Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Atkins Diet for Cats

That's what the vet prescribed for Franc when he went in today for his rabies vaccine and distemper booster shot. (I need them to make that for people.)

"Atkins for Catkins." That's what I wanted to call this post, but I decided I should try not to let on how crazy I am, at least not so soon in our relationship.

Apparently, canned cat food is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which is just what Dr. Atkins ordered for People. Another bonus? It contains more water than dry cat food (duh! But I promise I'm going somewhere with this), which is good for cats and good for me, because Franc likes knocking over the water bowl to play in it more than he likes drinking from it. And I'm tired of cleaning up.

By some strange coincidence that makes me appear much more organized than I am (so I'll mention it here), Franc was seen at the vet exactly a year ago today. He was a little more than 3 months old, and weighed 2.15 pounds.
Franc with his grandpa Paul, circa Sept. 14, 2008

Today, he weighed 11, which means he has quadrupled in size in 12 months (I think), and needs to lose 3 pounds. (Me too.) It turns out that's the equivalent of a Person losing 30 pounds, so we'll be instituting Fitness for Franc. Maybe on Fridays, because it alliterates so nicely.

Since we're already feeding him the recommended 1/4 cup of dry food twice a day (No more! No, Franc, you really can't have more.), the vet told us to put him on a canned food diet and increase exercise. So of course I told him to chase his kitten sister around the house twice daily and spend more time jumping into the bed with me.

He said, "I hate you, Mother, for making me see the mean cat doctor. And where is my dinner?"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Because I promised

The international festival at UNCC is a big deal. I'm talking live music, traditional dancers from just about everywhere, and more booths than John Wilkes. Abe and I went on Saturday with some friends, and it was highly entertaining. Note to self: bring cash next time! I'm a sucker for some international snacks.

Afterward, we went to dinner with our friends and a whole slew of their friends. I was going to make this whole post about how Abe accidentally hit me in head in front of them, because I thought "ow!" and "this will be hilarious later!" It turns out I didn't know any of those people well enough for it to turn into anything except humiliations galore. (Surprise! Not all accidents are funny.)

So I'm out a good story for today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Benefits versus risks of napping

I put myself to sleep this afternoon trying to write a blog post. (You can thank me later and in monetary ways that you'll never have to read that one.) The nap was great, thanks for asking. Try back tomorrow.

And in the meantime, here is Franc in the bath!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Get a life

What are you doing here? It's the weekend, and you should have something better to do.

(In case I don't, come back tomorrow! I just may write about the International Festival at UNCC and our delicious dinner afterward, when Abe socked me in the head in front of 8 strangers.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

5 things to love about Google Analytics

If you have a website, you need Google Analytics now. Right now. Why is it my favorite website? Since you twisted my arm, I'll make a list.
  1. It tells me everything about you. (Don't worry, not your social security number.) By you, I mean you people out there reading this. It tells me if you have dial-up or broadband. It tells me your rough geographic locations. It tells me which of my blog pages you most enjoy looking at. It tells me how many "you" are.
  2. It revealed that I have a reader in Pakistan. Hello, Islamabad! I am glad you're here.
  3. How did you find me? Some of you came via Lexi's blog. Some of you stopped by after visiting Joie. Some of you came from Google!
  4. Google led you here when you were looking for "out of office email jury duty," "pool side fun blog," and "worldwide pants" (really?!) This sort of makes my day.
  5. All of this information - and believe me, more - is presented in clever little line graphs and pie charts. And who doesn't like pie?! I remember nothing from school about Cartesian coordinates or x- and y- axes, so it boggles my mind that Google Analytics writes them about me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There's no place like home

Around 8:30 this morning, I walked through our apartment complex to meet a friend for coffee (Hi, Kendall!). There were five undercover cops in the parking lot - or at least, I'm telling myself they were undercover cops, because they had weapons and radios strapped all over their legs. You ask what kind of neighborhood needs undercover cops before breakfast?

