Scouting It Out

June 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Has it really been a month since I last posted? Good gravy on a gravy train, where does the time go?!

It took us nearly this long to finally settle into our new place and after dealing with movers, painters, random kids jumping the fence to our back courtyard and some weird hobo living underneath us in the basement, things have finally started to calm down. So what did we do? Get a kitten, of course!

Meet Scout. Scout was adopted on Friday from PAWS, the same shelter we got The Dude from all those years ago. Scout was originally going to be called Lady until we decided we didn’t like the gender-normative connotations associated with that name and besides, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, so it just worked. Scout is nosy, hyper and completely freaking adorable, which are all standard kitten qualities.


Scout is clearly making herself at home

Scout and Dude were separated the first night we brought her home but they wound up playing with each other’s paws under the door so we figured they might not completely hate each other. Dude treated Scout like a weird meowing anomaly and we have no idea if he’s ever been around kittens before, but he definitely wasn’t too pissed off. Scout, on the other hand, was raising her hair and hissing a bit (probably because she’s a total badass and had to assert her dominance to the bigger cat). However, when I was getting ready this morning they were chasing each other like old friends and I’m pretty sure they’re going to get along just fine.

Kittens aren’t easy but they’re easier than puppies and WAY easier than babies so we’re pretty confident that the newest addition to our household was the right choice. And so long as the Dude doesn’t take to using Scout as a punching bag, I think we’ll all be one happy family!

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Things I Love

February 14, 2017 at 4:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

  • My husband (we’re lovingly spending our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple apart – he’ll be in class all night so I’ll be cuddling with the cat – welcome to marriage!)
  • My family – even the crazy ones (and even my sister who is on a cruise to Bermuda right freaking now)
  • My wonderful, freaky, nerdy friends
  • My sickly, silly cat
  • My job (most days)
  • The country I live in (most days)
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Pizza
  • Wine
  • Museums, volunteering at museums and staying the night at museums with tons of kids and their families
  • Books and reading
  • Journals and writing
  • Also – Netflix
  • That feeling when you have freshly shaved legs and put clean sheets on your bed and jump in
  • Traveling and experiencing new places, people, ideas and things
  • Panko – this is a new discovery and I’m obsessed
  • Sunshine
  • My purple hoodie
  • My couch
  • The view of Chicago from the Field Museum (and the view of the city from just about anywhere else)
  • The fact that I’m getting better at yoga and can now kick my foot up over my head without falling and busting my ass
  • Being vegetarian
  • The fact that I can feel strongly about things, find like-minded people and then take action to do what we feel is right – without getting beaten up or jailed
  • Did I mention wine?

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Thinking of Catsby

October 10, 2013 at 11:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s been two years since my best furry friend had to be put down while I was out of the country.  I still miss Catsby every day.  I miss her greeting me as soon as I came home and I miss playing fetch with the hair ties she’d steal from me and bring over while I sat on the couch.  I don’t miss giving her insulin shots or worrying constantly about her health but I’d do it all again in a heart beat if I could have her back.  I used to have some dreams where we played together but it’s been a while since I’ve had one of those.



I miss her companionship and the funny noises she would make that sounded like responses to my questions.  I miss the way a perfect black circle formed when she stood up straight and I miss her cuddling with me on the couch.

The Dude is a great cat and I love him but no animal could ever replace Catsby.  She was my only family member during my first, loneliest and most difficult year in Chicago and she was there for me through quite a lot of change.  She was also the first pet I got as a kitten and raised entirely on my own.  I will always regret I wasn’t there to properly say goodbye to her and I just hope she knew how much I absolutely loved her.

I miss you, Castby.

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Chow Time!

October 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Contrary to his name, The Dude is not always a laid back cat.  Most of the time it would take a pound of catnip or a cat toy the size of a small car to get his lazy ass off the couch but come 4 or 5 every morning, he gets needy.  It’s because he knows one of us wakes up around that time and when we wake up, he gets fed.  This has resulted in him meowing and scratching around our door super early every morning.  It is more annoying than mere words can say and it basically ruins my morning from the get-go.  On Friday of last week I jumped out of bed yelling something about strangling the cat with his own tail and that is when Scott and I decided we needed to take action.

We searched some solutions online and it seems that an automatic pet feeder is our best bet.  This would simply feed Dude at a scheduled time each day and eventually he’ll learn to meow at the machine rather than at my door.  At least, that’s the plan.  We got one of these feeders over the weekend and, while he seemed pretty confused by it at first, I do believe it’s working.  We had a few good solid nights with no interruptions though he did cry a little last night.  If this behavior is on the way out, though, I’ll take it!

