Saturday, July 13, 2013

Caterpillars into Politicians

I want to start off with this:

Because I've been the beautiful, interesting woman that Dustin Hoffman would have approached, and I've also been the fat, "dumpy," not-beautiful woman he would have turned away from.  It's a shocking thing, knowing how it feels to be both of those things.  To know that, to borrow a trite phrase, "I'm the same person inside."  I AM the same person, and yet one version is worthwhile and lovable while the other is to be shunned, without value.

How can that be?  I keep trying to tell my son "there's no wrong way to have a body," but apparently there is.  I know that, because I suffer every day for looking this way.  I feel such pain and shame it's indescribable.  I won't say I wish  myself dead, but I'm sure not feeling like I'm having a body the RIGHT way.  How can I teach my son not to judge when I feel so strongly about MYSELF?


We have DOZENS of Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the garden, in various instars (pupal stages). They seem particularly drawn to the parsley, chard, and dill.  We discovered them while pruning OUT those plants, but changed our minds as soon as we saw the first caterpillar.  I was reading just recently how we're losing butterflies and moths at a breathtaking rate.  If they like those plants, those plants stay.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Came across this article the other day, one detailing the many risks of cat feces.  While I was already aware of the risks to pregnant women and folks with AIDS (and mice, lol), I was unaware of the effects on the rest of us.  Reason number 5,674 why I will NEVER have another cat in my home.  You see, I loved cats for a long, long time.  But all it took was a few cats (dumped on us by my sister) to decide they didn't like catboxes to UNtrain our cats, and the next thing you know, we've got cat piss and cat feces up to our ears.  Life became a constant battle to clean, deodorize, block access, add more and more cat boxes, place catboxes "strategically" to stop them pissing on this or shitting on that.  They managed to piss the paint right off the top of the brand new dryer, ruined our son's brand new bed, and they would hang tail over my son's CLOSED toyboxes and piss in through the cracks.  We tried "enzymatic" cleaners, carpet shampoos, air fresheners, incenses, sprays, powders, keeping certain cats away from certain other cats, and even the BS "hormonal" treatments and sprays supposedly meant to calm piss-happy cats.  Yeah, that crap works like water has memory, you know?

Sheba, the dryer paint-pissing-off cat.  She also pissed through a window screen once.  Into my face.
Mini, one of the toybox-filling cats

The final straw?  When it was time to move from that house and we discovered that the cats had found a way to access our storeroom.  They had pissed and shat all over everything.


We wound up throwing out better than half our belongings.  That is not an exaggeration.  Box after box of BOOKS thrown out with the trash.  Clothing, linens (including the gorgeous hand-stitched pillowcases Ingaborg Plaas Smith had crafted for me as a wedding gift back in 1983).  A dear porcelain doll my great-grandmother had given to my grandma.  And photographs--oh, so many pictures!  I pried apart those that could be and scanned them, trying to use Photoshop to fix them.  It's been painstaking work.  Most of the photos couldn't even be scanned.

Let me tell you about moving out of a cat-stinking house and into a place that's never had cats--it's like quitting smoking.  After a few weeks, your nose returns to normal, and you realize.  You realize that half of what you own STILL stinks of cats.  You realize that YOU stank of cats.  And then you start noticing it on others.  People who own cats.  You have houseguests over and you don't have to ask if they have cats because your nose has already told you.  These are people who roll their eyes and shake their heads at the suggestion that their houses (and selves) might reek of cat piss.

Like I did when I smoked and was told that my perfume, powder, lotion, and Bounce dryer sheets didn't do a thing to hide the stink of smoke.

I will never have a cat in my house again.  I think of the sprays, powders, candles, cleaners, and little tricks like perfume on light bulbs and plug-in oil burners.  I think of all the money and time I put into trying to make my house smell good, when, fact is, it smelled like a house with cats.

I don't hate cats.  In fact, I love OTHER PEOPLE'S cats.  I pet them and scratch them and cuddle with them.  But I will never own another cat.  Never.

And before you waste the time writing up some, "You obviously didn't blah, blah, blah" screed? Don't.  I spent the first 45 years of my life with cats, and I used to be one of those assholes who tells other people that they're obviously doing something wrong, that they obviously haven't done this, this, or that correctly.  And they'd angrily tell me I was living in a dream world.

They were right.  Except for one cat who insisted upon pissing in the corner near the front door in SoCal, my cats were always marvelously housetrained.  Until the introduction of two that weren't. And that broke everything.   I researched, I talked to pet behavioralists, I consulted vets and other pet owners.  I'm not some newbie who doesn't "get" cats.  I "get" cats just fine.

