notemily: (hunger games - the mockingjay)
2012-12-31 08:44 am

2012 in review

Well, I know I haven't made a LiveJournal post since (*checks*) July, but today is December 31st, and to let the year end without a year-in-review post on LJ just feels wrong. So, without further ado:

Media things

Best book of 2012: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Hands down. Granted I didn't read many books this year that were actually released this year, but this book speaks to me on a level few others match, to the extent that my therapist suggested using it in our sessions. It also gave me a completely new appreciation for Fire, which I had previously been meh about.
Best book of 2012 not written in 2012: The only other new read I gave five stars to this year was Poison Study by Maria Snyder. It's pretty amazing, but my enthusiasm for it has been dampened by how disappointing the sequels, especially the "Glass" series, were. The world had so much promise, and the subsequent books rarely lived up to that potential, and sometimes had really unfortunate implications. So if you're going to read the book, do yourself a favor and stop there.
Authors of the year: I read 14 books by Tamora Pierce this year and 12 by Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. They both have series( that are extremely addictive, and though they write for different age groups, I recommend their books to all fantasy fans who like kickass female heroines. My favorites: Squire and Emperor Mage by Pierce, and the heart-wrenching short story In Sea-Salt Tears by McGuire. And yes, those are all later books/stories that you have to read the earlier books in the series to get to. Muahahahaha.
Chapter of the year: Chapter 26 of Feed. LIFE-DESTROYING.

Also: This year I finally finished my Goodreads Challenge of reading 50 books! I think next year I'll up it to 75. I would like to thank the awesome women who write addicting fantasy series for this achievement.

Musical artists listened to most: According to, they were Fun., the New Pornographers, Florence + the Machine, Tegan and Sara, and Neko Case. This year was the year I really got into Tegan and Sara, who are amazing.
Favorite songs of 2012:
- Look, I really like "Gangnam Style". It's fun and dancey and strangely subversive once you research the lyrics. Plus, PSY just looks like he's having so much fun. Video: Eeeeeey, sexy lady!
- My love for it has faded a bit due to overexposure, but I can't not mention "Some Nights". The fact that a song I loved this much got so popular warms my heart. You mean regular people really like harmonies and power-pop and Nate Ruess's voice? ME TOO! Let's be friends! Video: This is it boys, this is war.
- "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers is a sweet, simple love song that makes me smile. "I don't know where I belong / I don't know where I went wrong / but I can write a song." Yep, sounds about right. Video: I'd be standing on Canal and Bowery.
- This didn't come out this year, but I discovered it only recently: "Settle Down" by Kimbra. I have Alan to thank for introducing me to this gorgeous song that's more than a little bit unsettling. Video: On just one knee for now.
- Honorable mentions: Of Monsters and Men - "Little Talks", Imagine Dragons - "It's Time", Gotye - "Somebody That I Used to Know", Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Like... ever.), Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N***as in Paris"
- Guilty pleasure: Maroon 5. Yeah, I know. I can't help it if One More Night is catchy as hell.

Best movie seen in theaters: Come on, did anyone really think I was going to award this to something other than The Hobbit? It's not the best movie ever made (or even the best Middle-earth movie ever made), but I just want to love it and squeeze it and call it George. Martin Freeeeeeman.
Movie I regret not seeing in theaters: The Hunger Games. It was amazing and so true to the book, especially visually.

Favorite TV show discovered this year: Teen Wolf. Shut up. It's one of those shows that's deceptively mainstream, but a lot of thought goes into it if you look past the hott dudes with no shirts on. Although there's that, too. Female gaze FTW.
Honorable mention: The Legend of Korra. It's no Avatar, but it tries.
Best rediscovery: Dollhouse. I never finished watching it the first time, but watching it again for Mark Watches I'm catching all sorts of nuance and awesomeness I didn't see before. Also TOPHER MY HEART.

Life stuff

Biggest life change of 2012 (positive): I got a job motherfucker. It is such a relief to be able to support myself! Working full-time is something I wasn't even sure I would be able to do, but I've been doing it for six months now and so far I'm not dead.
Biggest life change of 2012 (negative): I like my job, but I am really sad that it makes me so busy and tired that I can't foster kittens anymore. I miss my kitties so much. I haven't had one since Pippin and he was almost a year ago... but I remember how overwhelming it was even while working only 20 hours a week, and I know I'd run myself ragged if I tried to do it now. Someday, perhaps, I will be able to foster again. In the meantime, I have my own kitty and she is wonderful (and I'm sure especially happy that I'm not fostering anymore), but I miss getting to know all the different kitty personalities, and there's something special about the teeny-tiny ones. They're challenging and rewarding and when you finally earn their trust and love, it's a wonderful thing.

Speaking of tiny creatures--If it was a big year for me, it was huge for my niecelet, who turned 1 this year. I mean, she learned to walk and run and talk and do sign language! How awesome is that? Even though I only get to see her every few months, I love watching her grow up. She's not just "aww, cute baby" anymore--she's turning into a person.

I hope everyone has an awesome New Year's Eve. Happy 2013!
notemily: (hunger games - the mockingjay)
2012-06-18 01:07 pm


Soooooo I have a job! A real job, with full-time hours and benefits and everything! I can support myself! I am no longer dependent on my parents! Yay!!

I haven't updated the eljay in forever, but I figured I should because for once I have actual news. I applied for this job last October, and after six months of what I assume was bureaucratic gear-grinding behind the scenes, they finally notified me that I was qualified to take the Civil Service Exam that would be the next step to getting the job. So I took the standardized test in March, had to wait two more months for results, went for interviews in May, and heard about the job on my birthday, June 7. Whew. I feel like years have passed in the past month. To the point that I was actually startled when I saw my niece's birthday balloon a couple of days ago, because I thought it had been much longer since her birthday than it was. (The niece is one year old now! She can walk!)

