Friday, July 4, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Baby Kitten!

We have a new kitten! His name is Mugsy:

That's what we name orange cats in our family. Isn't he great? He joins the two cats we already have. This is Bean, who thinks she's the Queen of Sheba:

Bean's hobbies include hissing and making bold statements with her bodily effluvia. This is B:

B is my favorite. Of her waking hours, she's very sweet 70% of the time, aloof 20% of the time, very irritating and demanding 9% of the time, and bitey 1% of the time. She's small--under six pounds--but she's got gigantic feet, with extra toes and everything. So far my attempts to photograph them have met with mixed results. I apologize for the poor image quality, but you've gotta see 'em. Here she is posing with my library card, which is credit card-sized:

Here she is standing on my desk. That round white object is my mouse.

Here is the bottom (sole?) of her left hind foot:

So B's my favorite. But new kitten! Hooray!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ow, my obstreperal lobe!

I think I sprained it.

I joined a gym. See, I was in Vegas this last weekend. It was fun. Quelle and I went with Quelle's mom--I'll call her Faye--and Faye's BFF (Barbara) (that's her real name--I can't think of anything) who are both in their sixties. Neither of them is doing so well. Faye has adult-onset diabetes (or The Beetis, as I like to call it) and needs a new knee. She doesn't want to bother getting the new knee, though, because she doesn't want to do the rehab. Barbara has heart problems and has to take a diuretic that has her out of bed every hour of the night. We got to Vegas on Thursday evening and we left on Monday afternoon, and that whole time, they didn't set foot outside our hotel. Friends, we stayed at the Orleans. I liked the Orleans okay, but five straight days inside that building sounds like a season in hell. Once, Barbara wandered out to get a look at the pool, but other than that, they just hobbled around the casino, now playing slots, now eating at TGI Friday's, now drinking cocktails upon which their doctors would frown.

Faye is sixty-five. I'm thirty-three. I feel like I've finally crested the hill of youth, and stretched out before me is the great river valley of adulthood. Far away, on the opposite slope, I can see sixty-five. It's hazy in the distance, but I can definitely see it from here. When I get there, when I'm climbing toward the mesa of old age, I do not want to be creeping painfully around, cursing Wilford Brimley. (Even if you already know why Faye would be cursing Wilford Brimley, click that link. It's pretty great.)

"But Bitey," you admonish me, "you can't compare your future self to someone else's mom. What about your mom?" ("What about your mom," I wittily retort, before remembering that I am not six years old.) My mom will be sixty-two this year, and she's doing pretty good. Her blood pressure is a little high, and she's slowed down a little, but she still does yard work and home repairs, and exercises a little and takes walks. But. First of all, I have this photo of my mom from when she and my dad first married, and she was much thinner than I have ever been. Granted, I happen to know that when she was in college, her doctor gave her amphetamines as a weight loss aid, but still. Second, Faye's favorite activity is lying on her bed, propped up with pillows, watching her soaps. Change the bed to a sofa and the soaps to police procedurals, and I'm there. Third, just this year, my knees started to hurt. Not often, and not a lot, but just the same. If I'm sitting for any lenghth of time, they're a little stiff when I first get up. Ten steps walks it off, but that's ominous, yes? Yes.

So I have to lose some weight and strengthen my knees. I've thought long and hard about this weight loss issue. I've got a tricky relationship with all that, some of which is detailed in previous posts. I don't think I'm unhealthy now. I think that my organs and systems are operating just fine, and I don't have any complaints. I don't have body image issues. This is what I look like (not the bee--that's to make you think, "Wow, Bitey is really the Bee's Knees!"), and anyone who's got a problem with that needs information or therapy or a head-dunking or some combination thereof. But I think it would be better for my knees if I weighed a little less. *NOT* that I'm going to diet. I've learned a lot about nutrition in the last couple years, and a lot about disordered eating. I eat whatever the hell I want. Period.

So I joined a gym. I've had two workouts so far, and I like it. This place has a structured workout that goes pretty fast and changes up a lot to prevent boredom and fatigue while still working you out. It's women only, which is FANTASTIC, and there are no mirrors, which is also really, really great. The equipment is sized for women, which means that it's almost too small for me and my ridiculously long limbs, but that's okay. Unlike most gyms, it's got a very friendly and convivial atmosphere, and it doesn't smell like stale man-sweat. I actually like it a lot.

It's Curves.

Yeppers. Curves.

