Still here!

Yep, haven’t gone anywhere. Honestly, I’ve been pretty sick lately. But I’m bouncing back!

I don’t have a lot right this minute to share because my world has mostly been limited to work being very hectic and me feeling very unwell.

In recompense, have some cat pictures!

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Tadashi’s annoying adventure

(I meant to write this up closer to when it actually happened, but then other things happened, so… Anyway, now I’m backdating it to approximately when I would have posted it had things not gone so sideways.)

It was the last Thursday of September. I had taken the day off work to recharge and was intending to sleep in. Kiba and Tadashi were doing their usual dawn romp, chasing one another, tackling, yowling, and climbing up and down the big cat tree in the bedroom. As daily rituals go, it is one of their louder habits, and it’s not how I want to greet the dawn most days, but at least they have fun.

Since I’m a light sleeper, I often open  my eyes to see what exactly they’re doing, just in case. I’m always worried about them jumping on my dresser and causing more destructive chaos. Which is how I happened to be watching at the critical moment.

I will never be able to say for sure if Kiba hip-checked Tadashi or if he straight up yeeted him, but either way, Tadashi went violently off the top of the cat tower in an uncontrolled fashion. And he landed awkwardly, crashing into a nearby chair.

And I knew instantly that something was wrong, even before I saw the blood.

Tadashi got up and limped towards me as I got out of bed. His paw was already red with blood.

For a wiggly puppy-wannabe, he was calm as I picked him up to examine his foot. It only took seconds to identify that the blood was coming from one of his middle toes where his claw had been nearly ripped from his foot. It was actually sticking up like a bloody flagpole.

Our vet opens early so I only had to wait 10 minutes to call them for an emergency appointment. Then I threw on clothes and packed Tadashi into his carrier backpack.

(As an aside, it is SO MUCH EASIER to carry a squirmy cat in a backpack than a box. The backpack is a little more enclosed and there’s no tipping back and forth like a see-saw. And with Kiba who weighed an epic 17 pounds at last vet visit, it is a relief to put that weight on my shoulders instead of one arm. If you have cats, I cannot recommend the pet backpack enough. There are kinds. All of them are better than a box.)

At the vet, the diagnosis was clear — Tadashi had indeed ripped his claw nearly off his foot, nearly declawing himself on that toe. The vet finished extracting it (and showed it to me, but I did not want to keep it, thanks though) and cleaned him up as best she could. Tadashi was much praised for being chill, not fighting the vet or the tech and giving head bumps.

He’s a very good boy.

However, given the way he ripped the claw off, he had a very open and very vulnerable wound which the vet did not want to stitch for…I dunno, vet reasons. Probably because it would heal better on its own. But anyway, that means Tadashi was subjected to a hefty bandage on his foot….

And the dreaded cone of shame.

He did not appreciate either.

A cat with his right front paw wrapped in gauze and wearing a plastic cone of shame looks at the camera, both reproachful and regretting multiple life decisions

This was taken after I got him home. If you look, you can see that the bandage on his foot was already coming off at this point — it’s like he’s wearing a sock that’s been partly tugged off.

All in all, it took Tadashi under 30 minutes to shake that bandage off completely.

So I called the vet and asked what to do about it.

“Well, you can bring him back and we can bandage it again,” they offered.

And he will get it off again in less time than it takes me to drive home, I thought.

“Or you can just cover it with something like a sock and try to keep it dry and clean of litter.”

“Okay,” I said. “What about the cone?”

“Oh, he needs to keep the cone on. Ideally he’d have the cone and the bandage for fully two weeks to recover completely.”

Fucking no chance of that, but okay.

The sock thing took a couple of tries. Obviously you can’t just put a sock on a cat and expect it to stay more than 15 seconds. So I sewed/pinned an ankle sock to a long piece of fleece and tied it around his chest like a weird scarf. It was…function. That’s the best I can say about it.

The same cat now wearing a piece of fabric around his chest with a sock awkwardly pinned to it. His foot is visibly attempting to escape the sock. He is not making eye contact as he works on escape.

I should also note that Kiba was NOT AT ALL chill about what was happening to his adopted little brother. He spent that whole afternoon kind of looking at Tadashi and then me like “What did you do to him and what is that thing on his neck?”

