Saturday, December 31, 2005

saturday catblogging

Eep has a new window bed, which she loves dearly.

Eep just looks so cute with the curtains drawn, forming a little kitty cave for herself.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

blog musings

I'm sitting here, looking at Sitemeter and the TTLB Ecosystem status for this blog, and I've noticed something odd. In the past year, the monthly readership of this site has increased by approximately 1000%. Yes, that figure is right, I have 100 times the number of monthly hits I had a year ago. My site traffic had increased dramatically, and continues to increase at a slower rate. So, then, why am I de-evolving in the TTLB Ecosystem? I was all the way up to mamalian status, and now I'm back down to a reptile.

Now, I'll admit my content hasn't been the most thought-stimulating, or consistent, but you try taking Valium three times a day and see how productive you are. Now, I have noticed one other connection with my downward slide in the TTLB Ecosystem, which I know heavily relies on links: becoming open about my spiritual views. Has my expression of my views driven people to drop me from their Blogrolls, or has the content reflected my necessary sedatives, and the more sedate nature of my more recent posts? Just curious as to what has caused this trend. If anyone has any insights, feel free to leave them in the comments. And don't get hateful about it, or I'll send Callie Bellatrix and The Wild Eep to go claw your eyes out. Then I'll delete the comment, or ridicule it in a post, depending on my mood. You were warned. Don't make me unleash my squirrely wrath.

the naming of cats, part 2

Ok, I guess that technically Caliadne Gwenhyfar Bellatrix has a fourth name, d'Oubliette "of/from the Oubliette" for those of you who don't speak French. So, here are all of the cats' full names, oldest to youngest, age in parenthesis:
  • Noah Nightstalker d'Oubliette (8) - Hey, he picked his own middle name. Nevermind that Nightstalker is currently splayed out on the recliner, sleeping the night away.
  • McCullough Bruta d'Oubliette (6) - Bruta is Latin Feminine for "dull witted". A nicer form of her nickname "Fur For Brains"
  • Eep Grimalkin d'Oubliette (4) - Grimalkin is the name of the Witch's Cat in MacBeth, and the name means "a female cat" and "an ill-tempered woman". Given Eep's mood swings are legendary, it so fits her, and again is nicer that "You Little Shit!"
  • Caliadne Gwenhyfar Bellatrix d'Oubliette (2) - you'll just have to read this post to get the meanings of all her names, she's Callie or Bellatrix for short.
And that leads to my own name. If you hadn't figured it out by now, my penname for this site means "Mira of the Oubliette". Mira is a Latin name, and the name of the first binary star to be named. It was observed as early as the second century BCE by Greek astronomers, and is located in the constellation Cetus. Mira means "a wonder", and yes, it is my real name. At least one of them. Sorry, readers, I'm not giving away any more that that, because to know someone's true name is to have power over them, or at least makes stalking and privacy invasion much easier. :) And as T.S. Eliot wrote, each cat has a secret name, individual to that cat, that only the cat knows, which is why we will never have any real power over them.

Friday, December 23, 2005

callie's full name

I think I have learned Callie's full name, and while I will never know the name that she keeps to herself, here is her full name: Caliadne Gwenhwyfar Bellatrix.
  • Caliadne - Greek, "beautifully holy", the name of a Nymph of the Nile River
  • Gwenhwyfar - Celtic/Welsh mythology, gwyn "white, fair" and hwyfar "smooth", French/English form is Guinevere
  • Bellatrix - Latin, feminine "warrior"
She has such adorable "snow boots" on her paws, and a white belly, silky smooth fur, picks more than her fair share of fights (and wins), and must have been sent by the Gods to be so lucky. She even knows and responds to Bellatrix, gave me a "what are you going to do about it" look when I ran that name by her. She's a fighter, or else she never would have found a home. She didn't like the name Felicia or Feliciana, both are Roman feminine for "lucky, successful". She's still Callie for short, though.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

merry yule

I haven't had much energy to post anything in the couple of days, since between the sinus infection/bronchitis and the cough syrup that puts me down for the count, I've been sleeping a lot. The infection seems to be holding it's own right now, I'm still waiting for the antibiotics to kick in and the tide to turn. Right now, the infection is still winning, so I wait and rest.

Today is the first day where the days are now longer than the nights, the Equinox has come and gone, and the Sun is once more growing stronger in the skies, the days becoming longer, and Spring is coming. I know the modern calendar likes to think of the Winter Equinox, Yule, as the beginning of winter, but it really mid-winter, the turning point. If you don't think it's been winter for over a month already, go outside, feel the cold air, look at the snow on the ground. Our ancestors knew the rhythm of the seasons better than most of us do today, because they had to live with the rhythm, not be isolated by central heat or air conditioning. We can keep our houses the same temperature year-round, eat whatever foods we wish that are grown on different continents, instead of eating what is seasonal.

