The Unexpected Residency of Doctor Macaroni

image (1)We definitely weren’t looking. Three girly cats in the house was plenty of pets for us. As sad story after sad story of abandoned cats, lost dogs and dead or incapacitated caregivers swamped my Facebook feed, I would turn to Seen and say “I really want to help them.” And most days we would talk seriously about bringing a less fortunate animal to our home, but it always ended with one of us saying “It wouldn’t be right to upset the girls.” We took turns playing that role, the role of the reasoned response.

So we absolutely were. not. looking. to add another cat to the Robinson Roster of players. It just so happened that we were out of treats, low on dry food and had to go to the pet store.

As Seen pulled the car out of the Rite-Aid parking lot I asked “Should we go to The Wharf or to Petco?” The drugstore was smack dab in between those locations. The exit lane was right turn only, the choice was made for us. Off to Petco we went.

It was a Thursday afternoon, so the local rescue wasn’t even onsite with cage after cage of adorable kitten, tempting us to come play, tempting the donations from my wallet. We were in a hurry, Seen had to get back to work to fix an image or website or something-or-other. My deadline was a week away, so the pressure on me was lighter.

The checkout line was three people deep. Seen held the bag of food, I juggled the treat bags and turned my head to the front corner of the store. Away from the windows, next to a bin of “Live FOOD!” crickets, was a four section cabinet, clear plastic covered the front. It was meant to showcase cats from the local shelter. I’d seen it before, tucked away from traffic. I assumed nobody was inside, but I thought I should maybe, kinda, sorta just go check and see if I could spot a kitten or somebody who needed a minute or two of attention.

He was curled under a short shelf, on a thinning felt circle of fabric.

“Hello there…” I wiggled my finger through one of the air holes cut into the plastic barrier between us. He moved his mouth, no sound came out. He started to stand, but his toenails were too long and got snagged in his bed. Puh-thetic. I called Seen over so we could both have our hearts broken by the little guy.

Ginger cat standing in the sun with pleading eyes.

Resistance is Futile.

Then friendly sales associate, Sara, came up behind me. “Would you like to hold Casper?”Casper, a 4 year old, lanky, butterscotch-y ginger cat. Named Casper. The name was wrong. He weighed 18 lbs (which was even more apparent once I picked him up. He’s a fatty, not a lanky.) His litter box was overflowing. He bit me lightly when I held him and he had been in that 3′ x 5′ box for four months. He was an owner surrender, with no history, so who knew what kind of behavioral problems got him into the pokey. He had a lot of cards stacked against him.

Still holding him, I looked over at Seen. “Should we take him home?” I said, knowing he would dissuade me, be the voice of reason this time when I was the soft-hearted fool for even thinking it.

Seen took him from me and Casper decided to start purring. “Yep”

Well, apparently the manager had just transferred into that store and didn’t know how to adopt out the cat. He called a number for the rescue that he had on a slip of paper, Annie didn’t answer. I called Annie, she didn’t answer. He said “I’ll call you when she calls back.” So we left, reluctantly, both of us kind of concerned that reason would creep in before we came back to get ‘Casper’. I called the Animal Control number, because he was their ward. I wanted to talk to somebody. Annie might be on vacation for all we knew.

After 20 minutes on hold, Mary finally got on the line. Annie was just the volunteer who did transport, she had no authority over Casper. According to Mary, all we had to do was fill out the paperwork, pay cash for the cat and we could take him that day. (This gave me pause that it’s so easy to get an animal, no landlord or personal reference? Shelters are much different than the rescues where we’ve spent time in the past.)

Petco shift change had happened, so when I called them to tell them we were coming back, Melissa answered and told me that Casper was “grumpy” and we could get our money back if we didn’t like him. There was no way I was leaving him there now. Who wouldn’t be grumpy living in a tiny box for 4 months, with weird ladies poking through the plastic at you?

image (3)The home office now all set to accommodate our new charge, we went back to Petco, with a carrier. And Casper came home.

