Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Sorry. I look like one of those maniacally happy people. I promise to work on that in 2010.

Q: Wait -- what about the traditional Kovach cat holiday photo?
A: Franc and Kina aren't crazy about New Year's celebrations. Is this because they eat dinner at 11 pm, and therefore have trouble staying awake past 11:2o? Or because their mother can't in good conscience make them New Year's hats to wear for the occasion? (Not yet, with the Christmas hats are so fresh, or I risk becoming one of those ladies who dresses their pets). Or maybe Franc and Kina are bitter that they're too young (and feline) for the champagne. Possibly they're also too busy taking ornaments off the Christmas tree to celebrate the beginning of a new year (True story: The tree comes down tomorrow just in time, because Franc's taken about half the decorations off, and strewn them around the house. He leaves them by my bedside like little dead bird gifts. And he has a point. He tracked them down in a tree).

two excuses

I have been a bad blogger. (Which reminds me, I should tell you about the crazy socks I got from my mother-in-law. They say "naughty and nice" on them, and feature a picture of a decapitated gingerbread boy. Love it.)

Here are my two excuses:
(1) I have been overwhelmed by the holidays and working, two words that should not be in the same sentence ... but that is my sentence, because I work in a residential program.
(2) Our (neighbor's) internet at home has not been working reliably. Sometimes. So that's a bad excuse.
But your holiday gift to me can be to cut me some slack, because I had to work on Christmas. (Is it selfish if I think of that as one more reason for all you kids out there to practice safe sex? Use condoms, and put me out of a job on Christmas!)

And here is a story about how God gives you what you need when you need it.

I have a resident who is mildly retarded and bipolar. Let's call her Princess, but don't feel sorry for her! She is a bully, and I blame her for the fact that I was compelled to top off my coffee with a little Baileys yesterday (morning at 10:00). The past few days, she has been giving me way more than I know how to handle, and with the holidays, there aren't other staff members in the building for me to lean on (or send her to harass). Yesterday two of my sweetest clients were in the lounge watching television, and I got there fast when I saw Princess walk in and heard her start cursing. She was pitching a small fit, and quickly moved to the television and begin changing the channel. She continued to flip through the channels as she argued with me -- she hasn't really accepted that the lounge is a community area, and she has to share it with other people. The other girls avoid it, since Princess resides there almost constantly, and she's not exactly a peach. I told her if she couldn't socialize appropriately, she would have to leave, and living in community means blah blah blah. She argued, she cursed, she continued to change the channel, she refused to leave, she yelled... while the other ladies in the room looked at me wide-eyed. I came closer than I ever have to losing it. So I seized an opportunity to walk away, and happened to check my email.

On behalf the Professionalism Committee we would like to congratulate Karen K. for being selected staff for the December Character trait of Patience- The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

Maybe there's a little Holy Ghost in me after all. Thank goodness I wasn't the only one working over the holiday.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from meowr house to yours

Holiday news you can use: It takes a couple of tries to get a decent family portrait with two cats and a self-timer.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas funk

It feels like a crappy Christmas. Please, God, help me to celebrate the things that matter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This and that

Although I forgot to pack any underwear, Abe and I had a wonderful weekend in rural Virginia. (Don't worry. We stopped at K-Mart. I was the crazy person navigating the rental car, lost, and looking for where we were supposed to be going not nearly so much as I was looking for a place to buy panties.)

I am also days behind at work, and days ahead at Christmas presents. Of course, that means I'm taking on one more project, because I might be crazy, and it wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't stress-crafting!

Oh, and today one of my (African American) clients found out that I was born in Africa, and said that makes me a "half nigger." ARE YOU SERIOUS? Was the African or the white girl in me more offended?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No shame

I think that my sister is making fun of me (it's hard to tell... she lives in Haiti) because I made Santa hats for our kittens. But I have no shame.

There is a giant, live Christmas tree in my apartment right now, which is proof that putting your cat in a Santa hat will get you whatever you want. This is what they mean when they say "the magic of Christmas." It's the cat in the hat.

When I put little Kina's hat on, I think the grinch inside my (incredibly loving but Christmas-hating) husband ran screaming or melted. Because it was too cute. He couldn't stand it. And surprise! The next day, he took me Christmas tree shopping. (We found a perfect one, and hung all 12 of our ornaments on it last night.)

Even the cats feel the magic, because when Abe tries to put the hats away, they look for them. Abe hid them behind some things on the bookcase last night, and then - what? Franc, where did you get that adorable Santa hat to carry around in your mouth like a dog?

So, Lexi, maybe if you're lucky, little Luna will get a Santa hat this Christmas, and make all of your dreams come true.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to make a Santa hat : Your furry friend edition

Here is a confession: I have no Christmas decorations in my house. (Another confession: That's sort of a lie. Last night, I hung our Christmas stockings from the top of the TV.) Christmas decorations are problematic around here, because
  1. We already spent all our Christmas money on gifts.
  2. We both have to work Christmas Eve and Christmas anyway.
  3. Abe is a Christmas-hater. He says "Bah, humbug," and sprints past the storefronts where they're selling wreaths, because he knows I want one.
I make do with other round things.

So instead of decorating the apartment, I made decorations for the cats. The tiny Santa hats I came up with are so cute that I'm convinced it was tiny kittens in Santa hats that melted Scrooge's heart, and not visits from ghosts. (Am I right? Ghosts are not even real.)

