azriona: (Mr Morton)
The Advent Calendar Drabbles continue – but first one of the two drabbles from 2009 that were preempted by Andrew’s arrival. Neither are fanfic; and the one tomorrow is a poem. (I KNOW.)

Title’s the same as the prompt, and today’s prompt was from [livejournal.com profile] talloakslady.

Fridge )
azriona: (cat in a box)
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Lou, the Amazing Typing Cat, who has graced my default icon for the last six years. Lou, along with her partner in crime, AbbyBennett (who passed a few years ago), was my foster cat in Bishkek, and her owner just sent me a note to let me know. Lou loved boxes, catnip, and tormenting Bill by sleeping in his discarded blue jeans. She would wake me up by sleeping on my pillow and licking my hair. She also loved what I called her five o'clock snuggle, because every day at five o'clock, she would demand to be picked up and cuddled. The typing, incidentally, was because she'd be on my lap while I was doing LJ entries, and was perfectly content to comment as well. I give you my favorite photos of Lou. Lou, the Amazing Typing Cat )
azriona: (DW - matching colors)
1. Regarding big Doctor Who news: okay, fine. I was wrong. )

2. I purchased a copy of The Sound of Music soundtrack, because I realized I don't already own it. Yes, that's the next Broadway musical.

3. I wish I could embed this: a motion detector that turns on a blender and strobe light when the cat nears, with predictably hilarious results. I think Bill is taking notes on this.

4. Speaking of cats... stolen from [livejournal.com profile] wiggiemomsi. If you are reading this, post a picture of a cat in your journal. (Your cat, a lolcat, or someone else's cat. But preferably yours, if possible.)

Yeah, like I need an excuse. )

5. Bill has a new cell phone. It's also a Razr. It's blue. We now have matching cell phones. I intend to tease him about this MERCILESSLY.
azriona: (Default)
There was a good review of She Loves Me in today's paper, which resulted in so many phone calls to the box office upstairs that when one of ticket sellers came downstairs, he was practically breathless. Ticket sales have been soaring, apparently. Seems that this particular reviewer hasn't given a positive review for anything Arena's done in the last few years - and though this review was positive, it included a couple of pot-shots at Molly.

Tee-hee!

I have heard word that the kittens are on their way here. Theoretically, they are in the plane now. Gabbie and I will pick them up tomorrow afternoon from the airport, after finally purchasing the kitty food and litter and litterboxes. Toys I have aplenty, thanks to my mother, who has decided the new acquisitions are her grand-kitties and seems to enjoy spending money in the pet aisle.

I still vaguely feel like there's too much that needs to get done before the cats arrive. Like, you know, clean. Of course, initial reports have these two already destroying the house (they have given themselves a hot wax treatment, as well as destroying at least one shower drain) so I'm not sure why I'm bothering.

One thing's for sure - the kittens arrive tomorrow afternoon. My father-in-law arrives tomorrow night. Somehow, I anticipate this coming week to be extremely entertaining.
azriona: (Default)
Done and done - have ordered a new computer to replace the one that is slowly dying away. (I told it and told it that it would be flying out the window. Well, now its days are seriously limited.)

Also in the world of computer savviness, I've managed to set up my Skype account so that Bill and I can talk to each other over the internet while he's away. Of course, he can't get it to work on his end, but at least I'm good to go for the time being.

All that makes me sound a lot more with it than I feel. Emails from Bill are somewhat sporadic, and I missed a phone call from him this morning because he called about fifteen minutes after I'd left home.

On the plus side, S is sending the kittens next Saturday. I send away one husband, and in exchange I get two cats. This new math sure is interesting.

(Betcha the computer shows up the same day as the cats.)
azriona: (Default)
A long, horrible, never-ending day. I started it tired, and ended it tireder. ABC news kept cutting into Lost to say that they still don't know who won the Virginia Senate race. (Franco is still dead, too.) Stupid ABC news.

