TSS ~ If Cats Ruled the World… oh, wait… they do. Nevermind.

This week has turned out to be the week of cats.  I finally got my review of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper written and posted, then realized I’d forgotten the video clip I had wanted to tack on it.  A couple days ago, Maggie introduced me to an adorable website that also has an app for facebook (I spend entirely TOO much time on facebook lately) called FooPets, offering virtual cats and dogs (really kittens and puppies, perpetually) that you can feed, water, play with and even dress up and enter into fashion shows, as well as become a virtual breeder.  Now I have a virtual pet of my kitty-baby-son who passed away about 8 years ago, as well as a virtual one of our kitty-boy Dabu.  And then, to put the hairball frosting on the tuna cake, an adorable creamy orange tabby kitten followed us home from the grocery store and decided we were his people… no matter how much I screamed NO MORE CATS! 

So, first up… the forgotten Homer video 🙂

Some people don’t want to read animal books for fear the beloved pet will meet an unhappy end.  These people were no doubt scarred by books like Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, and The Yearling as children, and have vowed to never read a depressing pet book again.  For those people, as well as those curious to see and hear Gwen and Homer… like me… I had planned on putting the following video clip at the end of the review, as is my normal thing.  But being a bit out of practice, I totally forgot.  Better late than never 🙂

Able to leap tall bookcases! Catches flies mid-buzz! Yet the feline hero of HOMER’S ODYSSEY is blind, and this is his inspirational love story that completely changed the life of author Gwen Cooper.

Oh, and a new one I hadn’t seen before…  Gwen reading a passage from the book while Homer really gets into the gift of catnip 🙂

When Maggie came home the other day announcing she had just adopted a new kitten, I immediately boomed an emphatic NO!  She quickly chimed in that it wasn’t a real cat, but a virtual one found on a website her friend had shown her while they surfed on the computer farm at the library.  We sat down at my computer and she showed FooPets.  You’re greeted at once by the soft, furry face with big, hopeful eyes waiting to be loved and fed.

You can interact with your pet, feed and give him water, pet and play with him.  You can also take him shopping and buy him clothing and enter him in fashion shows.  And you can make him a her if you so prefer.  Maggie’s pet is a grey tabby named Laya (her own real-life cat is a grey tabby named Leia, but she couldn’t spell it 😉 )  This one is my FooKitten named Rambo.  Here he is dressed and ready for a fashion show.

Honestly, only a virtual cat would allow someone to dress him that way…

And all of that led up to the short-lived stance against taking in any new pets.  I mean, honestly… we already have 2 cats and a dog and 3 children.  Isn’t that enough animals?  I had told the girls months ago that as the pets died off, I would NOT be replacing them.  I’m tired of buying pet food and cleaning up the after effects of the pet food.  Tired of rewashing clothing because a cat enjoyed the comfort of the full laundry basket.  Tired of hairballs on book covers and seat cushions… do you know how much work you have to do to get cat vom out of upholstery? 

Then Thursday night, as Mags and I walked home from the grocery store, we happened to cross paths with a creamy-orange tabby cat.  Being the ever-loving animal lovers, we put down our bags and gave him a few appreciative strokes and some warm, cooing words, then set off for home.  Maggie updated me every few houses that the kitten (about 4 months old) was still following us, had crossed two streets and was continuing to follow us, and then all evening she informed me that he was still on our front porch.  To which I immediately resounded “NO, we’re NOT keeping him!”

When bedtime came, I kept having to yell at them to go to sleep everytime I heard the front door creak open.  Sometime around 11:30, Maggie whined that she couldn’t sleep because the poor kitty was crying (I never heard him) and it was cold outside.  Genuine tears of concern ran down her tired cheeks.  I told her to put on a CD and turn the volume up.  The cat was NOT staying. 

By 3:30 in the morning, when I was couldn’t sleep because I knew that poor baby kitty was cold and hungry, I went to the door and opened it to see if he was still there.  He was lying on the table on the porch, curled up tightly to keep warm, and didn’t even offer to slip in through the door crack.  It was as if he was saying it was enough to just dwell on our porch… to expect a place inside was too much to hope for.

