Kitty Love: Crookshanks

This is Crookshanks the Cat

Crookshanks Photo Shoot

Even though Fi is two years older, Crookshanks is the clear king of The Krookery on May. He owns all of us.

Crookshanks is a demanding little sucker. He has a very loud meow and is not afraid to use it. I swear his meow sounds like “Aaaadam? Aaaadam? AAAADDDAMMMM!”

Crookshanks Photo Shoot

If Crookshanks wants to sit on your lap, you give him your lap.
If he wants to walk on your stomach, you’d best be letting him.
If he wants to sleep in the bed with you,
you’d better let him do so or you won’t be getting a wink of sleep.

Crookshanks
“respect my authoritay”

Crookshanks is a first class brat. If we leave to go on vacation for any amount of time, we can expect to come home to an apartment filled with poop turds in various places. It’s his revenge, I suppose, for leaving him lapless. He will also pee in a naughty place in a heartbeat. And don’t let me try to do yoga. You know what happens then.

Cat Savasana

Crookshanks don’t care.
Crookshanks don’t give a crap.
Crookshanks just does what he wants.

Crookshanks Photo Shoot
“this is my house”

But the one thing that Crookshanks does that makes everyone fall for him? He is the most loving, affectionate cat ever. He loves everyone. Every new animal is a new friend/co-conspirator. Every person is his new best friend, every lap a place to relax and purr, purr, purr. And Crookshanks is a loud purrer. You can hear him from a different room if it’s quiet enough.

He loves music, and for some reason he seems to like it when I sing. He hops on my lap (usually my computer) and purrs like a maniac. He snores like a human, and it’s hilarious to hear him from across the room. Sometimes, if I am very lucky, he’ll stand on my back and give me a kitty massage, complete with purring and kneading.

Happy Birthday, Crookshanks!

If Crookshanks and I had a relationship status on Facebook, it would be “It’s Complicated.” I hate that he poops all over the place, but I love that he’s so warm and affectionate. He’s not easy to live with, but it would be weird to live without him.

Kitty Love: Fi

This is Fi

Fi

I got Fi in 1999. He was a Christmas gift. A tiny little ball of black who was more than a little bit skittish. I understood completely where the phrase “scaredy cat” came from!

I’d always thought black cats were good luck. When I was in college, my roommate Heather had a black cat named Magic who I thought was so cool. His silky fur, his pretty eyes. I knew that when I owned my first cat, it’d have to be a black cat.

Fi

One of the main questions I get asked is How did you come up with the name Fi?

… Yeah. About that. The person who gave us Fi told us that he was a girl named Fiona. “Fiona” was also allegedly healthy, had just been dewormed, etc.

NONE OF IT WAS TRUE
.

Fi was very sick. Dehydrated. Fever. Ear mites. Two types of worms. Fleas. A lot older than the few weeks the person had told us.

AND HE WAS A BOY

It took a lot of mental shifting to switch from “girl cat” to “boy cat.” I mean, it’s silly, but there it was. I felt betrayed. Not by the cat–it wasn’t his fault. But by the person who gave him to us, who clearly knew NOTHING about cats. Although to be fair, even the vet didn’t catch that Fi was a boy–certain things didn’t drop until later. But there were the huge vet bills that Chris and I could ill afford, the lectures from the vet about how sick Fi was (well duh, that’s why we were bringing him in), and the sinking feeling that I’d maybe gotten in over my head.

Fi

I wasn’t a very attentive cat owner back then. I’d just discovered Internet Girl World and also the joys of high speed internet, so I spent a LOT of time on the computer and not enough time with Fi. It’s no wonder that as he got older, he grew less affectionate toward me. He’d be on the floor and I’d sit by him to pet him. Within two minutes, he’d get up and leave. He wasn’t a lap cat at all, and he didn’t care to be picked up. He definitely kept his distance.

Saturday Night

Then Aidan came along.

Squish The Cat!

I realized how amazingly patient Fi was because he let Aidan squish him like this ALL THE TIME. When Chris and I separated, I left Fi with Aidan because he’d clearly become Aidan’s cat. I’d gone back to visit a few times, but Fi only seemed interested in me if I had food. He’s a champion beggar, that one.

In 2011, Chris and his partner had a total of six cats. They were moving and he told me that he needed to think about getting rid of some of the cats. I told him, IMMEDIATELY, that I wanted Fi. I told him a million times. And one weekend in July, Fi was back with me.

I Love This Cat

Fi had changed. Another question I get asked a lot is What is wrong with his eyes?

