“A little pile of love and paws”

…or so a friend of mine called the picture of the kittens in the basket.

Here are the latest pictures of our webmistress, Nishiko, and her protective brother, Hiroshi.  They are getting nearer to adoption age!  Their current two-legged guardian tells me that they play together a lot, so I’m very happy I’ll be able to take them home together.  As a reminder to all other kitten guardians, I’ll be having Hiroshi fixed before he reaches four months – probably at about the three month mark.  I’ve heard of females going into first heat as early as four months so I’m being extra careful.

As of Monday, they were six weeks old!  They are using the litter box, have been weaned for a couple of weeks, and are roughhousing with their mother and each other.

Enjoy the pictures!

week 6 cropped
Hiroshi is the gray, Nishiko the calico
Week 6 Hiroshi and Nishiko
Hiroshi makes a great pillow, says Nishiko

 

Webmistress Report – 4 weeks old!

She’s turning into a real beauty, even if her ears stick out to the side in a rather amusing fashion.  And it ‘s nice to finally see her cute face!  She’s got that lovely little fluff of orange hair just like a cute little redhaired girl.  We’re likely to call her Nishiko.

I’m still itching to meet her but have a month (at the very least) to wait.  Latest reports say that she’s running around and swatting her siblings and learning to play.

Calico 5-12-20

Here are the previous entries:

3 days old

9 days old

3 weeks old

Donation e-cards for Mother’s Day

I was a bit at a loss regarding what to do for my Mom for Mother’s Day.  She may be moving in a couple years so doesn’t need more junk.  Also my shopping options are a bit more limited for obvious reasons.  So I decided to send her an e-Card.

I found that my local Humane Society, a no-kill shelter, had lovely e-Cards that could be filled out with a custom donation amount.  So I donated in her name and sent her that.

Not only are a lot of charities really hurting in this time, but different people may have challenges in getting presents or cards for the moms in their lives, so this seems like a perfect solution!  It helps someone, it brightens someones day, and in my case, it might help save a life!

You can look up “Charity e-cards” online or perhaps “Charity e-cards” plus a category like “pets” or “humane society” or “women” or something like that to narrow down the results.

Best of all, it doesn’t rely on shipping speeds or have to be handled by a person!

 

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Follow up to my article on The Haunted Mission

In autumn of 2017 my mother visited my home in Tucson.  One of the things we did together was visit the San Xavier mission, which is the oldest in the US and is called “The White Dove of the Desert.”  During that time I had some pretty strange things happen to me, as detailed in this article from July of last year.

The Haunted Mission

I hadn’t thought much about it till everything changed during this Covid-19 pandemic, when I started catching up on things that I hadn’t had a chance to see or do in normal life.  Among those backlogged items was finally watching a couple of episodes of The Dead Files that a friend of mine appeared in.  He’s a local historian and they used him as part of some of their investigations.  One in particular had bearing on my story, it’s an episode that first aired only five months ago.

The Dead Files Season 11 Episode 5: Desert Curse Sahuarita, Arizona

Several things come up in that episode but in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing, a dangerous entity is discovered that is a dead man, claiming to be a priest, who has the goal of tormenting the living and also dragging spirits to his church where he torments them and keeps them trapped there.  They go into some detail on this during the episode.

Sahuarita, Arizona happens to be very close to the San Xavier mission.  I couldn’t possibly have seen this episode before my visit or even before I made the last blog entry, yet there are aspects of my experience that really line up with what is said about this demonic priest-spirit.

Food for thought.

So if anyone is interested in investigating paranormal phenomena, this is a good spot – I’d love to see the results from more sensitive instrumentation than I have.   There might be an interesting magnetic anomaly in the area, or something else.  Who knows?  Unfortunately I don’t really have the tools to make any kind of conclusive determination.

San Xavier

We have a new Webmistress in the making

As any longtime reader knows, our Webmistress and Site Mascot, Nezumi, is now Eternal.  She passed from the mortal realm last year.  I am happy, however, to let you all know that we have a new Webmistress in the making – she was born on April 13th and she has already stolen my heart.  She is the product of my friend’s cat, a wily calico who managed to slip out while they were looking for a vet to spay her.

