Tag Archives: justine

Status Update – Kitten Progress

Feb 17, 2017

It seems inevitable that when I’m trying to get things done under a tight deadline and I need to focus, I have cat drama. Well, not cat drama in this case. It’s more like this baby kitten of mine is going through her terrible twos!

So for those who don’t know, I’ve had two cats, brother and sister, Torpedo and Butterfly, for twelve and a half years. They were born to me. But Butterfly passed away in December. So, not wanting Torpedo to be alone, and seeing that he was mourning the loss of his sister, I got Justine, who was just about 6 months old at the time, mid-December. And she was cute and adorable and very, very shy.

Well, she’s not shy anymore! She’s totally come out of her shell and keeps getting into everything. She dashes around the house, chasing everything that moves and half the stuff that doesn’t. Her latest obsession is zipper-pulls, so if I leave anything with a zipper lying around, she HAS to play with it. She’s taken to napping on the couch with me while I write too, but sometimes that means climbing up on my lap desk to get an up-close and personal look at my fingers.

Justine is a typical baby. She needs to play. The other day, she was zipping around so fast that I thought she and Torpedo were chasing each other. Until I noticed Torpedo napping in his usual spot. Justine was running around so fast that I thought she was two cats! She’s also at the stage now where if something is on a table, she’ll knock if off, and if there’s a surface she hasn’t explored, she’ll jump up to explore it.

The thing is, up until recently, Justine has annoyed the heck out of Torpedo. At twelve and a half, Torpedo really is an old man, and his world has just been severely rattled. He’s been growling at her and swiping and chasing her around to establish dominance. But no more! For the last week or so, he’s been eyeing her differently and sniffing her without growling or chasing.

Well, yesterday the day I’ve been waiting for came! The two of them sat down on one end of my couch together and napped. It wasn’t quite the cuddle-fest that Torpedo and Butterfly would have, but it was bonding. And to top it all off, Torpedo gave Justine a few good grooming licks. And that’s super important for cat behavior. Grooming means acceptance, and when one cat grooms another it’s a big deal.

I certainly think it’s a big deal. I know that Torpedo needs to feel bonded with another cat. And it makes me feel so much easier about all the travel I’ll be doing this coming year. I can go away knowing that they have each other.

Status Update – Yep, Still Sick

Feb 11, 2017

Breaking out the big guns!

Ah, yes! I remember back on Tuesday night when I looked up the stages of a cold, only to learn that days 3 and 4 were the worst, and that most colds last 7-10 days. There was a time when I could kick a cold in five days, but alas, those days are not now. Yep, I’m still sick. But I am beginning to see the light. I’ve passed on from the run-down, thick-headed phase, but now I’m in my absolute least favorite stage of a cold—I’m coughing.

My extreme hatred of coughing goes back about fifteen years, to when I had bronchitis. Man, I never want to be that sick again! I’d never experienced anything like it before, and I never want to feel that way again. I never realized how accurate a description the phrase “coughing up a lung” was until that point. And maybe it’s a myth, but I’ve always heard that once you’ve had bronchitis, your lungs will never be the same again.

Well, it certainly feels that way now! I hate coughing. But as much as I hate it, I am endlessly impressed by how well cold medicine works! Back when I had bronchitis, the only thing that made me feel slightly human was Delsym. Dude, that stuff rocks! So I always keep some on hand. But the problem is, it’s so strong that you can only take it once every 12 hours. So I had the whole debate this morning between Delsym or regular cold medicine. Of course, the regular stuff has the active ingredient in Delsym in it, so there’s that.

In the end (because I know you’re desperate to know about the outcome of this dilemma) I went for the regular cough medicine. I’m hoping it will dry out my sinuses and ease the inflammation in my upper respiratory system, so maybe I won’t have to worry about coughing. So far, so good.

But also, I’ve discovered that steam really helps me not to cough as much. Props to my writer buddy, Caroline Lee, for cluing me in to that one! I think I might go out and buy a humidifier today so I don’t have to keep running the shower and boiling water. Especially since I just noticed this going on with the pot of water I boiled earlier. *shakes head* Kitten!

Status Update – We Need A Cat Psychologist

Feb 01, 2017

Torpedo and Butterfly…a really bonded sibling pair.

Okay, I think I need a cat psychologist for my grumpy old man, Torpedo.

A little background for those who don’t know: Torpedo and his siblings were born to me when I lived in Alabama. I rescued their mom, Larien, from a coworker who was disappointed that she wasn’t cute anymore and was going to have her put to sleep. Nooo!!! So I rescued Larien and brought her home…where she promptly got knocked up. My fault, I know. I let her be an indoor/outdoor cat and procrastinated having her fixed. So kittens.

