Shopping is different now

My teenager wanted junk food and wanted out of the house so she accompanied her father grocery shopping. At Target. Her choice.

I made her a list, downloaded the Target Circle app to her phone, logged her into my account and loaded all my coupon.

We weren’t at the point where we needed groceries, but if things are going to get scarce, I want to be ready. I’m not hoarding but I’m trying to stay ahead of what people want next.

I use a lot of bleach, white vinegar, Borax powder and baking soda when I clean because of all the animals so I asked her to grab them if she saw them.

Flour, cooking oil, tuna fish, peanut butter. Things like that. Well, tuna is getting more scarce so I asked her to get canned chicken. It was that or the expensive tuna. Next time we’ll grab some Spam.

She even nabbed a bottle of acetaminophen— PM. But hey, if I need the acetaminophen I might need sleep, too.

This morning for breakfast we had the last of our homemade crepes, turkey bacon, scrambled egg and smoked Gouda (with pickles).

The teenager and I FaceTimed my parents— which was a riot because I don’t think they ever FaceTimed before so they were struggling with the camera angles and my stepmom was showing me pages from her cookbook while my daughter chased cats around the house.

And then I got a text. My prescription was ready at CVS.

The teen and I had a 30% off coupon expiring today so we walked the half mile to the pharmacy. I got my prescription. We got a bottle of acetaminophen without sleep aid. And she got a gallon of Arizona iced tea. We got some other impulse buys that included a strawberry Twinkie, which resulted in a very silly video of us:

Taste test of the Strawberry Twinkie

Pet update: The down low of home quarantine with a crazy cat/bird lady menagerie (and a teenager)

Some of this might be repeat for my regular followers, but I thought it would be nice to compile some of the animal news here.

Lord knows happy pet news can be beneficial to everyone’s spirits.

Oz

Opie and Oz, our two male tiger stripe cats, both turned 9 this month. Nine! The teenager and I raised Oz—the big, dumb, cuddly teddy bear—from a three-month-old kitten rescued from the local animal shelter.

The teenager, then turning seven, wanted an older pug but her father said no dogs and certainly not a pug. So we explored the kittens, basically because my husband trusted me more raising cats.

Oz was one of several kittens from a litter the animal shelter named after Pepsi products and his original name was Dasani. Oz was the tiniest kitten with the biggest damn paws. He grew into a big cat, with an even bigger docile personality.

The teenager named him after The Wizard of Oz but also after Scott Green’s werewolf character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then her favorite TV show.

I made the decision to put Oz down when he was three because he had recurring urinary crystals and we couldn’t afford the $1000+ surgery he needed to flush the crystals out of his urethra or the even more expensive surgery to cut off his penis and make him a bigger hole to pee from so he could pass future crystals.

Luckily, the veterinary practice had a young vet who had never performed the surgery and offered to use him as a test case for $600. At that point, that is what I was almost spending to put him down. I think it was $200 more expensive that killing him. So I took the deal.

That’s why Oz can only eat wet food.

And Oz had a fear of drinking water— because he associated it with the pain of passing the crystals when he urinated.

He has since learned to drink lots of water.

But he still has an obsessive desire to eat kibble.

Opie

Opie, our other male cat, is a major badass. Super loyal. Super cat-like. Some cats act more like stereotypical cats that others. Opie is pure feline.

In addition to a birthday this month, Opie also celebrates the one year anniversary of his leg amputation. Opie is a kitty cat bone cancer survivor.

We took Opie in when he was seven months old after friends rescued him from a feral mama. They had planned to keep him but their other cats picked on him.

Oz was still a kitten at the time and the two got along beautifully and look very similar.

Opie is on the top, Oz to the right, Fog left

Opie was our head mouser, but the kittens might give him a challenge.

Mistofelees (Misty)

Misty was the first of three kittens my daughter trapped between late December and late January. They were born probably in late October under my neighbor’s porch.

Misty was the runt. When the others went out to hunt with Mama, he stayed behind.