I picked him up and carried him in and cuddled in my bed with him.  I’m worse than the kids.  LOL… I have no spine.  My will power was no match to this:

We’ve already named him Kyon-Kyon after the Fruits Basket character, Kyo.  He’s very loving and friendly, hisses a little at the dog and at Leia, but oddly enough gets on well with Dabu, who’s also a male… go figure.  And there just seems to be this gratitude that rolls off of him whenever you pet him, like he’s thankful to have a warm home and a family that loves him.  He’s a Thanksgiving kitty 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg

home-repairTitle:  Home Repair

Author:  Liz Rosenberg

Paperback:  352 pages

ISBN:  9780061734564

Challenges:  ARC Challenge

But it was more than facing the clutter and the mess, this grip of cold gloom that surrounded her.  She had never been prone to depression, not even after Ivan died, but what she suffered now felt like a disease of the soul.  She wandered aimlessly around the house.  The flowers in their clay pots out on the front porch were long dead and withered.  A few brown leaves stuck out from the stems.  She seemed to be staring at the demise of everything.  Everything she’d already lost, all the losses still to come.  It all headed toward grief in the end.  Humans were soap bubbles, clinging to any solid surface.  They rested briefly, then were gone.  Her mother would be gone soon, and not long after, it would be herself, and one day even her own children…

A chill stabbed her heart.  Why on earth bother?  Why clean, take out the trash, make the beds.  Why not let it all alone to rot?

Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg, pages 183-184 (ARE)

I’d first like to thank Jennifer, aka Book Club Girl, for the opportunity to read Home Repair and participate in a discussion with Liz Rosenberg, the book’s author.  You can listen to her July 8th broadcast on Blog Talk Radio with the author by clicking here.  It was my first time participating in a live discussion with an author, and was an interesting experience.  It would definitely be more interesting to have the author’s voice at a book club discussion more often.

One of the things that sticks out most for me with Home Repair is that it truly has a feeling of authenticity.  Often in books, when the tragic or fantastic occurs, it feels contrived or manufactured, a vehicle for the author to get the characters from one point to another, or to teach a lesson.  However, with this book, the events feel natural.  When Eve and her seventeen-year-old son, Marcus, get into a fight about him going for a ride in his friend’s new sports car, it had a very familiar feeling to me, a mother of two teens of my own.  The events that followed the argument also felt familiar and made me think back to something that had happened within my own family.  Another aspect of Home Repair that I kept thinking of while reading it was that the characters were very real to me.  At times I could see my own mother in Charlotte, Eve’s mom, with Eve playing my part, at other times Mrs. Dunrea could’ve been me.  Also, Rosenberg has set Home Repair in her home town of Bignhamton, New York, adding even more realism to the book.

Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg begins on a bright, sunny and unseasonably mild day as Eve holds a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter in her family of four’s life.  As the day progresses, she becomes aware that her husband, Chuck, has taken the opportunity to clear out for good.  Eve is left with the task of explaining to her two children, Marcus and Noni, that he’s left them, and to somehow manage to dig down within herself and soldier on.  The book takes us on a year journey as Eve rediscovers who she is, develops friendships and connections with new and different people, and deepens her relationships with those she already knows.  When her mother moves up from Tennessee to “help,” Eve is faced with her mother’s own eventual mortality and humanness, as she struggles in the in-between land of mother caring for her own children while being a child caring for her mother.  Home Repair is the story of healing, family and friendship that will stay with you and gives hope that “This too shall pass.”

“Why does anyone get married?  Why do middle-aged men leave their wives, or women abandon their families and run off to Tahiti?  Why does anyone bother to become friends with anyone, or adopt a child, or own a pet, for that matter?  We’re all going to die sooner or later, if that’s what you’re thinking,”  Charlotte said.  “That’s life.  Nothing we do can change that.  We’re all going to someday say good-bye.  We’re all going to have to cry, little girl,” she said, putting one hand out to touch Eve’s hair.  The touch did not quite happen, but hovered, and then settled back down, like a butterfly, still quivering.  “We might as well be happy while we can.”

Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg, page 324 (ARE)

Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg is a comfort, homey read that reminds us that we’re not alone and gives us hope.  It tells us that we’re stronger than we think and love is the best home repair.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Emoti-CATZ and Other Silly Pet Pics

First off, I want to thank everyone for their well-wishing and concern for me while I battled the belly bugs. I am much recovered and am almost back to 100% normal again… though, still a little nervous over any bubbles or sounds my stomach makes for fear of a recurrance. I walked to the grocery store yesterday and had steak, brussel sprouts, baked potato, garlic dinner rolls and yogurt for my first real meal in nearly five days… it was delicious! :-p Invigorated by the great dinner, I went exploring for some funny pics to use on my LibraryThing Profile, and had to share some of them!

