You Won't See Much of Me This Weekend

1. Library conference tomorrow, almost all day.

2. Younger Sister is in town for a visit. I had chicken cacciatore (one of my favorites that I must have Mom teach me to make) with her and our parents tonight.

3. Older Brother and SIL decided to arrange a belated anniversary dinner for our parents on Sunday. None of us has ever been to the restaurant they chose, but I've heard from other people it is good. (In a somewhat surprising but very thoughtful move, Younger Sister sent me a side e-mail telling me not to worry about paying my share of dinner because she knew I was dealing with The Cat's medical expenses. Very sweet of her.)

4. I still haven't listened to the CD to help me learn a bunch of new music for First Holy Communion and, practice is next Wednesday.

5. Gee, I kinda can't remember having a vacation recently. I am exhausted.


Throwing Down the (Hockey) Gauntlet

Dear CCR,

Now that there will be a playoff series between the fierce Philadelphia Flyers and the beastly Boston Bruins, how's about a friendly wager?

If the Bruins win, I will send you a package of the (mailable) Philly delicacy known as Tastykakes.

If the Flyers win, you will send me a package of. . . well, something equally known as a (mailable) Boston delicacy. (I am disappointed that this puts Miri & Carlos out of the running, but I figured I had to be reasonable.)

Deal? R.S.V.P. in the combox.


Kate P.

P.S. My cat is already decked out in Flyers' colors, so I suggest you start knitting some fanwear for Miri & Carlos or Boston will question your loyalty.


The Alternative

I could tell you all about how I haven't slept well (nightmares, ugh), I forgot my school keys at home, my co-librarian had car trouble and was late today (and will be away at a conference the rest of the week), and the secretary called in sick (and we don't know whether to be concerned or P.O.'d that she played hooky to avoid dealing with the used book sale), or all the other pressure going on with grades and end of the year stuff that I'm just starting to comprehend, picking up cat meds and the chemo pills that arrived in an insulated bag with (melted) ice packs. . .

. . . but I'd rather provide you with something enjoyable. Go watch CCR's cool video find about making a book way back in the olden days of 1947. Pop some popcorn and show a kid. I might see if I can put it up for the fourth graders to see what they know about how a book is made. (Well, there is a section of the curriculum about the history of books!) It'd probably blow their minds.

Or confuse the heck out of them. *shrug* Fun either way.


What The Cat and I Did Today

The morning started off with an exasperating car ride. I tried to take one set of back roads, but it was completely backed up for no visible reason. I wonder if the 8:00 segment of rush hour is just that bad. I wouldn't know! Then, as I'm turning around to take the main road, the traffic reporter on the radio says that there's an accident at the intersection of the main road and the road on which the veterinary hospital is (where I'd planned to turn). So I wound up coming around the other side of the first set of back roads, and that worked out.

Now, imagine trying to figure out which way to drive. . . with an infinite loop of plaintive meowing (because
somebody (A) hates the car and (B) wasn't allowed any breakfast) in the background. Not easy to hear oneself think in that situation.

Not long after we arrived, a nice vet tech took T
he Cat back in her carrier. As much as I would've liked to have seen the department of her interior, it's probably for the best that she didn't associate me with the procedure. The weird thing is, the tech said, "Now she's going to go back to get shaved, if you haven't done that already." If I haven't already!? What, you think I would willingly take a Norelco to my cat? (What about my pink t-shirt, blue jeans, and flip-flops suggests that I'm a cat-shaving freak?)

Presenting her shorn belly!
I still can't believe they shaved off her
(You know, the part in front of their hind legs
that looks like a fluffy tutu? On tubby cats, it swings
or drags on the floor when they walk?)
Hey, it turns out she's calico
under her fur, too.

I kept myself occupied with back issues of Cat Fancy and watched a parade of dogs come through the waiting area, including a bulldog-type who was wheeled in on a little red wagon. I don't think he could walk. It was a little sad but he seemed not to mind it and was happy to be with his owners.

It took less time than they said it would; it's nice when stuff like this isn't all drawn out. A di
fferent tech brought The Cat back out in her carrier. The only thing that bugged me was that she looked at me and said, "Are you [The Cat]'s mommy?" No, I am not her mommy. In cat-to-people years she's old enough to be my mommy. Sure, I call her "Baby" every once in a while, but just as an affectionate nickname and not like a parent thing.

Well, long story short, they walked me, carrier in hand, back to an open exam room, and a few minutes later the doctor came in. She was very nice, and I appreciated that she spoke in a straightforward fashion as she described what she saw on the ultrasound: the intestinal wall was twice as thick as it normally should be, and there were some slightly enlarged (she made it a point to say slightly) lymph nodes. All signs basically pointed to lymphoma in her opinion, but she made it clear I should wait to hear from The Cat's vet after he reads her report.

