Fluffimus Prime

My son's wee little kitten is six months old this month!!  Holy cow, but time flies.    She has grown from a wee little kitten into a wee little cat.  My hubby affectionately calls her Squeaky because her meow is this timid little baby sound.  Her true name is Fluffy.  We tried and tried to coax our boy into something a little more original, or interesting but he was adamant.  It was going to be Fluffy or Snuggly, because the first time he held her she felt fluffy to him and snuggled down into his lap.

In the days before he knew she was coming to live with us, but still talking about her constantly we played a what if game.  What if you had a puppy, what name would you give it? Barky.  What about a monkey?  Jumpy.  What about a cow?  Milky.  What about a lion?  "Eeek!"  It was a hoot.  For a child who prides himself on his creativity, he's very literal in the naming department...but I'm probably not one to talk: I named my first cat Whiskers.

Fluffy's other nickname is Fluffimus Prime, a nod to our son's current obsession with Transformers. It's been nice having her around.  My 12 year old male cat, Moses, has been acting like a kitten again himself at times as he plays with her.  After almost two solid weeks of ignoring the new baby in the house, he finally wandered into my son's room where Fluffy kindly shared some of her kitten chow with him.  The two have been best buds ever since!

Fluffy has also helped me in my grieving over Booger.  The inevitable happened, and though she held out longer than I expected, in mid-September she passed on.  I knew it was coming, and thought it would be a relief to her suffering.  Even with such preparationg, I was surprised at how upset I became.  Booger was my alter ego at times.  I envied my kitty her freedom to be a grump, to hiss and express displeasure and make her feelings known.  Even in her two year exile to the garage we still had sweet moments together, and it seems strange now to turn off the light out there now that it's pet free.  Fluffy's silly antics and innate sweetness make it hard to be sad for too long, though, and I find myself thankful that one pet's illness led us to another new family member.


The Tooth Fairy

My seven and a half year old son lost his first tooth today.  It's hard having it happen at such a late age because of that whole akward state of wanting to believe and sort of being grounded in reality.  In the hour or two between the big event and bedtime there were lots of interesting little conversations along the lines of "I know the tooth fairy isn't real.  Fairies aren't real so there can't be a tooth fairy!"  and "But who takes the tooth?"

Growing up really is painful.  It's hard to let go of make-believe.  I personally continued to let Santa come visit me until I was 18 and being kicked out on my own!  My boy kept asking in different ways what happens, but I just didn't have the heart to tell him point blank he was right.  Neither could I lie and assert that this particular fairy is real.  The best I could offer were my memories of my own experiences as a child.  I feel like Obi Wan right now...true from a certain point of view.

In any case, when push came to shove my sensitive little man ducked his head under his covers to have a little cry.  Doesn't really matter WHO takes the tooth under the pillow, he wasn't ready to give it away.  I wonder if I'm the first mom to help their child HIDE the tooth from the tooh fairy!  Our boy's tooh is in a little wooden box, hidden in his top drawer under pajamas where it is presumable safe from both that nefarious tooth stealing fairy and his nosy little sister...

Update: I couldn't stand to not do ANYTHING, and found myself rumaging around in the box of scrapbooking supplies I'd bought back before Mr. Hide A Tooth even thought about cutting his first one.  I bought the stuff, did a few pages and promptly got so behind I'd never catch up.  (Photo books are MUCH easier!)  Anyhow, I unearthed some lovely but sturdy tissue thin paper and a gold paint pen.  Very shortly thereafter I had a tiny scroll saying "Congratulations Will" to tuck into the box along with a gold dollar coin I'd been hording away in my jewelry box for years.  This seemed like a worth special occaision to me!

Cats and Frogs

So, do you know the diference between cats and frogs?

Cat's have nine lives and frogs croak every night!

Bad jokes have become a sort of stock in trade around our house this summer.  Popsicle brand popsicles have jokes on the sticks.  Much to my surprise these silly jokes have become the single most influential thing in encouraging my son to spontaneous independant reading.  Because he doesn't want us to see the answer to the joke he works extra hard to sound things out all by himself.  He loves them and I love that he's reading, and we're both treated to such gems as:

"Why did the pitcher not like caves?"  He was afraid of bats.

