Thursday, February 25, 2010

And then there were none

As in, and then there were no more fertile feral female felines running loose in our backyard.

Socks, the last of the above, a small calico with a predilection to run whenever I was in the area, has given up her in-heat ways the last few days and the number of suitors has dropped to near zero. As she's been staying home, the time was now to trap her and get her spayed.

So much easier said than done. Our trap is rusty and has been ill-used. I could kick it and it wouldn't latch. Out came more WD-40 and sandpaper. I brought it up to the patio and set it with a pork rib. When I peeked out an hour later, Socks was in the trap, and it was not sprung. I opened the door, she jumped out. We repeated this episode.

The spousal unit suggested tying a string to the trap door, re-baiting it and waiting for her to make her move. I could be hiding inside the back door and pull the string, thereby snaring our last un-neutered charge. I suggested that if he thought this was such a good idea, he could watch and wait, as I had better things to do than resort to a cartoon trap.

The gauntlets, so to speak, were now thrown.

I set more pork in, tying the rib top and bottom to the trap. He set the trap where he could easily watch and spring it, and I went on my way. It wasn't five minutes later that he had her.

Well, really now. Who knew it would work? And so quickly?

That would be several dozen animals trapped for me, to his one. But, even I admit, it was a very important one.

We bring her home Saturday from the vet. She wasn't really happy with her new adventure, but she might not have been thrilled with motherhood either. This way, at least one of us is happy. Me. And in Socks' world, I'm the one that counts.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do you read what you watch--Olympic style?

To continue the conversation:

If curling is the scorned romance genre, then how may we compare some of the other sports? Is figure skating the glamour puss, the tell-alls, the confessionals, the featured item at the front of the bookstore and on the endcaps? Something we all watch, pick up and browse through?

Is hockey mystery? Downhill skiing in all its forms the thriller? And while I'm tempted to put snowboarding as the equivalent of Young Adult, I think it more rightly belongs to sci-fi and fantasy. One builds the world, sticks to it, and then the rest of us wonder: How do they do that?

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic curling and the romance genre: siblings in scorn?

Noting that the CNBC coverage of Olympic curling was being touted on the sister stations, I admit to a lip-snarl. Curling? Really? How big an audience was there for that?

Then I remember that I used to watch it on lazy Saturday afternoons, probably on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Why it's an Olympic event is beyond me, but then I'm not sure what snowboarding has to do with Mt. Olympus either except I was told it would draw a younger, much wanted, audience. Good. What a relief to know that young people are no longer interested in hockey and snow skiing. Then again, curling didn't become an Olympic event until 1996. I must have had some really boring Saturday afternoons as a child. Come to think of it, I did.

That aside, I got to thinking about curling and the romance genre. I've heard both denounced from all sides. So, is curling the romance genre of the Olympics? Is it a guilty pleasure shared by many who would be loathe to admit they watch it, yearn for it? Hmmm?

So, romance fans, think on that the next time you dish another person's joy.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The trap thief revealed

After a week of snow and rain, I was ready to once again undertake to trap feral fertile female number 3, aka Socks. She's wild, and made even more so by being the object of many a tomcat's pursuit. In fact, she disappeared for a couple days. When she showed back up yesterday, skittish as ever, I started planning.

(I must interject here that her sister disappeared a week after she was spayed, but her mother has stayed close by. I wish Stripe well and my only solace is knowing that wherever she is, she is spayed and has had her rabies shot.)

Back to Socks. I put the trap out where she usually stays and managed to catch a tomcat of unknown owner. I let him go, hopeful that he is more trap-wary. This morning, I decided to try an early day regimen using cat food instead of pork ribs.

The last time I did this, I found that my bait would be gone and the trap empty. And so this happened again this morning as I watched backyard cat Sammy ease his way into the trap, consume the food and leave. Obviously, my trap was not as trap-worthy as it should be. If well-formed Sammy could scoot in and out, then I had no hope of catching little Miss Socks.

WD-40 in hand, I went to work on all hinges and lectured Sammy not to go in again, as this time he would not be so lucky. Sure enough, I went inside and watched him practically run into the trap for the fresh food. It was a good 5 minutes before he realized his predicament. Another lecture and I let him go. This time, when I put fresh food in, I went upstairs to dress and didn't come down for another hour or two.

