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Lydy's Anarchist Revival Meeting

22nd November, 2015. 7:57 pm. LJG: Leveling Up -- Futons and Beds: Unlocked!

So, last night while I was at roller derby, Pamela texted me to let me know that Lady Jane Grey had gotten up on the futon couch while it was made up as a bed and kneaded the blankets and been sociable. Not for very long, but then did it a second time, too. Today, while I was watching television, she got on the futon couch, now made up as a couch, to be companionable and accept some pets. And a bit later, she came into my bedroom (first time that I know of), and tentatively got up on my bed, and walked the perimeter of it. I had Arwen in my lap, so I complimented Lady verbally, but did not encourage her to come over to get petted. Arwen noticed Lady, but had no comment. So, that's good, and I'm all happy, now. It's also been more than a week since she savaged me, and the last time it was very small. She's getting better at damping it down, even if she's accidentally lost her cool. I love her a lot. (Yep, I was always going to give her away. Totally a temporary cat. You betcha.)

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20th November, 2015. 9:12 am. You know what Friday brings

Cats and mimosas. You betcha.

Mimosa in hand, I will now type about Lady Jane. I took her to the vet last Saturday for her first round of shots. I'm quite sure she's not pregnant, now, since if she were, there would be kittens, and there aren't. She weighed 11.1 pounds. Which is a) too much and b) more than twice what she did when I first found her. She also has three lumps under her chin, which I suspect are battle scars.

The vet was going to shave her belly, to check and see if she had a scar from having been spayed (unlikely but possible). He took her into the back. About five minutes later, he returned, Lady unshaved. He said, "She does not like the electric clippers."

"Not having any?" I suggested.

"Really not," he replied. Later, he tried to clip a bit of the scab on one of the lumps under her chin to see if it was abscessed. And, again with the not having any. Really, really not having any.

She needs to go back in about a week to get boosters for the distemper and feline leukemia vaccinations.

I am a little sad because of late she has not been very affectionate. She can be companionable, she will often be in the media room if I am there, but she doesn't come over to get petted. She does like being petted, and responds very enthusiastically to it. But she doesn't initiate it.

Nuit is continuing to be a little shit, and Lady Jane Grey is continuing to be obstreperous to Nuit. There are longer periods of peace while they are in close proximity, so I think it's getting better, but they are still occasionally stalking and pouncing each other. Yesterday, when I refilled the food bowl that we call the Little Person Bowl, because Nuit, the Little Person, is the one who cares most about whether or not it's full, Lady Jane waited patiently for Nuit to eat first, and then ate. They had no conflict about it, and then fell asleep about a foot apart, Lady on a chair, Nuit on the futon-couch next to it.

I wonder, sometimes, if Lady Jane doesn't sit with me anymore because she has decided that she can't get on the couch because she's seen it used as a bed, and now it's become a piece of furniture that she's not allowed up on. This is probably a weird fantasy on my part, but it's clear that her former people were very strict about some furniture. She never, ever gets up on tables or beds or counters. This, coupled with the fact that she was apparently inadequately socialized and doesn't really know how to deal with being petted, leads me to think very harsh things about her former people. I suspect them of having been strict disciplinarians, but not very affectionate. What, my childhood traumas being projected on an innocent cat, how can you say such a thing!

Life is good. Complicated, but good. And, cats and mimosas.

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13th November, 2015. 10:24 am. An Open Letter to John C. Wright

When I was a Christian, I was a nihilist. The knowledge of an omniscient, omnipotent being filled me with despair. I felt small, ineffectual, and pointless. If the Creator of all could not prevent the pain and despair of the world, what could I possibly do? Getting right with God was all very well, in its way, but it felt empty and meaningless. What profit a man if he gain the world but lose his soul? Sure, yes, but what profit a man if he save his soul but cannot save the world?

Leaving the faith was my first step toward hope. When I consider the world, now, I don't see the hand of God. I see the glory of random chance, an infinity of possibility, narrowed over time to this exact instant, where everything that has gone before has led to this moment, and my choice, now, will change everything that happens from after this moment. It is both humbling and empowering. I cannot know if my choices are the right ones;, I cannot foresee all ends. But I know that what I do matters. And by observation, care, and thought, I can try to make better choices, choices that are better for myself and my world. I am the very opposite of a nihilist. I think that what I do matters, that my choices and my existence are important. When I abandoned a belief in life after death, I embraced the value of life here and now. Because this is the only life that I have, because when I die, all that will be left is the effect of my choices here and now, I care immensely about my actions. I take joy in life.

