Checking on Zeus and Apollo

The Greek Pride was my first litter of foster kittens and they came to me two weeks after I lost my job under circumstances that still surprise me.

These kittens gave me so much joy— even little Hades who bit me on her first day here and sent me to the hospital for the first time in my life.

Artemus found his FURRever home as soon as he went live on the web site. Zeus and Apollo haven’t been so lucky. And poor Zeus and Apollo were so sickly and nervous when we got them and now Zeus is a love.

I asked for them to be placed at Chaar, a specialty pet store with three local locations, and they went on Friday. (Chaar’s web site: Chaar) The kittens are at the Forks Township location.

They have a teepee made of cardboard and were both asleep when I arrived at noon. But they both got up and came to me and of course, Zeus cried.

The employee there said this was her first day meeting them so I explained their difference and mentioned how Zeus loved her cuddles. And with the employee’s permission, I took her out of the cage and held her for a nice ten minutes. Apollo didn’t want to be held, but I did give him pets.

My fosters at Chaar (YouTube)

Zeus saying hi

Apollo saying hi

Random Sunday update

I have so many potential posts running around in my head, I am opting to combine them all in a long post.

Coffee review: Bread and Basket French Roast

So I made a new brand of coffee this morning, Bread and Basket French Roast from ShopRite. It was the same price as the Folger’s Black Silk I bought at Target. Wonderful aroma and while it looked like it brewed extra strong and my cream didn’t really lighten it, it tasted just right.

Weight and stress relief

I have started counting calories again, using Fooducate this time and not My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal has more information such nutritional tracking and macros and connects more seamlessly with iHealth. Fooducate focuses on the quality of calories you eat, and since my stress foods are processed and refined carbohydrates I find that the best step in my process right now.

I had lost a solid two pounds this week but last night’s binge of Doritos and horseradish dip, sour patch kids and two alcoholic beverages reacquainted me with half a pound AND gave me nightmares.

Kittens

I haven’t even had a change to truly introduce the Norse Pride Kittens I am pet sitting for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. They don’t have a permanent foster placement yet so we may keep them as they are friendly, jolly and fluffy two-pound kittens. See them on YouTube here: Norse Pride.

Hermes of the Greek Pride is doing well but scratched his nose. Stopping to see Zeus and Apollo today. They are at Chaar in Forks Township. Chaar’s web site

And finally my look of the day:

**Since I wrote this post, it has been brought to my attention I called the Shoprite brand Bread and Basket instead of Bowl and Basket. Oops! Can’t blame me for that— I managed to get my waist into the leg hole of my panties today.

Good luck Zeus and Apollo

Today, an older cat originally designated for TNR found a FURRever home. The cat, once trapped, turned out to be a sweetheart more deserving of a lap than a life on the streets.

This 5-year-old orange love was named Sunny Side Up and was adopted by a couple who lives 2 hours away.

Zeus and Apollo will take over his crate at Chaar. It was hard to leave these kittens behind, but the teenager and I both hope they find families. And by going into the cage together, they shouldn’t be as frightened or abandoned.

I used all my word magic to write magical bios. I am so grateful to the good people at Chaar.

Please consider giving these kittens a home.

They started life so sick and wild, and now they are ready for a family.

FURR’s website

Apollo’s Adoption Page

Zeus’ Adoption Page

Kitten ruminations

I have to admit— I’m exhausted. I’ve been cleaning up after and playing with kittens for probably 3 hours this morning while spending another hour on laundry and 30 minutes on the kitchen and 15 minutes on the birds. (Though they cockatoo spent at least an hour on my shoulder.)

It’s cold and rainy and I just ate breakfast at 11:30. The teens are due home from school around 1 pm, at which point we are taking Zeus and Apollo, two of the three remaining foster kittens from the Greek Pride, to Chaar pet supply in Forks Township to live in one of their habitats for a while. And hopefully find a home.

Hermes and Apollo are both still skittish, but Apollo is definitely braver than Hermes. Apollo will sit with you— just don’t touch him! He won’t lash out on you but he will leave. And look at you like you are a presumptuous monster.