Come and get it!

Come and get it!

The first time Dude saw the feeder in action was pretty funny and I managed to capture it via photo (seen above).  He basically stood on his hind feet and just stared at the contraption while it spat out food.  I’m not sure if he thinks it’s some new god that was created to feed him or what but it was pretty entertaining to watch.  It’s relatively quiet and is nice because now we can leave him for a few days without worrying about having someone stop by to feed him.  Of course, now I’ll worry that the feeder will break and he won’t get fed anyway but I guess I can deal with that.


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Feline Friday

June 14, 2013 at 10:19 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The Dude is lazy.  He’s a cat, so that’s to be expected, but I think he’s lazy even for a cat.  He rarely moves from the couch and if I ask nicely or try to shove him to the side, he looks at me like I’m something he found in his litter box.  So when he was lounging around the other day and refusing to budge, I had to mess with him a little.

He is not amused.

He is not amused.

I managed to stack one remote, one cell phone and one guitar tuner on top of him before he got sufficiently pissed enough to get up and walk away.  Next time, I’ll try to add more.

Don’t mess with me, cat.  These opposable thumbs mean I will always win!  Even if I do still clean up after your bathroom breaks.

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January 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, Scott and I took the Dude in for a little grooming.  Being a Himalayan cat, his hair grows almost longer than mine and somehow manages to find its way over every surface in our apartment.  I vacuum enough for the girl below us to plot a double-murder but every time I turn around, there are new patches on the rugs or couches that could almost allow me to make my own cat-haired pillow (which my allergic self would never do, don’t you worry).  We’ve had him shaved twice so far since adopting him and besides the fact that it makes it easier to deal with my allergies and makes the apartment easier to keep clean, it’s also hilarious to look at.  Case in point:

Someone's not happy.

Someone’s not impressed.

Notice the little puff of white at the end of his tail?  Yeah, I love that.  He seemed pretty pissed off for the first hour or so after we got him home, but once we busted out his new bed and gave him some lovin’, he accepted his newly shorn fate.  I’m breathing easier and getting some laughs every time I glance his way so it’s a win-win all around!

PS – the massage I had on Friday was pretty much the best one I’ve ever had (out of the 3 or so I’ve had in my life).  It was amazing and I had to restrain myself from hugging the guy on my way out.  Now if only I could convince a professional to do that once a week every week for the rest of my life…


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Birthdays, Buddies, Booze and Boobs

February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Does it get any better than that?

It seems that there’s been a theme to my birthdays over the last few years.  First it was Dirty Bingo, followed by a gender-bending burlesque show (complete with clowns) last year and then this year was the Indiana Jones: Temple of the Boob burlesque show.  For some reason it appears that I like celebrating my birthday by watching others talk about or get into their birthday suits so I guess I’ll just go with it.  Who knows what next year will bring!

We started out the night at The Southern, which turned out to be a great venue for a large dinner with a group of my nearest and dearest.  I’m always a little nervous when hosting a gathering of my friends because most of them don’t really know each other and the only thing they really have in common is well…me…which can kind of put me on the spot.  But the restaurant sat us at these large leather couches that were arranged in a sort of circle, which made it easier to converse with everyone and created a friendlier atmosphere.  It also prevented people from being forced to talk to their direct seatmate (not that that’s always bad).  It did make it a bit more awkward when it came time to eat, as there was only one low table, but as most of us ordered their signature macaroni and cheese anyway so it wasn’t too tough.  The food was great, the atmosphere appealing and the company was the best.  I have some really awesome friends and I was so glad everyone was able to make it.

Good, not so clean fun

The entire group didn’t go to the next stop, the burlesque show, but there were a handful that made it out.  The show wasn’t cheap ($20) and didn’t last too long (about an hour) but it was hilariously entertaining and well worth the cash.  Basically, scantily clad women enacted a story about Indiana Jones that was a summary of all of the movies combined into one new tale.  They did a good job and anyone familiar with the movies could pick out recurring gags and jokes along the way.  It was also refreshing because these were women who looked like normal females – extra skin and stretch marks did nothing to deter them from putting on a great show and it was good to see ladies who looked more like myself than Heidi Klum up there on stage (though I wouldn’t have minded Heidi…).  I won’t get too detailed but I will say that I saw one girl use her boobs in a way that had simply never occurred to me before.  And based on the laughter and other various reactions she got, I don’t think I was alone.