"What does a rabbit use to keep his fur in place?"  Hare spray

"What kind of flower buys Father's Day cards?"  A sunflower

"How did the baker get so rich?"  He made a lot of dough

"Who do all of the inches follow?"  Their ruler

And so forth and so on.  He cracks me up with his joy in reading the jokes, and I derrive my own joy in seeing him delighted with his new skill.

Kitty Update:  The new kitty is named Fluffy, and the naming process is deserving on it's own entry here.  She's been with us roughly two and a half weeks and is growing like a weed.  She's gone from that precious young kitten shape of being as long as she was tall and ears that were way to big looking for her body to being longer than she is tall and starting to look more cat like.  You can spy a picture of her HERE

History Repeats

Once upon a time, when I was in first grade something wonderful happened: my parents were impulsive.

This week my husband and I have goggled in amazement at ourselves, and perhaps our love for our child, in becoming a little impulsive ourselves...

My grumpy, old orange cat who lives in the garage is really showing her age.  She's lost a LOT of weight lately and didn't seem to be eating or drinking much, yet meowing often as if hungry.  So, one morning this week, after dropping my daughter off at ballet camp, my son and I stopped by the vet to pick the brain of our friend the receptionist and pick Booger up some canned food to entice her to eat.  While I was asking my questions and buying the food, my boy was bonding with a kitten that was in a crate in the front room....

Darned if we aren't bringing her home tomorrow.

The Kindle

I didn't want a Kindle, or a Nook or any kind of e-reader.  The devices seemed overpriced to me, and most books aren't significantly discounted in electronic form and, if I'm completely honest I like physical books.  I adore the smell of a new book, the feel of it my hands.  I like how that paper sounds and how memories are made of certain pages.  I like the shiny book jackets and the matte cloth smoothness of the covers underneath.  I love how, if I'm feeling naughty, I can ruffle the pages and take a peek at the last chapter of a who done it, or romance and find out who's who.

My husband, however has had different ideas.  He's a tech sort himself, a chronic early adopter, and has always thought I should swoon at the idea of an e-reader.  When I recieved one in the mail for Christmas from my father and his family I blamed my husband.  I'll be blunt: I was a real brat about it and ugly.  There were other things I wanted more and I said so.  I regretted my words immediately, but I hurt his feelings and put a cloud over a generous gift.  He later told me it was their idea, but that yes he had said he thought I would like it.  Three months later, hat in hand, I must admit he was right. 

There's a great article HERE about e-book pricing and self-publishing successes.  (For the record, I enjoyed Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy but have passed on the vampire novels, I'm sick of vampires.)  I also love the daily Kindle blog and the author interviews/book blurbs that it contains.  Since Christmas I have read 10 books, and two short stories on my Kindle as well as the first five books of the Old Testament compared to 14 regular books, roughly five or so which I bought and the rest being library copies.  I have checked out a lot more than that, but many were returned unread due to lack of time;  It's been a busy few months.

One of my  favorite things about the e-book phenomena is being able to read short stories by favorite authors that were originally in anthologies I did not know about, or had never gotten a hold of.  Even better is having access to previously unpublished works such as Sherwood Smith's (sartorias ) Fleeing Peace*, which fills in the story between Senrid and A Stranger to Command, the latter being a favorite of mine since I (ironically?) read it for the first time here on LiveJournal.  There are also lots of public domain books available for free.  The formatting isn't the greatest on these, but I'd always meant to read the original Wizard of Oz, Sherlock Holmes and The Last of the Mohicans and now they are all at my fingertips, waiting for a rainy day.

I daresay I will continue to be picky about what I buy on the Kindle, the library is still my best friend as far as books are concerned.  However, my tecno-resistance is officially over.  There is room enough in my life for both the electronic and physical.  There is also room in my purse for a brand spanking new iPhone...which has a Kindle app.  I've gone from Bah-humbug to own two e-readers in just three short months!

*Sartorias, if you catch this entry, I'm loving Fleeing Peace!  Started it last night and stayed up a little too late as a result...

The Games We Play

Happy Belated New Year.  I still mean to do my annual book review/flashback sort of thing, but right now I've got other things on my mind.

