(Inspired by a twitter conversation with Temerity Jane, Awlbiste, and Naithin)

I make no secret of my love of animals. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, even fish and reptiles (and amphibians!) are worthy of admiration from me. Yes, I’m the weirdo that feeds the garden toads, chases the cats away from the geckos that get in the house so I can catch them and put them outside, won’t step on spiders (and, in fact, will feed the big outside garden spiders), and chirps at the tree frogs in the yard.

I also am currently the caretaker of two (mostly) fabulous felines. Max and Charlie are a great deal of fun, and rarely a day goes by that I don’t at least smile, if not laugh at one or both of them being … well, cats. They love string. They love playing Kitty-WWF on my bed and then tearing after each other through the house like tiny furry rockets. They love playing chicken with my laptop.

Unfortunately, this time of year is rife with people doing horrible things to animals – particularly cats, especially black cats.

I get that not everyone is a cat fan (preferences, we has them), which is totally fine. Being annoyed with a cat is… well, part of living with cats, and when they do annoying things, generally it seems that the appropriate response is to shut the door, ignore them, go somewhere else, dump them off your lap, etc. Or possibly to engage in some corporal cuddling, whereby you are as annoying to the cat as it is to you.

Being annoyed with an animal does not equal maiming, mutilating, or otherwise doing horrible things to it – as TJ was noting had been happening in the news where she lives in Arizona, and which has recently been on the news from Florida. It doesn’t mean torturing an animal that is essentially helpless. (I’d rather not go into any more specifics, simply to avoid getting internet hits from creepy fuckers who want to do that kind of thing, but I’m sure a little Google-Fu will find you everything you never wanted to see, and more)

Reading about it, hearing about it… honestly makes me a little sick.

I look at Max, who was obviously someone’s pet that ended up out on his own for several months (whether through ill will or escape tactics, nobody knows), starving outside until he got picked up, and realize he was lucky. And that to live with us, he’s /really/ lucky. When we got him, he barely weighed 7 lbs and his fur was scrawny and thin.  Now he weighs 14lbs and is considered healthy – if a bit chubby – by the vet, with a gorgeous cream coat with pumpkin points.

I look at Charlie, who has taken the better part of two years to get over his fear of my husband and of anyone’s shoes and of loud noises, and see that he’s warmed up into a happy and sociable cat. And I realize he was less lucky than Max, but that he still has a happy ending that includes gooshyfood and feathers-on-a-string and a screen porch to watch birds from.

So if there’s a critter in your life that you love (or maybe just tolerate most of the time), give him/her/it a pat from me today.

I don’t know what any of us can do to keep horrible people from doing horrible things, so I settle for doing the best I can for the two I signed up to care for.

Obligatory note that if you are looking for a pet, rescue organizations that you can find through are a great place to look (whether you want a young animal or an adult, and whether you want the standard cat or dog, or something a little less common).

Particularly if you are interested in a cat or kitten, adopting a black cat is often less expensive because of the superstitions commonly associated with them; you may not be able to adopt a black cat or kitten in the months of October/November, however, due to people doing horrible things to them and ending up on the news.

Dear Airports

You suck.


Last weekend (the 11th of July-ish) I took a short jaunty vacation up to Seattle to meet up with some friends.  I had a fantastic time, got almost no sleep (night owl friends plus 2 hour time difference meant going to bed when my body thought it was 5am… and still waking up when my body thought it was 9am), and managed to pick up a real humdinger of a cold in the airport on the way up.

I also had some of the most colorful airplane experiences on those flights.

Flying from Houston to Seattle on Southwest is a direct flight with one stop in either Phoenix or Denver where you don’t get off the plane but where about half the plane exchanges with new people for the second leg of the trip.  This makes the trip a great deal longer, but also a good bit cheaper.

For the first leg (Houston to Phoenix) I was sitting next to a sleeping rocker dude with some seriously awesome dreadlocks and an older man who reminded me pleasantly of my dad (in a non-creepy way).  However, that meant I was sitting in the dreaded middle seat, and even though I accomplished a great deal of knitting, the lack of armrest/legroom/place to put my head and snooze got to me.

So I tempted fate and swapped seats, moving up a few rows and snagging a nice aisle seat during the exchange of people who didn’t really want to go to Seattle on that particular trip.

My tempting of fate did, in fact, bite me in the arse.  The people that ended up sitting in the window and middle seats seemed quite pleasant as they got on the plane(though one of them was screaming in his iPhone as he asked me if he could sit by the window).  This illusion was broken after both of them had consumed two drinks without having any food.  I was then subjected to said screaming man’s pictures of his (admittedly awesome) house, yard, greenhouse, motorcycle, campsites, touring pictures, and any other pictures he’d taken.

One more drink into each of them resulted in his going off on a rant about how men weren’t real men anymore, and what was wrong with women in the world (serious barefoot and pregnant vibe at this point) and the woman between us cracking obscene comments (“you can’t teach a d*1do to mow the lawn”) and smacking me on the shoulder in an attempt to get some sort of agreement out of me.  She was, I think, too drunk to notice that I was tired, had been in airports/planes for nearly 8 hours, am relatively shy, and would really have liked to just get back to my book, thanks.

THAT flight couldn’t end fast enough.

Oh – that was the flight where the people in the row behind me proceeded to make all sorts of awful and disgusting bodily noises as they dealt with whatever version of the plague that they happened to pass on to me.

By Sunday the combination of talking to people (GASP!), lack of sleep, and IMPENDING DOOM of chest cold had me squeaking.

The flight home was entirely uneventful (the two screaming, incredibly sunburned infants that were making our lives in the staging area miserable both passed out within 5 minutes of boarding the plane) though didn’t help much with my being sick, and I spent most of last week holed up with cups of lemon and honey tea and bowls of chicken soup.

I’m finally feeling better now though (yay) and am back to walking the walk again.  And, you know, talking like an adult woman instead of a 12 year old boy.