azriona: (Cleo - Invasion)
Charlie and I went to a local pet store this morning. I had an idea that I'd probably end up just buying everything I needed for Cleo online afterwards anyway, but I like to try to buy local as much as possible (especially overseas, when shipping can take forever). There's exactly one pet supply store in our city, and luckily, it's just around the corner. So off we went.

It was actually a really cool pet store. I mean... I'm pretty sure PETA would still have words for the owners, since there were dogs and cats in some not entirely spacious enclosures (and those poor dogs looked super sad), but as far as supplies go, it was pretty good. Plenty of food and litter and bowls and leashes and collars and grooming supplies for cats and dogs alike. Not a lot of toys, but some. TONS of fish and fish bowls, and more birds than I think I've ever seen - including some really big ones by the entrance that were OMG LOUD and kept making Charlie jump. It wasn't cheap - I bought Cleo a covered litter box for about $50 - but at least I'm not waiting a month to receive it (and then taking the chance that it doesn't break in transit).

But oh, the kitties. There were some gorgeous kitties there, little babies on up to bigger ones. Most of them were grouped together in their enclosures, in twos and threes, though some were clearly happier on their own. (For the given definition of "happier", anyway.) Charlie was fascinated, and kept going up to the windows and talking to them. (For the given definition of "talking".) After a while, another little girl, maybe about a year older, came in with her father, and both of the kids had a fun time cooing over the kitties.

Right up to when one of the employees, having seen their delight, decided to make their day and went in, selected a kitten at random (fluffy white, maybe two months old), brought it out, and handed it to the little girl.

Who stopped dead in her tracks and just STARED. The kitten, on the other hand, was fairly chill, as kittens go. It didn't fuss or wriggle, though it did kind of cling to the hand holding it, and I don't think the little girl was all that interested in actually holding the ball of fluff. Charlie, of course, was right in there, reaching out with two hands, and diving (literally) into the kitten.

It was a very sweet little kitten, and then the employee told us the price: $500.

(The dogs were even more expensive. Though I should note that I saw very, very few prices anywhere in the store, so I'm wondering if we weren't being given the Foreigner Markup. Pretty sure the dad and his daughter weren't Americans either, or it was guilt by association with me.)

The kitten went back, the kids continued cooing over the dogs, and then it was time for Charlie to be terrorized by some oversized birds while I checked out.

I do wonder about those kitties, though. They were all beautiful cats - groomed and brushed and probably handled too, considering they didn't seem more afraid of us than you'd expect from a kitten randomly shoved at small children. It's pretty easy to imagine every one of them decked out in a fancy cat collar with some serious bling, living on sardines and salmon while snoozing on a velvet cushion in the sunlight. And for a few, I'm sure that's what's in store.

Not sure what happens to the ones who aren't purchased, though. I didn't want to ask - then again, I'm not sure they'd want (or be able) to tell me.

Charlie and I managed to get our main errands done with about an hour to spare before the next prayer time (score!), so we stopped off at the HyperPanda on the way home, because there is always something I need at the grocery. The driver had just dropped us off at the door and we were about to grab a cart and head in when I heard, "mew."

I looked down, and there by the carts was the tiniest, scrawniest little kitten I think I've ever seen, all by itself. If the kitten at the pet store had been two months old - this guy couldn't have been more than a few weeks. So little. And definitely not one of the fuzzy beauties from the pet store. Most of the stray cats here are calicos - mostly white, with black and orange splotches here and there.

Nobody noticed him. Except us, of course. Because we are bleeding heart Americans who are total suckers for animals. Bill jokes that half the strays in the LoL live in the American compounds, because they've figured out that Americans will always feed stray cats. (This is mostly true. But we also tend to shell out money to spay and neuter them when possible, so there's that.)

$500 for a cat of dubious pedigree from a local pet store. Or nothing, for the stray sitting at the front door of the HyperPanda, mewing for scraps.

Cleo's been outside a few more times - always supervised - and she's now registered with the complex and has a tag to prove it. She's very anxious to get outside again now - and the strays who circle around haven't been hanging by out door quite as often, so I think the time is coming when I'll let her stay out longer. I've set up her new litter box (top off for now; she's never had a covered box before but it's really going to be a much better thing in this house so I'm hoping she'll grow accustomed to it) and I've got some new food bowls for her.

Me: You are a very lucky cat. I hope you know that.
Cleo: Meow.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Okay. It's all okay.  For the moment, anyway.

The Adventure Continues )

Moral of the Story:

If you join the foreign service, do not own a pet. (Seriously. I am the current poster child down on the playground for this moral.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
Tomorrow starts the big push for getting Cleo to the LoL: first step, the vet visit, which is probably going to be the easiest step of the lot. She's healthy and she's up on all her shots, so really this is just for the vet to confirm that she's got her chip and then fill out the appropriate paperwork. Unfortunately the LoL also requires a letter from the vet, and I anticipate that to take up a chunk of time while it's typed up. (I... might be willing to just pick it up Tuesday morning on the way to Richmond, since it's sort of on the way and that way I'm not hanging out in a boring vet lobby with a cranky cat and two small children. But I also don't want to chance it not getting done because someone forgot about it, and then end up missing our appointment in Richmond.)

