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Ready or not....

Ready or not, I'm out of time.  I'm at work today but when I get off, I'm headed to Mom and Dad's for the Norweigan family tradition of opening Christmas presents. There is no more knitting time to get Mom and Dad's presents done.  They are getting IOUs, but it was their request that I do the other presents first since I see them frequently enough that getting the presents to them isn't a problem.

Last night I made rolls and my oven still burned the bottom without even tanning the top even though I moved the rack up.  It's frustrating.  They aren't badly burnt so I think they are edible.  The ones on the next shelf up were almost under done.  I didn't make the whipped coconut cream to top the chocolate cream pie.  I'm hopeful I can do it in the morning.  I just had too many things to do last night and not enough time.

I wrapped presents and ran out of tape as I put the last piece on the last present so, for a change, it wasn't a frustrating experience.  I need to get more because I still have presents to wrap but nothing that had to be done last night.  I did have a helper last night:

Fortunately, he limited himself to the one bow and just carried and batted it all over the house.  I had a hard time getting a good picture because when he noticed me watching, he would try to hide the bow.  It was very funny and quite adorable.  If he'd been into everything it wouldn't have been so cute.

I gave myself a Christmas present on Monday and went and got a Mani/Pedi.  It's been about 3 years since I last splurged. No one sees my toes this time of year, but they are nice and sparkly for my own amusement.

If I don't get back on here before  New Years, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

One more....

I finished one more hat last night at midnight.  This is kind of a lousy picture.  It looks more like a dark night with stars.  This is the same WWII pattern as the last one but with a different set of stitches in the column of 6 stitches.

I cast on another set of mitts before I went to bed so I'd have lunch time knitting today.  The chiropractor thinks that this pinch in my left shoulder near the clavicle is because I'm knitting too much...this time of year, there isn't much to be done about that.  I'm wearing my TENS unit today in hopes that it will loosen the muscle a bit.  Otherwise, I'm charging right along.

I made a paleo chocolate cream pie last night.  I'll need to make the Coconut whipped cream to top it tonight.  I also need to make rolls and wrap presents...and I have church tonight instead of tomorrow, to accommodate the holiday.  It will be a busy night!

Some forward and some back....

I've finished two more Christmas presents but added one to my list so I still have six to finish. Four of them can wait until 12th night (January 9th for those not in the know).  I have about 7 inches knit on the next hat so it's certainly well on the way but I still don't think I have enough time.  On a side note, the hat pattern is a WWII pattern and it has several options for decorative additions.  You can see the pennants on this one but there are about 6 other options.  I kind of like the history. And well, frankly, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Unfortunately, Whisper has been relegated back to the garage.  There were cat messes occurring in the house and so I chased all the cats out to the garage and let them in one at a time, one day at a time.  There have been no messes with just the boys in the house.  I opened the house back up to Whisper but she hasn't come back in, that I've noticed.  The act of chasing the cats out probably traumatized her again, although I see her in the garage now and I didn't always before.  She may have a UTI but the chances of catching her and keeping her long enough to treat it are pretty small.  I've switched her food to senior food with a focus on urinary health and put it in the garage where she is the most likely one to be eating it.  I'm not sure what else to do.  She could use veterinary care all around but I'm not sure my wallet could handle the bill for the intensity of treatment she might need.  Any one have ideas for home remedies for ferral cats?

Peace reigns!

This might look too violent to be "peace," except that just prior to this tussle, Simon had been strolling through the house chirping "come and get me" calls to Helix.  Last night, there was even tentative ear licking.

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The house has been loaded with pheromones.  Simon is wearing a pheromone collar, I have sprayed down everything with spray pheromones, and I have a pheromone aerosol running in an outlet.  It has had another, unintended, but incredibly welcome effect.