All in all, it was a great birthday treat.  On my actual birthday my sweetheart boyfriend woke me up with a beautiful necklace and then treated me to brunch at one of my favorite spots.  After the adoption of that cat (which will be expanded upon soon), we went out for a nice dinner at Basil Leaf, a delicious Italian restaurant that made strong drinks.  I can’t think of a better way to ring in a birthday and thanks to all who came out and made it a blast!

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February 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

My birthday weekend was a fun-filled, most eventful one and I’ll have updates on the dinner and burlesque show probably later this week.  First, though, I want to share some big news.  I did something on my birthday that I didn’t think I was going to do for a very long time…

I got a new cat.

Rather, I should say Scott and I got a cat as both of our names are on his adoption forms.  I really did just go to PAWS (Chicago’s no-kill animal shelter) to look at the animals and perhaps let myself become more comfortable with the idea of bringing one home.  However, we walked in and met a little guy who worked his way into our hearts before we even knew what was happening.  I’ll be introducing him to the blog later as well but before I do any of that, I want to properly say goodbye to Catsby, the absolute best pet I’ve ever had in my life.  Be warned:  this post is long and emotional.  It was also something I had to write.

I rescued Catsby in May of 2005 when she was a kitten from an animal shelter in my old college town.  I went with my old roommate and we were just going to get one cat but we each fell in love and left with two.  Catsby won me over immediately with her beautiful coat and adorable nature and we quickly became best buddies.  She was the one who instigated her fetch-playing, by bringing one of my hair bands into me while I was sitting on the toilet one day (hey, not all stories have glamorous roots).  She became quite good at fetch and my attempts to confuse or fool her pretty much never worked.  I still find hair bands in random places and I know my mom once found one from the top of a ceiling fan in our living room – I bet that one drove Catsby crazy.

I think Catsby had some confusion as to what type of animal she was, as she had many dog-like qualities besides the fetch-playing.  This could be because I originally wanted a dog but decided at the last minute that I’d want my dog to have a yard and as a college kid, a cat was an easier, less responsible decision.  I think I projected my dog-wanting onto her because she would also meet me at the door every day when I got home with my slippers in her mouth (okay not really but she did once bring me a plastic fork to play fetch with).  She also brought me cat treats while I slept and left them on my bed or in my shoe in the middle of the night.  She slept at my feet.

Catsby moved into six different apartments with me in two separate states.  She almost gave me a heart attack when I thought she escaped as I was moving to Illinois but then surprised me with her cleverness when I discovered her hiding under my refrigerator in a spot I didn’t even know existed.  She narrowly avoided being eaten when we were stuck in a blizzard for 8 hours on the highway and she managed to keep another one of her nine lives after I caught her spilling water on my brand new Macbook.  As mad as she occasionally made me though (like the time I found out she was inviting squirrels into the kitchen while I was away at work), I never lost sight of how much I loved her.  When I was going through the divorce of my parents, the transition from college student to working life, and the biggest breakup I’d ever experienced, she was always there for me.  She lasted through more boyfriends, girlfriends and friends in general than any other pet I had.  We literally watched each other grow up.

Catsby in our first Chicago apartment

I treated Catsby for diabetes for about a year before she passed away.  Those of you that have been reading this blog a while know how difficult that often was.  She wasn’t a typical diabetic cat and the vet never could tell me why she developed it, as she had none of the usual characteristics.  I spent lots of time, energy, worry and cash trying to keep her diabetes regulated and I’d be lying if I said it was easy.  I scheduled my social life around giving her two insulin shots a day but I absolutely did not mind, so long as it meant that my furry feline friend was happy and healthy.  I did my very, very best but in the end that wasn’t enough.

Having Catsby put down while I was out of the country is one of the most difficult experiences I’ve ever had to go through.  Before I go on, I’d like to say that the kindness of certain men and women during this period will never be forgotten.  This obviously includes my friends, family, and boyfriend but also the complete strangers who showed compassion and understanding without really even knowing what was going on.  As I made my way back solo from Guatemala in October, I was keenly aware that my cat might not make it until I got home.  I thought I was racing the clock to return to help her when in reality she had to be put down the night before and no one had been able to reach me yet.  So I didn’t find out until my plane landed in Houston and I called my Scott for an update.  When he told me what happened I became a bit of a visible wreck and the guy next to me (who knew I had a sick family member I was trying to get home to…because hey, that’s what she was) figured out what happened.  He and numerous others offered to help me off the plane and get me a ride to wherever I needed to go.  When I explained that I had a connecting flight to make in under 45 minutes and I had yet to get through customs, a very nice pilot (this was Delta) escorted me through security and customs and led me right to my next gate.  At this point I didn’t really care if I made the flight or not but he got me there with a few minutes to spare.  The woman I was seated next to looked like a seasoned grandmother and didn’t really speak English but the moment I sat down and she saw me, she hugged me, kissed my forehead and said not to cry (this was  something I really needed).  The flight attendants served me the beer and whiskey shot I ordered and then didn’t charge me (this was something else I really needed).  The kindness of these strangers stuck out in my head and helped me to remember that one can really make an impact on another, even if the time they share is anonymous and fleeting.

