juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I woke to rain outside, and kept hearing it, on and off, through the day; hearing it because I've been able to keep a window open and the fan off for a few days now. The window here is behind a substantial bush, so the light is gentle in the mornings (the birdsong, on the other hand, not so much). Yesterday morning, I sat under that open window and peeled and cut apples while watching Supernatural. (Every year about this time I catch up on Supernatural; every year it's still awful, but the kernel of the show it could be, the 11.4 "Baby" show, the AU werewolf!Claire show, the show of ambiguous landscapes of denuded, earthen British Columbia forests pretending to be the Midwest, the show of flannel and bunkers and overnight drives, always leave me wistful.)

The apples came from the back yard, half-feral apple trees that produce tart, hard, dry green apples with just a few bugs. When I taught Teja how to make applesauce, I told him "peel, chop, boil over medium heat"—it's impossible to screw up. This year made me wonder if I was wrong; the first batch was prone to scalding and awfully tart, and required a cup of water (I'm used to ladling off excess fluid instead) and half a cup of brown sugar (there are greater sins). And it wasn't ruined, it turned out fantastic. Homemade applesauce always is.

Anyway, I moved last month. Moving is objectively always awful, but this went fine, even if it left me wishing I owned zero physical objects—despite that it was making a place for objects (specifically, an overhead shelf with nothing but blankets and plush and treasured figurine) which made me feel settled in.

August and Gillian are settling in too, decently well. The stress of the move, and the smaller space and relative isolation, has made them much more companionable. They've lived together for five years, with tolerance but no intimacy. Now, they're touching all the time! They share a blanket! This morning, August licked Gillian's face three small, sweet times. I'm not getting invested in the future of this intimacy, but feel blessed to witness the little signs of it.

I've been taking a few shitty snapshots of the cats, and you can find them over on my Tumblr; here are some cat-touching highlights:

Their peace and comfort, and also mine, has been interrupted by a fairly severe flea infestation—with which we are dealing, but which may be an ongoing/reoccuring battle for reasons outside my control, and I'm mad about that. They're just so uncomfortable, and only have the energy to groom and eat and then nap; not eager to play, too sore for most cuddles. Hopefully things will improve as the medication does its thing.

Autumn is the season of my heart, and the weather report says the rain is not just today, it is the next five days, and by then it's late September; 70 degree days after that will just be sunny days in autumn—the season is here. Most people don't get such a clear cut-off date! But ours was September 17, and rain, and rain, and rain.
juushika: Photograph of a stack of books, with one lying open. (Books)
I originally posted this on Tumblr, but it belongs on my rereads tag, aka my favorite tag in the history of all tags.

I’m doing another co-read with Missy, George Orwell’s 1984, a reread for both of us. He read it in school, and hasn’t reread it since then; I read it ages ago and many times since—but not in the last few years, so I suppose I was due.

My copy is inherited/gently stolen from my mother, and was published in 1961; there’s a typo on page 17 ("her sweep supple waist") and pencil notes on the first page, an about the author, to underline Orwell’s name and list "Winston—the everyman; Julia—the everywoman"; it has that distinct almost-musty scent of used books of this specific page weight and quality and era; it once sold for 95 cents; I remember reading it as a … preteen? young teen? while accompanying someone else’s trip to a college campus, and feeling very smug that I read literary canon of my own volition & and that’s why I, too, would belong at college some day.

It’s impossible for me to have a discrete experience with the book, to judge any sort of objective or relative quality or how it’s aged (objectively, relatively); I’m still tied up in that early encounter, because what I took away wasn’t the value of literary canon—rather, it was that the Important, Classic novels I would one day read for school* were also speculative; that genre was literature. It was the first time I encountered that overlap, between "real" books and speculative books. As speculative books go, it’s the definitive opposite of fun, even though dystopias have their own "what if" hook; it’s a weird book to memorize, to fondly recognize all these scenes were people are miserable, miserable in grindy petty banal ways atop the high-concept stuff. But there’s a perfect fondness: the velvet-smooth worn paperback, that distinctive scent, returning to a novel that literally changed me as a reader.

* I never did read it in school, but I did do projects comparing it to other dystopic novels!
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Back around around Hanukkah time—I'm so late to write any sort of journal post—my parents and I went through my paternal grandmother's collection of jewelry. My grandparents used to make regular visits to New Mexico, so she wore a lot of turquoise; she liked big bulky statement pieces, chunky rings and earrings, dyed coral, brass and gold. But she didn't have a signature piece, something worth keeping for pure nostalgia. She just had ... a collection.