Same cat, still in the cone, with his foot wrapped. Another cat, much larger, hovers over his shoulder looking very skeptical about these proceedings

I thought we were in okay shape, though. The sock thing didn’t seem to bother Tadashi too much and between it and the cone he couldn’t really lick his foot. And he was eating and drinking water and cuddling as normal, in spite of it all, so everything seemed like it would be fine. Awkward for two weeks, but fine.

At 6am, I woke up to the usual cat fighting noises again and I thought to myself how nice that things are returning to normal. I opened my eyes to watch.

And therefore was witness to Tadashi figuring out how to get out of his cone with Kiba’s assistance.

I wish I had video of it.

We’ve always known they’re both smart as hell. Cats are supposed to be about as smart as human toddlers, I’ve read, and these two are bright even for that (and in comparison to a few previous cats I could name…). Opening doors, getting at things put in places I reasonably assumed they couldn’t reach, communicating their wants to us as clear as day — these cats are smart.

But Tadashi is on a whole other level.

He figured out — SOMEHOW — that when he stood upright on his back legs to bat at Kiba, his neck stretched out and thinned more than when he was walking normally. And combine that with leaning on a low table so he could stand up and balance without his front legs…

And he hooked his non-socked front foot in the strip of material tying the cone on him and pulled it over his head like yanking off a bow-tie.

What. The Fuck. Am I supposed to do. With THAT?

Honestly, I was too impressed to judge.

It being 6am and me not being in a place to do more than the most basic of fixes, I made sure his sock was tied on firmly and went back to bed to solve it at a better hour.

We decided that there was no putting Tadashi back in the cone. He HATED it. And we hated it. He kept hitting me in the face with it when he came in for cuddles. He bounced off walls and doorways. Honestly, I don’t blame the guy for wanting it gone. So we resolved to make do with what we had.

The final fix I’m still quite proud of. I took a larger piece of fleece and cut two holes, one for each of his front legs. Then I cut a new sock which I lined with many layers of both material and gauze. The fleece went on him like a vest tied in the back, and the sock was thick enough that even some grooming wouldn’t get through to his wound.

It also made him look vaguely like a butterfly.

Cat is walking towards the camera, no cone, wearing a fuzzy purple vest which stretches down his leg in an argyle sock which bulges around his foot from all the padding. He seems very relaxed about this state of affairs. The way the vest is tied on resembles having floppy wings on his back.

Tadashi was actually not that bothered by this solution. The thing he hated the most wasn’t the sock at all, but the vest because he likes to groom himself fastidiously multiple times a day and apparently does not like being unable to get his chest and back clean. So we made sure to take it off at least once every day so he could bathe and we could inspect his healing toe.

Did we make it all the way to 2 weeks? No, no we did not. We made it to 8 days and we were all sick of it. But by then it was mostly healed, hadn’t bled in days, and all the swelling had gone down. So we took the whole apparatus off him and just checked his foot every time we had him in our laps or up in our arms.

Even then, he never really worried at it or licked it much. Really, he just wanted to be able to take his bath.

The claw may never grow back, or if it does, it may be weird. But we’ve learned so many useful things from this experience:

Tadashi is smart enough to get out of anything if he is motivated enough to do so.

Homemade sock casts do work in a pinch.

Cones of shame are ANNOYING AS FUCK for all involved.

Tadashi is very cute in costumes and may be tolerant enough to wear them. This…may be relevant information for another day.

Here’s Tadashi looking all better after his ordeal, in case you need any more cute for the day:

Cat is lying on a blanket, tummy towards the camera. Feet are up and there are so many toe beans! Looks very cuddly and friendly as if caught mid-stretch

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Today we had a cat adventure

And it wasn’t even my cat!

The condo is typically pretty quiet, with only the rare sound leaking from any unit to our own. The exception is the hallway — the doors are pretty thin so anything that happens in the hall is fair game for everyone to listen to. Mostly it’s just doors opening and closing or the occasional conversation.

But today, as Sarah and I were hanging out and messing around in BOTW, we heard a kitty crying.

