who the heck knows anything, anyway

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Reflection on the Wee Hours of the Morning

4am is a really odd time to wake up when you don't have to be anywhere. Part of me is enjoying this weird new sleep cycle I've stumbled into, because mornings are really pretty (especially when it's the start of a sunny summer day) and cool (so very appreciated during this stupid heat wave*) and the birds outside are all jumping around in the grass in the little park outside my front window. It's quite nice. Reminds me of when I had to get up at 6am to catch the 6:45 bus to PSU for the Latin classes that were always before 8am. I liked waiting for the bus at that time. Everything smells fresh and delicious at 6am (which is nearly what time it is now).

In keeping with those years of Latin commuting, the downside to leading a double life as an early bird and a night owl is that my brain doesn't really work this early. I feel quasi-motivated to do...something...but that something doesn't ever seem to pop out of my brain. My neck is kind of sore, and I have a constant mild headache that makes reading (or typing) kiiiiiind of a pain. Ironically, my brain gets warmed up right as the weather/my apartment takes a turn for the sweltering--which shuts my intellectual capacities down again, because I am a creature that is best suited to life north of the Wall. I've been hanging out in the pool quite a lot.** That helps, but it's a short-term fix: gives me enough juice to work my brain for about twenty minutes, post-pool. That's just enough time for me to feel comfortable enough to pass out on the floor because, hey-o!, I woke up at 4am. Boom. Full-circle.

Anyway, I'm trying to warm up my brain a little earlier today (by blogginggggg), in hopes of getting some real work done. It's amazing how much this new sleep thing (jet-lag? or my true circadian rhythm finally showing itself after years of terrible sleep?) and the weather affect my ability to do anything. I'd like to think I am the power-through kind of person, but I'm really more of a wait-it-out person, and that doesn't work super well with this thing I'm doing called "graduate school" and this project, this "critical essay," that needs to be first-drafted by, like, next Friday.

In summary:

photo credit: chrislee

*remember, people who live in hot places: we have no AC in the cold northlands, so 82 degrees F with 80% humidity is something that make living/working in a second-floor apartment with East- and West-facing windows a TERRIBLE THING
** The pool is my bathtub, which I fill with cold water and then sit in for twenty minutes at a time with my swimsuit on and a book in my hand. Tis a fine pool.

The Angry Post of an Animal Parent

I am going to show my true colors as a cat person here in a minute, and if that offends you, then I don't know why you like me, because I'm an animal freak.

Reason #642 that the UK is Different from the USA in Minute But Aggravating Ways: Animal Shelters

This country is weird about animals. Depending on where you grew up*, you might find them to be extremely conscientious! There is no rabies here (so says the government), and all of the pet shelters (of which there are VERY FEW**) are insane about who they allow to adopt pets. I'm cool with that. I appreciate responsible pet ownership. They do house visits and all that jazz. Excessive, maybe, but sure, ok, cool.

Except that they all seem to require that the cats be allowed outdoors. It's a weird, national trend that is exactly opposite of the general opinion on the west coast of the USA (the language from the Pixie Project in PDX does a good job encapsulating the West Coast sentiment***).

One woman I spoke to was getting along with me fine until I mentioned that our cat is indoor-only, and we would probably be doing that with any additional pets, as well. She responded "Oooooh." You know, in that drawwwwn out, disappointed way. "Well, that's a bit difficult." Why. Why is that difficult.

She then asked me if I removed my cat's claws.

No. Why on earth would I do that. Nobody does that.

The indoor/outdoor debate is a hot one. I am totally fine with people allowing their cats outside. It really doesn't bother me, and I don't consider it negligent. I, however, have made the decision to keep my cat indoors because she has health problems that keep her on steroids (which lower the strength of her immune system). So, ok, maybe cats are outdoor creatures circa thousands of years ago, but they often live longer if they are indoor only, and since I am the kind of person who considers my cat more of a child than just a "pet," those extra few years are important to me. If I adopt another cat, I want to maximize the number of years that I have to love it, too.

And, despite being indoor, she gets tons of physical exercise. I feed her a very particular diet because I am that animal parent*** and since I work from home (something I continue to mention to these people), I play with her constantly. This was the other thing. The woman on the phone was like "Indoor cats require toys, you know." YES, I DO KNOW. Who the heck owns pets here??

Sigh. I guess a lot of people in this area don't understand that owning a pet makes you responsible for another creature's life (a lot of people in the US don't, either, of course--I was culturally fortunate to be raised in animal-love-land) and they need to be reminded. But I don't have the patience to have people patronize me because of the (well-informed) way I raise my cat. I don't tell people to keep their cats inside, but when my little gremlin is still alive in 15 years, it's because she didn't get fleas, ticks, worms, a nasty cat disease, or hit by a car. And because she eats healthy foods.

And no need to comment about how parents deal with this all the time because (a) I know, (b) I have ALWAYS been sympathetic to that, and (c) seriously, I know. It sucks, and it's dumb. Responsible, good people shouldn't have to put up with that kind of nonsense. It's just hurtful, when it comes down to it.

I'm pretty chill about most things. I love tea, but I won't turn my nose up at Lipton when it's offered. I dig wine, but I'll drink that TJ's 2-buck-chuck in a heartbeat. Literature is my career, but I am sure as heck not going to give you lip if you read Game of Thrones or The Da Vinci Code (reading is reading! I'm just glad people are doing it!). But when it comes to my cat (and my future dogs, goats, etc), I am a total snob, and I will not compromise. So, BOO HISS. I miss the Humane Society and the Pixie Project. I miss nice people who nerd out about their pets with me instead of talking to me like I'm an idiot.

*I was raised in the land of organic, sustainable, grain/rice-free pet food, so I am not at all impressed. I know how to call BS on cat food from a mile away, and most of the cat food here is more expensive than the food I bought in the states and WAY less healthy.
**at least within 20 miles of Oxford
***"We at the Pixie Project, do not have an indoor only policy with our cats. We do however always strive to put the right cat in the right environment so we always ask that potential adopters speak openly and honestly about their plans regarding outdoor access for cats.  This will allow us to properly match the right cat with a safe and happy environment."
****my cat's weight is vet-verified consistently perfect, BY THE WAY. Also see *

Monday, July 15, 2013

back to sort-of normal

I'm back in the UK with my boo and my cat. This makes me happy. Here are some more life updates, with pictures:

1. My tea tastes like band-aids for some reason, and I'm not a super fan

image here

2. I finally downloaded Scrivener, and it has improved my outlook on life

image here

3. I discovered that, despite having 75 pretty good novel pages behind me, I know absolutely nothing about anything, and that is going to cause some problems unless I figure my crap out ASAP

image here

4. It is ten million degrees with 80% humidity (that second part is not an exaggeration) and I am worried that England has drifted into the equator since I was last here

image = mine
5. The news is very sad this week, as everybody knows (and if you don't think the news has been sad, and if you think the world is "post-racial"/don't believe in privilege, please read someone else's blog), but people are taking to the streets, and hopefully someone will start to listen. Until then, may this Amanda Palmer song re: The Daily Mail brighten your day a little bit. It made me happy. (Do not watch if you are afraid of women's breasts)