I have printed out every possible form we could possibly need, so really I'm feeling very set. There's only one other thing I'd like to print out, which is the guidance that all of this has to be done in the ten days before we land in the LoL, but that's more for the State Dept's edification than anything else, and so far, everyone agrees that when all else fails, Tears Will Work.

(This is why I'm bringing Charlie when it's time for State to Authenticate things. No one is immune to a crying adorable toddler.)

Cleo definitely knows what's up, too - she's slept on our beds fairly consistently the last week. She's been napping with Charlie in the afternoons and snoozing with Andrew during the bedtime routine, which is actually super savvy of her, because now I can truthfully claim that she does these things.

It will all be fine, it will all be fine, it will all be fine.

In other news, the weather has turned cold and windy, and we should have enough cold-weather clothes to see us through the next week, as long as it doesn't snow. (Which of course means it will snow.) There's another family here in a similar boat; they're heading to Cairo in two weeks, and she's also trying not to buy more cold-weather clothes than necessary for the same reason. I did think to pack Charlie's red rain boots, and he's fallen in love with them and insists on wearing them everywhere. I tried to put sneakers on him and he got very upset with me, walked over to the closet, pulled out his boots, and handed them to me before sitting down on my lap and proceeding to try to put one on himself. The fact that the boot was going on upside-down did not deter him in the slightest.

(Was Andrew this hysterical at 19 months? I can't remember. Charlie just cracks me up.)

I started a bullet journal yesterday. I blame [ profile] sadbhyl. It is very boring-looking, and everything on the to-do list is stuff that needs to be done in the next week, which is sort of horrifying to realize. I ignored the advice about not looking at the fancy-schmancy highly decorated bullet journals posted on Pinterest, and yes they're all very pretty and fancy, but honestly, my only thought about them is envy that anyone has that much spare time to make a daily page that flippin' pretty, when they're only going to look at it for a couple of days.

Anyway, mine is teal blue and lined, because it was on sale at Barnes & Noble for $6. I want to start a Collection page, if I can figure out a good topic. Then again, I'm pretty sure I'll have topics aplenty once we get to the LoL and I have to start remembering names and phone numbers and whatnot, so I'm not overly stressed about it.
azriona: (cat in a box)
So I've reached the point in the moving process where there isn't a heck of a lot I can do, so instead, I sit and I worry about all the things that could go wrong. In my experience, the bigger the move, the bigger the things that could go wrong.

Cleo's paperwork is... well, it is. The only real information to update is that I've got the Consulate in the LoL on my side - they've sent several emails to State's Authentications folks explaining the situation and what is required, not that the Authentications folks have responded. I did call them back on Wednesday, and this time spoke to someone who was MUCH more sympathetic, and while I still don't have an appointment, he indicated that I should be able to get what I need when I go in this coming Wednesday.

If nothing else, I'm bringing Charlie, who will be super adorable right up until he is Done With Everything. Bill says there's someone at the Consulate who got what she needed from the Authentications folks by crying. I figure the double whammy of both me and Charlie crying should get the job done.

I also found a company who can take care of the LoL Embassy's side of things for the grand total of $50. That would be $50 well spent, I think. I figure I'll take them all of the papers right after I leave the State Dept.

But until then... not much I can do, expect entertain the kids. Charlie's fine, except he's teething and therefore doesn't want to eat and therefore is hungry and cranky. Andrew has decided that he doesn't want to go to the LoL, possibly because his class is gearing up for a field trip to the recycling center which won't occur until after we leave. (I can't blame him for being mad; the trip sounds kinda neat.)

Pen's next books are currently going through what is hopefully their final reviews and edits, and then at some point I'll have to sit with a calendar and figure out when I'm going to release them. I haven't picked a day just because I'm not sure how internet is going to go with the LoL - I want to make absolutely sure I can upload them to Amazon before I say when they're coming out, or even put them up for pre-order.

(I'm trying to decide how much of a contingency plan I need to have. I'm trying not to think about how I have less than two weeks left to make a decision about that. I also have less than two weeks to decide if we're storing or selling the RAV4, and that's another decision I don't want to make.)

Currently addicted to Spirk fic. (Spock/Kirk.) I was never into it before, I'm not sure how the current bug got me. But it got me. Pon farr, baby.

In the meantime, Andrew's bus arrives in about 20 minutes and Charlie's still sleeping hard - he's going on 3-1/2 hours, so I won't feel too bad waking him up. Except he always gives me a look like, "Aw, Mom, why you gotta go and be like that?"
azriona: (cat in a box)

So the good news is that we have visas for the LoL, and not only do we have visas, but we also have PLANE RESERVATIONS, which is even better.

And also sparked the part of traveling that I hate the most: getting the cat there. Friends, if you ever consider joining the State Department, let me tell you. Do not own a pet. The State Department does not assist with getting pets overseas. That's all on us. And it sucks.

Anyway, I found out about the tickets about two hours before Charlie's nap. As soon as he was asleep, I went into action.
Turns out, it's not so much the plane that is causing the headache this time.... )

Yeah. Definitely, don't have a pet and join the State Department. Just don't.


Jun. 24th, 2016 10:10 pm
azriona: (cat in a box)
Okay, today was just weird.