There are many roads to joy and hope. I know people who find that the reflection of God in nature leads them to care for their world, and the reflection of God in their fellow man lead them to love and care for others. This is not a road I can follow. But I can see it, and value it in other people. Joy, love, hope, faith, truth, these are all values we can share, no matter the road that leads us here.

A dear friend, many years ago, told me that it is very difficult to know the mind of God, but it is easy to see his works. This has freed me in so many ways. It has let me be friends with people of many faiths, and has helped me stop from criticizing people who are Atheist-ing wrong, or Christianing wrong. It is easy to see God's works. Love, charity, compassion, these things matter.

I would like to object, in the strongest terms, to the way you equate atheism, or belief in evolution, with nihilism. I am a joyful, hopeful person as an atheist. As a Christian, I was a hopeless, helpless nihilist. Not everyone walks the same path as I have walked, but that is ok. What is important is that we do God's work, even if we don't believe in him.

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9th November, 2015. 4:53 pm. Something new under the sun

So, the other night, I was working alone. It was about four in the morning, and neither of my patients was on CPAP and both were sleeping soundly. While I do need to continue careful monitoring, it doesn't require huge amounts of brainpower. Which is a long way of saying, I'm a little bored.

The phone rings. This pretty much never happens. The very few times it has happened, it's been someone with a very old phone list who is trying to reach the Neuro nurse on duty. Our number hasn't been Neuro's for a long time, but old phone lists never die, they just get put in file drawers for misuse at a later date.

I answer the phone, cheerfully, with "Sleep Lab."

"Oh, good," says a very soft, male voice. "It was very hard to reach you. I had problems with the switchboard."

It's four in the morning. The male voice is soft, tentative, and urgent. I used to work as a receptionist for a massage parlor. I know exactly what kind of call this is. I could just hang up on him. I could tell him I know what he's doing. But I'm a) bored, and b) curious, so I decide to play it straight.

He asks if I'm a sleep technologist. I admit that I am. I note that he knows my proper title, so he's done some research. He's looking for something specific. I wonder what it is. He gets his cover story out of the way quickly, something about his doctor referring him for a study, etc. Then he wants to know exactly what the procedure will be. If I hadn't already twigged, the word "exactly" would have told me. I still don't know exactly what he's looking for. But the nice young man has a fetish. If I had to guess, it would be the camera watching him sleep, but I'm playing it straight.

I describe the timing of studies, the check-in procedure, the rooms, and start to describe the set-up. "We put nine wires on your head, six on your face, two on your chest, four on your legs, chest and abdomen bands, and -- " he interrupts me. He wants to know about the wires on the head. I describe using a China marker to determine placement. He's a little interested in this, but more interested in the wires and their application. I explain that we typically use nine, but some set-ups require fifteen. He asks if that's counting the wires on the face. I say no, and explain the placement of the wires on the face (one by each eye, on the the forehead, three on the chin) but he's not interested in that. So we've narrowed down his fetish.

He wants to know how I apply the wires. He asks if I use hair to hold them in place. This is an interestingly specific question. I tell him that I, personally, don't, but that some techs do. There's some very specific questions about the cotton patches that are used to hold the wires in place. I explain the difference between glue (which we don't use) and paste, which we do. This goes on for a while. He's very hard to hear, he's practically whispering. He's not panting, though, so that's a plus. Possibly he's saving that for later. Finally, he asks me the money question: "And, could I put a wire on you, just to see what it's like to put a wire on someone?"

"No, absolutely not." Now, if I'd been being paid for this conversation, then I would have said yes, and gone into loving detail about my long, brown hair, and the best way to use it to help hold the paste in place and...but I'm not being paid. Also, I'm playing this completely straight, and no way am I letting someone put paste in my hair early in my work day, which I couldn't wash out until I got home. Besides, this game is getting a little boring, and now I know what he's after.

He thanks me, politely, and asks if he can request me, specifically. I tell him, yes, of course, my name is Lydia. And now I know to look for anyone who requests me specifically who hasn't worked with me before. ("Forewarned is forearmed, and four-armed is half-octopus, and who wants to be that?")

