Kitten Behavior

Moon Pie in her hand knitted cat bed from her Auntie Susan:



Ottov2 cuddled up to her… knitting basket.
Sigh. Whatever, cat.


The Lost Weekend

No not the drunky kind. More like, I was getting sick all week and managed to make it through the work week and then sleep through the weekend.
I think I need to implement a policy about getting off the bed on Saturday’s so that I don’t just zonk out all day when I am not feeling great. I don’t know that it would have made a huge difference this weekend as I was already not feeling all that great from the previous week, but still… most of Saturday was a blur. The only reason I forced myself to get out of bed was to go to the store to make sure I had food for the next day as things are typically closed for a particular christian holiday based on a pagan one in this secular country. So I managed to get enough rations to survive the day (1 extra chocolate bunny) and cream for coffee. Actually, that is part 2 of my rule for Saturday: 1. don’t lay in bed – at least sit in my chair and 2. DRINK the coffee… don’t just make the mug and fall asleep again. I’m not normally this tired, which is why this weekend I don’t know that these rules would have made one whit of difference.

Kittens seemed to be good with it though.
Speaking of kittens… I think Ottov2 is allergic to Kitten Chow (or whatever grains etc they put in there) since she was a little crabby and out of sorts until I stopped feeding it to them. Moon Pie is unfazed by the whole thing. I had planned for this bag of KC to be the last one they had since they don’t seem to be growing as much as they had been. I started transitioning them to Innova for a while (Cat and Kitten formula) though they weren’t terribly excited by it. It still has some stuff in it that isn’t all to my liking, so when I found Blue Buffalo (I call it Lynx Chow – not because it is for lynxes but because it has a lynx on the front. Its other nickname round here is "duck food", again not because it is for ducks but because is of ducks. Don’t think too hard on it, you’ll hurt yourself.) with no grains and a bird formula (no fish formulas… I’m programmed from Bunny’s kidney issues.) and the fact that both of them LOVE it is good.

I call Ottov2 my little great white shark. She glides along, and if you are obsessive about watching shark week, you’ll know what a very large female looks like cruising through the waters. That’s exactly what Ottov2 looked like…right down to the bulge in her belly after eating a few large sea lions. But after about 4 days of being off of KC and only eating the lynx chow, not only was she playing again and acting like her old self, she was sleeking up a bit. So I have a theory that she has an allergy to the fillers in kitten chow. She was ok with it while doubling in size every few months, but after that… not so much.

I also think that this was part of her peeing issue. However, I don’t think this has magically fixed things in that department. Some people claim you can’t train a cat (well, you can’t train a cat to do what they don’t want to do) but I’ve found that after you do something a couple of times, they expect that behavior or that thing to happen after that. So her acquired habit of peeing on fabric things on the floor (a fallen towel, a carpet, a shirt escaping the bounds of the laundry basket) is fair game in her mind. Luckily, we have hardwood floors in this place and I have no problem with wrangling my own bad habit of not putting my clothes away properly immediately so that nothing falls on the floor.

Another precaution taken was a big plastic cover for the bed… I think they expected us to zip it around the mattress, but given the layers of water repellant materials already on the bed, I just spread it over the bed like a very ugly, white, waterproof bedspread.

Ottov2 loves it.
Moon Pie is a burrower so there are slices through it where Ottov2 attacks the moving thing underneath and also where she launches herself onto the bed, digs her claws in then hauls the rest of her onto the bed. Graceful, non?

But still, so far so good and she seems like she feels better and is acting playful and sweet (which is the kitten baby I know anyway). We did take her to the vet to rule out crystals or an infection (though she wasn’t showing the classic signs of that anyway. My fabulous and patient vet also had run her blood levels for kidney function and sugar levels to rule out CRF and diabetes when she was spayed. I did allow lots of time for her to work out the "in heat" hormones since we let it go a little far due to bad timing. I figure since she is such a big baby it would take a while for her to do that… but looks like the kitten chow wasn’t helping.) and the other good news is that I don’t think that we’ll have some of the problems that other people have posted on the forums (the worst of which was someone who said that their cat was unhappy and peed in their toaster. Now, there’s a visual, huh?)