I've never been in the habit wearing of jewelry, but whatever my personal tastes are, they're nothing like that. But I managed to find two pieces which were smaller, less chunky, in neutral metals. One of them is a copper chain-link bracelet that doesn't particularly fit her statement-piece style, but came to me missing links and with some small dents, so it had obviously been worn.

So I started wearing it too. Every day, literally all day. It was weird to adjust to the feel of it, especially in the dead of winter—my wrist always felt cold. But now I wear it all the time except when I shower; I even sleep with it on. There's redundancy in the dash-shaped links, which is why it was still wearable when I got it, and a good thing too, because I've lost another link. At some point, I know it'll stop being wearable, it will literally break, but I'm okay with that. These aren't treasures, really; they're personal relics, and this one's serving its purpose.

I wanted something to connect me to my Jewish family, and ancestry, and dead grandmother; to ground me in and validate that while the world outside endangered it. And this has done that. (I'm still not being the Jew I want to be—in many ways, fuck knows—and there are still no outside answers to cling to. But there is this one physical thing to literally be attached to, to use as talisman and a private sort of proof and comfort; and that in itself is valuable, and it's a step forward just to disentangle from some of the anxiety.) I'm not sure what I'll do when it breaks—my wrist will feel so bare—but on some level it will feel like an external sign that I achieved that goal of engagement and remembrance, and can shift my focus elsewhere.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
CW for discussions of pet death.

Two days ago, I got an email from my father that they'd euthanized Jamie. She'd been having episodes when she'd lose her footing or fall, and panic when she was unable to get up. This occurred when my mother was home; Dad left work, and the two of them were able to calm and comfort her until she could get back up. But these episodes were reoccurring, and only likely to become more common, and they could happen when no one was there; and she'd had ongoing health issues, and the vet had just found a possibly-cancerous mass in her abdomen. So that afternoon they took her in to the vet. They didn't want her to ever be alone and in distress.

She bounced back after the episode and she loved the vet and was excited to be there, and they almost had second thoughts, but this is a long time coming—and even Mamakitty, when we took her in, as sick and exhausted as she was, perked up at the vet because it was a new and distracting environment: that momentary change didn't erase the ongoing problems, for either of them.

This was a long time coming, which is why it feels so hard to handle; or rather, not hard, but distant—James had a heath scare a few months back, and I feel like I said my goodbyes at that time, not preemptively so much as in preparation, and I have done my grieving; but of course I haven't grieved and now I can't seem to start. I'm sure it will sink in when I go home, but I'm not ready for that. This in-betweenness of knowing and not believing, of loss without feeling, is unwelcome but not new; I've experienced similar disconnects before (like when Madison died).

Here's what I do know: We got Jamie the year we got back from England—England is an important landmark in my family's history, Jamie was an era. We named her after Jamie Oliver, because we watched his show while we lived in England, and to preserve the family tradition of giving our dogs gender-swapped names. She was 15, and that's ancient in lab years. My mother told my father about what I'd said, when they made the decision: about valuing the time had, about working in her best interest. She was a ridiculously good dog, ever since she was a puppy; she never had a demon dog phase and we even had a ban on talking about her when when Odi was going through his because no one needed the comparison. When she was old and blind and halfway deaf all she wanted to do was lean against her people so that she knew they were there and loved. She was a leggy field lab & she didn't know how to swim because she had skin conditions as a pup and by the time she was introduced to water she was afraid of it. Every Christmas, she got her own stocking and got to unwrap her own gifts:

She had the knee issues common in labs, and had surgery on both front legs when she was young; for a long time, she was afraid of both the vet and the location in the house where she threw out her first knee. For most of her life she didn't bark, she was an entirely silent dog; only in old age did she sometimes boof when a stranger passed the window. She used to stare out the gap in the blinds for an hour before my dad got home each evening—my mum was the pack leader but my dad was her best friend.

In my first year of college when my life began to fall apart, my mother made a surprise trip to Walla Walla and brought James; they waited in the quad for me to get out of class. I saw a dog across the way and thought, oh, a dog! dogs are great! and then the dog began to jump around because before I even recognized it was my dog, before I even saw my mother, Jamie recognized me across the distance and she was so happy to see me.

She was a sensitive, engaged member of the household, and would get super upset if people fought or talked about politics. She knew tons of commands, most of which we never taught her and were casual sentences, "Jamie, get out of the kitchen." She was our only black lab (the others were chocolate), her fur was rainbow-white in the sun, she liked ear-rubbing the best, she didn't like having her toenails trimmed but would let us do it anyway, and this was Jamie:

Jamie in the Sunlight

I don't believe that pets owe us love, but that it's something we owe them; it is our responsibility when we make them our responsibility, to provide unconditional care and support. But there is no love like the love of this dog, nothing so essential or complete.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)

I just got back from a week visiting Devon in Corvallis, and the return journey was lovely. Mist over the fields and river out the train window; dense fog as we reached Portland, with the city and its bridges shadows in the gray. The 6am train trips in autumn are consistently my favorite of all things: the clear dark cold at the train station, the slow sunrises, the mist and the changing leaves.