Casper tried on a bunch of new names over the next 48 hours: Mongo, Brock Sampson, Gohira, Four, Hamster, Twain Boneraper, Hellboy, Archer. (You can get a nice peek into the maturity level of the Robinsons from that name collection.)

Then Seen hit on Dr. Marconi. He’s a character in a book (and movie) we both love called John Dies at the End. He’s a psychic demon fighter. We figured the artist formerly known as Casper had summoned me to that dark corner with his mind, so a psychic demon fighter was appropriate. But Dr. Marconi quickly became Dr. Macaroni, which delighted both of us because a.) it sounds like a 4 year old named him and b.) there are so many nicknames we can use now, and we do.

Crazy Tortie Stalker

Crazy Tortie Stalker

Two of the resident girly cats aren’t super excited by this latest addition. Ling Ling has been hissing at the office door where Doc Mac is staying and KoE just hisses when he comes out for his supervised visit time and he tries to sniff her. But they haven’t been showing too much trauma otherwise, food still eaten, snuggles still given, poop still droppin’. Olivia is just following him around, trying to get him to play with her.

So our big Mac is here to stay. He isn’t grumpy, as Mary the Manager insisted, he’s very respectful of the drama queens, backing off when they hiss, watching them play and/or eat without messing with them. We won’t be returning him. Doctor Macaroni is in Residence at the Robinson Ranch for good.

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Dr. Philip Macaroni Robinson

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Bad at Girling

Back in August, I bought some fancy, gel, nail-wrap thingies from my niece, Jennifer. She just started selling them and I figured I’d support her by buying a pack. Plus they are hella cute, I had a hard time just picking one set.

Taken into the purchase-limit consideration was my general lack of primping ability. There are long swathes of time between mani-pedi and even then, I paint my own digits, fairly badly, with the least expensive, non-animal tested polish I find close to the Rite-Aid checkout counter. (Hello Wet-n-Wild!) Toenail painting isn’t too traumatic, but I try to time the finger paint upgrade so it’s completed a few days before anyone will lay eyes on them, so the mess I create around my cuticles will wear off and you won’t know how shaky and bad I am at painting inside the lines.

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Such precision.

Yesterday, a full 3 months after I bought the super-easy-to-apply nail wraps, I finally made the effort to give myself a fancy mani.

Twenty-four hours after the fancy nail-wrap application only 3, of the original 10, remain on my finger-tips. I take full responsibility for this failure, as my niece, who has 7 children, managed to apply hers perfectly and they lasted for THREE WEEKS. I’m just bad at this girl stuff.

I’ve always been fairly bad at girling. Visiting a friends bathroom, especially staying overnight, I would stand in unkempt awe at the amount of shower gels, shampoos, creams and unguents they had just for general upkeep. (My husband notes that just referring to lady cleaning products as unguents proves my badness at girling.) I was always just happy with Suave, or whatever fit the budget.

What is all this for?

What is all this for?

My long hair is rarely styled more than just a brush to one side or the other, it doesn’t really help that it’s so stubbornly limp that even if I curl it, it falls to standard, meh, levels of waviness within minutes of leaving the house. I’m still bad at make-up, 20+ years after starting to use it. Sometimes I give myself a smokey/bruised eye look by combining purple and blue highlights on my lids. When I go into Sephora, I make a bee-line for the Benefit, buy the replacement for whatever I just ran out of (base or mascara), pay, get my sample lip-gloss and high-tail it out of there. Even my choice of fragrance, a spiced essential oil, reminds people of their grandma.

Speaking of Grandma’s, I know this came from my Mom, Sally, who had minimal product in the house. She only put on lipstick for going out (aka, to church) and uses Jergens lotion. Full stop.

I’m not saying I’m bad at being a woman. I’m me, mostly unfluffed, and proud of who I am. I appreciate a nice boot and can toss on a dress (I do own 34 sun-dresses, mainly because I live in So Cal and pants are the enemy of comfort.) I appreciate a good ball-gown, or stiletto from afar, but I’ll never understand the pull of brand handbags. Everybody, every woman, is unique in their girl-ness. I’m not judging them, or me really. Just stating a fact. There are all types of females and I just happen to be the kind without an aptitude for product.Chilly is a Relative Term

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Sounds of the Season – Part 1

FrankenfaceIf you go looking for a graham cracker at my Mom’s house, you’re going to be greeted by a moaning ghost. It’s from my Dad.

