Buddha, Toltec and Evaki

Latest fostering epidemic … er … adventure leaves us now with Evaki (mom cat) and Toltec, her son.  Buddha is from a different litter and has kept Toltec company after his siblings went off to their new homes.  We said “no” to fostering for a while… and will say “no” again when this batch is gone.  But I never regret the time spent with each and every foster cat and kitten that makes its way from death’s door to our house to a permanent home.  Just requires getting used to little ladders of kitten scratches up and down legs and arms (they do like to climb) and realizing a certain amount of writing time does get sucked away by the Ultimate Cute of Kittens.

Okay, I have posted again after another hiatus caused by brain fog.  Hopefully (sorry, Mom, but it’s a word now and not nearly as bad as some of the ones Sarah Palin uses) I will be able to find my steady rhythm again.

Day 27 – Why Napping With Kittens is an Oxymoron

At least with the Mesoamerican kittens currently occupying our guest room.  Mind you, we’ve had kittens who like nothing better than to curl up with us when we lie down, content to find a warm spot under a chin, against the curve of an armpit or crook of an elbow, or nestled in my hair, and just purr.  Haggis and company (the litter by which all kittens are held in measurement) would cling to us for hours like little cockleburrs when we sat on the couch. I used to call them our little lapel pins before they grew too big to cling without ripping fabric.

But Aztec, Toltec, Olmec and Maya?

Not so much.

Oh, they are adorable and sweet.  They love it when human company enters their room.  Evaki (momcat) starts purring almost immediately when she sees us.   But if I lie down, curling up and napping with me is not on the agenda.  They can be sound asleep when I come in (their favorite new perch is the lowest tier on the cat tree) and will stare at me sleepily, doing that adorable kitten blinking and yawning  for a few minutes while I settle myself comfortably on the futon.  I’ll burrow under the quilt and settle myself for a nap.

And then they wake up, one at a time, and decide to come explore the new object (me) in the room.  I’ll have my eyes shut and hear the ominous sound of kitten paws skittering across the hardwood floor.  I know something is looking at me; I can feel the heat of its stare through my closed eyelids.  Opening my eyes, I’m confronted with the wide, slightly

sociopathic stare that only a kitten can manifest (and still look adorable) as Maya, now nose to nose with me, raises one paw … “Ooh!  Those fringe things–” my eyelashes –“they move!  Must. Swat!”   

I try hiding under the quilt, but she just wriggles her way underneath and finds new things to attack, such as the string on my pajama bottoms, my hand and fingers, my elbow, my hair, my neck, my chin… 

And then her three brothers join her in a leaping, nibbling, swatting, springing, skittering display of feline acrobatics that is truly impressive, even if I am being used as a combination trampoline, springboard and protective cover.  Lots of places to crouch and hide behind, including more burrowing under the quilts.  They’re like little feline jumping spiders.  

Evaki, in the meantime, generally comes up next to me for some love.  Her expression suggests she really appreciates me giving her a break from her off-springs’ manic attention.  

The payoff (aside from the fact watching their antics is better than television) is when they wear themselves out, falling asleep in exhausted kitten piles wherever they’ve happened to collapse,  little purring bundles of love.  I may be tired a lot these days, but I never get tired of the experience. 


Day 12 – Research

Yikes, I was so busy a: taking care of kittens (okay, playing with them); b: putting Advantage and new collars/tags on our resident felines (got all but one of ’em!); and c: researching and writing on FIXATION last night that I totally forgot to put up a post for this morning!  And I don’t have any cute pictures on hand to toss up and caption so I’ll have to actually have… gasp… CONTENT.

Which brings me to the research portion of my c: category up there.

I’ve never been huge on preemptive research for my projects.  If I need to find out something specific, sure, I’ll grab a book or use Google and figure out what I need on the spot.  I’ve written a lot about what I know (places, subjects, clothes, food, zombies) and didn’t really need a lot of help getting going on stories or novels. I find the more I write, however, the more I’ve been relying on research to lend credibility to even the most fantastical plot elements (zombies, shamans, were-jaguars, flu vaccines gone REALLY wrong, and just how would the military deal with a zombie outbreak?) on one of my current projects, I’ve been using it to help spark ideas to expand a short story into a book.