The job is with the Milwaukee Public Library, which covers all the branches within the city limits including the main branch downtown, but I'll be working at the East branch which is like a ten-minute walk from my house. Score. It's also my childhood library, where I discovered everything from the Alice books to Katherine Applegate's teen romances to Terry Pratchett. They're going to do a complete re-building of the site starting next year, and that should take about a year (by estimates, but we all know how construction projects run long), which means that for at least a year they'll have to squeeze the library into what will probably be a much smaller space. I don't know how long I'll be working there, but I'm excited to see the new building once it's done. That particular library is, IMO, long overdue for a new space.

It's going to be really strange to not work at Shorewood anymore, since I've given that library seven and a half years of my life. (Or to look at it another way, the majority of my twenties.) I only have one more week of my old job and then I start the new job. In between, Alan and Trish are coming to visit for the weekend, which OMG YAY. I haven't seen them in over a year. I'm currently working on de-allergizing the house for Alan, who is allergic to everything breathable, including, possibly, air.

And it's summertime, which is my favorite here in Milwaukee, and I'm 29 now and I don't have to feel bad about that since I can finally support myself, and once I get into the swing of the job I'm going to see about getting new kittens and saving up for travel and all the things I have been wanting to do for years and not been able to because of money. I feel like I can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief.
notemily: (buffy - slayer)
2012-01-29 08:01 pm

Pushing Daisies 2x08 "Comfort Food"

Not impressed with the resolution of this episode. The rest of it was cute, but...

Spoilers within )
notemily: A black-and-white kitten looking at the camera (misc - tinycat)
2012-01-29 01:17 am

I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table

I finally got my coffee table! I've been looking for an Ikea Leksvik table for a while--they don't make it anymore, but apparently it has its own Facebook group about how awesome it is, and I see them pop up on Craigslist occasionally. They've always been snapped up before I can get to them, though, or I don't have the money or the time to go get them. Well, today the stars aligned and I was the first one to call, so I drove out to Germantown where the addresses have way too many numbers and letters in them and got a new (to me) coffee table for $30!

This replaces our old Ikea Lack table, which was falling apart and kind of shoddy and IMO way too big for our space. (As if to demonstrate that a new table was needed, tonight my kitty stepped on to the lower "level" and it immediately tilted downwards and everything that was on it slid onto the floor.) And Kate just got us a dining room table and chairs (the old one wouldn't fit in the U-Haul when we moved so we curbed it), and a cabinet to hold DVDs. Our apartment is slowly becoming a more awesome place to live.

Sadly I lost one of my cool smartphone gloves somewhere along the way. It might still be lying in Germantown guy's driveway, so maybe I'll call him and ask. I quite like those gloves and the cold weather is far from over.

I need to take Hypatia to the vet to get updated records before I can start fostering again this year. I'm enjoying having a break from kittens though, just to rest and not have to worry about all my stuff being knocked over whenever I leave my room.

Sadly, in other kitten news, my favorite internet kitten whose story I had been following from afar got very sick and didn't make it. I had been reading his story since he was a bottle baby and his foster-dad had to keep him in the file cabinet at work so he could be fed regularly. As he got older, somehow he never got any less adorable. But he turned out to have a deadly virus.

The saddest part to me is that he already had a permanent home lined up and a family looking forward to taking him home. Lefty will be missed. :(
notemily: (lotr - WHERE WAS GON--)
2012-01-25 11:06 pm

They make DOGS for their polygamy cult?!

"Smell of Success" is such a fascinating episode of Pushing Daisies. Why is Chuck wearing sixties clothing now, instead of fifties? (Will she someday catch up to the present?) Will Paul Reubens come back and expose Chuck's secret smell? How many shots of Kristin Chenoweth's bouncy boobs can they fit in one episode? Will Lee Pace ever stop looking adorable in black t-shirts? And most importantly, how awesome is Ellen Greene singing "Morning Has Broken"? The answer is ALL OF THE AWESOME. ALL OF IT.

I keep wondering whose dog died so that Digby could live, though.

Today on Mark Watches we got to discuss one of my favorite Buffy episodes ever, "I Only Have Eyes for You." SO GOOD. I never realized that the kid playing the ghost is also Auggie Anderson from Covert Affairs. Which... I haven't even watched that show in a long time, but omg come here Auggie and let me munch on you.

Unfortunately today on Mark Reads, Mark talked about the problematic portrayal of Orcs and how Tolkien used the term "Mongol-types" when describing their physical appearance, and the comments exploded with OMG HOW DARE YOU CALL TOLKIEN A DIRTY RACIST I HAVE PROOF THAT HE HATED NAZIS. And now that's the most commented-on post ever on Mark Reads. *headdesk*

It's just like... look you guys can we just accept that LotR is not without its problematic elements and go back to talking about war allegories and how cute Dom and Billy are? Because that is way more fun than having the exact same argument fifty times.

I do still love being a moderator though.
notemily: (lotr - WHERE WAS GON--)
2012-01-20 09:36 pm

OK so what I don't get about Pushing Daisies

1. The whole thing where he can touch things back to life but then something else has to die--does this apply for things other than humans? Because they talk about his amazing ability with pies and how rotten fruit becomes alive again in his hands, but does that mean other fruit has to "die"? Plants are weird, they're not just "dead" or "alive" like humans. Is this like in Carnivale where Ben can heal stuff but only if he kills all the grass and/or fish in the vicinity? Also how does he chop/prepare the fruit for pie without touching it again? Also if he touches it again after it's cooked into pie does the pie immediately taste like rotten fruit? Or is the fruit technically "dead" again by then from being cooked?

