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Happy Winterthing!

Right, so, some people don’t Do Holidays, and of the people I know who Do Holidays, there are various holidays being celebrated. I have a tendency to be something of a scrooge about Christmas, and it was a few years back when my also-scroogey beloved friend Liz and I began wishing each other a Happy Winterthing.

Winterthing has no specific date, but it happens in winter, and generally in late December. Possibly. It’s hard to pin down a holiday with no specific date. At any rate, my husband is more Christmas-positive than I am, so this year to show willing I have actually put up a Christmas tree. And then I coerced the cats (or at least the cats open to coercion) into behaving adorably near the Christmas tree, so I could take pictures, and end result, gentle readers, is a very special Winterthing Greeting from the Manor of Mixed Blessings to you.

…probably I should never be allowed near PhotoShop, but whatever. Behold!
Roo, an orange and white Cornish Rex cat, and Juniper, a black and white kitten, sit on a shelf next to a small wilted artificial Christmas Tree with one red ornament on it. The text reads 'I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. --William Penn' at the top and 'Happy Winterthing from the Manor of Mixed Blessings' at the bottom.

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More info on Juniper, World’s Most Laid-Back Kitten

Juniper went to the vet yesterday for his check up/initial vetting. I am pleased to say that he is FIV and FeLV negative, which clears him for a potential home with other cats! He is also now free of fleas and has been dewormed, as well as receiving his first FVCRP shot. He goes back on the 28th for the booster and we’ll schedule his neuter then, the vet felt that he was only 10 weeks old and thus too young to get his rabies vax or a quick neutering. He weighs about four pounds.

Thus cleared for interaction with the Usual Suspects, I brought him out to spend some time on the futon last night. He was Not Impressed with the dogs. In fact, faced with dogs he achieved such a phenomenal growl from his tiny frame that he established a three foot Canine Exclusion Zone around himself. My dogs are used to much larger cats than tiny Juniper, and were not about to poke their sensitive noses at a cat who was indicating so clearly that he would bite them off, even if he is tiny.

With cats he was much, much better. Roo sniffed him all over, established that he was not a snack, and then went about his business. Juniper did not react, except to politely touch noses. Aida jumped up, and they politely touched noses, and then she hissed in his face. He did not react. Aida was confused. They repeated everything, from nose-touch to hiss, and Juniper still didn’t react. Aida grumbled and went on her way. Emmaline took one look at him and said “Oh hell no I don’t do kittens” and retreated to watch him disapprovingly from the back of the Cat Chair. The only time Juniper showed any cat-oriented hostility was when Braxton Bragg snuck up behind him and patted his butt to see if he would do something interesting; that got a little growl that sent the dogs into whimpering panic.

Gentle reader, you have not lived until you have seen your 75 pound German Shedder and your 75 pound male Doberman reduced to whimpering and clinging to their Daddy because a 4 pound kitten growled, seriously.

Juniper will get more socialization time over the coming days, we’re hoping to work on the growling at dogs thing because, well, it’s too pathetic to see the dogs like that. But he’s doing quite well, and I think we’re on track to have him in a new home come January!

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Actual Conversations That Happen in This House

Daniel: Get off the stove you daft beast!
Me: Just let him lick the roast.
Daniel: No!
Me: It would make him so happy if you let him gum the roast.
Daniel: He is not going to gum the roast.
Me: It’s raw! You’re going to cook it and that will kill the bacteria!
Daniel: He does not get to gum the roast. Just no.
Me: Can he have a teeny piece of it then?
Daniel: Fine. He can have a teeny piece of roast.
Me: It really would make him happy if he could gum the roast.
Daniel: I love you.
Me: Is that “I love you even though you are badgering me about letting the cat gum dinner”?
Daniel: Yes. Yes it is.

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I’m slacking again.

Yes, yes, I know. I have a kitten update for you on two of the Three Musketeers, and I really should get out there and get pics of the budding garden, and also we plan on ordering the chicken house here shortly and fixing up the coop (anyone want to show up for a Coop Rebuilding Party?) but I am a lazy blogger.

So instead I will merely tell you that Roo is on Twitter, as @roomanchu. Also you may send him fan mail at

He said all the other famous cats on the internets had Twitter and Gmail accounts, and who am I to make him feel like the weird left-out cat whose people won’t let him be all up to the minute and stuff with technology? It’s never good to be the Odd Cat Out. I do not guarantee that he will tweet anything particularly interesting, but there you go.

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Dry fall

We’re having a drought here at the moment, the rivers are low and the clay ground is rock-hard and burned to paleness. Jeremiah Swakhammer’s pen needs regular watering to keep him damp and his plants alive. Nonetheless, we picked up a garden claw thing today and I believe if Daniel gets bored enough he plans to start prepping ground for a garden next spring. We also bought some bulbs today while we were out, to add some color to the front yard. Possibly to make things look nice we should also invest in some mulch. And maybe some more hastas next year, who knows!

I’ve kept trying to force Roo to write my posts for me, but the little bugger refuses to be useful. All he came up with this time was “ikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikik” and I shall leave the meaning of this cryptic utterance as an exercise for the gentle reader.