The ghost noise originated from a box of Frankenberry cereal, which is odd in a house where most meals were harvested from the 1 acre garden out back or pulled from frozen white parcels of deer meat in the freezer. But, unable to resist a deal, when the local grocery store offered Frankenberry boxes for 89 cents, my Father indulged his inner child and bought home a box of the unholy pink treat. He didn’t know then that the box contained more surprises than just HFCS and Red Dye #40. A surprise that would stick around for years.

When Dad opened the box of cereal at home, a haunted wail poured out. The marketing geniuses at General Mills had stuck a motion sensing noise device just inside the cardboard flaps. So whenever you wanted to get your Frankenberry on, you would be greeted by ghostly groans.

The box of Frankenberry soon ran it’s course, but Dad wasn’t ready to give up the creepy greeting. It tickled him and Dad was always a big goofball. He took the little sensor out of the box and put it in the drawer where Mom keeps all the crackers and the occasional bag of M&Ms. This all happened well over a decade ago.

dadMeApronsI remember one visit home, unaware of the ghost and looking for some saltines to go with my bowl of tomato soup, I pulled open the cracker drawer and jumped a few inches out of my own skin as the drawer started moaning. Dad laughed for a good 5 minutes.

The sensor is still in that drawer, still howling if you dare to go for a cracker. I imagine Dad still smiling that sideways smile, on whatever cloud he’s looking down from, whenever I get a snack at Mom’s house.

 

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My Writing Process: The Blog Relay

First, and most importantly, a tip o’ the hat to to Broos Campbell for looping me into this “My Writing Process” blog relay.

Broos is a spectacularly brilliant writer, having published 3 novels in the Matty Graves series. Start with No Quarter and you’re plunged into some salty naval shenanigans that will propel you back in time to the late 18th century and soak your brain in the rough and tumble Caribbean during the Quasi War. He’s currently working on The Crazy Adorable Faces, about a teen-girl who, among other things, is hunting ghosts, including those of her recently disappeared parents. I hope to see that in print sometime very soon. Waiting for the ending is, literally, killing me.

Ok, enough about Broos, more about me, me, ME! These writing process posts are supposed to land on Monday, but I’m on Writer Standard Time, so let’s just pretend you’re looking at this 3 months into the future and have to page back to June 3rd in your calendar to find out that I’m a day late. This type of behavior isn’t terribly unusual, I’m finding.

Here’s the game: I answer four questions about my work and my writing process, find writers who are willing to be mentioned and do the same next week, and then I toss the baton over to them and we’ll gather around our glowing screens to click forward and find out what THEIR writing process looks like. On board? Good! Go get some snacks and keep on scrolling!

What am I working on?

Your Mom. Oh, man, I’m so sorry.

What I’m actually working on is a novel. It’s about the relationship of a father and daughter, the roles that change as children turn into the caregiver. The daughter has to accept her father’s limitations now that he has started sliding into dementia.

They also have to fight a possible world-destroying demon, drawn forth by a vengeful woman from a powerful book made from human flesh and inked in blood. They have to do that while trying not to contract the Spanish Flu as they have accidentally traveled back in time.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I bring a bit of the lit-fiction touch to this adventure/horror-ish/demon story. My main focus is the turmoil of life events many of us have to face; aging parents. The action of the story is deeply important, but the main focus of my protagonist, Jill, is how she faces her Dad’s mortality. I love seeing her honest reaction to standard circle of life experiences, and how she grows because of all that and the other big doings going on around her, like saving the world and falling in love and stuff.

I also have a dry/weird sense of humor, so while we worry about Jill, and the world, we’ll also be laughing at the absolutely, obvious ridiculousness of life.

Why do I write what I do?

