Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 2012 - History in the Making

This past election had a number of amazing historic firsts:

  • Mazie Hirono (HI) is the first Asian-American woman, first Japanese immigrant, and the first Buddhist elected to the Senate. 
  • Tulsi Gabbard (HI) is the first practicing Hindu to Congress (and she's going to take her oath on the Bhagavad Gita.) 
  • Tammy Duckworth (IL) will be the first Thai-American, tthe first disabled woman, and the first disabled female vet in Congress. She is also biracial and trilingual.
  • Tammy Baldwin (WI) will be the first openly gay senator. 
  • New Hampshire is the first state to have an all-female delegation to the US Congress. (New Hampshire also elected a woman governor.)
  • This next Congress will have a record-breaking 20 female Senators. 
  • Mary Gonzalez is the first openly LGBT female to be elected to the Texas legislature (she identifies as pansexual).
  • Maryland and Maine are the first states to approve marriage equality by popular vote, followed shortly by Washington a few hours later.
  • Puerto Rico votes in support of statehood. 
 We truly are a diverse and beautiful country!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Updates and Such

I see that my last update was on February 12, 2012. I have never been good at sticking with blogs. I have tried in the past and after a brief period of regular updates, I trail off for months without word, only to pop back up again to begin the cycle anew. Consider this a new cycle. Since I last wrote, my cat, Zephyr, who I introduced here, got diagnosed with FIP back in May. The symptoms started appearing in March but attributed them to stress from my roommates moving out. Turns out it was an early sign of his kidneys failing. I tell myself there was nothing I could have done. All my research tells me that the coronavirus infects almost all shelter cats and that veterinary medicine doesn't know why the coronavirus turns into the deadly and untreatable FIP virus. He's hung in there longer than I had expected and I'm treasuring each day. Every time he goes through a bad streak and I am convinced I need to take him to the vet to put him to sleep, he rebounds and regains his energy. Unfortunately I think his slow decline may be coming to an end. He has always been a lanky cat but he is now gaunt. His appetite is also disappearing. He still comes for treats, though. When he stops then I know it really is time. He is living like a king and I'm happy to treat him like one for as long as I can.
In other news, the county agricultural fair starts next weekend and I need to figure out what, if anything, I will be entering. It will be mighty hard to top the big purple ribbon I got last year.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Best Books of 2011

A bit late but my life has been beyond hectic. Between my work life taking over my entire life, my immune system finally catching up and punishing me with three weeks of being sick in December, and then getting eye surgery in January - I haven't had much time to even remember I had a blog, let alone update it.

But I did read in 2011. I didn't reach 100, but I tried.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
This is a family saga, a mystery, and a tragic fairy tale all in one. After her grandmother's death, Cassandra learns the family secret... her grandmother was found abandoned as a little girl on a dock in Australia. Rather than being taken to the authorities, the dockmaster and his wife who found her decide to keep her as their own daughter.

"We're all unique, just never in the ways we imagine."

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
In 1899, a girl on the cusp of adulthood rebels against her mother's expectations, instead aspiring to be a naturalist like her grandfather.

“One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of them. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home.”

Hester: The Missing Years of The Scarlet Letter by Paula Reed
At the end of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl leave the colonies. Many years later, Hester returns by herself. Reed explores what may have happened to Hester and Pearl during that time. Hester's unique sight from her time wearing the red A on her chest gives her entree into the inner circle of Oliver Cromwell, and she finds herself embroiled in politics and intrigue.

“There are many more layers to innocence than one might ever imagine, and we are ever unaware of them until each barrier is breached.”

Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler by Jessica Speart
This is all true -- the story is so outlandish, the characters so completely unbelievable that it is impossible that the story is anything but. This is the story of Ed Newcomer, US FWS agent, and his quest to bring down Yoshi Kojima, the world's "butterfly kingpin".

"According to Interpol, the illegal worldwide animal trade rakes in a cool ten to fifteen billion dollars a year, and in the world of butterflies, Kojima had established himself as the kingpin."

Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn
This is a straight-up fantasy set in a near future dystopia police state. It merges Greek mythology, folktales and fairytales, King Arthur, global political struggle, and the most awesome little storeroom in the world into one intricate story. Evie returns home to look after her sick father, only to discover that he has one hell of a family secret, and a legacy to pass onto her.

"He sounded like a mystic sage. A wizard, not her father. Another character from a story, and she couldn't turn the page to see what happens next."

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebeca Skloot
This is the story of a woman, Henrietta Lacks, who died of cancer in 1951 but whose cells live on to this day. Her doctor took her cancer cells and used them to create the immortal cells which are the basis of modern medicine. This is also the story of Lacks' descendants, who were never told of their mother's unwilling contribution of science, and who never saw any money from the billions her cells made for the medical industry.

“But I tell you one thing, I don't want to be immortal if it mean living forever, cause then everybody else just die and get old in front of you while you stay the same, and that's just sad.”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stray No More

Remember Zephyr? The cat I adopted back in December of 2010? Well, this is the saga of his diet.

When I first got him, my cat was on dry food, with a 3 oz can of wet food once or twice a week for a treat. Then he got horrible hacking attacks that Mr. Google suggested may be due to not enough water in his system, so I switched to wed food once a day with dry food to graze one as he liked. The hacking went away. But kitty starting getting tubby around the middle. I was buying a brand Petco had in their "quality" aisle, NutraMax, that the cat loved but turned out to have high liver content and other things that were just full of fat and calories. I started buying my food from an all-natural pet supply store - it's pricier but his weight has evened out.

It was a battle though to figure out which brands and which flavors he would eat. I bought a can of practically everything. He turned his nose up at Wellness, refused to eat this very expensive imported from New Zealand brand that I would have served to humans happily (venison with apples!!!), and won't eat the food that has gelatinous goop in it (aspic, apparently). So I finally narrowed it down to BFF brand, but only the flavors in gravy.

Now, the next battle is trying to switch his dry food to a healthier brand. He started on Purina Pro because that was what they were feeding him at the shelter, and then he moved to the Purina Balance, and now he's on Nutro Natural Choice. Every time I try to change to something that is healthier with less junk, he goes on a hunger strike. Drives me up the wall. The pet store keeps giving me free samples of different brands, none of which he's liked.

I remind me that he used to be a stray and was happy to get any food. He ignores me.

But, he's getting along with my house bunny, Samm. Thankfully, she is not a picky eater.