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King Jack

I’ve spent 15 years with Jack by my side. I nursed him from the dying kitten I found at PetSmart into the asshole young cat who stole pizza off my plate to the cranky middle aged cat who sat on Miles and tried to eat his face off to the old cat who wheezed like a freight train and yowled like a maniac but always purred when he slept on my pillow. All along I fed him clavamox every 6 months or so, knowing that someday it would be an upper respiratory infection that killed him. An upper respiratory infection (with extra bonus renal failure) is killing him. I’ve been waiting for this day since the vet told me my 2 pound kitten had lost nearly a pound and was going to die and reluctantly told me I could try to save him but I would end up sad. I saved him. I syringe fed him warm ham and beef baby food for days until he perked up and decided to live. When he got sick again three months later, then three months after that, then six months after that, well, I knew what life with this cat was gonna be like. 

And I didn’t care. 

My ex husband hated Jack. I should have known. 

Justin loves Jack, and Jack loves him back. They sleep together, many nights, with Jack against Justin’s side, head folded into Justin’s hand. When it’s a bad migraine day, Jack stays by his side, a silent sentinel. Justin has been syringe feeding him, and running his IV fluids. 

But this is it. He’s not getting better, despite those measures. The heartbreak is here. 

It was a good 15 years. Thanks for sharing them with me, buddy. 

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RIP, Miles the Cat, 2004-2015

Today we said goodbye to Miles The Cat, the furry friend known as Miles Vorcatigan, Fat Miles, Terror Cat, Desperation Jones, Little Buddy, and KITTY!

From the day he rode back from Hudson Falls on my shoulder, he was mine like no other cat had been mine since Butterscotch when I was a child. He was the product of a 6 pound siamese mother cat and, depending on who you asked, a Sneaky Neighbor Cat, Swedish Volleyball Player, or Mountain Lion. He was huge in frame, and he was deeply bonded to me. He meowed like a mofo, and was afraid of his shadow and seemed to be rather agoraphobic, and was incredibly lazy and very very fat. He was also the best nap buddy I could ever have asked for, he purred a very satisfying rumble, and he had the most gorgeous green eyes. He was not smart, and once got trapped in the basement ceiling because we went on vacation and the contractors redoing our bathroom were scary… but his not-smart-ness was rather charming, most of the time.

He loved me, and I loved him. He even, eventually, decided Justin was mostly not trying to kill him, and would acquiesce (with full-tilt airplane ears) to being petted by him. He tolerated the “pink toe, pink toe, black toe, pink toe” game, and the endless songs I’d sing about how “Miles the cat, he is very fat…” He let baby Gwyneth, and then toddler Gwyneth, pull his tail, tug his fur, lick him, pat him, and then pet him. He never ran from the screech of “KITTY!” she let out when she saw him.

He was just sweet.

He will be missed.

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Not my Miles

Yesterday I received a barrage of emotionally difficult email at work that simultaneously triggered my compassion and my frustration.

This morning I had a series of meetings that made it clear we’re all going to get through that frustration as a team, with compassion.

Last night, when asked, my daughter pointed at the dragon and the horsie and the princess and the knight. Language: Acquiring.

This morning, my cat was described as “riddled with tumors” and “insulin-dependent.”

Ups and downs. Downs and ups.

Miles and I took a nap this afternoon. I cried myself to sleep while he slept against the curve of my belly and thighs, purring. He’s lying on the couch at my hip right now.

I’m not ready. I thought it was going to be Jack, first. I was mentally prepping for Jack.

Not my Miles.

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This morning I drank a smoothie while making scrambled eggs with cheese, raisin toast, and bacon for the rest of the humans in the house. Then I ate a piece of raisin toast and called it a win.

In the course of living today, I:

  • jammed copper wire from the pan scrubber under my thumbnail
  • had a stack of four garbage cans roll over my big toe because I wore flipflops to Lowes
  • broke a nail while doing dishes
  • took a baby skull to the cheekbone
  • spent 20 minutes trying to convince G to nap but really just getting kicked in the boobs a lot
  • crawled across the floor and managed to put my knee, the one with the big-ass scab on it from falling two weeks ago, right onto an alphabet block
  • wrenched my shoulder, the problematic one, while picking up G at a bad angle
  • walked into a bag of Sakrete on a shelf at Lowes, jamming my upper arm into the corner of it
  • I don’t even know why my left hand hurts but it does

Did you know that if you sprinkle cheerios onto beef-and-bean enchiladas, like a garnish or a seasoning, the toddler whose dinosaur divided plate holds said enchiladas and cheerios will be compelled to eat the cheerios, because toddler, and then will also eat the enchiladas beneath the cheerios despite rejecting said enchiladas not 10 minutes earlier? Because cheerios are the ultimate in food and make everything better.

