cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
We have returned safely home from our trip to Wisconsin for the funeral of Phil's grandmother, Romayne. There was (just our) family cabin time and snow and more travel and funeral and funeral ham with cheesy potatoes and then the kids besieging their teenaged cousins and (extended) family stories and drinking and family gossip and very poor sleep (because my three-year-old has been waking--and staying--up at 3 AM, and also that hideabed was awful) and the most country kitsch motel I've ever seen, let alone stayed at.

Today there was a lot of driving home. The kids had predictable we-hate-traveling meltdowns and less-predictable we-hate-chicken-nuggets meltdowns. We made it home, hitting the beginning of rush hour traffic. Then I found and cleaned up all six places the cats had puked and pooped around the house, changed the cat litter, and wrangled the kids through dinner and homework and baths and bed.

And nobody killed anybody.

And I am all disoriented due to travel and missing work/school days and daylight savings time starting, so I thought today was Wednesday and I was going to save this to post in Small Victories Wednesday. It is Tuesday. I am still very proud of this victory, though, so. Posted.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)

It feels like this week has been full of socializing, although that's partly because any week where I see friends more than once feels crazy-busy!

It also feels like this week has been horrible for productivity, and that is true for a couple of reasons. Primary among them is that I have been a bit stuck in the two novels that I'm writing in parallel. Not stuck as in I-don't-know-what-to-do-next, but stuck as in I-need-to-plot-the-next-bit (side project Codename Dragon Succubus) and I-need-to-do-lots-of-research-first-and-I-don't-wanna (main project Real Name Scorpion Dance). And I've been feeling somewhat stressed and responding to it in my usual unhelpful avoidance way. Grr.

Speaking of which, notice how I'm writing a journal entry now instead of writing? Sure, my goal is to write a journal entry every week and it's been over a month since my last one, but that doesn't mean it isn't avoidance. It just means I am super-well-supplied with other things to do. Like sort through the thousand-plus emails in my inbox, which is next on my avoidance plan for the day. Oops, sorry, this is my Mother's Day Away. Make that my "Relaxation Plan." There, that sounds better.

I've started using my gym membership to the YMCA, which is going pretty well. During the week, when Cassius is in preschool, timing doesn't work out so well for me being able to go and take a full class and use whatever's left of the 2 hours of free babysitting to write, so I usually just hit the machines for a while, shower, and then edit for a half-hour before I have to pick up the kids and get on a bus to take Cassius to preschool (his preschool is in the afternoon). I do like the working out part, though, even if I wish I could make my time usage there more efficient to take advantage.

Also, annoyingly, even though we won a month of "Whole Family" membership, that doesn't mean I can get the member rate for Cassius' swim lessons. You have to register about a month in advance for that, and you have to have the child be a full member both IN ADVANCE when you register, and AT the time of the lessons. Grr. Ripoff. Still getting him lessons, though. Just not sure if family membership is going to be worth anything more than my individual membership, because it doesn't really get us anything extra.

Our poor girl kitty is slowly improving. We found out a couple of months ago that she had kidney failure, which led to near-lethal high blood pressure, which led to lethargy, refusal to eat, and one of her eyes having blood vessels rupture inside of it. She already had cataracts and so was mostly blind, but with that, she became completely blind on that side. I don't know if her sight will come back (even slightly) once the blood has all left the eye. It was totally black, filled with blood. Now I can see the rim of her iris again and there's a pale pink cloud in the center of her eye where the blood is slowly being reabsorbed. Her blood pressure is under control with 2x daily medication. And apparently cats can live with kidney failure for several years, although it's best if they eat a special diet for animals with kidney failure, and she's picky.

Lots of fun with socializing lately.

A pack of Phil's female relatives came up from Wisconsin to visit. We drove through downtown looking at all the lights that turned purple in memory of Prince. We went bra shopping at the Mall of America (so much not fun, but necessary). We ate at IKEA and they went shopping while I lounged on a couch and fiddled with edits. We went to Surly Brewery, where they were sad that they could not purchase growlers and I learned why they have so many glasses from drinking establishments they've visited on "girls weekends." Then we went to Betty Danger's Country Club (by the owner of Psycho Suzi's), enjoyed the ferris wheel tremendously, ate the delicious foods, and utterly failed in our attempt to visit her other two establishments, partly because the designated driver doesn't parallel park ... and this is the city.