I text my co-worker who's at a different lab, that night. Figure she might end up with a call from him, might be useful to know. She says that she's pretty sure he's called previously, and talked to one of the other techs. That figures.

A fetish for EEG wires. Ok, then. Rule 34 rules, I guess.

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30th October, 2015. 9:38 am. New Pet Peeve

I really like my job. I do. And part of my job is to provide some incidental services upon request. It's really not a big deal. But I am currently really irritated with the variations on, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a pain," and "I hope you don't think I'm too inconvenient," because, really, what the fuck do you expect me to say? Reach deep into your imagination, assume I like my job enough to want to continue to be employed, and what responses can you blu-sky I might come up with? If you can come up with anything other than a variation on "It's fine, I don't mind at all, you are not a pain," you are an idiot.

What we have here is an hierarchical, economic relationship. Sorry, tough, but that's what's going on. When you ask me for reassurance about you being importunate, you are doing one of two things. The first is demanding reassurance for your insecurities from someone who has no choice but to offer them to you. This is a shitty thing to do, akin to threatening someone unless they say that they love you. While your physical needs do fall within my purview, your emotional needs do not, and you are extending the relationship to coerce me into serving your emotional needs, and really, if I weren't at work I'd tell you to fuck yourself. But, of course, I am at work, and that's entirely the point. So I will reassure your sorry ass that you're a fine human being, even if I don't mean it. And if I do mean it? There's absolutely no way to be sure, because see "hierarchical, economic relationship" above. You can only get one response out of me, and now you have it, and yes, it's unsatisfactory. Sorry about that. Nothing to be done. On the other hand, if you are so utterly oblivious to the actual nature of our relationship that you think that I might tell you the truth, I spit on your delusions and your arrogant ignorance of what it is like to work in a service industry.

For fuck's sake, for enough money, any whore will tell you she loves you and that you give her the best orgasms ever. Some people find that satisfying. But it's not an authentic relationship, bucko.

But I would like to reiterate that I really do love my job, and that I don't usually mind doing the various things that my job entails, and that does include a certain amount of personal care and service. However, it's not personal. It's not you. I do it because I love my job. You, I barely know you. And, you just got on my last nerve.

Can you tell it's Friday? Also, I need a fucking vacation.

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23rd October, 2015. 9:51 am. Days Since Lady Jane Grey Has Bit Me: 2

Not only has she not attacked me, but I both palpitated the spot where she used to have a lump and petted her belly this morning (very carefully). In other news, Nuit is on the couch about two feet away from her, and there have been no challenge songs, no growling, not even hostile glances. They are, at the moment, both asleep. This is...wonderful. I am so happy.

Lady has been slimming down nicely. I stopped giving her a can of wet food a day. She does have access to kibble most of the time. There is generally the weight loss kibble available when I refresh the bowls, and she's no longer eating the regular kibble like it's going out of style. She just seems to have slowed down. She's not as fat as she was, but I don't think she's losing weight too fast, and since there's almost always kibble available, I don't feel like I'm starving her. She does get a dab of wet food with everyone else, when Pamela does the wet food thing. I don't think she's pregnant. Which would be a huge relief.

Arwen managed to injure herself this last weekend. Doctor thinks it was probably a sprain. She was limping very, very badly, so I carted her into the vet Monday morning. Since then, she's a little better, but she's most hiding in the basement. I saw her this morning, and she seemed to be walking ok, but only for a short distance. Since she's mostly hiding, she hasn't interacted much with Lady, but I think that's going to be ok, too.

I did have a mimosa this morning, but am currently working on a gin and tonic. Eleven parts cats, one part mimosa, with occasional psychic g&ts. Life is good.

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21st October, 2015. 10:01 am. Mnstf and Ninja

So, we had agreed to host a Mnstf meeting last Saturday, well before Lady Jane came to stay with us. What with one thing and another, we decided to go ahead with it, and just warn people that the usual cat-free zone was not, in fact, cat-free. In preparation for this, I opened up the doors between the free zone and the unfree zone, to encourage the fraternization of the prisoners...I mean cats.

So, we're not really very good housekeepers, which means that hosting a meeting means that there's a lot of housecleaning to be done. Ok, then, go. Clean! With cats! Although the plan was to restrict all the cats, including Lady Jane Grey, to the back of the house during the party, in the run up, we were leaving all the doors open, to give everybody space to find their own level. That...went better than it could, although it had its problems. I had no idea that Nuit could be such an asshole. She was just horrible to Lady Jane Grey, in a very Minnesotan sort of, "Hey, I'm just walkin' here" sort of way. Provocatively passive aggressive. Ok, then.