On the plus side - kittens in 10 days. I don't suppose anyone knows someone who works for United at Dulles Airport, do they? There's a batch of brownies in it for you.
azriona: (Default)
So I'm in the living room, minding my own business while I work on setting out the DVDs, when Charles Gibson on the TV says, "Sharon Brown is the projected Ohio state senator."

Bill says that the guy's name is actually Sharrod Brown, but I contend that Charles said my name, and I henceforth demand all of you refer to me as Madame Senator.

"And I'm pretty sure he's an African-American man!" Bill yelled as I hopped down the stairs. (He's been online just about all night, watching the election results with both computers before him. I'm not so much a baseball or football widow, I'm a political widow.)

The news for the day, however, is that I have received word from S that the kittens may be showing up in DC on the 19th of November. That means Gabbie and I have twelve days before we become mommies to Cleo and Asmodeus. Inspired, we came up with the Twelve Days of Kittens, which is sort of like the Twelve Days of Christmas, but with fur. )

Something has gone drastically wrong with Bill's side of the computer. (We have Windows XP, so we each have our own settings.) Bill's IE has been working normally, so he hasn't needed to download Firefox - but he can't open anything but IE. He can't even get My Computer to open up. We haven't the slightest idea what's gone wrong over there. My side is just fine (I've checked and can open my file folders and a few programs). Odder and odder....I'm hoping this is not death toll for this computer, because I'm quite fond of it, and it's perfectly capable of doing what I'd like it to do, with very few exceptions. (Plus, you know, house.) And anyway, shortly Bill will be heading off to Parts Undeclared, taking the laptop with him, so what the Desktop will allow him to do won't matter quite so much. Right?

Speaking of husbands, he's likely downstairs glued to the television, dying about something to do with the elections. Better let him have the computer back now.
azriona: (Gratuitous picture post)
S has sent me pictures of the kittens. Cleo is slated to be mineminemine, but Asmodeus still needs a home.

(Those who wish to tell me that I ought to get two cats instead of one: I direct you to register your complaints with Bill, who has decreed that there will be only one cat. I have no say in the matter.)

Pictures! )
azriona: (Default)
*looks at clock*

Bill will be home in six hours, and he said he's bringing me a present. How much you wanna bet he gets home and says, "Well, I tried to bring you a kitten, but I forgot about how Customs is confiscating all cats coming into the country because they're freaking out over bird flu, and so they executed the cat on my way in"?

(Seriously. They've executed at least one that I know of so far. Cats don't carry bird flu? Yeah, see, Central Asians? Not so good with the logic.)

Finished work on Part One of the O.S. yesterday - strangely enjoyable, for editing. Very weird sensation, but I liked it. I ended up cutting parts and rewriting others, fixing POV and rearranging chunks, and all in all there's now 12 pages less of it than there was before, which is pretty darn good I'm thinking, considering a month ago I was digging in my heels about cutting any of it at all.

(Amazing what an entire month away will do for your viewpoint. As well as half your readers thinking the main character is not the person you intended it to be.)

Anyway, I'm exhausted, and I have six hours before I'm woken up by a horny husband. Dude, he better be bringing me CinnaBuns. Or a very pretty gold something-or-other.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Insane weekend, what with birthday barbecues and weird weather conditions, and yesterday it snowed of all things, and I haven't been much in the mood to post, but had a few things to share with you all, so here I am.

1. Yes, folks, it's the poll we've all been waiting for: Bill's Final Challenge is having its showdown. Will it be Monty Python, or Microsoft, that takes over the world? You decide! It's a battle between good and evil, and currently in the lead is...well, go vote, and you'll find out.

2. And once you're done there, there's a doctoral student at the University of Calgary who needs some help with her research. While the quiz partially deals with Harry Potter, you don't need to have even read the books to take the quiz - and I think she'll end up using those people as a sort of "control group" for the rest of us loonies. So if you have a spare half-hour or so, please do take her quiz and help her out. (That is, it took me half an hour, although she warns that it might take as much as an hour. I sort of doubt that, but I read fast.)