Hermes and Apollo

According to our foster godmother, Hades is doing well but still retains her feral instincts so transitioning her out of domestic life was the right call. We may get to see her in our cat-themed travels today.

The Greek Pride taught me a lot about the classic “nature vs nurture” debate. The Greek Pride has five members— Artemus, Hades, Zeus, Apollo and Hermes.

Artemus (then Artemis) came to us fully socialized. He found a wonderful family and became Artemus Gordon sidekick for a real life Jim West.

Zeus was the runt, but learned to play and frolick very quickly. Apollo and Hermes want to trust people but both became very sick and needed medicine to heal. They have bad associations with human hands and won’t let you touch them.

And then Hades… she’s the one that bit me and would walk right up as if interested in me and then run. Her behavior got increasingly aggressive instead of calmer.

Five very different cats, from the same litter, that were wired very differently. They had the same life circumstances but different outcomes.

Reminds me of some human families, including my own.

Rejuvenation Dimension

I just had my first facial.

Merri at Lucha Bella taught me what healthy skin feels like, took 10 or more years off my face and had more more relaxed than I’ve been since my last intimate adult encounter which was quite some time ago.

And my skin feels energized and as fresh as soft as a baby’s.

I felt so good I stopped at Wawa and treated myself to a Fiji water. Because I had no idea my facial would come with so much massage and I could feel my body asking for the water. So I gave it fancy water.

Shall I back up? I’m just so overwhelmed by the whole experience that I want to write everything before I forget. Because oh my goodness gravy— we all need this.

I expected her to clean my face, apply some product and maybe address some stray hairs.

I was very, very wrong in such a good way.

She asked me to take off my clothes, put on the fancy Velcro towel and crawl under the covers. Well, while that seemed a little strange, because I didn’t expect to be going to bed during my facial, but I never miss the chance to curl up in some clean sheets.

What happened over the next hour transpired like you always see at spas as they are represented in the movies.

I didn’t ask questions because I wanted to feel the experience rather than dissect it. As I will be working with Merri on her marketing, I’m sure I will learn more about the process.

And the sensations were lovely. I don’t accurately remember the correct order, but she gently wiped away the grime of the day and applied some lovely feeling product I suppose to clean my skin. She waxed my upper lips and my chin.

I normally wax my own upper lip. And I have had my eyebrows and my bikini waxed professionally. Nothing beats a professional wax. And the hot wax they use is just feels good against the skin. And the way they prep and follow up with the skin minimizes irritation.

Merri came over with a super bright light so she could tweeze whatever she couldn’t lift with the wax. And she cleaned up the shape of my eyebrows.

There were lots of hot towels wrapped around my face. And the back and forth between hot towels and cool lotions felt so good.

She even had these little loofa like brushes. And I imagine they helped take off the dead skin.

And as if that wasn’t enough — she gave me the Bella facial which included massage on my face, neck, shoulders and arms. I keep all my tension in my neck and shoulders. Her attentions felt heavenly.

The facial massage is also good for sinus pressure.

I’m literally glowing.

What makes all of this even more amazing is that I ended up running from event to event all day, and giving myself to Merri’s treatment really did relax and revive me. She tried to talk business after, but I struggled to think!

And during much of the service, I felt my mind go blank. I envisioned sunflowers and daffodils and magenta petunias.

Why haven’t I done this before?

My day was hectic from the get go; I never even finished putting on my makeup!

Regardless of how my day went, when I left Lucha Bella, I felt soft, empowered and refreshed.

Inner Goddess

I know a lot of people that work hard and that aren’t afraid to hustle and get the job done.

My step mom is one of the hardest working women I know— and she has two businesses that she thinks about all of the time.

My mother-in-law ran garment factories, and while she probably would never consider herself a shrewd businesswoman she was. She kept her factories going and fixed other factories’ mistakes when the garment manufacturing industry declined here in the United States.

Now I want to launch a public relations business (We are Thrive Public Relations) with my partner Darnell but I’m also looking for positions to pay the bills as we get our initial clients together.