I had Torpedo and his sister, Butterfly, for twelve years, since the Athens Olympics (which is where they got their names. Torpedo was named after Ian Thorpe, the Thorpedo, and Butterfly was named after Michael Phelps, who won the 400m butterfly the day she was born). Those cats have moved with me everywhere, and I hadn’t realized how very attached to them I was…

…until Butterfly developed diabetes (in 2015) and died December 1st. It hit me way harder than I thought it would, mostly because I nursed her through about 10 days of declining health, until I had to make the decision to have her put down. That was a super sad day! But Torpedo was a huge comfort, even though he was in mourning too.

No, Torpedo, you can not sleep on the bed with me tonight…

And as I learned, cats actually do mourn. Torpedo demonstrated all of the behavior of a cat mourning the loss of a bonded partner. So, being the foolish human that I am, I figured the perfect way to help both of us move on was to get a darling new kitten. So halfway through December, Justine joined our family.

Justine comes from a feral background, so it took her a while to adjust and feel fully comfortable in her new home. But for the last few weeks, she’s been 100% happy, bouncy, feisty, and affectionate. She’s adorable! But man, she has so much energy.

However, as it turns out, Torpedo has been very grumpy toward Justine. He swats at her and chases her around. I figure it’s because she’s young and has way too much energy and annoys him, and because she’s not Butterfly. I think Torpedo still wanders around the house looking for his sister from time to time. He still misses her. And sometimes he gets really mean toward the kitten. Like, after I shut them out of my bedroom last night, at one point I heard a horrific yeowl. And this morning I found blood on the tile floor. But Justine won’t let me get close enough to see if I can find any wounds. Hmm.

How could you be mean to a face like this?

The other thing is that Torpedo now gets VERY upset when I leave the house for more than a little while. I was gone quite a bit yesterday, and he was restless and meowed at me a lot and just didn’t want to leave me alone at all when I got home. I started out letting them sleep on the bed with me, but as I’ve discovered, my quality of sleep goes way, WAY down when they’re on the bed at night. Well, mostly Justine, because as tiny as she is, she manages to take up an entire queen-size bed! Torpedo is much better at sleeping on the corner and not getting in my way as I toss and turn.

Anyhow, I definitely need a cat psychologist to sit down with Torpedo and let him know that it’s going to be okay. I’m not leaving him alone. And he’s never been alone a day in his life before Butterfly died. I also need that psychologist to tell him to stop tormenting the baby! She’s no threat to him. (Well, except that I think she will be when she gets a little older. She’s a dominant type) I’d settle for the two of them getting along. Especially since I have a lot of travel coming up this summer, and I’m either going to be leaving them mostly alone with someone coming in twice a day to feed them, or hiring a house-sitter to be here with them. And I’ve got a few quick overnights very soon too. I feel so guilty for leaving Torpedo alone, but on the other hand, he’s a cat and I’m not putting my life on hold because he needs me to sit with him.

*sigh* I don’t suppose cats do very well in therapy….

Status Update – A New Book Begins

Jan 28, 2017

Coming in late February!

So yesterday I started writing the first chapter of the second book of my Nerds of Paradise series, Chaos Theory. I spent the whole first part of the week writing the outline. I have a long, complex outlining process based on Patti Larsen’s outlining method. It really works for me, even though it’s long an complex. But when it comes to writing that first chapter, I always feel like I struggle a little.

Now mind you, it’s not because I don’t know what I want to write. The beauty of my outlining process is that I know exactly what I need to write every day when I sit down in front of the computer. What hangs me up is that I know so much information before I start that it’s all crowding into the front of my brain. I know all the issues and back story that the characters have, and I’m always all-too aware of the need to make sure I say everything that needs to be said.

And then there’s the fact that I usually discover so much more about the characters as I go on. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve planned a book out in advance, once those characters hit the ground and start interacting, I learn things about them. For instance, the hero of Chaos Theory, Will Darling, is super straight-laced, due to growing up in a military family with a father who saw him more as a way to vicariously achieve his dreams than as a son. Wow! That’s some meaty stuff! But I know there’s something else in there that I’ll uncover as I go along and plunge his careful world into the chaos of Melody Clutterbuck!

Grumpy old man

But it isn’t all bad. I love what I do. And I have fabulous assistants to help me do it. Lately, as my new baby (new as of mid-December) Justine has fully adjusted to being in a new environment with a strange new human mommy and a grumpy old man feline roommate. Torpedo still isn’t over the death of his sister, Butterfly (December 1st), and this weird new kitten has WAY too much energy for him, so if he’s just not feeling it, he’ll swat at her or chase her. But when he isn’t in a mood to care, they coexist quite nicely.

Cute, bubbly baby

These days, when I sit down on my couch with my laptop to write, it’s one on one side and the other on the other. I’d love to get a pic of all of us together, but they sit just too far apart for that kind of a selfie to work. But it creates a very peaceful, fuzzy writing environment. And yes, I get yelled at—by Torpedo—when I get up to do something else. But I talk right back to him, so it’s all good!