Saturday, January 22, 2011

3237 Belling the Cat

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian."
-- Robert Orben --

(PC update - nowadays he has to say Native American, of course. Sigh.)


Well, not actually belled. I took the bell off.

Jasper is almost four years old now, and he has never permitted a collar. I tried to put one on him many times, and he always fought it. He'd try to push it off, sometimes succeeding, sometimes popping the quick release, and often I'd find him immobilized somewhere, embarrassed, with one hind leg firmly stuck through the collar.

I tried a small dog collar, without the quick release (ok because he never goes outside), but they have buckles, and he learned how to unbuckle them. He'd turn it until the buckle was under his chin, then he'd duck his head down until he could get a tooth under the loop of collar going through the buckle, and he'd work it until he could pull the strap through the buckle, and actually unbuckle the darn thing.

It was funny because every time he got a collar off, he'd put it on my bed. Like, "That was fun, Mommy! Let's do it again!" Maybe. Maybe it was actually, "Here's your stupid collar, Mommy. YOU wear it!"

One odd thing - I wore scrunchies a lot (they didn't damage my hair like barrettes did), and I occasionally put one on him like a collar, and he didn't seem to mind it at all. He'd leave it on for two days or so before removing it and putting it on my bed.

It occurred to me that maybe the scrunchies were permitted because they didn't smell strange.

So a few days ago I bought another regular cat collar, quick release and all, and then I wore it on my wrist for 48 hours. I put it on him yesterday, and it's still there! He hasn't even attempted to take it off.

I may have found the secret.


The old house had mice. The new house doesn't. Jasper has been bored. So I've been buying him toys. He likes light foam balls, and little leather catnip mice. He carries the mice around by the tails. It's cute.

One of the mice I bought the other day has feathers. (Yeah, a mouse with a mouse face, mouse ears, a long leather tail, and fluffy feather wings and tail. Gotta wonder about the person who came up with that.) Anyway, it seems to be his favorite, and he has invented a play technique I've never seen before, and I've had many cats over the past 50 years.

He'll crouch, and back up until the mouse is under his hind legs, carefully not looking at it. He'll shift until it's perfectly positioned under his rear claws. He'll pretend to ignore it for a minute or so, and then suddenly jump up, kicking his hind legs out behind him. That sends the mouse flying in an unpredictable direction, and he'll spin around and chase it.

It's funny.

Friday, January 21, 2011

3236 A Few Things

Friday, January 21, 2011

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place
but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
-- Dorothy Nevill --


A few of the many things I've learned in my 60-plus years:
  • Don't store a sewing needle by sticking it into the threads in the spool. That splits and breaks the fibers of the thread, which will cause twists and breaks later when you try to sew with it.
  • If you have a dark cat, have light carpeting, and vice-versa. The shed hair might show up more, but so will a sleeping cat.
  • The fastest way to drop ten years in appearance is to smile, and make sure the smile lines near your eyes show. Those are the most attractive wrinkles. Show them.
  • To drop twenty years, simply never insist on "your way". Stay open to new ways.
  • The ugliest furniture will be forgiven anything if it's comfortable and useful. That goes for people, too.
  • Soap is for fats, oils, stains, and trapped particles. If none of those are present, you don't need soap for effective washing. In fact, soap can be counterproductive. Hot water and a good scrub will do.
  • Insurance of whatever kind is supposed to be there in case something goes wrong. It has been my experience that having insurance seems to prevent anything going wrong. Some kind of weird Fate thing.
  • Never ever lie to your child or make promises you don't intend to keep. It may be convenient at the moment, but the child will never again trust or believe you. That's a sure source of tantrums.

From "The House of Representatives voted to repeal health care. Wow. Hope none of them gets sick. Because now that they don’t have health care that would be…um, oh. Never mind."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

3235 New Desk

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A bore is someone who keeps talking when I have something to say.


I figured out what I'd been doing the past few days.

My daughter gets depressed and sometimes downright mean when she's not getting enough exercise. So when she calls and says "Let's go for a walk", I say yes. It makes life a lot easier.

Also, my new desk arrived Tuesday.

The main desk at the old house is a manager's desk bought at an employee surplus sale many years ago. It's nice, but it was built for show - huge footprint, very little storage. So I decided to get something more suitable for here and I'll sell or donate the old one rather than attempt to move it.

On Tuesday we'd had snow overnight, followed by freezing rain, with plain rain predicted, so the driveway was covered with slush.