Two things happened that woke me up at 5am, and I'm not entirely sure what order they occurred in. The first (though not necessarily in a chronological sense) was that Charlie woke up around 5am, but I was able to put him back down fairly quickly with a bottle.

The second, and much more far-reaching thing, was that I had what was either a severe headache, or a mild migraine. In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure which it was. My head hurt enough that I was shaking and shivering and only capable of lying very still under my covers, praying that Charlie would sleep for another hour, but I wasn't actually nauseus and light didn't bother me, plus I was with it enough to think miserably about how bored I was just lying there, and couldn't I at least read my Kindle or something?

So yeah. More than your average headache, less than a migraine, and one ibuprofen did very little to curb it. The children woke up roughly around the same time, and happily for me, were in excellent moods. (Andrew can sometimes be cranky and argumentative in the mornings, but he was in a truly fabulous mood this morning.) If the ibuprofen did anything, it at least let me handle the bare minimum of functionability, so I fed the children and myself, and Andrew's been totally happy with playing with his toys and not nagging me for television every ten seconds, so they did that for a while, and the morning toddled along until I could take a double-dose of ibuprofen, turn on a movie for Andrew and take Charlie up for a nap, followed by what was probably my first shower since Tuesday. By the time I was done with that, the headache had subsided enough that it was no longer painful, and in another hour, it was gone entirely.

So to say the day started out on a poor note would be about right. I didn't really think it would get much better.

Except... it did.

Because now, we have pack-out dates.

(No authorization for official passports, but authorization to move, which is FINE BY ME AND I SHALL NOT COMPLAIN.)

This came in the middle of the morning, when my headache was at least not entirely disabilitating. Or maybe adreneline curbed it better than the ibuprofen, I don't know. Anyway, I was able to arrange for packout for two-three days in early July, depending on how much stuff we have and how competant the movers are. Which is totally the skin of our teeth, because Andrew's signed up for a soccer camp in NoVa starting the day after we finish packing out, and I really did not want to lose that $130. The folks down here who are in charge of housing have been informed of the dates of our departure and seem not one whit concerned that it's later than they would have otherwise liked, so it's all good.

So that's a HUGE weight off my mind. Now all I'm worried about is that the packout survey guy will come and say, "OMG, you are only authorized 18,000 pounds of HHE/storage and you have 70,000 pounds of stuff, YOU ARE TOTALLY SCREWED." I mean, it probably won't happen, we've never hit the limit before, but this is how my brain automatically goes.

Still no word on the final travel orders that would allow us to get our official passports, and the moving company doesn't have the authorization for the consummable shipment we're allowed (and none of us know why, though everyone agrees we get it)... but this is a step in the right direction. I can deal. There is time for the details, the important thing is we have our pack-out dates, and they're actually really good dates. More time in our house, less time in a hotel, and we're in DC in time for Andrew's soccer camp.

And since we'll be here the extra time anyway... I signed him up for a bonus soccer camp next week at the same place where he takes gymnastics. It's twice the amount of time as the NoVa camp, for about half the cost. Gotta love living in the middle of nowhere. He's excited, but we'll see how he feels after three hours of playing soccer outside.

(Then again, he might be in it for the cleats. This kid loves new shoes, even when they're old shoes purchased at the consignment store. He also has a thing for wearing shirts with Puma and Nike and Air Jordan and other sports logos on them. I am totally raising a clothes horse, and I have no idea how I did that.)

In other news, Cleo had a run-iin with a fox last night. I think she won. I also know what the fox says. (It squeaks, if you can believe it.)

I finished Season 3 of Orange is the New Black. It was excellent, and now I really want to sit and chat with my mom for a few hours about what she thought of it.

Charlie is speaking Toddler. He has sounds he clearly thinks are words for things, and which even other people recognize as Toddler-speak for things, but which may or may not bear much resemblance to the actual word itself. He continues to be super adorable.

Andrew either is improving his reading by leaps and bounds, or he's got a eidetic memory. (Or whatever it's called when you hear something once, and remember it forever.) I'm not sure which. But he can read a word like "special" perfectly on the first try, and stumble over a popcorn word like "my". I have no idea. Anyway, he's got a Star Wars Spelling and Writing workbook and he loves it, which is great, except that he's gonna finish it soon and he for some reason didn't pick the Star Wars math workbook and I think that's gonna cause some heartache.

Anyway, I'm full and tired and it's just started to pour rain outside and Cleo is sure to be on the front porch crying to be let in, so I'm going to let her in and then go to bed, and hope I don't wake up with a headache again. Ugh.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Oh, my lord, this week.

1. Andrew's testosterone has kicked in. By which I mean, he has come to the conclusion that butts are funny. At least, I have to assume so because every other sentence that comes out of his mouth involves someone's butt, followed by peals of laughter. I don't get the joke, but this is probably because I am not a boy. Most of the other moms at the bus stop have boys either Andrew's age or younger, but there's one with a 4th and 6th grader, so I figured she might offer some consolation this morning.

Me: Okay, so, when do boys stop finding butts funny?
Her: I don't know, I'll tell you when it happens.
Me: Dammit.