My daughter worked very hard to tame him and earn his trust.

I think Misty is on the right

We trapped the kitten that later got naked Smoky next. The neighbor named it. And it found a good home. But now a theme was developing.

Fog

Fog was the last one trapped. I named her to fit the theme. She was on her own for about two weeks after Smoky. She would reach into the trap from the side, slip her paw into the food and ladle it out of the trap lick by lick.

When we reunited her with her brother, my heart melted and I couldn’t give her up.

The Budgies: Boo, Wink and Yo

Peek-a-Boo (Boo-boo), so named because she was so spastic when she came home we thought she had a hurt wing, is the dominant bird in the group. And the fattest. She is pure yellow.

The teenager bought her and Periwinkle (Wink) for me as a Christmas present. Wink is the pale blue bird and the most skittish of the group. She and Boo were bonded from the pet store.

I added Yo-Yo (Yo) to the group last fall because I really wanted a traditional green parakeet and to add a male. He is vivid green with some yellow and this amazing navy blue tail.

The teenager made a lot of progress hand-feeding them but hasn’t maintained the training.

And that leaves… Nala.

Nala

Nala is a four-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo with a lot of attitude. I have no large bird experience but she took to me. We brought her home in early January.

She can be very obstinate, which is very common in cockatoos, but we are progressing well.

In the beginning, toweling too often became necessary to keep her from being too aggressive but now that we have learned more about each other it is easier for me to work with her and I can often get her to do something she really doesn’t think is fair— like go to bed—without even threatening to towel her.

It helps that I finally found a treat she can’t resist. She turns her nose up at everything.

She’s displaying a new behavior that I call the “step up” noise and she uses it when she wants to confirm my step up command or is asking me to come get her or sometimes as a demand, like when I won’t let her have my coffee.

Here’s a video from yesterday:

Nala says, “step up.”

Just another Saturday

I woke up this morning worried about things I can’t control, and to a cat coughing up a hairball somewhere in the darkness of my room. It was 4 a.m. and to get myself back to sleep, I keep imagining a cleansing white light.

I imagined the white light getting brighter and brighter. It filled my house, came up my stairs and saturated my room. It brought me calm and helped me get to sleep.

I finally gave up on sleep around 7 a.m. but laid in bed until 7:30. I got up, fed the cats, started a load of laundry and cared for the birds.

Then I finished the first season of Hell’s Kitchen while folding clean laundry and hanging wet wash.

I had a piece of toast, put dishes away, washed the pots and pans, and scrubbed the kitchen counter (even the trivet and the toaster— have to periodically get those crumbs out of the toaster.)

And I found what could be very handy if COVID-19 ends up in my neighborhood: a bottle of Hibiclens the doctor told the teenager to use in the shower before her surgery in November.

My college professor neighbor and I had coffee on her porch, while I was clad in my African dress that I bought in Djibouti for my trip to Somalia.

I vacuumed the sun porch. Did some necessary paperwork. Gave Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, a shower. Scrubbed the tub, but not as well as I would have liked.

But I didn’t strip my bed or play with my new make up.

This evening my other neighbor took us to dinner at La Bella’s as a thank you for watching her dog.

Amazing Bread

The teenager decided to compliment our server every time she came to the table. I had chicken penne vodka. The child had seafood spaghetti vodka. The portions were ginormous and the seafood seemed good. I’m not a seafood fan.

See those bumpy calamari?

I think I’ll have enough leftovers for TWO lunches. As with the teen. And my neighbor. And then my neighbor took us to Owwowcow for ice cream. I got cinnamon bourbon.

The food was scrumptious but made me sad because I’m still having mild dental issues. My neighbor is looking at a root canal so we’re a good pair.

And now we’re home. Roomba is vacuuming my bedroom.

The teen is trying cone incense for the first time. She tried to pick natural varieties that wouldn’t burn my eyes and sinuses. She asked me what to burn, so we went for the cleansing sandalwood— vanilla sandalwood to be exact.