2. I'm re-watching the Pie-lette and you see him wake up a dude with a big chunk gouged out of his face and that's NOT magically healed when he wakes up, unlike the strawberries. So do the people he wakes up still have their physical injuries? Does the dog still have his internal injuries from the car accident? HOW DOES THIS WORK I DEMAND SCIENCE

3. I am over-thinking this. Also this show is super depressing for something so upbeat and silly; I forgot that it started with HIS DOG DYING

4. OMG Thranduil you are adorable

(I am re-watching the show and also seeing if Kate likes it--it has some of her favorite things such as (a) supernatural elements (b) Kristin Chenoweth and (c) whimsy)
notemily: (downton abbey - matthew/mary otp)
2012-01-14 11:59 am

to say nothing of pocketing the spoons

DUDE. You know what I just realized about 2012?


This is my most favoritest of things. Gymnastics! Diving! Swimming! More gymnastics! And this year, British things! Still hoping they can get that David Tennant thing sorted out.

Anyway, moving on--

I'm dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, which means I've actually been channel-surfing because they get ALL the channels and there's always something on. This led to me catching the repeat of the new-to-the-US airing of Downton Abbey S2E1 the other night, and OMG I forgot that this show makes me feel SO MANY FEELINGS. Even the characters I loathe are just so goddamn interesting and the relationships on the show are all so wonderful and well-written and I just want to step into the world of Downton and live there forever. (Not literally like as a human from the 1910s or whatever, more like an invisible fangirl ghost who spies on everybody all the time.)

spoilers )

So after watching that, I was like MOAR, so I downloaded the entire season since it's already aired in the UK. But now I'm reluctant to watch it because if I finish the season then there will be no more Downton Abbey to watch and I will be sads. I want to savor it, like a box of really good chocolates. You don't just eat them all at once!

I started watching North & South on Netflix instead to get my period drama fix, and it's pretty awesome. Someone in a review described it as Pride & Prejudice meets Dickens, and so far that is completely accurate. The main actress reminds me SO MUCH of someone and I can't think who and it's driving me to distraction. Also it has Richard Dwarfitage in it so I'll be able to see what the fuss is about him before The Hobbit comes out.

(Also why did nobody tell me Anna Maxwell-Martin was in this? I adore her. And Bates from Downton Abbey plays her dad, so that's neat. He has such a cute teddy-bear face.)

All this period drama fangirling has led me to think I need to read more historical fiction. Anyone have recommendations? Preferably for a similar time period to Downton, but I'll take any recs you've got.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (ravenclaw)
2012-01-01 01:43 pm

the important thing is to try. deal with it, yoda.

I don't really like making New Year's Resolutions. It sounds too mandatory, and then when you fail, you feel like crap. What I like to make are Goals. Goals can be met or unmet; the point is to have something to aim for.

Goal #1: Read 50 books! This has been my goal for the past three years; I have yet to meet it. Well, I met it in 2008 when I was in school, but I'm pretty sure my goal was 100 that year. Maybe I should make my goal 100 and then I'll get to 50? *pondering Iroh face*

Widgets make things more fun:

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Sophie has read 0 books toward her goal of 50 books.

Goal #2: Blog moar! Which I am doing at this very moment. I remember liking Blog Every Day April when Duncan and I did it that one time, because it challenged me to think of something vaguely interesting to say for each entry. It also takes away the excuse of "Aw, nobody wants to read my ramblings about crime shows and cats! My life is so boring and nobody reads this journal because I suck!" TOO BAD. BLOG ANYWAY.

Goal #3: Do more things. This is the vaguest goal ever, I know, but it makes sense in my head. Basically I want to build up more change energy, which helps combat my usual paralysis. I want to listen to more new music, read more books, watch more movies, see more people, go more places, eat more good food. Be more active. I still have a very limited amount of both money and spoons, so it might be a challenge, but I spend a lot of time not doing things, and this year I would like to do more things.

I think three is enough. These are all relatively small things, low-pressure, fun to do, and most importantly, they are all under my control. Oh, and my fourth goal is to not beat myself up if I don't meet the other three goals, because that defeats the purpose of having goals in the first place.

I will leave you with a bit of wisdom from [ profile] cleolinda to start the New Year: S'up, 2012.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2012-01-01 02:04 am

2011 year in review

Well, I took Pippin back to the Humane Society yesterday. They said he'd go for surgery that day and be up for adoption late today, but I didn't see him up on the website so I'm betting he'll have to wait until Tuesday (they're closed New Year's Day and there are no adoptions on Mondays). I hope he goes to a lovely home with people who will appreciate his rascally-yet-sweet personality! Preferably with another kitten or high-energy cat, since he really needs someone to wrassle.

I don't usually do year-in-review memes, but I feel like it right now. This year has been kind of depressing overall. Well, I shouldn't say that. The past few months have been really depressing. Before that it was going allright. But the stress of being poor and not having a real job has been overwhelming recently. And there's no end in sight. 2012, please be better.

Meme via [personal profile] newredshoes.

2011 year in review meme )

Reading over this, I feel like I barely did anything this year. I didn't read very many books, see many movies, meet many people, discover much music. I just sort of existed and tried not to feel too hopeless and depressed. I did meet some lovely kitties, though, and they took up a lot of my free time, so maybe it's not so surprising. (Also, I had no money to do anything.) We'll see how 2012 goes. *side-eyes 2012*
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-12-06 11:13 pm

glasses follow-up #1

(If you missed it, here's my first post about buying glasses online.)

So far my online glasses-buying experience has been mixed. One pair I'm still waiting on, one pair is gorgeous but something seems wrong with the lenses, one pair the lenses are fine but the frames are so-so, and one pair has cute frames but a chipped lens. No Perfect Glasses yet.


