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Category — pets

Pregnancy brain and other disasters

Today, George sent me a seemingly innocuous video.

Innocuous, that is, unless you are a 20-something female in her first trimester of pregnancy. Two-legged chihuahua HAS NO HANDS, OK? NO HANDS. I am totally ugly crying over here.

You’d think he’d’ve learned by now. Last night we watched “Country Strong” (which I think I didn’t like at all, but my taste, including in movies, seems to be out of whack right now, so I’ll get back to you on whether I really liked it or not in, oh… 18-22 years). There’s this little boy towards the end with leukemia. You know the scene is coming, but when he appears in the frame, with his lack of eyebrows and his giant cowboy hat? Well, I don’t think I’ve ever lost my crap quite as quickly as I did then and there. Emotional, couch-rocking, chest-rattling sobs, snot everywhere, the works. Not pretty.

So, word to the wise: please avoid showing me anything cute, anything sad, or anything having to do with little animals or children. Especially sick children. Or sick little animals. Or sick little children dressed like animals. Thanks.

November 2, 2011   10 Comments

My favorite day of the week: Caturday

It’s official: my brain is mush.

I’ve been doing so many memory exercises, studying so much vocabulary, and recording so much of my own voice doing consecutive translations that I am no longer a real human being. I am an interpreting robot. All I’ve had a real desire to do today is listen to music, play video games, and take pictures of our cats. A reasonable and responsible use of my time, right?

In my next life (let’s ignore the fact that I don’t believe in reincarnation for now, OK?) I would like to come back as a cat, please. Thank you.

June 18, 2011   3 Comments

A rose by any other name would not smell like poopy paws

We’re those kinds of people: the people that think up non-animal names for their animals. Leo Tolstoi. Spartacus. And… Princess? Well, Princess was a fluke. When we got her and Spartacus, they had coccidia, which involved finding her back paws covered in poop five minutes after every feeding. Appetizing, right? Anyway, we started jokingly calling her “Princess Poopy Paws” because we were still debating other names (Catherine the Great, and just “Cat” for short? Cleopatra, “Cleo Cat”? Etc.) and as usually happens when you don’t want a stupid nickname to stick, it stuck.

The first time we took them to the vet, I registered her as Princess, too embarrassed to admit the full name we’d unintentionally baptized her with. But a few weeks ago, when I was messing around with their online animal profiles (our vet is high tech!) I changed it to Princess Poopy Paws on a whim, assuming no one ever actually checks those profiles.

Until today.

Today I had a little voicemail symbol on my Droid after I took a shower. I just checked it, and it was priceless to hear the prim and proper vet tech say, “Hello, this is _______ from _______ Animal Hospital, just calling to follow up on Spartacus and Princess Poopy Paws (a pause here, disbelief and slight giggling creeping into the message) after last week’s appointment… so, um, if you want to give us a call, well, please do so?”

So worth it.

June 3, 2011   6 Comments

Me-owwww! (And I don’t mean the kitties.)

A couple of nights ago, some neighborhood hoodlum cats* attacked a couple of baby birds; baby birds so tiny that they hadn’t even learned to fly yet. I’m sorry, did I say “birds”? I meant “grackles”. Please, excuse me for living (more on that in a second). I felt so sick to my stomach when I found the first panicked bird with all of its feathers missing on its head and little kitty bites on its wing, that I had George help me make a little bed for it in a shoe box with some bird seed I had and a tiny jar lid for a water dish. We found the second one, made it a similar home, and decided to see how they fared (with rather low expectations, to be honest) overnight.

The next morning, little gracklies were chirping up a storm and trying to get the heeeeeeck out of those boxes. I made some phone calls, (correctly) assuming that our vet wouldn’t take them in and help them. I was finally told about the Florida Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne, looked up their address (since they don’t answer their phone) and decided to drive out there. May I just mention that it’s like a 40 minute drive one way? And that my car is in terrible shape? And that gas is kind of expensive right now? However, I love animals, figured this was their best shot at survival, and may or may not have felt a little responsible**.

After making it all the way out to the refuge, waiting for 20 minutes for someone to stop ignoring me once I filled out their drop off form, a lady finally saunters out. I had never really understood the word “saunter” until I saw her do it. It was like she was a self-assured sheriff in an old western town. I was kind of waiting for her to chew and aim for an imaginary spittoon.

