Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And by rant, Leland means ANGER FURY STORM!!!

*note: today's lawncare issue inspired Leland to write his own rant on the subject. He felt that his perspective wasn't adequately covered by Anna's post. Take it away, Leland!*

It's probably for the best that Anna was the one around when the landlord came to discuss the "state of our lawn". I wouldn't have yelled at him (he has nothing to do with it...he's a nice guy just passing on the message). But I would have been so furiously angry, that large custom made signs may quickly have adorned the front yard.

I have trouble deciding which topic I would like to talk about first, so let's go at it and you can decide which of these topics is the most important to you.

1) It is indescribable to me how asinine it is get all uppity about "the yard". HAVE WE NO PERSPECTIVE? Are people so wrapped up in their Victorian/Georgian ideals about proper society that they can't see that "the yard" is some upper-class, aloof ideal about recreating nature in the middle of a city so they can feel better about having destroyed that nature to build their damn houses in the first place. HANK HILL IS A CARTOON CHARACTER, NOT AN IDOL (though quite funny).

2) I'm pretty much the last person to openly utilize such fratboy lingo, BUT GROW A PAIR AND TELL ME TO MY FACE THAT "THE YARD" DISPLEASES YOU. Seriously, I think we can have a totally normal conversation that will leave you and me happier. It's grass, not something of actually importance, but I will take your uber-Euroamerican feelings into at least a small amount of concern.

3) If a few tall weeds and grass that extends over the toebox on your shoes is what causes you to take civil action, you live an unbelievably pathetic and uneducated life. In the American southwest, modern Euroamerican ideals persist about "the yard" to such an extent that we have green grass and golf courses IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING DESERT. Doesn't anyone get this? The Hoover Dam exists to hold back water from the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest and divert to a bunch of people WHO LIVE IN THE DESERT. If you want to live in the desert, that's cool. Do it the right way--and the American ideals of "the yard" don't jive with desert living.

4) Don't worry, I'll cut the grass (actually, Anna and I will both cut the grass).

Seriously, dudes, it's grass. Keep your pants on.

A short rant on the subject of lawncare

Dear neighbors:

I just want to apologize for the appalling state of my lawn. I mean, I didn't think it was too bad, but because you called the city to complain about the length, you clearly disagree.

I'm sorry that I don't have the money to pay someone else to take care of my lawn for me, like you do.

I'm sorry that I care about the environment and don't want to pump fertilizers and weed killers into the ground.

I'm sorry that I don't want to waste potable water by pouring it all over a useless plant that American society has bizarrely deemed to be some kind of status symbol, when there are people in the world for which water is a precious and rare resource.

I'm sorry that I live in an area where the soil is basically sand, and therefore more suited for growing weeds than grass.

I'm sorry that you don't know what a dandelion looks like, because if you did, you'd understand that the mutated monster weeds in my front yard are not dandelions, but some kind of hell-spawn intent on devouring the earth.

This is a dandelion.

This is not a dandelion.

Look at how big it is!!!!!!! And not dandelion-y!!!!!

I'm sorry that my shitty push mower can't cut through the stems of the aforementioned hell spawn. All it can do is try to annoy them to death. So far this is not a winning strategy.

I'm sorry that you don't have the guts to come over here and tell me to my face that you don't like the way I keep my lawn, and that you found it necessary to tattle on me to the city, like a whiny little child.

I'm sorry I called you a whiny little child.

And finally, I'm sorry that you care so much. Your life must truly be devoid of meaning and joy.


PS - I cut the damn lawn. Except for the hell spawn, which I just pushed over.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summertime... and it's frickin' hot

Leland tells me that I have too many posts about kittens. That my adoring public doesn't want pictures of kittens.

So I'm going to start this blog with pictures of other things, and then we'll move on to kittens once Leland's attention has drifted away.

Part I: Other Things:

So it turns out that we do actually do things besides playing with kittens. Though it's difficult to tear ourselves away.

For example, last month we took a trip to the highly non-photogenic Myrtle Beach! We were there for the weekend and had a lovely time lying around in the sand and looking at the gorgeous scenery...

Ok, maybe just lying in the sand.

Plus, we got to hang out with Totally Awesome People (and soon to be Totally Awesome Parents) Sarah and Adam. Here we are sharing a single Pina Colada, because it cost about 8$, and we are all just rich enough to get to Myrtle Beach, but not rich enough to each have our own overpriced adult slushie! And we also got to see two of the original Beach Boys. Rock on.

Also last month, I finished the baby quilt I'm making for our nephew due in August. It's my second quilt and it came out very nice, I think.