I'll tell you: a safer neighborhood than the one where the guys with guns aren't cops.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to floss

I went to the dentist recently. I hate the dentist more than other people, because I have rotten teeth. Not actually rotten, but soft and cavity-prone. After my exam, the dentist always looks at me in a disappointed way, and tells me I have bad teeth and four cavities, and then writes me a prescription for toothpaste, never failing to mention that usually, only the very elderly have to resort to prescription toothpaste. And I feel ashamed, like a kid with a bad report card demoted to a remedial class. (When I lived in Portland, I had a hot man-dentist. That made it worse. I hated seeing him - by which I mean I hated him seeing my lousy teeth).

This time, the dentist finished the exam, and said "everything looks good!" Shocked, I said, "weawy?" (meaning "really," because it's hard to talk with someone's hand in your mouth). Surprised at my surprise, the dentist said "yup."

I suspect he may be blind, or maybe just bad at his job. But I'm going to keep seeing him anyway, because he made me feel great about my teeth. And that's worth flossing for.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ignorance is bli$$

Seriously? $849 for a little help studying for the GRE? No thank you, UNCC. At those prices, I'm happy to wallow in my ignorance (also, it's all I can afford).

Monday, September 21, 2009


Since the Great Commitment of '08 (a.k.a. my wedding), I've hardly had a night alone. That, I hear, is the point. So I considered carefully how I should spend my time when Abe left Sunday on a three day boys-only trip to camp and fish.

I'll give you the run-down for free, because I'm considering adding advertising to this blog, which will obviously result in fabulous wealth (or $1.00 would be fine) that will more than make up for me giving you my two cents for nothing.

Based on my two days of experience, here is how to make the most of a weekend alone.
  1. Meet up with people. You could do this in all sorts of ways - I did via church, since it was conveniently Sunday morning when Abe left. Make sure these are people who care about you and have food.
  2. Make sure you mention you're alone. Even though you are a grown-up person and fully self-sufficient, these people will most likely feel (a) sorry for you, and (b) obligated to take care of you, especially if (a) they are your parents, and (b) you are still sniffling from a cold (fake it if you're one of those people with a functional immune system).
  3. You have already scored. The above actions will result in an invitation of some kind (85% of these invitations will involve free food. Don't ask how, this is science). In my case, I got invited for an entire sleepover, because I took full advantage of all the results-boosting options (listed as (a)'s and (b)'s above).
Of course, it wasn't all that easy. In order to spend the night at my parents' house in Waxhaw, I had to pack up the cats. Those cats had no interest whatsoever in loading themselves into their carrier, which necessitates an exercise commonly referred to as "herding cats." As an expert in the discipline with millions in ad revenue on their way from my blog, I'll offer the following tips pro bono.
  1. You will need at least two and a half* full-grown adults (or one adult per cat, plus at least one half additional adult. Here is this convenient equation, because I took algebra once and then forgot everything: x=y+1/2, where x=adults and y=number of cats) in good health to attempt this.
  2. You may want to wear long sleeves, long pants, long socks, and long gloves, or borrow a beekeeper's suit from a friend. (Also, introduce me to that friend?) Or declaw your cats.**
  3. One adult should pursue each cat. It's wise to shut off any doors by which the cats might try to escape before introducing the carrier(s) to their environment. A frightened cat with any brain waves whatsoever will immediately look for a place to hide. Don't try this in a bedroom! Your cat Will Not Ever come out from under the bed. Even for earplugs (a.k.a. food).
  4. The additional half adult should watch and try not to laugh. Because this is serious business. They should also be put in charge of the carrier(s) - opening the doors and closing them once the cat is contained. Lightning speed is of the essence!
  5. Once the cats are captured, hold on for your life. And stuff them as quickly as you can into the carrier(s). If you have trouble remembering, just think: "hold and stuff."
  6. Then you may need some ear plugs of your own, because the cats will mew and meow furtively, and plaintively, and at first it will be hard to resist letting them out. And then it will just get old. So the ear plugs will be good either way.

*My mother is suffering from a broken elbow acquired in a bicycle wreck. The alleged "accident" involved her son-in-law Ben, who is an experienced rider who has won prizes in bike trials as well as ridden a ten-speed across America. Is this suspicious? You ask yourselves.