“Ya filled out the form?”

I nod.

“Did your cats attack ’em?”

I shrug. “There’s lots of neighborhood cats.” Don’t interrogate me, lady, I brought ’em, didn’t I?!

“Yanno it’s ilegal for cats to roam, right? EE-LEEEEGAL!”

I nod again. I’m not going to argue with you, lady!

“Why’d you write ‘birds’?” She sighs, like I’m the most ignorant person she’s ever met. “Ugh. They’re grackles!” Well, OK, then. Grackles. Got it.

“You FED THEM?! WHAT DID YOU FEED THEM?” Panic in her voice.

“Um… bird seed?”

“Bird seed? What kind of bird seed? I thought you said it happened at night. Where’d you get bird seed?”

“I had it…”

“What on earth’d you have bird seed for?!” Demanding, suspicious.

Obviously, I had bird seed to lure poor unsuspecting birds to my yard so I could sic my cats on them and watch in entertainment and delight as they pounced on them and left them for dead, after which I would rescue them and bring them here, because that is the ONLY logical explanation! “Um… I like to grab pine cones, cover them in peanut butter and dip them in bird seeds for the birds?”

“Hm. Well. Cats roaming is ILLEGAL. You tell your neighbors. We’ll send someone out there to patrol. These here birds’ll be just fine.”

“OK… have a nice day.” You CRAZY person.

Why do the weirdest people live in Florida?!

* Identities concealed to protect the Princess innocent.
** For nothing, of course, since it was clearly not my kitty who attacked them… /shifty eyes

May 4, 2011   4 Comments

I’m dreaming of a White… what holiday is it again?

This year, we took it upon ourselves to drive up to Tennessee to spend Christmas with George’s parents. The drive, in and of itself, was an adventure… Since lists make everything better, I will bullet-point the highlights of the trip for you:

  • It’s a 12 hour drive without counting stops. We agreed to set out at 8 or 9am so we’d be here by 11pm, latest.

  • We actually WOKE UP at 11am.
  • We decided it would be a good idea to rotate the tires before the trip.
  • This took four hours.
  • We finally finished cleaning the house, prepping the cars, packing, packing the cats (yes, all three), picking up snacks for the drive, and setting out at FIVE PM.
  • Five minutes after we got on the highway, Leo Tolstoi pooped all over himself, forcing us to either pull over, or smell cat poop for the next four hours.
  • Obviously, we pulled over.
  • I felt pretty proud of myself for lining their carriers with puppy pads, as this made the cleanup quick and easy.
  • Four hours later, George gets sleepy…
  • George is a brave man, because he decides it’s a good idea to let me drive his GTi… two days after I managed to get not one but TWO flat tires in the ghetto in Cocoa.
  • Clearly, he does not love his car very much. Or he loves and trusts ME a WHOLE bunch. I’m thinking it’s the former.
  • I drink two Red Bulls and feel immortal, invincible, and ready to drive.
  • I drive five-odd hours, and start feeling like I’m going to murder someone. Red Bull does funny things to my brain.
  • George takes over driving duties while I try to sleep.
  • Spartacus (yes, we have rather grandiose names for our cats) decides he’s had enough of being locked up in his carrier in the car and decides to have a meltdown, scratching and howling the rest of the way to Franklin.
  • Leo pees all over himself. Again, thank goodness for puppy pads. Princess, who is usually the basket-case in our house, has not complained or pooped/peed ONCE this whole time, by the way.
  • We arrive at nearly 6am.
  • I am in a Red Bull haze and can’t sleep.
  • I kind of hate life at this point.

The next day we were complete zombies, but it was nice to be here, especially since Caroline (George’s sister) and her husband were spending Christmas with her in-laws and Liz (his other sister) and her husband and kids can’t make it here until Monday night.

We fell asleep last night and woke up to this:

George’s dad said it’s the first time it’s been a White Christmas in about 29 years.

