Monday, December 31, 2007

Happiness is...

... a warm Calcifer curled up on your computer desk, getting in your way, and sleeping peacefully in spite of everything...

Happy New Year to all my friends, and family, both online and RL.



Thursday, December 27, 2007

If You Give A Kid A Camera...

This is what happens when you give your child a digital camera for Christmas

The Impossible Son... a self portrait, thanks to Fisher-Price's Kid Tough Digital Camera!

Friday, December 14, 2007


You know, every time I make Kool-Aid for my kids, I suddenly remember that some twenty odd years ago, when I was in my late teens, early twenties, we used to mix Kool-Aid with conditioner to color our hair. Because you couldn't go out and buy green or purple hair dye. You had to make it yourself.

And my kids are drinking this.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Calcifer Steps Up

Calcifer, despite having been fixed today (and oh, wasn't THAT an adventure!), has decided to take over the Shmoo's duties and become the Impertinent Daughter's nightly guardian.

The Shmoo was a black cat with bright green eyes that we had for ten years. He was a sibling to Sir Edmund, and was one of the original Triplicats. Sir Edmund, Mischief Herself, and... the Shmoo. Now... the Shmoo fit his name. He could fit himself into any place or situation, and unlike his quieter siblings, for all that he was pitch black, he had a very Siamese attitude. Very talkative. Very clingy. And probably one of the most hilarious cats we'd ever had. We used to call him the Door Bandit, because at our old house in Houston, he loved to perch on top of our doors, and wait for the unwary to pass by. Any victim who approached would either lose their hat or their hairstyle.

He also had a ridiculous love of turning on lights.

I could practically hear him when he'd leap up to grasp the cord that hung from the lightswitch in the little room off our kitchen that led into the backyard. The light would come on and I could swear he was cackling, "Ha ha!! The power is MINE!! I CAN TURN ON THE LIGHTS!!!"

Yes, he was a goofball.

But, he was also incredibly sweet.

The Impertinent Daughter does not like loud noises. Never has. She hated fireworks until we decided to bring our Labrador Retriever along to the city fireworks show, and they sat together, watching the fireworks, she with her arms around him, he standing between her and the bright lights. She wasn't so scared any more... but she still didn't like the big booms. And when we got home, well, at the time, we were living out in the country, out of the city limits, and therefore, in a place where folks could set off as many bottle rockets, etc, as they liked, for as long as they liked. Provided the county wasn't under a burn ban. She hated the noise, and either the Husbandly One or I would have to lie in bed with her, our hands over her ears, until she went to sleep. Shmoo watched this for a couple of years. Then, when she was four, going on five, just before the Impossible Son made his appearance, Shmoo watched her crying during a particularly loud and boisterous New Year's celebration. I was very, very big, being overdue (Mr. Manzie was really comfortable in there, and saw no reason to change the status quo) and therefore, very slow.  The Husbandly One was trying to do seven things at once.  The Shmoo made up his mind and jumped up into the bed with her, walked up to her pillow, then settled himself so that he was laying across her head, covering her ear.  He laid his tail across her neck, under her chin, and began to purr.  She opened her mouth to protest, then closed it.  She couldn't hear the loud bangs, and snaps, and rat-tat-tat-tat-tat of fireworks any more.  All she could hear was a deep, rumbling, happy purr, and the next thing I knew, she was asleep.  He did the same thing with thunderstorms, wrapping himself around her head and purring until she went to sleep.  Soon, he was jumping up in the bed when she had bad dreams, and then, he had the other cats joining in, as well as Max.  It wasn't unusual to wake up and find her curled comfortably between a large dog, and three cats.  

It was a real blow five years later when he disappeared because someone left a door open, and he got out.

He never came back.

We had lost Mischief to cancer the previous year, and I sometimes wonder if he went out looking for her.

Ed did what he could, but he had to divide himself between two children and two adults.  Not easy, even for a big, loving cat like Ed.  And... it wasn't the same.  Miss Priss and the Shmoo had a very special bond.  He was her Trouble Cat.

