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Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit offers a chart and a reminder in this short post. The reminder is that folks from both sides of the aisle, but especially the R side, were pushing on the culture of earmarking with the Porkbusters movement. The graphic: a look at the way our government will be hemorrhaging red ink this year and for a decade to come.

A lot of what's labeled "the right" doesn't float my boat -- I could care less about who forms a union with whom and think that "marriage" is a term and a concept with which the government has no legitimate business. But limited government does.

EDITED TO ADD:

Also via Instapundit, the invaluable John Keegan on responses to pirates. These guys are definitely less cute than Jack Sparrow and we hates them, Precioussssss. Let them learn why the U. S. Marine Corps was founded.

From Classical Values, a post on the difference between individualist and communitarian small-c conservatives in the context of the Tea Party movement.

Keith Hennessey, who was to George Bush as Larry Summers is to Barack Obama, offers some information on the "45 million uninsured" and several scenarios for approaching the subsets of the 45 million.

Back home, I continue to be amazed at how much easier it is to work in my home office now. I have this feeling that, in addition to the cat-hair and the fact that at any moment a wet-footed feline might land on what I was doing, just having a room-mate that was bat-shit crazy and also demented (slightly different things) added a certain atmosphere that took the edge off my concentration.
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The first order of business after having Ferko put to sleep was cleaning my office. I was a little afraid that she might have harbored some fleas, although I saw no signs on the occasions I was able to groom her, and although I had used Frontline on her last fall and last month.

As some of you know, my office is jammed with stuff, and cleaning it is a bit like working one of those toys that has fifteen numbered tiles on slots and sixteen spaces. So it has taken two days to move a bit of furniture, vacuum thoroughly, lay down a dose of pyrethins/methoprene on the carpet, and wipe down various surfaces.

As I was working on this, I came to realize the extent to which my life had become circumscribed by the need to accommodate my feline room-mates over the course of a decade. The remains of Fort Kitty have been removed; the pathways to allow Ferko to come and go no longer need to be kept clear; other horizontal surfaces that were subject to Ferko shedding and/or pushing things overboard are once again available for my professional use.

We have a Purple Dyson Animal vacuum cleaner, arguably the strongest, most pet-hair-competent suck-em-up made. My office, which is about 11' x 11', yielded two full canisters of Ferko hair. There's still some hair embedded in the carpet and some residual hair on surfaces, but I literally can breathe easier now.
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lauras_cats
Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Ferko, left, and Quaker City, named for the two string bands that came in first and second in the 1993 Mummers Parade. They were batshit crazy and not terribly good company, but I miss them.

Quaker City, August 1992 - October 10, 2005
Ferko, August 1992 - April 6, 2009

Together again...
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Cleaning up the cat hair seemed a good time to lay down a coat of methoprene spray in some of the corners of my office just in case Ferko and Co. had fleas.

When I went down to the basement to collect the spray I found (by smell) a small leak in the gas main, the pipe leading from the street to the meter. This is a good thing, as opposed to having something explode in the basement. (EDIT: And because it's between the meter and the street it's on them, not on us. Much brazing and installing of shiny silvery pipe has happened and it cost us nothing!)

Also, while cleaning I found a cassette of Linda Cohen breaking down her signature song, "Leda," and several others. I may have digitized all these, but it's good to have the tape.

Because my very small office is packed to the gunwhales with stuff -- and because for years it was arranged to accommodate my feline room-mates -- cleaning the office is a significant chore. I can only move one piece of furniture at a time. There's simply not enough floor space to move more.
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Ferko, 1992-2009
Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Ferko was very quiet this past weekend. I only saw her out of her cat bed twice. Once she crept, shakily, around some spots in my office sniffing the carpet. Once she staggered over to my lap.

I think she knew the end was coming and was okay with it. I don't believe she ate over the weekend and I saw no evidence that she'd used her litter box (or anything else) for three days. She went into her carrier with no fuss. I gave her a few treats and then we took her to the vets.

I didn't stay. I stayed with one animal once and don't think I made it any easier for her.

Ferko had a hard life. She was so timid that everything frightened her, so she was the ghost under the bed, in the basement, or, for the last six years, in my office. The glow in the picture is cast by the light we left on 24/7 for the past two years because she became disoriented in the dark.

This is never easy, but I feel better about it now then when we made the decision. It was the right thing; I think Ferko would have agreed if she could talk.
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I see four tomato seedlings poking up in the market pack -- that's more than I need for my little backyard. They're on a windowsill and reaching toward the light. I think I better move some coleus to a windowsill and clear space under the lights for the tomatoes.