I'd learned long ago that if I think, "I ought to...", then I'd better do it, no matter what my second thoughts are, because if I don't the consequences can be severe. So when I looked out the door and saw the slush, I thought, "I probably should shovel that". It was raining, and the neighbors said it would all melt by afternoon, but the driveway has about a 15 degree slope, and I was afraid the men would refuse to bring the desk in if the drive was covered in slush.

The truck arrived within a half hour of our clearing the driveway, so I was right to clear it. Daughter had come over to help me shovel (muttering that it was pointless) and had stayed for tea.

Shipping from California was free on the desk, so I was surprised to find it was "Platinum White Glove Service", which means they not only brought it in, they unpacked it, set it up in place, and took the packing materials away with them.

When the guys set the desk up, they plugged a fat cord into the wall. I didn't know what it went with. At the top of one of the drawers was some kind of black panel with buttons. It took Daughter a minute to figure out that it's a power bar. You feed cords from printer, scanner, whatever is on the desk through some holes, and plug them into the back of the black thing, and then you turn stuff on and off using the buttons on the front. Swoopy!

In the past three months I'd built up quite a bit of paper to be filed (a lot of end-of-year and tax stuff, besides regular bills for two houses), so I went to the store and got hanging folders, and yesterday and part of today I sorted and filed all that.

I also shopped and found some acceptable lacy curtains for the living room, installed rods, and hung them.

Desk, oak, matches kitchen cabinets and a trio of bookcases I'll be bringing from the old house:
No, that's not a photograph between the laptop and printer. It's a TV/CD/DVD player. The black box on top is an antenna for the TV - gets me 40-some channels.

Here the drawer is open so you can see the power bar:
That's Clyde, the Pleo (robot baby dinosaur), on top.


Later: I didn't realize until I was looking at the above photos, but this is very reminiscent of my first desk/sewing table - a hollow door on top of two file cabinets, with wall-mounted shelves above. I loved that arrangement!

3234 Hair rebellion report

Thursday, January 20, 2011

If you want useful answers, ask good questions.


It is now nine days since I last used shampoo/conditioner on my hair. At first I had to do the hot water rinse every other day. Today is the third day since the last rinse, and it doesn't seem to need it today, but I probably will anyway.

The body and curl has gotten stronger. The individual hairs feel stronger, springier. If I push down, it springs right back up. When I woke up this morning, I looked like Rod Stewart. Ptoing!

Yes, a few days ago I went through an itchy scalp period, a little itchier than usual, but that seems to be settling down. (My scalp and forehead has always itched a little anyway. It might be a thyroid thing. A nice daily scalp massage seems to help a lot.)


I've been very busy lately, but I don't have the faintest idea what I've been doing. It's like that meme that's been going around for the past few years - where the person is watering the garden and notices that the car needs washing, and there's a cascade of jobs started and none finished, and at the end of the day, the person is tired, but has no idea why. (If you've never got that one in your inbox, either you're too young to appreciate it, or too old to remember it. Either way, you can read it here:

Monday, January 17, 2011

3233 Life on hold

Monday, January 17, 2011

"I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations,
nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine."
-- Fritz Perls --


Not much happening. Daughter drove me to the old house yesterday, where we dug the van out of the snow and I drove him south. So now both Fred the van and Hal the convertible are at the new house.

Hal has a mouse, who moved in while he was parked at the old house in November. The first clue was the chewed up roll of paper towels in the trunk, and the chewed hat. The second clue was the motion-detector alarms going off when no one was anywhere near Hal. I thought eventually the mouse would move out, but last week somebody chewed into a bag of peanuts on the front seat, and two nights ago I found a hole chewed in a bag of garbage in the garage. I give up. I'm going to have to evict him before he chews something important.

I bought some traps today, baited one (no mouse can resist peanut butter), and was taking it out to the garage. Just inside the garage, near the door to the house, is a tall plastic kitchen waste bin that I use to put out recycle stuff, and as I walked past it, I saw a motion.

The mouse is in the bin. The sides are too high and slick for him to get out.

He's the cutest little thing - bright eyes, tiny pink paws, short round body, no neck. I wish I had a cage. I'd try to keep him. But since he's caught, I'll give him a little water and walnuts tonight to feed him up a bit, and dump him outside tomorrow. Far from the house, far from Hal!


Peeved again. This was written by a professional journalist: "... declined invites from the organization ...."

Sheesh, people! At least be consistent. "... declined invitations from the organization ...." or "... declined invites from the organize ...."

Now is it apparent why I hate "invite" as a noun?