Thursday, December 30, 2010

At least I still have my joie de vivre

I just spent about an hour reading  Texts From Last Night.  It's hilarious, but it also reminds me how much my life has changed.  I mean, when was the last time I stayed out until dawn, drunk, after trying to get a cute boy's attention?  When was the last time I dragged home hungover the day after?  When was the last time I did anything wacky?  Not recent, I'll tell you that.  For one thing, my hangover starts immediately these days.  I spent some (unrelated) time today thinking it was almost sad that when you're young and can drink a lot without too much obvious damage, you don't actually appreciate alcohol.  Now that I like good wines and beers, I can't have hardly any or I feel like crap.  Right away.

And I don't hang out trying to get cute boys' attention because I already have a man at home, and his attention isn't that hard to get.  TOTALLY LEGAL SEX.  They don't emphasize that enough when they talk about marriage.  People are all "mortgages, arguing, boredom, blahdyblahdyblah" and they leave out the part about the condoned nookie.  And the lack of STDs and remorse.  I feel that this should be emphasized more.

Also, I'm not up until dawn because I totally appreciate the value of a good night's sleep, which I did not when I was the age of most of these texters (I'm pretty sure they're in the 20-25 range..)  I figure all the fun stuff can probably happen before 9 pm, which still leaves me time to clean the litter box and read a chapter.  Not that I'm boring now.  Not that I just read a book on the legal and historical basis for the founding of Shenandoah National Park, or anything.

Okay yeah, I'm rocking the middle aged lady routines over here.  But with style, I like to think.

Crap, I don't even have style.  Joie de vivre?

TV ate my brain

Totally forgot I had a blog yesterday.  Oopsie.  I was home sick and watching tv.  TV will eat your brain.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflections on 2010

What a year.  I had a little bit of downtime today (while computers were doing things) to reflect.  It was year of big things.  I flew to Oregon.  I was away from my husband for five months.  I hiked 1350 miles.  I turned 40.  I gained a new nephew.  I found a corpse.  I got Lyme disease again.  I discovered my horse's brain.  I adopted three cats.  I flew to Colorado.

That is a lot of stuff for one year.

It has been a year of wacky changes, physically.  I lost a ton of weight while hiking, despite eating with gusto the whole time.  Then I came home and had a huge appetite and gained weight.  And then I stress ate and gained weight.  And then it was the holidays and the food was awesome and I gained weight.  Thus, I will be starting the new year with a diet.  It may or may not cause me to lose weight, but I know the attempt will at least make me feel good about myself.

Despite my Jabba-like physique, I am fairly content with myself and my health these days.  Three years of yoga has led to a significantly more happy existence.  I hardly ever have backaches anymore, and if I do it's because I've done something REALLY dumb.  As opposed to before yoga, when I could hurt myself by bending over.  Having a large hunky husband to do all the heavy lifting doesn't hurt either.

Said large hunky husband has also helped my mental state.  I'm just generally happier than I used to be.  And, data center moves excepted, less stressed.  I feel like I'm (mostly) the person I always wanted to be.  I still strive toward goals, but they are not earth shattering goals.  If I don't make it all the way it's okay.  For me, the important thing is the journey.  It's the day to day "I love you" and hugs and doing my best.  I will never be Martha Stewart, or a super model (or a regular model for that matter) or a spectacular athlete.  But I strive to keep a better house, take care of myself, and enjoy exercising.

Possibly I should strive to be a better sysadmin but frankly I think that boat has sailed.  What I am is what they get.  I ain't getting any smarter over here.  Happier, yes.  Smarter, no.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I couldn't help beating him, I'm pretty sure

JD is sick today.  (Nothing serious, Mom, don't worry.)  You have no idea how weird this is for us.  JD never gets sick.  And not only is he sick, but he's gimpy.  *I* am usually the gimpy one.  I fall off a horse, or down a mountain, or I throw my back out lifting something ridiculous.  JD is strong like bull.  He doesn't actually notice injuries trying to occur.  In fact he hurt his ankle in his sleep, so we have no idea how it happened.  My theory is I beat him up while we were both unconscious.

Also I am usually the sick one.  It is just bizarre to me to feel perfectly hale, if rotund, while my normally impervious beloved is honking his nose and talking all froggy.  And hogging the nyquil.  I have no idea what to do with him other than feed him and buy more nyquil.  I have no husband nursing experience.

I haven't gone back to reread, but didn't I predict that I would get sick over the holidays?  What with the sick children and the crowding of fellow travelers?  But no, I'm fine.  I almost wish I felt guilty about being all rosy cheeked and bouncy while JD feels like crap, but I am relishing the novelty of it.

In other news, the kittens have forgiven me for being scarce.  I spent this evening with Dory and sometimes Olli on my lap while I rewatched Eclipse with the writer's commentary.  Neither Dory nor Olli could figure out how to get the extended scenes to play.  Me neither, so we're kind of stumped.  But they're just kittens so it's not really fair to expect them to figure out how to use a remote yet.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twilight turned me into a pedophile

Oh it was nice to spend a quiet day today.  After visiting our beloved families all week, JD and I wanted a day of nothing much.

The dog woke us up.  I kept shushing her, but eventually I pried my eyes open to peer at the clock and it was 9:30!  Whoopsie!  Felt much earlier.  But Delee was coming over for breakfast so I needed to get my behind out of bed.  JD had a plan to make stuffed french toast.  He faked it, but it was pretty good anyway.  For the record, I preferred the jam to the nutella.

We opened the rest of our Christmas presents, and then I'm not really sure what happened but now it's bedtime and I have to work tomorrow.  Wah!  I'm all used to not working now.  Can't we just say it's been a good couple of decades and call it a day? 

I guess not if I want to, like, eat and have shelter and healthcare.  Sigh.

It'll be good to get back to work.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Oh, I know how part of the day passed.  It started snowing and I decided it was chili weather so I started a big old pot of chili.  It's made of miscellaneous stuff we had in the house, including a package of venison I didn't even know was in the freezer.  Bambi smells delicious, for the record.  I wasn't hungry this evening so I haven't tasted it yet.

While the chili was bubbling away I watched the Twilight Saga:  Eclipse.  Delee gave it to me for Christmas.  I hadn't seen it when it was in the theatre, so I was pretty excited to see it.  I can't wait for the last movie to come out.  I'm solidly on Team Jacob.  It makes me feel like a horrible perv because he's so young, but I can't help it.  The boy is hot.  Nevertheless I'm curious to see how they'll handle the Bella/Edward honeymoon and pregnancy scenes in Breaking Dawn.  The whole thing is kind of freaky with the superman scenario of "I can't have sex or I'll break somebody's pelvis" going on.  Superbaby pregnancy is apparently a real trial, as well.