All the little animals are hand quilted, and the orange is the back of the quilt. I'm very excited about my next project, which is huge and awesome. I won't reveal too much, but check out my GORGEOUS fabric:

I think we bored Leland away with the fabric, so let's get back to kittens!

Part II: Kittens

It's high kitten season right now and the Humane Society has been inundated with calls about people finding litters. We took in a Mama and five babies, probably about 6-7 weeks old. When we went to pick up the kitties from the shelter, Mama had kind of an incident. In which she got out of her crate and hid under a row of cages, and then four adults spent twenty minutes chasing her around the cat room. Cats get out of their cages - not all the time, but it's not an entirely uncommon event - but Mama isn't very friendly. In fact, I'm betting that she's semi-feral. So to get her back required catch poles and brooms and leather gloves that go up to the elbow, and not sexy elbow-length leather gloves either.

Let's just say that Mama was traumatized, but not hurt. Still, she was NOT happy about being in our spare bedroom. When I come in, she hides as best she can. She can move so quickly and quietly, I named her Ghost.

We have made progress, though. If I am very still for a long time, Ghost will eventually slip out of her hiding place and sneak around the room. But most of the time, she looks like this:

Please don't eat me.

Her kittens have picked up on her fear and are also wary of me, but to be honest, they are kittens and that means they're stupid. I.e. easily lured out with food and toys. They've already lost much of their fear, but they do not like to be picked up, and if cornered, they will make tiny little hisses at you. However, they don't bite or scratch, and I'm confident that they'll be comfortable with humans in no time.

The herd of mighty kittens covers the plains from horizon to horizon

Plus most of them are big fat fatties. Did I mention that? It's comical when Ghost feeds them, they scramble all over her getting into fights with each other.

I went in a different direction when I started naming kittens. The trend started because I began to call one of them Bug.

O hai, I'm Bug

Bug is trouble.



So naturally, she's my favorite. She's the smallest of the litter (though too big and healthy to really be the "runt"), but the bravest and the most curious. She is the only kitten who will come up to me, but she also hisses the most enthusiastically when I pick her up.

The first night the kittens were in the house, we heard them crashing around all night. That's pretty normal. What wasn't normal was they they totally destroyed the plastic blinds in the window. As in, from floor to ceiling. To the ceiling. I don't know who did it, but I know who I'm looking at.

I feel a little sorry for Bug's future owners, to be honest with you. She's going to be very naughty.

The next one to acquire a name was Cricket.

No pictures, please.

Poor Cricket. This little girl (calicos are almost always girls), who is actually one of the larger kittens, had a bite wound on her neck. We think that Ghost, in panic, accidentally grabbed on to Cricket a little too hard. But no biggie, it seemed like it was healing.

I'm going to stop here and warn you that if you're eating, you should probably skip straight on ahead to the next picture. But don't worry, Cricket is fine.

And then... I went in yesterday afternoon to check on them, and Cricket's wound was quite swollen, red, and full of pus. I poked at it a bit and saw what I thought was a scab that was holding back the gooey insides. Well, I thought, they can drain it at the facility. I brought Cricket to the Humane Society to get cleaned up and get some antibiotics. My friend Katie, one of the employees, started working on Cricket's wound.

She squeezed it a bit.

And something poked its head out.

Remarkably, everyone stayed pretty calm while Katie squeezed a live, wriggling maggot from Cricket's wound.

It was disgusting, and I am not a squeamish woman. It was like a freaking episode of Animal Cops.

But Cricket's doing fine! She's playing and eating and doesn't seem to be in pain. In fact, she seems quite relieved. As you would be. And best of all, the wound is healing and the kitten is now maggot free.

Don't hold it against me! I am so cute!

Next to be differentiated from the general kitten herd was Bumblebee.

I'm camera-shy!

And full of lovely fat and fluff

This (relatively) little boy is the largest of the kittens, and he's fat and fuzzy. Like a bumblebee! It's hard to see here, but he has orange spots on his back.

I did have some trouble with the last two, both orange tabbies, both males.

The orange tabby patrol, Bug in the middle. Because she's trouble.

But finally, I identified the teeny tiny difference between them.

I has... an idea...

Firefly has little white booties on. Like little light flashes from a firefly. Here he is watching his sister Bug climb the screen. Trouble!

O hai, I'm in a box.

And Skeeter has taller white socks on, though they seem to be slipping some on each foot.

But when you can't see the feet, then it's anyone's guess.


The kittens love to hang out in one of Fletcher's abandoned sleeping places, a squishy hidey box thing.

Cricket and (who else?) Bug

It's like the secret kitten clubhouse.

Do you want to come into the secret kitten clubhouse?

Bug is the gatekeeper.

Too bad! We're full!

Full of trouble.