Even though I thought lit-fiction was the place for me, (I’ve 1/2 a finished novel in that genre), I was drawn to write Livre des Morts (Morty for Short) because the idea kept tapping me on the shoulder. When I started down the road, it turned into a LOT of fun to write. Now I’m working out the ending and going back to drop in the juicy bits in the first 2/3rds. I’m loving these characters and really want to help them all do the right thing.

I try to add humor to most everything I write, because, as the Poet Ron Koertge once said “The world is tough enough, I want to give you something to laugh at.” (I’m paraphrasing, he said it at a reading and I didn’t write the quote directly.) Sure, I’ll write some stuff like The Last of the Honey and make your eyes leak a little, but for the most part, I’d like to leave you with a chuckle, even if it is at my expense.

How does my writing process work?

Process Step 1. Remove cats from desk

Writing Process Step 1. Remove cats from desk

Writing is like exercise. You have to keep doing it, every day, so you don’t get winded climbing stairs. I like to sneak in, at minimum, a 10 minute free-write every day. That way I keep the ole mental functions oiled and my lungs in shape.

I prefer to write in the morning, usually after said exercise. The best ideas usually glide up to me on the treadmill, on a run or in the shower while I have soap in my hair. I try to jot those down, add them to my current manuscript where appropriate or write them up as detailed as possible. I treat this time as if it were a meeting with the IRS. I have to be here with that old chestnut, put your butt in chair. Here comes the tricky part.

Discipline is the only way any words actually make it onto the page. For the piece I’m working on now, I’ve been interviewing my protagonist and her love interest for about a week. We’re finding out all sorts of juicy things together. I’m also creating a world and a language. Which makes me feel immensely powerful and also overwhelmed at how much detail I have to build. That leads me to researching things online, which leads to me checking Facebook, which leads to me turning off the light and assuring myself I’m going to “do that tomorrow”.

Le Purple Binder

Le Purple Binder

I do a combination of notebook/hand-writing and working on the computer. I find the action comes to me easier on the computer and the sensory details come easier with a pen in hand. Livre des Morts (Morty for Short) has been printed up and is in a big, purple binder, so I can add notes by hand.

The Handoff

Lorinda Toledo is a lovely person and writer I met at the amazing Writing Pad LA. She has written for some major pubs (LA Weekly, USA Today, The Washington Post) and pens up a pretty inspirational blog about running and writing and pushing herself (and ourselves) to do both. I can’t wait to read her upcoming novel about her home state of New Mexico!

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Funny. Not Funny.

You know what’s funny? Replacing your husband’s cover photo and profile pic on Facebook with Nic Cage on April Fools Day. I had an evil plot to schedule Nic-Facts to post all day long from his FB page, but scheduling is apparently still in development at the Facebook campus. (Even though they have it for business pages…)

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Would you like to know what’s not funny? Waking up at 2:00 a.m. on April 1st to your cat having a violent seizure and slamming herself into the wall. I wasn’t even fully awake by the time I’d scooped her up and held her, feeling her muscles spasm. She drooled all over me and herself. She was seizing so hard it was terrifying. After she stopped, and took a few minutes to realize where she was again, I stayed up most of the rest of the night, watching her, hoping it wouldn’t happen again.

OliviaHappiness

Olivia

Our fabulous vet came over first thing this morning, talked to us for at least 45 minutes about possible causes. Then he realized that the cat who had the seizures last night, Olivia, wasn’t the same cat who has suffered from seizures in the past.

That’s right, we have two cats with seizure issues, which is apparently extraordinarily rare. Ling Ling had her first seizure about 2 years ago, and they have never been as violent as the one Olivia had last night. The odds of having two cats who have seizures are like a million to one.

The vet took blood, calmed down the humans and gave us suggestions about how to proceed. She recovered quickly, so he doesn’t think it’s an external toxin. And they are indoor cats, with the exception of a monthly regulated/observed porch time. So now we wait to see if she has any weird markers in her blood tests. While we wait, she’s getting a lot of treats, snuggling and I’m taking a nap.

Since we’re feeling so rare today, I may go buy a lottery ticket. (After the nap.)

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The Last of the Honey

SugarTeddy“Why is there honey on the shopping list?” Seen asked me.

He walked into our office carrying a giant honey-filled plastic bear.

