Some people don’t take me seriously…

…when I tell them my brains have been sucked out by kittens.  These people obviously have never been in the room with two five week old kittens who’ve only recently discovered the power of swift (if clumsy) locomotion. Little furry jumping spiders, skittering, hopping and hobby-horsing around the room, up and over low lying obstacles (we have a tall cat tree turned on its side, providing hours of fun tearing around carpeted tunnels), then running over to check out any available human.  Evidently we smell REALLY interesting.

I can literally watch them for hours.  I don’t, of course, because I am a: not home to do so and b: when I am home, have my writing quota, plus our permanent horde of felines needing attention.  But it’s amazing how much time can pass when hypnotized by staring kitten button eyes.

That’s all I got tonight, folks.  I feel the pull of the kittens.

Can’t. Resist!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

I survived the week and am alive.  ALIVE!!!  Picture Dr. Frankenstein standing over me screaming, “It’s alive!” and you have the right idea.  It’s Friday and while I have a busy day at work, it’s an unpacking/sorting/organizing sort of day, which is just the thing when you don’t want to have to think too hard.  We also have a massage therapist coming today as a treat for the team and I have a half hour massage after all of this lugging/sorting/etc.  Sweet!

And today, of course, is my favorite holiday, Halloween.  And tonight our friends Aldyth, Brad and Maureen are coming over to watch scary movies (well, Zombie Strippers may not be scary, but it should be entertaining and hey…zombies!) and hand out candy if we have any trick-or-treaters.  I’m making jack-o-lantern shaped pasta and we have Zombie Zinfandel to serve with it.  Works for me!

We don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, which is a shame. It’s mainly families so I would think they’d be out and about, but for whatever reason our street is devoid of them.  Bums me out because I love looking at all the adorable little rugrats in their costumes.  Nothing cuter than a butterball toddler bundled up in a furry lion or ladybug costume.  My brain melts when I see them, just the same way it melts when I look at kittens. 

In Glendale, Brian and I used to have mobs of trick-or-treaters.  We’d decorate the front porch, Brian would wear costumes and lurk in the shadows to give the kids a good scare (the teenagers trying to be tough cracked me up; hard to be tough after you’ve screamed like a five year old girl), and we’d play Night of the Living Dead loudly in the living room.  My new Halloweens in San Francisco are different and it took me a while to reconcile myself to the changes, but this year promises to be a good one. 

My favorite Halloween, though, was the year Beezle showed up.  Halloween of 1996.  Brian finished carving the jack-o-lantern into a grinning cat face, set it out on the porch and lit the candle.  I heard a loud ‘Doh!!’ and went outside to see what happened.  Brian pointed to the bottom of the porch stairs.  I looked and saw the tips of little black ears, then big gold eyes followed by nose, whiskers and the rest of a tiny black kitten.  The brain melting commenced as the kitten crawled up the steps straight to my feet.  I scooped him up and Brian said, ‘well, hey there, little Beelzebuddy!’  He started purring and that is how Beezle came into my life.  I have a pictures somewhere of him sitting in the jack-o-lantern after we took the candle out looking as cute as any Halloween card kitten; I wish I had it to post here today.

Beezle is now a grumpy 12 year old alpha male, but still his mother’s little darling. And still the best Halloween present a gal could ask for.  And because I got such a good present for Halloween, I’m gonna share one with you as well – as part of the Fatal Foodies Halloween Trick-or-Treat event, if you leave a comment at my blog from today through November 8th, you will be entered to win a copy of Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon.  Be sure to go to Fatal Foodies as well as other members are doing the same thing!  You’ll find links to their blogs at Fatal Foodies, which is a very cool blog all on its own!  Also be sure to go to my friend Marvin’s blog and check out his Halloween story, based on five silly elements I gave him.  I’ll let you go over there to check out what I did to him.  Heh.  AND check out Make Mine Mystery for Free for all Friday fun!

Happy Halloween from me and Beezle! 

Next Week

Next week is going to be a bit intense at my day job – overtime will be the norm, not the exception for at least three days.  One day will be 8am to 8pm, then the next will be 6am till 8pm, then up to be at work by 7am the following day.  I will be spending one night at a hotel up the street from work to save the commute time.  This weekend was supposed to be an intensive writing weekend, but today has been so far spent at the vet’s with three sick kittens, one in critical condition.  We’re hoping the little guy will pull through, but it’s time intensive.  We’re also bottle feeding one of the other babies ’cause his nose was so stuffed up he couldn’t find his mom’s milk dispenser via smell.

