orphan black - sarah

top five fictional pets

fannish5 meme stolen from entwashian's post here:

Keep in mind that I haven't read a lot of the classic animal books like Because of Winn-Dixie, The Underneath, anything by Kate DiCamillo, etc. And it's been forever since I've read Shiloh, A Cricket in Times Square, The Incredible Journey etc. So I'm just using recently read stuff for this.

Also, I don't have any live-action movie or TV animals because they never look right to me. Animals can't act. So usually they just have animals sitting there and then add a lot of inaccurate sound effects, like cats yowling when they're supposed to be calm and friendly. A friendly meow is different from a distressed yowl, you guys.

So anyway:

5. Smut from Dairy Queen. Because her name is Smut! She was named after "corn smut" which is blackish and sometimes found in ears of corn. Her fur looks like that. Also because she's just a pet, no supernatural powers, except making D.J. feel better, which is what pets do.

4. Pongo from One Hundred and One Dalmatians (movie). The scene where he's trying to find a mate for himself and Roger, omg, hilarious.



3. The Colonel from The Hundred and One Dalmatians (book). In the movie he's kind of a bumbling idiot, but in the book he's a stately old dog who teaches the puppies military strategy. Puppies! Military strategy! He promotes people every time they do something awesome, and then at the end of his chapter after chasing after the inept dog thieves and biting them as hard as he can, he promotes himself. Love it. Honorable mention: Cruella de Vil's cat, who helps them get revenge on Cruella at the end because Cruella drowned her kittens.

2. Sirius, the Dog Star, from Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. Because, the entire book. I mean, just read it. Honorable mention: Tibbles the cat, who helps him out of more than one scrape.

1. Buttercup from the Hunger Games trilogy. Not only is he a fucking badass and THE REAL STAR OF THOSE BOOKS, he's responsible for making me cry, every single time I read the trilogy. Those of you who have read it may know the moment I am talking about. I just lose it.



More honorable mentions: Hedwig the owl, Pounce the magical kitty (who may or may not be a god) from the Beka Cooper books, Chester the paranoid cat from Bunnicula.
orphan black - sarah

goodbye for some, but not for all

I took the kittens in to the vet, and I told her I was worried that Pippin still wasn't over his cold, and also that the kittens were going to mature and start having kittens themselves. She agreed with both things, and said that Solomon and Cora seemed healthy so they would go out for adoption, and I could keep Pippin for another week and see how he's doing after that.

I was a bit worried about Solomon. He was crouched in a corner at the vet, like if he could just make himself small enough, nobody would be able to see him. I hope he finds a patient owner who will care for him and take the time for him to relax and come out of his shell, poor guy. I hated to say goodbye to him.

Cora, I am not worried about at all, very little fazes her and she'll make a great pet for someone. Kate accuses me of not liking her, but I just have a soft spot for the ones who need my help--whether because they're sickly like Pippin, or shy like Solomon, or something else. Cora didn't need any help, so I became less attached to her, even though she is super friendly and cute. I felt similarly about Simon from my second litter. Some kittens just tug at my heartstrings more than others.

Pippin started to cry in his carrier on the way home. He didn't understand where his siblings had gone, I suppose. I took him to the pet store (where everyone cooed over him), got him a teddy bear (it's really a dog toy) and a soft little blanket ("cuddle towel"), and put them in the carrier with him for the rest of the ride home. I don't know if they helped or if he just needed a bit of time, but he was quiet after that and even purred a little bit. Kate says I spoil him, but after getting the teddy-bear-as-comfort idea from a fellow fosterer, I thought this was a good time to try it out.

Ever since he got home, Pippin has been a total love bug. Even more than usual. He just sits curled up in the crook of my arm and purrs and purrs. I'm glad he's such a people-lover, maybe he won't miss his siblings TOO much. I'll have to put in some serious play-time with him though, because he was used to wrestling all the time with his littermates.

