Cats and Dogs, the Natty Impaired, and Physical Fitness

petting chartI love this chart, because for the most part, it’s true.

Most dogs are not terribly body sensitive.  Sheena is a bit head-shy, but I think that’s because she’s deaf, which means she’s highly reliant upon what she sees and she doesn’t want anything to obstruct her vision.  Lilo is extremely body sensitive (don’t even try to touch her feet or tail without giving fair warning) for a dog, but she’s an exception rather than a rule.  Clara must think she’s a cat, because she adores having her butt scratched as much if not more than a typical cat.

Isabel and Jezebel (the two black cats, and the oldest and youngest) are cling-on cats.  They love attention, seek it out, and can’t get enough physical closeness, petting, cuddling, etc.  Fanny (the behemoth silver tabby and white) and F.B. (Fluffy Butt, the tortoiseshell Angora) are both more selective about who they want attention from, for how long, and when.  They have their moments of wanting attention, but they also have their moments of being downright anti-social.  Especially Fanny.

jezebel isabelMe (Isabel- right) and Mini-me (Jezebel- left)

Jezebel is not going to be a terribly large cat.  Isabel is very small for an adult cat (just over 5#) and Fanny was bigger than her by the time Fanny was three months old.  Jezebel is about 18 weeks old at this point and is maybe 2 1/2- 3#.  Jezebel will likely grow and fill out a bit after she’s spayed, but I doubt if it will be by much.  Isabel’s spayed too.  Cats do most of their growing before their adult teeth come in.  Jezebel already has her adult incisors and canine teeth (yes, cats are carnivores and therefore they possess four elongated canine teeth, like all other carnivores) and it likely won’t be long before she gets the premolars and molars too.  An interesting (nerd alert) aside- a cat is actually more of a true carnivore than a dog, because a cat is an obligatory carnivore that requires meat in their diet to survive, whilst dogs can survive without meat in their diet.  Cats cannot manufacture their own taurine, which is an essential amino acid that has to do with vision and regulating heart beat.  Dogs (and humans) can manufacture their own taurine, but cats can only get taurine from meat in their diet.

Vegans beware- put your cat on a vegan diet and it will soon go blind and then die- so don’t impose your meatless lifestyle on your cat.   Or on me for that matter.  I may not need meat to live, but I sure do like it.

snickersF.B. is a beautiful cat, but she despises cameras.  I was lucky to get this one.

F.B. is probably the quietest and most unobtrusive of my cats.  She likes attention if it’s one-on-one, and she loves to just chill with the other cats. For the most part she sits back and observes, and sleeps.

fanny2Fanny was aptly named.  That’s what I get for listening to Queen.

Fanny is huge.  17# for a female cat is big.  She has big bones, and she has big meat on the big bones also, which is ironic because Isabel and Jezebel- each- eat more than she does.  They are tiny and svelte, yet they are eating machines.  Fanny is a fussy eater who eats only a very few things, (for instance Fanny refuses Vienna sausages, which the other cats adore) and she slowly and methodically chews each bite.  I feel for Fanny and her metabolism.    She also has a bit of a jealousy complex and an attitude.  She was not at all happy about Jezebel coming in and taking her position as the young petulant indulged one, even though Fanny’s four years old and should be over it by now.

claranlilo1Clara and Lilo have always been close.  Sometimes Lilo will get into Clara’s crate with her.

Clara (top) and Lilo (bottom) have been close ever since we got them.  Clara had been with us a few months when we got Lilo, and they are only a few months apart in age.  Even now that they’re older (Clara’s 10, Lilo’s 9) they still occasionally play tug of war with their toys and play-fight with each other.

tugofwar3They still enjoy this, even though Clara’s bigger and usually wins.

sheena311Sheena is well, Sheena.  She is her own dog.

Sheena’s part Husky.  Sheena has a number of flaws that are consistent with inbreeding- severe hip dysplasia, deafness, gross motor deficits (may or may not be related to HD) and she’s downright goofy.  Maybe some of her cognitive deficiencies are related to the fact that she used to live at the Tetanus Farm which was also a puppy mill and (suspected) meth lab.  There’s a reason why it’s a bad idea to procreate with first degree relatives, and that applies to dogs as well as humans.  But Sheena’s endearing in her own weird way.  I have a soft spot for rejects and misfits.  That must explain Jerry.  A warning to women: if a guy’s 38, straight, and never married, there is a good reason why.

