December 31st, 2007

You may recall how we celebrated Thanksgiving, or perhaps you remember how we celebrated Steve’s birthday. You get one guess as to how we celebrated Christmas.

DUH! We played Rock Band! This is Stevel on drums, Matthew on (I think) bass guitar, and the Singin’ Selans—Junior and Junior’s younger brother, Dan, also known as Junior, Jr.—on vocals and guitar. Rock!

OK, we did more than just ROCK. We also ROCKED SOME FOOD!

David, our generous cook

David in action

David’s cookbook

The rockers refuel

Surfer Girl/Assistant Cook/Bass Guitarist Christine

There was turkey, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, cheesecake, and pecan pie (also homemade). The fetus and I ate well. I don’t know about the others. I wasn’t really paying attention. I didn’t care. With all that food being made in your house, but not by you, would you care?

It was a great day, which we followed with some less exciting days. I took the teen to In N’ Out burger by request, and we drove through the UCLA campus. Sad to say, this was really his only tour of L.A., my not feeling up for much more. But I think he was perfectly content to play video games and relax here at No. 6. He works hard at school and with baseball, so it was a rest for him. We returned him to the airport Thursday.

Right now Jeremy Sr. and David are here rockin’ out. I guess they are celebrating pre-New-Year’s? Stevel and I are about to head up to Pasadena for an early dinner with the Wightmans.

A Teen in No. 6

December 24th, 2007

My cousin, Matthew, 17, is here on a visit from Georgia. He spent the weekend at a baseball camp and is now ours for Christmas. He’s a highly intelligent self-admitted jock who insists he can’t make it three more days without a certain football video game he wants to try and rent. Forget that he has never been to California and has three days to explore it; he MUST HAVE FOOTBALL! We will accommodate as much as possible, because it turns out, keeping a 17-year-old entertained is not as easy as I thought it would be. You know how people talk about how toddlers have all this energy and you can’t keep up and stuff? Yeeeeah, um, a toddler has nothing on this kid. He is on some kind of teenage energy-crack they call Youth. I love it.

A teenage boy has a certain musk. It’s not BO or sweat, and it isn’t good or bad. It reminds me of high school. This particular boy talks quite a lot. He talks to himself as he moves around the house or sits in the car. He talks to the TV in a constant commentary on what is happening in his video game: “Come on, bring it.” “You!” “This one’s goin’ out of the park.” He explained to me that he does this self-talking because he is an only child and keeps himself company. I also happen to know that he is 50 percent Edgar, and there is a talking gene in that half of my family that some people inherit. It makes holidays with that clan so lively, and it’s nice, for me, to have a piece of that represented here. I’m enjoying our conversations … and his.

Matthew’s interests include his friends (esp. the female ones), SPORTS, his own teenage experience, school (a little bit), and people in general. He is quite perceptive and interested in how people work. He seems ambivalent about our cats. He likes Rock Band and Guitar Hero and Wii Sports. He can’t get over our having two Starbucks within three blocks of No. 6. He wants to play baseball in college, and that’s his main goal. As for what he will major in, he’s not sure—maybe biology or sociology. He likes UGA but is also looking at smaller schools where he could have a better time of getting onto the baseball team. We’re going to check out UCLA just to see it; at this stage in his college visitation, he’s mostly in need of simply seeing different campuses to get the feel, for comparison’s sake.

So far, Matt says he likes California. But he does not like to fly (this was his first flight). Here are two other things I can tell you about him so far on this visit:

[1] He brought home a duffel bag full of stinky, wet clothes from baseball camp. They are wet because at the end of the camp, he jumped in the hotel pool with his baseball stuff on.

[2] He left his letterman’s jacket at the hotel.

I mean, this is the quintessential teenage guy here. But he’s also not. Yesterday we were talking about his parents, and he said, “Oh, I know how lucky I am to have those two.” Lucky, indeed. I appreciate the lend, Aunt Janet and Uncle Vince. We’ll make sure he has a smiley Christmas, even if it means I have to get a Blockbuster video rental card.

How It’s Going

December 21st, 2007

Linus doesn’t seem to mind twice-daily insulin shots one bit. Yesterday he went in for a quick blood-glucose test. Normal range is something like 70-150, and his glucose was 111. Success so far! (As of a few days ago, he was at 560.) He goes back in one week for a “curve test,” involving hourly glucose tests throughout the day to see how his levels change. All of this is meant to make sure we have him on the right dose to get things in balance. He’s not a huge fan of the new Diabetic Management cat food, but he’s eating it. Meanwhile, his aggression continues to disrupt the peace in No. 6. Yesterday I pulled him off of Mia and plunked him directly in the shower for a one-minute spraying. He was SO SAD. It sucked for everyone. I’m not sure if I’m up for regular punishments like that, but it was an opportunity to directly associate the fighting with something oh-so-BAD.