FIXATION was originally a short story for the Ravenous Romance anthology FANGBANGERS (I’ll let you figure the title out) about a girl with psychic powers who encounters a shape-shifting jaguar shaman trapped at a place loosely based on the Exotic Feline Breeding Facility, where I’ve volunteered for over twelve years to varying degrees. I did a little research for the story on Meso-American cultures, trying to figure out where would be the best place to have my shaman originate, what culture I wanted to use as the historical starting point and inspiration for names/gods/goddesses/type of magic … stuff like that.  I spent about an hour trolling the web and our home library for what I needed.  And then the story pretty much wrote itself.

The book, however, has been proving more problematic because my writing muscles over the last few months have not been exercised as much as they’d been the previous three years.  For a number of reasons to be found in my blog archives, I pretty much took a break from writing with the exception of re-reading my first Ashley Parker (formerly Ashley Drake) novel with an eye towards revising for its paperback re-release with Titan Books.  So my brain has been very reluctant to get back with the program as far as coming up with fresh ideas.  I could make a bad joke about not needing fresh ideas for a zombie novel, but I’ll just let that one sit and rot.  HAH!

ANYway, a friend of mine (thank you, Maureen!) loaned me a bunch of books on South and Central American culture, shamans, spirit animals.  I’m halfway through JAGUAR (about Alan Rabinowitz, the man who established the world’s first jaguar preserve in Belize) and it’s fascinating, heart-breaking, and the most random bits have sparked ideas and filled in huge gaping plot holes.  The actual writing is still coming very slowly compared to my previous speed (I am a word count whore, okay?  I admit it!), but it’s coming and I’m putting the time in.

All in all my attitude towards research has changed and I’m no longer looking at it as taking away from my writing but rather a part of the process as a whole.  Of course, I have to watch that I don’t use it as an excuse to not put the time in on the actual writing and acquisition of precious word count.   I’m great at rationalizing and I do love to read.  As with many other things in life it’s all about balance.  And word count. And kittens. 

Day Three – Kittehs!!!

Wee baby kittehs!  These are currently residing in a friend’s bathroom along with their mother, a beautiful gray cat with a kinked tail.  At first we thought her tail had been injured, but then Mo noticed that several of the nine kittens (yup, you read that right…NINE kittens in this litter) have the same kink in their wee little tails.  Momcat has been keeping the kittens in a little ‘hut’ made of foam and fleece; Mo went into the bathroom this morning and found that Momcat had moved her babies out into the bathroom proper.  Wall to wall kittens!  

I especially like the little bruiser with his eyes open, gnawing on his sibling’s paw… Nom nom nom!!!   

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who donated to the feline cause and a lucky break with one of our local humane societies, we will be able to get all five cutie kittens spayed/neutered the end of July, which means they’ll be able to go to their adoption center up in Santa Rosa (if they’re not adopted out first, of course!).  Moxie, the mom-cat, was spayed July 2nd and is enjoying a kitten-free convalescence with M, while the five rug-rats are currently skittering around Dave’s and my guest room.  Fun to have them, but I’ll be relieved when they’re gone.  So far our permanent feline residents are handling the invasion with good humor and grace (in other words, no random peeing or destruction of clothing/books/other property).  I just don’t wanna push our luck or their patience.

So thanks, everyone!  And thanks, MY momcat for sending a check ’cause she doesn’t do that Paypal thing.  🙂

In other news, I have just been too damn tired to do much of anything in the way of posting. I believe it’s called ‘Total Burnout.’  Either that or ‘Insidious Depression.’  If the latter, I’m sure it was caused by the former.  So I’ve been taking it easy on myself, catching up on emails, and lying in the middle of the guest room bed letting kittens swarm me.  Ever been swarmed by five purring kittens, all looking for dangly bits on your clothing to attack?  I highly recommend it as a pick-me-up.  I hope to be back in full on writing mode after this weekend and just a few more nights of letting my brain rest and not forcing it to think or do anything it doesn’t feel like doing at the moment.  And lots of sleep.

I did have a flying dream last night, where everytime I started to lose the power to fly, I’d just tell myself I could do it, and WHOOSH, back up in the air I went with more control than I’ve ever had in one of my flying dreams.  Pretty sweet!