matociquala: (bear by san)
Basically, this morning was nothing but the highest quality kitten cuddles, as Duncan and Molly were being unbelievably cute.













*Boop.*






nom nom nom nom






So many beans.




All tuckered out from cuddling so much.
matociquala: (bear by san)
Current kitten weights:

Molly 8.6 lbs
Gurney 10 lbs
Duncan 10.7 lbs
matociquala: (bear by san)
Kitten weigh in!

Molly: 7.5 pounds
Duncan: 8.7 pounds
Gurney: 8 pounds even
matociquala: (bear by san)
INT: BEDROOM: 7:40 am

Monkey: Mrrph?

The Smart One: *patter patter patter DWOP!*

Monkey: Oh, hi, Mousie.

The Smart One: *runs down monkey's spine*

The Smart One: *patter patter patter rattle rattle thump rattle thump slide rattle patter thump*

The Smart One: *patter patter patter DWOP!*

Monkey: Oh, hi, Mousie.

The Smart One: *runs down monkey's spine*

The Smart One: *patter patter patter rattle rattle thump rattle thump slide rattle patter thump*

The Smart One: *patter patter patter DWOP!*

Monkey: Oh, hi, Mousie.

The Smart One: *runs down monkey's spine*

The Smart One: *patter patter patter rattle rattle thump rattle thump slide rattle patter THUMP.*

The Smart One: ...

Monkey: ...

The Smart One: ...

Monkey: ...

Action Dork Cat: CUDDLES TIME!

Monkey: *cuddles*

The Smart One: Cuddles?

Action Dork Cat: MOAR CUDDLES TIME!

Monkey: *cuddles*

The Smart One: This is no good.

The Smart One: *jumps to shelf by bed*

Action Dork Cat: MOAR CUDDLES TIME!!!!!!!!!!11!1eleventy!

The Smart One: *pushes pill bottles around*

Monkey: Cat.

The Smart One: *pushes pill bottles off shelf*

Monkey: You little shit.

Monkey: *evicts cat*

Monkey: *Well, I guess I'm up anyway."

Monkey: *Fetches a flashlight and a stick, and retrieves Mousie from where she has been lost THIS time.*

The Smart One: MOUSIE! *scamper patter rattlepounce*

SEMI-FERAL NINJA PRINCESS QUEEN EXILED FROM BEYOND THE MIRROR DIMENSION: You guys are weird.

***

Mousie has been returned to her family and is resting comfortably:



SEMI-FERAL NINJA PRINCESS QUEEN EXILED FROM BEYOND THE MIRROR DIMENSION is still trying to figure out how to get home:



Cuddles time:

matociquala: (criminal minds bad shirt brigade)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/7748412

(reposted from Patreon)

ON ANXIETY

Above, a photo of three adolescent kittens. Please ignore the background clutter: it's an actual picture of my actual bedroom 30 seconds ago, unretouched except for a little color correction, complete with the clean sheets I didn't manage to get on the bed yesterday.

The goofy tuxedo cleaning his toes is Duncan; the elegant blue blending into my robe is Gurney. They're littermates.

I want to talk about the vigilant little tortoiseshell on the footboard.

Her name is Molly, and she's a little over a month older than the boys, but two pounds smaller. She came home with them because when she came into rescue, she was housed with them as a near-agemate, and the three of them have bonded like true sibs; there is washing, and chasing, and spatting.

The difference is, while the boys somehow wound up in a shelter and from there eventually a rescue, they obviously had good mothering and good human socialization. They know how to play without using their claws; they have a number of vocalizations that they use liberally with humans; their favorite game is fetch.

Molly is a semi-feral who was netted on a street in New Jersey and got very, very lucky to find her way into the same crate with her foster brothers and eventually on to my nice warm bed--rather than being euthanized.

She's almost always vigilant; her head is on a swivel, and even when she's napping she almost never completely relaxes. She's difficult to approach and will only sometimes tolerate human contact, and she needs to be in control of the interaction.

In human terms, she's anxious and on the defensive all the time.

Some of this is genetic, of course; she's pretty obviously got at least one feral parent, and she'll never be the sack of comfortable snores her brothers can be.