Mia, meanwhile, no longer leaves our bedroom. She cries for food in the spot where Steve put it once (and now must put it every night). And last night, she left nuggets and pee in our bathroom. I can’t complain, because (1) she hadn’t gone in days, I’m pretty sure, (2) she used the bathroom—I mean, if you’re gonna go … and (3) I wouldn’t want to use the litter-box, either, if a vicious he-monster cat cornered me in there every time and tried to fucking kill me. But I think we will add a litter-box in our bathroom now, bringing the house litter-box count to seven. Anyone want to come over? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But Stevel scoops the litter every morning and removes the treasures to the Dumpster in the alley, so it’s not so bad, I hope.

The Little Cat wants so much to play with Linus. It sort of works out. They don’t fight-fight, but I don’t think Linus is necessarily in it for the play, either. He’s annoyed, I believe, but is patient with the Little Cat. I guess he gets all of his aggression out on Mia.

The Scoop

December 19th, 2007

The semester ended at work, and although there are a few things to do to wrap that up, I’m now done for the most part and trying to rest. I have a few things to catch you up on:

First, there are now SIX litter-boxes in our house. You see, this cat has been staying with us. She is the cat of Steve’s friend Kate Choi, and her name is whatever the Korean word is for “Shadow.” We mostly call her “Little Cat” or “Cat Choi,” although sometimes I also call her “Spook,” because she spent her first week with us living mostly in the ceiling. We were worried about her, but then she lost her fear of the other cats and entered the realm of the rest of the house, and, well, there have been some changes. First, there is a lot more hissing. Second, Mia quickly became the Omega Cat and is now terrified to leave the safety of a corner in our bedroom … even to eat or, say, POOP. Sigh. Thus the added litter box. There are now litter boxes on all three floors, just to make sure there’s always one handy in case one of these felines gets the urge. Anyway, Little Cat is very cute. She is a year old and is quite playful. She does a lot of cute stretching and has a cute pink tongue. We like her and will miss her when she goes, but we also look forward to returning to the balance of just two cats who hate each other.

Speaking of cats who are NOT so little, Mia continues to do well, as long as she gets her medication. Linus, meanwhile, is in the middle of some health adjustments. He’s been losing weight—not a bad thing necessarily, but six pounds in two months is a lot for a cat. He’s also become uncharacteristically aggressive; his and Mia’s fights rarely came to blows before (mostly just a lot of hissing and growling, with the occasional swat), but he now stalks her like prey and is out for blood. Many times, I’ve had to physically remove him from a fight scene, because he didn’t respond to shouting. There are cuts and bites on them both. He has several times waited until she was in the litter box to try and murder her—so you can see why she doesn’t want to go there. Anyway, turns out Linus has diabetes, with a very high blood sugar count. This is not surprising—it’s been suggested for years that he might have it, based on his largeness, but he’s always tested negative. In any case, we are glad to have a diagnosis and a plan of attack for getting him back on track and feeling better. And hey, what’s two shots a day for one cat when you’re already giving the other pills all day? No. 6 is now officially a cat nursing home, and we now officially spend more per year on our cats’ medical care than on our own.

In other news, my mom came out for a visit last week. She brought the gifts from the baby shower she and my sister hosted in Penna. last month, which I attended via Web-cam, and she worked her butt off helping me with things I have been too wiped out to do myself. Most important was her work in getting the baby’s room organized and decorated. What a relief it is to not look in there several times a day and think, “How am I going to do that? I’m SO TIRED and barfy.” Anyway, here are some pics of that:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Holiday Pics from the Homeland

December 9th, 2007

Dani working on her gingerbread house

Erica working on hers

Gumdrop shingle time

Finished house of the Erica gingerbread family

Proud architect of home sweet homes

Why I Have Not Blogged

December 5th, 2007

[1] I am tired, all the time. I sleep a lot.

[2] Friends introduced me to Scrabulous on Facebook. I check my games obsessively. Others who want to play, I get it now—let’s play.

[3] There’s a lot of rockin’ goin’ on.

Over the next seven days, I will be grading my students’ final exams, final portfolios, and Term Papers (for my two classes). See you after that.