3. Have been feeling more or less out-of-sorts the last few days; no idea why. Might be the weirdness of trying to find an apartment from halfway around the world, although really it's Noel doing all the footwork. Might be lonesomeness. Might be impending reverse culture shock, because having been there once, I can safely say that it is not a barrel of monkeys. (Unless we're talking smelly, sticky, poo-throwing monkeys, in which that about sums up the feeling exactly.) Anyway, one of the very few things holding me together at the moment, or so it would seem, is that one of the betas has been whipping through the O.S. at speeds of light and sending me an email every day or so, and reading those is like a breath of extremely fresh and pine-smelling air.

(Which is not meant as a slap on the wrist of the rest of the betas, as I know you all are very busy and whatnot. Only I haven't looked at the O.S. once, and I feel such a painful sense of loss not getting to play with my characters. And I've only lived with them for three years - JKR is doomed, I tells ya.)

4. S sent me a picture of Lou today )
azriona: (cat in a box)
The apartment is empty without the cats, even with Bill here. I keep turning corners and expect to see Lou or Abby looking up at me; it felt immeasurably odd to fall asleep with the bedroom door open; I slept until 9am and there was no kitty who crawled up on the bed to purr in my ear, telling me that breakfast needed to be served.

My last night, Lou slept on my pillow. She was on the foot of my bed when I turned out the light, and some point later, I felt her walking along my body to my head, where she took up residence and curled herself around my hair, licking my temple just a bit before settling into a long purr. She didn't stop, not the whole night, or at least not that I can recall: mostly the night is a blur of cat and dark. When I woke early (as my flight was at the ungodly hour of 6am), she was still there, the whole pillow vibrating. She was there when I came out of the shower, she watched me dress, she followed me downstairs to the kitchen where I ate a scone for breakfast. I sat on the floor near her, and at one point, we were sitting, facing just enough away. Abby came by, and I cuddled her for a moment, scratching behind her ear and whispering things to her, and then she hopped out of my arms and left the kitchen. Lou remained where she was, close enough by me that I could hear her thinking. I looked away, my heart breaking, and thought, "If only she wasn't there when I turned around...if she just wasn't there, it'll be okay." And so I turned around, and she wasn't there. I didn't see her again before I left.

Just as well, I suppose.

All traces of kitties are gone now. Nazira vacuumed like crazy, there's not a tuft of fur to be found anywhere. The rugs can be laid out now, but I haven't managed to do it yet. Haven't managed to do much today at all, for that matter; I've been lounging about in pyjamas and re-reading The Time-Traveler's Wife.

"It feels like empty nest syndrome," I said to Bill, and he said it was strange to come home all week and not have a cat greet him. Perhaps that's all I'm going to get, as far as Bill missing or not missing the cats.

All the same. It's lonesome here, come dinnertime....
azriona: (Default)
Well, I am here, not that you would know it, because my photographic opportunities have been....well....somewhat limited, to a certain extent. See, on Tuesday, S and I were all set to go out and see one of the falling-down-ruins in the city and walk around the old section, which is all very picturesque. Except she mentioned it to someone at the Embassy that morning, and....

"Oh, no," says he, "you can't do that. With a camera? She'll get it snatched."

Which put the fear of God (or really upset me) into her, and thus, we went, but without my camera.

(I tell you, leaving that camera behind was like detaching an arm.)

So I've seen the city (and yes, the city's going unnamed for a little while longer, you'll all just have to suffer, and I'll tell you that it's not anything in Europe but you'd never know it to look at certain parts) but I don't really have much to show for it, except for a few hurried pictures taken from a moving vehicle.

(But my camera is also very good at pictures from a moving vehicle, so that's not too bad, just not as interesting.)