First off, the whole emoticons thing can be confusing for me. Smiley :-), Big Grin :-D, Surprise 8-O, Angry D-:, Frustrated :-S, tongue (or tasty) :-p, sick :-x, and frowny 😦 are the ones I use most often. I also have a page bookmarked with an expanded list. (Oh, I also use :-/ for meh).

As actual face-to-face conversations have been replaced or exceeded by electronic communications, we’ve lost the facial expressions and body language received from conversations in person, and even the tone of voice clues from phone chats. If I were to say, “Wow, I just love my job” you wouldn’t know if I were being genuine or sarcastic, and thus emoticons were born.

Behold! My new emoticon reference chart!

emoticatz

Lol…. I forgot, I 😉 a lot, too…

Some other funny pics I came across….

catz in cagez catz bunz
catz halp, not camzcatz and mowzcatz poutzcatz in accidentzcatz kill

And since I’m The Kool-Aid Mom, a couple Kool-Aid pics…

Whacha flava?
Spart-Aid

How do you feel about emoticons? Which do you use most often?

Viral Video Wednesday – Has Gone to the Dogs

I’m still kind of lagging behind in sleep and reading (and housekeeping, but that’s always lagging) since my mom’s visit, and THEN I finally checked out an internet thing my friend’s been doing for years and I’ve resisted since first hearing about it: 2nd Life. YEah… no. That’s some life sucking stuff right there. I got on at four in the afternoon, blinked, then it was four in the morning. I just don’t have time for that; if I was on there I’d never get anything read or do any blogging. I think a first life is more than enough.

So on to the VIDEOS!!

This week, v v W is focused on videos about our best friends: our pets. We love our kitties and puppies, and I know there are several bloggers who include their fur-children in their posting. *Waves at Emmy, and all the other bloggy kitties and doggies out there.*

To kick it off, let’s start which a little classic theatre. I found this video about a year or so ago, and emailed it to everyone I knew. It’s hilarious, whether you are a cat lover or not.
Cathead Theatre Presents: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act II, scene 2:

On October 3, 2008, Disney is releasing a new movie called Beverly Hills Chihauhau, which we will, of course, be seeing. However, I think I may have found the video that inspired Disney’s new movie. The poster has titled the video “Cutest Ever Music Video,” and while I’m not sure about cutest, it is pretty high on the AWWW meter.

Okay, check your glucose levels… I don’t want anyone going into a sugar coma with this next one. Gwen, my middle daughter is an animal lover and she’s always fetching videos with them in it. This one is from her personal favorites collection:

Another one from Gwen’s folder, the following video was found shortly after our Pug-dog Frank, who looked a LOT like the dog in this, died. It took me a while before I’d even look at the video, but I now love watching it… and singing it.

And in the interest of bi-specienship, here are kitties morphing and rocking: Kitty Said What?

And now for one of the most annoying songs, the kind that’s stuck in your brain for days and you find yourself walking around mumbling it unthinkingly, but definately a cute and fun video: Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!

The YouTube member who posted the following video wrote, “I made this video for my neice who is cat crazy she is only 2 and she loves this” in the vid’s info section. As near as I can tell, this is The original “Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!” video:

And finally, one of the original virals, and a vid that will cure you of the “Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!” song stuck in your head…. because this song will be stuck there instead…. Is it a bird? Is it a dog, or a cat? No! It’s a hamster… and he’s dancing:

For a bit of Internet historical trivia, before there were viral videos to spread their way through the ethernet, there were viral emails. The original Hamsterdance email was created by a Canadian art student named “Deidre LaCarte, who was competing with her best friend and sister to see who could generate the most traffic, designed The Hampster Dance in August 1998 as a homage to her pet hamster, named Hampton Hamster. Using four simple animated GIFs of hamsters and other rodents, repeated dozens of times each, and a loop of background music embedded in the HTML, then a fairly new browser feature, she named the site Hampton’s Hampster House and had Hampton declare his intent to become a “web star”…. Until January 1999, only 800 visits were recorded (about 4 per day), but without warning, that jumped to 15,000 per day. The Web site spread by e-mail, early blogs, and bumper stickers, and was eventually even featured in a television commercial for Internet Service Provider Earthlink…. In 2005, CNET named The Hampster Dance the #1 web fad.” -From Wikepedia

Now it’s your turn to scrounge up some videos. Can you pack together a few viral vids with pride? Share some of your favorite animal vids in the comments, or post your own V V W on you blog 😀