Thursday, July 28, 2005


After much research, I got a new phone over the weekend. A few months ago Blogger introduced mobile blogging, and I really wanted to do it. But in order to do that, I needed a camera phone. I loved my old phone, and really didn't want to get rid of it, but for the last few months it had been getting harder and harder to charge--I'd have to connect the charger, then wiggle it around to get it to make contact, and then lay it down gently so that it didn't get disconnected. Sometimes I couldn't make it work at all until I'd tried it a dozen or more times, and I knew that one of these days it was going to fail completely.

When Bob's last contract was up, he got a nice phone completely free, so I was kind of hoping for that, but I never got one, so I just decided to go ahead and get a new one once I was eligible for a reduced-price phone. He got a cool camera phone, too, but it's really small and I wasn't sure it was what I wanted. I wanted to stick with Motorola because that's what I've always had, and I was familiar with the menus and things. They had a nice-looking camera phone (the V551) that looked a little larger than the one Bob has, so I went to the Cingular store on Saturday and looked at it in person.

It wasn't the greatest deal in the world--$149 with a $50 mail-in rebate--but it's a nice phone, and I'm very pleased with it. I think it takes terrific photos for a camera phone.

And now I have a moblog.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Catching up

I seem to have added a new category of anxiety dream to my repertroire. I have the height dreams (including the rickety stairs ones), and bridge dreams (which I suppose also incorporates height), and water dreams (and sometimes bridge over water dreams, and of course the rickety bridge over water dreams), and the driving off the bridge into water dreams . . . Also the travel anxiety dreams, i.e., forgetting to make reservations, forgetting to pack, missing the plane; and of course the getting lost ones. Last night was a new one. I had a knitting anxiety dream.

In the dream, I was supposed to go somewhere with some people--I don't know if it was just for the day, or for the weekend, or what. It seemed to be people from work. They were waiting for me, and I was late because I couldn't find some yarn that I wanted to take with me. I was in the middle of knitting pair of socks, had finished one and had started the next one, and I was afraid that I would run out of yarn while I was away from home.

This is a very real fear among knitters, not just me, but it's one of the things that I think about and plan for when going out of town. What am I going to knit? And what if I run out of yarn? The chances of actually knitting while on vacation are fairly slim, but if I don't have something to knit with me at all times, then I'm assured of having a nice long space of time with nothing to occupy my hands.

I knit in line at the post office, while waiting at the license bureau, at movies before the movies start, and occasionally at stop lights.

So anyway, in the dream I was searching everywhere for another ball of sock yarn. I looked in the linen closet (which was apparently my parents' linen closet, funnily enough), and in all the drawers and everywhere I could think of, but couldn't find this one particular ball of Opal sock yarn that I knew I had. I found some really ugly acid green acrylic yarn with fuzzy black "flags," and I briefly considered taking that and starting a new pair of socks with it, but even in a dream, that didn't sound like a good idea.

The situation with the cats is getting better. A few nights ago we tried leaving both of them loose in the house when we went to bed, and that seems to be working fine again. The problems tend to start after I get up, and they both want to come into the bathroom with me, or when we go downstairs and Dinah wants to sit on my lap and Pye wants to sit in the window. That seems to be too close for comfort.

It's been so stressful and upsetting, and I absolutely could not figure out what to do, but things are beginning to calm down and it seems like everything might finally be okay. Last night was a breakthrough of sorts--I woke up in the middle of the night when I felt Dinah climb over me to the middle of the bed where Pyewacket usually sleeps. By the time I was awake enough to figure out what was going on, I could hear the sounds of a bath in progress--Dinah had requested a head bath, and Pyewacket was accommodating her.

I nudged Bob, and whispered, "Pyewacket is washing Dinah's head!" and he said we'd better separate them before it went on too long, but I asked him to leave them alone for just a few minutes more. Generally what happens is, when Pyewacket is finished--whether or not Dinah is finished--Pye will nip her, and that didn't seem like a good idea. After a few more minutes of washing, I reached down and picked Dinah up and put her up by me. Then Pye sat up and looked at her, and Dinah hissed, so I think I made the right move.