After the movie I went back to the dvd menu and found the commentary track, and immediately started watching it again.  So far there is a lot of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson giggling.  Kristen has more interesting things to say than I expected, though.  And Robert does some funny accents.  I stopped the movie when I realized it was pretty much bedtime (already!) but I bet I resume it tomorrow.  And then I might watch the OTHER commentary.  Hee.  Ah, love me some Twilight.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Non-poseur dancing baby

I discovered a previously unknown talent today. I can make a baby dance. David, who spent the first several days of our visit in an unhappy state of mild colic / teething, today felt much better. And he wanted to DANCE. 

Now, David can't stand up yet. Or crawl. He gets from one place to another by rolling vigorously. But if you hold him up he can push up with his legs pretty well. Other kids might use the opportunity to get into trouble, reach illicit items, or try to impress the girls by taking a few steps. David, however, is using his knee bending skills to boogie down. Seriously. The boy has mad skills, as long as he gets a little help. 

So I spent a large portion of today causing my nephew to dance. He totally dug it, as evidenced by his huge smile. I don't know about you but I am powerless to resist a happy baby, so we danced until my arms pretty much gave out. I bet his tiny little quads are sore too. 

I think that was the most dancing action I've seen since JD and I took a swing class. Yay for dancing babies!

Friday, December 24, 2010

OMG practically illegally yummy pancakes

Benadryl pretty much rocks. I slept so hard that I woke up with a new Mohawk and with drool on my face. I was sleeping like a rock star. Possibly I assaulted a photographer. But I got the camera so nobody can prove anything. 

The whole family went out for brunch to a restaurant called Toast. It's a breakfast and lunch only place that specializes in French toast and pancakes. Three of us got pancake flights, which involved four small stacks of your choice of pancakes. I got Smores, blueberry lemon, strawberry banana, and peach cobbler flavors. It was very much like having dessert for breakfast. Possibly the best thing in the restaurant, however, was the tree. It was decorated with slices of toast. I'd put up a picture but I'm writing on my iPhone tonight and it is not so much with the features. 

Everybody who didn't get pancakes received cold food which should not have been served cold. The worst example was the eggs Benedict. Cold hollandaise? Yikes!  So our visit had very mixed results. 

This evening the seven of us plus two more grandparents trekked out to the zoo, which was decorated to the nines with lights. You couldn't see many animals, but it was a pretty magical walk around the place. I have never seen a better light display, nor one better supplied with cotton candy. A fine evening, all in all. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coke plus Benedict plus hugs = all better

Today was a day full of love, starting from about ten AM. Prior to that it was full of a migraine and a hot "flash" that was more like an extended prairie fire. Neither one led to successful sleep, so you can imagine the cheerful and friendly mood I was in when I eventually gave up trying to rest and faced the world as represented by my husband. Isn't he lucky to be married to me, with the migraines and the bitching? I'm certain he agrees. 

His delightful self found me a diner to eat at where I could have eggs Benedict and a gallon of coke while I marinated in sorrow and Imitrex. I don't recommend either with breakfast, but eventually the synergy kicked in and I began to resemble a human being again. And then we went to see my family. 

Then, mass love and hugs and kisses and a jigsaw puzzle, and I accidentally got the pug in trouble by letting her lick me. Sorry, Nev. Didn't know it was verboten. I needed me some puppy time though. 

The day absolutely flew by. I got to talk to everybody except my brother and my oldest nephew, as usual. Some day we will have a conversation. Perhaps 2020 after everything settles down a bit?  Well, maybe 2025. I wouldn't want to rush anything. It's just that I got to talk to my brother once in 2005 and it was really nice. He turns out to be extremely articulate and intelligent. (Who knew?) and my nephew seems to be taking after him so chances are good he can do this talking thing also. Possibly after adolescence. 

I hated to leave but we all have to sleep sometime, I sincerely hope. After some Benadryl, perhaps. And aided by one of my aunt's amazing caramels, which I might have to share with my husband. Possibly there was something in our vows about it. I could have said anything, really, the whole day was a blur. 

In the morning, more family. This time I hope to marinate in less Imitrex and more baby smiles. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why I admire parents of young children

Today I spent time with my littlest niece and nephew. And while I love them dearly, they remind me why I don't want kids.  They want and need nonstop attention. It was exhausting just to watch them in action, and I wasn't even responsible for anything.  I am in awe of their parents (and by extension all parents) who live on not enough sleep, day after day. Or month after month, even. I don't do well after even one night of not enough sleep. 

Constantly having to convince kids to eat, or to rest when they're tired, is a job that goes on and on. For YEARS. How has the human race survived?  Obviously through the sacrifice of a lot of amazingly dedicated parents. 

Hey Mom? You are hereby absolved for all those times I said "Mommymommymommy" and you said "not right now" and my three year old self was offended. I totally get it now (only thirty-seven years later!)

In which I actually touch a family member

This week is all about family for me. We keep in touch (well, JD keeps in touch, mostly) but we don't actually see each other much. Around the holidays we try to make an effort to have actual face time with family members. This is especially important to me because the nieces and nephews will be kids for a limited time, and then they'll be off on their own going to college, having adventures, and raising their own families. Though I hope they'll still see their great aunt me every so often. 

So today we saw JD's mom, brother, sister in law, and the newest nephew. I had missed out on seeing David before, what with thruhiking and concomitant Lyme disease. I may have gotten the better end of the deal because now he's old enough to be fun. And large enough to drive. Man those kids grow up quick. 

Later this week we'll get to see my folks, brother, sister in law, and their daughter and two sons. This might be one of my last Christmases seeing Sandy, who is getting awfully close to leaving the nest. Maybe I'll luck out and she'll be a homebody. ;) but I can't count on that so I have to make the most of the time I get before she's a big important adult with no time for humoring aunts. Then it'll be Ian's turn, all too soon. And he already has no time for humoring aunts. He's too busy developing new daredevil stunts to show the world. So I'd say there's a good chance I can just watch him on tv. I'll point and say "Yup. That's my nephew. He sure didn't get those skills from me. "

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another excellent day

this immediately made me think of Sweth

 My day started with snuggles.  Which, not to be overly familiar, is wonderful.  Is there anything better than being warm and snuggled up against a loved one?  If  there is please don't tell me, because I'm happy this way.

I went out to see Pluto and was not thrilled with the level of ice and snow on the various passageways, so I just groomed him some.  By February I will likely be unimpressed, and think nothing of walking half a mile on ice.  But just now it gives me pause.  So instead I groomed his Rasta-mane.  He hates that.  How on earth does the horse get so many wind-knots?  I did the unforgiveable, as I do so easily.  I cut it.  Again.  I really don't get why this isn't "done".  I mean, I was always taught that you never, never cut a horse's mane unless you're banging or roaching.  But from my vantage point, it looks like pointless elitism.  I dislike elitism.  And Pluto dislikes having his mane fscked with.  And so it is cut.  If I keep it short enough it doesn't get wind knots.