Some of it is the kitty equivalent of PTSD. She's been traumatized, and she knows that everything can vanish under her in seconds, and she might have no control about where she lands.

The boys are rambunctious, bold, and while they're both very athletic, one of them--Duncan--has a real tendency toward getting himself into scrapes he needs to be rescued from. He doesn't follow the rules of parkour very well, and he doesn't always know how to get out of what he's gotten himself into. (Gurney generally has a plan. Duncan is like KOWABUNGA IT'LL WORK OUT SOMEHOW.)

Molly always has a plan. Molly has three plans. In addition to her plans, Molly has two escape routes, and she's prepared to fight for her life if they don't work out.

The boys crash and bang and stampede all over the house. Molly moves on little ghost feet, in doorways and around the edges of rooms.

Molly acts like she works in the publishing industry.

Specifically, she acts like a writer (or any artist, probably) who's forced to confront the realities of making a living in a field with wildly inconsistent rewards and quite a few punishments, and doing it through the means of stripping out all her fears and vulnerabilities and waving them around for people to be entertained by (or not) and to judge (and quite possibly publicly disdain.)

I know so many anxious writers.

Hell, I'm an anxious writer. Coming back from a really messy, crippling bout with it right now, actually, and currently have the upper hand, but let's not talk about the latter half of 2015, and almost all of last year.

I have so many brilliant friends who are anxious about what they are writing about, or the quality of what they are writing, or showing their writing to other people, or whether the internet will fall on their heads no matter what they do, or even being able to write at all... and it pisses me off, this anxiety (and my anxiety, which manifests in I HAVE NOTHING USEFUL TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT POORLY SO WHY BOTHER) because it robs the world--and selfish me--of so much good art I could be enjoying otherwise.

I wish I could take all of their anxiety and roll it up in a ball and ship it to those guys who spend a lot of time stomping around the internet fussing about how the world doesn't understand their genius and plotting ways to game award processes. Except I know that that's anxiety, too.

It's a way some people deal with it--by seeking validation any way they can, and blustering if their self-image isn't constantly reinforced. Just a some people deal with it by internalizing and eating themselves away, or being paralyzed into being unable to write or unable to submit, or withdrawing, or--my favorite, and the most subtle of all!--pulling themselves back from their art, no longer being honest and making themselves vulnerable through it, and creating something more facile than true.

What's the answer?

I don't know.

I suspect everybody has to find their own solution, because everybody's anxiety manifests in a different way.

I've dealt with it recently by getting angry and sad enough that I feel like I have something to say that's worth saying, and reminding myself that it's better said poorly than not said at all. I've dealt with it by (with the help of my spouse [hello, spouse!]) making space to work early in the day, when I am relaxed and not yet feeling the press of worries and duties of the day.

I've dealt with it by bulling through, but that doesn't work in the long run. I've dealt with it through medication, which does, sort of, but you still have to use the respite to get to the underlying issues. I've dealt with it by figuring out what I was afraid of, and remembering that--like Molly (remember Molly? This is a post about Molly)--I have lived through worse.

Also, you know, this is my job. And I love it. And I'm doing it to the best of my ability, which is pretty damned well, actually, because I am good at my job.

And I am entitled to my voice, and to the space to speak out with that voice. My falling silent will not, in fact, in any way improve the commons or its diversity. It will rather diminish that.

People don't have to choose to listen to me, but they have no right to tell me not to speak.

And if people are unhappy with my books, they can write their own damn books.

I'm sure as hell not stopping them. They shouldn't let their anxieties stop them, either.

Molly doesn't need anybody. She, unlike her brothers, can take care of most things herself.

But here's the thing: they're noisy little guys. They talk to me, their toys, birbs, bugs on the ceiling, each other.

I've only heard Molly vocalize (other than a defensive hiss) on two types of occasions, and until this morning, it was only one. If she is somewhere else in the house and doesn't know where her brothers and Scott and I are, she will pause in her explorations sometimes and emit a perfect little "Meow?" or two until somebody says--in cat or human--"Molly, we're over here."

And this morning, she was sleeping on my feet, and was startled awake by a boy-noise in the hall. She sat bolt upright like a little meercat, front legs dangling, the better to survey the situation.