So, she's had trouble sleeping since Shmoo disappeared.  Stuffed animals are just not the same.  Nor are little brothers (too squirmy).  We talk before bed, and that seemed to be helping, but... I'm not Shmoo.  And sometimes, what a kid needs is someone who will listen without offering advice, who will stare up at them sympathetically and lovingly, while purring like a Cuisinart on steroids.  I can purr but... it ain't the same!

Tonight, I was tucking her in, kissing her, and doing our usual good night ritual, when Calcifer jumped up on the bed, stared intently into her eyes, then got up on her pillow and curled around her head in the exact same way Shmoo used to.  With the added exception that he gripped her head between his paws, and licked her forehead a couple of times before settling himself comfortably, and purring.  Her face relaxed, and she just barely managed to say, "Night, Mom," before she was out like a little light.

This after having his equipment rendered redundant.

I scratched his head, turned out the light, and said, "Take care of your girl, Cal."

He just purred.

I think they're going to be okay.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ahhhh... better....

Okay, everybody stand up and get ready to applaud.

I took my first deep breath in over four weeks... and it didn't hurt.


Yes, yes, thank you, thanks, I'll be here all week, I'd be more than happy to do it again, yes... thank you, really, you're too kind.


Well, it is a big deal to me!!

In other news, Calcifer and Muta have an appointment with the vet on Wednesday to curb their boyish enthusiasm. In other words... they're getting FIXED! Because, they are startin' to do that thing that young male cats do when they suddenly realize... they're male.

*insert blues guitar, and a deep, gravelly black voice that sounds like it came from the bowels of the earth*

"I'm a man..."


I spell M..."







Yes, Calcifer and Muta have discovered... hormones. And their genitals. And what they can do with them. With each other.

Yes, apparently, my cats are gay.

I mean, there's Yuki, sitting there like, "Well, here I am, boys! And I can't get pregnant, either!"

They look at her, sniff, then say, "You smell funny," and promptly pounce on each other.

The Impossible Son watches this and says, "Um, Mama? I thought you said cats only did that if they were trying to make kittens..."

"Yes, yes, I did say that." And I'm scrambling around in my brain for an explanation that won't get CPS called on me when he repeats it at school.

"But... Calcifer is a boy... and Muta is a boy... and boy-cats can't have kittens..." His brow is furled in concentration and I'm flailing my brain desperately. Then..."Are they like Uncle Artist and Uncle Scientist?"

"Er... not exactly... no."


"Well, see, honey, it's more like this..."

He looks at me doubtfully, like, is this going to be another one of those amazingly technical explanations that I never understand? So, I stop myself and say, "What do you think is going on?" And brace myself.

He thinks about it, watching them, and oh, gods, do I ever want to throw a towel over them, or get the waterhose! Thanks, guys, for teaching my son about a side of biology that I haven't gotten around to explaining yet! "I think it just feels good, so that's why they're doing it. And they're doing it with each other, because Yuki still doesn't feel good after being fixed, so they're being nice to her. And they know each other, so it's okay."

"Exactly," I said, and he smiled.

"Yeah, that's what I thought. Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

"Because I wanted you to figure it out on your own," I said, crossing my fingers behind my back. Geez.

Sometimes, parents freak out when their kids present them with life questions the parents aren't ready for yet. It's not that we haven't explained that Uncle Artist and Uncle Scientist are life partners who are practically married, and live together like Mama and Papa live together, with all the getting-closer mushy stuff like Mama and Papa ("Ewwww, you're kissing! On the mouth!!), except, they're both guys, because we have. But you know, it's one thing to know it about your favorite uncles, and another to see a live, wild-kingdom version demo on the floor in your bedroom next to your teddy bear.

And yes, we have covered the het version, too, thanks to a couple of dogs who thought our front yard would be a most excellent place to do some parallel parking. Thanks, Fluffy and Zongo, for the live-action condensation of how babies get in there!!

So, I am sorry, Calcifer and Muta, but those furry dice hangin' on your chassis? Gotta go. No more marking Mama's side of the bed as yours. No more marking the Impossible Son as yours. No rubbing your... family jewels against parts of us that we immediately want to go find wet wipes for.

Fun times, I'm telling you!