This evening we went to a fairly early dinner at McCormick and Schmick's.  JD had bought me gift cards for it last Christmas.  I put them in a drawer and forgot about them.  I found them again recently and we decided to go.  We went to the National Harbor location, which was quite pretty.  And the food was outstanding.  A good time was had by all two of us.  I'd describe the food, but they have a daily changing menu so it's not like you'd be able to go there and try it.  So what's the point, then?

Anyway some of the items were seared tuna, sea scallops, sauteed spinach (a personal fave), rosti potatoes (i.e. fancy hash brown), four red wines, some kind of chocolate trio, and upside down apple pie.  And it was fabulous.  Afterward we went to the Peeps store, which I didn't even know EXISTED, let alone existed right there.  I love me some Peeps.  But we didn't buy any.  I was too full to think about buying puffy sugar.  I did, however, take pictures.

Don't worry, David, we didn't buy this for you.  But we thought about it.  Love, your relatives.

Peep of doom

I didn't care to walk or ride a horse up this

An overwhelm-ment of peeps

Me fake-smiling at a fancy dinner

Two of my favorite people

Proof that JD dresses nicer than I do

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Did I party, or did the party party me?

You know what I shouldn't do?  Drink wine until my head hurts.  It doesn't even take that much wine.  I was just at a party for five hours, and probably drank 3 glasses of wine during that time.  And my dang head hurts.

Also, I was shouting so my throat hurts.  You know it's a good party when you have to shout to the person next to you.  It wasn't loud music, either.  It was just that many people having a good time.  I talked to a number of total strangers, most of whose names I didn't get, and had a good time doing it.  For an introvert like me, that's saying something.  Liza has good taste in friends (other than me.) 

I also experienced a delicious thing new to me, which was Reuben dip.  Take the inside of a Reuben sandwich (i.e. no bread), chop it up, heat it, serve.  OMG delicious.  Normally I'd have been all over the Buffalo chicken dip, but who can resist sauerkraut?  Not me, that's who.  Everybody else agreed it was awesome.  I grilled Liza until she gave me the recipe.

Also?  Pigs in blankets.  Love pigs in blankets.

Also also?  Dogs in snuggies.

That is my super sexy jeans and hiking boot clad leg to the left.

"As seen on TV" proclaimed the box.  All I know is that is one warm looking dog.  She'll be cozy on the couch, and she'll have her paws free!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A good day, all in all.

A good night's sleep made a new woman out of me.  At least until I hauled the kittens to the vet.  Those kitties are getting *heavy*.  And Olli punctured my with one needle-like claw.  They were pronounced healthy but fat by the vet.  No more kitten food, no more free feeding.  They've only been here two weeks!  How could they get fat so fast?

On top of mutilating me, none of the kittens are speaking to me now.  As I feared, they are royally pissed about being taken to the vet.  It'll take a while for them to like me again.  Sigh.  At least they still like JD.

I spent much of my afternoon figuring out how to create new users and assign new tokens in RSA Authentication Manager.  Thrilling, I know.  Had to be done, though.  When and if we actually get the tokens, I won't have time to figure it out.  We'll need to assign the tokens ASAP and get them in the mail to their users.  The old ones expire in two weeks.  (Yikes!)  As I learn more, I am shocked by the crappy interface, support, and platform requirements of the software.  This is what happens when you're basically unchallenged in the marketplace.  Capitalism works best when somebody else is willing to have a go at it too.

I had my heart warmed a little bit recently.  My friend Shannon of Four Pillars Farm recently adopted a horse who she initially thought was a Standardbred.  He looked suspiciously Lipizzanish, so she had his DNA tested.  And he is, in fact, a Lipizzan.  Siglavy Actress I.  He could not have ended up in a better place than with Shannon, a Lipizzan breeder.

It was more of a tummy warming that I had with dinner.  JD suggested we go to Duclaw where I could get the Euphoria nut brown ale, and we could both get dinner.  It was pretty datelike.  We even held hands until food started arriving.  :)  And then after that we spent a ton of money at Petco.  Turns out new kittens need lots of stuff.  And so does an old dog.  She has her own Snuggie which should make her happy on a cold evening on the sofa.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hate it when I'm right

I was right. I hurt all over. Also I've had a crappy day, starting with the pull tab ripping off my sugar free, caffeine free, artificial sweetener free, everything free Ginger ale. Which, yes, I drink with breakfast. Don't look so superior, that latte you had isn't any better for you.

Add in engineers mistakenly deleting firewall rules, remote users trying to login to a machine with the credentials for another, snow composed of Teflon and snot, and drivers who slow to fifteen miles an hour because they see snow somewhere near a road... And you have one unhappy me.

Oh and my wiper blades froze over. Can't forget that. Icicles do a crappy job of window cleaning. By the time I got home I was looking through a five inch arc of clear glass.

And the support person who supposedly got back to me in early November, except I have no recollection of it. Good thing I didn't wait around, because the data would have been lost by now. Anyway she got in touch with me today.

I realize people have had worse days. Hell, *I* have had worse days. Nonetheless, I am done. Toast. Stick a fork in me.

The love of my life made dinner and cleaned the litter boxes. Which just shows how wonderful he is. But I already knew that. Now I'm going to watch tv and then go to bed early. Perhaps tomorrow will start more genially.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yoga class goes hardcore

Yoga kicked my ass tonight.  What with one thing and another, I haven't been to class in at least a month.  But it was not just my sorry behind being out of shape.  Others agree that it was a harder class than usual.

I don't usually "feel the burn" during yoga, nor am I shaky walking out.  I sure was today, though.  Ow.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to hurt tomorrow.

And what's worse is I won't have another class until mid-January.  It's run through the community center, and there are always weird gaps between sessions.  So any strength I may have gained today will be of no use to me because I'll just be slack again in the middle.  Yogawise, that is.  I just don't push myself as hard as my yoga teacher does.  I'll walk, and run, and maybe ride, weather permitting.  But it doesn't work the same muscles as interminable chair pose, know what I mean?

It took some doing just getting me to the class.  I know I'm not the only one who hates going out at night when it's cold.  I have a very strong desire to just stay inside and play with kittens.  Or watch tv.  Or basically do anything that is slothful and comfy.  Maybe play with kittens AND watch tv at the same time.  While eating a cookie.

Unfortunately for my sloth[1], I've been feeling generally stiff and unwieldy.  I knew I really, really needed to get back to yoga.  So I had my power bar two hours ahead of time[2] (which only made me hungry so I also had a sliver of stollen, which is JD's fault for buying it) and toddled out into the dark.  And the cold.  Have I mentioned the cold?  It's brisk.

When I wasn't running internal bitchy commentary on the cold, I took a few minutes to notice and appreciate the Christmas lights.  I love this time of year for its lights!  I was thinking about maybe taking the dog for a walk one evening so we could check out all the neighborhood lights.  Not that we live somewhere fancy with million dollar lights.  But a lot of people put up at least a few strands, and I really love to see the neighborhood looking pretty.  Plus, dogs love walkies.  Well known fact.