All in all, although I don’t really celebrate Christmas, I’m grateful to get to spend the holiday with our family members who do. I’m grateful I got to speak to my family on the phone last night, I’m grateful I am married to the kindest, most patient, and gentle-spirited person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I am grateful for every person, friend, family member, that I have encountered on my path through life, whether they’re still part of my life or not, whether they’re still on this Earth with us or have already passed…

I’m not really sure how this became a Thanksgiving post, though. :)

December 25, 2010   No Comments


All cats have their “thing”, and ever since we got Sparty, he’s had his particular quirk. Whenever we change the kitty litter and spread Arm & Hammer on it (because we like kitty poop to smell like baking soda and artificial flowers, duh), he ROLLS AROUND IN IT. Now, it’s not like he’s totally gross; he won’t do this in dirty litter. I tried describing what he does to other people, the entire body FLOP and roll around, but it’s so much better when you see it… and so, I present you with this video. Enjoy!

Sparty is disgusting from Lorenia on Vimeo.

February 18, 2010   3 Comments

Crazy cat people

We have become crazy cat people.

This was never our intention.

OK, so, George travels a lot. His job description actually states that he be in Houston (or Tampa or wherever else he’s needed) fifty percent of the time, which makes for a lonely Lorenia. We decided to get a pet. We like dogs, but they’re higher maintenance, what with the walking and not being able to leave them alone, and cleaning up HUGE STINKING POOPS, which I would be fine with if George was home more (because I’d totally make him do it) but alone? Not so much.

Enter Leo, stage left.

The last time George had to go to Houston, he had accumulated enough Rapid Rewards for me to tag along free (yay! free stuff!) so we had a friend come over every day, refresh Leo’s water, fill his food bowl, give him love, etc. (Thanks, Rene!) But when we came back, he was positively feral. See, this cat is weird. He’s even more of a dog-cat than any other kitty I’ve had. If you go into another room, he follows you, even if he was asleep, and curls up there. If he can’t see you, he whines. He likes sitting on your lap and having all of your attention. If you don’t give him enough attention, you’re in trouble. He’s very affectionate, and that doesn’t mix well with your Masters going on trips… or with the Female Master who was always at home with you before getting a job because she’s finally getting her work permit, thus leaving you alone for up to nine hours a day.

And so I was able to convince George we decided it would be a good idea to get a second kitty to keep him company. We found an adorable baby, about six weeks old, that needed fostering until he was old enough to be adopted. The plan was to bring him home and take care of him until the shelter people took care of his vaccinations and neutering (we’re not cruel, it’s state law for animals adopted from shelters), at which time we’d be able to officially adopt him.


We went to pick him up yesterday, and he was in a carrier with his sister, Dreams.

And Tina asks, “Would you be willing to foster her with him until she’s old enough for vaccinations and spaying? We already have applicants for her, so it would only be a couple of weeks until her adoptive family could have her.”

George nodded; he figured he could indulge my kitty love since she’d only be with us a couple weeks, tops. I joked about keeping them both, he eyed me and reminded me our deal was two kitties, tops. I was only joking, anyway, so no harm done.

Until we brought them home.

After half an hour of petting this:


I tease, “I bet you want to keep her.”

“Do you think they’d let us?” George asked, looking up at me with big, sweet, brown eyes.

I was on the computer emailing Tina before he could change his mind.

The reply:

“OK, so that’s the quickest I have ever seen anyone fail at fostering.”

And so we are now two kittens “richer” (oh, boy) and having fun trying to help Leo adapt to pesky little moving fuzzy toys. He’s thoroughly confused: they’re about the size of his toy mice, but they squeak, try and steal his food, and never stop moving. Poor guy. Let this entry stand, Internet, as proof that I never tried to get George to keep them both, never tried to convince him, and that it was totally his idea. 😉

P.S. Name suggestions welcome!

September 27, 2009   6 Comments

On why I am not yet ready to be a parent.

George went in to work at midnight on Wednesday to be in the LCC for the 5:40am launch of Endeavour STS-127. There was a lighting storm which delayed tanking and then there was a leak in the gaseous hydrogen venting system between the launch pad and space shuttle, so the launch was scrubbed. I kind of have mixed feelings about this. I’m bummed, of course, but a tiny part of me is also excited, since the launch has been postponed until July 11th, and my sisters will be here and they will get to see their first launch! Tell me that’s not awesome.

But I digress.