Today begins Jerry’s fitness program.  He’s the one who wanted a membership at the Y and actually gave me money to pay for it.  This is almost scary in a way.  I can’t imagine Jerry in work out clothes, on a treadmill or elliptical, or lifting any sort of weight over 12 ounces.

He will be so disappointed when he discovers the only fluids available at the Y are water, diet soda and fruit juice, and there are no beer holders on the cardio machines.  But I will be happy if he at least goes and gives it a try.

On the other hand, I am anxiously looking forward to enjoying the indoor pool, being able to swim laps starting at 5:30 in the morning, and being able to work out on the ellipticals. Swimming and elliptical machines are two modes of exercise that allow me to get the cardio and strength training I need without destroying my joints even more than they are already.  The Y also has nice showers, so if I choose to go there to work out before work instead of working out at home, I can actually swim laps, do some cardio, and then shower and go to work from there. Nice.

jerry richard simmons

Hopefully he won’t think this is what I mean by “work out clothes.”

Observations of a Cynical Old Bitty, Sports Commentary, and Keeping it Simple

I don’t drink beer.  I don’t like beer.  But to Jerry, this swill is the elixir of the Gods.  Go figure.

Tomorrow I begin a brief vacation.   Not because I’m sick, a family member’s sick or I have some stupid errand(s,) which is usually the only reason I take time off.  Granted, I did tell Jerry I would list a bunch of his crap on E-Bay tonight (joy and rapture) and I did put the rack of ribs in the slow cooker.  But he’s on his own for a couple of days which means the drive-thru better have some cold Natty Packs, and I better make sure he has Katie’s (the local good pizza joint) on speed dial.  Tomorrow morning I head for the hills- literally- where Sprint access is a crap shoot (so no internet and probably no phone either) and things should be somewhat bull-shit free as long as Jerry doesn’t show up and ruin the quiet.

I’ll have Miss Clara with me, to screen any potential “visitors.”

Clara enjoys being at the campground.  I do have to make sure she’s on a leash any time she’s not in the cabin, but I give her a long lead and let her explore.  Clara is obedient and usually a good listener, but my only fear is that with the prey drive she has that she would lunge off after a critter and get lost.  Prey drive is an instinctual thing with dogs, and when she’s locked on to something she may or may not respond to verbal commands.  This is why a lot of people who work with protection breeds use shock collars (no I am not going there) so they can get a dog’s attention should they get locked on a prey item.  I don’t want to take that chance in an area where she can get lost and/or mistaken for a deer.  Admittedly, I’ve been paranoid with Clara ever since she was hit by a truck three years ago.  She has never attempted to get beyond the fence since then, even when Sheena has found – or fabricated for herself- ways out.   Sheena has about ten pounds on Clara, so any hole big enough for Sheena is more than big enough for Clara.  Before she got hit Clara thought it was a fun game to try to find holes in the fence and such, but she has not strayed even once since.  Still, I’m not taking any undue chances with her.

I’m not trying to get my hopes up about the upcoming election, though I was most encouraged by Romney’s debate performance last Wednesday.  I’d never really thought Romney was much of a public speaker but this debate was a most pleasant surprise.  The man knows what he’s talking about, and more importantly, he believes in what he says.   The absence of the teleprompter was rather telling for Obama.  Apparently Eastwood was right.  Now if only the rest of the world will get a clue and see what I’ve known all along.  The self-proclaimed “emperor” is naked as a jay bird.

Bluejays may not wear clothes, but at least they do have feathers.

Bluejays are interesting birds in that they eat almost anything, and they’re rather aggressive.  A few years ago there was a huge scare in Franklin County regarding West Nile virus and people were asked to report any dead crows or jays (crows and jays are actually related types of birds) so the health department could test them.  Of course I’m the lucky one to find a dead jay out in the front yard that wasn’t visibly mauled by cats or hit by anything, just stiff and dead as a post, so kept my distance and called the health department to come and get it for testing.  I’m not a big fan of communicable disease, so I figure better safe than sorry.  If there’s crap like that lurking about in my yard I want to know about it.

In response to my call, some guy from the health department showed up, with his hazmat garb and everything, to pick up the dead jay (with thickly gloved hands of course.)  The health department guy observed that the jay’s mouth was open and that it had another bird (likely a baby starling) jammed in its throat in such a manner that it likely choked to death.  He still took the dead jay for testing, but assured me that the cause of death was most likely asphxyiation rather than West Nile.  Apparently this is a somewhat common manner of death for jays.

