Pet Update

I have been accused of wanting the “broken” animals. I fell in love with the cat with no nose and the blind dog, but I don’t think it was the “broken” aspect that made me want them. It was that they were overlooked. When I think about all the animals I’ve taken home, they were all over looked or unwanted in some way. The boys in the neighborhood threw rocks at Patches because they didn’t want her around and when she followed me home, I knew I wanted to keep her safe. Jessie was ignored and then given up and she spent a lot of time in the shelter with no one wanting her. I knew the minute she nuzzled my hand she was mine. Leia was abandoned by her mother and lots of people didn’t look twice at her because she had the nose issue, but she purred in my arms the first time I saw her and that was it – she was mine. Gracie and Tigger were a little more normal – three and a half weeks old when I first saw them and Gracie was instant love. Arthas spent five months in a shelter and I don’t think the volunteer showing me the dogs that day expected me to do more than glance at him – but he walked up to me and didn’t bark and he just looked at me (ok, he can’t see but he does look at you) and I wanted him. Ella was abandoned by her mother and someone threw Alinea from a car. Talk about overlooked and unwanted.

But … they are fantastic and the best pets I could ask for. Arthas has learned the cats are not going to hurt him – he is very good with them now and they just adore him. Tigger is even staying on the couch when Arthas jumps up because he knows it is all okay. The kittens are grown (they are just about a year old now) and so sweet. Alinea is definitely a little smaller than Ella and she is the adventurous one. Ella likes to hide, but she also plays and likes her lap time. They have grown into beautiful cats.

Arthas still has a few issues, but in the almost two years we have had him, he has relaxed, become more energetic and he now wants to protect his home. He likes the cats (he’s tried playing with Alinea a few times) and us. I even think we may be able to introduce him to Falco at some point, something a year ago I didn’t think would be possible.

Pet Update

So this month it was eleven years that I’ve had Tigger. Eleven years since I brought three little kitties home, made Jessie super happy and embraced the crazy cat lady vibe. It is hard to believe he is eleven years old, but he is still my baby.

I love that Tigger gets along with the kittens. He seems less enamored with Arthas, but they do get along – they just don’t bother each other for the most part and I’m good with that.

Yes, my poor boy frequently looks annoyed with the kittens, but I know he kind of likes them. He lets Alinea eat out of his plate and I do often catch them playing. He, like his mother, needs his alone time, but for the most part, he likes having them around. I think.

Arthas is also very normalized with the cats now. I came back from walking him the other day and Alinea, who was in super play mode, jumped on him (near his head) and he ignored her. No growls, no jumping, not standing over her, just looked and kept walking. I was so proud of him!

And the kittens. They are almost full grown now. I can’t believe how adorable Ella is and how beautiful Alinea is. Yes, I’m biased, but not totally out of reality.

Hopefully it won’t be so long for me to get an update on these guys again. I still miss my other furry creatures, but it is really nice having the house full. And they are wonderful babies.

 

Gardening

I wasn’t going to do any gardening this year. In Florida we plant in the fall – October-ish and this past fall I was a little busy. However, after school finished, I decided to clean up the garden a little and plant a few things. You can plant into December and maybe even into January, so I did.

The tomatoes, jalapeño and kale are all doing well. I started with everything in pots and was pretty glad I had when the cold snaps hit in January. It is way easier to cover plants in pots near the house than it is to cover the garden. I ended up moving the kale to where the garden should be because it needed more space, more light and more air circulation. To prevent Arthas from eating said kale (yes, he eats kale), I used a bit of gardening fence we had. So far everything is looking really good.

IMG_20180211_105705.jpgWhen I moved the kale, I also cleaned up the herbs and I ended up with a bunch of oregano. I have plenty left in the garden, but I didn’t want to waste what I cut so I decided to dry them. Finding a place to hand the oregano where the pets would not get to it, I wouldn’t forget about it and they would get plenty of air was a little tricky, but I just attached them to the window in the kitchen and two weeks late – fresh dried oregano! It isn’t as pretty as the cat grass and catnip that I have planted, but it is pretty all the same. Arthas and Alinea really like the cat grass.