Gnome antics and soup disasters

I’m tired today, but it is my own fault and the result of a pretty good weekend following a shite week.

Many of my close friends were in town this weekend and, as we are inclined to do, we went out for karaoke. I don’t tend to make it into the city very often; I suck at finding a parking spot, most bars are too crowded, blah blah blah excuses. Can’t take public transport (I live in Oakland and the closest BART station is about 2 miles away… where I would have to find a parking spot in a bad neighborhood…double whammy.) So I tend ot avoid the city. I’m not much of a bar person anyway. I don’t really drink, even if I did, I’d have to drive home, so I wouldn’t drink, I am offended to pay $5.00 for a diet coke and most people who I don’t know at bars are creepy.
Long story short, I texted a buddy of mine who tends to post on Facebook from a bar in that area, if not the bar that we would be meeting at and wangled a ride.
It is Halloween weekend and I was told to “bring it” so I spent the whole day knitting and in fear of the kittens wising up to the fact that there was yarn, not 2 feet from their little yarnicidal, sleeping heads and made a hat for my outfit: a garden gnome based on this guy:

Fairly easy costume to make. I have a big blue barn jacket, hat was knitted from monster red yarn (based on the Last Minute Knitted Gifts elf hat), I bought a giant black belt earlier this year for this and I bought a baby bib and sewed a polar fleece cutout of a gnome beard on it (I skimped on the beard. Didn’t have time for the quilted/stuffed version I envisioned…another time maybe). I was going to wear my Keen black boots, but I couldn’t find them in the mess that is my kitten-proofed house, so I just wore a black shirt, black yoga pants and  black Keen tennies. (I was not displeased with this set up. I can guarantee I was more comfy and warmer than the 50% of the chicks dressed up in “slutty (insert name of costume here)” outfits out there though I suspect we have different priorities. Ahem. )

Met my pals, introductions all around (now I have a nice cross pollination of local and remote folks friends) and had a good time. Mike, a troublemaker, (or possibly Barrett, also a troublemaker) put a bug in my ear that I should do some Britney Spears song in full gnome gear (the hat and beard were mostly sitting on the table because it was hot.)…he wanted Toxic, but I don’t know that one, but I do know “Baby One More Time” it was ganky enough to go with a decidely unsexy looking gnome costume. I liked the dichotomy so I did it.

Haven’t done karaoke in a while. Mostly because every time I have been in a position to sing, my voice was wrecked by a cold from the previous several months.  So I got that weird kinda weak in the knees thing, which usually evaporates once I am actually on stage. People were pretty lively at this point and I think I was on key (we shall hope because I couldn’t hear myself). I vamped and spanked my gnome ass, pretended I was in a school girl outfit which probably translated pretty well to the gnome outfit. I actually got several high 5’s from random people in the crowd and of course my lovely friends. Fun.
Loved the absurdity.

I got home at 3 in the morning and then couldn’t sleep til 4, woke up at 9 and have been a bit of a zombie ever since. I was pondering some sort of vegetable soup with clear broth with dumplings in it (trying to avoid flour ones) but it went badly at first (burned some veggies and wasted a bit of chicken stock-gah, I hate waste), then the corn meal dumplings I attempted in the salvaged soup just melted so I scooped what I could out and pretended that the blue cornmeal left in there was a roux. I added chicken later and then let it sit  for a while with the significant carryover heat from my monster enamelware cast iron pot (well, I passed out for about an hour). When I got back to the soup, the chicken was silky and completely fabulous. The stock, thankfully wasn’t purple (I only had blue corn meal on hand ;) ), just slightly thickened, the veggies didn’t retain any burnt flavor (I test drove some before I added them back in to the new pot of stock/bacon/onion/wine deglaze). So I resigned myself to a somewhat boring, but still good soup.

So I handed a bowl to Tex with the allowance that he could put whatever he wanted in there to jazz it up. He added some cheese (but he puts cheese on everything anyway) and then demolished the bowl. Second bowl, he used Tostitos Scoops to eat the soup and pronounced it perfect.
Sigh, but ok.

