Monday gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

  1. My local school district providing grab and go lunches for our kids in urban food deserts or in families facing unemployment during this pandemic.
Sample Grab and Go Meal

2. Living in a neighborhood where my neighbors and/or their dogs love to take random walks.

3. The view from my parents’ deck in the Pocono Mountains. Nothing like an after dinner coffee with your dad, admiring the horizon.

Happy Monday!

Mama cat, part 2

Whelp, the joke was on us.

Our sweet Mama cat was a neutered male.

What seemed like an awkward baby belly was primordial pouch.

I tried Facebook again to find his owners, but at 5 pm he will be headed to the cat sanctuary.

But that cat looked like Mama.

Explains why it acted differently toward us than in our past experiences.

And the cat was sent off in our biggest cat carrier so now we don’t have enough for all our pets should we have to transport everyone.

So Mama did not get surgery today.

Mama Cat, part 1

Last July, this small grey and white cat appeared in my neighbor’s yard. She was so small we thought she might be a kitten.

We tried to catch her— to no avail.

She disappeared as quickly as she came. A few mouth’s later she returned to my neighbor’s house.

But disappeared again.

Two months later, three solid grey tiny kittens appeared on her doorstep. It took about six weeks, but we trapped them.

The first was Mistofelees, now nicknamed Misty, the runt of the litter who always stayed behind when Mama and the others went out hunting.

They all lived under my neighbor’s porch.

We started feeding them, and got a trap as the December nights got colder and wetter.

Misty was terrified and for two weeks lived on our enclosed, heated sun porch.

Eventually, my daughter won his trust and he moved to her bedroom.

The second we nicknamed Smoky. Another neighbor found a home for it.

Fog was last at the end of January— he was so damn smart. We reunited him with his brother in the teen’s room and the two immediately snuggled up together.

I couldn’t bear to separate them.

Fog would not let anyone handle him, but after a while he started appreciating sitting next to a human on the couch or a good chin scratch.

Mama’s boys yesterday

Last weekend, I noticed Mama at the neighbor’s house again and she looked heavy.

I warned my neighbor.

On Tuesday, Mama walked up to the teenager and let us bring her home. She appears to be very pregnant. Someone in the next block has been feeding her.

I made a post on our neighborhood Facebook page but no one claimed her.

“Mama”

We bathed her, combed her, cleaned her ears and gave her expensive flea medicine.

Someone on Facebook recommended someone who has a cat rescue and can get her spayed.

We contacted that person and they can get her spayed today. We asked if we could foster her until the kittens are born as the organization finds them all good homes.

We were told yes.

A few hours later, we received a text that one of their regular foster family’s may take her.

This made us sad.

I feel like Mama wanted to have her kittens with us, because she has seen us raise her other kittens.

But I don’t have the money to get her spayed and her health assessed. Today is my last day of work and I already have too many cats.

So a new life awaits Mama.

Casual Update

There’s so much good activity in my life right now — I’ve been too busy to catch everyone up.

  • My last day at work is tomorrow and my colleague, Mr. Accordion, is coming over tonight.
  • I have been working hard publicizing Aspire to Autonomy’s upcoming events, and they have given me the title of Communications Director. I am working with a fantastic intern on public relations and I think, I hope, she is having fun.
  • Gayle, the teenager and I, went for a nice walk in Easton Cemetery last night. Every time I go up there I find more cool things!
  • Gayle, the teenager and I went to Porter’s Pub last night after the walk and they let me eat all the “stinky cheese.” Gayle bought me a very delicious salted caramel chocolate porter from Saucony Creek. To celebrate new beginnings!
  • I cashed in my free medium 2-topping pizza from Dominos.
  • I’ve been making Nala puzzles every morning to try and keep her busy.
  • We found someone that can get Mama cat spayed for free. (Did I mention we were out on a walk and our kittens’ mama came to us and we brought her home. She’s pregnant. Again.) We thought the organization would let us foster her and her kittens until they found homes… but now we’re being told they might keep her. So we are a tad sad.
  • And for multiple days in a row I have made 10,000 or more steps a day!

Drumstick Blizzard

This is a review of the new drumstick blizzard.

But at the end of the post, there will be a bit of bad news explaining why I had said blizzard. But let’s focus on the good. Because that’s how I roll.

The teenager and I skipped breakfast and went to Dairy Queen for lunch with Nala, the Goffin’s Cockatoo.

The Drumstick Blizzard

The latest blizzard creation from Dairy Queen is the drumstick blizzard with chunks of deep fried chicken in ice cream. Just kidding.

In reality…

They crushed up bits of Drumstick ice cream cones and peanuts! So good. Very similar to a Snickers Blizzard but not as chewy. The ice cream cone pieces were crunchy and tasty.

And Nala enjoyed her French fries.

So now I have 503 reward points at DQ which is enough for a free 4 piece chicken strip basket.

What I struggle to understand is what is this super bendy straw for?