[1] We have every other kind of animal, why not a sloth?

[2] Because real food makes me barf in yoga class.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back off, Blue Guy

I am being tormented by the smells of something delicious cooking.  And the sad thing is, I'm pretty sure it smells better than it tastes.  Because I have never tasted anything that tastes as good as this smells.  Like coffee.  Coffee smells *fantastic*.  But the only way coffee really tastes good is if you adulterate it with sweetness and creamy flavors.

And who is tormenting me thus?  My husband.  [1]  He keeps baking.  So not only is he tormenting me, he's making me fat.  If he had not been pursuing this course for several years now, I would suspect him of fattening me up for something.  Such as cannibalism.  But so far, he has not eaten any of my parts in any digestible way, so that must not be it.

Not that I'm complaining [2] but if you thought it was hard getting through *your* holiday season without putting on any weight, you have no idea what you're talking about.  Because you don't live with HWDATC.[3]  He is nonstop with the yummy food.  That's year round, but when it gets cold out he takes it up a notch.  And he starts baking.  If you can resist this, you are stronger than me.  I have good intentions, but round about cookie variation five, I cave in.  And then I elbow the Cookie Monster off the pile and they are MINE!  MINE I TELL YOU!

Anyway, it smells good in here tonight.

[1] You always hurt the ones you love.

[2] I am totally complaining.  But with love.

[3] He Who Does All The Cooking[4]

[4] Except when I cook.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My evening in pictures

The nearly invisible Nazca blob

My beloved

Our Leader, Andy


Trying to confine the thruhike to a corner of the guest room

My stash of gifts, safe from Dory

The little tree on a table - so far safe from kittens

The big tree.  NOT safe from kittens.

Festive no?  And yet homey, with the dinged up paint.
And a bonus video of Dory and Ollie, who wouldn't hold still for pictures

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stocking stuffers for your thruhiker

Someone you love going on a thruhike?  Don't know what to get them?  Here are some ideas.

$14  Long handled titanium spoon (the plastic ones don't hold up).  Good for getting down into ziplock dinners without getting your hands all nasty.

$45 Petzl Zipka Plus Headlamp - plenty bright, plus red light for at night so you don't blind everybody.

$18  Swiss Army knife.  Use the knife to slice cheese.  Use the scissors for everything else.

~$6 No link, but go to Walmart.  Go into the garage/car section.  Buy a 50' length of lightweight nylon utility cord, in a bright color like red or yellow.  It should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch diameter.  It makes an excellent bearbag line.  It's bulky but lightweight and doesn't tangle or mildew.  Should have a weight strength of 75 lb or so.

$27 Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Gloves.   Comfy, washable, easy to get in and out of.

$8 to $13 (or free if you have Reflectix to make it yourself) A pot cozy.  Keeps the contents of the pot hot after you cook.  Can be used to continue cooking your food after your stove burns out.  Technically doesn't fit in a stocking, but..

$12 An alcohol stove.  This one is nice because you can sit your pot right on it.

$3 Mosquito headnet.  Nearly weightless, and invaluable when the gnats are bad.  Which is often.

$20 A Buff.  It's kind of like a bandana, kind of like a neckwarmer, and useful for many things.

$4 A plain old cotton bandana or three.  Very, very useful.  The swiss army knife of clothing.

Variable price.  Check out for single servings of almost everything.  Shampoo, coffee, and most importantly food.  Wouldn't some hummus taste great on the trail?

My thoughts on the major gear decisions for thruhikers

Just got a call from somebody my mom pointed my way.  He's a hiker in his 60's who wants to do the trail in 2011.  We chatted for 20 minutes, mostly about gear.  A prospective thruhiker has a lot of decisions to make, and there is a LOT of information out there to sort through.  If you haven't been backpacking recently, there are a lot of changes in default gear.  I thought I'd tell you what I used, and what else I saw a lot of on the trail.

The major items most use are:

sleeping bag
ground pad
water treatment

For shelter I used a Tarptent Rainbow. It weighs just over two pounds.  It is a single wall tent, meaning there is no inner mesh tent.  That makes it lighter, but it also means there is nothing between you and the condensation.  I carried a camp towel and used it to wipe down the walls during times of heavy condensation, such as during heavy rains or when camped on grass.  I liked that it had plenty of room inside.  I could sit up easily without brushing my head on the roof, and there was room for a 6' sleeping pad and also my whole backpack plus its contents spread out.  When the gnats were bad I spent a lot of time in it.

Other tents I saw a lot of were the  MSR Hubba (pretty much just room for your sleeping pad) and the Big Agnes Fly Creek which was a little roomier.  Both had the advantage of the interior tent plus fly setup.  Less condensation, plus in hot weather you can set it up without the fly.  This way you're still protected from insects but you have much more ventilation.

An up and comer is the LightHeart Solo.  It's based on the old Wanderlust design, but with improvements.  Everybody I saw with one of these loved it.  Plus the LightHeart lady is really nice.

I used a Montbell Ultralight Down Hugger 30 degree bag (no longer available).  I loved it because it was very stretchy so I didn't feel confined.  However, it was nowhere near warm enough for the beginning or end of the trail.  I layered it with a Nunatak Arc Ghost that I already had, and that was very warm. 

Montbell Super Spiral sleeping bags were common on the trail and their users were happy with them.  Western Mountaineering bags come highly recommended as well.

I slept on a Thermarest NeoAir pad.  The short was too short, even for me.  At 48", it left too much of me dangling uncomfortably over the edge.  The medium and long worked fine.  These pads have a design flaw which causes some of the interior panels to delaminate over time.  They'll still hold air, but they'll get bulges.  Also they are not self inflating.  You have to spend a minute or two blowing them up every night.  For me the comfort was worth it.  Because the NeoAir doesn't have real insulation, I carried a Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad to layer with it at the beginning of the trail.

Others use (and I often use on short, cold trips) the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad.  It weighs a little more than the NeoAir, but is much warmer on cold nights.  Durable and simple to use Z-rest pads were common with younger hikers who didn't need as much padding.  Heavier but self inflating Thermarest pads are very common too.

I used an Antigravity Gear alcohol stove for most of the hike except the month of summer where I went stoveless.  Alcohol stoves of that type were very common.  Also common were the fast and fuss-free Jetboil stoves, which require shipping yourself canisters via ground mail, or hoping to find canisters at the occasional outfitter.  There are still a few Whisperlite liquid fuel stoves out there.  It's easier to find fuel for them than the canisters for the Jetboils.  The Whisperlites tend to clog and are far too fussy for me.