Dave had a biking pub crawl birthday party where he asked the guests to be made up as "subtle" clowns. I was able to make it to the Eastlake portion of the night. Our whole family went to the Sabathani Prince block party earlier in the afternoon, where we mostly watched the kids go down bouncy house slides and bounce around in the bouncy maze. Total madhouse. Cassius also asked for a snowplow balloon animal, which was a real challenge for the balloon clown. I asked for a snake with pop eyes, which I gave to the birthday boy later. Also managed to get face paint done for the clown birthday party at the prince block party. Multitasking!

The rest of the week(ish) in brief:

May in Minneapolis means the May Day Parade. Thanks to Drew's friend Anna for letting us join the house-and-lawn party that she throws during the parade. I took many pictures.

Cassius brought home baby chicks from preschool, and we successfully kept the cats from eating them during their overnight visit. Cassius is good and gentle with chicks. Theia not so much.

Cassius lost Theia and I in the library, freaked out, and ran out of the building, only to be caught a block later. So scary. Spouse yelled at me a lot. Full story from Fb: We were at the library in Uptown. I took Theia into the bathroom to change her, and when I came back out, Cassius was GONE. Not in the kids' play area, not among the book shelves, not in the sitting area. Turns out, he didn't hear me tell him where we were going, freaked out when he didn't see us, and RAN OUT OF THE LIBRARY (after us, he thought). Thank God for the concerned stranger who came back to find me, the ones who pointed which direction he'd gone, and the ones who stopped him and helped. He made it about a block away, in the direction of his preschool (also in Uptown). Most of us have that "I lost my parents" (in the grocery store, etc.) memory. I think this is going to be the one that sticks for him.

CenterPoint repair guy actually had the part required to make our dishwasher mostly functional again. Amazing.

Thursday, I made it to Electra's graduating senior art reception, admired the art (hers was sealife-themed), and took lots of pictures that I now need to edit and watermark. Then we went to the Riverview Cafe and chatted over yummy brownies.

Friday, I went to my old friend Jason's birthday party, tasted kava for the first time, and saw it prepared ... burlesque-style. More pictures were taken. The stuff looks like off-colored, watery milk, smells like dirt with an acrid undertone, and tastes like nothing much although the aftertaste is pretty awful. The first effect is a tingling tongue. The effect it had on me seemed to be a sharpening and clarity of sight and sensation. No idea if that's how most people feel, as I had to leave then. Silly buses and their schedules.

Saturday, I was peopled out. Morning, went to the gym. Took a weightlifting/body pump group class. Afternoon, went to coffee shop, plotted/adjusted the plot for the rest of the side project (Dragon Succubus), and wrote some. Spent the night fighting with trying to figure out watermarks and custom brushes and why it wasn't working damn it. Figured it out, eventually, but still need to manage batch watermarks for things I don't edit before uploading (like May Day photos).

Today is Mother's Day. I slept in a lot. Made myself French toast. Left to go to a coffee shop until dinner, which is where I currently am. Cassius being in two preschool classes meant I got two Mother's Day presents from him! I got a shiny bead-and-button bracelet that has a whole lot of gold buttons and some red and green flower beads, and a bar of soap that he felted with sheep's wool during their field trip to Gale Woods (which he loved--he says he likes spinach now).

Oh, and also the car died in the middle of the highway and Phil had to get it fixed. So that happened.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Everyone who knows our cat, Fu Manchu, has been expecting this day for some time. It all began innocently (and photogenically) enough....





Then things started to go wrong....
Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
You know those little posturepedic pillows that people get to put against the small of their back when they're sitting in a desk chair? Well, I'm not sure how posturepedic the cat is, but he's sure giving it the old school try! He's being supportive of my writing in his own way.

The end.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Spent my morning and early afternoon working on the work-from-home day job project that's scheduled for the next two weeks. Or rather, correcting and communicating with the client about a project. Just got back the results of a smaller test load, and unfortunately that led to me needing to go back and change a lot of stuff. Not mistakes on my part, just, "Oh, the software apparently needs it to be done this way," stuff. Drop-down menus had to be changed, things had to be loaded in a different order. Blech. But fixed!

Afternoon was writing. I got my quota of words for The Circus of Brass and Bone done, had some fun with a big reveal. And the last scene for this story arc revealed itself, which made me giggle evilly. This episode's going to be a short one, but I think there's enough in it that it'll be fun. Another couple of thousand words tomorrow and it won't even be a short one. I just am not sure I'll get to my visualized end point. Hrm.