This is Whisper.  She's a feral cat that let herself into my apartment about 10 years ago now. She hasn't ever been interested in me touching her and we have a rodeo anytime I need to.  She has been mostly out of sight for the last 3 or more months, choosing to stay hidden in the garage. With Helix's entry to the house, she has started coming in and mostly she has made a little niche for herself on the piano (by knocking everything off so she has room, of course).  Last night, she was meowing piteously as she wandered around the house.  I talked to her gently and sat near her but didn't attempt to get too close.    She likes to sit in the tub and last night I had to clean the tub out because the bloody flea dirt was all over the bottom.  I figured she must be miserable so I resolved to do what it takes to get her flea treated again.  This morning, I picked up the treatment and walked to where she was sitting on the piano.  She watched me cautiously but didn't move.  I reached out to touch her and SHE LET ME.  I stroked her while I struggled with the ampule for the flea treatment and she started to PURR.  I think most of the flea treatment ended up on me but I stroked her trying to get what was on my hands onto her skin but she has a really thick coat.  I have no idea how effective it will be.  Her skin feels terrible.  She's covered in dermatits, probably from scratching.  After stroking her for about two minutes I walked away thinking she'd probably run but she stayed put.  I grabbed a little comb and walked back to run it over her to try to remove some of the loose detrius. I even managed to get some matts out.  She let me and continued to purr.  I decided not to push it too much and let her alone after another minute or two.  She was still sitting on the piano when I left the house.  YEAY for progress!  I can hope this will continue to work and I can work on doctoring her gently.  Maybe we'll build a rapport yet.

Christmas cheer is lacking...

You may have noticed a decided lack Christmas cheer...or really any mention of Christmas at all this year. There are reasons for that:

  1. I'm STILL sick, in fact I went back to the doctor today- It was 3 weeks yesterday and viruses usually only last 7 days. He decided a course of antibiotics was called for so I'll get that started tonight.

  2. There has been a lot of work and animal stress that has sapped my energy.

  3. Trying to figure out holiday foods I can eat stresses me out.

  4. I don't actually have any plans for Christmas since we won't be going to my brother's house until the day after. I'm sure there are family expectations for something but I am not clear on what they are yet.

  5. The thought of everything I have to do yet to be ready fills me with anxiety.

  6. I'm dealing with a bout of situational and seasonal depression, which along with all of the above has sapped every feeling of cheer and all energy from my body.

I am trying, however. I had my first appointment with a counselor to try to develop some coping strategies but hopefully we can do a little more than that.

It was very hard to make that call because it added to my feelings of failure. Intellectually, I know that a counselor is a useful/profitable tool and she has an arsenal of tricks I don't have, but emotionally, I feel like I should be able to do this myself.

It was interesting how often my lack of a partner and children came up in our first session. I guess I feel like I've failed because I don't have them, partially because of societal norms and family expectations, but I'm projecting my perceptions on others and interpreting that everyone thinks I'm a failure. I also compare myself to my perceptions of my brother and find myself lacking. I guess I've heard enough unfavorable comparisons (which probably only has to be one) to feel like my perception is shared by others, particularly my family. Of course, I don't know that, and probably shouldn't make it my business, but it matters to me. I want my family to be proud of me, not just love me anyway. However, I can't do much about how they think and feel, so I'm working on changing my own internal dialogue.

Of course I'm not sure how much counseling I can afford, even though my insurance pays the majority. I guess I'll just have to play it by ear.

I am also knitting like a mad woman trying to get 7 more projects finished. Some will be delayed until 12th night but others are needed by whenever we celebrate Christmas. (That "whenever" isn't helping!) I chose simple projects this year but I'm trying to do something for everyone I traditionally give a gift to. And even simple gifts take time.
I've accomplished a lot but not enough:

Of course the mitts are all in pairs but it's impossible to take a picture of both or your own hands.  The scarfs need to be blocked and everything should have a finishing bath.  But that will happen either a couple nights before or when I finish the knitting, which ever comes first. I usually gift to 14 people.  I want to add one more this year but I'm not sure I'll have time and she'd understand if it was late (my birthday gift arrived in September and my birthday is in June).  Huh, I guess I'm half way done.  I also want to buy a few things to go with some of these gifts, mostly because there are a few for whom knitted things don't have much value and a purchased gift would be more appreciated.

Simon is still rather unhappy with me about this interloper I brought home and he's especially unhappy right now because I'm dog sitting my parent's dog.  She's outside, and very unhappy about that, but he's still not okay with it.  On top of that, he seems to have injured one of his legs- probably rough housing and pulling a muscle.  He is playing, in a way, Helix but it all has to be on his terms or he starts growling again.  I miss the daily loves and kisses from him.  Right now they are rather sporadic. (Animal drama, who knew it could be so traumatic).

Anyway, this isn't getting the knitting done so off I go.  I'm trying to get more Christmas cheer but it's particularly difficult this year.

We're working on this integration thing....

The boys both have free range of the house right now and I thought it was working out ok.