I like to play games.  I grew up playing the typical board games with my family; Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, checkers, chess, backagammon.  I had kid games that I played with my friends and cousins, too.  Things like Cooties, Don't Break the Ice, Trouble,  Mouse Trap, Operation, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and even a fun Star Wars board game I adored. The extended family played card cames like Rook, while my dad favored Hearts.  My Granny and Aunts are mad about Yahtzee, and when I was in about sixth grade I might get a chance to take a turn at an early pc version of Donkey Kong, provided I could pry my mother off of the game.

Most of these games were fun, social sorts of activities.  There was nothing that I would play by myself really until I discovered Tetris on a roommates gameboy.  Tetris hit my happy spot of gaming.  It's a skill game that is best played by reacting and not thinking.  I've since dubbed this sort of game "zen gaming."  When I was pregnant with my six year old I found a PopCap game that hit that happy spot even more so than Tetris: Zuma.  Hubby bought the expanded version for me and I played like mad until pregnancy induced carpel tunnel syndrome interfered.  Then I had the baby and started up again.  With the various upgrades to computers and new machines over the past seven years, that original digital copy of Zuma is long gone...but that's okay because they came out with a sequel that we found for my birthday in '09 called Zuma's Revenge and *that* one we bought on disk!  In the past few weeks a Facebook version has popped up that is just different enough to captivate but enough the same to tickle my sweet spot.  It was an early Christmas present!

It's funny to me that the games I find most relaxing to play are the ones that force me to NOT think, to just react.  They make me turn off my brain and tune out everything around me.  I guess this is something I need.  There are some evenings when this appeals to me even more than reading!  Crazy, but true.  I'm an introvert by nature, and it's begining to seem that I even need to take time away from my own thoughts to recharge fully.  Ha. 

Don't worry, though.  I haven't stopped reading or posting.  Things have just been busy.  I look forward to looking over the books i read in 2010 and anticipating the new releasess of 2011.  Until then...Kahonga!*

Sugar Plum Fairy

I lost track of how many boxes of powdered sugar I used last week.  Or bags of chocolate chips, or eggs, or butter. I do  know there were  about 10 Ghiradelli 4 oz bittersweet chocolate bars put into play, and I'm thankful they were buy one, get one at my grocery!  Three large containers of heavy cream were demolished, and at least one giant tub of peanut butter.  Lest you think i only serve highly bad for you confections, there were also vegetables, hash browns, fruit and a ham.  And cider, but once one pours in brown sugar and spices, I'm not sure it's good for you anymore!

I had fun hosting our mostly annual Christmas Open House.  It was a fun party, and most of my ideas translated in the way I expected.  Better yet, I was pretty relaxed the day of the party.  My first guests were still put to work (Thank you Dolly and Heather!) but at least I wasn't grubby when they got here.  One of these days I hope to have a party and be so ahead of preparation and cleaning that I can go get a manicure and a blow out the afternoon of the event, but until then I'm just going to be satisfied that we are able to open our home up and have friends come and share a special evening celebrating Christmas with us each year.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

School ends today, and although our Advent Calender says differently I feel like Christmas is starting TODAY.  If I feel that way, I bet my kids are going to spend the next week completely wired...

Mischieveous Kittens

Santa brought a prestn
just for kitty on his sleigh
brightly colored balls of yarn -
she can't wait to play

Mischievous Kittens 201 Hallmark Keepsake ornament, 12 in Series
Nina Aube, artist

Jingle Bells

I made a tactical error this week.  A big one!  I was substituting Thursday when one of the teacher's asked if I'd heard one of the three year old boy's songs.  I hadn't, so they called him over and he sang in the twangiest of country accents "Jingle Bell, shotgun shells, Granny had a gun.  Shot me in my underwear, boy did I run!"  It was a hoot. 

My own son is fascinated by the "Batman Smells" version i remembered from my own childhood, and I thought he'd get a kick out of another funny arrangement of the classic.  So, when he got in the car that afternoon after school I sang it for him.  BIG MISTAKE.  We've been hearing it nonstop ever since; what was cute once is no longer amusing after the fifth, twentieth or one hundreth rendition...and I've no one to blame but myself!