I miss Catsby every single day and my world isn’t the same without her.  Perhaps it’s because hers is the first loss of a soul that I was personally close to – a soul that I interacted with each day – that has caused this to be so hard, or maybe it’s just because she was such a beloved pet.  I’ve lost both human and animal loved ones in my life but it’s never been like this.  She was the only family I ever had in Chicago and it still hurts.  I have had numerous dreams about her (including the one I had foretelling her death and one where I had her cloned and her clone didn’t have diabetes…sometimes my head is a scary place) and in my dreams it’s  comforting to know that she’s around, even though I always have the sense that she’s not supposed to be.  I don’t know how else to say I miss her and to be completely honest I’m not dry-eyed as I type this.  I don’t know if I’ll ever stop missing her and I don’t really want to because she was an awesome companion.  You don’t forget something like that.

However, Catsby is not coming back and I won’t have the  relationship I had with her with another animal.  Now as I’ve learned, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a different type of relationship with another animal who needs a human friend.  Which is the mentality that brought me to the idea of another adoption, and to the newest addition to the family.  It’s been a bittersweet experience and while I still feel somewhat guilty for bringing another cat into our home, so far I’m glad I did.  Because after all, it really is amazing how the actions of one can have an impact on another.

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Warning: Cat Lady Post Ahead

July 28, 2011 at 11:53 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This is reason #59396803 why I love my cat:

She looked like this, only on my bed and more freaked out

Last night there was a pretty massive thunderstorm that rolled through right around bedtime.  Lightning and thunder abounded and the light show was really pretty spectacular.  Be that as it may, I still nearly fell off my couch when the thunder got surprisingly loud.  That’s when I decided it was time to go to bed.

So there I was, huddled under my covers and trying to ignore the storm long enough to fall asleep.  Then I felt the little thud on my bed that told me Catsby had hopped aboard and sure enough, she was nose to nose with me in no time flat.  I looked at her.  She looked at me.  Then she looked at my comforter and back at me.  Twice.  I took the hint and lifted up my sheets and before I knew it, she was hunkered down and cuddling by my feet.  There she stayed until the worst of the storm was over, after which she promptly stood up and began meowing because she apparently forgot where she was and became scared and confused.  I let her out and once again, all was right in the world.

I guess treating her diabetes has been worth it because I’m awfully fond of that furball.  Especially when she’s protecting me from big bad thunderstorms.

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July 13, 2011 at 9:16 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Apparently, I’ve been on a clumsy streak this week.  I broke my scale on Monday and walked into a door last night.

So I have to weigh my special needs diabetic cat frequently to make sure her blood sugar isn’t all out of whack.  This involves me standing on the scale with her in my arms, noting that weight, tossing her to the floor, weighting myself, nothing that weight and then doing a little subtraction.  It’s not the most foolproof thing but it works (although I don’t exactly enjoy weighting myself so damn much).  Well, that is it works when the scale is working.  On Monday I picked it up to do my thing and promptly dropped it, narrowly avoiding a serious toe amputation.  It is was a digital scale and when I stepped on it, it said HELLO and then ERROR.  Then it turned off.  This went on for a few minutes before I gave up and began occupying myself in other areas of the apartment.

Then I turned around and saw this:

Smart ass.

This is now her favorite sitting spot.

I tried to buy a new scale yesterday at CVS but the one and only unit they had in the store would’ve cost me my first-born child and since I’ve got big plans on turning said firstborn into a full-time housekeeper, I decided against such an extravagant purchase.  Instead, I came home and started laundry, which is how I walked into the door.

I had just finished two loads and was on my way out of the dark and scary basement when the injury occurred.  Like a genius, I turned off the light prior to opening the door and somehow, in my spectacularly uncoordinated fashion, managed to kick the heavy basement door right back into my face.  Over my right eye, to be exact.  I wound up just standing there in dark and cursing until the pain and tears subsided enough for me to make my way down the alley and up the three flights of stairs to the comfort of my living room, where I iced my wound while praying for no black eye.  Luckily it didn’t swell too much and my bangs manage to cover the worst of the damage but I still know what I did.

And so does my cat.

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