Fi has conjunctivitis, and needs eye drops. He’ll likely have it the rest of his life. He also has allergies and makes the cutest little sneezes and sniffles. But the most remarkable change is how affectionate he’s become. I’m pretty sure he remembered me, because when Chris handed him over to me, Fi immediately started purring. He’s been my baby boy ever since. He doesn’t distance himself from me anymore, and anytime I walk into the room, before I even touch him, the motor starts. Sometimes, he even gets on my lap, and remember, Fi’s not much of a lap cat.

Fi on my lap! He never gets on laps.

Fi is a completely chill cat. He’s quiet, calm, and relaxed. The only time he gets mad is when it’s time for eye drops. But even he seems to know when he needs them the most, because then he just kind of sits there resigned. He’s such a good cat, often demanding pets, purring loudly, and just being awesome. He often goes off by himself to relax and be still. He’s still super patient, and he’s super sweet. I love my Fi. :)

Kitty Love: Helena

Meet Helena.

Enjoying the Sun

She’s my orange tabby cat. Orange cats are also known as “ginger” or “marmalade.” Sometimes I call her my Little Orange Girl. I also call her Little Lena.

Most orange cats are male; only 1 in 4 orange cats are female. That makes my Little Lena special. :)

A couple of famous orange cats are Garfield and Heathcliff. Neither of them are as cute as Helena.

Beautiful Helena
helena in 2008

We adopted Helena on July 12, 2008 from PAWS Chicago, a no kill animal shelter here in the city.

Helena
the day we brought her home

She was shy with me and Adam but she loved Aidan and Crookshanks right away. Most kittens run and hide when you bring them home and let them out of the box. Helena did just that… but Crookshanks went into our room and poked his nose under the bed. She came out, they bumped noses, and have been friends ever since.

Cuddly Kitties
this was just two days after we brought her home

Even though she used to follow me and purr and roll all around, it took her just under a month to trust me enough to get and stay close to me.

Mommy & Kitty
me and lena in august 2008

Helena was quite a challenge at first. She’d come from a hoarder situation–basically a crazy cat lady who had 40 cats. They were not taken care of, and some of the cats had started to eat each other. :( Apparently, it was a bad situation. She also needed a lot of dental work, which we got done as soon as we could.

Then there were the behavioral problems. She clearly wanted to be petted, but anytime Adam or I would touch her, she’d immediately start biting us. She peed everywhere, including clothing I’d set out to put on when I got out of the shower. We almost took her back to PAWS numerous times, but something told me to hold on. Lots of Nature’s Miracle and splashes from the spray bottle later, she’s finally stopped, for the most part, peeing in naughty places.

Beautiful Helena

Helena calmed down at LOT sometime in 2010. I often wonder if it had more to do with the fact that we switched the cats’ food from whatever was cheapest to Iams, or if she just mellowed the heck out. After all, she was just a baby when we got her (just over a year old) and by then, she’d been with us for a while and she wasn’t a kitten anymore. She started cuddling more and more with me: sleeping on my feet, and scooting next to me and purring. Suddenly, she was my baby girl.

Enjoying the Sun

Helena loves the orange afghan that Adam’s grandma Dee made for us. If I want her to sit on my lap, all I have to do is put that afghan across my legs.

Little Lena

She also loves her daily serving of canned food, so much so that she drives Adam absolutely batty until he breaks down and feeds her. She hates it when Crookshanks is allowed to sleep in our bed but she isn’t. (She hasn’t quite learned that our feet are not to be attacked.) When the cats are out of water, she stands by the water dish purposefully, and if that doesn’t get our attention, she puts her paw into the dry dish and taps insistently. She loves to be pet on her head and will stand on her hind legs so you can reach her better. She still follows me into the bathroom, and I swear she purposely holds her poops until I sit down to have dinner, because that is when she decides to hit the litter box.

Pretty Helena

A lot of noise, strangers, and activity makes her nervous, and she’ll run and hide in a hot minute. People get a kick of seeing her dart across the room and disappear behind the couch. Once the place settles down, though, she comes out cautiously and heads over to take a drink from the water dish. Then she relaxes and settles in for her nine thousandth cat nap of the day.

I love my Little Lena.

Random McRandomness

Lilacs
there are lilacs!!!!

I had a good weekend. I spent Friday relaxing and reading. It looks so pretty outside, but it’s still so cold. I don’t know about you, but 50F in January feels a lot warmer than 50F in April, and the temps have barely been making it out of the 50s these days. I know this is typical here, and I know I whine about this every year, but the fact is that I am so ready for it to be warm that it’s not even funny. Oh well. At any rate, I didn’t go anywhere Friday because I just wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry and full of cuddly cats.