I used to use sandalwood soap to bathe before I practiced rituals and vanilla is a very pure, comforting flavor and scent to me.

I asked the teen, who now has her own altar with her own selected candles on it, why do you burn incense?

She answered, “because it clears my sinuses and helps me focus.”

Good girl, I thought.

Grateful

This week has been awful but beautiful.

When things get harder, I have to see the magic in the world.

A coworker brought muffins and French butter from Wegmans.

Another coworker came over for a grapefruit margarita.

My daughter and I didn’t see eye-to-eye, but I know she knows I love her and I’m proud of her.

The kittens…

Fog and Mist(ofelees)

And Nala has played with all her toys, she hasn’t plucked recently and went to sleep without someone in the room with her.

Thank you to everyone who supports me.

An average day

This will be a walk through my day today, a tad random, a tad sporadic.

This will include lots of silly animal posts.

But let’s start with my alarm at 6 a.m. I let myself sleep in because my rest has been irregular. I’ve had mild bouts of insomnia brought on by stress and hormones so it was hard to get out of bed.

A French Dream

I woke from a dream I don’t quite fully remember but I remember when the alarm sounded, I was dreaming that I had reached the end of some sort of tour, while on a trip, and was ordering alcoholic beverages for everyone in my party in French. I think I was the only person who spoke French. And I really was speaking French. I don’t usually speak French in dreams.

Perhaps this stems from my executive director eating a vegetable sandwich on a croissant at the networking event we attended last night.

Speaking of work, today started better and I feel a little less discombobulated about my job. I have an important report due Friday and three grants I need to have ready by Valentine’s Day.

Then the high school called.

An automated message informed me that my child was not in school. Text to teenager, who left at 7:15 with a heavy backpack. “You in school?”

No response.

(A sign that she is in school and not on her phone.)

“The school just called. They don’t think you’re there.”

She responds. “Sh*t. I must have forgotten to sign in.”

I tell her to fix that and to text me a photo from the school office holding today’s newspaper. She didn’t respond to my comment, though she did tell me she talked to the attendance office.

I had lunch with a friend who always lightens my spirit and has intelligent conversation. I’ve worked so many hours this week, I need to remember to make these connections.

And you always need those friends who give good hugs. A friend who bakes brownies is also good.

The afternoon went quickly and I decided my teenager and I would have a picnic. I took the leftover pizza from last night and a big old salad and we ate it on my bed with all the animals out, normally (to my chagrin) the kittens are locked in my teenager’s room.

Menagerie tales

So the kittens ran through the whole house, up and down the stairs, up and down the hall.

And, of course, Nala, the cockatoo, refused to eat salad in favor of pizza. Video of Nala eating pizza

Then I hung laundry and watched Opie, our 3-legged cat, play with the kittens.

Videos:

Misty attacks Opie

Opie and the kittens

My sore arm and the gym

I opted not to go to the gym as I’m still not sure I’ve recovered my strength. That fall scared me. A lot.

(See Grit and getting published on The Mighty.)

I have noticed my right arm has that vaguely sore feeling like after you get an inoculation. I couldn’t figure out why. Then I remembered, I fell on that arm. And I also noticed a bruise on my elbow. And a new bruise and scratch on my leg.

Finally

After teenager and I gathered the trash, I hopped in the shower. I found the teen “trapped” on my bed with an Oz on her back.

And now I’m drinking a double stiff mug of Traditional Medicinals Nighty Nite Valerian tea.

It must be January

The gym is really crowded.

The teenager asked to go to the gym and I didn’t want to go but I went. All I did was 10 minutes on the bike. But I came and that is something.

That’s enough for me right now.

As a parent, I told the teenager I would never say no if she wanted to drag me to the gym.

My yellow budgie, Peek-a-Boo (whom we nicknamed Boo-Boo), had an episode of night fright last night and woke me up at 4:30. I had gone to bed shortly after nine, so I had trouble falling back to sleep.