“That one is all sugared” I replied, looking back to my computer, avoiding the question.

“Let’s just heat it up in a warm water bath, like your Dad taught you. No need to waste food.”

I didn’t respond immediately, trying to sort through my thoughts. Once I located the truth of my honey hoarding, I hesitated before replying.

“I was kind of wanting to hold onto that though…” I shifted my eyes to the ursine container, “It’s the last one.”

Seen’s eyes opened a little wider and he looked back to the bottle. “Is this the last of your Dad’s honey?”

“Yeah…well, not Dad’s honey, but the last batch of Henry honey from his bees.” Dad had not known he was going to get sick, so there was no official ‘this is my last batch’ honey.

The honey that came directly from his toil was long gone. It had been consumed with peanut butter sandwiches and in tea, baked into cookies with the willful hope that there would, of course, be more when he got better. He would go back out along the creeks and into the fields where he had stacked white wooden boxes of queens and workers, feed them, medicate them, tend to his tiny, buzzing, stinging flock. He would absolutely return to his honey shack in the fall, fill the air with the scent of sugar, yeast and burning candles as his heated spatula scraped away the waxy seal bees had planted over their soon-to-be stolen harvest. The air in that small shed would warm once again with the literal sweetness of his work. There would be more. That was what I’d learned from him my whole life; there would always be more honey.

Somewhere in the middle of everything, he passed the bees on to another generation. But it didn’t stick and the bees found a new custodian, outside of our family.

The bottle Seen was holding now, the one that had been sitting toward the back of the 2nd shelf in the pantry since before the funeral, the bottle of hardened honey that followed me from house to apartment to duplex, that bottle was from that next generation. Not his harvest, but it was the last of the honey from his hives.

“I didn’t know.” Seen said. “If that’s the case, we’ll keep it.”

I wanted to tell him that we could use it, we could heat it up the way Dad had taught me, change the hard sugar back into golden liquid. But I just turned back to my computer, holding on to a remnant from the time when we had an over-abundance of honey.

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Getting Clean

Vacation equals food to me. Sure, you get to go enjoy other cultures, see beautiful art and natural wonders, but what can we eat there?

My vacation from the ole day job occurred last week. Originally, I had planned on flying to Colorado for the weekend. My crazy family had convinced me to join in a mud run. Unfortunately, Colorado got overly muddy last weekend, to put it mildly, and our event was cancelled.

You can have all kinds of fun if you serendipitly, wear a green dress to a museum who takes souvenir pix using a green screen!

All kinds of fun if you, by happy accident, wear a green dress to a museum where souvenir pix are taken in front of a green screen!

Since it was short notice, the hubs and I did a sort of stay-cation. We drove into LA to visit the museum I’ve always wanted to see, but hadn’t. We attended a gallery event. We drove up the coast to Cambria to visit a friend for a night. There was much noshing during this time.

The morning after our little Cambria jaunt, I awoke headachey, joint achey and nauseated. Between the pasta, wine, pea soup, beer, french toast, peanut butter cookies, wheat thins and soda, my kidneys couldn’t filter out all the crap. Oh, and my kidney’s hurt too.

It was then I decided to eat clean. In an earlier era of my life, I had cleaned sugar out of my diet. If you’ve ever worked in an office with me, or been in the vicinity of my home, you know I love to bake. So cutting sugar is horribly difficult. But being sick is even more difficult.

Normally a chicken and grain type of girl, eschewing anything mammalian, I have finally made the decision to change over, full-time, to legumes, veggies and grains.  Last week news reports alerted us that  processed chicken, consumed in America, will now be coming from China (you remember China? The “there is arsenic in your pet food” China?), and that antibiotic use in farm animals is causing immunities to disease, and death in humans who consume them.

Gimme Meats!

Gimme Meats!

I was almost there anyway, but it looks like I’m going veg now. I didn’t really eat dairy before (gassy), so I guess I’m a vegan who eats eggs, and fish, and honey. OK, fine, I’m not a vegan.