August was ridiculously clingy when I was preparing to leave (she even followed me and my luggage downstairs to hang out by the door and look concerned) and she's been inseparable since I got back, because she loves me and also because it's autumn and she wants to sit on me and be warm. I held her on my tummy and sang Can't Take My Eyes Off You to her, my wonder keeping the stars apart.

It was a fantastic trip, and I appreciate the reminder that I have those—and that last month's misery visit was a birthday-related anomaly rather than a trend. I timed my visit for the Fall Festival; I accidentally slept through most of Saturday, but we stopped by on Sunday. It was too sunny and I am pale and pathetic, so we made but a brief circuit. My favorite of what I saw was Fantasy Figurative Art dolls by MARCA—I like my art dolls creepy/cute rather than Froud-esque, but there were blue goblin children and humaniod bird monsters and of that I approve. We also went to the library's book sale, and by the time we got there they had entered the $5/bag "please, take them away" final phase; slim pickings but a joy to comb through, in no small part because it was indoors this time. I picked up paperback copies of books I own in hardback (hardback is a pain to read, and I'm a big rereader), some new-to-me books by authors I'm familiar with, and a few random picks—because at a flat rate, mistakes are free.

The Cherryh I picked up on another night out. After dinner and dark, we got Starbucks and walked across to the Book Bin—bless their late hours. The checkers were looking at pictures of baby goats, there were no other customers, and because I'd already made a book run I wasn't working off my to-buy list: the laid-back book browsing I've always wanted. Having credit there allows me to make impulse purchases without stress.

One final highlight: a moment when Devon and I both walked down the hallway and Gigi the puppy, the best baby dog with the most love, came in from the kitchen, saw us both, and barreled past Devon to get to me because Dev is everyday and known and boring where I am Important Dog Auntie, and also the only one that will hold her paws.

I didn't see my family and other than the Fall Festival had no to-do list, which I think contributed to the successful visit; it was the private, quiet time that we needed.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Last month was my birthday. Dee's family came down just before it (her brother and I share a birthday); her brother stayed a few days and her mother stayed some time longer. I went down to Corvallis in the middle of her mother's visit, to see Devon and go to dinner with my family. When I came back up I housesat for a weekend while Dee drove her mother back up north.

The company was lovely and only a little introvert-taxing. Dee, her mother, and I went down to Powell's for an afternoon and Dee bought me my birthday gift of books: three CJ Cherryh novels (one a reread) and the Steerswoman series that I just finished and loved. I went in with my alphabetized, color-coded* to-buy list and still barely managed to hunt everything down and make purchasing decisions in a reasonable amount of time. I'm used to feeling harried when I go book shopping, but I dream of one day having time to browse.

* colors since updated to reflect Powell's room colors, because it's a useful mnemonic and also pretty

The trip to Corvallis was mostly miserable, and I blame that on myself. Birthdays have become harder and harder, this one especially so, and when I see Devon I always dredge out my worst in some subconscious expectation that he will fix it. I've never matured, never become self-reliant; most of the frustrations in my life exist because I am a dependent, not a contributor—thus the long-distance relationship, living circumstances, material goods both frivolous and essential that I don't have, untreated health issues, &c. It's easier to get away with those things in your twenties, when people assume you just haven't grown up yet. But with each birthday, it's more obvious that I will never grow up; my maturation was halted by mental illness and now all my energy is forever diverted into dealing with the crazy. I'm aware that birthdays are universally fraught, but this one was especially dour.

Devon gave me Nagisa Momoe Nendoroid I've wanted for a while, though. That was good.

Nagisa/Charlotte/Bebe is one of my favorite characters of all time. I love her creepy/cute imagery and the way she changes the tone of PMMM; and while I had arguments with PMMM: Rebellion—and normally dislike mascot-/moe-bait characters—I loved her in the film. It's powerful and narratively-appropriate to turn a witch into a person, and, cutesy and mascoty as it is, I resonate with the cheese thing. I've called her Our Patron Saint of Cheese, and it's not quite in jest: she's an icon for the frustrating longing of what we want and can't have, which is indulgent and foolish but remains legitimate, none the least because it indicates why we can't have it (see: fan theories re: her character). There are a lot of things which would make my life better: if I were self-reliant, if being a dependent were financially viable, if there were societal accommodations for my dependency—all valid wants, so the smaller wants are valid too, even when petty or obsessive or in the form of a cute figure. And I have so many wants, small and large. To have her seems to prove the rule; still, I love her, my idol of wanting, so well-timed to my birthday-related frustrations.