For all its woman-friendly appearance, Curves was started by a dude, and not just any dude, but a right-wing evangelical Christian who gives money to George Bush and anti-abortion groups. It's all true: I looked it up on Snopes (it's pretty bad--read it for yourself), and also? I knew it going in. I couldn't afford some fancy-pantsed exclusive place, which is the only other women-only option. My second choice was the Y, but it's smelly and full of men. Also, you have to remember my strong proclivity for lying around like the Queen of Sheba. Left to myself, I would do nothing at all, ever. I need structure and guidance and variety. Plus, I don't feel like I'm in good enough shape to work out at a regular gym, which I think is the fault of the gyms. I've been to regular gyms, and I always feel awkward and self-conscious, and I quit going after a couple weeks. I don't like it. I'm not doing it and you can't make me.

But the whole thing is causing some kind of stress injury in my obstreperal lobe. I know we all live in the patriarchy as best we can, but we don't have to fall all over ourselves shoveling money to misogynists. But sometimes the misogynists have the only game in town. Here's how I figure I'll get myself back into alignment: I got the Curves student discount, so I only had to pay $99 for five months, which is really, really cheap. I figure that I'll make up for it by giving twice that amount to a worthy feminist cause. That evens things out, right? Right?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Union Suit

Every morning, I have to decide what to wear if I'm going to go out into the world. If I'm staying home, of course, I don't have to decide. I just stay in my pajamas until about four o'clock, and then I take a shower and put on the clean pajamas I'm going to sleep in that night. That's called comfort and efficiency, friends. But sometimes I have to make myself reasonably presentable, and that's when I want a Union Suit. Not the old-timey Union Suit, but a new Union Suit for a New Millenium. My vision would be reminiscent of the burqa, but with the sensible comfort and freedom of movement of Hammer pants. It would also have proper sleeves, so that I could wear a backpack if I needed to. The sleeves would have gloves attached that could be tucked into the wrist when not in use, and the fingers of the gloves would be removable. Rather than covering head-to-toe like the burqa, however, the Union Suit would have a bee-keeper-helmet-inspiried hat/hood. The hat would have a collapsable spring-form frame, and there would be a mesh veil that could be lowered from the brim and attached to the collar with velcro. The suit would be made of a very breathable but opaque fabric, light enough for summer and available in heavier weights for winter. I want it in five colors: black, navy, gray, burgundy, and seafoam green. The seafoam would be the dressy one, and would have metallic gold threads woven into it.

The New Union Suit could be worn with steel-toed boots or sensible flats.

Updated to Add: Looks like someone in the fashion world is already on the case. Wrong shoes, though.

Yeah, I read the Fug Girls. Sue me.

Baby Hummingbird!

We rescued a baby hummingbird yesterday! This is what it looked like. The photo is a female, and ours was a male, but it was a juvenile, so it wasn't gaudy yet. Sweetie found it when he took Tink out for her walk. It was on the sidewalk, and it could only get about a foot into the air before having to land again. We took a piece of really light fabric and gently placed it over the little birdy, then very carefully scooped it up. It wasn't hurt or anything, it was just too young to be out of the nest. The nest is way, way up in a high tree, so there was no way to get it back there. It turns out that hummingbirds are protected under federal law (who knew?), so you're not really allowed to try to keep one. Which is good, because you'd totally kill it anyway.

Hummingbirds, I want you to know, are jerks. We have this huge feeder, and we keep it full, and there are no fewer than four feeding stations where they could all sit together in amity, but do they? No. No, they don't. We've had the feeder for a year, and only once have we every seen four birds on it. Most often, there will be one bird, and then another bird will pull a kamikaze maneuver, and then they fly off fighting. No camaradarie, and no common sense.

We ended up taking it to the Los Angeles Hummingbird Rescue in West Hollywood. Boy, were those people nice. Terry and Frank have a whole setup in their home, with an incubator and lots of different cages for various birds, and a lovely aviary. It was almost nine o'clock when I got there, but they showed me all around and talked to me about the birds and everything. They said that little Sweetie (they named it after Sweetie because it was a boy and Sweetie found it--they would have called it Bitey if it had been a girl) was an Allen's Hummingbird, like this one:

I'd have taken pictures, but I kinda destroyed my camera. See, I was at Fair and someone (possibly myself) got drunk and spilled beer on it. It might have been okay--the camera's manual says that if it gets wet, to just let it dry out for a day or so--but because I was really drunk, I kinda forgot that I wasn't supposed to turn it on, and I guess I fried it. So.

Breathing Life into Stone

So yeah. Took a break there. I read somewhere that in Japan, they call abandonded blogs "pebbles"; thus today's title. I've made a few changes, and I guess I'll start inviting people. So. Hello again.