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I was pretty proud of my little efforts and I think they are starting to pay off. We’ve used a few jalapeño and some herbs in some dishes recently and I even had a kale salad with kale from the garden. The tomatoes look fantastic – I’ve cut them back once, but the plant just seems to keep growing, so I’m going to just let it be. I counted four clusters of tomatoes right now, and there are a bunch of flower clusters that give me hope for lots and lots of tomatoes until summer.

Pet Update

The kittens are growing! I know, this is what they do, but they really are cats now even through they still play like little kittens.

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They are cute, aren’t they? We decided they needed something to climb on, scratch and play around so we got a new cat tree for them. Even Tigger likes it. IMG_20180116_064834.jpg

Tigger is playing more and is generally more active these days. He is still a grumpy old man still times, but the boy will be eleven this year so that is allowed. I love watching Tigger and Alinea curl up with each other or play together. She has really taken to him and he seems to be ok with it. 

Everyone is doing fairly well. I think the little ones about about Gracie size right now (probably 8 pounds or so) and I think Ella will grow to be the larger of the two. Alinea, for all that she eats, is still very slim and light when you pick her up. Ella just feels more solid. I am very grateful that Tigger and Arthas seem to like them, although both have been not so happy with playful kitties a time for two. But they learn quick and no longer try to play with Arthas while he is sleeping. Of course, Ella does keep playing with Tigger’s tail when he is eating.

Arthas is Arthas – he is playing more, walking more and just generally seems settled and happy. I even think he kind of loves us now. He hung out with me on the couch when I was sick and didn’t mind the cats that came and went all day. We’ve had fewer run-ins with off-leash dogs and that has helped.

Every now and then when I see Instagrams of kitties no one seems to want I think I could add more, but then I look at the pets we have and know the house is full. We are super lucky with these four and I’m just going to keep enjoying them and loving them. I know the time with them won’t ever be long enough so I just need to make the most of the time we have. 

Vacation at home

Over the last week I’ve had the chance to rest a bit and not think about work or school. Final grades are in and I did well, so now it is just waiting for the diploma and final transcript in the mail. It has been a little weird to not *have* to do anything and I’ve tried to do a little around the house – clean out the fridge and pantry, shred what needs to be shredded, attend to the garden and pets – and just read for fun and relax. It’s been nice.

So the pets … All are good and they are fairly normalized now. I will find Arthas and the kittens on the couch more and more and the kittens are going right up to Arthas and he just sniffs. He is seeking them out every now and then. Tigger is good – he needs his space and quiet time, but he plays with the kittens and curls up with them (or lets them curl up with him) so we know he likes them at least a little.

I’ve also had the chance to cook a little this week. I haven’t ventured too far into experimenting, but it has been nice to think about cooking and have the time (and energy) to make a few things.

If I like my wine, Bob is equally enamored by beer. Oh, he drinks wine with me with dinner, but in the evening, if we are sitting on the couch watching something, he tends to go for beer. He recently (thank you, John) discovered that he can get beer delivered to the house. He is a happy man – with a cat.

Just a few more days off and then it is back to reality. But, I’m enjoying the time while I have it and looking forward to cooking, hanging out with the pets, and maybe looking at a little travel.

 

Update

I’m done.

Wow, that feels good to say. Grad school is done. I’m waiting on one grade for one paper, but it is all over but waiting for the diploma at this point. I think this is the first time in two years I haven’t *had* to do anything and it feels really good, especially after the last few months. Two classes, full time work and an internship were a lot, but we made it through. The last two months were hard – hence no posts – but it was worth it. I finished the internship at Thanksgiving, finalized the portfolio that week and defended in the beginning of December. The last paper for the last class got turned in this past Sunday, and then it was just work stuff this week – midterms and crazy schedules. But it is over and I have two weeks to find my brain again.

IMG_20171206_190741.jpgArthas is doing well. We’ve had a few run-ins with off leash dogs in the last few months, something that is never fun. The last time it ended with Bob scraped up and Arthas limping, but otherwise ok. I know people think its ok to let their dog’s off leash, but really, it isn’t. Poor Arthas is still scared of other dogs and every encounter where ones just run up to him (and attack in two cases) just makes getting him to accept them that much longer of a process. Happily, he is still just fine with the cats and I can say we are almost totally normalized. The kittens can walk right up to him and Arthas just lets it happen. He isn’t going out of his way to be friends, but he isn’t growling for the most part. He does still have his quirks and we are now on trashcan number five in the efforts to keep him out of the trash. So note – dog proof trashcans really aren’t dog proof if the dog in question is highly motivated and somewhat clever.