When I saw my parents, they didn't have a gift, they just asked me to provide a wishlist of things I needed or wanted, with a subtext of "we can tell you don't really have the means to look after your basic needs; can we help via a birthday gift?" which is true, thoughtful, and hit too close to home: another reminder of the tie between my longings, my disability, and my age. I still need to write that list.

Anyway. I came back into town, had a quiet weekend housesitting the cats which I absolutely consider an auxiliary birthday gift. And then I was hit by a week of debilitating back pain, which (knock on wood) has since passed and which had no trigger, cause, aid, anything really; it was out of the blue and unrelenting. And as soon as that began to clear, my keyboard blew up. It did a low-key, static "acts like you spilled water on it" crosswiring, but no water had been in its vicinity for a year so fuck if I know; I unplugged it, made do to a shitty wifi keyboard; got fed up with shitty wifi keyboard, plugged my old one back in, and it worked perfectly again in a sort of universe-provided bit of gaslighting, "none of your frustrations or problems are real, ahahahahaha"—and then 24 hours after that it broke again in precisely the way it had before. I don't know. A new keyboard is here now, because unexpected necessary purchases don't trigger aforementioned anxieties at all, my old keyboard is probably possessed by capricious minor demons, and the answer of "how do I keep breaking keyboards when I've become so careful with them?" is probably: cats, who are less careful, and covered in fur and litterbox dust.

I've been reading a lot, gaming a lot, caught up with Critical Role which is, in itself, vaguely terrifying because it was such a long, immersive journey to get here; I am fervently not in my own head, because the only way to cope with the anxiety "I am not a real adult who can engage with life" is to refuse to engage with anything. I have my Bebe figure and I adore her. Everything else has been sort of shit, for reasons which stem from me, my vulnerability and inability and this persistent longing for a life different from my own, but, again: these reasons are real.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Warning for discussion of pet illness/pet death.

We euthanized Mamakitty two days ago.

Her initial improvement when we started her on a feeding tube was short-lived—she had issues keeping food down, digesting well, and regaining loss weight. More than that, she was miserable—wheezy and lethargic, uncomfortable, and distinctly exhausted by everything happening to her. Her Prednisone dose was meant for immediate relief but was having no effect, and was therefore unlikely to have an effect in the future.

The only reason to continue life-sustaining treatment was if she wanted her life sustained, or if her quality of life would improve in the near future. Neither was true.

We brought Mama inside two years ago, in January; the entire time we knew her, from befriending the timid local stray to petting her tummy while she snoozed on our beds, all we did was make Mama’s life better. She was a miracle for us, and us for her, and we have no regrets. Euthanizing her was one last thing we could do to make things better, and it was an easy decision.

(August has been glued to me since then, never more than an arms-length away, which has made all of this much easier.)

juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Warning for discussion of pet health issues.

Mamakitty's always had a complex relationship with food, but her eating slowed to a near stop a few days ago, so we took her into the vet; she has a pretty sick liver. We had to make some weighty choices (between euthanasia, attempting at-home care with little probable success, and opting for expensive, effortful longterm care), and decided to pursue treatment, which meant an overnight vet stay for fluids followed by anesthesia & feeding tube insertion, and the beginning of a number of months of regular medication and feeding times.

She did totally fine at the vet, came home groggy, is still very tired, but is doing fine with the tube and feeding. Her chance for recovery goes up every day we get food into her, and without treatment she probably would have died.

I'm not taking pictures of the bandaged, exhausted kitty, because she has enough stressors right now. This is healthy, gorgeous Mama:

This comes on the heels of—god, I can't even say; I've been in a depressive episode for 6+ months, my sister is very ill, my extended family is fairly ill; I am so far beyond exhaustion that I can no longer describe it. But this is a miracle cat and we are doing right by her, with no regrets. I figure we changed her life once already, when we took her in. We can try our damnedest to do it again.

Good thoughts are welcome. Advice is 10000% absolutely not welcome unless you have dealt with this exact thing (liver issues in cats and/or cats with feeding tubes) before.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Last Sunday Devon made a daytrip up to Portland so we could all carve pumpkins, as we did last year. We went to the local Kruger farm stand about five blocks away and picked out locally-grown pumpkins, then ordered food from the Che Cafe food cart; we waited for our food in a covered dining area while rain fell and the blue breeze blew in woodfire smoke from the firepit. It was a distinctly Portland weekend before Halloween, wet but mild, rich with the scent of rain and smoke and leaves.