I first used a Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack, but after a few hundred miles I decided it didn't have quite enough support for what I was carrying.  I hated to give it up due to its light weight and wonderful pockets, but I bought a Gregory Jade 60 women's pack to use for the rest of the trip.  It is a *wonderful* pack.  The pockets are not as awesome as the Mariposa's, but the suspension was worth the extra three pounds.  If I could get a Gregory suspension with a Mariposa pack, that would be the ultimate for me.  I don't need the super durable Gregory fabric for the pack body.

The Gregory packs were mostly what I saw on others, especially toward the end.  A number of people were wearing ULA packs.  I love ULA backpacks (I have several of them myself) and would recommend them to others.  Also Brian Frankle, the brains behind ULA, is great to deal with.

I tried several silnylon raincoat options and they all kind of sucked.  Too much condensation.  I might as well have just gotten wet from rain.  I ended up going back to my old favorite, the Marmot Precip. That is mostly what I saw on others, though a few went with European brands that seemed to work great, and of course some people when with old fashioned ponchos.  Ponchos move around on me too much, sadly.

I also swear by my ULA rain wrap.  It keeps my shorts dry, it keeps my modesty intact when I'm doing laundry, and it can be used as a small tarp or to sit on.  Love it.  Some people use a Hefty bag for the same purpose.

I have a love-hate relationship with my Steripen.  I got the version with the LCD screen.  It was a bitch to get working in cold weather.  I had to open the thing up and warm the batteries to get it working.  Also the LCD screen quit working halfway through hike.  However, the pen itself kept working the whole time.  It left my water tasting delicious, and I didn't get giardia.  I did prefilter the water through a  dedicated square of camptowel, to remove silt.  I carried a backup bottle of iodine tablets in case of pen failure.

Few people used Iodine tablets.  It's not really such a great idea for long term use.  But it makes a good backup.  Get the PA plus and use the vitamin C tablets AFTER THE IODINE HAS HAD TIME TO WORK to get rid of the iodine flavor. 

A lot of folks use Aqua Mira chlorine dioxide drops.  I used to, but discovered that my intestines were irritated by the chlorine.  The drops are lightweight, but must be mixed and then left to sit for several minutes, then you can't drink the water for half an hour.  The sitting and waiting is irritating when you want to be walking (or there are gnats and mosquitoes near the water source, where you've stopped for water), and it's even more aggravating to wait half an hour to drink when you're thirsty.  All of which is why I don't use the stuff anymore.  But like I say, lots of folks use Aqua Mira and love it.

Quite a few people used various brands of pump water filters.  I hate them and can't recommend any of them.  However, I do recommend gravity filters such as the Platypus Filter.  Delee has one that we use regularly for local camping trips.  It's a little bit heavy, but works wonderfully and is less labor intensive than most other methods.

Of course, there are lots of other decisions to make too.  What kind of hat?  Gloves?  Wicking shirt?  Shorts, kilt, zip off pants, mini skirt, sundress?  Underwear or no underwear?  What kind of socks?  Boots, trail runners, bare feet, sandals, Vibram Fivefingers?  Titanium or aluminum pot?  Which hiking poles?  Tampons, pads, or menstrual cup?  Trowel or no trowel?  The list goes on ad infinitum.  The answers are not the same for any two different people. 

I hope somebody finds this helpful.  If not, at least I can use it as a gear list next time I pack up.  :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I haul my old bones around

Somehow I didn't have any booze last night, and yet I woke up hungover this morning.  That's talent.

I stayed up way too late rereading "The Graveyard Book" and didn't get to sleep until 1:30.  At 10:47 I rolled over, checked the clock, and realized it was well past morning.  And as I got out of bed, I realized that most of my plans for the day were not going to  happen, because I was feeling old.  Lordy.  So old.

My beloved made me a breakfast burrito, and then I sat around and waited for the blood to start flowing to all my parts again.  When it became obvious that I was going to continue feeling old all day, I put on my shoes and left the house.

I visited Pluto, who contrarily was feeling FANTASTIC.  Like, bucking snorting and farting fantastic.  He galloped up to me, ate his cookies, and when I tried to take off his blanket he took off.  He left me in a hail of dirt clods as he galloped and bucked to the other end of the field.  The next ten minutes went about like that, but I did finally get his blanket off.  I called Sergio and told him I wanted to blanket a lot less this year, and I left Sergio a printout of conditions for blanketing.  Chilly and wet, cold and windy, or very cold.  (With actual temperatures, in the instructions.)  Stinker doesn't need to be coddled as much as Sergio tends to.

It was good to see the horse looking energetic.  I'd say he is fully recovered from his colic last week.  Bonnie was there with Mystery, who looked very sedate.  Being the funny lady she is, she nodded at my (bucking and running) horse and asked if I wanted to ride today.  Ha!  Yeah, I'm not really a rodeo rider.  I'll ride on the days when the horse is NOT insane.  Plus I was in sweatpants, not having planned on riding while I felt like I was 80.

Re:  being 80.  I think my body is working up a response to the flu shot I got earlier this week.  Not a huge one.  Just some aches and swollen glands.  Just enough to make me feel like I was slightly beaten yesterday.  Probably I'll feel fine tomorrow, right on time for it to be too rainy out to do anything.

After my brief farm visit I braved the crowds to buy a few more Christmas presents.  I think I'm mostly done now.  I used up most of the tape this evening, so I'll have to buy more to finish the wrapping.  And Dory shredded the wrapping paper on the first box I wrapped, the little beast.  Presents are now getting stowed behind closed doors until it's time for unwrapping.  A pity.  I love seeing all the presents around the tree before Christmas morning.  But we knew we weren't going to be able to have nice things when we got kittens so no big surprise there.

Friday, December 10, 2010

In which I date myself

This morning I announced to my office (i.e. Marc) that I was going to take it easy.  I was just going to hang out and not do much unless somebody asked me to.  Marc had no problem with that.

Within seconds, somebody asked me to do something.  And then I barely got to sit down for the next several hours.

Everyone agrees I never should have said it out loud.

I did take a break around 3.  I swapped my hiking boots (de rigueur daily wear) for trail runners.  I found them under my desk when we were packing up to move.  Who knew?  They're pretty new looking too.  They squeak, which is probably why I quit wearing them way back when.  Anyway, wearing my new-looking trail runners of squeakiness, I took off for a quick walk-jog.  Mostly a jog actually.  It was very pleasant.  I may have said it before, but I will say it again:  I am so lucky to have found a form of exercise that I like so much.  Why do I like it so much more now than when I ran cross country in high school?  It's a mystery.

JD had plans this evening.  I was invited if I wished to go, but I've been to a car nerd event once before and it was so dull that I am still matte colored.  So I declined.  Instead, I went to see the new Harry Potter movie!  So exciting!  I haven't been to a movie in ages, and I *love* the Harry Potter series.  The movie did not disappoint.  I was spellbound.  (Hee!)  Seriously, it's a long movie, and I didn't notice the time passing.  Okay, I noticed the aches I always get in the movie theater seating, but other than that I was unconscious of time.  Lovely movie.  Can't wait to see the other half.

