Archive for November, 2007

My friend Heather has inspired me to make some small steps toward being more eco-friendly. I started with some easy things. Rather than scooping the litter boxes and putting the “nasties” in an empty (used for cat food) plastic freezer bag, I’d use paper bags. Hopefully, even though they’re still going to landfills they’ll eventually disintegrate so future generations aren’t dealing with plastic bags full of cat poo. Also, rather than putting the homemade cat food in those plastic freezer bags, I’m using plastic tubs, which can be washed and reused. Baby steps.

The drawback to the tubs is the food takes much longer to warm than in the bags. I was tossing a bag of food in a bowl of warm water before meals, doing some other things, then pulling it out and serving. I’m doing the same with the tubs, but perhaps because they float so they’re not surrounded by warm water, they just don’t warm nearly as quickly. This morning, the food was still cold – still frozen in the center, but I had to get going (see Late-ness) so I just stirred it up and served it.

The cats were HORRIFIED. Louie didn’t eat. Afer ate only a little. Omaha barely nibbled. Rumpelmintz was yelling and complaining and hitting other cats for eating any of the cold breakfast, as they might convince me this was acceptable.

Studley and Latifah still ate well. Latifah ate her own and tried to finish everyone else’s. She said she didn’t mind.

Read Full Post »

The Color of Hair

Geeze, I sound rather obsessive about my hair, given this is my second (or is it THIRD) post about my hair!

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I really don’t care about my hair, as is obvious if you’ve seen me.  Even if something goes horribly wrong with my hair, I rarely worry about it.  Hair eventually grows back/out.    No problem.  I can look hideous for a while, doesn’t bother me.  I don’t have to look at myself.

I do go through periods where I want a change, though, and hair’s pretty easy to change – much easier than, say, my face, or body, or home, or life.

So, as I noted before, I’m growing my hair out a bit.  I’m in that “waiting” or “transitional” mode.  So, there’s no change… definitely not the satisfaction from growing hair out as in drastically suddenly cutting it much shorter.  While I’m waiting, I decided maybe I’d *color* my hair.  I’ve colored it in the past.  I was a redhead for almost a decade – varying shades of red, in fact.  Bright red.  Auburn.  Copper.

My friend Heather worked in a salon and attempted to put the fear of dye into me.  She told me horror stories of the many awful home-dye jobs she’d seen.  I’ll admit, she made me nervous.  In fact, I started looking at other womens’ hair more carefully, and noting different color roots or odd streaks – and thinking perhaps those weren’t intentional.

First time back in the hair color aisle, I decided to pick up a semi-permanent in “Amber Shimmer”.  Not drastically different from my natural color.  I was pretty excited, nonetheless, as I donned my old robe and went to work.  The end result was a disappointment.  In fact, I took before and after pictures – and had trouble telling which was which.  I didn’t want drastic, but coloring my hair the same color really accomplishes nothing at all.

Next time out, I attempted to be more daring – I picked up a “Downtown Brown”.  I carried it around for a week or two, to build up the anticipation.  Again, Heather stepped in to the rescue noting it said “Hi-Lift” and she STRONGLY discouraged me from attempting it at home. 

So, off I go again.  I exchanged the “downtown brown” for “crystal brown” (which didn’t say anything about heavy lifting or hi lifting or any other kind of lifting).  Again, I donned the old robe and got to work.  Again, the result was anticlimatic – no one, including me, could tell I colored my hair. 

Well, today I ventured into the hair color aisle once again.  After much deliberation, I picked up another box (hey!  on sale!).  I don’t know that I’ll tell Heather the shade name or number.  I probably won’t attempt to actually USE it until after my next hair appointment – so if it’s a horrible failure there’s time to fix it or shave it or leave the country before my stylist sees it.   So, I plan on setting it on a shelf at home and considering it for the next three weeks.  Let the anticipation build. 

Read Full Post »


I noted that what WAS my favorite radio station had gone from all music, few comments, to all talk all the time. Thus began my quest, once again, to find a tolerable radio station.