Here is Mr. Pitiful himself:

Pitiful Pippin

He has a grumpy expression here, but I think that's just because his eye was watering and it was bothering him.

The gorgeous, gigantic orange tabby cat is still at Pet Supplies Plus. He's been there on my last three visits and it pains me to see him sit in that small cage for weeks. Someone give this guy a home already! I'm pretty sure this is his petfinder page, if anyone wants more info or to pass him along to someone who is in need of a cat.

Some of my new glasses have arrived in the mail! I'm waiting on one more pair and then I'll post pictures and reviews. In the meantime it's great to be able to see clearly. I'm walking around like "FEAR ME, I HAVE THE POWER OF NORMAL VISION!"
orphan black - sarah

how will i ever get out of this labyrinth?

So I noticed something of a theme in the books that were pulled for holds at the library today.

  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo
  • Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha N. Beck
  • The Unmistakable Touch of Grace: How to Recognize and Respond to the Spiritual Signposts in Your Life by Cheryl Richardson
  • What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins
  • Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley


I don't know, I feel like... everyone is looking for answers. Everyone is trying to find the key, how to be a better person, how to live, what gives life meaning, what happens when we die. All going about it different ways--religion, spirituality, advice from those older and wiser, cognitive techniques--but ultimately asking the same questions.

(Of course, people were also searching for The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook and Blues Harmonica Method Level 1, so maybe I'm reaching here.)

But then cleolinda posted this entry, which as of right now has over 100 comments, about physical exhaustion and anemia and depression:

Because even when you grasp the idea that depression is an ailment and not a personal failing... it still feels like a personal failing. You know you're clinically depressed, but you feel like you're just lazy, lonely, hopeless, pathetic. Or sometimes you don't realize you're ill, because those feelings of anxiety and shame and helplessness sneak up on you and feel legitimate, and that's why you don't realize you need help. I mean, I've been on medication and under quarterly medical supervision for fourteen years now and my own mood cycles still sneak up on me, over and over. It's hard to teach yourself to say, "You are an awesome person, and your awesomeness is a default, and so if you feel less than awesome, you need to get your awesome tuned up." Because your sadness and fatigue and anxiety feel mild at first, and they seem like rational responses to things going on in your life, and then you end up missing some deadline or not completing some goal or not living up to your own expectations because you're already sad and tired, and then the negativity does seem justified: "I'm not depressed; I'm a loser."


And all the comments are saying, yes, yes, we feel that way too, we understand, thank you for saying this. Thank you for telling us that we are not alone.

Everyone is struggling, everyone is searching. Maybe now is a particularly hard time, or maybe it's just coming to the surface right now, making it a bit easier to see that we're all in this labyrinth together. Not one of us is born already knowing the way out.
misc - 5 kitties need homes

kitty things

So the kittens are doing a lot better. I still hear a couple of coughs and sneezes from them every once in a while, but their eyes and noses have cleared up nicely. Pippin's breathing has improved a lot, although I did hear a mild coughing fit from him the other day and he's still the most sneezy. I'm a bit worried that he's not completely over the cold and it's going to get worse again, so we'll see. I'm taking them to the vet on Friday.

kittens hangin' out
From left to right: Pippin, Cora, Solomon

I think Pippin is just going to be a skinny little stringbean forever. He has put on weight since getting rid of the tapeworm, but I don't know where he put it! He's as skinny and lanky as ever. Such a cute contrast to his big, solid older brother Solomon. (It's probably good they're so different--otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell them apart!)

Solomon has continued to improve on the sociability front, and he even wakes me up with demands for pettings in the morning. He's a big sweetie really. Now that he's recovered from the URI and I'm not having to force medication down his throat anymore, he runs and hides a lot less. I'm worried that going to the Humane Society and then a new home will be a shock for him, but hopefully he'll get a patient owner who will give him time to come out of his shell again.

How YOU doin?
How YOU doin?