This morning, however, while the kidders are in school and the parents are at work, I am heading back into town with the driver, who will go around with me while I redo Tuesday's activities, WITH camera this time, and appease the security guys at the embassy. I would be more respectful of their concerns, except S and I saw another person with a much better camera walking around on Tuesday. Really, my camera was not the one to steal.

(I also have no fear. This is probably not a good thing, but eh. Can't be helped.)

Lou has almost forgiven me. She still hops up on my pillow every morning before breakfast, and is content to lick my hair or have her chin scratched. But in the daytimes, she taunts me by rubbing my legs and then jumps out of my arms. Abby's back to normal, but Lou seems to want to hide constantly, doesn't much like being around anyone, and keeps looking at the kids like she'd rather they just be quiet because they're interupting naptime. Poor Lou. She's a very different sort of cat here - to me, it seems like she's more annoyed with everyone. But that could be the whole travel thing, it's too soon to tell.

Leaving her is going to be a wretch. I don't know if that's the proper term or not, but it's sort of how I feel about it.
azriona: (cat in a box)
I would say I have a bit of quiet now, but that's not entirely true, because there is a play group going on in the basement, and one of the participants just let out a killer yell. However, there are also two nannies down there, so I don't feel so inclined to interfere. Thus, it's me and Lou in the office, while I take a breather and catch up.

My day in Istanbul )

So I get to the airport, and wham I'm back in Kitty Karetaker Mode. Because I had my boarding pass already, I went straight though passport control and security and all that, and then found the Turkish Airline desk to ask about the kitties.

"Oh," says he, "they're all checked through? Okay. We can make sure someone waters them. Oh, and when you get to your gate, ask the attendant and someone will take you to see them."

The rest of the story which is all about the supreme coolness of Turkish Airlines )
azriona: (Default)
I was done doing computer stuff, but then the Abby-cat plopped herself on my lap and started purring. And as this might very well be the last chance for us to commune at the computer....well, I can't just move, now can I?

I would like to point out that Bill is the one who put the CD in the player, not me.

Purrrrrrrrrr.
azriona: (Default)
Traveling with pets is somewhat headache inducing. Copies of their vet certificates; copies of their passports (yes, cats have passports); copies of certificates saying that these cats are not important to K and may be allowed to leave; copies of their itenerary. Water bottles taped to their carriers so that MAYBE someone will water them in Istanbul. Pillowcases for litter for their cages in case they need to pee, water frozen in their bowls so that they can drink if they want.

*sigh* So much to do, so little time to play with kitties.

(Or watch snowboarding cross. I rather like snowboarding cross.)

Anyway, shall be off in about 16 hours for a week in another part of the former Soviet Union, and shall return next week with lovely pictures and no cats. I think Bill's already planning the wheels-up party for the cats. Wouldn't it be a shame if I forgot to pack something? Like say, oh, Lou?

[Poll #675389]
azriona: (Default)
The Olympics are being played every afternoon on AFN, which is a very happy thing - seems we're even getting the official NBC coverage, Bob Costas and all. Of course, I also got to see the Flying Tomato guy say how his dream is to meet Sasha Cohen, so that's the highlight of my week.

Oh, right, and I finished the O.S. Details, you know.

Anyway, I had a very lively discussion about figure skating with my Russian teacher - Jenya and I watched the Chinese skaters while discussing Russian terminology and how much American pairs skaters suck. (Whereas the Americans completely thrashed the Russians at snowboarding, so I felt somewhat vindicated.) It was a highly international experience.

(Did anyone else watch the broadcast about the Chinese coach who was laughed at during his debut at the World Skate or some such event in 1979? Did anyone else want to find the people who laughed at him and thrash them? Honestly!)

Anyway, a week of Olympics (and reading through the O.S. to figure out what I forgot and what I changed), and then next week I'm off to return the kitties from whence they came. Poor kitties, they get to spend a day sitting either in the belly of a plane or Ataturk Airport. Lou is going to completely hate me; first I leave her for a month without companionship (as the Abby-cat doesn't count) and then I stick her in a box for a day.

