3 Ways Kittens Are Like Human Babies

3 Ways Kittens Are Like Human Babies

In a previous life I was a cat. I’m quite certain that is where my strong affinity with this most regal species–even the largest, wildest variety–stems. Though with my giving and loving nature I must have been a male cat. Perhaps someone’s indoor pet, and probably neutered. I’d rather not like to think I could have been the neighborhood tom.

FancyWe had a cat for several years. She was a beautiful calico, her coat a seamless swirl of all the colors, not blotchy patches as some are. With white fur to her elbows and ankles and six toes on each of her front paws, she clearly was Fancy. My little girl cat passed away a few years ago which left a gaping hole in my heart. A hole I felt but hadn’t realized the caused nor how to fill it until the fateful day I met Maximilian’s foster mom’s husband at the auto mechanics shop. How fortunate for me that he had to leave his car to be worked on and she had to come pick him up, bringing along Max and another kitten she needed to take back to the shelter to be put up for adoption.

Since Max’s arrival, I have found myself once again in a mommy role, a role I thought I was much too old to ever play again. This morning as I barked orders of care for the wee kitten to my older son while dashing to grab a quick shower the ah-ha moment struck. The analogy made, I lowered my head and accepted my moniker.

How Kittens Are Like Babies, the top 3:

3. Photos. Let’s face it, new parents are the single most reason camera film companies stayed in business before digital media. How many of you have far more baby pictures of your children than any other time in their lives? Raising hand–guilty! And how many of you have shared those baby pictures with anyone and everyone who has a functioning set of eyes? It’s an obsessive need to share the joy of your bundle of cuteness with the world. Maximilian was brought into our family this past Wednesday and I can already fill an album with pictures. But I didn’t stop there, oh no! Thanks to digital media I had my “baby pictures” on my phone ready to flash under any nose, willing or not. The Twitterverse and my Facebook friends also had to endure looking at picture after picture as I tweeted and posted every five minutes. But who could blame me, I mean this is certainly a face that more than just his mother could love, right?

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2. Eating. Kittens eat A LOT. When compared to their body mass, the amount they consume is enormous, though not all in one sitting, or even just two or three. They eat nearly ’round the clock. During the day we keep his food down in the library where he spends most of his time, his safe haven as he slowly gets to know the dogs, or rather they get used to him being in their house. With double hung accordion doors on the library and a behemoth Boston terrier 389C558B-F8D8-4D2E-AACF-E7EB9F3F2D63 who answers to the whims of the diminutive by comparison pug IMG_0178 and is capable of opening said doors, we decided the safest place for Max at night would be in our room. That first night I slept, but not well as my subconscious stayed alert listening for the sounds of his minuscule mews and the bell on his collar. Neither sound gave an indication of distress so I slept on.

By the second night he learned to get up onto our bed. I was awoken at 5:00 A.M. by sweet, wet nose kisses on my cheek and a purring snuggle under my chin. This was not affection on his part to be sure. This was kitten speak for “Woman wake up and feed me, now!” Uttered in the sweetest way I’m sure. It was my normal weekday time to get up at least. Besides, giggling is a much better sound to wake to than a blaring alarm any day, even if it is your own. The next night the euphoria of such a pleasant arousal crashed down around my ears when the same kitten tactics woke me at 2:30 am. The purring snuggle under my chin became a headbutt to the jaw line until I got up to go get his food. The gentle rub against my leg as I sat the bowl on the floor was not affection but rather a Clydesdale style shoving past me to get to his food.

Last night we were smart and made sure his food was also in our room. I can be taught, and was granted permission to sleep in until 6:30 this morning, when his food ran out.

1. Everything goes in the mouth.
You know that tiny screw that flew from the back of the remote and disappeared into the carpet? Max found it. And that tiny piece of popcorn that lingered just out of sight on the floor at the edge of the couch…Max found that too. In fact in his investigative roams into more and more areas of the house Max is doing his level best to smear my good house cleaning reputation. I have done more lunges and squats in the last few days than I have in my adult lifetime. He’s soon going to think his name is Max-what-are-you-eating.

Kittens are addictive, a friend of mine said recently, and I just love mine to bits!

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You had to know I would do a toilet pic!

You had to know I would do a toilet pic!

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A Trip of a Lifetime

Monday, March 25, 2013 a group of 12 students, 4 teachers, 1 graduate and 1 chaperone from Robert E. Lee High School landed in Dublin, Ireland at 5:30 a.m. local time to begin a 9 day tour of the UK. We arrived at our hotel by 8:00 a.m. only to find our rooms wouldn’t be ready until after 2:00 p.m. “Here are your maps. We will go on a walking tour in just a few minutes,” our tour director John announced. Following a short briefing, at 8:30 a.m. we set off from the hotel, leaving our luggage in a secured room until we returned. It was freezing, snow flurries flew off and on all day, nothing sticking. The wind cut through us like sharp daggers as we walked along the streets surveying our locale.