It’s not fair that it looks like this outside:

Around The Neighborhood

…but feels like this:

Wicker Park

(At least the lilacs are out, right? They smell so good, you guys! I love lilacs!)

Anyway.

Speaking of cats. Helena is back to peeing in bad places again.

It had been years since she’s done that (although I’m just suspecting that maybe she’s been doing it all along and I’ve been mistakenly blaming Crookshanks, who is more apt to poop in a naughty place rather than pee, but he has a history of that as well), but it started again when I bought a bath mat for the tub. You see, our tub has gotten slippery over the years and I didn’t like feeling like I was going to slip when I went for a shower. So I got a bath mat from TJ Maxx which was probably my first mistake because it had a nasty skunky rubbery scent to it. But it was comfy and kept me from slipping! Then, Helena started peeing on it. We got rid of the mat and she just kept peeing in the tub. Now, as far as a cat peeing somewhere naughty, the tub isn’t the worst place, right? I even joked that it was time to start toilet training her. She had the room right, you know?

But then it got worse. Adam got a new couch, identical to the one we had before. (Don’t ask what happened to the other one. It’s a long sordid story best left in the past.) Not the most comfortable couch ever, but it does the job. Except I started noticing a pee smell from the slipcover. Adam would wash it, and then it would appear again, this time in a different spot. We removed the slipcover, and Adam put a table cloth over the couch. The table cloth looks and feels like fabric, but it does not absorb liquid. If a cat pees on it, the pee gets on his/her foot, thus theoretically discouraging further elimination on the couch. HAH. HA HA HA HA!! See, I wasn’t completely convinced it wasn’t Crookshanks because as I said, he has a pretty checkered history, that one. THEN Adam actually CAUGHT Helena in the act.

Seriously? Seriously? WTF Helena. She’d been so good all these years! (Or maybe not, now that I think of it.) We have THREE litter boxes for those brats. I’m tired of cleaning up after cats who can’t/won’t eliminate in the proper places. Hmph. Maybe I’ll just start peeing anywhere *I* feel like it. How would you like that, huh?

Cats are the gifts that keep on giving. IN THE ANNOYANCE DEPARTMENT. Why does this happen whenever I practice yoga at home??

Every Damn Time!
every damn time!

Hmph. Well I’ll just keep lowering from chatarunga (which is hard enough as it is!) on to him every day and see if that changes his tune.

They’re lucky they’re cute and cuddly and so darn loveable.

Yesterday, I went to bookstore because although I have a couple of eBook copies of The Secret Garden, I really wanted a hard copy. I found a paperback that wasn’t too expensive, and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita that was also very nicely priced. :) Yesterday evening, I watched Juno and Mean Girls, played some games, and read The Secret Garden–the hard copy. I PARTY HARD, Y’ALL.

So, randomly. I LOVE getting packages. And sometimes that means I go shopping online just so I can have packages arrive for me. Today, I finally used some of the $35 I had in Amazon credits to get a copy of The Secret Garden/A Little Princess DVD combo pack, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s baby mild soap, and the black and white Skull Shores Frankie Stein Monster High doll. So excited! I used to collect all the Monster High dolls, but now it’s just out of control. There are too many. I decided to focus only on Frankie Stein because she’s just awesome.

Frankie Stein
This pic is outdated. I’ve gotten at least one new one since.
I wish I was more creative with posing them. Some people are great at it.

Once I get this particular doll, my collection will be complete, at least until they come out with a new Frankie Stein. Then my sights will be set on the Katniss Barbie. WHO IS AWESOME.

Today I read and read and read. Then I headed out for a hatha yoga class. The class was fantastic, even though we had to do that blasted utthita parsvakonasana which I hate! (There are some poses which make me all verklempt when I have to do them, this is one of them. I should make a post about that someday.) Anyway, I was rewarded with a lot of wonderful forward folds and deep twists, and you guys know how I feel about forward folds, right? The teacher would say something like: “When you’re ready, come out of the pose” and I’d be thinking “But I’m not ready to come out of this fold!” But I’d come out because well, I didn’t want to be stuck behind everyone else in the class, right?

So, Sunday is winding down and another week begins. Here’s what’s on my plate:

· yoga classes
· yoga teacher training
· yoga teacher training lecture
· yoga teaching practice
· library
· urban priestess workshop
· master teacher roundtable
· reading
· homework
· farmville (shut up, it’s fun and relaxing)
· life

What about you?