I was prepared, but nobody's ever really prepared to hear that--hear it for sure. I sniffled a bit, and she was kind and talked a little about treatment. She signed the insurance form for me without my even asking (she just noticed it in my hand).

I took The Cat home and fed her two plates of breakfast, and made sure she drank some water as I tried to get this stupid overheated apartment to cool down.
It was hard to do much of anything while I waited for the vet's office to call. I got the air conditioner in the bedroom unwrapped and working. The Cat started on her progressive levels of serious bathing the rest of the day, because multiple strangers touched her.
She's taking yet another bath right now as I'm typing.

I had a little bit of leftover Easter ham for lunch. Actually, I got out two saucers and cut up some for me and some for the Cat. (And I said what the hell, enjoy it, glad you're eating, Cat.)

I managed to miss the phone call from the vet at 2:00 (didn't hear it over the AC) and didn't see the message waiting until I got back from dropping my car off to get inspected at 4. I called him back and he explained more about the lymphoma business. It does not appear to be very aggressive, which is a good thing. I get to pick up some steroids after school tomorrow, and the pharmacy they use would be calling me about payment and delivery for the chemo-type meds that she has to take twice a week. (Missed that call first time around, too. Arrrgh!) The prognosis is, well, tentative at best, and maybe I'll have a couple more years with her if I'm lucky.

To some degree, having had another cat before her, I knew I wouldn't have her forever. I think it's hard to deal with the first real awareness of how limited my time with her--her time with me--is.

Whatever the remainder of that time is, I really want it to be the best for her.


Catch-Up , Single-Sentence Style

It's been a wee bit hectic around here, but then again, Holy Week always winds up that way.

Last Week

Tuesday: After complying with a last-minute recruitment to sing on a bad mic for Stations of the Cross at school, I went to a viewing for a co-worker's father (also a retired long-time faculty member) and then arrived at trivia night right before the music round to cement the victory for the team.

Wednesday: I covered a 7th grade English class for another faculty member who attended the funeral (which is why I could attend only the viewing) and then I visited my librarian friend at her library to drop off some donated books that were a bit too mature for my library.

Thursday: The Cat proceeded to make a liar out of her dear owner--who that morning had checked in with the vet to say everything's fine! and no violent illness in over a week!--by doing a very bad thing on the living room rug not long after I got home from Holy Thursday Mass.

Friday: Mom went with me to the Good Friday service at my sing-there-once-a-month church, but she bailed on the traditional post-church anchovy-aioli-pasta with my cousins.

Saturday: I did errands; The Cat continued her getting-sick streak by getting even more worrisome sick all over the place.

This Week

Sunday: Even though I didn't sleep much the night before, Easter Mass was lovely, and Easter afternoon with the family (complete with Flyers win) was a pretty good distraction from worrying about The Cat.

Today: I did my best to keep the apartment cool (well, not let it get above 80 in spite of the fact that the dang heat's still on in the building) and called the vet to make referral arrangements for The Cat's ultrasound.

Tomorrow: I have to try to get out of the apartment with unfed, sure-to-be-complaining cat in tow at 8:15 in the morning.

Not exactly my dream last day of vacation, peeps, but I think I'd rather go for a diagnosis instead of hauling her in every couple of weeks for what seem to be failed attempts to treat the symptoms.

Please pray for us!


Naval-Gazing, Kitty-Style

No, it's not a misspelling (CCR, stop twitching--and put down that red pen!). Via my mom, secondhand from my aunt (yes, that aunt who BTW possibly might come for Easter dinner. Hide me):

Cats in the Sea Services

We are thinking positive thoughts and asking St. Francis' intercession for CCR's Carlos, a very sweet and handsome kitty (on the right here), that all will be well with him.


In Other News

A) Tomorrow is Palm Sunday--the start of Holy Week!

B) My parents' 40th wedding anniversary also is tomorrow. Among most people my age, at least that I know, it's kind of unusual. I got them a gift card to the movies and their (respective) favorite candies (Raisinets and Junior Mints).

C) I have two and a half days of school this coming week, and then I don't go back until the following Wednesday.

Exciting stuff, right?

I Understand Why Some People Don't Trust Cats

The Cat definitely has those sneaky feline moments.

Tonight, I browned some ground beef to put into spaghetti sauce. While the spaghetti was boiling and the sauce was heating up, I was checking my e-mail.

Suddenly, The Cat leapt up on left side of my desk and nuzzled me a bit. I kept typing as she walked behind the laptop to her usual warm napping spot. However, instead of settling down, she popped out from behind, on the right side. She then proceeded to walk across the keys.