The rest of the night was quiet, and there weren't any incidents this morning, either, so while I'm sure it will be up and down for awhile, at least it doesn't look like we'll have to get rid of Dinah any time soon. Thank goodness.

Let's see, what else? I got flowers at work yesterday! Cello sent them--yellow roses in a dark blue glass vase. Gorgeous. And Bob has a pet toad at work. He said there's a toad that apparently lives in his watering can, and when he goes out to water the flowers, the toad clings to the side of the can and rides along. Bob says he's careful to leave a little bit of water in the can and to set it in the shade when he's finished.

And like everyone else in the world, I'm reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I'm going to have to hurry up and read it this weekend, because I know I'm going to accidentally find out the ending if I don't finish it soon. Friends who don't read the books (there are more of them than you might think) keep threatening to accidentally reveal the ending to me, since they don't have any reason to avoid finding out. Dan was teasing me on iChat this afternoon, and I was going, "La la la, I can't HEAR you," and then he admitted that he couldn't even remember who it was, because it didn't mean anything to him. He said maybe he'd find out, and then pay Dave to shout it out when I least expected it. Boys.

Oh, and speaking of books, I just finished listening to the audio version of The Time Traveler's Wife. What an amazing book! I'm looking forward to actually reading it now, rather than listening to it, but I might have to wait awhile since the ending was really wrenching. I told Misty that I'd been listening in the car, and she said she wasn't sure she would have been able to do that and drive at the same time, and I totally understood that. The morning that it ended, I had to sit and compose myself for a few minutes before I went in, wipe the tears off my face, and hope that no one noticed that I'd been sobbing in the car.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Some improvement

Things seem to be getting better at home.

We're still separating the cats at night, alternating, with one spending the night in the basement, and the other one the next night. Pyewacket spent the night in the basement last night, and when I let her up this morning Dinah was right there to say hello. I didn't let them linger, though, because things are still very fragile. I scooped Pyewacket up and took her up to the bedroom, where Bob was still in bed, and dumped her onto the bed with him. She stayed upstairs and Dinah stayed downstairs with me, and there weren't any incidents.

We're still walking around armed with cans of compressed air, and things are still pretty tense, but it does seem like things are getting better. Or maybe we're just learning how to handle them better, but either way, there does seem to be some improvement.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

No better

Things aren't improving. In fact, they're getting worse. I stopped for dinner on the way home, and got home about 8:00. Pyewacket was in the living room at the back window, and Dinah was in the dining room at the front window. I sat down, and Dinah sat on my lap, but she was uneasy and couldn't settle down. A few minutes later, Pyewacket walked in from the living room, stopped and looked at her, and Dinah started growling, so I got up and stuck Dinah on the basement landing and shut the door.

I got up and did some stuff--changed my clothes, cleaned off the dining room table, went through the mail--then sat down and watched television for a little while (a totally bizarre program about female body builders), then went to let Dinah out and see if we could have a little peace. No, of course not. She stuck her head out of the basement door, Pyewacket saw her, and they both immediately started hissing.

So I shoved Dinah back into the basement, then got a bottle of water, my book, and a scoop of cat food, and went down to spend a little time with her. Of course, every time I go through the door I have to be sure that one cat doesn't come in and one doesn't go out. What we need is an airlock . . .

I spent about a half hour down in the basement with Dinah. We have a bed down there, and I sat on it, propped up against the headboard, and she curled up on me and purred and purred, and it made me feel so awful, because I still have no idea of what we're going to do. Bob keeps telling me not to worry about it, that we'll work it out, but I don't see how. It will be better when he gets home tonight, because Pyewacket will be upstairs with him rather than wanting to hang out with me, but it's all so tense that I can hardly stand it.