But apparently Helix is being a bit of a bully and since Simon is smaller he's acting very frightened and doesn't want to interact with me at all.  I'm not really sure what to do.  Last night I locked Simon in with me when I went to bed and he seemed to relax although he wasn't back to his normal self.  But today they are home alone together.  I caught Helix using threat posture to intimidate Simon last night (down to raised hackles).  This makes me really unhappy because I love my kitty cuddles from Simon.  Helix cuddles but in a more boisterous way that gets annoying quickly, i.e. as close to may face and as in the way as possilbe (forgive the awful selfies).

This picture is from when he was sick but it is a pretty accurate representation of his methods.

He's cute but I miss my Simon's kitty kisses.  Maybe they'll work it out or settle in but this is very difficult.

Helix is better, I'm not...

Helix is looking much better and is a rather adventurous kitty.

He's such a handsome boy!

I gave up on keeping the linens in on the shelf and just moved them to the chair while he's in residence in the spare room.  He actually was wiggled in the far back corner of the closet and completely out of sight when I first came in.  I've picked up the suit jackets several times.  I think they are his spring when he's getting down.
Simon is relaxing a bit but I'm still working on getting him closer to the closed door before I try any other introduction.

I've been letting Helix out for 15 minutes a day while Simon is shut somewhere else- either with the food or in my bedroom.  I'm trying to give him good associations by giving him toys and wet food during those times.
I don't have any way to do the screen introduction right now.  I tried the baby gate with a sheet pined to the door frame above and to the gate below but Helix had sausaged himself into the sheet attached to the top and managed to ooze out the other side in just a few moment's time.  It was incredibly funny to watch but obviously not a good solution.

I'm kind of curious what Helix's personality will be like when he has the roam of the whole house.  In the limited space he's anxious to be with me and likes to sit on me when I'm on the bed.  But when he's out he doesn't pay much of any attention to me.  I know the space is all new and smelly so I have no idea what he's going to be like.  More independent, I think, than Simon, who wants to be with me nearly every minute of the day.

In the mean time, the crud has moved into my chest making me bark in a truly painful way if I don't take the cough suppressant religiously every 4 hours.  My head hurts, especially if I have to bend over for any reason, and the left side of my face would like to slide off now.  It's not at all pleasant but I'm back at work today since the Dean's assistant is out on vacation this week.  I don't know how productive I'll be, but I'm a warm body filling the space.  I have next to no voice- not even the one Jay used to call my transvestite voice.  I sound like I'm whispering with occasional bleats of real sound. Answering the phone is all sorts of entertaining. I  brought a pharmacy with me and a quart of orange juice and it's about nap time.  Food is kind of an after thought.

Also in the newest news from FEMA, my premium for the year was apparently underpaid by $305 so they've reduced my coverage, which I'm pretty sure my mortgage lender wouldn't approve, even though they cut the check.  I'm waiting for my insurance agent to get back to me and wishing the three agencies would get their collective act together.  This process is stressful and frustrating.  I wonder if it has to be this way every year?

I keep meaning to post an update...

Last Saturday while attempting to purchase cat food and litter, I got sucked in by the Florence no kill shelter who was showing off a selection of kitties at PetSmart. I love my Simon but the house felt kind of empty with only him living in it (Whisper is residing mostly in the garage so I only see her if I go out there). I thought he needed a kitty companion for the long hours I'm away from home. I've been debating this for many weeks so it was ok to be contemplating the options. A lilac point tabby caught my attention. He was beautiful, large, and needed some extra care. His name was Helix, and I brought him home with me.

It turns out that was a bit of an expensive choice because the vet visit today, even with the free exam, was $185. Not so okay, but I'll figure it out. He has been in isolation all week in the spare room and Simon has been speaking to me mostly in kitty profanities! He is NOT okay with this new cat in the house! He runs away from the noises Helix makes and hisses at me. He knows who brought him in! I'm hoping Simon comes around soon. I'd like to start a screen door introduction on Sunday but I have to figure out the logistics of it.

I was told Helix was 5 months old and they wanted to charge the kitten price for his adoption but I asked for the adult rate since he needed medical care. The vet thinks he's actually closer to 8-9 months. He weighs in at a little over 9 pounds so this makes more sense to me- I was suspicious.

So far I've learned that he doesn't like to be alone but he doesn't want to be held or penned in. I'm his personal jungle gym. He drools when he's happy. He has a foot fetish and would rather roll on my feet than my hands. He's clumsy which may be because he can't see well due to an eye infection or that he's still learning about his adult body. He's playful. The laser pointer is so much fun! He's very gentle. Even when he's playing and accidentally grabs my hand instead of the toy, he hasn't broken my skin.