2. Along the same lines, Charlie got his penis stuck in a book earlier this week. I have discovered that if I give him a board book while I change his diaper, he'll happily "read" it and not try to wiggle off the changing table. Unfortunately, he figured out how to turn the pages, and he sometimes has a tendancy to try to reach for his penis, and really unfortunately, he discovered why trying to do those two actions at the same time is not a very good idea. I don't think he hurt himself; mostly, he just looked confused why his book was attached to his penis. And then he wouldn't let me open the page again to free his penis, so it took a few minutes to get him unstuck.

3. Ralph the neighbor's cat continues his pursuit of Cleo's affections. The highlight this week is that he and Cleo got into a fight on the front porch, rolled down the front steps, and straight into Charlie. It was like a furry cat bowling ball, with Charlie as the pin. He went straight down, and by the time I got there (yelling at Ralph and brandishing a hockey stick), one cat or the other had unleashed a stream of pee.  And because Charlie has the worst luck this week, the cat in question's aim was horrible and it landed on him.

4. To make poor Charlie's life even worse, he had an eye appointment this morning, and his eyes were dilated. He was a trooper for the dilation (four drops per eye!), but had a super short nap this afternoon, and then when he woke up, the sun came out. Which was a problem, because (a) Charlie loves to be outside; (b) Charlie refuses to wear sunglasses because he is one; (c) sunlight hurts when your eyes are dilated; and (d) today was the neighborhood garage sale and I have a shit-ton of baby things to sell so I kind of needed to be outside in order to sell them. (More on this in a moment.)

Anyway, to wrap up the saga of Charlie's eyes: I haven't noticed Charlie's eyes drifting the last few months. At all. Ever. There's some tearing, but not more than what I'd expect (which you can read as: not more than what I get; maybe that's more than average, because the doc still thinks what he gets is more than normal).

However, the doctor says she can still get one of Charlie's eyes to drift, but it's not very much, and may continue to self-correct. She did say that he'll probably need glasses in a few years, but not within the next year, and we should probably get him an appointment the next time we're coming back to the States. (Easier said than done, if we wanted it with her, since we're not likely to come this far south again, but I didn't tell her that part.)

So endeth - or least shelveth - the saga of Charlie and his eyes. For now. We'll deal with an appointment the next time we know we're coming back to the States, probably next summer, and until then, I'm not really going to stress too much about it.

But Bill and I both agree that Charlie will be super cute with glasses. Provided we can convince him to keep them on. (Presumably, when he is three, this will not be such a problem.)

Back to the garage sale: so I'm selling of most of the baby gear. It's not like we need it, and most of this stuff, even if Charlie plays with it occassionally now, we'd have to pack it up at the end of the month, and then he wouldn't see it again until September or October, and there's a ton of stuff he'd basically have outgrown by then. So that stuff, I'm selling. I still have to figure out what to do with some of the other toys - there's plenty he plays with every single day that I really, really don't want to carry with us on the plane, and would be a pain to box up and ship when it's time to actually go. But I have about three weeks to figure that out, so we'll see.

Anyway, I ended up putting out Andrew's easel with a sign saying that I was inside with the baby, please browse and knock if anyone needed me. As it turned out, only two groups of people showed up today, and while I got rid of a couple of big items (the Jumperoo and the lawn mower), most of the rest of it is still here. I'm hoping there's a better turnout tomorrow. Whatever's left is going to either the kid's consignment store, or to Goodwill, and the more of it that goes, the easier that particular trip will be, because right now, I don't think I can fit everything in my car.

But to continue OMG THIS WEEK.

5. So this morning, I picked up my phone to check the traffic, and was promptly informed that my data was corrupted and I had to reboot the entire system, which would cause me to lose everything on it. Which means all the pictures and videos I had of the boys on the phone are gone. The good news is that I've already been spending the week transfering the photos to my computer; for some reason, the USB connector wasn't working, so I was emailing them to myself eight at a time, which takes flipping FOREVER, but I did manage to save about half of what was on there, so that's good. But now the phone's back at factory settings, and I had three years of stuff on there, and I don't remember half of what it was, and it looks just so bare and boring and impersonal.

6. I ordered a new laptop last Saturday morning. It still hasn't been shipped, despite being in stock. I don't know why. I'm getting super annoyed. Maybe this is the universe telling me I should have bought a Mac?

7. Andrew has a Fun Meet for gymnastics tomorrow. I'll take photos with the camera, not the phone. Charlie's going to stay home with a babysitter.

8. Writing is going. I have one full week of school for Andrew left, and then a bunch of half days, and then he's done with kindergarten. Which is super cool for him, and vaguely distressing for me, because there is not a chance in anything that I'm going to get any kind of writing done with him home all the time, especially not when I'm also supposed to be sorting the house for pack-out.  (And Bill is off training and won't be done until we're already packed out and up in DC again.) If I get the books I'm working on to an editable level, it's gonna be by the skin of my teeth.

Minor whinge about recent wankery. )

That said, I do have some really nice neighbors who have offered to help out with the kids once in a while, or take Andrew somewhere fun, which will definitely help. What I really want, of course, is for someone to take both of them, so that I can have a couple of hours to myself to either do the mountains of stuff that needs to be done here, or in a really perfect world, write for a little while. But that's harder to come by. Not because Charlie is adorable - but taking on a 1yo is a much bigger deal than taking on Andrew, who is perfectly happy with television and an occassional peanut butter sandwich.