That’s not too unusual. There’s at least a couple of other cats on the floor besides Kiba and Tadashi, and sometimes we get sounds. There’s a couple of dogs, too, who only bark if you knock on their doors. We’ve heard this particular kitty before, but figured he or she was doing what Kiba does — singing the song of the cats at whatever hour strikes their fancy.

But they kept crying…and it sounded kind of closer than usual.

Also, Tadashi was staring at the door and his body language was unusual. I know all his tells for “there’s someone in the hall” and “I don’t like this sound” and this was neither.

So I got up and opened the door.

And this guy ran right to me, meowing plaintively.

A hairless cat with bright green eyes is lunging towards the camera with an interested expression

Now, rescuing cats who need help is not new to me. My first cat, the cat who chose me and who I love forever and ever came out of the woods when I was 4 and sniffed my toes and thus chose me as his human for life. I’ve rescued other stray cats before when they came running for help (instead of being feral and backing away). And I worked for several years at an animal shelter helping strays find forever homes. I’ve seen lots of fearful kitty behavior and lots of reasonable wariness around a new human.

This cat? Pah. This cat came right up to me, wanted pets, and started to purr.

He (fully intact, very obviously male) was alone in the hallway, clearly having escaped from his unit, and needed help. So I did what I hope anybody would do in that situation. First, I knocked on every door on the floor to see if he belonged anywhere, but no one answered. Then I called the office downstairs to let them know so they could reach out to people directly.

And then we took little hairless buddy in, set him up in our spare bathroom with water and a litter box and toys, and I proceeded to bond with him over the course of a few hours.

I also learned more about hairless cats than I ever expected. I learned they can have really significant allergies and sensitivities to foods, so we opted only to give him about a teaspoon of tuna (the good kind with no preservatives) and water to start. I learned that they do look *really* weird, but actually petting them is pretty nice. They’re warm and smooth and kind of fuzzy, but not like petting someone who’s just gotten a buzz cut. I always thought it would feel gross, but it just felt nice.

I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor of the bathroom with him. He’s young, probably 6-10 months old at the most, so he was very playful and not always careful with those intact claws. But when he bit a little too hard and I said “no” he let go at once. I also almost taught him to fetch with one of our unused catnip toys. Like Tadashi at that age, he vacillated quickly between wanting cuddles and wanting to pounce on something — sometimes at the same time. But he was alert and friendly and he purred as loud as the loudest cats I’ve ever known.

Surprising nobody, I kind of loved him right away. I’m like that with animals and most especially any animal that comes to me for help. Little hairless buddy asked me to take care of him, so I Florence Nightingaled my way into caring about him at once. Enough to have been perfectly happy keeping him, honestly. Even though I never want another cat as young as Tadashi again. He’d be worth it.

But, thankfully, it turned out his real home was next door. So he was only my hairless buddy for maybe 3 hours before I brought him home (with a few of his toys as well).

In case anybody’s worried, we did all the right things not knowing his medical history — we washed every time we pet him, we kept any soft materials in bags to be laundered before they go back into circulation, we didn’t let Tadashi and Kiba near any water he drank, etc. I’ve also raised FLV cats and know the risks. The worst he seemed to have was either a buildup in his ears or maybe mites — thus the precautions with the blanket. Generally he was a happy, healthy, well-socialized, curious, playful cat.

And unlike Kiba, had clearly never known anything but humans being kind and friendly and loving. Little hairless buddy didn’t have any fear behaviors at all, just reasonable “I’m in a new place” uncertainty. Which tells me everything I could ever need to know about my neighbors (not that I didn’t know they were cool to start with).

I’m happy he went home even if I’m sad I don’t get to learn more about him or pet him. I don’t even know his name. We don’t talk much to those neighbors and they’re kind of on opposite schedules from us, but if I get the chance I would absolutely kitty-sit him if needed. He’s back home where he’s happy and loved and cared for and that’s what matters — but I still miss him a little bit.

Even I don’t know how many cats I’ve fallen in love with over the years, but it is probably literally dozens if not hundreds. Cats, like most people, I find easy to love.