I came home Friday, did a bit of cleaning, and then went to bed, intending to get up and Clean All The Things that hadn't yet been cleaned. While I was asleep, Pamela's mother showed up, based on a scheduling error. Whatever. However, by the time I woke up, it had developed that Ninja was nowhere to be found. After the house had been scoured top to bottom, Pamela was left with the conclusion that somehow, while talking to her mother about the scheduling mix-up, Ninja had managed to sneak past both of them, into the world outside.

Ninja is probably the happiest cat I have ever met. He's funny, cheerful, and friendly. When he was a kitten, he tried to make friends with the upstairs cats by taking them toys. He's sweet, endearing, and has no sense of self-preservation. He's hugely curious, but also completely convinced that the entire universe is one great, big, shiny toy, just for him. Ninja wouldn't think to run away from a dog or a Mack truck. He'd rush towards same, offering to play. No sense of self-preservation.

So, in between trying to clean for the Mnstf meeting, we are, all of us, going outside to see if we can find my funny, idiot cat. Calling his name. Setting out food. Searching the house again, because really, maybe just maybe. Nope. Nope. Nope. Dusting, vacuuming, rearranging furniture, another trip outside, more cleaning, mopping, etc. Most of it in the front rooms. But no Ninja. I go to bed in tears. Pamela doesn't sleep, and has waking nightmares of a life without Ninja.

I woke up early on Saturday, and after dicking around for an hour, I realize there is no way I'm getting back to sleep, so I decide to get dressed, look for Ninja, and then get coffee and breakfast. I have given up hope of finding my cat. I'm thinking of making a bunch of those sad, futile posters that say, "Lost Cat," knowing that they almost never work. Wondering if I'll find him dead by the side of the road, or if he's found new people who will love him, and I'll never know. If he's been eaten by a raccoon, or taken a ride under the hood of a car.

I go into the living room to get my coat. It was fucking cold on Saturday morning. I hear a cat noise. I can't tell where it's coming from. Thinking that, perhaps, Lady Jane and Nuit are at it again, I go into the media room. Nope, no cats there. Go back into the living room. Another cat noise. "Ninja?" I call. Loud cat noises, then a persistent, extremely loud yowering. I look around.

We have three seven foot tall, oak book cases in the living room. They meet at right angles, and there is a square gap at the corner where they meet, about a foot square. This is literally the only place that Ninja can be. And my, but he's loud.

I wake David up from a very sound sleep, and we removed about half the books, which enables David to move the book case. Ninja comes right out. He's still a bit frantic and wild. I move him to the back of the house, where his sister comes up and inspects him. He then promptly tries to get back into the allegedly cat-free zone.

I picked him up, and he was delightfully cuddly for a little bit, bashing my cheek with his head. In general, he was glad to be rescued. The question remains, why on earth hadn't he said anything hours and hours earlier? I suspect it was a combination of embarrassment ("I meant to do that") and the realization that if we found him, we would put him out of the cat-free zone, where he was busy having Adventures.

The Mnstf meeting went off roughly as planned, although things were a bit rough around the edges. And the reaction of allergic people makes it clear that the cat free zone, when it's actually kept cat-free, does help. It's not perfect, but a carefully cleaned cat-free zone does reduce the allergens and increase people's tolerance. Now that Lady Jane is living in the back rooms, we have plans to do a very, very thorough cleaning, probably including some sort of allergen-destroying product, and work hard at keeping the cat-free zone, you know, cat-free.

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21st October, 2015. 9:35 am. Days Since Lady Jane Grey Has Bit Me: 0

I have taken to sitting in the media room after work for an hour or so to be social with LJG. I was petting her, and she draped one front leg over my petting hand. If she were Naomi, this would have been an invitation to scrubble her belly, so I did that thing. She instantly did a hug-bite-kick, and now I have a slash on the heel of my hand, and two puncture wounds. She stopped, instantly, and I put my hand on her head in the "mother admonishing kitten" way, and told her that she had behaved badly. She did not struggle or protest being disciplined in such a fashion. That's interesting because she normally does. She tends to squirm and vocalize; this time she just lay there, looking a bit repentant. I got up and put antibiotic creme on my various injuries, and she was still on the couch when I got back, and responded well to being petted (on the head, not the belly). I really need to not pet her belly, I think.