If you haven't found yourself on the receiving end of cats gone box-free, I'm glad.  Truly.  But I have nice furniture now.  I have a nice house.  I won't have the carpet torn to fuzz or the beautiful sofa ripped to shreds because the cats prefer those over the seven different scratching posts I've tried (and I will not waste time trying to affix stupid little "claw caps" that fall off in a matter of hours to days).  I won't reach into a hamper only to realize some cat has pissed all over my clothes. Ever pull a sheet up over you, only to realized it's dripping with cat piss?  I have.

And I won't put up with any of that.  Ever again.

A fun aside--I read this a few years ago, but I'm reminded--it's about how toxoplasmosis exerts "mind control" over rodents.  Makes me wonder if it does the same to humans, which would explain why I put up with cats in my home for so long.


A quick political aside.  Rob Bishop, that nard who used to teach at my old high school?  You know, Mr. Wonderful REPRESENTATIVE Bishop?  The winger who's been scrambling to affix his lips to that teabag behind and keep his job?  The guy whose office staff fashions such snotty, dismissive responses to constituents' letters?  Spoke out in favor of a 17+ million dollar redesign for the Eisenhower Memorial in DC.

Mr. Bishop, remind me how you voted on the food stamps matter?  Student loan interest?   Voted to slash any housing programs lately?  How about those furloughs, Mr. Bishop?  If we're as broke as YOU say we are (we're not, and you know it), if our economy is as bad as YOU claim (it's not, and you know that, too), if the deficit is as devastating as YOU tell us it is (not only is it not, but it's as BIG as it is because of YOU and your pals), then how on earth can we afford to throw 17+ million dollars at some dippy monument?  If it's so important to you, how about YOU foot the bill?  I'm SURE you have some very rich friends who could help you out.


A Facebook friend posted today about Hamburger Helper and how much he loves it.  Same guy who, just a few weeks ago, admonished me on my own wall to "not buy packaged, processed foods."  I don't.  We make things up from scratch and freeze them for future meals.  Beans, chili, primavera, catalan, etc.  Anyway, I was reminded of life back in the REALLY bad ol' days, when we couldn't afford REAL Hamburger Helper.  So we'd buy the generic.  We also couldn't afford HAMBURGER, so we'd just make the mix without.  We called it "Helper Helper."

My son has never known that life.  We may be teetering, but at least he's not eating generic boxed meals made with half the ingredients missing.  Remember boxed generic Macaroni and Cheese made with cheap corn oil and water instead of butter and milk?  He doesn't.  Hopefully, he never will.

And now, something ugly . . . er.

I'm reminded of the yawning mouth of Sauron.  What a geek, huh?


  1. I've been the "interesting because I'm pretty" girl and I've become the "not worth it because I'm middle aged and heavier" girl, and for me, it's not depressing that my body has changed. I'm downright angry, as well as disgusted with all of the men and women who dismiss me because I'm not attractive. Men who told me right to my face that they were enlightened, that looks didn't matter. Men who were my friends even though I was in a committed relationship and never flirted with them in any way, no longer want to spend time with me now that I'm single, and the only difference is my looks. Women who made me feel like a lost puppy following them around because I wasn't as pretty as they were, which led to me dismissing them as not being smart enough to keep up with me anyway. Then later I discovered that some of them were plenty smart and interesting, and possibly didn't realize that they were judging me that way either. I still find people that are beyond all that, but there are less of them.

    I listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast, from How Stuff about toxoplasmosis. Very well researched, and they said that it is believed to exert mind control and behavioral differences in humans. We're more likely to like cats, and another interesting behavioral effect was that it enhanced gender roles. At least, they said that countries where gender roles are more divided have higher instances of toxoplasmosis in their populations.
    I sort of liked the Eye of Sauron fireplace until I realized they'd painted the rock wall. Why?

  2. Wow, thanks for the heads up! I found a bunch of stuff. Not much on whether or not toxoplasmosis would cause humans to like cats, but some about how infected men rate the smell of cat urine as more pleasant than those not infected, and some evidence of alterations in l-dopa and GABA levels. Also some indication of increased neuroses and, in men, impulse control/dominance issues. In women? Warmer, smarter personalities. ROFL, what a trip! Certainly bears more research, considering the prevalence of infection and the possible effects on behavior. Maybe THAT'S why we seem to be losing our hold on civility? ;-)

  3. I was raised with cats. I have had many over the years, but they have all been clean. If a at pissed or shat anywhere in my house it was gone. I would not tolerate a dirty cat. No second chance. Had to get rid of a few, but the others were lovey and clean. For us cats have an important job. Catching the mice and RATS that try to come in from the beautiful fields and forest around our house. Our last at died over a ear ago, and since we want to RV we haven't gotten any more. Now I have to use traps. Caught a rat this morning!

    We will not get another cat because I refuse to share an RV with a at pan and all that shedding fur.