Category Archives: cats

Clearing off the memory card

I have a terrible, awful, no-good habit of taking lots of pictures and never moving them off the camera/memory card.  Not all of them need a whole post, but some are worth sharing.

Willie is technically Travis’ cat, but I love him to pieces.  We each picked a kitten out at the shelter and he picked Willie, even though he’s a boy cat and he was a little skittish.  We were only going to get female cats and we wanted cats that were going to be lovebugs (like our Clair).  Turns out, Willie is more of a lovebug than Clair ever was.  If you are sitting on the couch, he will find you, lay down, and fall asleep on your lap.  He is good at spreading around the cat-lazy.  And, so far, the biggest problem we’ve had with him is that he paws at the air instead of covering stuff with the litter.

This was one of the first strawberry harvests from our garden.  Last year, I planted 6 strawberry plants (two varieties) and got just a few berries from them.  Over the course of a year, the plants spread out and took over half the raised garden bed.  This year, I probably pick a handful of ripe berries every week.  Never enough to make a dessert or jam, but certainly enough that we both get to enjoy them.  I wish I knew what varieties I planted – one makes little berries that are super sweet, the other one makes nice, big berries that are still sweet, but not as sweet as the little ones.  Every now and then, I come across a berry that is overripe. Those go to the chickens, who fight over it and chase each other around until one of them finishes it.

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Goals


Our wedding was just over a month ago; our Hawaii dinner “reception” was last weekend. Do you think I’ll ever stop saying, “Where did all the time go?”

People have been asking us how it feels to be married, to be living the part of life that comes after planning a wedding. Honestly, it still doesn’t feel all that different. Travis still takes the trash out on Sunday nights, does his own laundry three loads at a time, and washes the dishes after dinner as I sprawl across the couch watching silly tv shows. I still call him up to see what he feels like for dinner, go grocery shopping, and clean the cats’ litter box. We still haven’t really managed to find time to sit still or vacuum or deal with the pile of cards on the table. Sometimes he calls me “wife”; sometimes I call him “husband”. I am still signing my maiden name for credit card purchases. I answer to my new married name, but I’ve yet to refer to myself as such outside of work.

Travis says if we did it right, nothing should really feel all that different.

Maybe it’s because we’d already combined our finances into a joint account, so we’re in the pattern of who balances the checkbook and transfers money into savings. Maybe it’s because we still have separate accounts, so I don’t have to answer questions about the shoes I buy and he can order whatever homebrewing equipement he wants. Maybe it’s simply because we’re older and we knew what we wanted before we ever got here.

I’ve also been asked if it’s a relief not to be planning a wedding.  Honestly, the hardest part of planning the wedding was writing out these huge checks; I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore!  Also, our wedding-related tasks aren’t really over yet.  We have thank you cards to send out (do we send out generic ones or get some printed with photos?), decoration boxes to unpack (do we use the big green vases, donate them, or try to put them up on a wedding site for sale?), and a “registry completion” event to go to (Travis is really sick of our drippy coffee pot).

Funny story: The other night I made salsa and pulled out the food processor bowl that came with my old blender.  It’s larger than a mini chopper (which I love) but way smaller than a stand-alone food processor.  Travis asked why we don’t have a bigger food processor and I joked that it’s because no one bought it off our registry (I was joking! I am in no way ungrateful for the many generous gifts we DID receive!)  I’m guessing the coffee maker and food processor are two items we might be looking to grab for 20% off.

Related side note: From our registry, someone did get us the hand mixer and microloft sheets, items I half-heartedly put on the registry to begin with. The former because I hadn’t felt I needed a new hand mixer after my old one broke, the latter to appease Travis’ love of soft, flannel-y sheets.  Well, I now love the mixer because it turns out there are quite a few things I make that are too stiff for hand whisking but not large enough to warrant pulling out the KitchenAid.  And the sheets? Let me just say it’s like being enveloped by the softest blanket ever, from head to toe, but they’re sheets, so they aren’t stiff and heavy.  Love them.  At some point, it’ll get too warm and we’ll have to switch to summer sheets, but as long as the nights are cool we’re keeping them on the bed.

I think I lost my point. Where was I?  Oh yeah, the wedding’s over, but we still have a lot of things to do before we return to what I call “normal life”.  And that doesn’t even include the ancillary tasks involved with getting my name changed.

So, I’ve set some goals for myself:

  • Make a decision on thank you cards and get them done before Travis disappears for a week at the National Homebrewing Conference next month.  I have the list nicely organized, so I think this can go quickly.
  • Write up some wedding re-caps and vendor reviews before wedding pictures get blogged by our photographer.
  • Make a decision on what to do with the wedding decorations (and billions of candles and votives) and then just do it.  If you know of anyone who would like about 100 used votives (I think the small candles may be melted down already), some large green candle vases, clear glass flower vases, or LED tealights, please let me know.  I have no time frame on this, but maybe I’ll get it done while Travis is occupied with his conference.
  • That’s actually as far as I got with my goals. 