Today, I can go to the grocery store and buy fresh tomatoes, even though my vines died over a month ago. I would normally be eating squash, preserved meats, beans and other dried grains, nuts, and dried foods. Today we don't have to eat according to the seasons, I can go buy strawberries that were grown in South America, instead of waiting 4 months for them to be in season again here in Alabama. If I wanted to eat fish, I can go buy fresh fish, instead of eating dried, smoked, and/or salted fish. If I want to eat fish that would be fitting to this season, preserved fish, salted cod or something like that, I have to pay extra for them.

What is the point of this? Enjoy the seasons, and if you can find seasonal foods, enjoy them. Don't rely on the calendar, trust the weather and your instincts. The human race has relied on instinct and the length of the days to note the changing the seasons. We have not lost that touch, if we only go outside and feel the air, you will know what the season is.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

this week's health update

I went to my rheumatologist, Dr. H, last week for my standard bi-monthly Remicade infusion, and we discussed the possibility of all of my neurological problem being caused by Lupus. After having read an article about it, and found a list of the symptoms, which I have about 65% of, I needed to know if that was a possibility. While there is a blood test that can be done for Lupus, the fact I am on Remicade would cause it to come back positive. Apparently the new biological auto-immune disorder treatments (Remicade, Enbrel, Humira, and a couple of others) cause a Lupus test to show a false positive. Also, as Dr. H put it, there are so many other disorders that have the same symptoms as Lupus, it's impossible to make a diagnosis without the bloodwork.

The up side is that I'm not rapidly getting worse after each Remicade infusion, which would be the case if I had Lupus. I tend to feel like crap for a day or two (like I'm trying to catch a cold), but overall the neurological problems don't get any worse. So, at least that's one more thing that is ruled out.

Unfortunately, the Remicade has significantly weakened my immune system for about a week (as it always does after an infusion, this is nothing new), and I've picked up a nasty sinus infection and bronchitis just in time for the holidays. Oh, whee. Mom has made the Executive Decision that I will stay at home and rest over the holidays, and that I can see everyone at a later date, and that Mom, Dad, and who knows else will visit here next week so I don't have to leave home.

So, kind readers, I will be here all week, blogging when I'm not sleeping, and having my own little Yule celebration. My husband and brother-in-law will be heading to Georgia to see my in-laws, and I will stay here to rest. Eunomia (the Voodoo Queen) will check in on me in the evenings, to be sure I've managed to keep myself alive during the day. I think I can manage that, there's plenty of quick-cook food in the house that I can keep myself decently on my own for 3 days. I also have the Chineese delivery menu, I'll be fed one way or another. And I'll have plenty of cats to keep me company.

Monday, December 19, 2005

fare thee well

You were brilliant at your craft, and I'm fortunate to have discovered this before you passed on to the other side. May the Muses embrace you, for you certainly listened to their whisperings. Many blessings upon your soul, and comfort for those who loved you, now left behind.

John Spencer
December 20, 1946 - December 16, 2005

Sunday, December 18, 2005

carnival of the cats #91

This week's Carnival of the Cats is up at Music and Cats. Hooray! Lots of Holiday kitty goodness for all. Be sure to check out what the cats are doing to celebrate.

And if you missed it, The Friday Ark is up at Modulator, so you can get even more kitty goodness, and enjoy the other critters there.

introducing my frappr map

Yes, I have joined the Frappr bandwagon, and have my own Frappr Map. So go ahead and put yourself on my map, 'cause I'm the only one on there right now, and I'm feeling kinda lonely.

how do the other cats feel about callie?

Well, there has been suprising little bloodshed, although there is one kitty in particular who isn't happy. Three guesses as to who it is, and the first two don't count...

That is the patented Eep Glare of Death, directed at Callie.

Friday, December 16, 2005

friday catblogging

Callie is adjusting to life inside the house, and is practicing looking regal.

In reality, she is hoping someone will let her go outside. She's starting to miss the outdoor life, but that is something she will never experience again. She has 3000 square feet of house to play in now, she simply needs to figure out what windows are for.

Again, thank you to everyone who has donated to the Keep the Cats Healthy Fund which was previously known as the Give Callie a Home Fund. If you can spare a buck or two, please consider donating, since the original fund was used entirely in Callie's original visit to the vet, and she still has a second round of vaccinations.

merry yule, saturnalia, christmas, hanukah

The Yule Tree is up, and here are a few of my favorite ornaments along with the mostly decorated tree.