This little girl, and her black furred sibling, will come home to us when they are old enough.  Together with Shinji, they are likely to reign supreme for many years to come.

I’m pleased to share her very first picture.  In this image, she’s only 3 days old!   I had a dream about her before she was even born.    Somehow I just knew there would be a calico and a black kitten in this litter, and if there were, I would stop at nothing to adopt them.  Interestingly, there is a black marking on her left shoulder, just like the one Nezumi had, in the same spot.  So I’ve kept my promise.  My spouse and I are welcoming them into our home, just as soon as they are old enough to safely adopt.  I can’t wait to get to know her and her sibling!

calico

A note about naming:  My spouse and I are coming up with a list of names we like but ultimately our new kits are going to name themselves.  It always works best that way!

We’re going to be giving these kittens top quality care, as we have not always been able to do at times when we were poorer.  These little bundles of joy are going to be on a grain free, high protein, high nutrition diet, with a brand new humongous cat tree for them to scratch and play with climb on, a great vet, and lots of love.  Shinji of course will get lots of love and assistance with getting used to two young, energetic, furry menaces, but he likes other cats so I anticipate a fairly smooth transition.  I’ll also be sharing pictures as they grow and develop.  I think Nezumi and Orion would approve.

Journey to Genkijima

This is going to be a personal post but I hope it still benefits those reading it.

I’ve been overweight since I was roughly ten years old.  It started getting out of control in college when I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted.  However, I was getting exercise through Kendo and lots of walking, so it didn’t get too bad.

When I eventually got my first car, a few years later, the weight really started to pile on.  Add to that a couple of incredibly stressful jobs that involved lots of sitting and being yelled at over the phone and it got even worse.  Now, I’ve always had the most atrocious sweet tooth you could imagine and also a really good nose for bargains, so that combination didn’t help at all.

I tried, various times, to lose weight.  Once I tried Atkins and lost ten pounds rather quickly – but that was an expensive diet and so it didn’t last long.  Plus the fruit cravings were terrible.  I swear I could smell a mango from the produce section as soon as I entered the grocery store.  Another time I did Paleo and that worked great but was too expensive, and also I broke a tooth so all those veggies were out for a while.  I’ve tried shakes, tried fasting (a little bit) tried just restricting my calories without logging.  For a while I lived in Nevada in a tent and ate lots of beans and rice and very little else, and lost a bunch of weight.  I managed to keep it off for a while too but then money issues continued and more stressful work and I gained it again.

My biggest issues were the fact that exercise is super, SUPER boring, which I have little tolerance for, walking is rough during hot Arizona summers, and my life was seemingly consumed by stress and long commutes.

Well.  I got a better job, and more money started coming in, but I still gained because all the cool, nice people I work with LOVE to cook and they just LOVE potlucks, and of course the candy bowl, and it’s still kind of hard to walk while at work.  I had little motivation.

At the beginning of this year a “Biggest Loser” competition came around, with a $400 prize, and that was enough to make me really, really want to win.  I figured a three month period of aggressive weight loss would be enough to get some good habits started.  In December I’d finally gotten a weight set and started seriously trying to become stronger, because I wanted to be more self sufficient, and let’s be honest, also wanted some moderately buff arms.  I began to see results.

On January 6 I started logging my calories with a goal of 12-1500 calories a day.  Just existing in a sedentary state I burn 2200 calories so this could give me a solid two pound loss every week, and I intended to maximize this with what muscle gain I could manage and with plenty of movement.  However, I didn’t want to blog about it on here till I was well begun on my journey.  Because I really, REALLY hate to be a stereotype.

As of this writing I’ve been on plan with no lapses for 26 days.  I’ve lost about 13 pounds.  I feel more energetic, I fit better behind the wheel of my car, my waistbands are looser, my watch slides around more, and I’m stronger.  I’ve recently started making my cardio days my lower calorie (12-1300 calories) and making sure that I get at least 100 grams of protein per day.  No food groups are forbidden though I minimize processed starch or sugar.  I weight train three times a week with stretching and bodyweight stuff like squats on my rest days, and I walk 4-6 days a week, trying for about a mile.  Mostly it’s laps inside my  building where there’s air conditioning.  I love weight training, it makes me feel really good and I don’t have to do it for hours.