Thankfully no one needs to tell me this twice.

Most sports are pretty stupid when you think about it.  Football for instance, involves chasing a funky shaped ball up and down a field.  It also involves having very big guys jump all over your sorry carcass.  I spent the first thirteen years of my life trying to avoid having my ass kicked.  Even if I were coordinated and could play a sport for money, I don’t think the scratch would be worth daily ass kickings all over again. NFL players are coming out and saying that they are getting brain damage from all the concussions they get playing football.  Granted most athletes aren’t rocket scientists to begin with (and I say this from deep within the highly uncoordinated geek camp) but shouldn’t brain damage be your sign that playing certain sports might not be worth it?

Today you’re throwing a football on national TV.  Tomorrow you’re sucking up pureed bananas in a straw whilst shitting your drawers.

Hockey is another sport I don’t get.  It’s only fun if they fight.

Which brings us to NASCAR fans and WalMart shoppers….

Perhaps that’s mean of me,  and a bit ironic, because occasionally I go to WalMart, if I have to get something I can’t find at Target, or I’m in Marion where there is no Target.  But NASCAR, I can’t bring myself to watch that shit.  Ever.

Must have taken this pic in Newark (OH)- the Lardy Lady Capitol of the Midwest!

Freddy Mercury would have loved Newark.  Big fat Fannys everywhere!

Speaking of big fat Fanny- but she’s a cat- and she’s cute.

Greetings from Nattyvana- Wish You Were Here!- and Sometimes The Possum Really is Dead

 

Nattyvana: That drunk-and-stupid state of mind one reaches after consuming a 12 pack or more of Jerry’s favorite Anheuser-Busch product- Natural Lite.

Never mind that Natty is only 4.2% alcohol. Never mind, but I can only imagine that horse piss has more flavor.  It is a “value priced” beer after all.  It takes persistence, but if you drink enough of it, you can get shitfaced.   Personally if my aim were to get shitfaced, I’d go for something with a lot more punch, like Jägermeister (35%- 70 proof)- if you can get past the fact it tastes just like Formula 44-  or just plain straight vodka (Stolichnaya is 40% or 80 proof.) 

To me drinking beer to get drunk is like driving through the ghetto to get to work.  You’ll get there eventually, but it takes longer, smells worse, and carries a higher element of danger than taking the freeway.  I don’t like the taste of beer anyway.  Natty isn’t the worst beer out there (take it from someone who used to party with people who drank Schaefer Light) but it’s pretty nasty even for beer.   It’s chock full of all-natural formaldehyde, with a wispy aroma vaguely reminscent of onion-tainted sweat socks and a despondent resignation to a life of obscurity and ignominy.  Whether or not Natural Lite is derived from anything “natural” I don’t know.  I do know that “all-natural” does not always mean “beneficial” or “healthy.”

All-Natural Ways to Die (for instance)

*Arsenic is an all-natural heavy-metal poison. (not to be confused with the 80’s heavy-metal band, Poison, though I can cite far better examples of that music genre)

*Ebola is an all-natural deadly virus.

*Black Mamba venom is an all-natural venomous poison.

*You can be eaten by an all-natural shark, should you choose to go into the water.

*You can be mauled and partially devoured by an all-natural grizzly bear.

*You can fall off of an all-natural cliff, or asphyxiate on all-natural bat guano fumes in an all-natural bat cave.

If you’re a possum, you can have the (mostly) all-natural Lilo the GSD/Chow mix snap your neck for you.

I’m glad I don’t get drunk anymore, if only because I have to be somewhat aware and sane to handle stuff like this.  The dogs do occasionally bring home some rather grisly finds. 

I really do feel sorry for the woodland creatures who dare to venture into our back yard.  This I think is probably Possum #4 for Lilo.  Her possum kill rate is rather surprising given that Lilo is 1. crosseyed, 2. bow-legged, and 3. slow.  Yet Lilo (unlike most dogs) is primarily an ambush hunter.  She lies in wait and then springs on her prey when they are unaware.  Clara and Sheena hunt like regular dogs- flushing and chasing.  Perhaps Lilo has had success with possums because they too are slow and low to the ground and can’t see that well.  I still feel sorry for the critters, though.