That's when I let Sammy out AGAIN and closed the trap. I had no more patience with it for the day.

Tonight, I'm going back to pork ribs, which he does not seem to favor as much as canned cat food. But should my newly discovered trap thief go back in, it could be morning before he gets his freedom.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stock Photos for Dreamland

Stock photos are available for free or a small fee and they show up widely on the Internet and romance novel covers. One of my favorite blogs will occasionally track the usage of stock footage and how it morphs ever-so-slightly from advertisement to cover and back again.

So I'm wondering if our dreams use stock landscapes. I dreamed about a place last night, a large warehouse with stores or retail booths in it, and I was with someone but I haven't a clue who now, and I just knew where we were going, that the area we wanted wasn't in the building we were in or even the next, but the third. And the bank--I think--was located at the end and up a narrow stairs. Why? Because I'd been there before in my dreams. It was like stock footage my mind stores away and hauls out every so often, adds a new color or twist to, and sends me on my dreamland way.

What do you think? Do you ever go places you've never been except in your dreams?

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day!

While the mid-Atlantic states and off toward their west are socked in with two batches of snow, we in North Texas have just been having cold weather. If there was precipitation, it was rain. Today changed all that and in a hour we were covered with big fluffy flakes. Everyone is so happy about it. School is still in session, the roads are wet, not icy, and, the best thing--it's going away tomorrow!

We can be very easy to please because this is how we love our snow: here and gone! I doubt it's freezing outside now, just "hovering" about that point. Tomorrow's high should be in the 40s and Saturday's in the 50s. This suits me very well since I'm hosting a large romance author program at the library Saturday. Ice and snow accumulation would definitely put a damper on, i.e. cancel, that.

So I get to watch all the white come down and transform my world. I wonder where the outside cats are, but trust they're taking care of themselves. My indoor boys are sound asleep, blissfully unaware.

Me? I think I'll put some soup on for supper.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

My uncanny ability

I love my iPhone and hate connecting it to my macbook to sync. I put it off as long as possible. I let "the cloud" of MobileMe update the calendars and addresses and figure I don't need a constant rehash of photos. Unsurprisingly, I'm not a constant user of iTunes for the latest tracks.

But last week, I bit the bullet because I wanted some new apps. Because I had delayed for so long, this was not the simple process of attaching the iPhone and downloading away. First of all, iTunes had to be updated. Then, Safari had new problem-solvers on board. In fact, the latter two software updates had been bugging me weekly for months. THEN, when they were done and I'd checked all the little 'agrees' for using the new stuff, I could sync my iPhone.

Except it too had an upgrade. Big breath. Then it had to recycle or refit or something and I'm left staring at a blank iPhone as it does its thing. An hour after I start this process, all is declared well and I can disconnect.

Whew--that's over for another few months.

Then today, I read about the new iPhone software and obligatory iTunes accompanier. This is the very same thing that happened last time, which was September, I think. I hunkered down, downloaded, updated, gritted my teeth--and they came out with the new goods the next day.

If I could only pick stocks...

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

What does 60 look like?

Emphasis on the does.

It must look like me. And I'm not 60.

So I'm in a Goodwill store buying dishes we can break up to make mosaics for the library's spring sale (that would be buying from one charity to benefit another with a lot of labor in between) and I notice the sign that on Tuesdays seniors get a 15% discount. There's not an explanation as to what makes a senior.

I certainly do not consider myself such, although the local movie theater let me be a senior at 55. But when I put my goodies on the counter and the sweet young thing asks to see my driver's license before she's rung up even one item, I get suspicious.

"Why?" I'm sure I glared at her. "Oh, I'm not a senior," I explain when the light dawns on me.

She nods, a little unbelievingly.

"Really, I'm 58."

Whew! She seems relieved. "Well, so many people wait until I ring them up and then they say I forgot to give them their discount." She's happily punching in numbers. "I mean, what does 60 look like?"

And when I was her age, I had no idea either. In fact, in this age of baby-boomer age-denial, I'm still not sure.

Except it doesn't look like me!

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