And while she was sitting there on my feet, she emitted a little, muttering growl, as if to say, "This is my spot, and I will fuck you up if you come for me here."

Molly may be anxious, but she also has something to say, and she apparently has a platform to say it from.

If a six pound semiferal kitten with PTSD can manage it, so can we.
matociquala: (criminal minds fate)
Holy shit, how did I forget to listen to TMBG for so damned long? That was a terrible idea.

It's amazing how having kittens gives me something to blog about again. The giant ridiculous dog is wonderful and adorable and my best friend and walking buddy now that he's too old to run*, but he is a creature of steady habits, especially at the age of 11, and doesn't give me much to comment on: "Today we went for a walk and played kickball for ten minutes and pooped twice and had breakfast AND dinner AND cookies AND a piece of cheese, were teased by the cats, had a series of profoundly satisfying naps and were interested in a squirrel, briefly."

It's a dog's life. One day is pretty much like the next and they're not always noteworthy. Except when the ice hurts his poor feet, or I expect him to go outside and pee in the wet like some kind of barbarian, or he has the best day of his life and gets within six inches of actually catching that damned fat squirrel.

Six inches, Zack! I would have had him!

Kittens are still having adventures.

This morning's adventures started at 6:30 (roughly) with me getting up and realizing that there were no kitten noises in the usual places and no kittens on the bed, or in the guest bedroom where they sometimes hang out, depending on the availability of local sunbeams and the phase of the moon and other Important Kitten Reasons.

I walk down the hall to the bathroom. The bathroom is also where we feed kittens, and as soon as I entered its sacred precincts, I had two boy kittens on my heels. 6:30 am is not, however, the time of the feeding. We're not naive about what the result would be.

The boy kittens stayed in the bathroom. I walked back toward the bedroom, and saw that a door that should not be open was open. A door that leads to the downstairs, and several non-kitten-proofed rooms full of potentially hazardous and/or breakable objects and furniture that one could hide under indefinitely. Not to mention house plants, great for chewing on and excavating around and peeing in.

I saw that beyond that door, there was a stairs. And on that stairs was a Molly, looking freaked out as only a feral kitten that is outside her comfort zone can look.

I went back, and shut the bathroom door with the boy kittens inside. And said to Scott, who was in the office typing, which is, after all, what we do for a living, "Houston, we have a problem."

We found her under a futon in the front room, which was fine, and which has a door that opens onto the front hallway, which the kittens DO have access to generally speaking and which has a second stair to the upstairs, which is designated kitten territory. We opened the door to the front hall and closed the door to the rest of the downstairs, and Scott went upstairs to make sure the door that had been left open accidentally was closed so there wouldn't be a second escape.

I lay down on my stomach and stuck my head under the futon.

"Hello, Molly," says I. "Surely you want to go upstairs?"

The freaked out look intensifies.

I offer her a Magic Finger. You know the one.

She looks at it like it's a snake.

"THAT'S A SNEK!" says her.

I make sure I am physically between her and the hiding places it would be harder to retrieve her from. Slowly, I reach out, with the Molly Approved (occasionally, maybe) back-of-hand petting gesture. (Sometimes you're allowed to use the grabby side of the hand, but not always. Because Apes are horrible, and also Grabby.)

Molly says, "YOU WANT TO GRAB ME!" and skitters away. (Her primary form of movement is still skittering, though there has been a certain amount of sauntering and scampering recently. She really is coming around.)

Fortunately, she skitters through the open door into the front hall.

And freezes. And looks around, stunned. SHE IS NOT LOST FOREVER. THIS IS HER HALL. SHE BOUNCES GLITTER BALLS DOWN THE STAIRS. She relaxes. Her ears perk up. She looks around some more.

"I KNOW WHERE I AM!" says her.

And then Scott said, from upstairs, "The light is green," and I had to close the hall door really quick to keep her from running away back into the room I was in in a panic because a Horrible Ape said something in a moderately loud conversational tone three rooms away.

But now she's on the bed ignoring me, though there were no Morning Cuddles today. Horrible Ape. This Was All Your Fault Somehow.

Such is life with a semiferal.