On the way home, apprehensive about the state of my house (because I'd left the kittens out while I was away), I distracted myself by totaling the cost of the event.  $12.25 for a ticket.  $6 for popcorn.  $1 for the Zevia soda I smuggled in.  (I feel so guilty!  But they don't offer caffeine free stevia sweetened diet soda at the theater.)  Nearly twenty dollars I spent to take myself out for popcorn and a movie.  That's definitely date-worthy expenditure.  And I must say I'm an excellent date.  I didn't hog the knee room, spill the popcorn, or burp during a quiet scene.  I was wonderful company.

The house was still standing when I got home.  I haven't counted heads yet but there aren't any trails of blood so I'm assuming everybody survived.  Tonight will also be the kittens' first night not locked up while we are sleeping.  Likely it will not be a restful night.  Those kittens can get their rumble on.  They rebound off of the walls and balusters.  It creates a tremendous racket.  How does such a small animal sound so much like an elephant when it runs?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I like me some light

I am enjoying light.  After fifteen years of working in a basement, my office now has a window (which we basically have covered because otherwise it glares on the monitors, but it's there) and is right next to the glass exit of our building.  So I am getting a *lot* more light than I have for my whole adult life.  At least office-in-the-winter-wise.  And I love me some light.  Some people love clouds, or flowers, or rain (I don't get the rain people) but I love light.

This despite being a natural redhead.  I can't survive for long in serious light.  I fry.  But in typical local light, I do quite well for up to 20 minutes at a time.  And during that 20 minutes, I *luxuriate*.  I roll around in light the way horses do in sand.  It feels good all over.  And I keep feeling good after I go back in the dark. 

When I was a kid (and this is not as unrelated as it sounds) my folks used to film Christmas.  My memories of the day start with bright light, because Dad set up a big light to help with the filming.  I think that might have been my favorite part of the day, although who doesn't love getting presents?  And mysterious mythological figures being in your home while you're sleeping?  But I was always a little sad when the light got turned off at the end.  That's how much I love light.  I was sad on Christmas.  After getting presents.

So I have high hopes for this winter, and future winters.  Not working in a basement could mean pretty impressive changes in my life.  Possibly I won't feel the need to eat potatoes and curl up under a blanket.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  (Oh wait, yes there is.)  I feel kind of .. bouncy.  In a well insulated sort of way.

JD is once more making cookies, and kittens are roaming the house.  I wish you all a merry Thursday.  I'm going to toss a fake mouse.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"and a kitten in a fir tree" (sing it with me now!)

I have listened to (and participated in) nonstop bitching about the recent cold weather. We are all spoiled, people!  It was a strangely warm fall and we all got used to it.  So while I totally empathize?  Get used to it!  This is how it is *supposed* to be.  December = cold.  Xmas = cold.[1] [2]

That said, I still didn't go for a walk today.  I need warmer pants.  I did take the stairs up and down from the server room a number of times, in penance.  My beloved is continuing to run in this weather and I admire him for it.  Though possibly you feel warmer when you run.  Maybe I'll try that.

I met up with Kobi for lunch, which was a hoot.  Except the part where I somehow left my wallet at work.  There I was, driving like a maniac on amphetamines, and no license in my pocket!  If you're going to get pulled over you should definitely be carrying a license.  I drove back to work very soberly, after Kobi paid for lunch.  (Argh.)  We are redoing lunch soon, so I can buy the meal in return.  And also for more talking, because most of my conversation consisted of "Om nom nom" and "OMG I can't believe I left my wallet."  So I'm pretty sure there are some more topics we need to cover.

My naturopath will be put off, but I got a flu shot this evening.  (With wallet!  You can do many things if you have a wallet, including having a nice lady stick you with a needle and jam nasty bugs into your arm.  The world is a weird and wonderful place.)  I will be spending time with five underaged family members soon, not to mention hordes of travelers.  Everybody knows that both of those categories are just crawling with disease.  My immune system needs all the help it can get.[3]

In the Daily Kitten Update, I am pleased to announce that all three kittens made it to the main floor today.  Everybody is interacting with everybody.  Andy has not yet gotten a kitten to chase him, but he has gotten very close.  Nazca finally quit whining about his brother and sister abandoning him and crept downstairs.[5]  Oliver and Dory tooks turns pouncing each other and trying to destroy the tree and the curtains. It was *just* how it should be.  I am happy.  You can't imagine how much I look forward to coming home to kittens right now.

Oh, and also?  When I got home tonight?  Cookies!  I smelled them baking right as I came through the front door.  We have lit up trees and kittens and cookies.  It's the *best*.

[1] Before you start complaining about my use of Xmas, please read hear on the historical basis of the word Xmas:

[2] Not that I haven't had shorts on during the holidays before.  That one year in the 70's it was so dang hot.  It just felt wrong.  Which leads me to believe I would have problems with the Southern hemisphere and holiday timing.

[3] Nonetheless, I'm sure I will be calling in bedridden immediately after the holidays.  With luck I'll make it to New Years first.  Maybe I'll have the flu on a weekend so I don't use any leave time.  I am making big hiking plans for my leave next year.[4]

[4].. but not as big as this year's. Sadly.

[5] He immediately ran back up, of course.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I remember what boredom is

I got bored today.  Can you imagine?  I had forgotten what it was like.

First I let everybody out to interact while I ate breakfast, and nobody exploded or hissed or had a conniption.  Then I drove to work and went to a boring meeting, then coiled cables, then tried to remember what my job is when I'm not being freaking insane.  I can't remember!  It will come back to me I'm certain.  I asked Marc what we do, and he said "Fix things when they break" but surely that can't be right.[3]

It was really too cold to walk, so no walkies for me.  And I don't say that lightly.  It was the sort of cold that makes you hunch until your spine forms a C.  The sort of cold that makes all your exposed surfaces hurt.  It in fact changes your definition of exposed surfaces to include "the areas under my jeans that aren't covered by socks" as well as "my scalp, which is not satisfactorily covered by my hair or my fleece hat."  The wind makes your eyes tear and your cheeks burn, despite the fleece hat and the heavier duty scarf (which superseded last weekend's woefully inadequate thin scarf.)

I did have several warm areas.  Most of my torso, in fact.  I'm still wearing the bulky down jacket I bought at Burlington Coat Factory over a decade ago.  It's seen a lot of wear.  The cuffs have worn through.  There are permanent stains on the front from carrying buckets up against my chest as I fed the horses in the winter.[1]  The zipper has no zipper pull and hence can't really be used.[4]  The velcro at the wrists became mostly ornamental years ago, so I can't keep the wind out.  But nevertheless it's the warmest coat I own, and I got it out of the closet for this weather.

It's not even that cold.  It was 25 when I left the house the morning.  But when that wind whips up to 35 mph or so, it feels like death is hunting you on an icicle.  It is very good weather for staying inside.  I feel bad for my horse.  I hope he's not suffering.[2]

And all the other horses too, of course.  I hope they're not suffering either.