Molly Malone, AKA the Tart with the Cart

Molly Malone, AKA the Tart with the Cart

“Let’s meet back here at say, 10:30,” John said and set us all free to roam on our own to have a late breakfast. The Tart with the Cart – by day she sold fish and vegetables, by night she sold… This was our rendezvous spot the whole time we were in Dublin. It was a centrally located statue and the kids knew the name, well nick name, very well.

Two of the teacher chaperones, my son, and I all walked down an alley off the main street looking for an inviting place to eat. We found what we were looking for, but the entrance was back out on the main street. Soon the majority of our group found our cozy hide out and joined us. I had a latte and porridge (oatmeal) with brown sugar and cream. With this photo, my food journal began.

Brown sugar and cream porridge with a latte. Just the thing to warm the insides.

Brown sugar and cream porridge with a latte. Just the thing to warm the insides.

The outside of the Pub. I think I should have walked across the street to snap this one to get the full name in the shot.

The outside of the Pub. I think I should have walked across the street to snap this one to get the full name in the shot.

Irish Stew and Soda Bread

Irish Stew and Soda Bread

At lunch time we stopped at the International Pub and warmed ourselves with a steaming bowl of Irish Stew and a slice of Irish soda bread. The atmosphere was inviting, the locals very chatty, and the barman as congenial as any perfect story book character.

The International Pub our first day in Ireland

The International Pub our first day in Ireland

With a full belly and fingers I could finally feel, I set about snapping photos of this charming establishment. The barman at one point suggested that I and one of the high schoolers in our tour group step behind the bar for a unique photo opportunity. My complaint was that you wouldn’t see me behind the bar, and you very nearly can’t. The young man in the photo with me, is over 6 feet tall. My 5 foot tall frame was only visible because I stood on my toes. Modern Ireland, it would seem, was not built for short people like myself.

The barman posing with a glass of Guiness. THE beer of Ireland.

The barman posing with a glass of Guiness. THE beer of Ireland.

After lunch we made our way back to our hotel to finally check into our rooms. There was just enough time to set luggage in the room and a hot bath before heading down to dinner. Our stay in Dublin was by far the best of our whirlwind tour to Dublin, Wales, and London. I am already making plans to go back next year. Hopefully it will not be snowing every day as it did on this trip. Still, if it does, at least I know some of the best places to warm a frost bitten body.

PS I have so many more pictures to post and will be doing so over the next several days. Stay tuned and check the pictures page for additional photos not included in posts.

PPS Ignore the time stamp on the photos. For whatever reason, I failed to reset the time to local UK time and it remained in EST the whole trip. Add 5 hours if you are truly curious of the time of each photo.

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Writer, Bare Thy Soul!

Switching gears, sucks! From a writing standpoint, that is.

Going from academic writing of “Just the facts, ma’am,” to creatively baring my soul felt like grinding into third on my husband’s Nissan truck. I never can seem to find that gear on the first try.

This article for the writers association newsletter I just put together was incredibly easy to write, it was done in less than 30 minutes, but there was something missing and I couldn’t figure out what. For one, it was far shorter than any other article I had previously submitted. Only 490 words, for me, that’s practically stunted! It was certainly an informative piece, but there was no zing, no reader’s head nodding, no guffaw. As I began editing I started to wonder where my sparkle had gone, where were the entertaining quips and ponderings, what happened to the automatic laugh track that roars in my head when I write? Why was the piece so short?

Because I was in an academic writing mode, having completed four writing pieces for college the day prior, I think my brain was too engaged. My soul needed to come through my fingertips but that great big cerebral wall blocked the flow from my heart. Perhaps my muse also had her head too far buried in some textbook to be of assistance. More likely she found my high brow, stuffy writing much too boring and opted instead for a day at the beach. That beach and I need to have some serious words, stealing my muse away from me when I need her most. The nerve!

But seriously, who could blame her?

As writers our gift is baring our souls in ways that move readers with our words, and cause ripples in the fabric of the space/time continuum. Okay so maybe that’s a bit lofty, but you get the idea. In the world of academia, writing is simply meant to impart knowledge, broaden the mind, expand the horizons of learning. (Does anyone else hear that pompous echo or is it just me?) The two worlds can never mix.

Or can they? Can I be informative and still get a giggle?

Purpose, I must keep the purpose for my writing in mind. Do I want to simply entertain the masses or do I want to inform the minds of my readers? In my newsletter article, I wanted to relay a life story and give information at the same time. And I did, but without so much as a modicum of emotion. No entertainment value there.

Impact, I need to consider what will result from my writing, or rather what I want my reader to take from it. Will they gain new knowledge, will they get my jokes and think them funny, or will my writing lay flat on the page (metaphorically speaking of course)?

Wit from the witless. That has been my modus operandi to date, at least on this blog. Why mess with a good thing, a proven track record, the flow, man, the flow? Ok, so maybe I wasn’t meant to be a hippie.