What surprised me most about the whole adventure was how Kiba and Tadashi took it. Since the cat lives on our floor and we’ve heard him before, they know his sounds and scents. Once he was in our bathroom, they were curious about the door, nervous, Tadashi doing his “there is someone in my space and I am not liking it” slink, but neither was aggressive or territorial about it. But, then, Kiba was in a foster situation before he came home with us and knows about cats coming and going in close proximity. And Tadashi is just…once he decides you’re okay, he likes everyone. If we’d had to keep little hairless buddy for longer, I think they would have taken to him just fine in time.

Afterwards, Kiba and Tadashi came for their usual nightly pets and snuggles and, for them, it’s like nothing ever happened. And the bathroom is back to normal, too, with just a little extra laundry to do.

But I had a day with a new friend and got a good picture of him, and that’s enough for me.

I also got this picture of Tadashi tonight when he couldn’t decide if he wanted pets or play and kind of fell asleep in the middle because he’s a goof like that.

I love my little hairless buddy a little, but I love my actual boys so, so very much.

Tadashi, a fluffy black and white tuxedo cat, lying on his back facing up with his tummy exposed. His paws are loose to the sides and his eyes are half-open like he just woke up from a nap. He's lying on a knitted afghan looking very, very cute and photogenic.

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Into the New Year

2019 was the end of a lot of things in my life, which means 2020 can only become a beginning. I had 5 goals at the end of 2018, and of those 5, I think I managed to accomplish most of them. Getting back to writing was the great failure, but I did continue querying, get back to exercising, get more comfortable in my role as a Co-Head of Operations, and sort out the housing situation.

I did query the novel hard — more than 50 queries sent. Now the time comes to end that process. If someone chooses to pick up the book, I would be MORE THAN THRILLED, but I gave it its shot and now I need to move forward. Write the next one, begin again. If a single book that failed to gain traction was the end of my willingness to work towards publishing, I would be a poor author indeed. Writing is always about failure and trying again. Every novel is better than the last, every character stronger, every quirky use of language more deliberate. Writing is a constant process of growth, and that includes abject failure to launch. It hurts, of course it does. But it’s part of the cycle and publishing wouldn’t mean anything to me if it came easily.

On the exercise front, 2019 is the year that I came to terms with the fact that now is the opportune moment to be real about my own health. After watching heart attacks and health scares throughout my family and friends, it’s impossible for me to blithely assume that I can live as long as I want to live and be healthy, and not do anything to help it along. It’s not about body shape or size — it’s about keeping my heart young and fit, my lungs strong, my tendons loose. It’s about putting in the work now that will pay off in twenty years when things start to weaken. I’ve never been good at exercise, but I very much want to have enough time to write all my stories and be with all the people I love, and so for those things I can get on the elliptical.

2019 is also the absolute last year that Sarah and I will ever want to own and live in a house. Holy CRAP is it nice living in a condo. Seriously. Snow falls and we don’t have to think about shoveling. Windstorms arrive and there’s no need to pick up sticks. It costs more, which is a whoooole other problem, but overall, the change from house to condo has been the right one and has worked out beautifully. Plus, being downtown is amazing and I don’t think I could go back to the suburbs or a small town again if I tried. The energy of life here is great, not just nature (though having the Mississippi out my window helps with that), but of people, of ambition, of dreams, of creativity, of community — it’s so much sharper here than it ever was anywhere else I’ve lived. I can breathe up here in the sky like I never did on the ground, literally and figuratively.

We lost things, though. We lost Maia. We lost others (not friends of ours, but friends of friends, and sometimes the mourning process happens to you even if you aren’t the one grieving). I lost a lot of time and stress to personal grief about people I love who were on the edge. I lost a kind of blind faith in certain organizations. We lost a fridge to a squeaky death.

And yet, I can’t define myself and my life by what I lose. I can only define it by what I gain.

I gained a new job this year, a new perspective on city living, a new daily view out the window. I gained confidence in being a Co-Head of Operations, and gained greater trust in my team. I gained more closeness with people I love. I gained perspective on writing and how that intersects with CONvergence (post for another day). I gained a new appreciation for public transit. I gained the ability to sleep at night without worrying about noises outside. I gained the ability to run a lot farther and faster on the elliptical. I gained new music and new art on my walls and new shows/movies to watch and consider and new books to enjoy. I gained a new kitten.

