Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's Official!

I saw this on Facebook the other day and besides laugh, the only thing I could think of was, yes, it's official.  I am now the crazy cat lady!

Believe it or not, we now have FIVE pet cats.   Over the course of the past few months, we have added three more cats to our menagerie.


We started off with Jayla--a free kitten we got from a rural pound several years ago.  Jayla is very sweet and has a serious weakness for all things edible.  Unfortunately, she isn't terribly high energy either, so consequently, she has become rather large.  In other words, she is the quintessential "fat cat."

Two years later, we added Riley into the mix.  On my previous blog, I told the story of how we got Riley.  It's sort of funny, so I'll quickly retell it.  Our local newspaper featured a cat in their "Pet of the Week" column.  The article described how Riley was a cat who was "majorly down on his luck."  He had been dumped at a local gas station and was found scrounging in the dumpster.  To make matters worse, Riley had a severe respiratory infection and an abscess on his face.  After Bob finished reading the article to me, he jokingly said, "Wow, he sounds perfect--let's get him."   (These are words Bob should long know that he should never, ever utter in my presence, because of course, we did just that.)  The following day, Connor, Mikaela and I went to the animal shelter and adopted Riley.

The article didn't exaggerate--he was a mess.  We took him straight to the vet's office where they began treating him for the respiratory infection and abscess.  Let's just say I never knew cats could shoot humongous, human like boogers out their noses.  Boogers that are 3 - 5X the size of their noses.  I now do.  As we were leaving the vet's office, the tech asked me if I'd like to purchase a cardboard cat carrier to safely bring him home--to which I (cheaply) replied, "Nah, we'll be fine.  I only live 10 minutes away."  Needless to say, that was a BIG mistake!

Six minutes later, as I was driving home, Riley crawled under my legs and feet and proceeded to get car sick on my floor mat.  And then to make matters worse, as he was vomiting, he simultaneously had a major diarrhea attack.  The smell was horrific and since he was throwing up and couldn't move, the diarrhea was getting all over his fur. Naturally, as soon as he stopped throwing up, he began to move all over me and the car, tracking the poop everywhere he went.  But that wasn't the worst of it...when I finally got home and got out of the car, I grabbed the floormat and to my total horror, I saw a slew of white worms wriggling in his vomit.  Much to his chagrin, Riley went directly into the laundry room sink for a bath.  Riley may have been down on his luck, but his life has taken a turn for the better.  He's been with us for 3 years now and he is very well loved.  Unfortunately, Riley has polyps in his nose and still shoots out humongous boogers (lovely, I know--I'm sure you'd love to come stay with us knowing that).  However, he's incredibly sweet--full of spunk and personality--but he's not terribly healthy and on top of his chronic infections, he has a heart murmur as well.

The next cat which found a home with us came from our local farm and feed store.  I went there to pick up some llama chow and wound up bringing home Maisy Grace--a feral kitten they had caught in a trap and wanted to get rid of.  I figured since she was feral and was already living in a barn, she might as well come live in our barn.  And so I brought her home, put her up in the barn with some food and water and she promptly disappeared.  I went out to the barn for the next few days looking for her, but unfortunately, I couldn't find her.  I felt bad, but there was little I could do.

About a week later, I was working in the barn when I heard a rustle.  Lo and behold, there she was under a wood pallet.  I felt so sorry for her, because she looked so pathetic--she was just a little kitten and she was all alone in the world, so I brought her into the house.  It took Maisy all of about 20 seconds to decide she liked being a house cat far better than being a barn cat and so she's stayed.

Maisy Grace

Then this summer, I received a phone call from my sister saying that they had found 3 abandoned two-week old kittens at her office and she wanted to know if we'd take them.  Of course we would.  So for the next eight weeks, Bob, the kids and I bottle fed these kittens.  To be honest, I felt like some sort of  La Leche League mama--doing extended "nursing" and "attachment parenting."  My initial plan was to find homes for the kittens and I found takers for all of them.  In fact, my friend Tisha took Storm...but as the days progressed, we became more and more bonded to the two remaining kittens--Rainier and Ninja.


Six months later, they are still here and here is where they'll stay.  There must be something to that "nursing-bonding" thing, because I absolutely love these guys.  That said, five is my absolute limit and no matter what, we won't be getting any more cats.  (Just. say. NO, Maureen, Just. say. NO!)


Hmmm...can I just say the fact that I have five cats is scary, but the fact that I am actually blogging about my pet cats is even scarier?  The ironic thing is I've become the crazy cat lady and I'm not even a cat person--I'm much, much more into dogs! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Les Miserables: A Mother-Daughter Date

I found this picture on google images and just added the Paris 2013.