Anyway, it's 10pm, and I'm exhausted, and I have to write up the notes from the story plotting I did in my head today, and then I'm going to bed. Where, if I am lucky, I will not dream about butts, or packing tape, or all of my electronic devices deciding to go on strike.
azriona: (Cleo - Invasion)
Longer post coming, because it has been an eventful week, but in short:

So, Cleo has more or less turned herself into an indoor/outdoor cat over the course of the last year.  She's been very good about coming home every night, usually by dark, and I joke that she's the little old lady of the neighborhood, because she likes to hang out on the front porch and yowl at all the other cats who come by, "Get off my lawn!"  There's at least two (male) cats who are desperate to make friends with her.  She wants none of it.  She's having a war with a cat across the way, except the disputed territory is the house in between ours and theirs.  They sit on opposite sides of the driveway in question and glare at each other.

Cleo has been pissed at me all this week.  This is mostly because I had to take her to the vet on Monday, which was the third vet visit in the last month.  The first was a normal routine visit, no big deal.  The second, however, was because since she's outdoors now, she needed a Feline Leukemia vaccination, and since it was her first, she required a booster three weeks later.

The third visit however - well, that was more unexpected.  Since Cleo's eight years old now, the vet recommended that we start her on wet food.  She's always had dry, and only dry, and been very happy on it.  It's not that I mind wet - it's just easier to do dry.  And Cleo herself never seemed inclined to have wet food, she was the sort of cat who'd lick off the gravy and leave the niblets.

Anyway, armed with the advice to try Cleo on wet, I went ahead and started her on wet food - and not much, either.  A quarter of one of those tiny cans, and that seemed to be enough for her, once a day when she came in for the evening.  (She still gets plenty of dry during the day.)  I stuck to the pate styles - and she loved it.  OMG.  She'd gobble them up and then go upstairs and sleep it off.  Way funny.  So I went a little bonkers at the pet store, me and Andrew, and we went up and down the aisles and picked out weird things like duck and venison and beef casserole, as well as the plain old turkey and chicken.

(No fish products: my understanding is that they make for a stinky litterbox.)

And then last week, I noticed the patch of dry skin in front of her ears.  Not just dry - but seriously ugly, as if the hair was falling out, and it was all red and bruised, and there was even blood, as though she'd been scratching at it very hard.  And it wasn't getting better; in fact, it was getting worse.

So Monday morning, first thing, I called and made an appointment, and took her in to see the vet.  And oh, was Cleo mad.  Normally, when we open up her carrier, she's out of there like a shot.  This time, though, she didn't come out for a good ten minutes, and she yowled and hissed and grumbled and growled.  The vet looked at her skin and determined it was allergies and the only new thing is the food.  So she gave Cleo a Cortisone shot and she's back on plain old every day turkey and chicken for the next three months, and sure enough - it's been a week and the skin is already clearing up and the scabs should be gone in another day or so.

(But Cleo remained seriously annoyed at me.)

Now.  Ever since Cleo's been going out, I've had people asking if she's brought me any presents yet.  And so far, nothing.  I figured either she's terrible or not interested, and let it go.  No biggie.  I mean, it certainly wasn't a sign that she didn't love me enough to bring me presents.  Right?  Right.  Bringing home dead things as a sign of love is totally a human construct of cat psychology.  Absolutely.

But today, Cleo came into the house in the afternoon, and there was a bit of downy feather stuck to her whisker.  I brushed it off, didn't think much of it (honestly, it was so downy it could have been a cobweb just as easily), and went on about my business.

Until she wanted to go out again, and just before I opened the door, I looked out and saw sitting on the porch, right outside the door: a bird.

A dead bird.

A dead bird the same color as that feather.

Bill: Your cat is a murderer.
Bill: Your cat killed a bird and brought it home.  Do you know what this means?

My cat loves me.  All is right with the world.
azriona: (cat in a box)
1. The discussions at [ profile] reading221b have begun and OMG they're wonderful.  I'm having such a blast in the comments, I can't even begin to tell you.  If you want to join in, we're talking about holyfant's The Speed of Objects in Motion and the conversation post is here.  You have to be a member to read the discussions, but membership is open to everyone.

(But it's the first discussion and it's going so well and I'M JUST SO HAPPY THAT IT'S GOING WELL AND PEOPLE ARE PARTICIPATING.  You have no idea, guys, [ profile] tiltedsyllogism and [ profile] meredith_ and I have been working like insanity the last couple of weeks.)

2. I got my package from [ profile] kizzia today!  She went to Bletchley Park a few weeks ago and bought me up all sorts of WW2-era goodies, including a ration card tin and a couple of mini-rationing cookbooks.  OLD RECIPES, PEOPLE.  USING RANDOM INGREDIENTS IN WEIRD WAYS.  I love it.  There are so many recipes for tripe in there, I can't believe it.  (I'm not even sure you can buy tripe here.)