Cora is a burrower, I've found. She likes to crawl under my blankets and make a little hideout under there. Cutie. I did get her name from a list of Hobbit names, after all…

(Originally they were all going to be Hobbits, but Solomon's name doesn't really fit. Sometimes I call him Samwise the Brave ironically, though, because he's such a scaredy cat. Also he's big. Stupid fat hobbit!)

cutie Cora
Cora

Pippin is a little brat. He always wants to play, and he thinks I'm another sibling to pounce on and wrestle with, which I don't appreciate when I'm, say, trying to sleep. But he's still a sweetie, too. He is so loving and will purr at you forever. I've been reading up more on the Feline-alities, and I think he might be The Personal Assistant. He certainly does like to get all up in my business when I'm on the computer, or eating something, or doing anything at all really.

I think Cora might be a Sidekick, and Solomon is a Secret Admirer like Hypatia. Dear Humane Society, please hire me so I can personality-type cats all day!

Oddly, Solomon has turned out to be the most talkative kitty. He has little chirps and squeaks, and he also has a very, very quiet meow. It's amusing to me, because I'm used to kittens being as loud as they possibly can. Solomon sounds like he's coming from the next room and you can barely hear him. But the meow is there!

Solomon lounging
Solomon in the sun
orphan black - sarah

a post that is all about glasses

So after reading this blog post, which led to THIS blog post, which led to this site, I've become slightly obsessed with buying glasses online. Yes, online. I was skeptical too, but I need new glasses for my updated prescription, and I can't afford the hundreds of dollars I'd have to pay at a physical glasses store, so I've been putting it off. Online, the prices are so low I thought I'd give it a try, and now I'm hooked. Can't stop won't stop!

So far I've ordered three pairs--two from Goggles4u and one from 39dollarglasses.com. (They haven't arrived yet.) I haven't yet bought anything from Zenni, because I've heard bad things about their service, but they have a good "try on glasses" face photo thingy so I've been spending a lot of time there. Although now I am sick of looking at my own face.

The thing is, if you know what you're doing, it turns out you can get a pretty accurate idea of whether or not a pair of glasses will look good on you. You need to know your prescription, of course. Then you need five different measurements for the frames themselves, three of which you can often get just by reading the numbers on the right temple-arm of your current pair of glasses, or you can estimate all five by using a metric ruler on your current pair. The measurements are: total width of glasses, lens width, lens height, bridge distance, and temple length. Which of these are most important will vary with your glasses-style preferences. The three numbers on the arm of your glasses are usually [lens width - bridge distance - temple length]. For example, mine are 46-18-135, in millimeters.

You also need to know your PD (Pupillary Distance--the distance from one pupil to the other), which I was apprehensive about because it wasn't listed on my prescription, but then I found this tool that measures it for you if you have a webcam and a credit card. (For size comparison, not for paying them money.) I measured mine that way and the number was almost exactly what I got when measuring it by holding a ruler under my eyes and looking in a mirror, so I'm pretty confident about it.

Once you have all those measurements written down, just look for frames with similar ones and you can be reasonably confident that they'll work for you. A lot of sites let you upload your own photo and virtually try on glasses, so you can get an even better idea of how they'll look. (If you think about it, buying shoes online is way less accurate in terms of fit, and I've done that tons of times--and paid more for them.)

If anyone is interested I've written brief reviews of the major online glasses websites below the cut. I'll write more when I actually get the glasses in the mail. (OMG I can't wait until I can SEE again.)

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One caveat is that my prescription is fairly simple. I only need distance-vision lenses, not bifocals or progressives or whatever it is people with astigmatism need. I don't know if I'd buy online if I had a complicated prescription, since there's more room for error and no way to try the glasses on first.