Here's what you need to melt the heart of your own Scrooge with Santa hats for your pets:
  • paper
  • red felt
  • white feather boa (and white pom poms, if you prefer those for the top)
  • needle and thread (red and white)
  • scissors
  • elastic (I used hair elastics cut in the middle, which was cheap and awesome, since I have a stash of elastics without hair to put in them)
(Also recommended: Trader Joe's Gingerbread Coffee, which is superior to flavored coffee in every way because it's made with real pieces of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.)

Start by cutting a circle out of your paper. This is to create a pattern for the cone of the hat. I recommend tracing something round, or using a protractor to get a circle that's even all around. Make a cut from the edge to the center of the circle, and fold it around until the cone shape is the width and height that you want. Mark a line where that is, and cut a pie-piece out of the circle that's 1/2 to 1/4 inch larger than the cone you want. Now you're ready to cut your felt, using the pattern you created from paper.

At this point, you'll want to stay-stitch, which means grab your red thread and needle, and stitch all around the circumfrance (by which I mean just the rounded side), about 1/4 inch from the edge. This going to help your felt keep its shape as you work. Don't worry if it's crooked - it'll be covered by the trim.

Next, you form your cone. You'll want to pin a couple places to make sure you don't end up with a big hole in the top of your hat, and then stitch from the bottom up to the tip. At this point, your hat should look like this one. (Kina kept tabs on my progress, because she fell in love with the feather boa and couldn't wait for me to get to that part.)
You're ready to attach your strap. (I used dark elastic because that matches my cats best, and it's brilliant - you can't even tell it's strapped on. so I recommend choosing a color that will blend with your pet.) If you want the seam to be in the back of the hat, fold your cone in half, with the seam in the center. Tuck your elastic into one side like so:And stitch the elastic to the felt on both sides. All that's left are the trimmings! Cut a short piece from your feather boa (an inch or a little more) to top the hat with, and measure around the bottom circumference to cut the piece for the bottom trim. (I used fabric glue on the cut ends to try to manage the deluge of feathers coming off the boa, and that seemed to do the trick.) Use your white thread to stitch your feather trim to the hat. Kina got a fitting before I added the final trim.
And ta da! Franc can't wait to (m)eat the reindeer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Did you ever make out with your cat?

I ask because I did, and I don't want to be judged too harshly. I'm already thinking about the jail time, because I know sexual acts and maybe even romantic gestures involving animals are illegal in some states. Plus it was an accident. And I don't want to go to jail!

Neither does Kina. She's in hiding.

Kina has this thing about toothpaste, a crazy little thing (called love). I discovered it when she was a kitten, and I put toothpaste on my toothbrush, walked away to answer the phone, and returned to find a naked toothbrush and a tiny kitten sitting by the sink. She had her mouth open just a little bit, and she was looking around from side to side, like "golly, surely somebody'll come by and notice how I'm minty fresh!" I freaked out and called the vet, who told me not to worry. Who knew? A lot of cats have unusual tastes. (Just at my house, their tastes require veterinarians.)

So since then, we don't leave our toothpaste unattended. And since then we do this thing after we brush (besides leaving travel covers on our toothbrushes to keep her from sucking on them). I'll open my mouth really wide, and she gets really, really close, and sniff, sniff, sniff. When I let her do this, I am very popular, and since the rest of the time, she could take me or leave me and doesn't seem to care either way, I let her do this all the time. (Shut up. You have issues too.)

Tonight it was just the same old thing. And then she kissed me. She actually licked my tongue. So really, I'm the victim here.

Fa la la la meow

I like pretty much everything about our vet -- except for their insane prices (which I think is fairly universal vet practice) and their recommendation of Advantage Multi to melt the skin off our cats.

I especially like that they send me e-cards for all the important kitty holidays, like Kina's birthday, Franc's birthday, and Christmas. These aren't just any e-cards. These are the e-creepiest cards ever. (Be sure to watch all the way to the end, to see the ultimate creepy kitten Christmas dinner.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Good news is good news

I unexpectedly had an awesome day at work today. Right now, the hall I work on is packed. I've been losing my mind dealing with high-maintenance clients, their unborn children, their abundant baggage, and their developmental, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

But today was the best I've had in months. All my residents got along! I had productive meetings! There was laughter! There was news of a bonus (holla!) that I wasn't expecting! There was an encouraging conversation with my supervisor, when she told me she understands second-shift burn-out, and is willing to put out 'feelers' for me on some potential new grant-funded positions!

On a high from all of this positivity, I agreed to be the agency's Substance Abuse Coordinator. It's not a new job or a promotion - more of a title I'm taking on for grant purposes (I tell myself this over and over to ease the fear that I'm taking on more responsibility without more compensation. Again). I'll continue to do the substance abuse work I've been doing since I started: dragging reluctant and sometimes kicking-and-screaming women to NA meetings, administering a drug/alcohol assessment tool to new residents, convincing (read: bribing, pleading, begging) residents to attend their recommended treatment classes day after day after day.... And pee testing.

So a little good news may be a dangerous thing. But I still want to celebrate.

Sibling rivalry : I lose.

I've got nothing to compete with the cute kitten pictures on Ben and Lexi's blog - just some pictures of brussel sprouts because I was thinking of posting a recipe soon (they're cream-braised! With lemon! And still, not so appealing as a kitten).

And I also have this:
This list is an awesome resource if you're cutting back on expensive gifts this Christmas, and need a few good homemade suggestions, or if you're just at that point in life when everyone you know is having babies (93 maternity/infant/toddler tutorials?! Even I don't know that many pregnant women!).