(I have yet to find recipes for whale meat.  Whale meat was a thing in the UK during rationing, guys.  Honest to goodness.  I don't entire remember its level of popularity - I don't think it was particularly high - but if I recall correctly, it wasn't included in the rationing scheme, which means you could get all you wanted of it.  Protein's protein, what can I say?)

(It's not like I'd plan to cook a whale.  But I'm curious how one did.)

But tin!  And recipes!  And a lovely hand-written-in-non-period-appropriate turquoise ink letter!

3. Andrew had so much fun playing with his toys this morning that he didn't ask for the TV once.  This is huge.  Usually he asks for it at some point, and I give in because occassionally, I like to shower in the mornings.  We did have a slight meltdown when it came time to get ready for the bus, and he realized he did not have time to watch PBS kids because it was 11am and he was still in PJs and the bus comes at 11.25, but he got over it.

(The downside was no shower for me, but also that I woke up at 4am and never got back to sleep, so by the time I hit 11.25, I was exhausted.  I'm actually kind of surprised I'm still awake right now, especially as I never got a chance for my self-promised coffee at Starbucks, but I think it's mostly adreniline.)

And then Andrew had a really good session at OT, which is good because he had a new OT today, and when we got home he went and played with the neighborhood kids for about an hour before we had to head home...where he ate a bowl and a half of cereal and two glasses of milk and read a bunch of books and then went to bed.  PERFECT DAY.

Bonus: Cleo is curled up on the desk next to my laptop and is purring.  
azriona: (cat in a box)
In no particular order:

1. I spent two hours and cleaned the floors on the first level of the house so well you can eat off them.  (Shut up, it's been a while since I had a chance to do that.)

2. I sort of organized the office, so it does not look entirely like a disaster zone.  Now it just looks like a disaster zone waiting to happen.  This is improvement.  Also, I have a plan that will result in me being able to unpack the LAST DAMN BOX leftover from last summer's move.

3. I had lunch with my husband THREE TIMES.

4. Andrew and I had a very funny conversation which I meant to write down but did not and thus have forgotten nearly all of it except for the fact that at one point, he said, "No, Momma, I trying to TELL you."  (Because I kept correcting him what he was saying, except I misunderstood what he was trying to say.)

5. Oh, and the editor liked my story and sent back some really good feedback and I have to edit it and send it back now. Squeeee.

6. Cleo got caught in the rainstorm and is walking around the house entirely pissed off and looking like a wet rat.  Hopefully this will teach her not to go outside and she will stay in where it is nice and safe and there are no foxes.

But the best thing is:

7. It is 9.30pm and Andrew finally fell asleep.

Priorities, yo.
azriona: (Andrew)
Andrew has gotten into the habit of grabbing my phone and taking photos.  Most of the time - read that as 98% - I end up with a lot of out-of-focus close-ups of his fingers.

Every so often, though, we get a good one.  So good that it's possible I took it by accident.

Photo under the cut )

In other news:

1. I registered for the DC Sherlock convention in August.  I figure if it ends up being horrible (I don't think it will, it sounds like it might be interesting and there are a few other people I know online who will be there), I shall ditch and go to IKEA.  :)

2. I have been writing an alternate Omegaverse fic, where the Alphas are the oppressed party.  Bill has privately dubbed it the "I Hate Men" story and keeps asking me if I was feeling particularly angry with him the day I started writing it.  I just laugh at him.  Men are funny sometimes.

3. Cleo is getting bolder about being outside.  She spent most of yesterday sleeping on the front porch in her basket, and didn't come in until after dark.  And today she went out when I woke up (around 5.30) and apart from glancing out the window and seeing her walking the perimeter of the house, I haven't seen her since.  I'm not overly worried - if she can find her way home at 2am, I'm sure she's just swell in broad daylight - but it's warm and humid out there and she does wear a fur coat, so I'm hoping she's not dehydrated under a bush somewhere.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Cleo had her vet appointment this morning - it went well, she got a distemper shot and some heartworm meds.

Me: See, Cleo? That wasn't so bad! *kisses top of kitty's head*

Andrew, on the other hand, had a fit when he realized that he was going to school instead of the vet's office. He burst into tears and sulked all the way to the front of the school, where I dropped him off with his teacher, and then he burst into tears again and buried his head in his teacher's stomach. I explained about the cat, and I suspect they all played Veterinarian during class because when he came home, he found a flashlight and started giving me a check-up, flashing the light into my ears and my nose and my mouth.

The really good news of the day, though, is that after his OT appointment this afternoon, his OT told me that she thinks he might be able to stop taking OT in May or thereabouts - he's nearly hit all the goals he's got with her, and apart from concentration and following directions, there's not much more she'll be able to do with him. And let's face it - it's not like 4-year-olds are renowned for their concentration or ability to follow directions. (And everyone says he's getting more or less better with that - even the gymnastics instructors, and he's horrible about listening in gymnastics, mostly because he's just so happy to be there.)

(I am vaguely worried that I am turning into THAT MOM, the one who is utterly convinced that her child is a prodigy and is on a straight-forward path to the Olympics. Mostly, I just want him to cartwheel for his coaches the way he cartwheels for me at home. And possibly wear himself out so he sleeps at night.)