Monday, December 3, 2007


My son has the ultimate faith in my ability to cook.

Ever seen the movie "Spirited Away?" There's a scene where the main character, Chehiro, is sitting on a balcony with her friend, Ren, and they're eating these hand pastries stuffed with meat or something. I have no idea what they are called, but you know, just about every society has some sort of meat-roll or pastry that can be held in the hand.

Anyway, the Impossible Son came in here and asked me if I remembered those things. Took me a minute (between coughs), and I said, "Okay, yes, I remember them."

"They look really good, huh?"

I have learned to be cautious. "Ye-e-es," I said slowly.

"Could you make those for me?"

*blink blink*

"Right now?"

"Yeah!" he said with great enthusiasm, his head bobbing as he smiled at me, full of confidence that Mama Can Do It. After all, I brought kittens back from frozen death, what's a few Japanese meat rolls, right?

"Er... well, hunnybunny, um... for one thing, I'd need a recipe..."

"Great! I'll get your cook book!" And he was off to the kitchen.

I do not have a Japanese cook book. Yet. And I knew the book he was heading for, which admittedly (and surprisingly) has a few Japanese recipes in it, but... um... not what he's looking for. It's a Fanny Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School cookbook that I lucked into at a Half-Price Books in Houston, published somewhere in the 50's with all these references to the original publication in the 18 70's or such. Great book. One of the luckiest finds I could ever make, because it fell open at certain pages and had foodstains on it... meaning, it was used a LOT. In other words, a family treasure that some thoughtless person had tossed into a box to be sold without realizing what it was. Oh, well, their loss is my gain!

Anyhow, Mr. Manzie comes trundling back with that book in his hands, beaming with confidence, and I'm just... stumped. "Here, Mama! You can make it now, right?"

How on earth did I ever produce this person??

Flailing mentally, I said, "Well, there's still the problem of ingredients, and you know me, Little Man, I like to sort of study over a recipe for a few days before I decide to give it a whirl."

"Oh," he said, nodding wisely. "You want to fiddle with it."

He knows me so well!

"We'll see. Let me do some research on the Internet and see what I can come up with."

So... I've bought myself some time, but... if anybody out there knows what the hell those things are, and how to make them, please, please, PLEASE give me a clue!! Knowing Mr. Manzie, he'll pop up in three days... "So, Mama, you ready to make those things yet?"




How do I love thee?

Oh, let me count the ways...

I love thee for the books you buy me, books that no sane husband would buy for their wife, but you defy convention and buy them for me, because you know me so well...

I love thee for the fact that for my 29th birthday... you bought me a computer. And the happy, surprised look you got on your face when I hit my knees to show you how much I appreciated it...

I love thee for truly awful puns you toss out that make me want to rip my brain out and stomp on it to relieve the pain, and how I have to "out-pun" you to shut you up...

I love thee for the way you mince around the playscape when you're playing with the kids, pretending you can't run fast enough to get away, and then surprise them when you turn and sweep them up in your arms to dump them in a pile of sand or leaves.

I love thee for not protesting when I refuse to play cut-throat Monopoly with you and the kids. And for the truly ridiculous scenarios you come up with when we're playing Pickle.

I love thee for not complaining when I shove my icy cold feet under your thigh to warm them up when we're sitting on the couch together, even though I can see you want to scream and hit the ceiling to escape them.

I love thee for getting me truly awful birthday presents, like the severed finger necklace, and the Ubangi warrior earrings you got me six years ago that turned my ear lobes green.

I love thee for understanding me and my intimate relationship with, and hopeless addiction to chocolate. Thank you for dropping everything to find some when I get a Chocolate Jones. Because the world as we know it would end if Jo didn't get her chocolate!!

I love thee for accidentally putting on my jeans and wandering around the house, completely mystified as to why your jeans were suddenly too long. (my legs are longer than his, even though he's taller than me)

I love thee for making that sinfully delicious pumpkin cream pie... and then saving the last piece for me, hiding it from the kids so you could be sure I got it.

And finally, I love you because you get me, you know me, everything good and bad, and you still love me anyway.

Just thought I should tell you.


The Wifely One

a.k.a. Me