Note: This does not work on sauteed spinach. Sauteed spinach is for losers, and the toddler will just pull the spinach off the cheerios before eating them.


The kid who lives in my house can now wash her own face (badly), brush her own hair (badly), open the refrigerator (too easily), close any and all doors (so far, with her on the correct side), and independently travels around our home.

It’s brilliant.


I think I’m not going to have a full two-day weekend where I am home and not working until late May. I’m trying not to dwell on this. I chose this life, I love my work, it’s exciting times, and I’m doing good things. But man, would I like to disconnect for a few days in a row…

We took the crib side off of her bed, and made it a toddler bed. Because, hell, she doesn’t sleep in it, so we might as well make it into a little book-reading couch.

Jack has moved in. He sleeps there, now. Screw you guys, this is my new house.

I washed all the dishes ever to dish today. Justin emptied, vacuumed, sorted, dusted, and windexed both cars. We ate homemade breakfast, ran errands and went to four stores, and were home by 10:30 am.

I have no idea who we are anymore. Strangely competent (and yet fully incompetent) adult-type people, I guess.

I have not yet exercised or meditated, but I played with my kid without distractions, I did at least 30 minutes of housework, I made a food plan and stuck to it, and I cooked food for my family. All of those are daily goals, and I did them. I’ll see about the meditation and exercise after I do a few hours of work.

And the whole “get 10 hours of sleep” thing can just go crawl back under its rock, because BWAHAHAHAHA.

I’d like to crochet a blanket for Gwyn, inspired by Wee Liam’s blankies that come with him on Fridays. Then I think about my life and I just set aside that desire for some other time.

Maybe while we’re at Pennsic. I can crochet in garb.



There is a flying pig on Gwyneth’s new carpet. It’s awesome. When pigs fly, dude. When pigs fly.

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Some bullet points for those who wonder.

  • Currently, the specialist ortho says no surgery for Justin — OT and PT instead, with his “best hand therapist”. That starts later this month. We’re hopeful. Fewer knives are better.
  • However, all Agincourt crafting is off for a while, because Justin can’t hold any small tools until this is healed. Which sucks, for him and for the people who would like things made.
  • Last night Gwyn very clearly said “hot” in response to Justin telling her she needed to let her french toast cool a bit before she tried it. I’m also 80% sure she said something very close to “bottle” when I asked if she wanted one.
  • Pets are pets: Miles is super fat but in love with Gwyn in oddly sweet ways, trying to sleep with her whenever possible. Jack wants nothing to do with her, and also hates the new litter, and is peeing on all the things that are not the new litter. Malcolm is our beloved doofus, and we are trying to figure out how to handle his anxiety at being separated from Justin.
  • I am working a lot a lot a lot, probably too much, but I have two major deadlines on May 1, and I need to handle those no matter how much I wish I had more home and down time in my life.
  • My current schedule is doing no favors for my physical issues, but I’m not falling apart, and I’m coping. Today I’m coping with an ergonomic office chair, a large iced coffee, and some excedrin.

Life is good, if a wee crazy.

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Commander G

Today’s family storytelling during bathtime was thus:


There is a spaceship. It’s run by Commander G. Her first officer is Malcolm (steadfast and true). Miles is her fat but effective quartermaster (need to make sure there’s plenty to eat). Jack is the cranky yet wizardly mechanic (and his white coat is always filthy). Rocket Raccoon is head of security (because Rocket, duh). Phil the quadropus is astrogator (because I think he’s an alien, so he should be good at this stuff). Blue Dog is ship’s counselor (listening to everyone’s whispered secrets).

Justin said he’s the ship’s AI. I agree, and silently add that he’s also the tactical officer.

I said I was Queen. My husband smirks at me and asks, “Why Queen?”
“I think I’m always the Queen.”
“Why not President?”
“Because this is NOT a democracy.”