Here’s the really interesting thing.  One of the hardest things about pretty much every diet I’ve ever tried has been the cravings.  But I just realized today that I have actually had very nearly NO cravings or excessive hunger even though I’ve probably cut my daily calorie intake in half (at least.)   And I have cravings all the time when I eat what I want, when I want!  I haven’t even looked longingly at the candy bowl.  I’ve had chocolate twice (2 squares of ultra dark) and sugarless gum maybe three times, oh and I think three cough drops.  In 26 days.

I don’t want to go back.  I feel so good.  I snack all the time, but maintain portion control and always keep it healthy, and I know for a FACT that over the long term I’ll hit my numbers as long as I stay on plan.  I don’t deprive myself.  Since my weakness is freshly baked bread, when I bake some I’ll have ONE slice of it, log it, and leave it alone for the rest of the week.  If I want rice I’ll have a cup of it or less.  Knowing that nothing is totally forbidden has kept me from wanting most of it.

I’ve gained some muscle, and lost fat at the same time, because I keep my protein high and lift heavy.  No puny five pound weights for me.  At the moment I’m doing sixty pound weighted squats, twenty five pound kettlebell swings, and thirty pound dumbbell rows, plus a bunch of other stuff including exercise bands.  Plus lots of countertop pushups, because I’m still too heavy to do proper pushups.

I have a goal of converting 95 pounds of fat into carbon dioxide and water, and I’m thirteen pounds along.  Now we get to Genkijima.  That will bring me down to about 150 pounds, when I should be 130 ideally, but that extra 20 pounds of weight will hopefully be mostly muscle.

Since I haven’t been slim in so long, I have been doing a lot of thinking about all the things I’ll be able to do when I don’t have a small person’s worth of weight draped over my frame.  I started calling it the Land of Slim, but realized that was a pretty lame name.  So I picked “Genkijima.”  “Genki” is a japanese word roughly translated to mean “energetic health.”  A person who is “Genki” isn’t just healthy, but they are cheerful and have an upbeat outlook on life.  “Jima” means “Island.”  Tomorrow I’m going to buy a big piece of posterboard and draw a map of the land between where I started and this mystical island. with little spots I can color in for every pound lost.

Genkijima may be a place I’ve never visited in adult life, but I know the way.

jumping off the head
What it kinda feels like to begin this journey….

 

I tried the Rotten Zombie Skittles…

…and they weren’t that bad!

If you haven’t seen them, these are Skittles with various evocatively named flavors, mostly delicious, but a few of them are purported to be flavored like “rotten zombie.”

Most people who have written about them think they are absolutely horrible, and the company says that different palates may experience them differently.

I liked them.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I have a taste for well aged human flesh.  To my palate anyway, when tasted with an open mind, I found the flavor of these Skittles to be rather like spiced hamburger.  It was like hamburger with paprika, a hint of garlic and perhaps cinnamon, the kind of thing you might have with spaghetti.   The main oddity was that it was still sweet, because it was still a Skittle.  So maybe even mincemeat?

Anyway, if I had a wild imagination and was thinking of zombies, and it were closer to Halloween, they might be grosser tasting.

You may be wondering why in the world I would want to try Skittles that promised to have a gross flavor hidden among them.

Well, curiosity killed the cat – but satisfaction brought her back.

So when my coworker handed me this fun size bag of Skittles though, emblazoned with the legend “produced with genetic engineering,” I realized that the flavor couldn’t be too gross.  After all, this is a product meant to be safely eaten without having anyone sue the company for attempted poisoning.

Just like the Every Flavor Beans that Jelly Belly makes, the flavors are nasty but don’t really taste entirely like the originals.  Quick example, and it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of:  I ate plenty of grass as a kid.  Lawn grass, beach grass, you name it.  I chose relatively clean sources and long blades, I chewed grass and made whistles from it too.  The grass jelly bean doesn’t taste like anything like the real green plant matter, and I should know.  Therefore, I’m pretty sure that imagination has a pretty large part to play here.

So I ate the Skittles and lived.  My taste buds could be worn out I suppose, and there is that caveat from the company about differing palates, but it really wasn’t that bad!