The day she turned six years old, Mikaela asked me if I would take her to Paris for her birthday.  I told her that 6 was much too young to appreciate that city and (pinkie) promised her that when she turned 13, we would go together.  (Truth be told, I never thought she would remember.)   Well, if there is one thing I can say about my daughter, it's that when she gets an idea in her head, it's lock and loaded and she never lets it go.  Needless to say, our trip to Paris is no exception.  For the past six and a half years, Mikaela has been reminding me incessantly...and at first counting down the number of years and then more recently, counting down the number of months, until we venture to the "City of Love."

Mikaela at 12...just one more year till Paris.

We will be going...most likely this Fall, after I find a really good deal on airfare and lodging (the City of Love est très coûteux--is VERY expensive).  In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to take her to see Les Miserables.  So today, we had a mother-daughter date at the movies.  I wasn't sure what to expect, since I'm normally not a huge fan of musicals, but I have to say that Les Mis is the BEST movie I have seen in years.  I absolutely loved it--even all 2 hours and 30+ minutes of singing, (which normally is not my "thing").  It was an incredibly moving and powerful performance by the entire cast.

If you haven't seen it yet, it's definitely worth the money to see on the big screen.  Here's the trailer:

FWIW, I think the movie is probably more appropriate for teens 14+, but nevertheless, I'm glad we saw it together.  There were so many "life lessons" in that movie which sparked some really great discussions about how you choose to live your life.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013: A New Year with Some New Goals

Happy New Year Everyone,

For years, decades actually, I have been the consummate list and goal maker.  I love maintaining my never-ending "Things to Do" list and have always taken great delight in highlighting each task once it's complete.  (In fact, I get such a thrill out of this that I often add tasks to the list I've already completed, just so I can "cross" them off--and feel good about myself. :-))  Similarly, I have always enjoyed coming up with an extensive list of New Year's goals and resolutions.  Truth be told, my resolutions ultimately evolved to the point where I had 20 - 25 resolutions, broken down into five categories:  Personal, Professional, Family, Financial and Athletic.  The bottom line was although this was a noble goal, it was ridiculous--after all, it was darn near impossible to keep 20+ resolutions straight, no less try to accomplish them.

So this year I am taking a new approach--I am simplifying my resolutions and narrowing them down to ONLY three.  Here they are:

1.)  Create a new blog and begin blogging again.  (Check--although the blog needs lots of work, it's at least up and running.) 

2.)  On Mondays through Fridays, I will not turn on my computer until I have exercised for at least 30 minutes.  Here's a quick explanation as to why: I usually get up around 6:30 a.m. every morning and do not wake the kids up until just before 8:00.  That's 90 minutes of "me" time that invariably I blow by turning on the computer, sitting down on my ever-widening arse, reading my favorite blogs, checking in on Facebook, clearing out my e-mails and doing a little surfing.  It's fun and it's very enjoyable, but the truth of the matter is that by the end of the week, I have spent at least 7.5 hours doing absolutely nothing productive.  If I work out for 45 minutes, I'd still have plenty of time to surf the web--and I'd be in a lot better shape.  I started doing this new routine this past week and I am absolutely AMAZED at how much more I got accomplished and how much better I felt by not getting sucked into the ultimate time drain.

AND finally,

2nd Annual Girls Adventure Weekend (AGAW) at Nelson Rocks, WV

3.) 12 Months = 12 Adventures.  This is the resolution I am most excited about!  I've decided to schedule a new/exciting adventure every month.  I kicked January off by registering the kids for the Learn to Ski program at a local ski resort and got the slope package for me.  Connor and Mikaela's package includes 4 weeks of lessons and 7 lift passes, whereas I'll just get the 7 lift passes.  I'm excited to introduce them to an activity I love, but haven't done in years.  In February, I am organizing a cross country ski weekend at Whitegrass in West Virginia.  I'm in the process of finalizing the adventures for the remainder of the year, but so far they include a mountain bikepacking trip along the Continental Divide (from Banff, Canada to Whitefish, MT) with Bob, a trip to Paris with Mikaela, the third Annual Girls Adventure Weekend, a camping trip in West Virginia with my entire family--parents and siblings included, a Canaan Valley, WV adventure sports weekend with a group of friends, a family backpacking trip and at least another half dozen micro-adventures.   This may be a rather selfish goal, but honestly, I love the thought of having something fun to look forward to each and every month.

FWIW, I've got to say that I'm somewhat relieved that none of my resolutions this year involve losing weight -- my never ending quest!  Although if all goes well, resolutions #2 and #3 might just might have that unintended benefit.

How about you--what are your resolutions this year?