This is Tadashi, adopted the weekend after Christmas at 7 months old. Because everybody needs a pause for kitties!

His current favorite pastimes include “burying” toys in the gaps between couch cushions, getting held and pet, pouncing on toes under blankets, wrestling with Kiba, aggressively licking and being licked by Kiba, eating, finding out what the humans are eating, trying to eat what the humans are eating, bonelessly napping, and purring while sleeping on feet.

So. Cute.

Anyway.

There will always be more loss and failure and disappointment on the horizon, and usually not very far off, either. Death and grief happen because life is invariably fatal, no matter how much you love someone. The world doesn’t always give you the gift you ask for, and there isn’t always a fair or soothing reason why. Bad shit happens. People disappear. Hoped for dreams fail miserably. Future paths dry up and leave you stranded.

But, for me, I can’t measure my life by those. Life is dark and light, black and gold, wrapped around one another like twin vines. Growth comes in the contrast, in the places where they meet, in the glow of like crashing against unlike. And if I spent all my time looking at everything that didn’t go my way, looking at only one side of the coin, I would miss out on so much joy. I would miss out on so much laughter. I would miss out on so much hope.

In the middle of 2019, I had a lot of stress and despair and fear, and at points I was low and scared and sad and nothing in the world seemed beautiful. And looking ahead to 2020, it doesn’t mean those feelings won’t come back, or won’t find new life in new crises. But today I can let things end with peace. Today I can look back at all that was lost and gained, and I can see the wheel turning in all those changes. Life doesn’t stop, even when we wish it would, for good or ill. Death cycles to renewal, failure to growth, despair to relief and hope.

Life is a cycle, not a circle. It is a spiral, winding ever upwards. Even when you pass over what you’ve walked before, you aren’t in the exact same place. You’re up a level. You’ve come farther, even when the stairs are familiar.

And for all the pain and sorrow and grief, there are joyful, amazing, soul-affirming things too. 2019 has ended, and so much with it. I look forward to every new beginning 2020 will bring.

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Maia

I am intentionally backdating this entry because it really belongs in 2019 and not 2020.

Sorry for disappearing like that. I really did intend to put up a few more blog posts in December. And then things went really sideways and I needed to prioritize.

Trigger warning for the end days of a beloved cat.

Sarah and I adopted Maia in June 2005. She was 1.5 years old then, born January 2004, and had been in a shelter with her kittens who had all found new homes. We brought home another cat with her, Thunder, who was about 5 at the time and had already been through one family. Maia was a tiny thing, a tortoiseshell cat mostly black and gold with a habit of interrupting any time anyone was petting Thunder, because she just wanted ALL THE PETS. She was friendly to the point of silliness, even getting stepped on regularly in her haste to greet people as they walked in the door. She also became Sarah’s couch companion, wanting to be on Sarah’s lap, on the pillow behind her, or otherwise nearby as often as possible — and when Sarah was asleep most mornings, Maia would climb onto the bed and sleep on her chest and sneeze into her face. Maia seemed to enjoy the game of getting her whole head as close to Sarah’s face as possible, including sleeping on her neck and jamming whiskers up her nose.

Maia and Thunder had a rough start, but once they sorted out their kitty hierarchy, they became good friends. They would tussle and Maia would ATTEMPT to prove her dominance, but Thunder outweighed her two to one, and would just put his heavy paw on her head and that would be that. The rest of the time, they would groom and cuddle and generally enjoy each other’s company. Thunder was more tolerant than appreciative, I think, but Maia was happy with having a kitty friend who was warm and purred at her.

In the beginning of 2015, we lost Thunder unexpectedly. He had a seizure late one night and we rushed him to a 24-hour vet clinic. By the time they assessed him, he was seizing again. By the time they were giving him the injection to put him down, he was gone.

I’ve had cats my whole life, but no loss is easy. This was the first one that hit another cat as hard as it hit me, however. Maia responded to Thunder’s death by falling into feline depression, not eating, not wanting pets, hiding in unfamiliar spots. That kind of behavior in cats can be dangerous, as stress and not eating can kill them relatively quickly.