My neighbor Sarah has a friend who opened her own independent skin care salon. Merri has a unique vision of a skin care oasis— a place of rest and restoration inside and out.

For all of us women, especially women of a certain age accustomed to giving so much of ourselves, we need that kind of rejuvenation.

Merri has asked me to help her with her marketing and, since we are both women in a troubled economy starting businesses, we will exchange services instead of cash.

So tomorrow I will get my first ever facial at Lucha Bella. (Lucha Bella web site)

And I wonder if Merri would appreciate these words of wisdom from my mother-in-law… when asked the secret to her successful leadership she responded:

Sometimes I wear two different socks. Sometimes I eat a jelly doughnut.

Esther Parry

Evening reflections under a clear sky

The night air hangs crisply around me as I sit on a cold stone bench listening to the marching band.

I can see every star and that amazes me since we are in town— light pollution everywhere.

I am thoroughly exhausted. I do get scared. But I still feel, even through this lonely melancholy, so much hope and thankfulness.

It’s a hard world out there right now, and I’ve been job hunting, building a business, volunteering with a local non-profit as their communications director and fostering feral kittens— in addition to parenting not one but two teenagers.

This crazy conglomeration of circumstances has brought me a great amount of joy as I try not to disappoint these teenagers, the cockatoo, or any of the 14 cats. Oh wait— that’s 13 now. We get rehome the black one and now we have 13 cats? That can’t be good.

I’ve used some of this time under the pandemic to expand my make-up looks.

Playing with Green

And my lack of steady income has led me to search for the best bargains possible… Got this toilet paper at CVS for $3.61.

Toilet paper bargain hunting

And as the days turn cold, I found my favorite tunic nightgown and whipped out my witch socks.

In the midst of this I think of all the friends who’ve lent a helping hand… the former work colleague who sent $20 and said “do something for yourself,” the college friend who sent a random check, my estranged husband who brought over groceries when I needed them, the new friend who gave me a $25 Dunkin gift card and showed me how to apply for food stamps, the friend who emptied her cupboards, the friend who waxed my brows and did my nails…

And I am so grateful.

My food stamps came in, and tomorrow I planned to go grocery shopping.

And much to my surprise another benefactor came forward today.

These will pay for what food stamps won’t— soap, garbage bags, cat food, cat litter, maybe even a rotisserie chicken. And I won’t have to wait for $9 in Extra Bucks, a 40% off coupon, and a manufacturer coupon to go get toilet paper.

I think about my job hunt (I have three pre-interview kind of situations happening this week. Interviewing in Covid is a weird combo of essay tests, screening questions, phone calls and video chats.)

And I’ve been touring office spaces with ASPIRE to Autonomy so seeing their vision become a reality makes me happy.

I have five interns that report to me now… I love seeing them grow.

And I have a new marketing client. Most of our work together will probably be in trade as she is starting a new small business.

I still feel like something good is on the horizon.

Adieu dear Hades, enjoy the freedom

Fostering is not for the feint of heart.

The teenager and I applied to be foster parents for feral kittens through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab at the end of July.

We received our first litter July 31— a little faster than we expected. That litter was about 3 months old (the same age as our newest litter) and consisted of 5 spunky but sickly kittens. By August 2, I was in the hospital for a cat bite.

Trial by fire, I guess.

There was only one all black kitten in that litter of tabbies. Two were lovely silver tigers. Two were brown tabbies with lots of white.

Since we wanted to name them after Greek Gods, we quickly decided the black one, regardless of gender, would be Hades.

Hades had bad eye infections and bit me, piercing me with one tooth, while I was trying to give her meds. It was my first time in nearly a decade scruffing a kitten. I’m used to scruffing my 15 lb adult cats.

Hades never trusted people. She would never let me closer than 2 feet away. Yet, if I sat still she would come up to about 18 inches away from me and cock her head inquisitively.

Sometimes she slept in the top bunk with the other kittens, but most of the time she hid in the corner.

And then she got ringworm. We crated her to try and give her meds. She would not let us. And every day she got more aggressive.

