show on PBS. They are all excellent performers -- they sing with choreography, although the singing is much better by far. My husband's only complaint about the show is that most of the music isn't Irish. I didn't mind so much -- men that sing well are HOT. (My husband knows I think this, and he knows I like his singing. So why doesn't he sing very much?)

Today it was back to work for me, and as well as I've handled being away from the baby so far, the first thing I thought this morning when I got there was how much I missed him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Alive

...even considering this is my first job in a day care setting and I have the plague that just won't end.

At first it wasn't so bad. Yeah, I spent my first weekend with the flu. But I seemed to make it through the rest of my first month at the JCC preschool unscathed.

And then last Monday I woke up with pinkeye. Woohoo. I felt okay other than that, but as the day wore on, I felt pretty tired and my nose was a little stuffy. No biggie; I just figured the abrupt changes in the weather were responsible and I'd be fine after getting some rest.

Ohhhh no. It was a full-blown, knock-me-down, double-whammy cold and sinus infection. Runny nose, stuffy nose, headaches, toothaches, coughing, losing my voice -- all week long. I'm still not 100 percent yet: my voice is still a little raspy, and my nose is still clogged a bit. And of course I bring everything home with me -- my husband, son, and mother all got the cold/sinus infection. Fortunately none of them got the pinkeye.

So I've been trying to get better and still manage to be a mommy. Still haven't quite got it down yet.

Despite Adam sneezing what my husband called "snot rockets" for a few days, he managed to complete some milestones:

  • He has two more teeth coming in (he got the bottom front two, oh, around 6 or 7 months, then nothing until a few weeks ago -- the two outside top incisors started coming; now it's the two in the top middle).
  • He (maybe?) said his first word, I think: "meow" -- we have cats, both sets of grandparents have a cat, and he loves basically any cat he sees; he gets all excited and squeals usually, but my parents' rather vocal Siamese was meowing last week while Adam was at their house and we heard Adam make a high-pitched kinda "mew".
  • He's started waving bye-bye, although as yet only to my parents, and he needs a little help to get started, but then you let go of his hand and he does it on his own.
  • He's crawling scooting froggy swimming now! He pushes with his hands and feet while still laying on his belly to propel himself forward on the carpet. He's fast, too! I was surprised at how quickly he got from one end of the room to the other, considering he's not actually crawling -- which he can get into the position for, but can't really move from there.
Yay! My baby's growing up. No, I'm not sad. Yes, I'll have to get on that purchasing of the baby gate thing, but I'm proud, and I don't regret anything except that I haven't spent much time cleaning around here yet.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Music Therapy

As previously mentioned, I am somewhat of a musician. I used to be more than that: in high school -- my busiest and most productive musical years, I was still taking piano lessons (which I ended up taking for a total of 13 years), I was in marching/concert band, pep band, and choir, and in my free time, I was teaching myself to play acoustic guitar, singing in the shower, and writing music of the sappy love song variety. A career in music was once the only kind of career I considered. More than anything, I wanted to be famous someday.

But then I went off to college and things changed. I sang in women's chorus (this picture was taken after our Christmas concert -- that's me, my grandmother, and my sister Sara), wrote one song, even played guitar in front of my theatre class for our stage fright project. But I never really immersed myself in it the way I had since I was too young to know better, and for the same reason I eventually left school, I left that part of my life -- maybe for good.

I have suffered from depression since I was 17. Back then I was able to combat it, or at least distract myself from it, with my hobby. When I graduated, I had no more busy schedule, no more routine, no more order. I fell apart.

I still battle with it, but sometimes I'm still able to forget about it for the time being. The smallest thing, like singing along to the radio in the car, can help lift my spirits for almost the whole day. And I'm not the only one who benefits: my son loves music of any kind, especially singing. My dad sometimes plays the guitar for him, and Adam just sits there, entranced.

When he gets a little older, we'll use music as a tool, for therapy, for memory, for entertainment. At now 10 months old, I'm still mostly singing to him just for fun. Working at a preschool helps me keep fresh songs in my head, like "Bringin' Home a Baby Bumblebee" and "Fudgie the Whale"*. And anytime Adam won't eat, I sing Raffi's "Apples and Bananas", which always makes him laugh; I just stick the spoon in his open mouth. :)

What songs do you like to sing to your kids, your partner, or to yourself?

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as an entry for a contest sponsored by Bush’s Beans.

*Here are the lyrics to "Fudgie the Whale" in case you're interested. I tried to find a link where you could actually hear the song, but the only one I found was a drunk Youtube video. Meh.

Oh, I'm a real big mammal,
I'm a great big whale.
I've got a chocolate head
And a chocolate tail.
I bought my car today
Because it was on sale.
And when they call for me,
They call me "Fudgie the Whale".
Fudgie... Fudgie... Fudgie the Whale!
Bop bop ba ba bop ba bop ba ba, yeah!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Haiku Friday #7: (Not-So-) Random Thoughts

Haiku Friday

A few thoughts that have
Occurred to me since last night;
Tell me what you think:


There is only one
"U" in the word "nuclear,"
Pronounced "NOOK lee er"

It is not pronounced
"NOOK yah ler" despite widespread


When you are asked a
Question in an interview,
It's usually

A good idea
To answer it, and not make
It plain you did not

Bother to answer
The question. If not, at least
Stay on the topic.

Especially when
That job is one of the most
Important there are.


Experience and
Knowledge are helpful in such
A job interview

Complete lack thereof
Is not a reason for why
You should be chosen.

(No matter how charming
You may come off.) It should not
Be seen as a plus.


If experience
And knowledge are a problem,
Success cannot be

Determined by the
Simple lack of failure. A
Success must be more.

Adequacy is
Not enough. Is that really

All right, so I promised myself at the outset that this blog would not become a place to bitch about religion, politics, or really anything at all. I'd much rather this be a place I can tell my story, but in a comedic way. But I really felt the need to open up after last night's prime time television programming. Anyway, so that's my haiku, if you like it, let me know. If you think I can improve upon something other than my (at this point) unwavering beliefs, let me know that too.

Have a good weekend everyone!

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