The end.

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Tonight’s unconventional lullaby was a rewritten Silent Night (rewritten on the fly) because while I love Christmas carols, I’m not a Christian, so singing about virgins and hallelujahs doesn’t really do it for me. Of course, Gwyneth was less than appreciative of my ingenuity; right now when I sing to her, she yells at the top of her lungs and whacks me in the mouth. Justin says it’s a gesture of excitement, but it might just as easily be her way of saying “SHUT IT, MAMA.” Hard to tell.

Silent Night, Jenica’s version:
Silent night, snowy night,
all is calm, all is quiet.
Stars shine down from heavens above,
families sleep in homes full of love.
Sleep in comfort and peace,
Sleep in comfort and peace.

Repeat as necessary.

The other song I sang tonight was another iteration on the Fat Miles song. Tonight’s, I believe, went “Miles the Cat, fell in a vat, so he sat and sat and sat, and that is why he’s fat.” This one is only limited by how many words you can think of that end in “-at”, and is sung to a three beat rhythm, emphasis on the third beat. It’s a masterwork.

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I sort of lost September. I got really sick, and then I weaned Gwyn, and then I got really depressed, and suddenly it was October.

So far October’s been pretty great. Turns out that having my hormones level off and starting a scrip for Zoloft turns me back into the person I was pre-pregnancy. I liked her. It’s nice to have her back. And I’m not sick anymore, and can both breathe and sleep simultaneously, so that’s also good. I took my measurements this morning, and weighed in, and Justin and agreed last night that it’s time to put ourselves back on the much healthier reduced-carb eating plan we were on before I got pregnant. We’re healthier when we eat less pasta and bread, because we eat more protein and veggies as a result. So grocery shopping is on the agenda for the weekend, for certain. And I want to bake, so apples and pumpkins and pie crust are also on the agenda.

The Pook is great, and is growing like a mad thing, and moving moving moving always so busy and really just a joy to be around except when she’s missed a nap in which case she screams a lot. She’s started pulling herself up to standing, but still doesn’t actually crawl — she’s an army-crawl baby. She collects all the dog fur on the rug onto her tummy. She slept straight through from 10 to 6 last night, and when I woke up at 4 to go to the bathroom, she was asleep on her knees with her face buried in her mattress and her little butt straight up in the air. Her cousin Orion sleeps like that. She was also wearing her monster butt jammies (I bought them in all sizes so I could get a year’s worth of monster butts), so I was greeted by a grinning green monster face. Possibly the cutest thing ever.

And really, that’s all. September was a loss. Autumn is good. October is better. Monster butt jammies for everyone.

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5:00ish: wake up uncomfortable, realize Jack is sleeping on my pillow so I’m curled into some sort of weird “don’t disturb the elderly cat” shape.

5:17: wake from despite-the-cat pose to hear G crying.

5:40: put G back in her crib, fed but awake, and return to my bed.

5:43: hear Jack meowing in the bathroom, asking for water. No.

5:44: Malcolm sticks his face in my face, tail wagging, asking, “is it time to go out?!” No.

5:45: Miles Jumps onto the bed and starts his half-Siamese siren meow, asking for love. I pet him. Gwyn is cooing in her crib.

5:46: Jack shows up, and stalks around the bed, looking for somewhere to lay down, clearly dissatisfied with my head being on my pillow. Malcolm whines and yawns and gives up and lies down. Gwyn is still cooing.

5:47: Gwyn starts crying.

5:48: Gwyn stops crying.

5:49: Gwyn starts crying. I change her diaper, come back to bed, move the cat, and lie her down between us, demanding that Justin “snuggle her into submission”. I reset my alarm for 7, and try again to sleep.




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this has been sitting in my drafts folder for a month. I was going to flesh out each bit. But I think it stands just fine like this.

Took Gwyn for her first swim.

Stood and rocked her in my arms as a downpour rolled in.

Watched Malcolm romp in the woods, off leash.

Shucked corn in the main camp kitchen as rain pattered on the roof.

Watched Justin strip down to shorts and sneakers, with a pencil, measuring tape, and lumber, in the boathouse, and tipped my beer to my father.

Bats in main camp.

Sunrise on the mountain at morning feeding time.

Getting the food planned just right.

Wool sleep sacks for camping babies.

56 squats.