Both of the pairs I ordered from Goggles4u are sold out/discontinued, so I don't know how long these links will work. The first is a black and clear plastic frame. They're pretty nice and the prescription is very sharp, but the frames are a bit too big for my face, I think. I'm not in love with them. Still, they're a good backup pair.

The second pair I liked a lot. It's a gray half-rim skinny cat-eye, and it was something of an impulse buy. I was like "dude, for this cheap, I'll get a fun pair too!" so this was my "fun pair." I ended up liking it more than the regular pair! However, after a day of wearing them I noticed one of the lenses is chipped. I don't know if they came that way and I didn't notice or if they chipped somehow in the course of me wearing them (unlikely, as I wasn't playing dodgeball), but either way it's not a great testament to the quality of Goggles4u. I e-mailed them but I'm not sure anything will come of it, since their return policy seems to say "we don't want to give you any money back" with lots of words.

For the record, I did NOT get my glasses in a cloth bag from Pakistan or whatever the thing is. I was a bit disappointed. However, I was amused that the confirmation email and return address listed them as coming from "Steve."

Time from ordering to arrival: 8 days
Comes with: Hard clamshell case, cleaning cloth (I got baby blue and baby pink for some reason)
Pros: Huge selection, cheap, cute
Cons: Useless virtual try-on, abysmal website in general, cheaply made?
I paid: $23 per pair (with their current deal of $0 frames and $10 off lenses)
S&H: $9.98

Coastal Contacts

I ordered the Jill Stuart 112 frames using their "first pair free" option. Their virtual try-on is great and as soon as I saw the glasses on the photo of me, I was like "THESE." They look pretty great in real life too! Slightly larger than I'd imagined, and after wearing brown and burgundy glasses for five years, the shiny blackness startles me every time I look in a mirror. But I really like them; they're my favorites so far.

They tried to push thinner (and more expensive) lenses on me at checkout, telling me 1.61 was "the minimum recommended index" for my prescription. Well, after getting the actual glasses I can say that this is bullshit, because I got the 1.59 polycarbonates, and they don't look thick at all. They don't protrude outside the frames in any noticeable way. Maybe with wire-frames they'd look huge, but with these thick-rimmed frames they're fine.

But... something seems wrong with the lenses. I'm not sure if they got my PD wrong or what. At first I thought it was the prescription, since things just don't seem as sharp and clear as with the Goggles4u ones. So I went to the eyeglass store located at my eye doctor's office, told the guy I got them online, and asked him to measure the prescription on them. Before he even measured them he asked me a bunch of questions about how did I get my measurements and my PD, basically being condescending about me trying to buy glasses online. I was thinking Look just measure the glasses dude. He finally measured them and said the prescription strength is correct, but then he tried to give me a lecture on how "that's only ONE of the measurements that goes into making a QUALITY pair of glasses." Yeah, whatever. Some of us can't afford the price of all that QUALITY.

I've heard that a lot of people have this experience with physical glasses stores--that they'll try to discourage you from buying online. Of course, since they want your business and they can charge you hundreds of dollars. But surely they realize that a lot of people can't afford hundreds of dollars?

I just wish I knew what was making these particular glasses feel "off." I didn't ask the guy to measure the PD on them, because he was being obnoxious, but maybe they got that wrong? Maybe the coatings are wonky? (I messed up and got UV coating even though the lenses are polycarbonate, which comes with UV protection already.) Or maybe my eyes are too low or too high to be at the right point on the lens? I don't know. A millimeter or two seems like it shouldn't make too much of a difference, but obviously I don't know about QUALITY pairs of glasses.

I can see OKAY out of these ones, but not AWESOMELY like with the Goggles4u ones. But I can't very well return them to Coastal Contacts and be like "make these again, you did it wrong even though I have no idea how!" So I'm kind of stuck on what to do. Should I:

- Go to an actual physical glasses store and try to get them re-lensed, possibly for a lot of money and/or hassle, but then they can measure my face and make sure all the little things are right, or
- Send them to a cheaper online re-lensing service like has and see if that helps, or
- Suck it up and deal?

I REALLY like these frames and would love to be able to see perfectly with them. I'm willing to pay more money to make that happen, because I think I could wear these for years and not get sick of them, but obviously I am still as poor as I was before this started so I can't pay TOO much. I would appreciate any advice.

Time from ordering to arrival: 6 days
Comes with: Hard clamshell case, cleaning cloth (I got blue), little tiny screwdriver for adjustments
Pros: Designer glasses, petite frames, great virtual try-on, quick turnaround, 365-day returns, first pair free
Cons: Expensive, website overrides "open in new tab" function, tries to upsell on lenses, no wishlist, lenses are somehow weird?
I paid: $34.95 with the "first pair free" deal (so the cost is for lenses only--these frames are normally $88)
S&H: a whopping $18.97--part of that is for insurance, which you can't opt out of, but whatever

39 Dollar Glasses: Not arrived yet

These are taking their sweet time to get here, but when I checked the status of my order it told me: We are sorry but your order has failed final inspection. We have already begun remaking your order and are fast-tracking it so it ships with minimal further delay. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but the very purpose of our thorough inspection is to ensure that your new glasses are accurate and free of any defects.

I don't know how common this is, but it's probably not their usual shipping time. I e-mailed them to bug them about it, because they've been stuck in that status for over a week and that doesn't seem like it's been "fast-tracked." We'll see if anything comes of that.

Time from ordering to arrival: ???
I paid: $57.56 with glassyeyes's 10% off discount
S&H: $4.95

No photos yet because I haven't showered today and my hair is dumb, also it's nighttime. I'll try to take pictures in natural light tomorrow.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-12-03 01:48 pm

top five fictional pets

[ profile] fannish5 meme stolen from [ profile] entwashian's post here:

Keep in mind that I haven't read a lot of the classic animal books like Because of Winn-Dixie, The Underneath, anything by Kate DiCamillo, etc. And it's been forever since I've read Shiloh, A Cricket in Times Square, The Incredible Journey etc. So I'm just using recently read stuff for this.