Phil came home early from work, bearing groceries. He worked 2nd shift for the rest of the week, so his boss basically told him that he should really leave early today. Phil curled up on the couch, covered his face with one of my t-shirts that was sitting on the coffee table (folding laundry), and fell asleep. Girl kitty slept on top of the couch cushions near his feet. It was cute.

Phil and Cat

Read more... )


Sep. 18th, 2010 06:21 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Because everybody needs to laugh sometimes.

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
Fu Manchu

He's getting bigger. More of a cat, less of a kitten, though he's still smaller than our other two. He pounces like a kitten and walks--well, like a bulldog, actually.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
Fu Manchu is a very loving kitten (when he's not trying to destroy you). He's also a very food-motivated kitten. Love comes first, though. I know this because he always jumps up on my lap, paws on my chest, head butting my chin, and demands love and pettings first thing in the morning. When I'm eating breakfast. But all he's interested in is the love--he pays no attention to the food right behind him, which is amazing for this kitten. Of course, as soon as I set that bowl on the floor with a little bit of cereal milk still in it, he's on it.


Nov. 2nd, 2009 10:01 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • It's pretty awesome having a hugging cat. Regularly scheduled cat-hug breaks from working!
  • Fans of Jonathan Coulton might like The Funny Music Project (new songs x2 weekly):
  • --Paranoid that the contractor boarded squirrels up inside our walls. Worried about them.
  • Current effects of climate change (American Public Media):
  • There was/may still be a squirrel trapped under my floorboards. Phil can't fix this. Hating the world.
  • Where the heck do I go to find a listing of the candidates on my ballot? (Answer: League of Women Voters)
  • I have to figure out how my husband and I will be voting tomorrow. (Yes, my vote counts x2. Tremble!)
  • The hospital-gowned girl flinched away from the carriage lantern, her hand before her eyes. IV tubes dangled from needle-pierced flesh. #nwm
  • I'm still confused how rank choice voting works when there's multiple seats, since they say to only fill one oval under 1st choice.
  • Part of political candidate's resume: "political sciense and history major, gradute student creative writing." Truefacts.
  • Dear political candidates: Everyone experiences life. Thus, listing "Life" with your educational qualifications means nothing. Unoriginal.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
I put a thumb drive in my shirt pocket and head upstairs towards the computer. The cats are being needy, so I stop to feed them. As I am bending over the kitten's dish, the thumb drive slips out of my pocket and lands in the water dish. Crap! I fish it out and go downstairs to submerge it in the rice container.

Instead, as the pantry is dark and I am groggy, I put it in the flour. As soon as I realize I have, in fact, breaded the thumb drive, I jerk it back out. When I do this, I knock the cornstarch off the shelf and it lands in the kitten's downstairs water dish, spilling water all over. I pick the box up before any cornstarch spills. I dry off the box. I pull the thumb drive back out and blow the flour off as well as I can and put it in the rice container. Then I mop up the spilled water.

Now I just have to remember to take the thumb drive out so that I don't accidentally cook it along with the rice.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Fu Manchu was licking the last couple of drops of milk out of my cereal bowl and occasionally backing away from the bowl and circling it, growling. I couldn't figure out what he was growling at--the other cats weren't even nearby.

Then I realized.

He was growling at his own reflection in the spoon.


Oct. 9th, 2009 08:26 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Fu Manchu is convinced that every bowl in front of him is his food bowl. If I am eating and he climbs up onto my lap, my bowl is in front of him. Oh, Fu Manchu, the silly things you do.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • + Fu Manchu has discovered he can fit between my keyboard tray and my desk. Small paws attack pens.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • Fu Manchu has the rapt attention of the cats in the house. They follow him around--just to make sure he's not sneaking up on them.
  • Are you happy?
  • - Girl fainted on bus, faceplanted, had small seizure. Paramedics helped her out.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
x-post LJ, Fb--

Why yes, I do have some more ridiculously cute kitten pictures. We estimate the kitten is now about 4 weeks old. His new trick is squatting and peeing if we hold him in place in his litter box. I have hopes that he will ever be house-trained. Alas, this only works for pee. His claws are very clawlike; I have to wear a gardening glove while I wipe him to keep him from shredding my hand with his rear claws. He's eating between 18 and (rarely) 30 mls a feeding. I've started him on sometimes having a little wet kitten food mixed with formula, but he's not very good at it and he's not very interested in it yet. Though he definitely has teeth now. He's not much for playing yet, though he sometimes gets a bit feisty, and he has his own toys for chewing or batting when we try to play with him. He can recognize us from close range and he's starting to look at us if we're across the room, though whether he knows what the movement is is debatable. He has a very carrying voice, especially in the mornings when he decides it's time for him to be taken out of his box and fed.