We ate our food at home—mac 'n cheese and sandwich and fries and a thick quasadilla—and carved pumpkins while I blasted The Nightmare Before Christmas from another room (I don't listen to the soundtrack, I just put the film on and ignore the visuals).

From left to right: Devon's, mine, Dee's.

Pumpkins, 2012: On the porch

Daylight closeup. )

Pumpkins, 2012: Nighttime

Mine this year was inspired by the scarecrow in Sleepy Hollow—I made the face too small, but when lit up it really didn't matter.

Today I pulled on a long black skirt in satin and velvet and a purple half-sweater with flowy sleeves, and was something witchy or at least dressed up. I played Animal Crossing and answered the door to a dozen or so trick or treaters while Dee baked pumpkin cookies. Odi barked at every single visitor, but did just fine. I will love you and shower candy upon you if you are wearing a costume—I don't care if it's super fancy, I don't care if you're "too old," if you embrace the spirit of the holiday then my candy is yours. If you are seventeen and wearing the clothes you wore to school that day, I judge you. If you fourteen and smoking a cigar while trick or fucking treating I will not give a shit about candy but I will feel deeply unclean. (The polite adorably-costumed group of six that came near the end of the night erased lingering ick, but really? I mean really?)

Quiet little day. I never do as much with Halloween as I wish, yet did enjoy this one—and in a way, this day only begins the haunting season, for me. November all is death and decay—it's the beginning of the year, but the year begins with death, quietude, the rotting and waiting that lasts through winter. This is only the start.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Gillian headshot

If it were reasonable to take in a hundred billion cats, or if we didn't have our hearts set on giving Mamakitty a home, I would adopt Gillian. I can't tell you much about this cat other than it turned up on the porch about the time we started putting cat food there. I've been calling her a she in part because of her small size, and named her Gillian after the Practical Magic character and the black cat she sometimes carries. As far as I can figure Gillian's not yet full grown; she must at some point have been domestic because this is the friendliest cat you have ever met. She comes to the porch and meows in the window so that I will go out and pet her; she jumps in my lap. She gives lovebites, honest to goodness, and I adore her. In many ways she's also a fascinating mirror to August—I just really, really wish she could be mine; in the meantime, I'm looking into having her spayed/vaccinated/ear tipped, and, well, we'll put out food.

Every good picture I could get was of her on my lap. Guys, she's a lovely cat.

+3 )
Petting Gillian

Don't let the Japanese maple tree in the background fool you: autumn is just starting, and not yet in full swing. But Devon was here this weekend while Dee went out of town, and we went into St. Johns proper for lunch, and I ran out halfway into the meal in order to stand in the thick full raindrops that I'd seen through the window. It is here.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I was playing Animal Crossing and thinking late-summer thoughts this evening, about to wrap up, when I glanced out the front window and saw Mamakitty's tail whisking by the corner. (Should you need a refresher: this is Mamakitty.)

Here's an open secret (secret insofar as I'm afraid that if I say it will happen, something will go horribly wrong; but if I keep a veil of "probably not definitely," then I cannot be disappointed): Dee and I are planning to adopt Mama when the weather gets cold this year. We felt awful for her in the chilly, raining winter last year—and in the intervening months, Odi will have more time to grow up and learn to be not quite so OMG A CAT A CAT. But this is an idea we've been flirting with for some time, and all my caution aside it will most likely happen, and I can't wait. In preparation for adopting her, Dee's begun feeding her—taking over the duty from our next door neighbor. It's heartbreaking, the number of cats we're now feeding on the front porch: fascinating to watch while eating breakfast, but you just don't know how many neighborhood strays/outdoor cats there are until you're providing food.

After the tail sighting, I grabbed a few treats and went outside. One of the cats that eats the food is a skinny almost all-black shorthaired beast that I'd thought was skittish—but after I sat on the porch for a few minutes that kitty just came over to me and demanded in-depth scritches. So many scritches, in fact, that when Mamakitty came out from under the porch the black kitty batted at her with a territorial NO MY PEOPLE HANDS MY TOUCHIES. I did some wide-armed dual-cat scratching to pacify everyone until black kitty got bored, and then it was just me and Mama.

When I tried to go back inside she stared at me through the window screen and made me feel sad, so I ended up spending quite some time with her and she got oh so many treats.

You can sense the death of summer, now. The hundred degree days have passed (fingers crossed and fate willing); apples are falling from the tree out front, startling Mama with each thick thump. I found an over-eager red maple leaf on a tree when I walked the dog today. It's not imminent autumn, but it's the inkling of it: end-summer dry deadness promising a blaze of color; early harvest promising abundance.