Also, I don't have any live-action movie or TV animals because they never look right to me. Animals can't act. So usually they just have animals sitting there and then add a lot of inaccurate sound effects, like cats yowling when they're supposed to be calm and friendly. A friendly meow is different from a distressed yowl, you guys.

So anyway:

5. Smut from Dairy Queen. Because her name is Smut! She was named after "corn smut" which is blackish and sometimes found in ears of corn. Her fur looks like that. Also because she's just a pet, no supernatural powers, except making D.J. feel better, which is what pets do.

4. Pongo from One Hundred and One Dalmatians (movie). The scene where he's trying to find a mate for himself and Roger, omg, hilarious.

3. The Colonel from The Hundred and One Dalmatians (book). In the movie he's kind of a bumbling idiot, but in the book he's a stately old dog who teaches the puppies military strategy. Puppies! Military strategy! He promotes people every time they do something awesome, and then at the end of his chapter after chasing after the inept dog thieves and biting them as hard as he can, he promotes himself. Love it. Honorable mention: Cruella de Vil's cat, who helps them get revenge on Cruella at the end because Cruella drowned her kittens.

2. Sirius, the Dog Star, from Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. Because, the entire book. I mean, just read it. Honorable mention: Tibbles the cat, who helps him out of more than one scrape.

1. Buttercup from the Hunger Games trilogy. Not only is he a fucking badass and THE REAL STAR OF THOSE BOOKS, he's responsible for making me cry, every single time I read the trilogy. Those of you who have read it may know the moment I am talking about. I just lose it.

More honorable mentions: Hedwig the owl, Pounce the magical kitty (who may or may not be a god) from the Beka Cooper books, Chester the paranoid cat from Bunnicula.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
2011-12-03 01:59 am

goodbye for some, but not for all

I took the kittens in to the vet, and I told her I was worried that Pippin still wasn't over his cold, and also that the kittens were going to mature and start having kittens themselves. She agreed with both things, and said that Solomon and Cora seemed healthy so they would go out for adoption, and I could keep Pippin for another week and see how he's doing after that.

I was a bit worried about Solomon. He was crouched in a corner at the vet, like if he could just make himself small enough, nobody would be able to see him. I hope he finds a patient owner who will care for him and take the time for him to relax and come out of his shell, poor guy. I hated to say goodbye to him.

Cora, I am not worried about at all, very little fazes her and she'll make a great pet for someone. Kate accuses me of not liking her, but I just have a soft spot for the ones who need my help--whether because they're sickly like Pippin, or shy like Solomon, or something else. Cora didn't need any help, so I became less attached to her, even though she is super friendly and cute. I felt similarly about Simon from my second litter. Some kittens just tug at my heartstrings more than others.

Pippin started to cry in his carrier on the way home. He didn't understand where his siblings had gone, I suppose. I took him to the pet store (where everyone cooed over him), got him a teddy bear (it's really a dog toy) and a soft little blanket ("cuddle towel"), and put them in the carrier with him for the rest of the ride home. I don't know if they helped or if he just needed a bit of time, but he was quiet after that and even purred a little bit. Kate says I spoil him, but after getting the teddy-bear-as-comfort idea from a fellow fosterer, I thought this was a good time to try it out.

Ever since he got home, Pippin has been a total love bug. Even more than usual. He just sits curled up in the crook of my arm and purrs and purrs. I'm glad he's such a people-lover, maybe he won't miss his siblings TOO much. I'll have to put in some serious play-time with him though, because he was used to wrestling all the time with his littermates.

Here is Mr. Pitiful himself:

Pitiful Pippin

He has a grumpy expression here, but I think that's just because his eye was watering and it was bothering him.

The gorgeous, gigantic orange tabby cat is still at Pet Supplies Plus. He's been there on my last three visits and it pains me to see him sit in that small cage for weeks. Someone give this guy a home already! I'm pretty sure this is his petfinder page, if anyone wants more info or to pass him along to someone who is in need of a cat.

Some of my new glasses have arrived in the mail! I'm waiting on one more pair and then I'll post pictures and reviews. In the meantime it's great to be able to see clearly. I'm walking around like "FEAR ME, I HAVE THE POWER OF NORMAL VISION!"
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-12-02 12:28 am

how will i ever get out of this labyrinth?

So I noticed something of a theme in the books that were pulled for holds at the library today.

  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo
  • Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha N. Beck
  • The Unmistakable Touch of Grace: How to Recognize and Respond to the Spiritual Signposts in Your Life by Cheryl Richardson
  • What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins
  • Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley

I don't know, I feel like... everyone is looking for answers. Everyone is trying to find the key, how to be a better person, how to live, what gives life meaning, what happens when we die. All going about it different ways--religion, spirituality, advice from those older and wiser, cognitive techniques--but ultimately asking the same questions.

(Of course, people were also searching for The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook and Blues Harmonica Method Level 1, so maybe I'm reaching here.)

But then [ profile] cleolinda posted this entry, which as of right now has over 100 comments, about physical exhaustion and anemia and depression:

Because even when you grasp the idea that depression is an ailment and not a personal failing... it still feels like a personal failing. You know you're clinically depressed, but you feel like you're just lazy, lonely, hopeless, pathetic. Or sometimes you don't realize you're ill, because those feelings of anxiety and shame and helplessness sneak up on you and feel legitimate, and that's why you don't realize you need help. I mean, I've been on medication and under quarterly medical supervision for fourteen years now and my own mood cycles still sneak up on me, over and over. It's hard to teach yourself to say, "You are an awesome person, and your awesomeness is a default, and so if you feel less than awesome, you need to get your awesome tuned up." Because your sadness and fatigue and anxiety feel mild at first, and they seem like rational responses to things going on in your life, and then you end up missing some deadline or not completing some goal or not living up to your own expectations because you're already sad and tired, and then the negativity does seem justified: "I'm not depressed; I'm a loser."

