Thursday, September 27, 2007

CSI New Season!

Well, tonight at 8pm, I'm stopping everything to watch the premiere of the new CSI season. Of course, I, like every other CSI watcher, have to know if Sarah Sidle lives or dies. The gossip sites have been mum about this, and I haven't heard that Jorja Fox has accepted any new projects or that her contract hasn't been renewed, so I'm thinking she'll live. Actually, I don't really care whether she stays or goes, but I like the original CSI better than Miami or NY (in spite of Gary Sinese). This is really one of the few "new" shows that I keep up with; I have all last season on my iPod.

And today is my son's 27th birthday. How did he get so old? I can remember when he was a baby, and that doesn't seem so long ago. I'm curious about his new girlfriend--I haven't met her. I think I need to take a trip to Austin soon and check her out. Of course, I'm not that old! How great that my kids age and I don't!

Oops--minor interruption here--I had to grab Golem and throw him out; he brought in a bird he caught; and I've lost my glasses--I don't know where I put them down while I was chasing the cat around the house. D&%* cats! So now I need to go back over every place I chased the cat and see if I dropped the glasses on the floor before I step on them.

This has been a loooong week. And it's about to get longer. I have papers coming in from all of my classes, as well as their weekly work. How did that happen? Of course, in my defense, I gave one class an extension on their papers because they just couldn't get them together. I probably won't get these back too quickly, though I pride myself on turning work around quickly. But I'd like to get this all out of the way so I can keep up with the upcoming assignments. As I tell my students, we don't want to get behind; we want to work ahead. My problem is that my work is contingent on their work--if they don't get their assignments in on time, I can't grade them quickly. I spend too much time backtracking. Of course, the alternative is to just give them zeros and go on--not an unusual or unfair idea!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Need to Stop...

...and smell the coffee!

I got up this morning (Saturday) around 9am (in my defense, I was up until 1am answering students' questions/responding to their issues). After a detour to the bathroom, I went into the kitchen to start the coffee. Of course, that's the cue for my cats to make their demands. For one, I turn on the faucet; for another, I open the cat food bucket; for the rest, I add "fresh" food to the food bowls--a little, or a lot, makes no difference. The top layer has to be "new." So, my need for coffee took a back seat to their needs to be catered to.

Yeah, I know. It's my fault. Really, I don't mind it. At least I don't have to send them through college and help pay their student loans! A new bag of cat food every two weeks and clean water are small prices to pay for their affection.

But that's not the only reason I'm posting here today. As soon as I started the coffee, I came into my study and turned on the computer. That's become almost a reflex for me these days. Get up, take care of the cats, make the coffee, turn on the computer. I actually had to MAKE myself sit down in the living room with a cup of coffee and watch the news, or I would have been on the computer at 9:15am.

I really do have a life--somewhere. I need to go to the store, to wash clothes, to sweep, mop, vacuum, clean the bathroom, mow the grass, and, yet, I find myself, because of the work that I do, spending hours on the computer; I look up, the sun has gone down, my fingers, wrists and neck hurt from the constant typing, and I reach for the aspirin.

This morning, after I forced myself to stay away from the computer, I opened the front door to let the cats out and realized that the air was dry and crisp; I grabbed my cup of coffee and sat on the front porch for about an hour. It was the best thing I could do for myself.

Yes, I have a great deal to do, but I also have an obligation to my own well-being to stop once in a while. Life is more than work, or school, or talking on the telephone. Life is breathing and taking time to see. I need to do this more often.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More about the @#$% Cats in My House

As most people know, right now, I have five cats: Callie, a calico, is the oldest; Boudreaux, a large black shorthair, was, at one time, my son's cat, but he's mine now; Buddy, a sweet black and white shorthair, is my "puppy cat." He follows me around; Bubba, mostly black with white, is what I call a "tuxedo" cat; and Golem, a beautiful gray and white cat, came to me from a professor at the college where I work (I'm a rescuer--I have a hard time saying "no." But I'm getting better--five is enough).

My cats have distinct personalities and quirks. Callie likes to drink out of the faucet; Boudreaux, as large as he is, runs away from anything remotely scary; Buddy and Bubba are mostly fearless, but like to sleep cuddled up next to me at night; Golem wants to eat directly from the food bucket--no cat bowls for him.

I usually leave my back door opened just a crack for them to go in and out when I am home. I get annoyed when I have to get up a hundred times a day to let them in or out. The open back door has worked since I moved in, until the last two or three weeks. All of a sudden, they want to go out the front door. They'll come in via the back door, but they've stopped going out that way, mostly. I couldn't figure it out. Until now.

We have a little stray gray and white cat that's been hanging around since last year. I never knew the sex of the cat, but I suspected it was female. It would get really fat, then show up skinny. Pregnancy, of course. This cat eats from the cat dish on the dryer in the laundry room, which is right out the back kitchen door.

Two nights ago, I went into the laundry room to put food in the bowl. In my peripheral vision, I thought I saw something move. At first, I thought the possum had returned and was lurking behind the washer, but, when I turned on the light, I saw a tiny, tiny gray and white kitten wobbling on the floor. I almost stepped on it!

It's cute, but will probably grow up feral if I don't grab it quick and tame it. But, right now, it's too small to take away from its mother--Buddy was about three or four weeks old when my neighbor gave him to me, and he suffers from separation anxiety. I am his mother, as far as he's concerned. So I don't want to create another "clingy" cat. But if I wait too long, the kitten will end up hanging around my house, hissing at me when I pass. It's a dilemma, for sure.

Well, that explains why my cats won't go the back door. They watch for the mother cat to leave, though, and dash in through the back door when she goes. They haven't bothered the kitten, but they are curious about it. I'm keeping an eye on everybody so they don't kill the baby. If the baby gets killed, the mother will go back into heat, and we'll have cat fights all over the neighborhood, and, of course, more kittens. I'd like to tame the mother and get her fixed, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Monday, September 03, 2007

On Not Laboring

Is there such a thing? Though this is Labor Day, and I'd like to totally goof off, I can't do it. I've been checking email and my course sites for problems, questions and posts.

On the flip side, I've managed to do all of this while watching The Closer marathon on TNT, culminating tonight in the next-to-last episode of the season. So, I can work and enjoy myself at the same time!

I'm still reeling from the story I saw earlier this week about the mother who let her five-year-old son drive her car. Her three-year-old son was in the back seat, not strapped in; the only person buckled in was the mother, who, sitting in the front passenger seat, was too impaired to drive. When police questioned her about it, she said that he was "a good driver." Yeah. So are my cats!

I know I'm not the only person appalled at this story because the newscasters relaying the story could hardly hide their own bemusement/incredulity/outrage.

What was this person thinking? I'm not surprised her children were put in foster care; I only hope that, when/if she ever gets out of jail, she doesn't get them back immediately. Believe me--I think children need their parents, but, if those parents are impaired (or just plain stupid), the children's best interests need to outweigh the parent/child bond. I hope this woman gets major counseling, or, alternately, a long prison sentence for child endangerment.

Okay, so that's my soapbox for today. Not much else is happening besides the first week of class. Having a holiday a week into the semester throws me off some. I'm afraid I'm going to think tomorrow is Monday and not get up when I need to! I have the clock set for 6am, but my biggest fear is that I will forget to set the alarm. It's happened--not lately--but it has happened. I will be a wreck before I go to bed--almost OCD--making sure I have everything ready to go in the morning.