**DON'T! I shout because I actually don't at all believe in declawing. Because (a) how would you feel if somebody ripped your fingernails off?, and (b) without claws your Fluffy has no way to protect herself if she ever gets lost or a crazed possum breaks into your house.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where have I been all your life?

  1. At Charlotte's Greek festival. If the gyros and loukamades and men dressed straight out of 'Troy' weren't enough to get you there, they call it "Yiasou!" A good name for any party.
  2. Accidentally, at a pagan festival - because Abe was trying to read the sign wrong-side front, and said, "it's the Pecan Pride Festival!" And I'm a sucker for a free sample. (Tarot card reading, not so much.)
  3. Riding bikes on the greenway by Freedom Park. They have bridges and creeks and ducks and snakes, but the wildlife mostly leaves you alone.
  4. Bouldering at Crowder's, where they've opened a new area that is all for bouldering! (And by "bouldering," of course I mean climbing around for a little while, and then napping in a hammock.) I should also mention that my climbing shoes have angry monkeys on them. Perfect.
  5. Out for jury duty.
  6. Working, and madly, because I have 15 pregnant ladies and only 8 hours, 2 hands, and 1 brain (possibly less) to deal with all of them.
  7. Out for what I thought was tonsillitis, but turns out to just be a cold. Again. Our friend Josh said, "geez, are you ever not broken?" The answer seems to be a pretty clear "no." (My coworkers think this is hilarious justification to carry on with their crappy eating habits, since I eat more vegetables in a day than they do collectively in a work week, and have used more sick time since I started than probably everyone else put together.)
  8. Making homemade applesauce in my crock pot. (Now you can too: cut up your apples and core them. You can peel them or not. Put them in your crock pot with a little water, a little cinnamon, a little vanilla. You can use a weensy bit of brown sugar, but you don't need to. Cook on low until you can mash the apples with a fork. Mm.)
  9. Drinking tea. Constantly. (See #7)
  10. Reading other people's blogs, and gaining an internet inferiority complex. (Other people are funny! Other people have great pictures on their blogs! Other people's blogs are focused. Some people's blogs are about food! And crafts.) I'm trying to turn some of that moping around, and I'm playing with a couple of ideas to liven it up in here. So stay tuned!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Civic Duty: unfortunately, not test-driving a 2010 Honda hybrid with a dual point sequential ignition system, whatever that is

I sent an "out of office" email a few minutes ago, because I've been summoned for jury duty starting Monday. (Hopefully ending Monday as well, but that remains to be seen.) Jury duty is one of those things - like amputation or winning raffles - that Happens To Other People. I thought that the district court had surely made a mistake when I got my summons. Don't they know I'm just a college kid? (That's seriously what I first thought. My age has not caught up with me.) Don't they know I'm not just?

People had suggestions for me when I told them I had jury duty I didn't want. "Point out that you've moved to another county!" (FAIL.) "Write and explain it would be a hardship for you to appear." (ANOTHER FAIL) "Fill out the juror survey and say that the last book you read was 'Mein Kampf' and your hobbies are 'KKK meetings and building pipe bombs,' or 'Ridin' dirty and flippin' off the po-po in my hood.'" "Show up for duty in a t-shirt covered in anarchist slogans or remarks about what white people smell like." Actually, no one suggested those last two. I came up with those myself when I was feeling smart.

I told someone at work that I was freaking out about jury duty. I think she was trying to reassure me when she said, "Don't worry, you'll never be selected anyway. They only choose people who are reasonable."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

blanc de blanc

Last night one of my residents told me that she couldn't live with her roommate because her roommate is white and "smells different." I told her I would be happy to address any hygeine issues with her roommate (because I'm plenty experienced with that), and she said, "it's not that. It's not that I'm racist, because I'm not. It's just that white people smell different."

(Thank you. That would be my expensive 'eau de social work.')

I pointed out to her how that was a fairly racist sentiment, and challenged her by saying that sometimes we grow up with certain prejudices or ideas about others that it's healthy to grow out of as we learn more about the world.