The cat picture I just threw up there because it’s cute.  It’s cute the way the cats have completely made themselves at home when, at one point, we thought we’d always have to protect them from becoming a Sadie-chewtoy.

cutest kittens ever

I’ve come to realize our kittens are actually cats now, being a year and some months old these days, but I still call them kittens.  They’ve definitely gotten bigger since the day we got them.

They are terribly cute together – chasing each other down the hall, running around the couch, and cuddling on the chair.  Willie has become a lap cat; if you have a lap, he will make himself at home.  Bonnie prefers to lay on the table in front of you, or say hello in the morning with some purring and kneading.

Everyone gets along just fine.  Just the other morning, I found Willie cuddling with Sadie!  Either Sadie wasn’t quite awake, or she’s learned to play nice with the kitties.

‘sup?

hullo?

Yeah… it’s September now.  Does anyone know what happened to August?  I swear I left it right here, and then I turned around and it was gone.  I bet one of the dogs dragged it into the yard and chewed it up.  Those dogs… that’s why we can’t have nice things.

We spent a weekend in Temecula, then a weekend in Vegas for my mom’s birthday.  Went flightlining along a ridge in the desert (so fun!) and I got all dressed up to see Nora Jones and was fed overpriced, underwhelming food court pizza because the “brewpub” I was taken had closed their kitchen capabilities two years ago and all the good restaurants had an hour-long wait.

I had the best intentions to finally put up the photos of our New York trip, seeing as how it’s been a year since we were there, but – get this – it takes time to sit down, transfer pictures off the memory card, and then put together a post.  And I have not had time to sit.

We’re vacationing in New Zealand in a couple of weeks, a trip I’m excited about.  If all goes well, we’ll cram wine, beer, food, hiking, culture, caving, tubing, and hopefully more food into a(nother) whirlwind trip.  Seriously.  If we could just win that lottery and not have to worry about billable hours and paychecks, we could spend as much time as we wanted overseas.  Of course, I’d probably miss the pups.  Definitely the kittens.

My parents are generously watching our kittens while we’re gone; we dropped them off during our Vegas weekend and we’ll pick them up after we get home.  I’m hoping they get used to the many, many cats and dogs running around there.  They seemed a little overwhelmed when we left.

Faced with a two-week countdown to what could be a gluttonous trip (wine, cheese, ice cream, beer, meat!), I figured it would be a perfect time to also life-check that crazy Primal diet I keep reading about.  I know it’s pretty restrictive if you follow the rules, but we’re mainly just staying away from grains (did you know Primal considers corn a grain?), alcohol, and sugar.  Milk in the coffee, honey here and there, fruit – all accepted by me.  I’ve been playing with almond flour and coconut flour and I think almond flour makes a substantial baked good but coconut flour gives you something more baked-goody, although moisture-suckingly dry.  In a week, I’ve lost 5 pounds, which I suspect is water weight, or something close to it.  There’s no way I could lose 5 pounds of anything substantial.  One more week to see what happens and the end result as soon as I stick a piece of bread in my mouth.

As a parting gift, I offer you this kitty “glamour shot” pose:

meow

A Kitten Story

So, yes, we have two kittens. Yes, we were only planning on having one cat. It’s kind of a long story.

Before he would agree to bringing a cat home, Travis made me do all sorts of research to determine if we were getting a cat or kitten, shelter cat or purebred, one or two, and how would I guarantee he wouldn’t come home to me crying that Sadie ate the new kitten. I got a whole bunch of books from the library (most of which are really kind of useless) and read through them, pointing out facts and tidbits I found interesting. I wrote down all my findings on paper and taped them to the walls at eye-level. Travis commented by adding Post-It notes to my papers. You might be tempted to call this passive aggressive communication, but it did allow us to get through it all without big arguments.

I wanted a kitten because I wanted to feel like we had some sort of influence on the type of cat it would grow up to be. I had leaned towards adopting an adult cat because, you know, they have harder times finding a home and I wanted to be altruistic. But, I also thought an older cat might have a harder time adapting to a 3-dog house and if the cat was really unhappy, what would happen then? You can’t give a cat back to a shelter! They put you on A List and you then you can’t adopt anything anymore! (At least, that’s what they do at the shelter my mom volunteers for.) I also felt like I wanted to maximize our available cat years… if we got a 6-year old cat, we’d have less time before that cat got old. Sure, it’s flawed reasoning, but when you’re dealing with someone who feels she got robbed of her time with The Best Cat in the World, you just go with it.