Yes, I’ve heard of satelite radio, like Sirius. Friends have attempted me to subscribe. I look at the information and feel like my head is going to explode. I just want a little box in the rooms I spend the most time in that I can turn on and music will come out. That’s all I want. Really.

So, I spent several mornings looking for a radio station that played music. Even if it wasn’t entirely music, as long as there were no idiotic DJs making idiotic comments that annoyed me. I deal with enough annoying people. I’m not inviting their comments into my home via radio waves.

I finally stumbled across one! They play music. Minor interruptions for ads. No DJs. Yay!

The downside: They’re “light” and “soft”. Every time they profess how light and soft they are, I feel ancient as the hills. I’m listening to my mother’s music. I try to take some solace in the fact they are not only “light” and “soft” but also “fresh” – but really, who am I kidding?

Reminds me – I need to delete my old radio station from my MySpace friends. Take THAT! I’m sure they’ll be devastated.

Read Full Post »

I am NOTORIOUS for being late.  When my friend is running late for work, she calls it “Lynette-ing”.  I’m not late to everything, but I’m always late to work.  Mornings aren’t for me.  It’s always been a character flaw – I was late for grade school every morning, late for high school, late for college, late for work.  Late, late, late.   In my last performance review at work, one of the “goals” I was given was to get to work no more than 30 minutes late.  I did well for a month or two, until I was back in my old hour-late pattern.

During a typical night, I’m woken a few times between 2:00 and 4:00, so I’ve just fallen back asleep when I should be getting up – making it nearly impossible for me to drag my sorry butt out of bed.  I’ll usually land up getting out of bed 45 minutes or an hour past when I should have. 

Last night was thankfully different.  The cats woke me at 11:30, then I slept until almost 5:00 when they woke me again.  By that time, I realized I could just get up.  I’d be getting out of bed about 45 minutes before my alarm went off.  So, there I was… two hours ahead of my usual schedule.  It felt pretty great.  I hydrated, medicated, and fed the cats, got myself ready – I was even making great time.

It didn’t matter.  I got to work 15 minutes late.  It’s like some eerie black hole or time warp.  I just CAN’T get to work on time.  It’s as though the universe won’t allow it.  You know those sci-fi shows where the hero can time travel, but has to avoid running into himself or he’ll destroy the time-space continuum?  Perhaps if I was to work on time, I’d ruin some delicate balance.  I don’t know.  I do know there was a better selection of breakfast pastries at work at this earlier time.

Read Full Post »

I planned an “early night” last night.  I was plenty tired, because of the time change, and thought it’d be a good opportunity to catch up on some sleep.  It was a disappointment. 

It took me a while to fall asleep – then I woke up around 2:00 because my legs hurt – so I rubbed menthol gel on them.  Then I woke up around 3:00 because Studley was playing “How loud can I make Jellybean scream” and Louie was cheering him on, so I made both boys leave the den and I shut the den door.  Then I woke up around 4:00 because Omaha and Rumpelmintz were fighting over who got to sleep on my right side.  Then I woke up around 5:00 because Latifah decided to come upstairs into the bedroom and was fighting with Omaha… so I let her go in the den with Jellybean.

I got up this morning to find Latifah had pooped on the bathroom floor, Omaha had pooped in his pants, and one of the cats had a hairball in the living room.  There was also a “shortbread cookie heist” in the den.  The cats had managed to get a tub of Trader Joe’s shortbread cookies off the top of the desk, get the lid off, and there were shortbread cookies with bites out of them all over the floor, desk, etc.  (When I questioned them about it, they said they did it to save me from the cookies.)  My suspicion on the shortbread cookie massacre is that either:

1) As part of the “Let’s see how loud we can make Jellybean scream” game, Jellybean climbed up to on top of the desk, and knocked the tub of cookies off the desk and the lid came off when they hit the floor – and the cats tested them to see if they were any good. (I didn’t notice them when I made the boys leave the room – but it was dark and I was half-asleep so I just removed larger furry objects, leaving smaller screaming furry objects in the room, and shut the door.)


2) Jellybean and Latifah were in cahoots and managed to get them off the desk and tasted while they were in there together.


3)  A combination of the above.