Right Then, It’s On

I’m surprised my brain is even functioning enough to write this post. But here Iam.

I am currently in the middle of a seven-day work week. I went in on Sunday, and I’ve been at work every day and will work Saturday as well. Yesterday, I was so exhausted and sick-feeling that I went home a couple of hours early, and those extra few hours of sleep REALLY helped. I figured that if I didn’t rest yesterday, I’d be crap for the rest of the week. This morning I felt back to normal and worked a regular day with no problem. Tomorrow is Friday for most people, but honestly, I don’t really know which day is which these days anymore.

The upside of all this working are the following things:

It’s nice not to have to worry AT ALL about money for the next several weeks. And all the frugal living I’ve had to do the past two years has really helped me not lose control of my spending. My biggest splurges this month? Some clothes for Aidan and my Disney Photopass CD, both of which I snagged at substantial discounts. I still take my lunches to work (except for the occasional McDonald’s treat), still reread books at home or get them from the library.

The people I work with are generally pretty great. The permanent employees are used to this fourth quarter madness and most of them take it in stride. They buy us lunch when we work on the weekends. The guys have a great sense of humor. I mean, anytime someone says “moot” and five or six people all start going “moooooot” like cows–that’s just my kind of place. Not only that, but they don’t look at me weird because I love Disney so much. In fact, I know of at least two other people there who are fans, and someone brings his/her lunch in a Disney World bag every day.

The culture of the place is one of the best I’ve ever worked at. Not only is there the Tuesday and Thursday popcorn, but I can listen to my music, and I’m pretty much to the point where I can get through entire days without having something pointed out to me that I missed or just didn’t know yet. I can wear jeans every day, and my “boss” has an Obama paper doll on her office window, and his clothes get changed often.

Did I mention that I know ahead of time what the sales are? Yes, that’s pure WIN. Not that I shop a lot, of course, but it’s nice to know. I am getting ideas of Christmas gifts for people.

The downside is:

No weekends, or very short weekends. I’ve pretty much accepted that I’m going to be working 6-day weeks until Thanksgiving. TGIF means nothing to me now.

I keep DREAMING about work and those ads. Other people say it’s normal, so I don’t feel like much of a freak, but still. I often have to force my mind to go other directions at night.

I haven’t had time to read a new book in weeks. So I just re-read old books. Now I’m going through the Casteel series by VC Andrews. I might skip the last two, though, and go to the Dollanganger series.

My room is a hot mess. I WANT to clean but I just don’t FEEL like it. I figure life will return to normal soon enough, so I’m not too worried about it. Except when I’m trying to find stuff. Or when stuff constantly gets knocked over.

Our Internet connection has been iffy again. Adam finally broke down and ordered a NEW service which will be active Monday night. I’m looking forward to stable Internet again.

Why are people so resistant to change on the ‘net? Flickr has a new homepage and people are in an uproar about that. The new Facebook–oh Lord. People lost their minds. I happen to like the new pages, and I’m getting used to the new iGoogle in the meantime. Good times.

The other night, I went on an online shopping spree. But the only thing that I actually paid for that night was Aidan’s clothes. I got him $100 worth of clothes from The Children’s Place for $26. The Photopass CD had been pre-paid. I also FINALLY dipped into the $45 worth of Amazon gift certificates I’ve had for months to preorder a couple of CDs, a DVD, and a book.

HOLY CRAP. The water heater guy left his sweatshirt here by mistake and Helena just peed on it. WTF. She pees on our bed every chance she gets and she tries to sneak in our bedroom just so she can pee on the bed. Lucy at least had a reason to keep peeing everywhere–she was sick. But Helena is just being a bitch and I’m getting annoyed by it. Ironically, she’d been taken back to PAWS in the past because of the same problem. But when we first brought her home, she used the litter boxes with NO problem at all. I don’t understand the problem. And I don’t understand why our vet charges effing $300 to look at a urine sample. Besides, she’s perfectly healthy, doing her billion windsprints all morning, and she poops in the litter boxes and pees in them when the bedroom door is closed or random sweatshirts are not on the floor. And she eats like nobody’s business. I don’t understand the peeing, though. It’s obviously behavioral, but I don’t know anything beyond that.

Anyway, I guess that’s all for now. I need to take a bath and then get ready for the bed that is not made, incidentally, because Adam was washing the sheets and comforter AGAIN because you-know-who peed on it. Again. Sigh.

Til next time.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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