This poor unfortunate beast was immobile but still appeared to be breathing when Lilo deposited it in front of the kitchen door.  Jerry assumed that it was simply “playing possum” and acting dead so he scooped it up and put it back outside.  Sadly I found it the following morning, deader than a doornail.  Apparently it wasn’t just an act, or it was too badly injured to recover.  I tried to tell Jerry that I thought Lilo had snapped its neck, but hope springs eternal.  I was hoping she hadn’t mortally wounded it. If it did wake up I wanted it to be outside in its natural habitat, so if it were just stunned or playing possum it wouldn’t be waking up out in the foyer.  That’s all I need, some wild critter staring up at me with a mouthful (possums have 50 teeth- 8 more than dogs- which is a scary thought) of razor sharp teeth snarling at me as I’m trying to let the dogs out for their morning constitutional.

I very seldom drink anyway, and when I do, I drink wine, because I like the taste of wine.  Just a small glass will take me on a trip to mellow town. I don’t need to get shitfaced on it.  The last time I was truly shitfaced was almost 20 years ago, and I have no desire to wake up submerged in freezing water in a motel room bathtub with a half-eaten Domino’s pizza sitting on the ledge. 

It’s good that my health pretty much forbids me from doing much drinking.  I’m on enough blood pressure meds to kill most people outright, so I usually fall asleep before I can really start pounding ’em.  When I did drink to excess, back in the day, I was a forget-it-all drunk.  All I remember about one drinking party I went to in college was that yes- I did finish the whole fifth of MD 20/20, but I couldn’t remember whether or not I had slept with one of my friends’ skanky, geeky twin brother.  Nobody would enlighten me as to whether or not he had gotten lucky either- not until after I knew the coast was clear.  Since I had given up hope and let my birth control pill script run out, I had a rather harrowing two weeks of “waiting for Aunt Flo.”  Once everyone knew I was “safe”-then they told me what really happened- that he had passed out before I did, so I was never even subjected to the possibility of actually contributing to passing on that particular freakazoid’s genes.  Thanks, guys.  But at least they didn’t leave me passed out with my drawers down and my butt hanging out of the bathtub like what happened to one of my other friends.  When you weigh over 300# it is never a good thing to pass out on the toilet, especially if that’s the only toilet in the house.  Just saying.

It’s a lot safer to observe and let everyone else get drunk and stupid.  If only there had been such a thing as YouTube in the mid-80’s.  It’s probably a good thing that we were too poor for video cameras back then.

Sports, Spectatorship, Wine (without the “h”) and Alternative Activities

I am not a sports fan.  I can appreciate the aesthetics of men’s swimming and men’s figure skating, (even though those sports are generally not popular with straight men) but as far as organized sport in general goes, I would have to side with my Dad.  Sports are only fun if they have the word “motor” in front of them, and I’m not talking about NASCAR.  Three hours or more of a continuous left turn is only fun to watch when they wreck.  I can imagine that it would be more fun to watch the redneck freak show in the stands than to watch the actual race.  I don’t think I could bear to hear that much country music or see that many visions of inbred, badly dressed,  poorly tattooed, dentally challenged, over-fed humanity.   The denizens of Wal Mart take a field trip!  I think I’ll pass.

When I refer to worthwhile motorsports, I am talking about ones to participate in- such as off-roading, rally racing, drag racing, or boating. 

For instance, I would get into off-roading big time if I had an FJ40 like the one pictured above.  Old Landcruisers are awesome.  I always liked the Landcruiser guys when I worked in Toyota dealerships.  Landcruiser guys are generally easy to work with, willing to pay whatever it takes to get all the goodies for their trucks, and technically knowledgable.  The bad thing is, Landcruisers- at least the old FJ40 series-are virtually indestructible, but they’re difficult (and expensive) to acquire and maintain in Central Ohio.  I would have to have plenty of money and time to get into off-roading in an FJ40.

But because I’m a poor old cougar, I have to entertain myself on a budget. 

I don’t care much for football.  I just don’t have the attention span, and they wear way too many clothes.  I think I’ve figured out how guys do it though.  I’ve never seen a guy watch a football game without sucking down lots and lots of brews.  Apparently beer makes it more exciting.  Since I’ve never been a beer drinker, watching football just doesn’t work for me.  I like wine, (without the “h”) but who goes to watch football over a vintage cabernet- or as is more likely in my case- a bottle of Gallo or Sutterhome?  MD 20/20, maybe, but that’s not technically wine.  And I generally only need a small glass of Gallo or Sutterhome to go to sleep quite nicely.