Latifah and Jellybean are the most likely suspects for the little kitty bite-sized missing bits from the cookies, as they are both carbohydrate addicts. Jellybean has been caught red-handed eating bites out of a blueberry waffle before…. and staff at the shelter used to laugh at how they could feed Latifah bites of bread.  Jellybean’s blood sugar was only 90 this morning (still no insulin since Dec. 31, 2006!), whereas Latifah’s blood sugar was 225 – further indicating Latifah in the crime.

I also discovered this morning that my favorite radio station, which was all music, all the time (no annoying talk), with a wide variety of music – had suddenly changed formats to all talk, all the time.  

To top off the morning, Studley sprayed pee on the back door, then Omaha pooped on the bedroom floor.  Glorious morning.  One bit of happiness – I started reading the “Crazy Aunt Purl” book, aka “Drunk, Divorced & Covered with Cat Hair”.  It is not a disappointment.  Though I don’t knit, I love Laurie Perry’s style of writing, and who can’t relate to her feelings of disappointment and frustration with life. The first chapter, where she has to resort to repairing her skirt at work with staples, is priceless.  If you haven’t already, you should check out her blog at crazyauntpurl.com, and buy her book!

Read Full Post »

Food Safety

I was chatting with a coworker the other day. She’d recently traveled out of the country, and was raving about the food – how fresh everything was, how great it all tasted… It led to a discussion of the nearby farmer’s market, produce availability in our city, etc. Then we started discussing recent food recalls and tainted food.

I began saying (sarcastically) that I avoided all fresh foods – for fear of bacteria, contamination, etc. She was horrified. She said the more foods were processed, the greater the risk of them being tainted. I cited the example of spinach tainted with e coli. She pointed out that spinach was bagged – more processed than fresh spinach. She cited examples of salmonella in peanut butter, etc.

I noted that processed meals, like those single serving frozen meals that are easily microwaved, have lots of nutritional information on them, enabling me to ensure I meet my full nutritional requirements. She was shocked, and exclaimed that fresh foods are much more nutritious than processed, then frozen, then microwaved meals. I speculated microwaving might kill any potential bacteria.

She didn’t realize it, but she was helping me make a point. While no one actually makes the argument I did – that highly processed food is more nutritious for humans than fresh foods and homemade meals – that is EXACTLY what we’re told for our pets. We’re told we are not capable of preparing our pets’ meals, and we must rely on manufacturers to prepare highly processed “instant” meals for them. We’re told fresh food isn’t safe, and may contain bacteria.

Dogs’ nutritional needs aren’t that different than our own. If we prepared healthy meals for ourselves and shared them with our dogs – our dogs would be fed well.

Cats are different, as they are obligate (strict, or true) carnivores. They can’t obtain vitamins and other nutrients from plant matter as we can, and their bodies can’t manufacture some nutrients that ours can. However, it’s still not that difficult. I make almost all my cats’ food. In fact, I just whipped up over 10 pounds after work tonight – took me less than an hour.

I’ve become a food fanatic after watching my own and other cats become incredibly sick after being fed a highly-processed dry kibble diet day in and day out for years. They developed diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorders, kidney disease, urinary tract stones… for some reason, people just accept that these ailments “happen”, and never question the food choice – at least not until the Menu Foods and related recalls killed thousands of pets. Though I’ve worked with many cats and have “cured” several of diabetes or gastro-intestinal problems by simply changing the diet – I’m told this homemade raw diet is “dangerous”.

Even if there is bacteria in raw meat (which obviously there may be), cats’ gastro-intestinal tracts are very different than ours. They’re straight and short. There is perhaps one documented case of cats becoming severely ill from salmonella – two elderly unhealthy unneutered cats owned by a hoarder who fed them tainted meat. There are thousands of cases of cats (and dogs) killed from commercial cat food – Vitamin D overdoses, acute renal failure, chronic renal failure, complications of diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, toxins in the grains…

Next time you think about pouring some dry kibble in a bowl, think about how good your health would be if you ate breakfast cereal for every meal, every day… There are several sites I link to on the right for further information: Feline Outreach, Cat Info, Cat Nutrition, Your Diabetic Cat

Read Full Post »