Sunday, October 25, 2009

Look how big they're getting!

 Here are couple of recent pictures of Hide and Seek. They're getting so big, it's hard to believe how tiny they were when they first came to live with me!

These first two are of Hide and Seek investigating Gus. I took them about a week ago. 


This is one I took just a few minutes ago. The kittens have been rambunctious for the past two days, so it was lovely to capture them in a moment of quiet.

Seriously--check out how big they've gotten!

This video must be from a couple of weeks ago (I can tell by the mess in the background). Hide and Seek are "helping" me work on my laptop, then they're entertaining me by playing with their cat dancer (see here, too. This toy is one of the best things I've gotten for Hide and Seek!). 

This video is from tonight. I took it right after the still picture of Hide and Seek snoozing.The quality on this one isn't great, because the kittens are kind of in shadow. Still, you can get an idea of how much they've grown.

If they're this big at six months, I can't wait to see how big they are as adults!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Adventures of Hide and Seek!

Hide and Seek went to the vet to be neutered yesterday. As always, they were shy and skittish in the unfamiliar place. The surgery went well, though, and both kittens are fine. When I went to pick them up last night, however, I had to wait a very long time for them to be brought out. Finally, the vet tech came out and explained to me that Seek had tried to make a break for it, and they had to catch him! (In the process, he managed to cause some bleeding, but fortunately there were no stitches for him to rip.)

The vet tech acted like it was abnormal for Seek to have tried to run. My thoughts were more along the lines of "I'm surprised he waited till the end of the day!" Anyway, both kittens are home safe now. They're happy and comfortable, and were uber-affectionate this morning :) I love my kitties!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Review: Twenties Girl

"Twenties Girl" by Sophie Kinsella (author of "Confessions of a Shopaholic," among others), is the story of Lara Lington and her great-aunt Sadie. The catch? Sadie is a ghost, and Lara barely knew her in life. Through Sadie's persistent haunting, Lara gets to know her--and in the process, learns quite a lot about herself.

We first meet Lara at Sadie's funeral. Sadie, 105, passed away recently, and Lara's parents pressure her to go to the funeral. Lara would rather be anywhere but at the boring funeral for an old lady she didn't know. Her desire to be elsewhere increases when she starts hearing a voice no one else can hear. She tries to escape, but Great Aunt Sadie's ghost won't leave her alone. To satisfy Sadie, Lara must stop the funeral in progress. This entails an accusation of murder. The ensuing hysteria is made more comic by Sadie nagging Lara to find Sadie's missing necklace--she won't leave without it.

In the process of searching for the special necklace, Lara learns just what a fascinating person her great aunt was, and learns how she herself wants to live. Sadie teaches Lara about relationships, having fun, and moving on. In the process, she leads Lara to step beyond her boundaries and live life fulfilled. And, this being Chick Lit, she finds The Man for her--who is not at all who she expected!

"Twenties Girl" was a fun and satisfying read. It took me 50 pages to really get into it, but it was worth it. The ending is more sweet than bitter, and I closed the book feeling like it had ended right.

Book Review: An Echo in the Bone

UPDATED 10/14 (I added & edited a bit)

"An Echo in the Bone" is the seventh book in Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, which centers around Claire and Jamie Fraser. Set partly at the opening of the American Revolution and partly in Scotland in 1980, "Echo" is a sprawling tale. It has four major plot lines: Jamie and Claire (and Ian), Brianna and Roger, John, and William. All of the characters we've come to love over the years are accounted for (including Rollo the dog), and the book is overall very satisfying. It did leave me wanting more--as it's not the end of the series, there is quite obviously more story to be told. Frustratingly, I'll have to wait for several more years to read the next installment. Books this big do not get written in a month! My main quibble is that there are several loose ends at the end of the book, and it seemed almost like the first part of a book (despite its length) rather than a novel in its entirety. While Gabaldon expects to write additional books to wrap up the series (she has promised that "Echo" is not the last), leaving the story lines dangling made me feel like I hadn't finished. It seemed that there was no denouement to satisfy the reader's need for closure at the end of a story.

Despite my complaints, "Echo" has all the elements of Gabaldon that I've come to love--the historical facts interwoven in the fictional plotline, the fully-fleshed characters (who, frankly, seem very much like real people to me), the details of scenery, action, and day-to-day minutiae of life in the 1700s in the Colonies, and the cameos of real people (in "Echo," we get to meet Ben Franklin and Benedict Arnold, among interesting folks). I did occasionally get frustrated with the multiple stories as I was reading--I would have enjoyed being able to read each plot line straight through. However, by the end of the book, it was clear why so many complicated stories were told within the covers of one book. They really do meld; you just have to be patient and get to the end. And then be patient for the next few years while she writes the next book to tie up the ends she left loose. On reflecting, the lack of denouement emphasizes the story's themes and the characters' struggles; we leave them in the midst of a time of great turmoil in the world--how else could Gabaldon leave the reader other than in turmoil at the anticipation of what's to come next in the series? [I feel a little bit less frustrated now. But I still don't want to wait another three years for the next book!]

All in all, "An Echo in the Bone" was worth reading. I did have to push myself sometimes, and it did take me a couple of weeks to read, but by the time I finished, I was glad that I had. I will clearly have to go back and reread it in a few weeks; at 800 pages, it's not a book I can digest in one reading. For those who, like me, sometimes enjoy a book as meaty as this, "Echo" is a pleasure to read. For those who, like me, are used to waiting for the next book in an exciting series (Harry Potter, anyone? Eragon?), you'll understand my impatience on reaching the end of the book. And perhaps you'll join me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Alternate Beginning

I'm still working on my memoir, believe it or not. In that light, I'd like to share an alternate opening for the story. I'd enjoy anyon'es thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Enjoy!

I had a stroke when I was 11. It sucked, but life goes on no matter how much we'd like to freeze it or rewind it. People say how brave I was or how strong I am. Bull--I had to recover; life kept moving with or without me. And frankly, I didn't realize that "without me" was an option. Believe me, there were plenty of times when--if I had understood more about life--I would have stayed behind.

Anyway, I had a stroke, was in a coma for three weeks, woke up and had to relearn how to walk and  talk & all that crap, and it sucked. It really, massively, majorly sucked. BUT, that's not what my story is about. It's more about how completely amazing life is. Even when it sucks.

So yes, being on the respirator, having a voice too soft to be heard, and accepting that my body had to relearn how to do things that my brain still knew was frustrating and all kinds of difficult, but really it all just underscores the fun stuff, and helps me enjoy the really simple things. Being on a respirator was rough? Yes, but taking a deep breath of crisp fall air makes it worth it. Having no voice was frustrating? Yup. And singing my heart out fills me up. Really, having a stroke wasn't all that bad in retrospect, because I can stare up at the sky and enjoy the awe at its expanse; I can watch my kittens play and giggle at their silliness; I can enjoy every small piece of life so thoroughly.