So, now the bad news… I was informed today that my last day with the non-profit agency where I work will be July 10. That’s why I had a Blizzard.

Here’s to the next chapter. I had a great time learning a lot of new skills in a field that was brand new to me. I had a lot of good experiences and made a lot of new friends and new connections. I look forward to finishing out next week with the team, and I wish the agency the best in the future.

Friday Fluidity

So, I emailed Chewy about the bird seed explosion in my package and they are mailing me a replacement. See today’s earlier entry for details. (Cockatoo Mischief)

The teenager and I had made special plans as she just turned 16 years old and she was excited to donate blood.

My pulse clocked in at 102, and the cut-off to donate is 100. So I was disqualified.

Then they couldn’t find a vein on the teenager.

We were both very disappointed.

And, as the final culinary stop of her birthday tour, she asked for KFC.

And then we went to Into the Myst in downtown Bethlehem, where the teenager stocked up on her incense and is seriously debating a silver pentacle pendant adorned with amethyst. I think it would be a good protection amulet for her.

Then for dinner we visited our favorite familia—and on the way to their house the teenager and I discussed our ideas about what happens after death.

Our favorite familia features my charming writer friend with her Judeo-Catholic French-Celtic California roots and her also charming Puerto Rican husband and their crazy animals and now 90% adult children who have grown into impressively beautiful adults with wicked intellects.

Over grilled chicken and various types of potatoes, diverse conversation on employment, dog training, travels, the NSA, Sartre, customizing shoes, Russian Blue Cats, Russia, philosophy… flowed effortlessly with sprinkles of laughter.

The teenager remarked that she always admires how we don’t catch up with them for years, but the energy always feels like we’re best friends.

And they have a big dog.

And then we had cake and coffee.

Cockatoo mischief

I knew when I brought home a cockatoo that there would be lots of frustration in my future.

Having a cockatoo— even a small Goffin’s cockatoo like my Nala— is like having a bratty toddler with a teenager’s sharp mind and destructive attitude.

So it takes a special person to coexist with that for the next 40 years.

I recently rearranged the bird cages and Nala was not happy with me— the teenager pointed out that I moved her house to a new neighborhood and put the parakeets where her spot was.

Oops.

I also thought she would no longer be prone to eating my cork boards.

Oops again.

Apparently she not only ate the cork boards, but the items on them. She hid the stickers I had collected and periodically gets them out to destroy them.

I hope I found them all.

Additionally, I ordered one of her favorite toys from Chewy.com. And parakeet food. Cat food. And a new treat.

The pineapple popcorn treats are new. So far she is refusing them. I tasted one. I thought it was good. She also refuses the yogurt dipped seeds. I like them too. The healthy bits treats are her favorite. She adores them.

But the parakeet food exploded… so I have bird seed everywhere.

Why I need my lucky shirt: a typical day when you’re eccentric and have cerebral palsy

The best stories start with “it began as a typical day,” but in this case it did not.

The teenager turned 16 on Tuesday and my employer had scheduled our annual meeting for Tuesday so I planned to take off today and tomorrow to celebrate with my offspring.

With Coronavirus changing everything I could have taken Monday and Tuesday instead.

Last night, I curled up in bed with a gin cocktail and watched some more of Harlan Coben’s: The Five on Netflix. (Mini review: my friend, brow maintenance person and nail tech Beth recommended the show—and I am enjoying what I feel is edgy cinematography, rapid paced story telling, complex writing, and realistically complicated and tragic characters. It’s like watching a comic book.)

So I got to bed later than I normally do and I slept a little better than I normally do. I fed the kittens, made coffee, started laundry and finagled a cake carrier into the dishwasher.

After a cup of my favorite Archer Farms Direct Trade Cafe Mosaica from Target on my breezy enclosed sun porch, I slapped some clothes on… and ended up trying to accessorize a basic outfit.

Which is funny because I was going to pick up Nan, who is blind and won’t see my efforts anyway.

And then I was surprised to find out that the teenager made me breakfast— a mini bagel with greens, cucumber and fresh bacon.

After we worked on some poetry, Nan and I went to Lidl. And I took her home.

When I arrived home, the teenager informed me that her plan for today involved not wearing pants. So after a brief respite, I went to Wendy’s for a Frosty-ccino.

That was when the real adventure began.

I decided to take Nala, my four-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo who joined the family in January. Now, recently we took Nala to Dunkin Donuts to try hash browns and that went well.

And this is how she did: Nala at Dunkin

And we had taken Misty, our kitten, to Wendy’s (Kitten at Wendy’s ) so why not a bird?

So I ordered my Frosty-ccino and a junior fry for my baby girl bird on the mobile app and got into the drive thru lane. And then I did what we all do in this day and age. I took a selfie.

That’s when I realized Nala had pooped on me in fear. And I had no wipes in the car. Green bird droppings now stained my white t-shirt and Nala was walking in the mess.

But everyone in the drive thru window loved her— three employees cooed at her from afar.