And, the truth is that I’ve always found I move on better from the death of one pet with the introduction of another. There is no replacing the one who was lost, no filling that specific void, but a new cat changes the shape of the hole in my heart, and that makes it easier to go forward and remember them with fondness (and exasperation) rather than grief.

So, within a few weeks of losing Thunder, we brought home Kiba.

Kiba was a very different cat from Thunder. Both were big males, and Thunder had always been a little timid, but Kiba is a downright coward. Even after we finally got him to come out from under the bed, he maintained the habit of running under there any time he was startled. Or the doorbell rang. Or someone came in. Or it was a day ending in Y.

Anyway. Kiba has become our big buddy, and he’s cuddly and lovey and vocal and always wants to be where his people are. But he and Maia did not forge any kind of useful relationship. Maia, ever the submissive cat, finally was the old lady who ruled the house, and Kiba was the interloper. Their fights were legendarily noisy, though no harm ever came to either participant — they fought more for show than to cause pain. Maia would shove Kiba away if he was sitting somewhere and getting pets, and he let her, because she was the old cat with the established territory and he knew that. They got to the point that they could sit within inches of one another, but that was it. No grooming, no cuddling, and no touching except as precursor to combat.

Still, Maia’s depression was gone — apparently having a kitty companion works even when they don’t get along. And she spent the time getting even more pets, sleeping on Sarah, sneezing on phone screens, chasing Kiba, and generally enjoying her kitty life.

In the fall of 2018, Maia was diagnosed with the early stages of kidney disease. Not at all uncommon in a cat her age, in fact, and she was still active and healthy, so that mostly meant a change to a prescription food and watching her for more changes. Kiba was already on a separate prescription food, so we took to separating them overnight so they could free-feed, and so there were no loud battles while we were asleep, and everybody was fine with this arrangement.

In November, we took both cats for their annual visit, and Maia had her blood drawn to check her levels because we were starting to notice a few little changes. Not much, but we thought her thyroid might be acting up. She was starting to lose weight, and her appetite was down. We had noticed a few odd spots on the floor, but Maia already had a history of a little bit of throwing up from time to time, as cats do, and sometimes it was little more than water, so we didn’t think anything of it. Her test results were actually really normal, so we assumed all was well.

A week from that vet visit, we noticed Maia urinating on the floor. We called the vet, but they warned that incontinence was not unexpected in a cat with kidney disease, even controlled, and at her age. We started putting towels on the couch so she had something to catch the urine if she didn’t make it to the box, and set up a stool to make it easier for her to get up and down. Soon, though, she was regularly not making it at all. She also slowed down how much she was eating.

We called the vet to ask for advice, but they said that the stress of bringing her back in might do more harm than good. We were tasked with getting her to eat as much as possible to see if that might help her regain energy and thus control. In the meantime, we started her wearing kitty diapers. First cut from cloth, then newborn disposable diapers, we changed them regularly and kept her clean — and learned that it would probably have been easier to bathe and diaper a running chainsaw than Maia, who was deeply displeased by this whole process.

The diapers worked at controlling the mess, and a whole lot of laundry later our place was kitty-pee-smell-free. But it showed us a new problem — Maia wasn’t having bowel movements. We let that go a little while to make sure she was eating enough, then added Miralax to her water to try to loosen things up. She would regularly strain, but to no avail. Until SUDDENLY THERE WAS AVAIL.

Poor kitty suffered a whoooole lot of loose stool for days. No blood, which the vet said was good, and if we could get her eating now that her system was running again, we would have a chance.

But, really, Maia was done — only none of us knew it.

On Thursday the 19th, when lots of other people were out seeing Star Wars, Sarah and I stayed in with Maia mainly getting pets on my chest. She wasn’t purring, we realized, for the first time in her life. She still came to get cuddles, but she was still in a way that was eerie on her. And she was starting to stumble a bit as she went to get water or back to her place on the heating pad. Sarah and I went to sleep with the proverbial bad feeling.

In the morning, we knew. Maia barely moved, and when she did, she walked like she was dizzy or disoriented. We called the vet and made an appointment and held her and cried for the hours in between. In the car on the way, she kept wanting to see us both, turning her head and meowing at Sarah until she could position her correctly. We told her what a good and brave girl she was and how much we loved her. By the time we laid her down on the table at the vet, she didn’t even have the strength left to lift herself up.