The gray wood and white rails of the porch, those dead dry leaves, our seedy and still beautiful front garden all flatter Mama, bringing out the calico in her coat and the contrasting white blaze. She's a beauty, this cat, and absolutely ridiculous. She's fluffy and stout, a round thing; she gets awful mats, but our neighbor has been brushing them out of her and that means, one day, I'll be able to do the same (I love grooming animals way more than a simple "love" would imply). She's skittish, but loves treats and cuddles; she'll reach her paws towards you if you try to walk away, and when she's happy she drools so much that she leaves polkadots on the floor. All cats are perfect, but this one is especially magical and she'll fit right in to our house of strange people and weirder beasts.

But today she was right at home on our porch in the cool breezes at the dying end of summer.

That's nice, Juu, you say; how about some pictures? Well, okay.

Mamakitty through the window. )

On the porch with Mamakitty, 1

Hanging with Mamakitty on the porch, +2. )

With bonus:

August drinking from a water glass
Oh where, oh where has my cat's dignity gone
Oh where, oh where can it be...

For the record, this was a whole lot funnier before August knocked over a glass, spilling water onto my keyboard and causing apparently permanent damage: the "p" has been broken for a week, and the primary enter button seems to come and go. How many words really do use p, you ask? SO MANY WORDS and I have to use the onscreen keyboard to complete all of them.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
August's one-year-here anniversary passed without fuss—as it's the day before the 4th of July it was difficult to forget, but arbitrary dates still are arbitrary so I didn't pay it much mind. But in its way, it's a fantastical, gigantic thing that I have this cat; that I've had her for over a year, now. I feel like I've already said everything I can about the ways in which she's changed me. When I got a cat I knew it would be a change, and that's what I was there for: one life-changing experience, sign me up. A dog, we've found, is a large change, a day-to-day behavioral change (especially for Dee, goodness knows); a cat is smaller. They don't require daily walks or need to learn commands; they become a presence in the house, your life, and your bed. But that, still, is huge—especially for me.

So it's too much and too little, when I write about her—about how I love her every time my heart beats, about how she's filled a void in my soul, about how this cat is my favorite, my favorite thing ever, favorite being ever, my dearest love. It's melodramatic (as I tend to be), and gracefully overlooks the fact that she poops in a litterbox and breaks into any plastic-wrapped ANYTHING left ANYWHERE and annoys the everloving shit out of me for a minimum hour before each of her meals, and it's accurate—as accurate as I ever could be in telling you about my cat.

It's 90 degrees here today. I hate summer, we know, but this one hasn't been nearly as soul-destroying as last year—it's been more mild more often, and we better know how to cope with heat in this house (for my room, that means: crossbreeze. crossbreeze. no really: open the damn windows, all of them, yes.), and in a way I'm embracing this summer—reading summer books, tolerating with the warm weather—not for the sake of summer itself but so that when autumn and the rains come they will seem all the more glorious.

90 degrees, and August is stretched on my bed as drowsy and pliant as any cat could be, and I love her. I would rather love her than do or be or have almost anything. I would rather have her in my life than likewise. There's a steady breeze, and we've passed the magical time of day—5p—when the temperature goes from rising to falling. She'll curl up more as the temperature drops, she'll move from lying flat on my bed to sitting on her microfleece blanket, and she will always be perfect.

One year, guys.

Have some pictures.

August, a year later

+3 )
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)

Meet Odin
Meet Odin (Odi for short).

Dee adopted a 4-month-old Lab/Border Collie puppy today. Adopting a puppy has been a long-time idle desire, and became a whirlwind plan of action while I was in Corvallis; she met Odi yesterday, and put a 24-hour hold on him; today I came in on the train and we went to the shelter immediately after and now, behold: dog.

Odi has the body of a leggy black Lab—he actually looks a lot like Jamie—including all-black fur; his muzzle is narrower and longer than a Lab and he has Border Collie half-floppy ears. He's missing one eye, and no we don't know how or why: he came to our local shelter without it, and there's no record of how it was lost in his file. It's all closed up and healed, and he seems to notice it not at all, so we don't imagine it'll do him any harm. Here is his original adoption page, not that it gives much more information! Dee's meet Odi post is here.

He's been here about five hours, which tells you not very much about a 4-month-old puppy except that puppies are energetic. He's teething like a beast and we have to do a lot of [body part and/or clothing] for toy substitutions, but he's smart. He's already picked up on "no" as a command word, and sometimes even obeys it; he's figured out that he's not allowed upstairs or on the couch (one or both are privileges he may earn in the future, but he'll be downstairs-only and crate trained for now). This mix purportedly gets the smarts of the Collie and the desire to please of a Lab, so I think he'll do pretty darn well.