Gurney, meanwhile, is a toddler. A very sweet toddler, not a tyranty one (that's Duncan), but a toddler nonetheless.

Gurney has a best toy, which is Mousie. Now, there are many mousies in this house. There are three different KINDS of sisal mousies. There are five other sisal mousies that are identical in every way to Mousie, except for being less battered and chewed on, and still having feather tails. Also Mousie is bright pink and hardly rattles anymore, and the other ones are yellow, green, blue, grey, etc.

Mousie is the toy Gurney plays fetch with. It is the toy he carries around and talks to in low tones and crouches over and won't let the other kittens play with. Mousie is his Friend.

He likes to take Mousie up to the broad, flat surface of the credenza in the bedroom, and bat Mousie around.

Today, Mousie fell behind the dresser. This was at 7:20, when I had just gotten back into bed after the Molly Experience, and was planning a little more rest before work started.

TRAGEDY! YODELING! PAWS FORLORNLY REACHING INTO THE GAP BEHIND THE DRESSER!

Gurney is NOT a semiferal, and you can tell this because when something goes TERRIBLY WRONG, he looks around, finds the nearest monkey, and demands we fix it. Well, NOTHING would do except I go get a yardstick and a flashlight and retrieve Mousie. At 7:30 am.
And then, once retrieved, he had to take it and jump up on the credenza again and start playing with it right where he lost it before
Now, "But mousie wants to be here" is the excuse I'm getting for him and mousie being loud on the bookshelf that serves as my night stand.
Mousie is very inconsiderate.

Here, in the aftermath of the morning's great trauma, is a picture of Gurney and Mousie, and Molly and Duncan too:



Here, Duncan has liberated Mousie, and is teasing Gurney with it. The offending credenza is in the background:


Mousie is a very important member of our household, as you can probably imagine.




*(and I've had to quit, at least for a while, because of a really stubborn tendon problem in my right foot. So I'm giving it a year to fix itself and then I either decide I'm not a runner anymore, or I look into surgery. La.)
matociquala: (comics invisibles king mob)
Usually, my post-kitten morning routine goes like this:

Sometime between 6:45 and 7:20 am, I start to make moaning noises and twitch under the covers, as sunlight intrudes on the bedroom and I start to assume consciousness.

At this time, Gurney realizes that I am awake, and jumps up onto my shoulder or chest for cuddles. His brother Duncan soon follows, and eventually Molly turns up as well.

Today, when I rolled over, Duncan was on the foot of the bed, but the only kitten who wasn't too musy doing Important Kitten Things to come be petted was... the semiferal, Molly, who we have been working on for two months now to get her to accept being touched.

She settled cheerfully into the warm spot between Scott and me and started purring like a mad thing, poking my fingers with her paws, headbutting, and generally demanding to be cuddled and fussed over.

She was getting a bit pushier about getting her share of time and petting when the boys were climbing all over me, but this is the first time I've really been independently Molly-cuddled.

The boys showed up eventually, and then I had to spend about twenty minutes playing fetch with them (the boys play fetch, but only with specific toys. Duncan likes the plastic springs. Gurney has a particular sisal mousie that is HIS. It is the Best Mousie. Other mousies are mere shadows of the One True Mousie.)

Photo evidence of the amount of kitten fetch my life contains now:











Molly is not amused:



Or maybe she is. She has resting WE ARE NOT AMUSED FACE, so it's hard to tell.

Here are some cuddly boys:



I weighed the kjittens yesterday. With the boys, this just meant putting new batteries in the scale (they had worn out the old ones playing with the pretty lights), weighing myself, and then weighing myself plus each kitten. Molly, being semiferal, was a little more challenging.

I put the scale next to the food bowls and rattled the cat food bag. Once everybody was safely in the bathroom where the cats get fed, I closed the...

Molly, seeing the door close, MADE A BREAK FOR IT and ESCAPED. (I am a vile and perfidous Ape!) She slid through like MacGyver diving under a closing blast door, and I was left with two already-weighed boy kittens and their chorous of demand for crunchies. (Because our cats are mostly fed wet food, crunchies are a hardcore treat and in high demand around here.)

So I opened the door again and put food IN THE BOWLS this time.