A Victorian kitty. Pull the string and her arms move up and down.

A glass and silver wire ornament I picked up in Colonial Williamsburg on a business trip in the area.

The fake stained-glass star, crowning the tree.

The mostly decorated tree in it's glory. Photo taken with flash, so the ornaments are more easily visible.

And yes, it's a Yule/Saturnalia/Christmas/Hanukah tree. Hey, I'm an equal opportunity Theist.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

what do y'all think

So, how do you like the new background? I thought it was time for a change, a little more of a Celtic theme.

Friday, December 09, 2005

callie is home from the vet

Good news, she is FIV/Feline Leukemia free. She is about 2 years old, and has been spayed. So, we don't have an unwed mother. The only suprise she had was a belly full of tapeworms, which she received an injection to take care of, with a follow up in 2 weeks. Fortunately, the tapeworms wshe will be shedding over the next few days are not contagious to humans or other cats. (They're just disgusting when still alive. I promise to NOT post any pics of them.) She received all of her vaccinations - Rabies, Feline Distemper, Feline Leukemia. In about 3 weeks she has to go back to the vet to get a booster for the Feline Leukemia vaccination.

Poor Callie became incontinent in her carrier on the way home, so it was easier to go ahead and give her a full bath rather than clean her up any other way. Fortunately for me, she was very calm for her bath, and it helped her coat get nice and clean, which it needed from her being a stray.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to giving Callie a home. Here is what she looked like after her trip to the vet. While I was there, I was reminded that Noah, Eep, and McCullough are all due for their vaccinations, too. So, if you can please continue to donate to the Keep the Cats Healthy Fund AKA the Give Callie a Home Campaign. It's all the same donation box. Thanks to everyone who has helped in any way.

when i know, you'll know

Callie has not had her appointment yet. It's at 4:00 CST, had to wait until my husband could get off work to take us. So, as soon as I get back from the vet, I'll post the news, and some pics of one pissed off cat.

friday catblogging

Here you go, something a little different.

A Mac in the Box.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

thursday cat poetry blogging

The Naming of Cats

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

- T. S. Eliot
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, 1932
So, I'm trying to pick Callie's second name. Callie is her practical, sensible, everyday first name. I'm trying to find her second, individual name, with no success so far. For now, the only clue she has given me is that is Celtic or Gaelic in origin. Unhelpful cat, being all coy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

in rememberance

Happy Birthday, Papaw. Gone but never forgotten.

Also, not forgotten are those who died on this day in 1941, in Pear Harbor. Thank you for your service to our country, and your sacrifice.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

callie has a home

Tonight Callie is indoors. It's currently 25°F (-4°C) outside, which is much too cold for a kitty. So she is now living in the utility area of the basement, which is heated and is about 1/4 of the total area of the house. She is absolutely thrilled to be in a warm house, and has even relaxed enough to start playing, and enjoying a little catnip.

She has a vet appointment on Friday, so in the mean time she will live inside, separated from the other cats, so they can get accustomed to each others' scent. Assuming she is disease free, after her appointment she will be able to join the rest of the cats. Callie and I thank everyone who has helped give her a home.

Monday, December 05, 2005

thank you, catbloggers

I want to thank the Catbloggers who are helping spread the word to help get Callie a permanent home. Here are the Catbloggers that I know of so far that have helped spread the word. If you have helped get the word out and I have mised you, please leave a comment and I'll add you to the list.
Thank you again everyone for your help. So far enough money has been raised to cover Callie's initial FIV and Feline Leukemia test, and assuming those are negative, it will cover the rest of her exam, all of her vaccinations, and de-worming medications if needed. If she is pregnant, then I will let her have her litter and the fund will be used to cover her pre and post natal care. My parents want one of her little girls, having met Callie over the weekend and still missing their beloved George, and the rest will go up for adoption through Challenger's House. After Callie is spayed, the remainder of the fund will go toward the rest of the cats of the Oubliette, their vet care, and anything else they may need. And of course, any other passing cats in the neighborhood will have food given to them.

And for anyone who is wondering about Tux, the neighborhood male tuxedo cat, I think someone already snatched him up and gave him a home. Strays don't stay strays long in this neighborhood, the get taken in by somebody and given a home.

medical update

Well, after having been put on another medication for the vertigo and still not having anything to go on except central and periphral Neuropathy (disease of the nerves) as a diagnosis, I'm going to get some more tests run in 10 days, when I see my Rheumatologist again. The next round of testing is for Lupus, and I've been showing enough symptoms of it that it's a viable suspicion since MS was ruled out. Right now the only thing keeping the intense vertigo episodes at bay are 2 medications, both of which have the "may cause drowsiness" warning which translates to "will knock you on your ass". I know it's been a while since my last update, but there's been nothing to report. No new information. The only good thing is now that it's cooler, I'm not quite as easily fatigued. Just walking outside in the summer heat would do me in for the day, and still if I'm not careful, a hot shower will do the same.