And all the comments are saying, yes, yes, we feel that way too, we understand, thank you for saying this. Thank you for telling us that we are not alone.

Everyone is struggling, everyone is searching. Maybe now is a particularly hard time, or maybe it's just coming to the surface right now, making it a bit easier to see that we're all in this labyrinth together. Not one of us is born already knowing the way out.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-12-01 01:40 am

kitty things

So the kittens are doing a lot better. I still hear a couple of coughs and sneezes from them every once in a while, but their eyes and noses have cleared up nicely. Pippin's breathing has improved a lot, although I did hear a mild coughing fit from him the other day and he's still the most sneezy. I'm a bit worried that he's not completely over the cold and it's going to get worse again, so we'll see. I'm taking them to the vet on Friday.

kittens hangin' out
From left to right: Pippin, Cora, Solomon

I think Pippin is just going to be a skinny little stringbean forever. He has put on weight since getting rid of the tapeworm, but I don't know where he put it! He's as skinny and lanky as ever. Such a cute contrast to his big, solid older brother Solomon. (It's probably good they're so different--otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell them apart!)

Solomon has continued to improve on the sociability front, and he even wakes me up with demands for pettings in the morning. He's a big sweetie really. Now that he's recovered from the URI and I'm not having to force medication down his throat anymore, he runs and hides a lot less. I'm worried that going to the Humane Society and then a new home will be a shock for him, but hopefully he'll get a patient owner who will give him time to come out of his shell again.

How YOU doin?
How YOU doin?

Cora is a burrower, I've found. She likes to crawl under my blankets and make a little hideout under there. Cutie. I did get her name from a list of Hobbit names, after all…

(Originally they were all going to be Hobbits, but Solomon's name doesn't really fit. Sometimes I call him Samwise the Brave ironically, though, because he's such a scaredy cat. Also he's big. Stupid fat hobbit!)

cutie Cora

Pippin is a little brat. He always wants to play, and he thinks I'm another sibling to pounce on and wrestle with, which I don't appreciate when I'm, say, trying to sleep. But he's still a sweetie, too. He is so loving and will purr at you forever. I've been reading up more on the Feline-alities, and I think he might be The Personal Assistant. He certainly does like to get all up in my business when I'm on the computer, or eating something, or doing anything at all really.

I think Cora might be a Sidekick, and Solomon is a Secret Admirer like Hypatia. Dear Humane Society, please hire me so I can personality-type cats all day!

Oddly, Solomon has turned out to be the most talkative kitty. He has little chirps and squeaks, and he also has a very, very quiet meow. It's amusing to me, because I'm used to kittens being as loud as they possibly can. Solomon sounds like he's coming from the next room and you can barely hear him. But the meow is there!

Solomon lounging
Solomon in the sun
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-11-26 03:49 pm

a post that is all about glasses

So after reading this blog post, which led to THIS blog post, which led to this site, I've become slightly obsessed with buying glasses online. Yes, online. I was skeptical too, but I need new glasses for my updated prescription, and I can't afford the hundreds of dollars I'd have to pay at a physical glasses store, so I've been putting it off. Online, the prices are so low I thought I'd give it a try, and now I'm hooked. Can't stop won't stop!

So far I've ordered three pairs--two from Goggles4u and one from (They haven't arrived yet.) I haven't yet bought anything from Zenni, because I've heard bad things about their service, but they have a good "try on glasses" face photo thingy so I've been spending a lot of time there. Although now I am sick of looking at my own face.

The thing is, if you know what you're doing, it turns out you can get a pretty accurate idea of whether or not a pair of glasses will look good on you. You need to know your prescription, of course. Then you need five different measurements for the frames themselves, three of which you can often get just by reading the numbers on the right temple-arm of your current pair of glasses, or you can estimate all five by using a metric ruler on your current pair. The measurements are: total width of glasses, lens width, lens height, bridge distance, and temple length. Which of these are most important will vary with your glasses-style preferences. The three numbers on the arm of your glasses are usually [lens width - bridge distance - temple length]. For example, mine are 46-18-135, in millimeters.

You also need to know your PD (Pupillary Distance--the distance from one pupil to the other), which I was apprehensive about because it wasn't listed on my prescription, but then I found this tool that measures it for you if you have a webcam and a credit card. (For size comparison, not for paying them money.) I measured mine that way and the number was almost exactly what I got when measuring it by holding a ruler under my eyes and looking in a mirror, so I'm pretty confident about it.

Once you have all those measurements written down, just look for frames with similar ones and you can be reasonably confident that they'll work for you. A lot of sites let you upload your own photo and virtually try on glasses, so you can get an even better idea of how they'll look. (If you think about it, buying shoes online is way less accurate in terms of fit, and I've done that tons of times--and paid more for them.)

If anyone is interested I've written brief reviews of the major online glasses websites below the cut. I'll write more when I actually get the glasses in the mail. (OMG I can't wait until I can SEE again.)

Read more... )

One caveat is that my prescription is fairly simple. I only need distance-vision lenses, not bifocals or progressives or whatever it is people with astigmatism need. I don't know if I'd buy online if I had a complicated prescription, since there's more room for error and no way to try the glasses on first.

Anyway, I will check back and maybe post pictures when my glasses actually arrive, and let y'all know what I think. I've spent an average of about $40 per pair so far, so I figure even if only one of the three pairs works for me, I'm still saving a whole lot of money over going to LensCrafters or VisionWorks or wherever. I'm excited that I can now be both poor AND able to see!
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
2011-11-17 09:51 pm


I wrote most of this entry last week, but wanted to wait until I had pictures uploaded in order to post it. That's why there are random ETAs with new information. Anyway, kittens! They have names!