Recently I had a hankering for a cookbook, which I never buy because there is usually only one recipe I like and the rest are icky so  a book hangs around gathering dust and being deadweight. Instead, I looked online to see if there was a magazine that might fill the need. Found Saveur on Zinio and the first issue had a bunch of soups (Hungarian, German) in it. Just drove home the point that I am a peasant food fiend. (I’ve said for a while that I cook “trailer park with Trader Joe ingredients”.) A couple of the Hungarian soups  looked really nice…aside from the recent spate of soups I have made, I’m not really a soup fan. But I’ll be cooking more soups in the coming weeks… and test driving some yummy stuff I found in this month’s issue.

I still might buy 1 or 2 of the cookbooks I saw out there while I was snooping around. They have a kindle versions which will satisfy my less crap rule. One of them is the new Paula Deen cookbook. She and I seem to work well in terms of taste. I think it is because the influence of where I grew up in West Texas is from Georgia settlers. I used to be able to place a Texas accent within 50 miles (though I am out of practice and its more like 150 miles now) but when I heard someone talking and I asked them “Where are you from? You sound like home.” they said Atlanta. This makes sense after I read an article on Texas accents in Texas Monthly a while back. Anyhoo, her recipe collection was standards and handed down recipes. I like this kind of thing. I’ll do my own variations on those.

The other one was one I sort of wanted to do my own version of from my family A recipe from a daughter/granddaughter/niece etc from a relative and a story behind it/sketch of that person. (I’ll have to find the link again.  Stay tuned.) Maybe I’ll get a gift certificate for xmoose and get those. For now, I think I’m ok with my normal web based search for recipes/techniques and the new magazine subscriptions. (Though I do see that the Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking is on e-version… mmmmm. That could be good, too. French cooking is a profound yes for me despite all my trailer park. Don’t forget that a lot of French are basically farm/rural folks with simple, but rich food.)

O hai…

Good grief. Such a week (or 3 in blog years.)

Kittens are well and growing, I need to weigh them but that would imply that I could get them to be still for long enough. Moon Pie is rocket powered to begin with but even Ottov2 is all wiggles lately.

It is a good thing to see though. They should be running around like fiends.
So far they are pretty well behaved though occasionally their kitten-brains take over and they get into something that either they know they shouldn’t or that they had to climb up, open, dig through and then finally unzip and unwrap to put little kitten sized teeth holes in… which pissed their mama off.

I remind myself, they are kittens and I should have put that behind a door they haven’t been able to open yet. Also, Moon Pie said she was sorry and when I looked her in the eye as she was about to climb up to the area that she did this bad thing last (because I know it was her…) and asked her not to do that, she trilled, then climbed down and beat up her toy mousie instead.
Smart little cat.

She’s still fueled by kitten brain, so I give her some leeway, but seriously smart little cat. Ottov2 is an olympic level ignorer though. (I checked that it wasn’t deafness even though she doesn’t fit the profile for standard deafness markers in cats, all white males, notably.) I had Moon Pie sitting near me and Otto was on top of Ft Kitten out of view and I crinkled a wrapper from one of the Trader Joe’s plastic tubs that they love (lightweight, they don’t eat it, it makes noise, free-perfect) and Ottov2’s little head shot right up and zoomed in on the wrapper.

I suppose it still is possible that she may be a bit deaf in certain ranges, but I sort of doubt it given her propensity to focus on the blinds pull strings even when I talk right at her where I know she can see me.

They are getting pretty big. If you look at the pictures they really are looking like cats now. I have the picture on my computer desktop of them looking like bookends around my samurai clock and they were such kitten shaped things. Now they aren’t much more than 5 or 6 pounds each but the cat equivalents of homunculi.

12 weeks

19 weeks
new cat bed in prep for winter

I’ve left Ft. Kitten open at night for them to run around and sleep with me (on me) since July-ish. For the most part they don’t throw wild parties and put pizza on the turntable, but occasionally I will be roused from my normal sleep of the dead to something being knocked over and I stuff them in the cage til I wake later and let them out while i get ready. I like letting them run and exercise, and the kitten thunder isn’t a problem at night.. only the loud crashes bother me.

