Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cats and Litter Boxes

When you wake up at 3:38 thanks to a full moon, and check FB on your phone app, and see that a Friend posted something meant to be funny that instead triggered your uptight-over-zealous-cat-mommy gland, you don't comment on the post and ruin the joke. That's rude. You write a blog post to relieve your angst.

Here it is.

If a cat pees outside its litter box, either 1) the cat is sick, or 2) something in the environment is causing severe stress for the cat and needs to be addressed.

Cats are generally fastidious creatures who prefer cleanliness more than you do. This is why they burrow into clean laundry, sprawl on freshly opened newspapers, and plant themselves in sanitizing sunlight. It only takes one or two tries to litterbox train a kitten, and if they miss, it's because they were too far away when they realized they had to go or they couldn't manage to get into the box.

Make sure the cat isn't sick. Cats generally don't drink enough water, so urinary infections can happen, requiring antibiotics. It could also be a sign of kidney failure, and that means the death of the cat, and you should treat them with respect until their last breath, you callous scum. Keep lots of clean, fresh water available in different sized bowls at various heights in the house (and NEVER put food and water next to the litter box. Would YOU like to eat where you crap?). I always use glass bowls because some cats can get "black acne" from plastic. I use wide bowls, brandy snifters, fish bowls and plant cache pots. I like the shapes and all of my six cats seem to like drinking in different ways.

The easiest solution for most peeing issues is to add a litter box to another area of the house. Older cats, like older people, have to go NOW, and they may not make it if the box is stashed away in the basement or a door gets closed accidentally. It's also nice when you clean the box regularly. If you're having trouble getting all the clumps out, imagine how hard it is for the cat to cover its business. A smelly box is generally an overflowing box. The general rule of thumb is one box per cat, plus one. This is because some cats will guard the litter box and not let other cats use it. Where would you go if a bully blocked the bathroom?

Cats are sensitive to their environments, and when a cat gets upset, peeing can be the first sign. New people or pets in the house, a change in schedule, a change in litter or food: just about anything can cause anxiety depending on your cat. Do some research and find a way to help the cat adapt. My Cat From Hell offers a lot of advice on this subject (I can't watch much of it because I want to beat most of those owners to death for being selfish morons).

Use your brain before you start screaming. Cats, like people, don't come right out and tell you what their problem is. They expect you to figure it out. A good cat parent does, and fixes the problem rather than the blame. A bad cat parent takes the cat to the shelter to die, or kicks it outside to die. I hope all bad cat parents burn in Hell, but I admit I am not rational on the subject of cat care.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Too Adult?

I've often complained about how dead my inner child is. I blame graduating from college, and all that "life" that happens afterwards. You know, the part where you work really hard to improve your circumstances until you can afford all the things your parents used to pay for (for all the lemmings out there, that's how it's supposed to work).

Anyway, I've noticed a trend in my TV viewing habits, possibly because I'm watching things that went off air before I was born or hit puberty. Rather than just watching the show, I want to know about the making of the show. I'm going to IMDB daily for research. Was The Virginian shot in Wyoming? Where did they get the cattle? Were they used multiple years or did each batch go off to slaughter after filming? Did they boast in line about getting hog-tied by Doug McClure or James Drury? Were the same cowboys or cowboy footage used in Bonanza? The High Chapparal? The same guest actors show up in all the shows, oftentimes as different characters in different seasons, so the same could happen with the horses, too, right? Although, the horses seem as distinguishable as the wardrobes. Does anyone else get tired of the men wearing only one set of clothes for 9 to 14 seasons? The coats I understand, but the same shirts and pants? Was that a budget decision?

What was NASA's position on I Dream of Jeannie? They can't have been pleased with Roger Healey.

Are these adult musings? I used to be able to watch a show and follow the story. Or maybe these shows don't have stories, so I look for the stories about them. Maybe this is the resurrection of my inner child and her relentless questioning.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pain Is Pain

I've kept my pain comments to a minimum this year (if you don't think so, you aren't living in my body). Until this morning. This morning I received permission (in an odd way) from a Friend I identify as the most long-suffering of the chronic pain sufferers among my Friends (although I doubt I know how many such Friends I have).

She started a conversation about how pain is different for everyone and there's no point comparing pains. It had an Apostle Paul quality to it. I haven't posted this year because of all those Friends who hurt far more and far more often and far longer than I have (according to FB, this is Year 3). It feels insulting to them to gripe about my pain when theirs is likely worse.

However, there is no comparison. Pain is pain. The same way I would never mock someone grieving the loss of hamster because it isn't a person (my inclination with such mockers is to punch them in the throat). The grief is the salient point, not the supposed worthiness of the cause of the grief. Besides, I would grieve a hamster more than most people.