I’m just a gal, concerned about all the random crap in my meat. There is also a part of me who has ethical problems with the way we now raise and kill our food supply. But I understand humans are omnivores, so no dispersion on your character should you continue to mow down that cheeseburger. I’m making a choice to limit the amount of processed crap I put down my gullet, and avoiding eating any animal who has had all kinds of crap put into their systems.

And as a cat owner, cats being obligate carnivores, I’ll still purchase meat products for the kitties. I just can’t commit to making them homemade chicken foods. Still, I’ll find any mention of lamb included the cat food packet troubling forever though. Lambs are cute little fuggers.

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Farewell to FaN – A Belated Goodbye

fan_flower_header1In August 2008, Ernessa T. Carter sent me an email. She asked if I would like to write for her community blog, which she had titled Fierce and Nerdy.The requirements were simple; provide an original, 500-800 word column, every other week, on any subject that tickled my fancy. She thought the name Tall Drink of Nerd would be appropriate and clever. I concurred.

Tall Drink of Nerd had a good run. The column (or blogumn as we called it in the early days) offered an opportunity to not only write fun stuff but to highlight the ridiculousness of my social anxieties. My column helped me work through my father’s struggle with MDS and leukemia and ultimately through his passing from this world.

Writing for FaN boosted my confidence and was a touch stone when I felt completely alone in the world. It also introduced me to the works of several other writers: some friends from Writing Pad LA (Jeff Rogers, Howard Leder, Michael Kass), some from the great world outside that club (Eric Sims, Kalimba Bennett, Jennifer May Nickel, Ryan Dixon, Joe Stapleton) and a whole bunch of others that I’m not mentioning for space reasons. That was only a small selection of the amazing writing found at FaN. I would be remiss to not mention the fearless writing by Ernessa herself, ETC.

In August of 2011, I was tasked to edit Fierce and Nerdy columns. It was two tons of fun, and I got a whole new appreciation for the work ETC was doing behind the scenes. I tossed my editors badge back to ETC, and a new editor, in April of this year to focus on finishing my own novel. A few weeks ago, FaN contributors received a note from Ernessa; after a summer hiatus, FaN would be shuttering the collective blogging but would still be live to support Ernessa’s upcoming novel The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men.

I didn’t pull my crap together in time to post a farewell blog on FaN, so this is that good-bye. God-speed FaN. I can’t wait for you to come back with Ernessa’s thoughts post-Labor Day. A big, fat thank you to ETC for allowing us all to join in the fun. It was a fantastic place to be seen in cyber-space. I’ll remember you fondly and have a drink tonight in your honor. One for me and one for lost homies (*pouring beer on the keyboard.)

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It’s Just Herpes

My. Cat. Has. Herps.

Your dog has fleas?
My cat has herpes.

It’s a bit odd to be relieved when the doctor tells you “It’s just herpes”. But when the doctor is a vet who is reassuring you that your cat doesn’t have a bacterial infection and doesn’t need meds, it’s a bit less life alteringly traumatic.

Remember, during t-shirt week, when I told you the cat needed a steroid injection to win the Tour de France make her flea allergies feel better? Well, apparently, a steroid injection lowers the immunity defenses and that causes a herpes flair up.

Now, she doesn’t have a cold sore on her mouth, like the whore of Babylon, and she isn’t forever itching her crotch. Herpes in a cat starts with sneezing, goopy/watery eyes and other cold-type symptoms. Olivia, that’s the cat to the left showing you her business, started sneezing about a week after the steroid shot and kept us up the past few nights with a very loud, repetitive “Snnfffccchhh” off and on every few hours.

Luckily, the vet was free to come over today and check her out. (Yes, my vet comes to my house. What’s even more awesome, he lives next door with his girlfriend vet-tech who run a home visit vet clinic. We’ve been here 6 months and they are still speaking to us, which means I haven’t shown then how completely crazy I am with the girls health…yet.) The vet said that the sneeze onset was suspicious timing from the steroid shot. He thought it was herpes, and with her minimal symptoms, just the sneezing, it’s pretty much confirmed.  Our little Livey has the herps.

