jillithian: (Toe Jam)
Nothing makes me grin and giggle and shriek out nonsensical comments in a falsetto voice like my now 14 year old cat trotting and galloping and tweaking out like the spaz she is.


History Cat



In May of 1997, my dad and brother were out of town one weekend. And my mom saw a "FREE KITTINS" ad at the munie or the old grocery store in Rogers. We headed out to a farm and she was the orneriest kitten there. Playful and crabby and feisty and full of hiss and spit. We had to have her. I held her on my lap for the whole drive home.

My dad's first comment when he saw her: "That cat's history!" After a questionably run name drawing in which my dad was the one drawing from the hat, History was named.

Sandy was 6 at the time and she did not like History. It might have been because Sandy had all of her favorite spots stolen by a kitten who knew a good thing when she saw it. Mom's lap - taken. Jill's bed at night - taken. There were six chairs at the dining table with cushions. Whichever one Sandy was on, History tried to sit on, too. Sandy didn't like catnip anymore because the already feisty History cat would just get feistier.

History's favorite spots to sleep, other than wherever Sandy was sleeping, were empty beer cases (especially funny when my dad's favorite beer at the time was Red Dog and there was a calico cat head sticking out of the hole), and a decorative basket on top of the topmost cupboards. You'd call her name and have to see if any pointy ears were sticking out of the basket.

She'd go outside and pounce on grasshoppers. They were her favorite. She eventually moved on to little birds and would leave presents by our door. Sandy preferred to give us gutted bunnies and mice.

When I left for college, my dad said I had to take History with me. This led to my adventures in my first apartment that led me to starting this LJ. It was an apartment that allowed cats.

At 14 she's still full of hiss and spit and feisty and ornery. She's starting to tolerate Kiko now. Well, as long as Kiko isn't sticking her face in History's face. She's still pretty skinny, although her hips are getting a little bonier. Sandy made it to 3 months away from 18. She seemed to be slowing down more than History is, though. I suppose a 60 pound canine nemesis keeps you on your toes. She still loves going outside and cooking in the sun. In the winter, she and Tim battle for the prime heat register locations. In the summer, she tries to sit with me on the hammock and follow me around the yard. Most nights, just after I go to bed, I hear a mad scramble and then feel the cat jump on the bed - she risks life and limb running past the dog just to sleep with me at night. :) No matter where she is in the house, as soon as we let the dog outside, there's suddenly a cat in the kitchen, licking her chops, waiting for treats.

Any newly emptied cardboard box in the basement becomes her new playground. When we bought a big screen tv this winter, she would lead me downstairs and scramble in it to play with me. We had to get rid of that box, so Tim grabbed the box from Guitar Hero and put a marble in it for her. There are now about 6 marbles, a string, and a small stuffed Big Bird in that box. :)

I love this cat so much. She makes me smile just sitting there. She's been with me from the age of 16 and has been there through all of my growing up. She was one of the reasons I knew Tim was a good one - she hated my previous boyfriend with a passion and doesn't particularly warm up to people very well. But the first time Tim came over to my apartment, he put his coat on the chair and she snuggled up in it. She lets him hold her and she doesn't struggle or claw (first. person. ever.). I've been so lucky to have her in my life.

I think I'll have to give her a few extra treats this month. :)
jillithian: (pwnd Cute Overload)
I am refusing to answer my mother's calls today. And she's already called.

I don't know if I was less gullible or if Mom was just easier on me than my brother growing up, but she never got a good April Fool's Day joke on me until last year.

I was out of my element. It was my first corporate trip anywhere ever. And it was for the job I had started only seven months previous. It was a work trip to our corporate headquarters in Dallas with my co-worker Mark, my boss Mike, another co-worker Mike who flew in from Arkansas, and the president of our company, Steve. So add the nervousness of my first corporate trip and add the company I was in and I had completely forgotten what day it was.

First thing in the morning after breakfast with the crew and before we headed out to the offices, Mom calls and tells me that she had a business trip to Dallas and so she'd be in town that evening and wanted to go to dinner with me. Mom is always on business trips anyways and it just didn't occur to me to think otherwise. Somehow I had to work up the guts to make a request of my boss and the whole crew for this meeting to be able to eat with my mom for dinner instead of with everybody else. Remember, I'm new to everything in this company and I didn't want to be the new girl that shuns the team for other plans, but it was also my mom.

So, at the offices we quietly walk into a small conference room where Steve is on a conference call. I whisper to my boss Mike asking what the proposed schedule would be that evening and if I could go to dinner with my mom. He looks at me a little funny but says that it would be ok.

It was later that day that it suddenly occurred to me. I think it was even late afternoon - I was that out of my element! So, on top of being the new girl who wants to skip out on plans with the team, I'm also the new girl who gets punked by her mom on a business trip with her boss.