Molly came trotting back and settled down by her bowl. (She has chosen the one closest to the door, natch, for fastest escapes.) I SHUT THE DOOR.

She was busy enough with the crunchies that she only glanced over.

She will allow herself to be petted while eating at this point, after long practice, as long as you make yourself small and don't loom over her (VILE TIPPY APE). So I crouched down on the scale, reached over, petted her, and very carefully lifted her six inches off the floor. Before she started to squirm, I managed to read the scale!

WIJKTORY!

Molly is 8 months, one week old (roughly) and 6.9 lbs. The boys are 6 months, 3 weeks old, and both are exactly 8 pounds. This keeps surprising me, because Gurney looks bigger--but he's long and rangy and very skinny, whereas Duncan is more compact.

And now, I need to go work on my novella. 
matociquala: (bear by san)
Well, today was supposed to be a hugely productive day, which was largely derailed by an absolutely killer and pointless anxiety attack that I finally managed to get the better of about an hour ago. So now I feel less like I'm harboring a chestburster, but much more like I want to collapse in an exhausted heap--but I have not written nearly as much as I wanted to, so I'm going to go back and try to get some more. Because I really, really want a draft of this story by the end of the year, because god damn it, 2016, I will beat you.

I've got almost 27,000 words of it, though, and I don't think it will go to much more than 35, so that's still doable if I really dig in.

I've been writing first thing in the morning, mostly, which is nice and involves co-authors, but does involve eventually having to get out of bed and let the dog attend to his biological needs. Here are my coauthors helping this morning, however:



I moved to the living room after that so I could watch it snow more conveniently. The snow, alas, was a bit of a disappointment on the nor'easter front--our predicted 8-12 inches turned into about a wet inch and a half overnight. Well, at least we probably won't have to shovel much.

And we did get a fuzzy-tailed visitor. (Scott saw rabbits last night.)


matociquala: (writing karen memory)
Karen Memory is the January 2017 selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club, so if you've been waiting to read it with friends, here's your big chance!

Here's a bonus photto of me and Ace, and a bonus kitten. Because I know what you guys are really here for.




And now I have to get up and put a goose in the oven and walk a dog, when I really want to stay in bed and write for a while longer.
matociquala: (bear by san)
Time for more kitten pictures. It's a wonder I ever get anything done, what with kittens being so adorable.












This morning's wrestlewashing session pleased everyone.
matociquala: (always winter)
Let's talk about cats, baby.

So [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch and I have adopted three kittens: Molly, Duncan, and Gurney, variously known as The Swarm, the Breakfast Mafia, and Mayken, Inc. They've been with us for a little over a month now, and they're pretty great, frankly. They have a twitter feed at @kjittens if that's your sort of thing.

Duncan and Gurney are littermates, about six months now. They're cuddly purrbeasts who like to supervise everything. Duncan is black with some messy white splashes that make him look like he's been in his tuxedo on a long night out drinking with Cole Porter as played by Kevin Kline. He's a tidy little beast with an anime nose. Gurney is rangier and seems to be a solid gray until the light hits him and you realize that he's actually a broken-stripe mackerel tabby whose markings are in two almost similar shades of gray, except one is more silvery and one is more matte.

Molly is a stocky dilute tortie, and a semiferal. She's about a month older than the boys--seven months now--and we're working very hard to warm her up to humans. Slowly, slowly: she will occasionally allow petting now. If you are lying down under a blanket and don't make eye contact. Or if she's busy eating and you scrunch down and make yourself small.

This is a major victory, because she's basically a slightly less angry version of Shadow Unit's Angry Kitteh come to life. She's more of a Skittery Kitteh.

She came into rescue after being netted on a street in New Jersey, and somehow was lucky enough to make it from a city animal control shelter there to the cat rescue in Connecticut that we contacted when looking for kittens. They housed her with the two boys, and the three bonded firmly enough that it would have been kind of monstrous to break them up. So we have three cats.

The GRD is still not, and never will be, catsafe, so we have a divided house again. Containment protocols! Fortunately, it's an old house with a lot of doors.

So many doors.

Here are some pictures of kittens! )

March 2017

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