We let Maia go on Friday, Dec 20th, less than a month shy of her 16th birthday.

(She was obstinate to the end. It took more meds than vets give a 30 pound dog to stop her heart. Neither Sarah nor I were surprised.)

So that’s where I went in December before Christmas.

There’s more to talk about — the things that ended in 2019 and the things that began or will begin in 2020, but that is for next week, I think. Today I just wanted to tell the story of Maia that came to its conclusion.

But don’t worry. Yes, it’s sad, and yes, I still cry sometimes. But the wheel turns, the light gets stronger, and life cycles begin anew.

And we have a new kitten, too.

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CONvergence 2016: Kitty Love

The special guest star who walked into the middle of the last one and then chatted with us at the start of this track is Justin Hartley who drums in a couple of bands with Dave Stagner and put down some of the drum tracks on our album, too.  At least four people in the front were TRYING to wave him away from walking in front of the camera, but eh.  I thought it was funny.

This is one of those songs that would be a lot more fun if I could put it to some kind of music video of cats doing cat things.  But my ability to video edit is literally what I have done putting these on YouTube.  So…probably not happening.  If anybody wants a good copy of the audio to do it for me, let me know!

Also, this is one of those songs that I don’t really like singing into a microphone.  Most of the songs Sarah writes are in her register; Sarah sings low alto.  Most pop songs are voiced for altos or mezzo-sopranos.  I can sing all those ranges just fine, but in choir I’m actually a high, high soprano.  And it breaks something in my brain when I have to sing a pop song with my soprano voice.  I was trained to sing Vivaldi and such, so it’s very difficult for me to sing high in my register but not classical-formal-proper.  Vivaldi never envisioned a song about a cat squashing frogs, I don’t think.  Anyway, I feel like microphones always exacerbate the weirdness of it, so I get a lot more nervous and I think I sing less well overall.  Give me rock and an alto part and I settle right in — singing high is something else.

Oh well.

*Please note that this entry has been backdated.  Basically, the summer got completely away from me AND I lost access to posting on the site from the reliable computer I’d been using — and posting via smartphone is not as elegant as it sounds.  So, to make up for it, I’ve retroactively put this entry here.  Hopefully this won’t become an annual trend!

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Sorry about last week!

Since I forgot to put up a post last week and I haven’t had time to think of anything particularly clever this week, have a few pictures of our cat, Kiba:

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Kiba is about 4 and a half years old and he was a shelter cat we added to our house in the winter of 2015.  He’s big into sleeping on my stomach, sleeping on my lap, sleeping against my leg, and otherwise sleeping somewhere he can lean on me.  He’s also our resident hunter who happily kills and eats any bug he can reach and — rather memorably — any mice he finds in the basement.

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He would also like you to know that he does not appreciate being woken up from a nap in the sun on top of Sarah’s flannel shirt just for a picture, no matter how cute he is.

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Kiba spends a lot of time on this window-seat chittering and meowing at the world and everything in it.  And when there are birds or squirrels or butterflies or rabbits or bees or basically anything that moves that he might be able to eat, he will tell you, quite loudly, that he is entirely prepared to eat them…if only the stupid humans would open the window to let him get at them!

And a bonus picture of our older cat, Maia:

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Maia has been with us since the summer of 2005 when she was a year and a half old, making her our darling old lady kitty.  She is…not what I would call “fond” of Kiba in any traditional sense, but she absolutely LIVES to chase him around and pretend to bop him with her little paws.  Kiba outweighs her by something like 3.5 pounds, but she is definitely the boss around the house.

For extra special bonus, here is a song I wrote about cats in general.  Not Kiba or Maia or even Thunder who we lost in 2015.  Just cats in general.  But it is starring Mister Kiba himself, though not altogether willingly.

Of note?  It is NOT easy to not only try to keep Kiba in frame, but keep Maia OUT of frame and NOT starting one of her little dominance standoffs with him!  That relief at the end?  That was absolutely genuine.  And I’m never trying to record a song with a cat EVER AGAIN.

Though the bloopers were hilarious.  One day I’ll make a supercut of them.  You know.  Someday.  Eventually.  Sooner or later.  I hope.

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