So I'm going to write about my pain this year this once, and then fall quiet again.

Here's something I also grabbed from my Friend:

Four years ago, I fell on my left knee on my driveway in early Spring. It began bothering me at the first Realm Makers conference in St. Louis. I believe that was four years ago. I remember clearly because the 4 hour drive there set it off, and I prayed I had enough ibuprofen to get me home. The drive home was torture, even with ibuprofen.

The knee has flared ever since, but two years ago, my left jaw began to hurt in a way my tooth splint didn't correct. Although not debilitating, I was desperate enough to seek physical therapy, which cost over $800 and failed to help in any significant way other than to confirm I'm too rigid and need to relax.

I began Classical Stretch last autumn, which did help me relax, but has not lessened my pain. It taught me to keep moving through the pain, and that was valuable because the pain increases. In addition to my knee and jaw, my back has joined in. Nearly all the time. I cannot lie down for any reasonable length of time. I've found myself considering the purchase of a recliner, which I hate, because it might hurt less than my bed, which is adjustable. I'm grateful for insomnia because it means I don't wake up in more pain than I laid down with.

January was the last time I wasn't in pain every single day, and I suspect that was because January had no weather fronts to speak of.

Have I exhausted every medical recourse? No. I haven't even sought an official diagnosis of arthritis because I don't know where to start or how much money I want to spend to get one. Do I take meds every day? No. Some days I'm willing to power through because the pain is only a 3 or 4, and I don't want to ruin my liver or become victim to the law of diminishing returns over that. Some days, I have to take drugs to keep the pain at a 3 or 4.

I find myself wondering if OxyRub or OmegaXcel really work like the infomercials say, or whether there'll be a lawyer commercial in 5 years telling me to call for the payout because of some horrific side-effect the FDA didn't know about. Then I wonder if the side-effect is worth it for 5 years of no pain. I wonder if my insomnia is really night pain I've almost gotten used to.

Have I become a chronic pain sufferer? I guess I have. Grandma Turtle lived the last decade of her life with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, and never once did I hear her complain or snap at anyone. I hope I can live up to her example.

Mom heard about a stem cell pain treatment center in Manhattan, and I've requested an application for consideration. I have plenty of fat cells for them to harvest. We'll see how it goes.

That's all I have to say about that. For now. For all of you who hurt, too, I'm sorry. I'm praying for us.

Push button. Press bacon.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Still Writing

I've added another 5 pages. Five pages in a month isn't much, but it's more than 1 page in a year.

My aim is one to two sentences a day. They don't have to be good. They just have to be story-relevant. I can write them at any time during the day. I've taken to leaving my WIP open where I left off, so I can write the moment something occurs to me. If I write more, great. If I don't, I've at least got my two sentences.

I have a lot of reasons writing has become so hard. The cats are an automatic initial six reasons (literally as I write this sentence, Skamper picks himself up from the floor across the room and stations himself between me and the keyboard with his enormous fluffy tail directly in front of my face. ARRGH!). I have trouble pacing myself at work, so little brain is left after hours for creation. I've found The Waltons and Bonanza on INSP from 6-8. Doesn't matter. Two sentences don't take that long to write, and INSP commercials are long and frequent.

Editing is easier than fresh writing. Maybe you aren't old and weary enough to know this. Good for you, whippersnapper. I, too, was young once, and I never believed the words would stop, either.

Finish what you start. Once sentence at a time.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I Am Writing

Naturally, the moment I excuse myself from blogging, I get the urge to blog. I have ignored it and opened my WIP instead.

I wish there was a way to open to where I left off. I'm using Word (old, old Word - 2003, maybe?) and it always opens to the first page. Like it's supposed to. Except I now like the Scrivener feature of opening to wherever I left off. This is probably a google search in the making.

I am writing. Not every day. Not huge amounts. But at least a sentence, and sometimes more. My page count has moved from 75 to 80. They aren't polished, but they're written.

Sounds pretty small. That would have been an hour's work back in my SOJ writing days. But life was less complicated then, and I had fewer cats, and no need to truly use my brain at work.

My only goal at the moment is to write something everyday. I took Lioness' advice and printed a calendar to track the days I write. That should help with the "one sentence or 10 words" goal. The big trick is to just write something.

Even writing this, Skamper is pacing in front of me, head-butting at random, purring loudly. Cats are hellspawn, sent to plague, torment and distract writers. This is why wizards don't have cats as familiars. They couldn't get a single spell formulated.

Push button. Receive bacon.

PS. Skamper moved to the back of the chair, and Miss Kitty jumped up to block the keyboard and headbutt and climb me. sigh