But really, who cares! I know what we're here for, and what we're here for is puppy pictures. These are half-blurry snapshots because 1) I'm tired and 2) it's a puppy, but there ya go.

+2 )

Meet Odin


(August, in case you were curious, is very glad I'm home and very put out by this beast in her home, although she has already been downstairs and, however, unenthused she is so far, she's not particularly scared, bless her. She's grown so comfortable here; she knows this is her home, even if there are strangers or big black dogs. It's also worth noting she lived peaceably with a dog at her previous home; I expect she'll coexist fine with Odi once everyone has calmed down. Which ... may be a while.)
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Made the train trip home from San Francisco yesterday, the best overnight trip I've had. They turned off the bright overheads at night (they don't always; yes, it's cruel), my seatmate barely look up her side least of all encroached on mine, and everyone learned an ingenious trick from the woman across the isle: put your feet up on the fold-down tray, do it do it do it. It exhibits no grace or manners, and you can't stretch your legs out all the way, but who cares because it's the only thing on the damn train that creates an acute angle at the hips and so takes pressure off the lower back. I actually got a few hours of sleep, I only took one pill, and I was not in incredible pain.

When in San Francisco I almost feel like I could live there. Express is a fantastic roommate, because we know each other so well and because he works out of the home, and I will drink up all the downtime you give me. The most basic acts of housekeeping seem like miracles to him—he'd do well with a roommate, I think, if it were someone he knew well or a lover: someone to dirty enough dishes to warrant using the dishwasher, and make the occasional miraculous dinner. It makes me feel like some sort of domestic goddess just to make a quiche, so. The city is visually fascinating, although I haven't fallen in love with its social culture. The weather is tolerable—fantastic, for California. There was even a thunderstorm when I was there.

And then we come up over the mountains and down the other side, the evergreens start to fade into deciduous and it begins to rain, and the world outside is the Willamette Valley and I'm like: yanno what, never mind. There are actually a few places in the world that I would love to live, but they all look like this (verdant yellow green against wet black-brown with the spring) and they all have this heart-gripping sense of home.

If I dare try to do something foolish when walking in the door after I've been away—like, say, check my email—August will climb all over me with an awkwardness that's unusual for her and stare at or bite any hand which is not occupied by petting. My best bet is just to lie down so there are no distractions and she can throw herself against me, a black puff made solid by desperation and purr. This time I ended up with her sprawled across my chest and belly (let's face it, she's not a small cat) while I lay on my back, nose nuzzled between my breasts but her tummy up in a dignity-less feat of flexibility, and we touched each other all over until we had been painted in love (and I in cat hair).

I was going to tell a funny cat story here but, you know, I think I'll save it. What matters is that I love her. I love her so much that it feels as though my heart may burst.

And I came home to this on the whiteboard:

The whiteboard when I came home from San Francisco
Best roommate? Best roommate.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Mamakitty on the porch
We had a visitor today.

Forgive the shitty snapshots—I still have not read the manual for my new camera (soon!) and I am shooting half-blind (and very confused) as a result. Forgive my (relative) brevity: I'm dealing with a resurgence of my on/off repetitive stress wrist pain.

Do you remember Mamakitty? She's the neighborhood stray who went from wary to running across the yard for treats, although she's still skittish. Today she was out on the front porch, which she does sometimes although we usually see her out back. I gave treats and pets, but she was jumpier than usual—perhaps because it was a new environment for interacting.

More to the point, August was downstairs with me and so was able to stare intently at Mama through the window (rather than infer her presence through the back door)—or at least play a joint game of pretending to be horribly unconcerned about that other cat.

+3, and more blather. )

That has been your daily dose of picspam. Perhaps one day the pics themselves will go back to not sucking.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
August relaxed

Hello I am August this is one of my places, the place whereupon I sit while my human stares at the TV and presses buttons on the controller, sometimes I even get to lay on two blankets and occasionally the sun shines on me, it is very comfortable thank you goodb—

August making googly eyes at geese noises


And then the geese flew away and she went back to bed.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Ghost and Aaron: Master List

Aaron and dirty laundry
So hey guys guess what.
I got Sims up and running again.

I don't know how stable it is, so I'm doing mildless exploration and tests as I find out—but it's performing fine so far. Thanks to some fantastic gifts from [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes, I now have Late Night, Generations, and Pets. I haven't really played since World Adventures. I never even did a load of laundry with Ambitions. It's going to be awesome.