Saturday we went to Yankees in Falmouth, the only Union-centric Civil War event in the area. There is probably nothing more hilarious than taking your British fiance to such a weirdly US-specific event. This weekend, we’re going down by Richmond for the Virginia State Fair, another quintessentially USian event I feel he needs to experience to get the most from living here. I also put A Christmas Story in our Netflix queue, having discovered that it never jumped the pond. Advice on other Quintessential US Events and Experiences that he needs to have are gratefully accepted!

But for now, it’s time to upset Roo by kicking him out of my lap so we can make the bed. My life is so exciting.

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Cats: always contrary.

So there was no post yesterday for what you, gentle reader, will probably call the laziest reason ever: I couldn’t get Roo to write it for me. He’s in his room from 0500-0900ish these days since Daniel is home to shuffle cats around, and during that time he likes to tromp all over my keyboard since my computer is now in his Echo Chamber, that’s why sometimes I use his carrier to keep him there so I can work a little, and since is really spacious he’s comfortable there, if you want Information on cat carriers and other related products, this site will help you too.

Unless, of course, I open up a blank document and leave it there for him to work his authorial magic. I mean, we’re talking a cat who somehow managed to create a whole new folder holding the twitter user icons of everyone who was on my twitter front page at that point, it’s not like he doesn’t know how to use a computer! He’s opened windows on Daniel’s laptop that Daniel, who is way more computer savvy than I am, doesn’t know how to get to. But apparently expecting him to write one little blog post is just too much to ask.

In other news, Zillekins is gradually growing to respect the fact that when Daniel asks her to do something, like come inside, she needs to go ahead and do it. On the other hand, she’s also taken up waking us with frustration barking around 0400, which is annoying as all get out. Tink has resigned herself to sleeping in a dog bed in the bedroom instead of on the people bed, bless her heart, but we’re still negotiating with Rooney Lee over the level of night-time obnoxiousness he’s allowed to present before I get tired of it, get up, and toss him out of the room and close the door. For the record, stabbing me in the thigh with his claws? Not allowed.

Meanwhile the wedding is in three weeks and some change and we’re flailing around doing last minute stuff, like finishing the ceremony and this weekend we’ll go rent Daniel a suit. My poor beloved has either acquired some good ol’ American germs or is deathly allergic to the entire state of Virginia, could go either way really. Beowulf continues to deeply adore him, Tink finds him an acceptable substitute for me when I’m at work, and Braxton Bragg has condescended to snuggle him a few times now in a moving display of not wanting him dead. Brax is many things but not a trusting soul, bless his heart.

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Life is very busy.

The Best Mother Ever is here, drastic house stuff is going on that includes unpacking boxes that have been packed for years (on the plus side, I found Tink’s wardrobe!) and the resurfacing of the bathroom floor to repair Emmaline’s depredations, we are also installing full range of warmup products that we picked from Thus the lack of posting, as I try to juggle work, school, and drastic house stuff!

So instead of a substantive post, here. Have Zille in Beowulf’s crate, wearing a foodbowl for a hat while she snuggles Rooney Lee.
Silly Zille, a sable Shedder, lies flat on her side in Beowulf's ginormous crate.  She is wearing his foodbowl like a top hat.  Roo is cuddle up against her neck and chest, laying over one of her forelegs to hold her down.  You thought I was kidding about the hat thing, didn't you.

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Never brag on your dogs. Also, epic battle with horse fly.

So the very night after I pen a post saying the Usual Suspects haven’t really done anything all that interesting and have been, and I quote, “shockingly well-behaved”, I go to bed in my bedroom with La Diva Tinkerbella and the Best Mother Ever retires out here on the futon. Sometime around 0200, I am awakened by a Smell. Evidently Tink did not get the time outside she needed to poop, or maybe the rain was just too upsetting for her (she doesn’t like to get wet while she poops) but anyway, the practical upshot of everything is that I owe the Best Mother Ever a new pair of tennis shoes. Tink’s aim is pretty impressive.

This morning, I staggered out of bed, let the dogs out, headed back to the bathroom, went to let the girldogs in, and got buzzed by something that sounded like a very small WW2 fighter aircraft. Being the kind of person who handles these things with grace and aplomb, naturally I shrieked and ducked and flailed my arms, startling the girldogs into skittering into the living room to hunker down, and then slammed the door much too late to keep the invader out. Damn.

Turning, I saw this HUGE INSECT bonking its head repeatedly on a light in the kitchen, watched with deep fascination by the cats. Clearly I had to Take Steps; my compassion for living things ends when GINORMOUS BUGS OF DOOM invade my home, so I groped about for a tool with which to do battle and settled on my heaviest and most compact textbook of the semester, The Woman’s Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. That rumbling sound you hear is generations of dead feminists rolling in their graves at the sacrilege. Luckily horse flies aren’t as flighty as their smaller counterparts, and it only took one mighty blow to knock it dead to the floor, whereupon I had to run interference to stop Roo from trying to eat it. It’s in the trash can now, and I am listening carefully in case it was only stunned and not dead. But I think I slew the mighty beast.

And then I let Beowulf back in, who was sad he had missed all the fun.