Writing Update )
azriona: (cat in a box)
I completely blame Tumblr for the fact that I woke up this morning from a nightmare in which the character from the TV show Hannibal figured prominently. I don't even watch the show, and yet I was dreaming about Hannibal having a dinner party in which the meat was of a questionable origin. (I don't know if that actually happens in the show, but you'd think it does based on Tumblr posts.) And then someone went missing and the implication was that Hannibal had kidnapped her as the next course, and everyone went looking for her and then I was trying to escape with the cat and then Will showed up with a three-year-old who was not Andrew but was clearly meant to be my kid and then he used the three-year-old to coerce me to do something, which is generally the way my nightmares tend to go these days: someone threatening to hurt or actually hurting the child in order to get to me. I think it's a mom thing. No, I'm sure it's a mom thing. It's a seriously annoying way to wake up, particularly when Andrew's feet are at the same time lodged in my kidneys.

(Because Andrew has also been having nightmares or night terrors or something that wakes him two or three times a night. This results in everyone switching where they're sleeping, based on what Andrew needs/demands, and so at one point, Andrew was sleeping in our bed and we were sleeping in his. I'm not sure how that went down, exactly. But a few nights ago, he woke up shouting "Get out of the house." I don't know which house he was dreaming about, but I hope everyone in the dream got out.)

This week is all about trying to get back to a sense of normal. Today's the first day of preschool-shopping: I have appointments every day for the rest of the week with different preschools, and Andrew's got a speech therapy appointment on Thursday too. I am once again going into it with a very basic in-my-head theory of things to ask. I know some things are going to be different - apparently there is one school here where the kids are given iPads, and while Andrew's got an iPad, this sort of horrifies me - but I'm hoping they won't be so different as to be unrecognizable.

(I'm also hoping that the school giving out iPads is only doing that for the kids who are a bit older. No three-year-old should be instantly given an iPad just for preschool, and I say that as a parent whose three-year-old has an iPad for travel purposes already. Andrew does not need an iPad; he actually needs less time with the iPad. Scheduled time with computers and television is a huge negative point in my opinion.)

In other news: I upgraded my phone yesterday, and now I've got a Samsung Galaxy something-or-other. It is fancy. It is 4G. It has bells and whistles and takes photos and videos and does calculations and I can access the internet and read my Kindle books and download fics to read and I think it could very possibly cook me a candlelight supper. I'm assuming it also makes phone calls.

(Apparently there is also a Skype app. For a phone. I find this endlessly funny.)

Anyway....if anyone has any good Android app suggestions, I'm all ears. (I already found the Tumblr app, but I can't remember my password so I haven't been able to log in on my phone yet.)

Oh, right, it's Tuesday! Have some pics of Andrew and Cleo )
azriona: (Cleo - Invasion)
Someone in RL asked, and after I wrote her the email, I thought I'd put it here, because I'm not sure I gave you guys the full version of events.

How Cleo Came Home )
azriona: (Cleo - Invasion)
Cleo arrived this afternoon and despite my worries, whizzed right through Customs and was waiting for me when I arrived at the cargo terminal to pick her up. (I did not cry, but I did get awfully choked up.) She yowled like crazy while there, but was silent on the ride back to Indiana - I think she decided that 70 mph in a car is preferable to 7000mph in a plane. Anyway, she's now examining the house under Andrew's supervision, and hates everybody. Which is to be expected, really.

photograph evidence )

Oh, yes, and I have celebration fic that will go up shortly. It's short, but then again, so's Cleo.

(Kermit gifs where Kermit is going YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!! are welcome and entirely appropriate, and if I had one, I would use it here.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
I just called Lufthansa and Cleo's on the plane somewhere over the Atlantic or maybe England, and I have to be at the airport in about six hours to get her. EEK.

(Lufthansa keeps asking if I have a Customs Broker. I don't know what that is and I don't have one but if bribery is required to get Cleo out of hock I will totally pay whoever you point me to. I HAVE CASH AND I'M NOT AFRAID TO USE IT.)

(If you're in England or Canada today and you see a plane overhead, wave. My cat might be on board.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
So I've hit the point where I'm starting to worry incessantly that something is going to go drastically wrong, and I'm going to show up at the airport tomorrow and I won't get to take Cleo home. She'll have been made drastically ill by all of the travel, or that she'll be dehydrated, or that she'll go into liver failure (apparently going without food for long stretches of time can hurt a cat's liver, but she's got food with her, it's just whether or not she's too stressed to eat it), or that Customs will decide that no, the paperwork is NOT sufficient, or maybe she will have just missed the fight entirely, or she'll have gotten loose and is now wandering Frankfurt airport, begging for scraps, or maybe O'Hare, and she gets squashed by a plane or a truck or something.

(Of all these scenarios, Customs scares me the most, frankly.)

In the meantime, most everyone here is saying, "Oh, you have to drive through rush-hour Chicago traffic on a Friday! Eek!" To which I think, "THAT IS THE LEAST OF MY WORRIES RIGHT NOW."

(Also, I drove in the UL for a year. Chicago traffic? Pfft. Doesn't scare me; Chicago traffic stays in their own lane. They're crazy, but they're predictable crazy.)