I know you are wondering, so I will tell you:  the Great Kitten Integration of 2010 is going well.  Even Nazca has ventured most of the way down the stairs.  I let everybody out when I got home shortly before 7 tonight, and there has been a variety of nose sniffing and tail sniffing and thundering up and down stairs.  But no yowling or mean faces.  It seems that peace may be coming.  Not that I'm holding my breath.

And that has been my day.  Boredom, cold, and kittens.  Excuse me while I go lather myself in Bag Balm.  It will not solve boredom or cold (or kittens) but it might make the skin stop trying to leave my body.  Could somebody please tell my parts that the stress is over and we can go back to normal now?

[1] Molasses and oil stains do not come out.

[2] Not that I went to check on him or anything.

[3] At any rate, I had several moments when nobody was emailing or calling or knocking, and I actually sighed from boredom.  Also I checked Wikipedia for interesting articles.

[4] I have four snaps to use instead of, though formerly in addition to, the zipper.

Monday, December 6, 2010

All Mondays should be like this

Today was kind of nice, yall.  Nothing bad happened.  Yes, I took Xanax but that was my own leftover issues, not anything horrible at work. 

I woke up at  6:30, all on  my own.  Nobody yowling, no phones ringing, no dog barfing.  Just a gradual rise to consciousness and the realization that I needed to pee.  But also that I wasn't tired, which is unusual.  Especially on a Monday!  So I went ahead and got up and let kittens out and generally didn't hate the morning like one sometimes does in the winter.

Dory IMMEDIATELY headed down the stairs to see what sort of trouble she could get into.  The boys stayed upstairs and played soccer.[1]  Dory did find trouble fairly quickly.  I didn't see her for a minute or two so I went and found her.  She was backed into a corner behind our Guitar Hero guitars.  Andy was in front of her, all Puff Daddy with the big fur, and he was growling ferociously.  Now, Andy has not offered to lay a paw or a claw on the kitten, but he is making some pretty mean noises.  Dory was momentarily cowed and went back upstairs for the rest of the morning.

Which didn't last all that long, because I came up to shut the door.  All three kittens stood in the middle of the room, glared at me, and shouted "MEW!"  They were not ready to be done playing soccer yet, and they let me know.

I checked Dory's incision.  She had opened it up overnight.  A phone call and a quick drive to the vet's later, our favorite vet tech[2] said it was too late to restitch it.  So Dory gets at least three more days of the cone of shame, and neosporin.  Sigh.

Getting up early meant that despite a sudden vet visit, I wasn't late for work.  Rock!

I methodically worked through the various "HELP IT DOESNT WORK" emails and solved nearly all the problems.[3]  On the way in it had suddenly struck me as weird that NASA is having a problem with spacecraft telemetry and somehow it is my problem to fix it.  Does this seem weird to anybody else?  I mean, don't most people get problems like "we're out of fax paper" or "there is a mistake in  accounting"?  Anyway I got over the weirdness, fixed problems, and now telemetry is getting to places it should get to.  Or will very soon.

I don't usually bother to mention lunch, but today I ate something new (to me) and good.  Amy's Indian Samosa Wrap.  I am not entirely clear on what the contents were, but it was delicious.  Must buy more.

Also, I got to take a walk today for the first time in recent memory.  This might not seem like a big deal, but walking is what keeps me sane.  And if you read back over the last few weeks you might notice a certain lessening of the sanity.  Walkies, people.  Learn it.  Love it.  Do it.  Make time for your sysadmin to go outside and all will be well.

I actually left work before dark, which is extremely unusual in December even when I'm not having a hellday.  I felt vaguely celebratory.  So I came home and had Kitten Time.[4]  Dory explored the sunroom, Andy didn't kill anybody, and the boys sat on the landing at the top of the stairs.  At their current rate of descent, they should be to the living room by Christmas.

I forcibly cuddled everybody,  decided that Olli is definitely an athlete,[5] and called it a night.

Oh, and I know you're sick of hearing about my pets but you know who is the happiest dog ever?  The one who got to lick the lasagna pan clean tonight. 

Oh, and now I'm listening to Neil Gaiman, Amanda F*cking Palmer, and Kevin Smith on the internet and I believe I've reached Nerdvana.

[1] Which is hilarious.  Did we adopt Hispanic kittens?  They are far more skilled than the kittens in the neighborhood where I grew up. 

[2] Aleta

[3] Some problems are too hard even for me.  Especially since I can't have coffee now.

[4] I feel that Kitten Time needs theme music.  Something surfer music-ish.

[5] He purrs at the prospect of getting to bat something around.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My kitten-enhanced long weekend comes to a close

Today was a big day of exploration.  For the kittens, anyway.  Dory woke me up at six by scraping her cone against the door of her room and mewing.  So I got up and we went out and explored.  After a brief runin with Andy, (during which no violence occurred), she decided that was enough exploration of the first level and went back upstairs.

We let her stay in with her brothers today and that went well.  We hope that they follow her example and come out and look around a little more.

This evening I removed Dory's cone.  The vet's office said it needed to be on two more days.  It's been three days and two nights.  So good enough, right?  I hope.  I guess we'll see over the next couple of days.

We're trying to slowly reintegrate the household.  This evening I cracked the kitty room door open and went downstairs to watch tv.  All of them, even Nazca, at least came out and looked down the stairs.  Beauty and Andy wanted to go upstairs but I decided the arm's length view from different floors was probably for the best tonight.  They got to wander around for an hour before we called it a night, and all are now sequestered back in the kitty room.  Shew.

I felt pretty tired after my early wakeup so I took a nap this morning.  It was awesome.  I haven't had a nap in so long!  I've tried, but haven't been able to fall asleep.  So I was thrilled to drift off.  Napping time feels so much more intense than regular sleeping time, don't you think?  It's the "screwing around when you have work to do" factor.  If you have nothing to do, just sitting around is boring.  But if you're supposed to be busy, sitting around is *the best ever*.  Hence the awesomeness of napping.

My long weekend of not stressing or seriously exercising has felt nice and lazy, but I'll be happy to get back to work tomorrow.  I'm starting to get kind of achy from the sitting around.  I mean, I haven't just been sitting around, there's been walking and carrying and stuff.  But not several miles worth, you know what I mean?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I intended to get a lot done today but what I did was fawn over kittens.  You guys, Dory is so cute!  And smart.  And hilarious.  And cute.

For the boys, we decided that Blue Collar is Oliver, and Green Collar is Nazca.  Oliver is much more adventurous.  Nazca has yet to come out from behind the dresser when there are observers. 