Anyway, I will check back and maybe post pictures when my glasses actually arrive, and let y'all know what I think. I've spent an average of about $40 per pair so far, so I figure even if only one of the three pairs works for me, I'm still saving a whole lot of money over going to LensCrafters or VisionWorks or wherever. I'm excited that I can now be both poor AND able to see!
misc - tinycat

KITTEN PHOTOS

I wrote most of this entry last week, but wanted to wait until I had pictures uploaded in order to post it. That's why there are random ETAs with new information. Anyway, kittens! They have names!

Image description: A gray tabby kitten curled up on a bed in the sun

Pippin the Pitiful

Image description: A brown tabby kitten sitting on the floor, looking up at the viewer

Cora the Cute

Image description: A gray tabby kitten hiding in a corner next to a bookcase

Solomon the Solemn

Pippin AKA Pipsqueak is a scrawny but sweet little guy, in the vein of Oliver, Charlie, Albus, etc. Cora is a cute, petite, sharp-eyed kitten who reminds me a lot of little Amelia. Solomon AKA Shadow AKA Squeaker AKA Scaredy-cat is a big, shy gentle giant, who hides and shies away but never hisses or lashes out. I don't think I've had a cat like him before.

(Yes, I give my kittens too many names/nicknames. Blame T.S. Eliot or something.)

Poor Pipsqueak is the sickest. I can hear him wheezing and snuffling all the time, like he's constantly congested, and he has a runny eye as well. Sometimes he goes into awful coughing fits like Skinny did. :( He's such a scrawny little thing. He eats like a champ, but he's still got a skinny neck and wobbly little legs, and his fur is wiry and scraggly, not soft and smooth like Cora's. His belly is round, though. I wonder if he maybe has a parasite going on. I'll ask at the checkup whether they've been dewormed lately--I know it can take several courses of dewormer to get them all. (ETA: I did in fact find some tapeworm eggs hanging around, and they've all been treated now, so he should be looking a little healthier soon. His sniffles seem to be clearing up as well, finally!)

Solomon also has coughing fits sometimes, but other than that he seems okay--he's running around and playing and wrestling with Cora, and he seems to be mostly over his fear of humans, yay! He still tries to bolt when I come after him to give him his meds, but that's understandable. He no longer shies away from me when I try to pet him, and he even gets a good purr going. I think he might always have problems with being shy and scared, but with a patient owner he'll come out of his shell.

Pippin plays too, so I'm not too worried about him wasting away or whatever. I just wish I could do more to help him breathe. I wipe him down with a warm wet cloth when he gets too much gunk on his face, but he still has a whistle in his nose from the congestion. I can tell where he is in the room by where the wheezy noise is coming from. (ETA: Also I found a tiny bit of blood when I wiped off his nose today. I hope it's just that he's been sneezing so much that he burst a blood vessel or something, not anything more serious. ETA ETA: The vet didn't seem too worried about it.)

Solomon has the most adorable squeak. He chirps and squeaks when he wants something, attention or play or whatever, while the others are mostly silent (I think they actually might have laryngitis from the URI, because they TRY to talk, but no sound comes out). That's why I call him Squeaker. He's such a big hulking guy and he has this teeny little voice. (ETA: Cora has a sweet chirp as well!)

Cora is definitely the star kitten. She's incredibly soft, adorable, has beautiful brown tabby markings with golden-brown eyes to match, and comes right up to you (already purring) to be petted. She's also playful and curious, pretty much the Platonic Ideal of "kitten." I bet she'll get adopted in a second with no problems. She might need a playmate, though, to keep her from getting too rough with her humans.

I don't know their story, but I always try to guess the kittens' background based on how they behave, and these guys are almost definitely street kittens. The tapeworm (which is transmitted through fleas), the URI, and Solomon's extreme shyness all point to a life on the street. They also seem to have never seen a computer before and are fascinated by the lights and the clicky noise it makes when I type.