I have absolutely NO IDEA how I'm going to manage to sleep tonight. OH, LOOK, EGT JUST POSTED ANOTHER CHAPTER, YAY DISTRACTION.


(Oh, in other news: banoffee pie, not bad. Char - who is also something of a foodie - and I both agreed it needed a little salt in the caramel, but otherwise it was pretty good. He thought it had enough banana, I think it needed more, he had a great suggestion for mixing over-ripe and just-right banana slices to give it better texture. At some point, I might do banoffee part two. If I really can't sleep tonight, there will be pics and recipe to follow, otherwise it'll wait until this weekend.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
First and foremost: the cat is in transit. Well, not precisely, but I can confirm that she's no longer in the UL, and she's reached Frankfurt and is now (hopefully) hanging out in their pet facility, chilling with the other displaced cats and dogs. Bill sent her with food and water, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that she's not too stressed to eat it. I've only ever heard good things about the pet facilities in Frankfurt - apparently they have a dog run and a vet on-call and there's people there - which is good because she's going to be there for a while before her next flight.

So that's a half-sigh of relief, which will be a full sigh when I finally do pick her up at the airport. I'm still worried that something could go wrong - but her paperwork's been processed and she's got her shots and her vet certificate, and everyone I've talked to is all "Pfft, we do cats all the time," so I have to trust that it'll be okay. Still, I don't think I'll be able to stop worrying about her until I've put her carrier in the car. (With her in it.)

(Worrying about Bill is another thing altogether.)

All About Andrew )

But I think the farm had an unintentional consequence on me: there were two tours that took visitors to one of the cow barns, and then to the pig barn. We didn't get very close to either animal - we stayed behind glass the entire time, because we were told that in order to keep the animals free from disease, we had to remain separate. But we could see all stages of the animals' lives, from birth through milking through insemination through not-death (because I think they drew the line at actual butchering for an audience).

What struck me, however, was how just about every animal we saw was in a cage. The cows had some access to the grass, but they were huddled inside their open sheds - probably because it was so hot, and inside at least there were fans and water being sprayed in a mist, so it was probably a bit cooler.

But it was the pigs that made me saddest. No grass, no straw, no sand even. They had wooden slats underneath their feet which were covered in feces. They bore scratches and gashes on their necks and shoulders from having to fight to get into the individual feeding stalls. Some of them were forced in stand in even smaller stalls to be inseminated, and once they were ready to give birth - even smaller stalls, where they can either stand or lie down, but not actually move. And all the while, the tour guides were telling us how happy their animals were, how well they're treated, etc and so forth.

Okay, I might not know much about animal husbandry, and maybe this is me being a bleeding heart, but I can't for the life of me see how giving birth to a litter of piglets while in a confined space is humane. (Or being enclosed with a bunch of other pigs, walking around on your own feces, fighting for food.)

End result? I left pretty much convinced to stick with organic meats from here on out. That is - I've already been trying hard to stick to organic, but it was more on the health or environmental aspects of it (no anti-biotics or high-fructose corn syrup, no chemicals getting into the water supply, etc). Now I'm thinking about the animals beforehand, too. And maybe what I saw is common and not actually horrible as far as pigs and cows go (and really, it's the pigs that struck me, not the cows), and that if I were to visit an organic farm, I'd see pigs in exactly the same situation, and not out there running free through the grass, tra-la tra-lee, happy pig-smiles on their contented pig-faces.

(I think I may have read Charlotte's Web a few too many times as a kid.)

It's possible this is the deep dark road that leads to vegetarianism, but I like bacon too much to go there, I think.

ANYWAY. Today is banoffee pie (part of which is already chilling in the fridge; I might have burned the caramel, but caramel is supposed to be a bit burnt, yes?) and a horse farm where we know the owners, and I know the horses are very well taken care of. I'm hoping to actually get Andrew on the horse; we'll see how that goes.

Also, because Bill asked, and I don't think I've posted this one before (apologies if I have):

Andrew looking adorable and somewhat super-modelish )
azriona: (cat in a box)
Andrew's last day at school today - he was fine. I cried.

And then he decided that he had to test the theory of "hot", and put his hand down on a burner while I was making dinner. First-degree burn on his left hand, a thin line along his thumb into the fleshy part. Poor baby. He screamed, but I kept a cool head and stuck his hand under the faucet and ran cool water on it for a bit, which he liked, and taught him to blow on it instead of rubbing it against stuff. I also went ahead and dosed him with ibuprofen for the pain. I think it might blister, but only a little, and then he asked to go to bed early, which is just as well, because if he's sleeping, he's not picking at it, and we're waking up early tomorrow because he and I are visiting friends this weekend.

(I do not relish the idea of a bruised baby on a plane. Or a baby who's just been potty-trained, for that matter. He's been really good lately, and I'm bringing extra stuff for the plane...and oh my God. I just realized I forgot to pack his underwear.


And he's asleep in his bedroom.

Double dammit.

Five minutes later:

Operation Retrieve Underwear was a success. Whew.)

In other news, I spent most of the day still anxious about Cleo getting on the plane - after the headaches last year getting her here, I kind of feel like this one was resolved way too easily. I think I'm going to be nervous until our flight takes off from Frankfurt and we're all on it, in all honesty.

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