I'm going to go play with them again, so here are several thousand word's worth of pictures:


Dory in the cone of shame

Dory is not as huge as she looks

That black blur is Olli AND Nazca

Dory and JD's legs


Friday, December 3, 2010

I accidentally got three kittens today

JD and I talked it over, and we were definite.  I was going to apply to adopt the two kittens.  So in the morning I trundled over to the vet's office with two crates, and asked for an application.  They said there was already an application in, so it wasn't definite.  I didn't think that was the end of the world, because if the kittens got good homes then great!

 But I was still going to fill out an application.

Somebody else came out and I said I wanted to adopt the kittens, and she said "All three?"  What?  Three?  There are only two in crate.  I looked twice.

Turns out a third was in back after having been spayed.  The boys kept taking her Elizabethan collar off so they were separated.  But she needed a home too.

I called JD.  "JD, there are three."  (pause)  "Three?"  You had to be there .  His voice was hilarious.  It was like I had just told him I was having triplets.  In the end he left it up to me to make the decision, but if I wanted to bring them all home it was okay with him.  Both of us felt that two months was too long to have been waiting for a home.

They brought number three out from the back.  She had on the cone collar and she had stitches in her tummy.  And she was adorable.  I fell in love immediately.

So the other application?  Was us.  When I called to ask about the kittens last night?  Yeah, they just kind of penciled us in.  The first person I saw just didn't recognize me in my hat when I walked in.  So they figured out I was *that* person, and all was well.  I never did fill out an actual application. 

Also?  Four of the vet staff did a spontaneous dance when I said I'd take them all.

The two boys are currently hiding, terrified, behind a dresser in my camping gear room.  The girl is in the guest room.  She is not terrified.  She is fun and interesting and interested and all things good.  I claim her as mine.

She gets her collar off on Sunday, then she can go back in with the boys.  And around then we should be able to start slowly introducing the kittens to Andy, Beauty, and our ginormous (to a kitten) house.  Yay for new kitteny chaos in the household!

No names until we know them better, and no pictures until they come out of hiding and/or stop moving so fast.  Girl kitten is out and about but I can't quite get her to hold still for a picture.  The boys are too squished for real pictures, plus it's just dang hard to photograph a black cat.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A typical Thursday

Pluto was fine when I got there today, although as far as I can tell he hadn't drunk anymore water.  I started to worry, then pondered how many times I could remember seeing him drink water (none) and decided to let it go.  He did a victory lap around the field and then zeroed in on the manure pile, where he pulled a piece of hay out to eat.  So really the question is not "why did he colic?", it's "why doesn't he colic every day?" and also "how is such a smart horse so dumb?"

I attempted to clean the stall he spent the night in, but was stymied by the lack of a wheelbarrow or bedding.  So I left it with a pile of trashed bedding in the middle of it.  Welcome Bonnie!%

Not finishing the stall left  me with time to meet my beloved for lunch, wherein I got free french onion soup.%%  Mmmmm soup.  Love soup time of year.  Which is pretty much 12/12 for me, but who's complaining?  I like soup.

I kicked JD out of lunch and went shopping.  You may or may not be the recipient of an after-lunch Xmas gift, in which case I love you.  If you are not the recipient, I may love you anyway but just not have found the right gift.  The manufacturers are not making the things in my head, which is a pity, because I have wonderful things in my head.%%%

After after lunch, I stopped by the house to gather up Trouble's remaining medical supplies.  JD and I had agreed to donate them back to the animal hospital%%%% where he received all his treatment.  Especially the Aranesp, which is freaking expensive and a damn shame to waste.  Not that I wish anemia on anybody, but I hope somebody needs it before it expires. 

I gifted the hospital staff with Aranesp and sharps%%%%% and then asked to meet the kittens.  JD had taken pictures of them before, jailed in a crate in the middle of the waiting room.  He had mentioned how we didn't have enough cats.  And when we were there on Tuesday to kill Trouble (6), I saw them and they looked just the right amount of insane for me.  We don't need nice furniture or untroubled sleep.  We need cuteness abounding!  And also the opportunity to pet more critters.

I petted critters.  They were freaked out not to be in a crate and to have a stranger petting them.  After a while I returned them to the crate, and then I had a decision to make.  Did I know anything about these cats? (7)  Did I care? (8)  Pretty much with kittens, especially kittens that have been in a weird situation, you're taking a leap into the unknown.  And if you know me, you may find this weird, but I am okay with taking a leap into the unknown.  When it comes to adding a new animal to my life, anyway.  You really don't know what they will be like two weeks after they enter your household.  And that's okay.  Once you've made the decision to live with them, they're family.  And you work with family.  You work around them, if necessary. (9)

Anyway, tomorrow I am going back to apply for adoption of two black kitties. Hijinks may ensue.  Or pictures. (10)

%Sergio said he'd take care of it.

%%Inasmuch as JD paid for it.

%%%Such as items with a tiny label reading "I Am Loved by Mrs Joy"


%%%%%Look how medical-sounding I am.

6)  Call it what you want, it's killing.

7) No.

8) No.

9) Unless they are heinous child abusing axe-murderers, but I expect six month old kitties not to have gotten to that stage yet.

10) Though in my experience it is hard to take pictures of black cats.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That's enough drama for this week, thanks

The last two days have been just a little too real for me.

First we had to off our cat.  Who, admittedly, was only going to live a day or two longer anyway, but it was still traumatic.

Then I got the call nobody wants.  The farm owner.  "It's about your horse."  The dreaded C word.  Colic.  I drove home, ran upstairs to put on warm clothes, ran downstairs, grabbed a few essentials, and drove like a bat out of hell for the barn.  It was pitch black out when I got there.  I saw eyes reflected in the field.  Sergio had Pluto up and walking, but the horse kept trying to go down.  NOT GOOD.  I thanked Sergio and took over so he could go inside.

JD and I walked Pluto to the arena where we could turn on the lights and walk him around in a cleared area.  And that's what we did for a really long time.  A couple of calls to the vet, texts and phone calls to friends, and a lot of walking.  Finally Pluto's gut relaxed and he stopped trying to dive for the ground. 

Liza was a real lifesaver.  She came and got JD.  I wasn't thinking too clearly when we left the house or I'd have asked JD to drive a separate car.  But, I didn't.  So she drove him home, then he got supplies and came back to meet me again. 

In the meantime I had put Pluto in Mystery's stall (1)(which was hay-free, unlike Pluto's) and was watching him.  I took him out for several more walks, but he was looking a lot better.  When JD arrived with food for me, Pluto begged goofily for it.  And I'm pretty sure he would have eaten that burrito given the chance.

JD went on home, but I stuck around until eleven per the vet's recommendations.  At 10:30 Pluto finally drank some water, which was my last worry taken care of.

As I drove away, Pluto shook his head at me angrily.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to pay for locking him up alone at night with no hay.  Oh yes.  But I don't mind too much.. as long as I still have a horse.

1) A stall which I will be cleaning thoroughly after I let Pluto out.  Anybody know where the fresh bedding is?