Solution, solution, who has the solution? I think practice is the key. Once again it all boils down to that “P” word, doesn’t it? Yes, I will practice. I need to practice. I will try to finally shift into that third gear. Oh who am I kidding? That truck hates me and the clutch always mocks me. Oh, wait, I was talking about writing. SQUIRREL!

Perhaps two academic writing pieces then one blog or other creative writing piece, should be my course of action until I’m able to switch gears without even batting an eye. Or, maybe I just shouldn’t put all my homework off until the end of the week and use the weekends for creative writing instead of playing catch up. Things to make me go, ‘hhhmmm’.

So, if you are new to my corner of the Internet, please know that I am not usually this dry and cracked. Well, I am cracked, but that’s a whole other story. Please bear with me when I’m sounding stuffy and it’s not from a head cold. It will get better; it can only get better. 🙂

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An Interesting Article

Abby Nelson, who works with Nannyclassifieds.com, recently contacted me about an article they published titled New Year – New Opportunities! Which Nanny Industry Conference Should I Attend?

While I agreed that the need for reliable childcare is certainly on the rise, I told her I did not believe that I get much traffic from working parents of young children on my blog. Or people looking to start a new career as a nanny for that matter.

But then I got to thinking. How do I know whom I have following me? I mean really know. The other day my neighbor teacher, the one in the classroom next door to mine, mentioned that she was applying to become a nanny during our school breaks. I’ve taught next door to her for years and never would have thought she would do something like that. She is one who could benefit from an article like this.

I promised Abby that I would mention the article on my blog in the near future, but was dubious that it would get the readership traffic she was expecting, or even hoping for.

Again, how can I judge that? If I set up my tag line just right, maybe someone will put in the right words into the search engine that will cause my blog to pop up and gain exposure for her company, not to mention, my blog as well. The Internet is a marvelous thing! I was narrow minded to think that only my followers would see the link to their article.

If you are interested in becoming a Nanny, or finding one, or just curious about what a Nanny conference is all about, please click on the article link. It’s embedded in my post. I will also add it to the side bar for future reference. Tell Abby I sent you. 🙂

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The dreaded lacewood bowl!

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“That’s beautiful!” I said as I greedily grabbed the block of wood off the store shelf.

“That’s lacewood,” my husband proudly explained, having spotted the label before I did.

I stood in the middle of the aisle turning the block over and over in my hands for several minutes. I had to examine every inch of the block from every angle. I just knew it would make something so magnificent even in my inexperienced hands.

“Did you decide what to make out of that block?” my husband asked as he helped me mount it to the chuck on the lathe the next day.

“A plate,” I said, nodding my head as if confirming the decision.

“A plate. Not a bowl?”

“A plate. A nice wide, shallow plate.”

My husband shook his head disapprovingly but he didn’t say anything. The block was a six by two inch chunk. To make a plate I would be throwing away a lot of wood. A waste, he thought.

I put my turning jacket on and selected my chisel while my husband made the final adjustments to the chuck. I then stood behind him, chisel in hand, biting my lip nervously, waiting for him to move out of the way.

The rounding process didn’t seem to go as smoothly as we expected (pardon the pun fellow wood turners). I started with my recently honed roughing gouge and had to move to my husband’s. This wood was was winning, beating even the best chisel in the garage!

It finally became round, but it took three chisels, about 2 hours, and all my strength, not to mention stamina and patience.

“I think we need to call it a night,” I told my husband as I turned off the lathe one last time to check my minute progress.

“Perhaps you’re right, dear,” he conceded. “I think lacewood needs to be added to the evil wood list.”

I nodded my head heartily in agreement and we went inside for the night.

The block, still attached to the chuck plate sat on top of the shelf for the whole week. It glared a dare at each of us when we got home each night. Each of us glared back, knowing the block was winning.

Finally the weekend came around again. Once again the cars were moved around from the garage and driveway in an automobile sized game of chess, each car needing to be carefully placed so as to make room in the garage for wood turning and not obstruct the flow of traffic in the street. A task my husband so expertly performs each weekend that I leave the job to him.

The garage was now set up, but I was preoccupied with another more pressing project to complete and declined the offer of turning.

No matter. My husband wanted a crack at that lacewood! He would not let a piece of wood win!

My husband is quite a few inches taller than I am and we bought me my own lathe set ideally for my petite stature. Still this was the lathe my husband wanted to use. “I can attack it from all angles on yours, unlike mine,” he said and set about to tame the mocking piece of dead tree.

I sat down in the garage with my iPad to work on my writing project. This was so I could be supportive of either victor in this new battle of wills.

Once again my husband used a variety of chisels, some he had to sharpen and hone right before using, to complete his task.

It was all worth it in the end. Rubbed generously with tung oil, the bowl sits happily belying it’s strong will and the hard work it took to bring out the object we knew lay within.

Notice it’s a bowl, not a plate. There would have been way too much wood wasted to make it into a plate I rightly reasoned.

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