I pulled into a parking space and offered her a French fry and she was too scared to eat it. I drove her home, put the car in the garage, gathered the waste and the food and started up toward the house.

Now, the teenager’s father moved some heavy original doors from the house across the garage so he could use my great grandmother’s hutch in his apartment. He did this a couple week’s ago. The doors block a portion of the stairs.

I got tangled up on the stairs/with the doors and fell, to the left onto the doors to avoid smashing Nala who was on my right shoulder.

I almost spilled my coffee and French fries fluttered like hail.

But luckily Nala is a bird, and a forager, so she doesn’t mind a little dirt. I gather them all carefully and climb up from the floor, some contusions and cuts causing minor pain.

I bump the doors and they almost fall on me. This time the French fries scatter to the four winds.

I notice how much blood and dirt cover me and I head inside to discover Nala has pooped even more.

I set her down.

I remove my shirt. White tee shirt. Vivid blood. Green poop.

I wash up and count my blessings— I was very close (too close) to breaking an arm.

I put on my lucky shirt once I cleaned up.

Addendum: I posted this link on my LinkedIn profile and wrote this introduction as to why I felt this piece was important especially as part of a discourse on social justice.

I don’t like to admit I have a disability— #cerebralpalsy. But it’s important to note that with all the stereotypes and institutionalized ideas people have about “others,” whether other cultures, races, religions, sexualities, identities, educational or social class (the list goes on and on), for those of us who have tried to “pass” as “normal” or “mainstream,” our experience is difficult. As all life is difficult to one degree or another. But if you are obviously “different” and you can’t “pass,” those notions of who you are based on quick judgments can be catastrophic. Or lead to people doing harm to you or someone you love. #blacklivesmatter

In that context, allow me to share with you what a typical day looks like for me. Warning— I end up bleeding by the end of it. Different isn’t inferior. Or threatening.

Sunday morning solace

Later, I will do my review of the June 2020 Ipsy Glam bag. Probably today. No promises.

(But if you’re really into cosmetics and need to see an unboxing— here’s the YouTube video: June 2020 Glam Bag unboxing)

Because it’s Sunday. Sunday should be about family, pets, lovers or your religion. Wherever you find your peace and your wholeness.

With life bringing most people new challenges in 2020, and my life was no exception even before the Coronavirus pandemic (which is another discussion) and the much-needed societal realization that we have some major institutionalized issues in this country regarding race and other types of minorities.

But fear, and hope, and pluck, are all great equalizers. When emotions rise, it can lead to change and fight and passion.

I let the parakeets free fly this morning, which means Nala, my cockatoo, wanted yo stay with them and harass them and steal their food. (I think she has a chip on her shoulder that they can fly and she can’t.)

Opie, our three-legged cancer surviving cat, got out yesterday and returned for breakfast today.

I’m sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee and some of the edible cookie dough my teenager daughter made yesterday. All four cats swirling around me.

It’s Flag Day, so I should raise Old Glory, but I’m too short to reach our flag post.

And I’m about to do my morning journal entry, hang the laundry on the clothesline and read some of The Fault in Our Stars. It’s the teenager’s favorite book and “the only book school couldn’t ruin.”

Why do Sundays end with stress? If Mondays bring so much anxiety, isn’t it a sign our outdated work system is killing us?

Wondering… wondering…

How can we survive better?

A Foggy Itch

This post is about some some difficulties…

Nothing serious. The day-to-day realities of life.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the teenager had some medical issues. I have a dental appointment for an adjustment to my crown that was a mild nightmare before the Coronavirus pandemic. That’s on the 17th.

My favorite kitten got out and was missing for 24 hours this week. Thanks to all my neighbors who offered to help or kept and eye out for Fog.

So his brother, Misty, and I went walking in case Fog was afraid to come home.

Fog found his way home on his own, as cats often do. But he no longer had a collar.

In Nala news, (for those that don’t know, she’s my four-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo who joined our family in January) she has stopped plucking and has started barbering. This means she was pulling out her feathers, which, like with a teenager who “cuts,” releases endorphins that soothe. But barbering is the habit of eating the feathers but not removing them.

I hope this is a sign of progress.

This morning, the teenager and I went to Petco to get Fog a new collar (and we made sure all critters had tags with their name, address and phone—except Opie who eats his collar and since he’s microchipped AND is an amputee, we hope the neighborhood would “know” he belongs to us. He does have a tag, he just refuses to keep it on).

And we dognapped the neighbor’s sassy Maltese-Yorky for the day.

Lastly, I’m still struggling with some rather difficult itching. It’s a stress thing. The heat, stress, and my already overactive immune system (due to a myriad of pollen allergies and history of contact dermatitis) is prompting random hives. One or two, here or there, which despite daily antihistamines is getting worse not better.

Once a hive pops up, if I as much as touch it, it will stay and itch for days. I have some that won’t go on my belly, arms and butt right now. My thighs come and go.

So I post this things just to remind every one that despite what perfection people post to the internet, there are always struggles we all face, small and large.