Ghost and Aaron: laundry, the park, a party; nothing revelatory but there's something there. +10 pictures. )

I figure that the Silverman-Moore girls—Penny and Andrea—will be the ones to play around with new Generations content, as things progress with their respective romantic interests. Orwell has always been a little vampire goth boy, and Late Night means he can go from wannabe to the luminescent real thing. And, well, if you need Nika...

If you need Nika...
She's probably off befriending every animal in town.

Or perhaps just one specific cat: +9 of Nika. )

Fingers crossed that my game continues to function as well as it is now, for there is suddenly so much to do. It feels fantastic to play again, and I'm eager to do it all.

Ghost and Aaron: Master List
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
So I have the best of friends.

You may remember that a while ago, reddogdied illustrated me-as-cat, which is one of the more meaningful gifts I've ever received. In Animal Crossing, you play as a lone human living in a town of anthropomorphic animals. My friend Sabrina also plays, and she draws, and she was illustrating friends as AC villagers. I asked her to draw me. She drew this and then let me sit down and nitpick it to my heart's content, pulling criticisms and preferences out of me even I'd usually give an artist a wide berth around their art, and then Express concurred with the final design, because they both know how important avatar-equivalents are to me—which they are (read more).

Animal Crossing Juu by Yadomi

And she made this. Green eyes! Floofy tail! Orange kitty, hint of tabby, and I would totally wear that outfit if I lived in a land without pants. AC-me is adorable, and I know awesome people, and I am blessed: behold.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Christmas tree (family)

Every year it goes like this: We procure a tree (sometimes my parents have it when Allie and I come home for the holidays, sometimes Allie and I go with to get it—this year it was the former). Papa drags boxes down from the attic, wraps the tree in lights, and then wraps the tree in wooden cranberry garlands because they're my favorite Christmas decoration. I sort out ornaments and decorate the entire tree. When it's 95% finished, Allie puts her birth ornament in a special spot, Mum decides where her birth ornament should go and either Papa or I hang it, and then I put on finishing touches and fill in gaps. The end.

This year, Mum managed to sort all the Christmas stuff while I decorated, and we got rid of a few big boxes worth of the sort of kitschy stuff we don't like but have managed to collect—I hope it made someone at the local Goodwill happy. Last year I leaned red and gold with the decorations; this year, motley red, relying less on the sets of ornaments I love (the piles of wooden mushrooms and brass bells) to mix in more of the unique ornaments in our collection. It's a little more folksy than my usual taste, but I like the chance of pace. The tree this year is a Nordmann Fir, which was a joy to decorate.

So nothing special I guess but: hey look, a Christmas tree. (Fun game: count the Starbucks ornaments. There are more than a dozen.)

Jamie we are trying to take a picture of the tree. )

A close-up shot. )

Driving into town on Saturday—after my parents found the house, and met my cat, and briefly met Dee; after we picked up my sister and went out to Thai and got coffee; after we made the drive home—as we were reaching that point where you feel like you could almost walk home from here if you weren't so tired, we passed a side street and Papa and I glanced out the window and both did a "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT WE ARE MAKING A LOOP TO SEE IT AGAIN."

A decorated house in Corvallis
That was this.

This is the sort of light display that makes the house across the street light up, too. And it animated. And it was set to music. Multiple songs worth of music. It was somewhere between awesome and horrifying, so one night when Devon and I were driving back from errands and dinner we went down the same road and I had him look down the same side street, and we did the same loop and then he got a video. Unfortunately we didn't get really audio, and it's blurry, and you should still watch it. )

Meanwhile, this is for Dee: Wizards in Winter. )

There's a newer, clearer version out there now, and I honestly do not care. The Wizards in Winter Christmas light display is my favorite YouTube video perhaps of all time, I watch it every year, and now so can you.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
It's that time of year again. Tree the first:

Last year, Devon and I set up a mini black tree with brightly colored ornaments in our room. Dee has a mini purple foil tree (blessedly pre-lit, too, because mini trees in crazy colors can be a nightmare to light) which she's never had the chance to decorate properly, so I had Devon bring up our ornaments (knowing that the color scheme I picked to glow against black would probably look awesome against purple) and we had at, and behold: it is beautiful and bright. Purple tree, pink lights, a silver garland, normal ornaments in green, small in purple, silver, and bronze, tiny in two finishes of teal, and it shines like you would not believe and looks fantastic in the living room.

christmas 001

+3: at night, close up, and an August cameo. )

Heading to Corvallis tomorrow, and decorating tree the second soon after, and then Hanukkah begins. Hopefully I'll be able to get pictures of it all. But if this is the only one I document with photos, well, it's one well worth it.


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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