They don’t see the crate as being a punishment either. I didn’t want them to. I wanted it to be a safe, consistent place, but it also serves as a “perhaps you should settle down” location as well. Ottov2 mostly just jumps up to level 3 whenever she is in there and starts snoozing. Moon Pie may crank a bit, but she hasn’t lost her mind or anything about being in there.
If I am visible while they are awake, its another thing altogether.

I haven’t been able to get into my office (a large closet thing) for more than 5 minutes at a time lately. I had to work out portable arrangements to fix that as I am not ready for them to explore my office yet…especially since I have all my yarn in there. They are in plastic tubs, but given how smart Moon Pie is and how willing Ottov2 is to join in yarnicidal mayhem, I’ll spare all of us the grief and just keep it closed.

That leads to my next issue that I need to solve… I haven’t been able to knit in months.
I miss it and frankly, I have plans that are on hold. I could just go knit elsewhere, but I’m loving being home with kittens also I like them to run around instead of being cooped up all the time.

I don’t know when (or if) Moon Pie will ever get over her yarnicidal tendencies. You can see the crazy go to 11 when I break out any sort of string thing; if it is wool then it gets worse.
Ah well.


I also catch myself calling Moon Pie “Bunny” sometimes. Kitten reincarnation, it is nice to think Bun wanted to come back to me. So I’ll just go with that.

Haven’t done much aside from house projects since I went to the Aquarium last. I snagged Tex’s iPhone 4 to get higher res photos on Hipstamatic last time and I was pretty pleased with the results. We might go back Sunday to see the white shark they have in the big tank.

(click to see the web cam they have going)

I’m fascinated by white sharks. Other sharks are cool, but white sharks are so much more interesting. They are seriously smart, they do things like stick their heads out of the water to get a better view of something, they have personalities…and very large teeth.

So I have Shark Week favorites on the ipod, mostly great white stories that don’t play up the idiot mentality and that actually talk with intelligence about them and I watch them fairly frequently. Shark Man from 2007 with Michael Rutzen (bonus! I friended him on Facebook… LOL) and a couple of new ones from 2011 season about the Atlantic whites resurging in population (along with their food source resurgence). I also really like Chris Fallows – wildlife photographer – who is turning into a white shark expert as he goes along.

I like that actually. Its kind of my own M.O. for career trajectory. If you ask me what my five year plan is, I will 1. lower you in my esteem about 500% and B. not have the faintest clue.

I have a French degree and a graphic design degree and I have done Tech Support, Technical Writing, Technical Project Management… see a trend? School learning is ok, but I learn new things better if they interest me. It also helps for me to have a project that needs new knowledge for me to learn. The more I see of the apprenticeship model, the more I like it. Next time I get bored or if I get laid off again (UNIVERSE:please, no…) I’ll probably go do that.

I was listening to Bill Bryson read his “At Home” book, or maybe it was his “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and was hearing about taxonomists being in short supply and thought “Oh hey. I should try taxonomy.” Might suit me. Might not. We’ll see if I get into it sometime. So who knows what I will do over the next 5 years. (I can tell you that cleaning up after sloppy, crazy kittens is the short term plan.)

*obsessive alert*
I buy a lot of stuff online (duplicate shirts, pants based on a previous brand/size success) and I download the images in the various colors to keep on file of my clothing inventory. I used to just make a web page (since I live in Dreamweaver anyway) but now I have Closet  on my iphone hand-me-down and it lets you build packing lists. (Ostensibly this is an outfit app, but I ignore all that with my mostly uniform work outfit that I instituted and use it almost exclusively to build packing lists. Best. Game. Ever.)

I’ve got a family trip next FRI that I am packing for and I was pondering the hot weather back east, but now I think I might need to introduce some fleece and possibly a rain layer into the mix.

Don’t know yet, but I’ll probably post the results.