Of course, I snapped to fixing whatever she just did to my computer. (At least this time she didn't hit any F-keys--it's a nightmare trying to figure out which ones she pounded.)

Just as I was getting everything back to normal, I heard the "thump" of cat feet on the kitchen floor. I looked to my left, and The Cat was licking her chops. . . as she sat on the floor directly below the sink.

Where the empty browned-beef pan sat in the sink awaiting soap and water.



24 Hour Freakout

By this time tomorrow night, I will be home from a crazy day at school, continuing into a crazy evening involving shuttling 40+ nine- to eleven-year-olds to a competition--something I've never done before, and something for which my predecessor (who is unreachable via phone or e-mail) left few notes. Of course things went haywire today: some of the teams were terribly ill-behaved during practice and I had to threaten one with "if I hear you yelling down the hall tomorrow night, I'll have you disqualified"; someone who volunteered to help had a family emergency and can't make it (scrambling for a replacement and it just might have to be an administrator); the kids who were supposed to bring in their t-shirts from last year never remembered (either they'll have them tomorrow or they'll just wear their uniform polo shirts--whatever).

Speaking of not remembering: Ordering pizza in advance to feed the kids fell through the cracks, so I had to scramble today and rush in a check request to the biz office. I hate rushing. I also hate trying to figure out how much pizza to get to feed the kids. (I don't eat takeout pizza.) At least the pizza place was nice and gave us a discount. Plus, they'll deliver.

After all that hoopla, I had to go interview for a possible summer job. It was pouring rain all the way there, and then the interviewer was running late. She was very nice but it sounds as if there are no job openings near my home, at least not that I can do, unless I can teach karate or fencing. (Sadly, no.)

However, she did mention that I might be a good fit for another location, and it would involve some teaching. Something interesting to do, working with kids, and would look good on my resume'. It's a little farther from home, and it's only for a month, but maybe that would be a springboard. I hope I hear good news about that next week.

As for JobQuest2011(?), I haven't heard a peep from the school district where I interviewed (I wonder if it's appropriate to follow up with a phone call), nor from another one where I applied for a job. I guess no news is good news--or at least, no news is not a no. Not yet, anyway.

Man, I am really nervous about tomorrow.


I Get Laundry Privileges in Exchange for Fashion Advice

Mom: These are the shoes I ordered from HSN. Try them on--aren't they comfortable?

Me: But- But- No way! They're sparkly!

Mom: They have toggles so I don't have to tie them! Well, at least they're not boring.

Me: Yeah, they're great if you're a waitress at a geriatric disco.

Mom: What? Are you saying I should return them?

Later, as I'm leaving:

Mom: I already packed up the shoes to go back.

Me: Good.

Mom: (somewhat martyr-ish-ly) I don't know what I'd do without you girls to tell me what's not fashionable.

Me: I know. So, um, how much is it worth to you that [Younger Sister] never finds out about those shoes?




Much misbehaving on that dance floor last night. It was not the teachers!


This Week Felt Ages Long

It has been difficult to post during what is informally known as "Heck Week" at school (hey, there are little kids around and it's a Catholic school)--there's a big show where everyone's involved and there are very long days (into nights) required. It definitely wore everyone down by the time Thursday evening hit.

I have much to catch up on, both here and on other people's blogs--but for now, before I go paint my nails for this fancy-pants dinner that is the culmination of this week and pretty much the whole year, here are a couple of updates:

1. No news is good news when it comes to interviews. Haven't heard a thing, although as I understood it, screenings were going on this week as well, so it could take a while to hear from anyone.

2. I've also been looking into summer employment, and a local camp asked to do a phone interview with me next week. It's really close to where I live, so while I have no idea what it pays, minimal driving is a big plus.

3. The Cat is probably getting hyperthyroid-y again, unless it's just that she's been thrown off by the crazy schedule this week. Really tired of taking her to (and paying for) the vet so I think I'm going to see if the 3 a.m. poundings are just temporary.

4. We had snow yesterday. SNOW! However, it cleared up in time for Opening Day for the Phillies, so I guess that's all right, then.

5. I haven't been feeling too happy about being single lately. That's probably nothing new but it just has felt more difficult lately and I don't know why.

6. Tonight, I'm wearing a black cocktail dress, short with red accents at the mandarin collar and braid trim. Nobody at school has seen much of my legs, so the reaction probably will be interesting. I also got my hair trimmed and my stylist did an extra-fancy blowout with a bit of a side sweep, so at least in my own mind I look kinda hot and non-librarian-y.

Time to go do those nails. I'm watching "Beautiful Girls"; I think it's the influence of yesterday's snow.

I'll let you know if we eat anything good or some teachers do "booty-drops" or something else crazy on the dance floor.