The first parsley seedling is also coming up. The hippeastrum seedpods are swelling energetically.

It's wet and warm so the little bay tree is getting some filtered light and rainwater; the three pots of rosemary will probably go out in a little while.

Ferko's quality of life is poor. She's mostly doing two things now -- sleeping or wailing in terror. She wails if I leave the room and then cries herself to sleep. Yesterday she became disoriented and cut loose yowling while I was on a conference call, something I absolutely cannot tolerate. She's leaving messes on the floor. She's 17. I can't stand it any more and have made an appointment with the vet for Monday.
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From my email this morning: )

Other things I'll want to remember later:

  • I cut off four of the swollen seed-pods from my Hippeastrum to reduce the strain on the plant.
  • The penultimate Nopalxochia bloom collapsed last night, and the ultimate is starting to pink up. Considering I saw the first hint of a bud on February 25, I think I've gotten my money's worth out of this, metaphorically speaking.
  • The first tomato seedling is peeking through and there are heaps of weed seeds (grr) in the parsley flats.
  • And Ferko left her fourth consecutive pile of poop on the kitchen floor this morning. Plus she's yowling more.
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...except when it isn't. But today it's sunny, with temperatures forecast to be in the Fifties.

The Tucson Kid, from his hotel room at the Marriott where he's putting the finishing touches on his presentation, is complaining bitterly about the arctic cold and the absence of leaves on the trees here. I remind him that leaves come out on or about his birthday, something I really noticed when I brought him home from the hospital to a green and leafy world.

Kind of weird knowing he's a mile down the road, has been since last night, and I haven't seen him yet. But he should pay attention to his meetings and then play with Mom later.

The first Nopalxochia flower is going all squishy the way finished flowers do. Theoretically it will become a fat red fruit. This seems unlikely to me, given that there were no other flowers to pollinate it, but we'll see. I'll cut off the fruit if it does materialize.

I think I see signs of swelling at the base of the hippeastrum flowers I fertilized the other day. But last year, when I tried this in reverse (with Ma serving as Pa, so to speak), the seedpods swelled and then deflated, so we'll see.

Ferko seems to have settled into a pattern of peeing in her kitty litter, crapping on the carpet/floor. Since her solids are quite solid, that's not much of a hardship to clean up.

Yesterday I swept up the 1"-thick layer of birdseed hulls and winter debris from part of the "patio" area of my minuscule backyard. Today I plan to finish the job, so that when daughter-in-law comes to take the peach and crabapple trees to a Far Better Place she won't get squicked out.

I don't know how I feel about seeing my face in the user icon. I don't plan to make it my default.

Bad Ferko

Mar. 15th, 2009 10:32 pm
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Bad Ferko peed on the papers in front of her litter box. Which does not need to be cleaned.

The box isn't too high for her -- she hops up twice as far to climb to Fort Kitty.

Bad Ferko. She better knock it off. This is twice in one day that I've had to clean up after her. Her sister did this during the last three to six months of her life, too.
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Today, Atlas Shrugged is #27 on the Amazon best-seller list.

One commenter from the leftosphere snarked that most of the folks muttering darkly about "going John Galt" aren't going to be John Galt because they're not creative geniuses -- they're going to be Eddie Willers, the good-souled but not especially creative guy left weeping by the train tracks toward the end of the novel. Well, yeah, we know that. But we'd prefer that the John Galts stick around, thankyouverymuch.

in other, non-political news )
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Ferko gets three kitty treats along with her thyroid suppression pill, twice a day. The preferred place for administration of same is her cat-bed, which sits atop my credenza. A step-wise assembly of boxes etc. provides easy access. She doesn't like her pill very much but she sure loves her treats.

I've taken to asking her whether she's ready for "pills and treats." After a couple of weeks of that, she hot-foots it up the steps and sits on her cat bed as soon as she hears the magic words, ready for the indignity followed by the reward.

Northeaster

Mar. 2nd, 2009 02:23 pm
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The prevailing winds in our area are out of the west, meaning that our house is protected from the effects of winter winds by our neighbor to the west.

Not so during a northeaster. The rear of the house is exposed on the north and east walls. It's a smidge under 60F in my office today, and quite drafty. I am wearing multiple layers of clothing.

Trudging out to the Flower Show today did not look enticing, even though I set out my clothes, even though I got up at 5:30, and even though the buses were running and the Flower Show was open.