We’d talked about getting another Ragdoll or maybe a Birman. Travis thought purebreds gave you the best shot at getting some known personality. For some reason, I think this is true with dogs but that cats are a complete crapshoot. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think you can get a friendly, affectionate cat by doing a good job raising a kitten, no matter what breed you start with. I’d also read somewhere that when getting a new pet, you shouldn’t try to find one that reminds you of the pet you lost because that new pet will never measure up and just disappoint you. Obviously, a Clair-looking cat was out of the question. So, random shelter can it is!

Now, if you’re getting a kitten, EVERYONE says you should get two so they keep each other company, keep each other out of trouble, and don’t get lonely when you’re away at work. I never felt Clair was lonely being all by herself, but I also realized she was never really alone when she was a kitten. She lived in a house with a bunch of college students, so there were a lot of people there all the time. I didn’t want a little kitten getting all sad and lonely, so now we were looking for two kittens.

We went to Helen Woodward and they had no shortage of kittens. I understand they want to protect the kittens, but I didn’t like that we had to wear gloves while trying to get to know the kittens. I felt very disconnected. We also couldn’t put them down – we had to hold them the whole time, but kittens are squirmy so how do you really know what kind of kitten it is? In the end, I liked the kittens but Travis wasn’t sure he was ready for more furballs. At that point, we weren’t on the same page about Operation New Cat, which is what prompted the paper signs and book research. And possibly some crying. The kittens we looked at were adopted the next day, which only made me feel sad when we couldn’t find “good” kittens later.

Seeing that June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month, I figured that was a good time to make a push for kittens. That and the fact that Travis was leaving for a beer conference for a week were the foundations of my new campaign for kittens, which I would later refer to as The Kitten even though I meant two kittens. It’s all about naming and marketing, people.

We went to Meow Madness at the San Diego Humane Society. Have you been there? Dogs and cats have their own apartments, with furniture and beds and artwork (artwork!) and it really doesn’t make you sad that you can’t take everyone home with you. We got there in the afternoon (after lunch and an extensive shopping excursion through Target) and pretty much every kitten had been adopted (they went from 19 to 8 available kittens on the website). Even the County shelter had “Adopted” signs on the cats we stopped at. I mean, yay for the cats and kittens going home, but I was bummed we didn’t see any we liked. We did see a sweet looking 2-year old cat, but would that mean we get two cats? Or hope that the cat is okay by herself? Or bring home a kitten later and hope they’re okay? Ideally, we wanted to find two kittens from the same litter. There were no new kittens at Helen Woodward and it was too late to try and drive out to the Escondido Humane Society, so we headed back home.

After an early morning of kayaking, getting dunked in the ocean, and then a really good brunch at Chateau Orleans, I dragged a sleepy Travis all the way out to the Escondido Humane Society. I never knew how far Escondido city limits stretched before. I signed in and we walked through the hallways until I learned you have to fill out the paperwork before you can go into the kitten room. So, I filled out the paperwork (I said we own, not rent, the house, which is only technically slightly not true) and someone came along to punch in the key code. Before I left, a little boy told me the black kitten was his, so I assured him we wouldn’t play with it or anything. We spent a lot of time in that kitten room, playing with all the kittens. I didn’t want to pick kittens just because I didn’t want to go home kittenless. But, I also didn’t want to take too long in case someone else came in and picked a kitten that I might want. We’d already ruled out some kittens – the one that tried to climb up Travis’ back, the one that just sat there uninterested, the one that kept running away. Travis was enamored with one kitten but was waffling because it was a boy and he wasn’t sure he wanted boy cats. His other choice was a fluffy, mushy girl kitten – mainly because she was a girl. In the end, he picked his first choice kitten and I picked mine. I left him in the kitten room to guard our picks while I went to tell someone we had decided. We must have gotten there before rush hour because the place was packed! And a lot of them were looking for kittens! I was glad we got our picks before everyone else got there.

They really only took a few hours to get comfortable in their new room. After some forced petting and a little kitty massage, I had Bonnie purring and looking for more attention. Willie took more work but was more open to some petting by the time we went to bed. With a little more interaction and some canned kitten food bribes, he came around. There’s a baby gate in front of the doorway, but we’ve been letting them roam the house while the dogs are locked up.  Cassie and Lexi are fine around them, but Sadie still wants to chase them.  So, until that’s settled, either Sadie is locked up or the kittens are kept in their room.

They’re both just such lovebugs.  You go into their room and they just want attention (and canned food).  You sit down and then climb in your lap and purr like crazy.  You can put Willie on his back and he just mushes into you.  I’m so glad we brought them home.