On a somewhat related note, my shoulder is pretty much healed finally, from the fall in the bathtub I had about 2 months ago. I ended up with a badly sprained rotator cuff, and a month in Physical Therapy. My shoulder is still pretty weak, but at least I have full range of motion again with no pain. So now I'm working on strengthening it at home, to get back to 100% of what it was before I fell. Fortunately, the shoulder has taught me to be a lot more careful, and I haven't had any more falls since October. Now I just have to make it through the Christmas snows in Indiana with no falls...

thank you

The Give Callie a Home Campaign is already up to $25 after only 12 hours. Thank you to those who have contributed, and so here is another picture to show why I want to help this kitty.

Callie is snug in her heated bed, and it even matches her coat, which she needed overnight since it is currently 33°F outside and raining. She has food, water, and a warmed bed, but I can't bring her inside until I know she isn't carrying any infections which would harm the other 5 cats in the house already. Please keep the donations coming, and I'll keep posting pics of her.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

carnival of the cats #89

This week's Carnival of the Cats is up at When Cats Attack! and The Meowers of Death did a great job of putting up the carnival.

And if you can't get enough cats, you can always check out The Friday Ark, and all the other critters there each week.

help give callie a home

I'm starting a campaign to give Callie a home. She is a stray, and after having talked to a neighbor, it seems she wanders from house to house looking for a meal or a place out of the wind. Right now she is living in our garage, and eating like she's starving, which she was, but fortunately now is putting on a little weight.

So, if you can, donate a buck or two to the Give Callie a Home Campaign, through my tipjar. I will not bring her into the house without a full vet check-up. The last time I did that was with Eep, and she ended up giving me the scare of my life, that I may have infected all of my other cats with FIV. You understand, then, as sweet as she may be, Callie cannot come into the house without a full Vet checkup, which I cannot afford. To make matters worse, I think Callie may now be carrying kittens, explaining her weight gain and appetite. (I'm not the best at feline pelvic exams, so I'm not sure if I was feeling kittens or organs.)

Here's what I will do: Callie (or whatever her name is changed to) will get a full Vet check-up and her vaccinations, then a permanent loving home in the Oubliette with the other kitties, so she will have a human and a feline family. If she is pregnant, I will let her have her kittens before getting her spayed. I will let her raise her kittens here, in the house, and when they are weaned one will go to my parents', while the others will go up for adoption through Challenger's House, a local no-kill cat shelter, the shelter where I adopted Noah from. You can be assured that there will be many beautiful pics of Callie on the furniture, and if she is indeed pregnant, there will be many pics of her babies.

So please help out and give what you can to the Give Callie a Home Campaign. Any extra money raised will go to the other Cats of The Oubliette, in the form of toys, treats, and whatever they may need. Any of my regular readers will know that I have been out of work since April, so I cannot afford to take in Callie without help from you, my readers. Thank you for your help.

To remind you who you will be doing this for. Callie has a warm bed for now in our garage, complete with heater, food and water, but she is a sweet cat who deserves real home. For more pics of Callie, look at this post.


If anyone received a AOL IM from me this evening that was a "Christmas Card" ignore it, and ignore it in the future. It's some kind of friggin IM virus, you get from someone on your IM list, then it sends to everyone on your IM list. DO NOT CLICK THE FRIGGIN LINK! If I infected you, I apologize for not noticing and shutting AIM down faster. (ducks) Please don't throw stuff at me, it was an accident. If I wanted to infect your computer with a virus, I think I could come up with a better method. (ducks again) Not that I would. Promise!

Friday, December 02, 2005

friday catblogging

I swear there is an invisible sign on our yard somewhere that says "Cat Hotel"

This is Callie, another neighborhood cat of questionable ownership. When she started eating here, my cousin, a vet tech, too, a look at her and said she hadn't been cared for in a long time. Part of her hair was matted, and she was so emaciated that my cousin could wrap her fingers around Callie's spine (just in front of her pelvis) and almost touch one finger to the other. That's extremely thin. So, she eats the dry kibble we leave out for any cats that feel like having a little. Fortunately, she is putting on some weight. She also would love nothing more than to come inside and be a house kitty.