(Yes, you can technically get tapeworm from your cat or dog, but only if you ingest their fleas. The tapeworm egg can only mature to the infectious stage while inside of a flea. These kittens, like all my fosters, were de-flea'd before they got to me. Still, even though I know I can't get infected from it, it's really gross to find dried tapeworm segments in my bed. *shudder*)

It's so funny to watch them play. They really are a family. The little scrawny brother, the big burly brother, and the sister who could probably take both of them in a fight.

Three kittens. The two gray ones are intent on watching something in the air, while the brown one is looking down at the ground.

Three kittens. The big gray one is playing with a feather toy while the other two are crouched and ready to pounce.

Solomon is literally a full pound larger than the little ones. He's huge! I kinda love him.

See more photos at their set!
orphan black - sarah

Second day with the as-yet-unnamed tabby trio

A lot of progress today with the kitties!

Justin came over this morning and played with them. He's very good at being non-threatening to scared little kitties, so he just played with them and let them come to him on their own time, and eventually he even got the little boy to sit in his lap and purr! The big boy didn't interact with Justin much though, he just played by himself in the other corner.

After Justin left I fed them and they all ate some this time, even the big boy (although he was very cautious about it and ran away a couple of times). Kate and I petted the two sociable ones, and they got some purrs going. They even started talking a little, although the little girl is so hoarse from the URI that she can't mew audibly. They seem to have realized today that they're in an OK place and they are allowed to enjoy petting. Except for the big boy. He is going to take some more work.

In the afternoon, when they were sleepy, I lay on my bed and the girl and the little boy both came up and lay down on me while I petted them. They seemed to really enjoy the petting by then, so I took a few risks. I brushed them, which they thought was weird but didn't really mind. I noticed the girl had some matted fur on her tail, so I got out the scissors and carefully snipped off the biggest mat, and she didn't mind at all. Then I clipped their nails, which they hated--but they didn't run off when I was done! They squirmed all over the place while I clipped them, but when I released them they just stayed where they were like nothing had happened. Yay!

While all this was going on, the big boy was wandering around giving little pathetic mews like he was lonely. I tried to encourage him to come up on the bed with his brother and sister, held out my hand for him to sniff, etc. But he was having none of it. Finally I dragged him out from his hiding place, plopped him on the bed, and petted him for a while. He sat there and let me pet him, although I don't know if he liked it or if he was just frozen with fear. I talked to him in a soothing voice and he looked at me with his big green eyes. After a couple of minutes, he got up and joined his brother and sister, who were playing on the floor by this time. I don't know if that's progress or not, but at least he didn't hiss at me or bolt away the second I put him down.

I did come in once today to find one of them sleeping in the kitty bed and the other two curled up IN the litter box. I really need a bigger cage. Either that or they've been living outdoors for way too long. Don't sleep where you poop, kids. I put some more soft blankets and things in the cage to encourage them to sleep on those instead, although there was plenty of room in the cat bed with only one kitten in it and yet they chose to sleep in the litter box. Weirdos.

I guess all I can do with the big one is wait for him to come around. It doesn't help that I have to chase him down twice a day to force medication into him--that'd mess with anybody's trust. And when I say "chase him down," I am not talking metaphorically. He gives me a workout!

They're all still sneezing a lot, so Kate and I joked about calling one of them Sneezy, or Wheezy since their breath always sounds congested. (She suggested "Ron Wheezy.") I still need to get proper names thought up for them, though. The little boy is playful, scrawny, and eats a lot. The girl is curious, a climber, and friendly. The boy... hides and is big. I think I need to get to know him better before I name him.

Right now they're all chasing each other around and wrestling, and doing the kitty-posturing thing where their tails go floof like a bottle-brush. It's pretty cute. And it's good to see their colds aren't making them lethargic!
orphan black - sarah

three new lodgers of the feline persuasion!

My sixth litter of foster kittens is here! They're three months old, a bit younger than Skinny was but older than I usually get them. They're not teeny, but they sure are cute. There is one brown tabby, female, and two gray tabbies, both male. I've never had two of the same sex AND coloring before, so I have no idea which foster form I'm supposed to fill out for whom. Like Skinny, they all have colds that they need to recover from before being adopted. Poor guys are very sneezy.