Image description: A gray tabby kitten curled up on a bed in the sun

Pippin the Pitiful

Image description: A brown tabby kitten sitting on the floor, looking up at the viewer

Cora the Cute

Image description: A gray tabby kitten hiding in a corner next to a bookcase

Solomon the Solemn

Pippin AKA Pipsqueak is a scrawny but sweet little guy, in the vein of Oliver, Charlie, Albus, etc. Cora is a cute, petite, sharp-eyed kitten who reminds me a lot of little Amelia. Solomon AKA Shadow AKA Squeaker AKA Scaredy-cat is a big, shy gentle giant, who hides and shies away but never hisses or lashes out. I don't think I've had a cat like him before.

(Yes, I give my kittens too many names/nicknames. Blame T.S. Eliot or something.)

Poor Pipsqueak is the sickest. I can hear him wheezing and snuffling all the time, like he's constantly congested, and he has a runny eye as well. Sometimes he goes into awful coughing fits like Skinny did. :( He's such a scrawny little thing. He eats like a champ, but he's still got a skinny neck and wobbly little legs, and his fur is wiry and scraggly, not soft and smooth like Cora's. His belly is round, though. I wonder if he maybe has a parasite going on. I'll ask at the checkup whether they've been dewormed lately--I know it can take several courses of dewormer to get them all. (ETA: I did in fact find some tapeworm eggs hanging around, and they've all been treated now, so he should be looking a little healthier soon. His sniffles seem to be clearing up as well, finally!)

Solomon also has coughing fits sometimes, but other than that he seems okay--he's running around and playing and wrestling with Cora, and he seems to be mostly over his fear of humans, yay! He still tries to bolt when I come after him to give him his meds, but that's understandable. He no longer shies away from me when I try to pet him, and he even gets a good purr going. I think he might always have problems with being shy and scared, but with a patient owner he'll come out of his shell.

Pippin plays too, so I'm not too worried about him wasting away or whatever. I just wish I could do more to help him breathe. I wipe him down with a warm wet cloth when he gets too much gunk on his face, but he still has a whistle in his nose from the congestion. I can tell where he is in the room by where the wheezy noise is coming from. (ETA: Also I found a tiny bit of blood when I wiped off his nose today. I hope it's just that he's been sneezing so much that he burst a blood vessel or something, not anything more serious. ETA ETA: The vet didn't seem too worried about it.)

Solomon has the most adorable squeak. He chirps and squeaks when he wants something, attention or play or whatever, while the others are mostly silent (I think they actually might have laryngitis from the URI, because they TRY to talk, but no sound comes out). That's why I call him Squeaker. He's such a big hulking guy and he has this teeny little voice. (ETA: Cora has a sweet chirp as well!)

Cora is definitely the star kitten. She's incredibly soft, adorable, has beautiful brown tabby markings with golden-brown eyes to match, and comes right up to you (already purring) to be petted. She's also playful and curious, pretty much the Platonic Ideal of "kitten." I bet she'll get adopted in a second with no problems. She might need a playmate, though, to keep her from getting too rough with her humans.

I don't know their story, but I always try to guess the kittens' background based on how they behave, and these guys are almost definitely street kittens. The tapeworm (which is transmitted through fleas), the URI, and Solomon's extreme shyness all point to a life on the street. They also seem to have never seen a computer before and are fascinated by the lights and the clicky noise it makes when I type.

(Yes, you can technically get tapeworm from your cat or dog, but only if you ingest their fleas. The tapeworm egg can only mature to the infectious stage while inside of a flea. These kittens, like all my fosters, were de-flea'd before they got to me. Still, even though I know I can't get infected from it, it's really gross to find dried tapeworm segments in my bed. *shudder*)

It's so funny to watch them play. They really are a family. The little scrawny brother, the big burly brother, and the sister who could probably take both of them in a fight.

Three kittens. The two gray ones are intent on watching something in the air, while the brown one is looking down at the ground.

Three kittens. The big gray one is playing with a feather toy while the other two are crouched and ready to pounce.

Solomon is literally a full pound larger than the little ones. He's huge! I kinda love him.

See more photos at their set!
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
2011-11-02 07:26 pm

Second day with the as-yet-unnamed tabby trio

A lot of progress today with the kitties!

Justin came over this morning and played with them. He's very good at being non-threatening to scared little kitties, so he just played with them and let them come to him on their own time, and eventually he even got the little boy to sit in his lap and purr! The big boy didn't interact with Justin much though, he just played by himself in the other corner.

After Justin left I fed them and they all ate some this time, even the big boy (although he was very cautious about it and ran away a couple of times). Kate and I petted the two sociable ones, and they got some purrs going. They even started talking a little, although the little girl is so hoarse from the URI that she can't mew audibly. They seem to have realized today that they're in an OK place and they are allowed to enjoy petting. Except for the big boy. He is going to take some more work.

In the afternoon, when they were sleepy, I lay on my bed and the girl and the little boy both came up and lay down on me while I petted them. They seemed to really enjoy the petting by then, so I took a few risks. I brushed them, which they thought was weird but didn't really mind. I noticed the girl had some matted fur on her tail, so I got out the scissors and carefully snipped off the biggest mat, and she didn't mind at all. Then I clipped their nails, which they hated--but they didn't run off when I was done! They squirmed all over the place while I clipped them, but when I released them they just stayed where they were like nothing had happened. Yay!