Unfortunately, Helix isn't the only sicky around here. I developed an awful sore throat Tuesday night and went in to urgent care on Wednesday morning to make sure it wasn't strep. It wasn't but the doctor said it's a particularly nasty virus that's going around. She then directed me to stay home until Monday. I'm still battling the sore throat, I'm not sure how long it's going to be before I feel better but I need to go back on Monday, even if it means wearing a mask.

I'm tired but having trouble sleeping- partly due to daytime water consumption. I was awake at 1:00, 2:00, 4:00 and finally gave up and got up at 5:00. I took a short nap but otherwise have been up all day. This is quite contrary to what my body needs but I'm not sure how to fix it.

In other news, I received four letters from FEMA on Monday. One was to inform me that my premium was due. One was to ask me for proof I lived on my property. One was to tell me that my costs had been reduced due to HFIAA for the previous year. One was a check for $1752 as a refund for the overpayment. Today I received a letter from them telling me my premium had been under paid and I needed to remit payment for $305 in order to reinstate the entire amount of coverage. The amount the bank submitted was the amount quoted to them and was the same as last year. So I'm not sure why it's $305 more for this year or how this gets fixed but the money should be in escrow and not coming out of my pocket. However, I really wish FEMA could get their act together! I'll also note that I have not cashed the check or spent the money because I don't believe they won't say it was a mistake and ask for it back.

Friday was quite a day....

I was booked for two meetings from 10-11:30 Friday morning. After listening to the update and providing my vote for the approval of a contract to go forward for the kinetic art work commissioned for the atrium, I left the first meeting at 11:00 to run to the other, where they were waiting for me to answer questions about our assessment system. From there, I came back briefly to my office before heading out for my water aerobics class. I returned in time to meet with the Office World rep about adding more furniture to the GTA offices on the fourth floor. While there, a coworker chased me down because she thought we were supposed to meet at 1:00. She hadn't received my email suggesting an alternate time, so I made arrangements to meet with her at 3:00 to talk about assessment of online teaching. Between meetings, I worked on scanning 10 years of student evaluation scores for the last of five faculty members who are entering the promotion process. I'll have to finish this up this week.

At least my job has variety!

Today we (my parents and I) spent the day with my Aunt Marilyn, Uncle Mike, and cousin Andrea.  Andrea had a reduction surgery on Tuesday so we thought maybe some quiet company would be welcome.  She was pretty sore and quiet but, I think, glad to see us.  The have a new puppy who is absolutely adorable- a husky, Australian cattle dog, lab mix.

She spent a good portion of the day trying to provoke my parents' dog, Missy, who wanted nothing to do with her.

(she has a skunk stipe up the back of her tail!)

I wanted to bring her home with me but she wouldnn't have been happy here with me gone 11 hours a day and no one else to play with.
We had a nice visit but food was quite frustrating.  Before we left, I asked mom "what am I doing for food today?"  She shrugged and indicated she thought Marilyn would fix something.  I had concerns about this laissez faire way of handling it but I didn't have a lot of alternatives either.  Unfortunately, I was proven to be correct in my concern.  For lunch Marilyn fixed tacos.  I figured it would be ok, I just wouldn't have cheese or sour cream.  But then I read the ingredients on the packaged seasoning after she'd dumped it in with the meat "whey."  Ok I guess no taco consisted of re-fried beans, salsa, and olives.  Not exactly tasty but filling.  Then for a snack before we left she made caramel corn.  I love caramel corn but I couldn't and didn't have a single bite.  I was glad I'd brought ginger cookies with me but it was a bit frustrating.  I realize my aunt had no idea why I couldn't eat those things, even though she knew I was non-dairy.  She didn't check the ingredients on the seasoning package, after all, why would there be milk in it?  And for some reason she didn't associate butter with milk today.  Mom offered to make me some plain popcorn but that isn't very tasty either.  Of course, we usually stop at DQ either on the way up or the way back but we obviously couldn't do that today.   We did eat at the Chinese restaurant in Junction City.  It's not gourmet food but it was ok.  A bit greasy but I didn't go to bed hungry or have to fix something at home.  I tried to be a good sport and I think no one noticed that it was frustrating to me, except my mom and only because she asked.  I expect that this is just going to be my life and it doesn't do any good to make a stink every time someone doesn't consider my dietary restrictions.  I guess eventually I'll figure out how to deal with these sorts of things.  I don't know if that means I just always bring my own food or what but I'll figure it out.

At least I got puppy loves.

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December 2014


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