Ferko doesn't like the cold one little bit and is asking if The Lap is open. Better get my light colored lap apron on.
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090218_01hippeastrum
Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
They're not getting to be as big as I thought they would -- the blooms are about 4" in diameter today. There's more red in these than in the parent plant, but the stripes are pretty muddy. Still, I like them.

It rained most of the afternoon. I had to go out to a meeting and got soaked.

Ferko has become much more vocal -- strident, even. She's driving me crazy.


EDIT: Forgot to mention: I swept our sidewalk and shoveled leaves and debris out of the gutter yesterday, part of my modest effort to help with saving Philadelphia. Today I chased Sanitation workers down the street to demand that they come back and take the other half of the container of recycles that they'd somehow managed not to dump into the truck. Mutter, mutter.

According to today's news report, the plan to privatize trash collection is being discarded and the city is now simply contemplating charging to have Sanitation do it.
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Yesterday it hit 50F in Philadelphia, so I hopped on the bike, rode 2.5 mi to the supermarket that was selling whole pork loins for $.99/lb, ran into a sale on whole roasting chickens as well, and lumbered back with another 35 lb of meat on the bike. Afterwards, my knees felt...more or less like they used to when I hopped on my bike to go for a little ride, pre-diet. That tells me something.

It's another nice day today. When I break for lunch (as opposed to breaking for LJ), I think I'll repeat the experience, except that I'll stop at the Asian grocery on the way home to pick up vegetables and tofu.

Today I am doing something pretty mind-numbing: reconciling three sets of changes to the bylaws of the nonprofit I work for. Important work but fiddly, extremely fiddly.

I have felt so cozy in my home office over the weekend, using it as my den: listening to an audio book version of Little Women while knitting, with Flickr photo sets or groups done as slide shows on my monitor, and with poor old senile Ferko yowling to herself as background. I can hardly wait until I can pick it up again.

After Little Women, I think I'll do A Tale of Two Cities...
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When Ferko comes to my lap, she likes to bury her head in the crook of my elbow, or against my forearm, or even sit on my lap with her head pressed against my thigh.

This strikes me as supremely weird and I've never had another cat that does it. Is this some well-known sign of kitty anxiety or anything?
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Ferko has transformed herself into a lap cat. Wants to be on my lap almost all the time. She's hard to type around, though, and little clouds of white hair float through the air every time she moves or I pet her. I can't seem to groom her enough.

The biggest and plumpest of my seedling hippeastrum bulbs is now putting out a flower stalk, one that appears to be almost full-sized. This makes three so far.

Snow is forecast, to be followed (or so says the hyperventilating media establishment) bone-chilling cold. I wish these guys would turn down the alarmism. Still, I had best hustle to the crack dealer yarn shoppe and the Asian grocery this morning. Roy has already headed out to the sidewalk de-icer purveyor (hardware store).
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Either she regenerated her right front fang overnight, or I had a lapse of something or other when peering into her mouth the other day. The fang is there all right, a bit worn down but no doubt still serviceable enough for a cat that tears into nothing more challenging than Meow Mix.
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Several weeks ago I picked up an odd bit of something from the office floor, but had no clue what it might be.

Today as I was pilling Ferko, I realized that it was getting easier. I looked and saw that she is missing her upper right fang. Clearly, I'm not a very observant pet owner.

Bike ride

Nov. 28th, 2008 04:57 pm
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I haven't been on one for a deal of a while. Oh, I've hopped on my bike and run errands, but I think five or six miles has been my top ride for some weeks.

Today I pulled on two pairs of pants and went up and down the river drives, for a total of twelve miles. By the end, I was tired, and the cold had made me very stiff, and I had a little trouble getting my bike up the steps and into the house. Roy offered to help but I was determined to do it myself.

I decided it would be prudent to postpone my run to the PathMark until tomorrow. So I've worked another small wee bit on the aprons and am now in the process of turning the fourth apron string right side out (not my favorite job but then nothing about sewing is my favorite job these days). I'm wearing a bit of an improvised apron myself -- a towel with some bits of bias tape safety-pinned to it. It makes a nice warm apron and it catches the cat hair now that Ferko has decided to be a lap cat.

I'm almost warmed up. Tomorrow I will ride again and it will not be so hard.
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081121paperweight
Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Bleah. I have to go out in it later today to participate in a focus group.

At the moment, though, I feel all snug in my home office with a view of snowy rooftops and my newly social cat doing her best imitation of a paperweight.

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