So I’m taking a break next week from blogging other than my Monday post at Fatal Foodies and a short post at my new group blog Make Mine Mystery, started by Morgan Mandal.  I post at Fatal Foodies every Mondayand will be posting at Make Mine Mystery every 1st and third Sunday (tbc).  Look for the Den to be back in action next weekend!

Note:  Since writing this, we lost our little sick boy…  he fought a brave fight, but his lungs weren’t strong enough and he slipped away in his sleep a while ago.  I can definitively say I lack the necessary detachment to be a truly effective foster parent.  This just hurts so badly…

Introducing Butterscotch and her family

This is Butterscotch and her newborn kittens.  We got a call yesterday for emergency feline fostering.  If they couldn’t find fosters, this lovely baby and her kittens, plus others, would be euthanized.  We agreed to take Butterscotch (my name for her) and the babies, figuring Momma Cat would do all the work.  No bottle feeding every three hours, just feed Momma and make sure things are kept clean and neat.  No bottle feeding means less chance of the uber bonding that always happens when I feed the babies every few hours and they look at me as their mom.   Butterscotch, on the other hand, is about as sweet and loving as a rescue cat could be.  We have them in a warm, cozy cage in the garage (the warmest room in our house).  It’s kept shut so Butterscotch won’t up and move the kittens to some nook or cranny where we can’t get to them.  But I’ve already let her out to roam a few times (supervised) and it’s so cute to watch – she’ll come out and let me pet her, then go back into the kittens.  Then back out again for pets and a little exploration…then back in.  She went to the far end of the garage for a bit; I called to her and she came trotting back, tail and ears perked up, straight to me.


We have them until the kittens are old enough to adopt (two months).  Then they go up for adoption via the cat rescue organization involved.  They are supposed to pay for all vet bills in the interim.  My only caveat is if the cats are supposed to go into a shelter environment during the adoption procedure.  I can’t stand the thought of giving them love and a comfy place and a place to play (we’ll be moving them when the kittens are old enough to start playing and need more room) only to back into steel cages full time.  So we’ll see.

But in the meantime, all of the fun of watching kittens and none of the work of bottle-feeding!

Mid-Week Brain Freeze

Or brain meltdown.  When I hear stories about authors like J.K. Rowling writing the first draft of Harry Potter on napkins on her breaks during her job as a waitress…well, first of all I wonder if it’s true or one of those apocryphal stories that makes those of us balancing full time jobs with our creative pursuits feel like there’s hope.  Plus it makes great copy for publicity.

But seriously.  I have been busting my ass at work the last week and a half and am just so wiped out when I get home in the evenings, it’s been a real challenge meeting my word count on Champagne.  Heck, it’s been a real challenge doing more than pouring myself a glass of wine and collapsing on the couch in a heap.  This week has been particularly brutal, with a big two day meeting Thursday (jeez louise, that’s tomorrow!) and Friday.  Add to that some particularly annoying and random crisis’ involving corporate cars, tickets, police stations and a hellish drive this morning through rush hour traffic during which all the short cuts I tried got me lost…well, it’s been a trial.  A Salem witch type trial in which the choice is drowning and being proclaimed innocent or surviving and getting burned as a witch.

Okay.  NOT that bad.  I’m just feeling especially dramatic here. Did I mention I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep all week either?  Us sleep deprived people are drama queens.

My question here to all of you writers who either have full time jobs or kids (same thing) is how do you balance it all out and save energy for your writing?  What do you do when you’re so exhausted that changing out of your work clothes into pajamas feels like an hour of tae-bo?  ‘Cause I could really use some good ideas or inspirational speeches about now.  Y’know, like playing EYE OF THE TIGER except lacking the ’80s power chords.

I’ll tell you what I did last night.  I visited Brad and Aldyth, plopped myself down on their kitchen floor, accepted a glass of wine and let myself get covered with kittens.

I was still tired, but extremely content.

Plague & Pestilence

That’s me!  In the last month I have had a two week long bladder infection; two bouts of food poisoning (or a 24 hour stomach flu that took a 2 day intermission before resuming the show); and now I have a cold.  This cold, not even a slight tickle in my throat this morning, manifested around 11:00 with a slight cough, then turned into full on faucet sinuses within the space of two hours.  What’s next, ebola?

Speaking of pestilence, is this not the cutest little kitten you’ve seen all week?  Okay, all kittens are cute, but little Goblin/Bugbear/Grizzly/The Piranha is MY kitten…so he’s especially cute.  Taz has adopted him as her personal chew toy and cuddle monkey.  I think he

helps fill the Haggis shaped whole in HER heart too. ..Goblin