More pictures )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
x-post LJ/Fb--

Yes, our house was hit by a tornado. Thirteen years I lived in Kansas, right in Tornado Alley, without a problem, though there were plenty of times that we headed to the cellar when I was growing up. Then I grow up, move to Minneapolis, buy a house--and then get hit by a tornado. Ridiculouser and ridiculouser.

I heard about the tornado on MPR. As soon as they listed the epicenter of the damage as being 38th and Portland, I called Phil and told him he should go check on the house. After work, I bused and walked home (with great irritation/discomfort--but the buses were detoured). A block away from home, I thought we were in trouble because I recognized the tree that wasn't there.

Our house got a little damaged when one of the Russian olive trees in our front yard was uprooted and hurled against the front porch, mostly the roof and gutters--there's a broken window and a few other minor things. Nothing to make it unlivable. Phil was a brave, brave husband and went up on our hellishly steep roof to put a tarp over the place where the roof vent was ripped out. Usually I do the roofing stuff, since I have no fear.

On the plus side, this means we get rid of one of the horrible Russian olive trees. Take my advice: never, ever, ever plant Russian olive trees. Branches (up to half the tree) randomly die, resulting in a very mangy-looking tree that requires constant trimming. Phil & I are currently feuding over the tree's replacement: red bud (if it's hardy here) or fruit tree of some variety. (I have sentimental associations with red bud trees.)

Our huge, gorgeous, beloved 3-story-tall maple tree got half its branches snapped. It looks like a hand reached in, grabbed everything in the center, and twisted it off. Most of the branches fell on our back fence and gate, totally obliterating it, and some of them landed on the garage. The tree will probably live, but it's going to have a large bald spot in the middle--tree guy #1 said that other branches won't grow to replace it or anything.

Our cats were fine. Nameless was waiting for us to get home. Foundling was hiding under the couch and refusing to leave--he had to be dragged out by force. The kitten was safe in its box next to the wall, although it was in the room with the broken window.

Status: We have no power, which means no phone, no lights, no fridge, no laundry machine, and no internet. We do have water and gas (which means hot water and a functioning stove). I have a tree guy, a roofer, and an electrician scheduled to come in and give us quotes. Turns out the tree has to get taken care of before the insurance adjuster can adjust. Something about him needing to see the damage?

It could be worse. The neighbor beside us had three trees hit his small, one-and-a-half story house: his tree, part of our front yard tree, and the tip of the towering fir tree...from across the street.

It could also be more entertaining. Our neighbor across the alley had a 10-foot rowboat mysteriously deposited in his back yard, full of water.

And yes, there *will* be pictures once I have the computer and internet to load them up. In the meantime, here's the Star Tribune slideshow:


Aug. 10th, 2009 09:42 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (existential threat)
We are now a three cat household. Or rather, a "two cat and one very tiny kitten that I really hope makes it" household.


Eep eep.

Eep eep eep.

Dear World, I appreciate the get-well gift, but eep!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 10:22 Foundling believes that my proper place is in front of the computer, and his is on my lap in front of the computer. But I leave every day.
  • 11:06 I do love - never shop online without checking it!
  • 11:07 Oh do I ever want this t-shirt to be reprinted -
  • 11:23 Join the marrow donor database. Usually costs $50, is free right now (via Ethel):
  • 13:56 MP3 player froze. In order to reseat the battery, had to unscrew the back using a sheet of staples. McGhiever win!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 11:12 Dear Spam: "Powder for custard launcher"? Really? Custard launcher? Oy.
  • 11:25 Photo of the space shuttle before dawn (APOD):
  • 13:42 - Although I can work on writing stuff here, I do not have cats that pester me for attention. ::misses cats::
  • 14:56 From the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 14:22 My cats are cute, but not that cute:
  • 14:26
  • 14:34 Beautiful, surreal (and a couple borderline NSFW) paintings on wood (via BoingBoing):
  • 23:08 + Had lovely eve at the Chatterbox, drinking root beer and playing hand & foot.


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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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