Don’t you judge her. Even though she was a teen mom, you don’t get the herps from being loose. Well, you don’t get cat herps by being loose.  According to the vet, she probably got it from her Mom (not in an Oedipal way, you weirdos) but either in utero or via nursing.  Which means that the adorbs kittens Olivia birthed probably have the herps in a small way too.

Infectious cuteness

Infectious cuteness

Cats with herpes don’t always show it, sometimes it’s dormant and they never show any signs. The symptoms can be easily controlled with L-Lysine treats for cats. Olivia’s outbreak is so minimal, we don’t need to medicate her at all. Which is a relief, as Cristina from Lange can attest, this sweet, tiny cat turns all claws and teeth with meds are near. (Don’t talk Pill Pockets to me, she can smell that a mile away.)

So what, my cat has herpes. It’s nothing that will make me stop loving her. I will probably stop kissing her full on the mouth though.

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Running Like a Dirty Girl

Did I improve my lap time?

I don’t run like a girl. In actuality, I run more like a baby penguin with bad knees. (Do penguins have knees?) Running does not come easily for me. My Freshman year of high school, I was on the track team. In a school of 100 kids, everybody was in any sport they tried out for. My event was the sixteen-hundred and my move was to sprint that last 1/4 of the last lap, passing at least two other runners. I usually came in 3rd to last.

Over the past decade, I’ve run a little bit here and there. Mostly just basic training, so I won’t die during any 5k runs I’ve signed up for. There is no simple answer why I sign up for running events. My imaginary, future self is really healthy and they look fun to her. The event I’m doing next month was the brain child of my fit niece, Katie.

How I think I look when I run

How I think I look when I run.

“Let’s do the Dirty Girl Mud Run!” Katie said. “You and me and Janet (my sister) and Becca (Janet’s daughter.)” It sounded like good, dirty, fun. A couple of more cousins signed up to run (heyo Cristin and Jennifer). We’re getting a hotel suite for us gals so we can talk and giggle and have a nice reunion. Here’s the kicker, the 5k event is in Denver. I live at So. Cal. sea level. Professional athletes bitch about exercising in Denver’s altitude. Listen…I may die.

So the point is, I started running again to prevent the possible altitude/exercise related death. The training has been sporadic due to headaches, tummy aches, lady aches, cramping toes, bad knees, too much sun, not enough sun and general laziness. It’s a 2.5 mile loop from my place to this cool mermaid statue and back. Some days it’s an easy jaunt, some days I want to turn back after every jostled step.

Today went like this:

For the first two minutes, I cannot breathe and my legs are made of lead tree trunks.

The leaden tree trunks continue throughout the run. I should invest in much lighter running shoes.

My exercise tracking app, Endomondo, breaks into the song Run to the Hills and informs me that my first mile took 10:51. Shut up Endomondo.

It’s uphill to the mermaid statue .25 miles away. I don’t wanna. Luckily, the My Chemical Romance song  This is How I Disappear starts on my run mix and I kick it up a notch (probably to around 10:46 mile).

How I actually look.  No, even though I look scared, nobody is chasing me.

How I actually look.
Even though I look scared, nobody is chasing me.

Turning around to go home. Crap, there is a cat in the middle of the street chasing a pigeon. There is no traffic here, but must save kitty. He puts up no resistance as I pick him up and put him back on the sidewalk. I get a nose kiss for my trouble, but this didn’t help my lap time with Endomondo.

Getting close to two miles and about completely out of breath. I so want to stop running (jogging) and just walk the rest of the way. Just when I need it most, Keep Pushing comes on the run mix. So, I keep pushing, while mouthing the words and air guitaring…in the middle of the street.

I hit replay on Keep Pushing to get me all the way. Ah Kevin Cronin and REO Speedwagon, you have kept pushing me until I jogged home.

So I ran the entire way today. Maybe I get up to a 5k by this weekend. Maybe I’ll survive the Dirty Girl in Denver a month from now. Yeah…and maybe I’m a Chinese jet pilot.

This is the Run Mix I made on Spotify. Let me know what pushes you, so I can add it on.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-_dWAsYSCg&w=480&h=360]

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