So we talked to our FURR foster godmother. Together the three of us decided it was time to transition Hades to a barn cat.

Today we transferred Hades to godmother’s house where she will have her ringworm treated and continue the process to become a barn cat.

We all hope the open space is what she needs to be happy.

Kitten Wrangling

I am a big believer that things tend to sort themselves out and some things the universe takes care of.

Zeus and Apollo

I got up at 6:15 a.m., tending to my four cats; then I turned my attention to the four new 3-pound fosters in the Roman Pride, trapped by Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab.

They had did a number on the crate. I let them out to roam the small mud room while I prepped their breakfast and decided what to do. YouTube: Roaming Fosters

Today was the first Wilson Warrior home football game, and the teens had to hustle and bustle to get there. I did not get a ticket because of my commitment to get the Greeks to PetSmart for kitten adoption day.

I got the Roman kittens corralled into their crate and the teenager #1 situated their litter and gave some of them a little bath since they ended up sitting in poop.

Ah, the joys of babies.

By some miracle the teens got to the game on time dragging instruments, one gallon thermal jugs, masks, uniforms, lunches and goodness knows what else!

I came home and gulped down a quick cup of coffee with my neighbor before hanging kitten blankets on the laundry line (Hmmmm…. as a kitten foster for a non-profit does that make laundry and dishwashing expenses partially tax deductible?)

Ah, the joys of babies.

I went up to the teenager’s room to grab Zeus and Apollo of the Greek Pride and take them to PetSmart. (Video: Off to PetSmart)

Forget rodeos with bulls and cowboys, kitten wrangling should be a sport or at least count as aerobic exercise. Seriously, how many calories does that burn?

Ah, the joys of babies.

As I arrive, I get a text. No adoption fair today. But at the same time, a mom with the sweetest sleepy baby boy expressed disappointment that there are no kittens today.

I just happen to have two.

Within seconds, we are standing at register three cuddling Zeus. The woman I am speaking to wants a female kitten for her family as their large dog passed away I believe three months ago.

She starts to consider asking her husband to adopt both kittens. But she’s not sure it will fly. He comes in and holds Zeus. They both scritch scritch Apollo.

They take the information I share with them and I hope— pretty pretty please— that they consider Zeus or her and her brother.

If you are reading this lovely people with two sons…

In the end, you need to follow your instincts on what is best for your family but… if I can persuade you…

Four Reasons Why Two (Sibling) Kittens are Better Than One

  1. They have never been an only cat. They only know life as part of their litter. They will cry less and the transition will be less frightening if they are together.
  2. They entertain each other. Kittens can get bored and/or lonely, and if they have a sibling they will attack each other instead of your furniture or your houseplants.
  3. They have a bond like human siblings that will entertain you. When they play it will be no holds barred. If one is sleeping, the other has no issue walking up and biting him in the butt just because. They sleep in a pile. Get enough kittens and you can’t tell where one starts and the next begins. They communicate with each other, which is heart warming.
  4. If they look alike— and Zeus and Apollo have only minor differences— you can have fun confusing friends, family and neighbors.

And the football game…

I couldn’t go because I didn’t have a ticket, but I walked over and got really lame footage of the band playing Hail to the Warriors (Hail on YouTube) and the National Anthem (Star spangled banner on YouTube).

Soccer Music

Time to embarrass the teens!

Teenager 1 & Teenager 2 attend a small public high school with some stellar education and arts programs. They are both in marching band. #1 plays baritone and #2 plays a base drum.

Many of their peers in marching band play sports so the group has a tradition — when each sport one (or more) of their camarades have “senior night” in their respective sports, as many band members as possible cart home their instruments and go to the game to play.

Today was Senior Night in Women’s Soccer. Teen #1 boldly stepped up to play tuba parts on her baritone and carry the low brass section.

And teen #2 not only banged that drum, but she motivated the teenager #1 to go to the event. And to practice.

YouTube Videos

Practicing smoke on the water at home

Drum Line

Hang on Sloopy

Hey Baby