Meanwhile, ouch.

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13th October, 2015. 7:05 am. From the Mixed-Up Cats of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I've been opening the door in between the rooms formerly known as the cat free zone and the regular Here Be Cats zone, so that Lady Jane Grey can meet her potential housemates. It has been...bloodless. Not quiet, really, but much better than I thought it would be.

Part of my strategy was that by having the area formerly known as the cat free zone as a place to explore, the resident cats would have something to occupy them beside annoying Lady. And I was hoping that Lady would feel the same about the rooms that she hasn't previously had access to.

The cats that took the most advantage of the expanded space were, of course, the little black kittens. The teeny, tiny, terrifying kittens of yore. Especially Ninja, who's never seen any reason why he shouldn't be allowed to go anywhere where he wanted any time he wanted. Lady Jane, not unreasonably, considers the front rooms her territory, and is not all that happy with the invaders.

The cat I expected to be least happy with the encounters was Arwen. Turns out, Arwen doesn't seem to care that much. She's been a little clingy with me, along the lines of, "You do still love me best, don't you?" but has not been a puddle of misery, like she was with the TTTK of yore. I don't know why, I'd have expected her to have a greater problem with an adult cat, but well, she's Arwen. Oddly, the person most unhappy with the perspective new housemate is Nuit. She's been growling under the door at Lady Jane for weeks, now, and is happy to do it in person. She also makes this odd, crooning noise that sounds very unhappy, but I suspect is actually more pissed than sad. Lady alternates between a tea kettle and a steam engine, depending on whether or not she's employing her growling. Ninja bowled her over the other day, for which I scolded him. He doesn't seem to particularly mind Lady Jane, he seems a bit nonchalant about the whole thing, but he does like being able to explore the front rooms. Naomi has, so far, been aristocratically above it all.

So, it's progressing. I currently have Lady back in purdah, in preparation to sleeping, but I'm thinking this might actually work. Despite the occasional growling and hissing, it's pretty peaceful all told. And if Arwen can manage, I think the rest of them can.

Lady is getting a lot less food, and may be losing weight. I need to not do that too fast. And I may have talked a friend into fostering her during the nursing and weaning of kittens, if she is indeed pregnant, so that's all good, too.

Lady does not like the fact that I want to pet her in the media room, rather than the living room, as is right and proper. I expect she's going to be very pissed when restore the cat-free rooms to their rightful status as cat-free. Poor Lady.

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9th October, 2015. 9:40 am. He told me to feed her!

Back from the vet. Drinking a mimosa even as I type. Well, not exactly, since I'm a two-handed typist. I'm punctuating my typing by drinking. Best punctuation ever.

Lady Jane Grey does not have FeLuk or FIV. She does not have a terminal disease. The test is really fast, done in ten minutes. She's going to be fine.

She's also 9.5 pounds, which Dr. McMenomy considers "very fat." He also thinks there's a 75% chance that she's pregnant, but it's hard to tell, because of all the fat. She's a minimum of four weeks along, since that's how long I've had her, but cats are weird, and don't always show until right before actually giving birth. If my estimate of Bucky's age is correct, it's very unlikely that she is pregnant. If the University's estimate of Bucky's age is correct, there's a pretty good chance that she is. She has certainly had at least one litter of kittens.

Because her pregnancy status is uncertain, we did not vaccinate her today. I forgot to ask them to clip her claws. I'll pay for that, later. The doctor looked at the lump, and said that we should just watch it for now.

So, now Lady goes on a diet. We wait three or more weeks to see if she's pregnant. Dr. McMenomy says that they can home the kittens once they're seven or eight weeks. I have no place to raise kittens once they're out of the box, which is like, from the ages of three to eight weeks. That's five weeks of wonderful, delightful, destructive monsters.

I really, really want to keep Lady. And I suspect that all my other housemates would prefer that I not. I have become so very fond of her. And she of me. I really hope she's just fat.

And now, I will drink more mimosas. And then get up and go to a reading of Saturn Run by John Sanford and Ctein. Because that will be extra, extra fun. Even if it does mean I can't drink as many mimosas as I want, just now.

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