(Please, God, help me not to point out how much she stinks.)

Then she said, "They smell like wet dog and spoiled milk."

(Then I said, "You are a brat. You should get over thinking that you are better than everyone else, and to do that, I'm going to move to you a suite of All White People until you smell just like them." To myself.)

I nearly ended it there by saying that I didn't think I should continue the conversation in the interest of maintaining a shred of professionalism. (I have that.) But the good Lord was with me, and so instead I asked if she realized what she had just said.

"Oh, but Ms. Karen, I don't think of you as a white person."

At this point, all I could do was stare at the hand in front of me, and wonder what color she thinks it is. So I beg the question: if you can't tell by looking, how do you know if you're white? Here's the evidence against me:

EXHIBIT A: Last week, one of the minors was describing where her neighbor lives. "It look like a white person house," she said. Everyone laughed, and all the heads in the room swiveled toward me.
EXHIBIT B: People are surprised when I tell them I'm from Africa. They say, "I didn't know white people came from Africa."
EXHIBIT C: As a teenager in Cameroon, men frequently asked me to make metisse babies with them.

In less snarky news, I have another resident who wears a t-shirt that says "Worldwide Pants Incorporated." Maybe when I'm too burnt out to social work, I'll get a job in Worldwide Pants.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Does it make me as old as your mom that I just had a 5 year reunion with friends from college?

I'm back from Boston, and completely exhausted. I should have seen this coming and requested a day off to recover. Instead, on Monday I flew back to Charlotte on a 6 am flight and reported to work at 3 pm. I've been dragging ever since. It feels criminally mean that I have to wait until Saturday for a day off.

Here is a problem with vacation, especially vacation with old friends: it makes work seem even less fun, because it points out what you're missing in all of those hours that you're copying and filing and trying to convince pregnant women to quit smoking and fighting each other. If you haven't taken a vacation in a while, you may be missing:
  1. late night "fast walks" - not runs - to the store
  2. a good Dark 'n' Stormy (HINT: add a splash of bitters!)
  3. hilarious conversations that should definitely not take place in public (...oops.)
  4. photo ops (sometimes photo oops) on street corners and in front of historic buildings
  5. much less sleep than you would be if you were trying to cram five years of fun into less than five days.
Now I am missing those things, too. Today I had to make a quick Fedex run to mail some mail, and I think I got tetanus using their restroom. I'm also convinced that they put receipt printer paper on their toilet rolls.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Boston or bust!

Today I'm off to Boston! It's going to be a fantastic weekend reunion with four of my best mates from college. It only took me three hours to pack a suitcase with a volume of about three cubic inches, because I'm told that it's cold in Boston, and since last winter I have forgotten important skills like : how to layer, how to tuck jeans into boots, how to match, and where is my coat?

In my defense, most of those hours were spent trying on outfits that I didn't pack and tearing apart the bathroom, because when I travel I become obsessed with finding the tiniest containers. Tiniest suitcase? Check. Tiniest face cream? Check. Tiniest lotion? Where is the tiniest lotion?! The size of the emergency is inversely proportional to the size of the tiniest lotion.

So hopefully after all that I remembered to pack my underwear, because in fifteen minutes, I'm off!

Here's hoping that you have a wonderful labor day weekend, and interpret it less literally than my coworker (who will be - you guessed it - working) and my client (who should be in an entirely different kind of labor this weekend).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Please pass the DEET

I've thought of a number of hilarious things to blog about in the last several days. Unfortunately for both of us, now I can't remember any of them.

We had house guests last week, which was terrific. Deb (my most humorous friend from high school) and her mom stayed a few days in the middle of a road trip. They ended up showing us around the city, since I apparently know nothing about Charlotte. Deb (most humorous) took us to Wing Haven Gardens, which is a 3 + acre garden in the middle of Charlotte where the wildlife is supposed to be bountiful and tame. We saw hardly any wildlife, so I can only assume that the "aviary" part was referring to the mosquitos, which were bird-sized.

The Prayer of St. Francis was carved on a plaque in the garden.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(I think he might have worked at NYM Maternity Home.)