I ended up doing some writing for work. When the house is still and your mind is fresh, it’s amazing how easily ideas flow. Even if it is 5 a.m.

I packed my yogurt, fruit and granola parfait for lunch, substituting some chocolate Fontina brand Christmas cookies for breakfast. Lunch didn’t happen until 1:45 so that didn’t help my fatigue.

NALA

But I got some amusing text messages when my daughter got home from school. I had set Nala up with her new toys, fresh fruit and romaine and Hulu set to hours of Sesame Street.

My daughter went to check on her, which says a lot about how far their bond has come as a week ago my teenager was afraid of Nala and vice versa.

Today I got a text that the teenager planned on offering Nala tea. This photo followed:

And it looks like Nala did not pluck today. Now Nala was also glad to see me when I got home, though we had a disagreement about where Nala was going to sit while I ate dinner.

I think Nala thought my plate was her plate. So I ended up with a pretty pointed beak stab in the middle of my middle finger.

DINNER

The teenager says she’d like to lean toward vegetarianism. So we’ve reduced the amount of meat we buy.

Last night’s dinner was homemade mozzarella that my neighbor received as a Christmas gift, spinach, a Pillsbury flaky buttermilk biscuit, two poached eggs and imitation bacon bits.

Tonight’s dinner was “Greek Night.” I made that up. It’s a mess of stuff from the cupboards. But it doesn’t qualify as vegetarian, only pescatarian.

I made a green salad of chopped romaine lettuce, two kinds of olives, the mozzarella again, and avocado. I added two prepared Greek Salads from Lidl: one a giant white bean salad and the second a tomato-based lentil salad. I also served “calamari fries” from Lidl, which are basically thick chunks of potato somehow mixed with calamari.

The teenager had her salad with light ranch dressing. I had mine with a Whole 30 approved balsamic vinaigrette. I made a salad for lunch tomorrow (but didn’t include the calamari). That’s the featured photo for this entry.

Well, now for the amazing part of this entry.

BEDTIME

Last night I tried to put Nala to bed at 6:30 and sit downstairs so she could sleep. Just like a baby, she screamed for Mommy. I returned to my room, and watched TV on my iPad in the dark just load enough so she knew I was here.

Tonight I put her to bed at 6:30, left my pink night light on, covered her and went to the gym.

When I came back an hour later, she didn’t even rustle. I’m tiptoeing around my room as not to wake her.

Goodnight, Nala.

The joys so easy to miss

If you’ve read some of this blog, you probably know that I have a relatively new job in a brand new field that is giving me tremendous potential to grow as an individual and a professional. It’s challenging and rewarding and it allows me to do some good in the world.

But in any new job there comes a learning curve and change can be exhausting. On top of my career change, my husband and I separated six months ago.

So that’s another part of my life in flux.

Last night, I went to the podiatrist as my toe has been bothering me. It’s the same toe on which I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell almost 2 years ago. I also broke that ankle 4 years ago now.

I was fairly certain I just had a blister in a weird spot that went a little wrong but with my cerebral palsy I didn’t want to take chances.

When I got to the doctor, after waiting a week to get the appointment, I realized I forgot my wallet. Luckily I had ways to pay them and my daughter texted me the information in my wallet but that stressed me.

And then the doctor trimmed my toe nails and removed all the pretty nail polish from my recent pedicure. Now I know that is something he needed to do, but it made me very very sad.

Then he prescribed me an antibiotic because it looked like the toe did have a blister, got infected, and maybe it was going to be fine but why take the chance.

So I had to go home, get my wallet, and go to CVS.

My daughter came with my and as we waited, read this joke book to me:

I laughed at a few, despite my best attempts not to.

When they built the Great Wall of China where did they go for supplies?

Wall-Mart

And then she begged for the book, and the cashier pointed out I had a 30% off coupon on my CVS card so now we own a $3 joke book.

And she’s been reading me jokes ever since.