George went in super early/late and came home around 8:00am, meaning he didn’t wake up until some time in the afternoon. When I went to wake him up, Leo Tolstoi (no, I am not, in fact, calling my cat by his full name, as he is a cat named AFTER Leo Tolstoi and not the actual LT, so Leo Tolstoi is not his name and last name, it’s his first name, and his last name is Hatcher, since he’s our baby, and yes, I’m fully aware of the fact that that makes me sound like a crazy cat person, yagottaproblemwithat?) pranced in the room with me. So George and I are joking around and suddenly we hear this SLAM! into the wall of something heavy…

“Something heavy” turned out to be LT. He BIT the lamp’s power cord and the shock of it slammed him into the wall. He started freaking out, crying like crazy, crouching low on the ground and walking like that, hopping around everywhere, and being generally paranoid about everything in our room (he’s still doing all of this, by the way). We called the vet, made an emergency appointment, and took him in. But not before he scratched the crap out of me, which he NEVER does. TOTALLY freaked out.

Now, let me just say one thing. They took his temperature, right? They stuck a thermometer in his butt to do it. A thermometer in my THREE POINT THREE POUND CAT. Basically, that would be the equivalent of someone taking your temperature by roughly, when you weren’t expecting it, shoving a BROOMSTICK up your butt. A fat broomstick. Needless to say, he was not pleased. And I don’t blame him.

Anyway, after the scare, turns out he might be OK, we just need to check that he’s eating and if there’s any weird behavior we need to call the vet. George keeps reassuring me that he’s “returning to normal” but THIS IS NOT NORMAL, I WANT MY LOVING KITTY BACK. This LT? He seeks affection for a couple minutes, freaks out if a piece of paper rustles, scratches the crap out of every surface of my body while trying to escape the hostile, evil paper, and makes scary crying noises while standing in the middle of the room… at nothing. And no one.

Basically, he wants to be near me all the time, but I’m terrified that someone will knock on the door or that the FAN will click the chain against the metal part or SOMETHING and he’ll go all psycho-cat on me and attach again. (Sidenote: George and I keep singing, “Psycho Kitty, qu’est-ce que c’est?” à la Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” to him.)

So basically, this whole post was written to say that I was so freaked out and upset about not being able to keep a CAT safe and keep him from biting something that could have killed him (and he’s a CAT! imagine if he was a HUMAN!)… that I am clearly not yet ready to be a parent.

So quit asking me when we’re having kids. 😉

June 18, 2009   10 Comments

Russian Blue, baby I love you.

For my birthday, George let me adopt a new baby. Presenting, Leo Tolstoi!

He is a long haired Russian Blue mix and the Russian part of that is why we chose that name for him, besides knowing we were going to pick someone in the arts to name him after. My initial pick was Yevgeny Zamyatin, the author responsible for me becoming obsessed with Science Fiction (and stories about dystopian futures) at the tender age of nine, but, ew, naming him Eugene, no matter what language it’s in, is gross. Being a Russian Blue means he’s ridiculously smart. Example? He figured out how to get into our room after we shut him out for being too energetic last night. Also, when you “discipline him” (aka, spray bottle, I know, I know, bad pet owners, but it keeps him in line without having to yell at him!) he tests you by pushing the limits a tiiiny bit to see how much you’ll let him get away with. When he does something he knows he shouldn’t do, he’ll “Meow?” at us and come into our laps, stand up and nudge our noses with his. Sly little minx.

He’s growing like crazy right now, and he’s in that awkward phase where his tail and ears are too big for his body. I LOVE THIS PHASE.

I said “let” me adopt him because I’ve been spending a lot of time alone and wanted a pet. I don’t clean poops, so a puppy was out of the question. Birds, wildddddly allergic to their poo (and they make too much noise). Anything else? Eh. I love kitties. We made sure that we’d have a baby-sitter if we both had to be out of town (Elina, you were instrumental to him letting me get LT), and I really think that what cinched the deal was that I started whining about all of this right around my birthday. (I not only know which battles to pick, I know when to pick ’em! *winkwink*)

He’s only been with us 10 days, but I already love this little guy. He’s the most tolerant and sweet little attention monger kitty I have ever seen. Thank you, Borges!

June 4, 2009   10 Comments