I don't know their story, but so far they are quite skittish and wary of humans. The bigger boy runs and hides whenever I move in his direction. The little boy is probably the most curious, so he overcomes his fear first and comes over to play with the latest toy or see what I'm up to on the machine that makes clicky noises. The girl is cautious. She will come near me, but then she'll just crouch and stare. She will tolerate being petted, but doesn't seem to like it, so I don't push it.

But I know from my flickr friends who foster feral and stray cats, especially Jimmy Legs (whose flickr stream is fascinating if you're a cat fan), that it can take a while for a cat to come around, and you just have to be patient and show them that people are nice and petting feels good. They're still young enough that I bet they can turn into affectionate kitties by the end of their stay.

So far the little guy is the only one who's shown much of an interest in the wet food I put out for them. He was like NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. Big guy was like "nom nom OH SHIT A HUMAN RUN AWAY." Girl has not eaten so far. They have however all used the litter box correctly, yay! That's the advantage to having older kitties, I suppose.

They do need names. We're doing The Hobbit over on Mark Reads so I was thinking of trying to give them Tolkien names, but it'd probably look pretty weird to someone walking into the humane society to adopt them if their names were Luthien Tinuviel or whatever. Then again maybe they'd get adopted by Tolkien fans...

Hypatia would like everyone to know that she does not approve of these kitten shenanigans.
hp - tiny rawr

you guys! it's Albus!

Or as he is now called, Seeley:

seeley II

This is the only time I've ever been in touch with someone who adopted one of my foster kittens, so it's probably the only picture I'll ever get of one of them all grown up. Look at how pretty he is! His colorpoints have gotten a lot darker, too!

For reference, here he is as a kitten:



And as a REALLY little kitten, on the left:

Albus and Zippy

[Images are all of a lynx-point kitty with pale eyes, in various stages of his life.]

I'd know those eyes anywhere. ♥
misc - glitter cat

last days with Skinny

I took Skinny to the vet last Saturday because although his cold seemed to be gone, he still had that awful hacking cough. She gave me another round of the usual antibiotics, but also a dewormer, because there's apparently a type of worm that can get into the LUNGS and cause coughing. I looked this up, and it's called "verminous cough" and happens when roundworm larvae burrow themselves into the lungs, are coughed up, and are then swallowed, only to mature in the cat's digestive system and start the life cycle again. HORRIFYING, right? *shudder*

Anyway, I think that's what Skinny must have had because a couple of days into the five-day dewormer course, he stopped coughing completely and now seems to be a very healthy kitty. Which is good, but also means I have to give him back soon. :(

I've become pretty attached to him and I think Kate has too, because he's so sweet and purrs and makes little meepy noises and wants attention and loves to play. I won't miss the deep scratches on my legs and arms from his overenthusiastic playing, or his tendency to pounce on my head when I'm trying to sleep, but other than that I'll be sad to see him go. He's such a sweetheart and has so much kitty energy.

My attempts to integrate Skinny with Hypatia have been a failure. Hypatia just hisses at him, and he runs and hides under the couch. She never did like the boy-kittens.

I've been feeling guilty for disrupting her world so much with this fostering project. I think she'd be happier if I stopped, and she could have full run of the house and the attention of both of her humans. But on the other hand, every kitten I take in means one more empty cage at the Humane Society, which means one more cat that can be rescued from Animal Control and given a second chance.

Plus, I love discovering all the different cat personalities, as well as fascinating medical things like lung-worms. (What? I like the parasite chapters in Peeps, too.) And there are few things better than a sleepy, affectionate kitten.

(Also this is the only thing I do in my life right now that has actual Purpose and Meaning, so maybe I should keep doing it so as not to devolve into existential despair any more often than I actually do.)