While all this was going on, the big boy was wandering around giving little pathetic mews like he was lonely. I tried to encourage him to come up on the bed with his brother and sister, held out my hand for him to sniff, etc. But he was having none of it. Finally I dragged him out from his hiding place, plopped him on the bed, and petted him for a while. He sat there and let me pet him, although I don't know if he liked it or if he was just frozen with fear. I talked to him in a soothing voice and he looked at me with his big green eyes. After a couple of minutes, he got up and joined his brother and sister, who were playing on the floor by this time. I don't know if that's progress or not, but at least he didn't hiss at me or bolt away the second I put him down.

I did come in once today to find one of them sleeping in the kitty bed and the other two curled up IN the litter box. I really need a bigger cage. Either that or they've been living outdoors for way too long. Don't sleep where you poop, kids. I put some more soft blankets and things in the cage to encourage them to sleep on those instead, although there was plenty of room in the cat bed with only one kitten in it and yet they chose to sleep in the litter box. Weirdos.

I guess all I can do with the big one is wait for him to come around. It doesn't help that I have to chase him down twice a day to force medication into him--that'd mess with anybody's trust. And when I say "chase him down," I am not talking metaphorically. He gives me a workout!

They're all still sneezing a lot, so Kate and I joked about calling one of them Sneezy, or Wheezy since their breath always sounds congested. (She suggested "Ron Wheezy.") I still need to get proper names thought up for them, though. The little boy is playful, scrawny, and eats a lot. The girl is curious, a climber, and friendly. The boy... hides and is big. I think I need to get to know him better before I name him.

Right now they're all chasing each other around and wrestling, and doing the kitty-posturing thing where their tails go floof like a bottle-brush. It's pretty cute. And it's good to see their colds aren't making them lethargic!
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
2011-11-01 07:45 pm

three new lodgers of the feline persuasion!

My sixth litter of foster kittens is here! They're three months old, a bit younger than Skinny was but older than I usually get them. They're not teeny, but they sure are cute. There is one brown tabby, female, and two gray tabbies, both male. I've never had two of the same sex AND coloring before, so I have no idea which foster form I'm supposed to fill out for whom. Like Skinny, they all have colds that they need to recover from before being adopted. Poor guys are very sneezy.

I don't know their story, but so far they are quite skittish and wary of humans. The bigger boy runs and hides whenever I move in his direction. The little boy is probably the most curious, so he overcomes his fear first and comes over to play with the latest toy or see what I'm up to on the machine that makes clicky noises. The girl is cautious. She will come near me, but then she'll just crouch and stare. She will tolerate being petted, but doesn't seem to like it, so I don't push it.

But I know from my flickr friends who foster feral and stray cats, especially Jimmy Legs (whose flickr stream is fascinating if you're a cat fan), that it can take a while for a cat to come around, and you just have to be patient and show them that people are nice and petting feels good. They're still young enough that I bet they can turn into affectionate kitties by the end of their stay.

So far the little guy is the only one who's shown much of an interest in the wet food I put out for them. He was like NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. Big guy was like "nom nom OH SHIT A HUMAN RUN AWAY." Girl has not eaten so far. They have however all used the litter box correctly, yay! That's the advantage to having older kitties, I suppose.

They do need names. We're doing The Hobbit over on Mark Reads so I was thinking of trying to give them Tolkien names, but it'd probably look pretty weird to someone walking into the humane society to adopt them if their names were Luthien Tinuviel or whatever. Then again maybe they'd get adopted by Tolkien fans...

Hypatia would like everyone to know that she does not approve of these kitten shenanigans.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-10-06 11:07 pm

you guys! it's Albus!

Or as he is now called, Seeley:

seeley II

This is the only time I've ever been in touch with someone who adopted one of my foster kittens, so it's probably the only picture I'll ever get of one of them all grown up. Look at how pretty he is! His colorpoints have gotten a lot darker, too!

For reference, here he is as a kitten:

And as a REALLY little kitten, on the left:

Albus and Zippy

[Images are all of a lynx-point kitty with pale eyes, in various stages of his life.]

I'd know those eyes anywhere. ♥
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
2011-09-09 10:22 pm

last days with Skinny

I took Skinny to the vet last Saturday because although his cold seemed to be gone, he still had that awful hacking cough. She gave me another round of the usual antibiotics, but also a dewormer, because there's apparently a type of worm that can get into the LUNGS and cause coughing. I looked this up, and it's called "verminous cough" and happens when roundworm larvae burrow themselves into the lungs, are coughed up, and are then swallowed, only to mature in the cat's digestive system and start the life cycle again. HORRIFYING, right? *shudder*

Anyway, I think that's what Skinny must have had because a couple of days into the five-day dewormer course, he stopped coughing completely and now seems to be a very healthy kitty. Which is good, but also means I have to give him back soon. :(

I've become pretty attached to him and I think Kate has too, because he's so sweet and purrs and makes little meepy noises and wants attention and loves to play. I won't miss the deep scratches on my legs and arms from his overenthusiastic playing, or his tendency to pounce on my head when I'm trying to sleep, but other than that I'll be sad to see him go. He's such a sweetheart and has so much kitty energy.

My attempts to integrate Skinny with Hypatia have been a failure. Hypatia just hisses at him, and he runs and hides under the couch. She never did like the boy-kittens.

I've been feeling guilty for disrupting her world so much with this fostering project. I think she'd be happier if I stopped, and she could have full run of the house and the attention of both of her humans. But on the other hand, every kitten I take in means one more empty cage at the Humane Society, which means one more cat that can be rescued from Animal Control and given a second chance.

Plus, I love discovering all the different cat personalities, as well as fascinating medical things like lung-worms. (What? I like the parasite chapters in Peeps, too.) And there are few things better than a sleepy, affectionate kitten.

(Also this is the only thing I do in my life right now that has actual Purpose and Meaning, so maybe I should keep doing it so as not to devolve into existential despair any more often than I actually do.)