Since Pyewacket spent Sunday night in the basement, last night was Dinah's turn, and I left here there around 10:30 and came up and went to bed. I didn't dare leave them both loose in the house, and although I felt guilty about it, I didn't want to shut Pye out of the bedroom, although I don't actually think she slept in the bedroom, at least I don't remember her being there.

This morning we had the same fiasco--I got up, showered, and dressed, came down and let Dinah out, she sat on my lap for about five minutes before Pyewacket came around the corner and stared at her, and they started hissing, and I stuck her back through the basement door before anything could happen. I try to break the mood by yelling or waving my hand in front of them, or trying to distract them in other ways, but Pye has gotten aggressive and won't back down. I'm not blaming her, I know it's because Dinah has attacked her so many times, but now it seems the roles are reversed.

As far as we know, they're okay at home together, that is, we haven't found any bloodstains, and neither of them are limping or appear to be injured in any way, so this week I've just been opening the doors and going to work and trying not to worry about what they're doing. I mean, obviously they're not just fighting all day long. I assume they head off to various spots and sleep most of the day and avoid seeing each other, but once we're home, they want to be with us, and hence the problems.

Bob has said he's tempted to let them go at it and see what happens--that maybe Pyewacket needs to establish dominance again as the alpha cat, but it's SO scary when they fight, and so dangerous.

Someone said the other day that it would be like having your kids fighting all the time, and I suppose that's sort of true, except it's more like having your kids fighting all the time with knives. And screaming.

I've been listening to The Time Traveler's Wife in the car. I thought it was the unabridged version, so I was really annoyed to find that I had purchased the abridged version from Audible. I never listen to the abridged versions of books, I have a real objection to that.

But I'm enjoying the book, and actually now I'm kind of glad that it's the abridged version, because now I want to actually read the book. I already ahve it--someone sent it to me a few months ago because I had it on my Wish List. Several people had recommended it to me, but I had resisted because the premise sounded so strange. At first, thinking about it was making my head hurt, but now I'm just enjoying the story and not trying to figure out the physics.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

No clue

Boy, did I ever speak too soon.

Or may I just didn't have my fingers crossed hard enough.

It's been a hellish week around here. I have no idea what we're going to do. I think it was Tuesday night -- Bob and I were in bed, asleep, and he jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, and I was still trying to wake up. I never did hear anything, but he said the cats were fighting downstairs. He threw Pyewacket in the bathroom downstairs and I went down and got Dinah and threw her in the basement so that we could let Pye out.

I can't even remember what happened Wednesday night, but Thursday night everything seemed to be okay until Bob got up and went into the bathroom to shut the shower faucet off--it was dripping--and Dinah was in there, and hissed at him, and Pyewacket had to come see what was going on . . . Bob was so angry that he actually left the house--this was about 2:00 a.m.--to keep from killing her, and I just sat there and shook.

He came back, and we talked, and he was still angry, and Dinah spent the night in the basement. And Friday night I put her down there just as a preemptive measure, because we're just constantly afraid that something is going to set them off, and it's getting to the point where I'm almost afraid to go to sleep if Dinah's around.

Bob left yesterday (Saturday) for a few days at the lake, fishing, and we just had one minor incident last night where one of them--I can't even remember now which one--came out from behind the living room drapes and saw the other, and the growling and hissing started, and I jumped up from where I was sitting and knitting and watching television (BBC America - "What Not to Wear") and threw Pye in the bathroom, then threw Dinah in the basement for an hour or so. I tried letting her out a little later, and everything seemed fine, so I left her out overnight.

Nothing happened. I slept late--10:00!--and woke up thinking, wow, how nice, a whole night, a whole long night, with no cat fights! The cats had spent the night in the bedroom, too, Dinah on the padded stool beside the bed, and Pye at the foot of the bed, and there weren't any problems. Then, as I was waking up, Dinah came in and got on the bed and snuggled next to me, and not five minutes later Pyewacket came into the bedroom. Dinah saw her and growled, and Pye jumped up on the bed to go for her. I shoved her off, and she jumped right back up, and went for Dinah, and there I am, right in the middle.

