My Mao was hit by a car and killed about an hour ago. He never goes in the road. He was the one cat I never worried about in that regard. I was pulling out of the driveway to run some errands when I saw his body in the road. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

We just buried him in the back yard under his favorite tree.

I thought those of you who knew him would like to know.
Today is being billed as "Day without Cats on the Internet." My kitties disagree. They begged for some catnip and then got very adorable so I could post their pics.

Because cats don't give in to demands, eh. )
Seriously. There's been a noticeable lack of drama these past few days, and that's not a bad thing. We had a wind storm last night and today that just died down about an hour ago. Winds of up to 100 kph/85 mph - I thought the front of the house was going to come off a few times. The temperature also plummeted; it's been crazy this past week. A real roller coaster as far as weather goes.

Oh, I did end up outside in my pajamas and barn boots and a long winter coat searching for Mao in the pre-dawn dark and wind. I never did find him myself, but he did appear out on the deck with the other cats about an hour later. I have no idea if he spent the night outside or if he was just tucked away somewhere inside out of sight. He drives me crazy sometimes.

There's a Lupus Symposium coming up in Toronto the first weekend of April. My rheumatologist is one of the featured speakers, so that's pretty neat. I'd love to go, but I'd have to do some planning on how involved it would be to get there and get around. I'm pretty sure I'd be up for it if I take care to rest up the day before. It's ridiculous, really, but such is life these days.

I had an appointment with my regular doctor yesterday. They didn't charge me for the visit even though my health care has expired. However now there's a problem with my being registered with their clinic - because my health care has expired. I've decided not to obsess about it, because if I do I just start to hyperventilate. And now I need to distract myself so I don't think about it. It's a vicious orb!

Lalalalalalala. Laaaaaaaaaah. OK, off I go to distract myself.
Mao has rejoined us. Notice I didn't say that he returned, because I had to go fetch him back. And the first thing that he wanted to do was go back outside. Uh, no.

Our neighbor's son had come knocking at the door carrying a picture of Mao that Mark had dropped off last night. "Is this your cat?" I braced myself to hear that he'd found the body. "She's been hanging out at my friends house. She's real happy, playing around. She lives under their boat." Huzzah! And . . . I'm gonna freakin' kill him when I find him!

So Luke followed me over there, and I called around for Mao, but I didn't catch a glimpse. I thanked Luke and came back to get the big guns: the bag of Crunchies, as we call the cat treats. I went back and walked around shaking the bag and calling his name, and sure enough he came trotting out. Maoser! Much petting ensued, and then I drove him home (not his favorite part of the day), and as soon as I plopped him down, he wanted back out. Dream on, little puddy tat.

OK, I get that the neighbors have a lovely property with a big open horse barn, a pond, lots of shade, no other cats to hassle with, but we have what he craves - his own personal drinking fountain aka the faucet in the bathroom sink. The neighbors won't let him have that, will they? No, they will not.

I hope that he settles down. Right now he's stretched out on Dar's bathroom floor where it's nice and cool and he's the only cat allowed access. If he goes missing again, at least now I have a clue where to go look for him.

Honest to FSM, I thought he was dead. Or worse - out in the woods dying, waiting for me to find him. Gah.

Thank you all for your good wishes and support! Now I have to go throw up from all that adrenaline rushing away :)
We've been without internet access for the past three days. Something went horribly wrong with our satellite service, apparently. Dar and I are at the library now taking advantage of their systems, but hopefully we'll be back online at home soon.

Dar had her jaw surgery yesterday. She was in a great deal of pain yesterday, but she's much improved today. Her oral surgeon is a fucking horse's ass, btw.

The biggest and worst news for me is that Mao's been missing for over 24 hours now. One of the cats pried the screen door open in the early morning hours Tuesday, and when I got up at 4:30AM the only cats in the house were Jane and Holmes. Even Rocky was gone. (He never goes outside.) I had to get Dar to the hospital for her 6AM sign-in, so there wasn't much I could do at that point. We got home at noon, and I spent the rest of the day trying to find Rocky and then once he appeared, trying to lure him inside. Plus alpaca duty and general household stuff. It wasn't until late afternoon that I realized that I hadn't seen Mao at all. I thought perhaps he was asleep in Dar's closet (one of his favorite spots), but she was sleeping and I didn't want to wake her to search. But it turns out he wasn't there anyway. I went outside and searched around and called him, but no sight nor sound of him. I really got worried as it got to be early evening, because if he's outside Mao will always curl up on the deck chair to enjoy the twilight. Besides, he's always around at several points during the day to come in and get some water and some food.