(Abby, on the other hand, is currently on my lap and sounding like a vacuum cleaner. She's also head-butting my arm because rubbing her is more important than typing. 'Scuse me.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
Here are the current top 50 books from www.whatshouldireadnext.com. Bold the books you have read. Italicise the books you plan to read. Leave the rest.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson (Didn't like it - didn't even finish, to be honest)
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Dune - Frank Herbert

I don't know if that first part is impressive or just sad.

The Abby-cat has become a contortionist. I don't know how she did it, but I've noticed over the past few days that she has been holding her leg up when she stops suddenly - kind of like she was about to take a step, but has changed her mind. And then last night she hopped up onto the bed and as I was stroking her I noticed that her collar was a bit snug. And then I realized why - she had somehow stuck her leg in it and it was looped around not only her neck but her shoulder as well. (Kind of like a purse, but tighter.) Anyway, it explains the leg thing - she sort of had to keep her leg up for it to remain comfortable. I had to forcibly hold her down to take off the collar and set it right, and boy did she scamper when I was done - but then she spent a good half hour by the door noisily cleaning herself, so I'm not sure if that was "Gee, thanks for fixing it" or "Damn you for not noticing sooner, bitch!" Either way, I feel horrifically guilty and she's doing fine, and has started stealing all of Lou's favorite napping places again.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Every night before I go to bed, I check to make sure the kitties aren't in the bedroom hiding. Usually this is not difficult, as Abby can be found either in the extra bedroom or on one of the chairs in the kitchen. Lou has a tendancy to hide in the closet, though.

Last night, however, Lou wasn't anywhere to be found. Now, I knew she hadn't slipped outside, since I'd seen her after we'd locked up for the night, but I wasn't sure if she'd found a new hiding place or not. Finally, I was reduced to picking up jackets and blankets and pillows, wondering if she'd crawled beneath. (She does that, especially recently as I've been in bed sick, and it's nice and warm under the covers.)

Bill had thrown his pants on the chair in the entryway when he got home. I think this has something to do with the fact that for about three weeks during grad school he worked for a Kennedy, and the habit of going pantless rubbed off. On the off-chance that Lou had crawled under them, I tried to pick them up.

Note the use of the word "tried".

Apparently, Lou wants in my husband's pants (picture) )
azriona: (Default)
In another minute, I'll go and write a bit more (123/250!!!), but first I simply had to share.

Today I:

* taught M how to make a pie crust
* made fudge with local chocolate
* made chocolate mousse

Tomorrow I will be:

* making carrots cooked with garlic, parsley and onion
* maybe making Southwestern corn

I am a not-so LEAN, actually rather friendly MEAN, COOKING (and baking) MA-CHINE.

In other news, I took some photographs of the Abby-cat which I think might be the best yet.

Black Cat, Black Suitcase (2 pics) )
azriona: (cat in a box)
I'm having a very Thanksgiving-ish breakfast: cranberry juice and pumpkin scones! The scones came out all right, really - I ended using my old recipe and tweaking it. They aren't the same crazy-bright orange as the pumpkin scones from Starbucks, but they're not all bad.

I gave Lou her catnip toy while I made them - it's a little knot of brightly colored yarn with catnip inside, and she loves it. However, after a few minutes (after the catnip had supposedly kicked in), she left it alone and when I turned around, Abby was batting it back and forth.

This was bad.

Lou on catnip is very mellow. She basically finds a comfy place to sit and watch all the pretty colors and shapes. Abby, however, is a bit more...well, possessed. She spent a good 20 minutes racing from room to room, stopping in her tracks, and then racing the other way. It was as if she had a dozen larger-than-life Lou-shaped demons chasing her.

Now, of course, she's worked it out of her system and is sitting on my lap, nosing my fingers as I type, and staring intently at the half-eaten pumpkin scone. Abby's second-favorite pasttime is begging.

Gratuitous Pic of the Abby-cat, with her catnip toy )

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