Sometimes when I think about what might happen if someone tried to steal my purse or something, I wonder if I could scream. Well, yeah, now I know, I guess. I can scream. They didn't get me, I wasn't hurt or anything, and in retrospect, of course screaming isn't going to get them to stop anything, but it's so disorienting, and so scary, and so outside anything that I usuallly have to handle. I guess I'm getting used to it, though.

I have no idea what we're going to do. What seems to have happened now is that Dinah has attacked Pye so many times that Pye is constantly on edge, and has decided to attack Dinah as a preemptive strike rather than waiting for her to attack. So all Dinah has to do is growl and Pye's on her.

This morning after an hour or so, I let Dinah out, and things seemed to be okay, then they were both sitting at the back door and one looked at the other, and it was just immediate--they're rolling around, screaming and hissing--and I sprayed them with the water bottle and separated them . . . and my throat is still sore from screaming, and my stomach is in knots. I don't know what to do. This can't go on, but what can we do? If I went down in the basement now, Dinah would be thrilled to see me. I would lie down on the bed, and she'd come up and lie on my chest and purr and purr.

The vet thinks maybe it's a territorial thing. He says cats--unlike dogs--aren't meant to live in "packs." They're solitary creatures, and in general don't do well when they have to live in close proximity to other cats. The irony is, I suppose, that one of the reasons we took Dinah in was that Pyewacket was attacking me, and we thought maybe another cat would diffuse the tension. It seemed to work at the time.

I have no idea what we're going to do now.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My fault

When I make a mistake, I admit it, and I made one with the scanner. Not buying the one I did, but in installing it. At the suggestion of the Customer Service representative, I tried resetting it, but it didn't help, so I took it back to the store and exchanged it for a new one, figuring I'd give it one more try. This time when I set it up, I realized that I had missed one of the steps--when you turn it on, it prints an alignment sheet, and you're supposed to put it on the scanner glass and scan it, and that supposedly sets the alignment. I don't really know why the first one worked until it got shut off and then back on, but this one seems to be working fine.

It isn't really a very high resolution one, but I think it will be fine for my purposes. I was looking for something over the weekend and found some old pictures of Doña, so I used those to try it out.

What a beautiful cat she was!

Dinah's body type is very much like Doña's was, and her fur is kind of the same, too, very soft and fine. Black, of course, rather than white, but with the same long tail and long legs.

I took both of the cats to the vet last weekend. It was time for Pyewacket's annual check-up and innoculations, and we had been having such a terrible time with Dinah that I called and asked if I could bring her in, too. They said it was fine, so I loaded them up in separate carriers and took them up on Saturday morning.

Pyewacket loves the vet, and walks right out of the carrier and says hello to everyone. She rolled around on the floor and presented her tummy to be scratched, and marked all of the examining corners, the vet's shoes, and his assistant. Dinah, on the other hand, had to be poured out of her carrier--the vet simply opened the door and turned it so the door was pointing down, and she kind of fell out. We used to take the carrier apart to get her out, but this was pretty efficient.

We still don't really know what her problem was; he said it sounded like a territorial thing (she was growling and hissing any time Pye came into the room, so things had gotten pretty tense arond the house), and he said that it sounded like we were doing all the right things. We had set up food, water, and a litter box in the basement so that one or the other of them could retreat if they needed to, and Dinah had been spending a lot of time down there.

He also asked if we had been using the "kitty drugs" -- actually cat pheromones that come in a spray or as a plug-in like an air freshener. We had them, but he suggested moving the plug-in up to the bedroom closer to the bed, since that's where most of the problems seem to be. And he expressed her anal glands, which get plugged up, and that would make anybody grumpy. The Felineway is extremely expensive, but if it works--and it seems to--it's worth it.

Things are still a little weird, but they've calmed down a lot. Dinah isn't freaking out every time Pyewacket walks into a room, and she isn't hissing at Bob everytime he turns around, so for whatever reason, things are going better. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that it stays that way.

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