Mark and I went out after dark calling and looking for him. I went out into the wooded areas this morning calling for him and then listening to see if I could hear him - just in case he was injured or trapped. Nothing. I really think that a wild animal got him, and I'm . . . heartbroken. Dar says to keep believing that he'll come back or that maybe someone scooped him up thinking he was a stray, and I bless her for her optimism, but I find it hard to believe. He was out in the dark, and being declawed he had no way to defend himself or climb out of danger. The best I can hope for is that he got nosey and went exploring in a neighbor's barn or shed and got himself locked in and he'll get out again soon. But my heart says that he's gone.
Mao in the back garden

I let Mao outside while I'm feeding the kittens. He loves eating grass, so he never strays that far from the house.

Very lazy day for me today, not that I wanted it that way. Just another day in the brain fog, falling prey to killer fatigue. I finally managed to make it outside at around 5 to feed the kittens and take some pics with the new camera. Still feeling my around with it, because I just couldn't concentrate enough to plow through the manual and decipher all of the buttons and gadgets. I think I'm really going to enjoy using it once I learn all of the ins and outs. I got some great pics this afternoon; the problem was that the camera by default was on the highest settings so the pictures are huge. Tomorrow I'll figure out how to take smaller pics; for now, it's bedtime.
Another day spent on the lawn tractor tooling around the property. This time I was mowing the lawn - all 1200 acres of it. OK, slight exaggeration. But really, it feels that big when you're trying to tame the green beastie. So what's so dorky about mowing the lawn driving a certified antique? Well, if you're sporting a large white mask and carrying a Kill All Humans ) messenger bag strapped across your torso, you tend to stand out. Outstanding in the field, as the old joke goes.

The mask is because the lawn tractor is a pollutor and I'm the main victim. Even if I didn't have asthma, I'd end up coughing and gasping if I weren't wearing some sort of mask. (We're getting a new lawn tractor soon. I feel horribly guilty about the pollution, trust me, but this place is too big to get everything done with a hand mower. Which is also a polluter. All of them are. Maybe we should just get a herd of free ranging sheep to eat the lawn and be done with it.)

I've started carrying the bag with me every time I go outside to do work. I always need to carry with me a mask, my rescue inhalor, water, and my camera. My pockets only have so much room, and now with the warmer weather I'm wearing less layers and therefore less pockets. The messenger bag is lightweight and it can strap crossways so I don't have to worry about it slipping off. Poifect!

(The Two Towers is on TV. The Elven archers just marched into Helm's Deep. ::sniff:: Gets' me every time.)

Anyway, I was playing around with the camera since my oringal photos for Project 365 tanked because of faulty batteries, and this is one of my favorites. I love my red shoes. And my Mao.

Mao and the red shoes. )
I admit to being prejudiced, but he is such a beautiful boy.

Mao Mao )
Trust me, that only makes sense if you've read Lucifer's Hammer. And I really, really, really should probably not read so many angsty books in a row. In rapid succession I've read:

Truth and Beauty - tragic true story of a friendship between two writers, one of whom is disfigured.
Autobiography of a Face - the autobiography of the disfigured writer from above.
Thread of Grace - Italian civilians and partisans work to save refugee Jews during the last year of WWII. High body count. (Based on actual events)
Lethal Marriage - the true crime story recounting the horrendous deeds of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka and the infuriatingly inefficient, incompetent police investigation that followed.
Into Thin Air - harrowing stuff about the deadliest month on Everest.
Lucifer's Hammer - it's the end of the world as we know. (And I feel fine?)

I think I'm developing a twitch. And a mighty urge to read yet more of the same. Right now I'm hankering after Into the Wild (by Jon Krakauer who wrote Into Thin Air) and the newest edition of The World's Most Dangerous Places. I figure I'll read them as I bustle through the aisles of the local survivalists store, picking up trenching tools and water purifiers and a generator or two. Because you know? It just can't hurt.

Hey - guess what? I don't have high blood pressure anymore :) I've been taking hypertension meds since 1984, and after having some difficulties with them recently (as in bp of 90/60 and a heartrate of 45, plus a very low body temp) [ profile] darlong finally convinced me to stop them for a bit. It's been several weeks now, and my dystolic is 78. 78. I'm absolutely giddy, y'all.

I'm travelling to the States tomorrow, and hopefully kidnapping [ profile] darlong to go with me. She could use some time away, and it's always more fun to travel with her. Besides, I know she's been jonesing for some Trader Joe's. So I'm thinking I'll be in Worcester for a time on Thursday getting my emissions testing done and renewing my registration. [ profile] malterre? [ profile] caerwynx? [ profile] zosh? Anyone want to see if we can hook up for lunch or something?

And simply because it's been too long - Mao pics.

What a pretty kitty. Ignore the attitude. He loves me. Really. )

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