IMG_20171214_092849.jpgTigger is still a great big brother to the two new kittens. He is a grumpy old man in the morning and doesn’t like to be played with before breakfast (and he is not shy about letting Alinea know that) but he is generally very sweet with them. Tigger is still my baby at almost eleven years old and he just keeps on keeping on.

IMG_0057.jpgThe kittens are growing. I know, that is what they do, but really, they keep growing. They look like cats now with only the occasional hint of kitten, but they still play like kittens. They love to play with each other – which is great for Arthas and Tigger – but Ella has attached herself to Arthas and Alinea goes to Tigger when they want to just hang out. Oh, they sleep together plenty still, but it is interesting to see the dynamics developing.

IMG_20171217_175451.jpgAs for wine, I am still drinking, tasting and taking notes – I just haven’t had time to write them up and post them. In many cases, I forgot to take pictures of the bottles and the glass. So … I will be updating the wine posts soon. I hope.

I even managed to find a tiny bit of time to plant a few plants in the back yard. The kale did so well last year, we have more and this year we added a jalapeño pepper plant, a black cherry tomato plant, thyme and basil. Amazingly enough, the basil is doing fantastic! (it is usually the one herb I cannot grow.) The garden is in a pot this year as we haven’t reestablished the garden plot after Irma. I think this will work ok though – and I found a new use for wine bottles.

I hope to have more updates soon and if I get super lucky, a new job using the new degree. I know it will take a while, but I can’t wait to start something a little different.

Happy belated Hanukkah and Winter Solstice. Merry Christmas a little early and prost to a wonderful New Year!

Pets and Other Things

I am not 25 any more. I can’t function on three hours of sleep for days on end and still have a spring in my step. Stress wears me down more than it use to and I’m counting the weeks until I finish grad school and can focus on just one thing at a time again.

Bob and I knew this semester would be rough – work full time, intern and class. We were prepared for it, but the reality is that I’m just tired. The kitties and Arthas help, but when I worry about the little ones playing around Arthas’s head, or using him as a launching pad for to the couch (I’m looking at you, Alinea) I do wonder about the wisdom of adding two kittens to the house at this time.  But then they curl up with me or I see Tigger playing with them or cleaning them and I know it was the right decision.  … So … cute pet pictures:

I am also behind on taking notes on wine. I have some that I remembered, but others that I just totally forgot. So .. for the wine I’ve had recently that didn’t make an individual post because I lost track of time …

IMG_20170928_182938.jpgThis Pinotage and Shiraz blend was fantastic. I’ve had wines from Spier before and generally liked them, but this was just amazing. Both Bob and I loved it and found it really easy to drink. I’m a fan of Pinotage in general and was surprised at how good this blend was. And for an $8 bottle of wine, I am definitely picking this up again.

The Furmint was ok – not as good as the bottle we had from Weekly Tasting, but not bad. It has some interesting notes and is easy to drink. As the weather gets cool

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er (well, cooler for Florida) I’m sure I will be drinking less and less white, so this was a bit of a last nod to summer.

I’m sure there has been more wine, but I didn’t take pictures of the bottles so I don’t have them to post.

On the food front, it has been Hello Fresh boxes or old stand by meals. Poor Bob has not had any experiments in a while and I miss exploring different combinations. Unfortunately I just don’t have the energy to search for new recipes, shop for all the ingredients and then make a totally new recipe right now. What I have been cooking has been pretty good, but basic:

I will admit the pesto pizza was fantastic – spinach pesto with mozzarella and pecorino cheese.  So good.

Not the most exciting catch-up post ever, but right now I will take it. I am looking forward to January when I can slow down a bit, enjoy the babies more and experiment with food more. I’m looking forward to going to work just for the hours I’m to work and not add many more hours for internships. I’m looking forward to reading something just because I want to read it and not because I’m researching and I’m looking forward to not feeling guilty for taking a morning to myself since there is so much work to do. I am definitely not 25 anymore.