So, this morning I received an email:
From: Mike [the boss]
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 9:39 AM
To: 'Jill'
Subject: Urgent Message

Your Mom is in town and wants to meet you for lunch!! ;-)

Welcome to April,

Mike


Being that it IS her favorite holiday of the year, I did forward this on to her with an additional "This is YOUR FAULT!" so hopefully she'll forgive my lack of willingness to answer her calls today.

The worst part, however, is that I really should have known better. She pulls this trick on Parr almost every year. The same trick, even. "Hi Parr. This is your mom. I just landed in Chicago and should be to Madison by lunch time. Where do you want to eat?" And he falls for it every year and I laugh at him for it every year. *facepalm*
jillithian: (cabin at sunset)
So, Mom visited this weekend from Florida and was lucky enough to experience our first dusting of snow yesterday morning. hee hee

Good news and sad news.

Good news: my brother was in Chicago last weekend interviewing for an accounting position at a big firm and will be in NYC in two weeks for another interview. The place he interned at this summer has already offered him a position after he graduates in December, and my dad's friend has offered him a tax season position in January, but he wants to check all of his options first. It's pretty awesome that he has these opportunities waiting for him before he even graduates. That smart-ass kid is going to probably make more in his first job out of college than I am now. And I'm ok with that. :)

Sad news: my parents are going to be putting Sandy to sleep soon. She'd be 18 in February. She's a sweet cat - not nearly as ornery as History - but has been getting lost and worried in the house and has a real tough time if a daily schedule is not strictly followed (Mom has been traveling a lot this month and so Dad has been cleaning up messes).

We got Sandy in 1991 when we lived in International Falls. She was free from a farm. A couple of months later, we got Mickey the dog. Both were in kitten/puppy stages so they didn't know the difference between each other even after Mickey grew to be 40 pounds and Sandy stayed at her petite 8. Mickey would roll over on her side and Sandy would lunge at her neck, kicking and biting and clawing. Sandy would have a permanent dog-spit mohawk on her neck. Then they'd curl up together and take naps. In International Falls, we lived on the lake and had neighbors with two big black labs. Once she decided to run to the end of the dock and jump into the lake, rather than become dog food. She'd come for boat rides with us up to the cabin, and if it got too hot, my dad would set her into the lake to cool her off. She'd swim back to shore to lick herself dry. I'd always giggle because her butt seemed to be so much more bouyant than the rest of her when she swam.

She survived the move to Wakesha, WI, Germantown, WI, Rogers, MN, St. Cloud, MN (for a couple of weeks while my parents were moving), and then down to Dunedin and Palm Harbor, FL. She outlived Mickey, who got hit by a car in Rogers. She survived History - who kicked her out of my bed, my lap, and her favorite chair at the dining room table. And Sandy still greets me with rubs and purrs when I see her every other year at my parents' house. She survived my dad who makes it a point to be as pest-like as possible when it comes to pets (I inherited it from him). He'd always be such a bother to her, but you'd find them later taking naps together on the couch.

And right now I'm thinking of her face and I'm trying not to cry. I realize that almost 18 years is a very long time for a cat, but I'll miss her.
Greetings from Florida
jillithian: (cabin at sunset)
I'm not sure how the topic came up, but this weekend my mom and I were chatting and I had mentioned to her that I didn't remember when or what happened that I had changed from the little girl who loved singing songs in Sunday school to the Humanist I am today.

I remember in 8th grade during my confirmation classes my dad made me go to that I was devoutly non-religious already and, when assigned a paper about what happens when we die, I went into great detail of how worms slowly digest your brains. We lived in Germantown, Wisconsin, at that time.

I also remember Sunday school in 6th grade at the Lutheran church up in International Falls having singing contests with my fellow Sunday schoolmates to see who could sing the longest without a breath in that "Gloria... In excelsius deo..." song in the chapel.

Luckily, Mom, remembered. She said that I had told her that it happened in 6th grade. We were moving from International Falls to Waukesha, Wisconsin, the month before my birthday. My parents decided that I'd get a pool party at the Holiday Inn a month early so that all of my friends in the Falls would be able to come. In the process of moving down to Waukesha, I missed a few weeks of Sunday school.

In my 11 year old brain, I had figured that since we missed church and Sunday school for a good few weeks there, and nothing bad had happened, there must not be a god.

Five months later, we moved again to Germantown, Wisconsin. There I made friends with some girls who were huge fans of the growing "grunge" music scene - one of whom gave me a copy of Nirvana's Nevermind album. I bring this up because Nirvana's song "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle" inspired me to find out as much about Frances Farmer as I could during middle school. I even read Frances' autobiography "Will there really be a morning?" in which there is a section about how she wrote her infamous essay entitled "God Dies". She was a little girl and had prayed to God to help her find her hat, which she later found, but her friend's relative died and God hadn't prevented that. She thought that the huge disparity between the two occurances must mean that God was dead. This story just sounds like it enforced my earlier notion.

Incidentally, if I ever find my pre-teen daughter reading that book, I will have a heart attack. Definitely not appropriate reading material for, well, pretty much anyone.

I'm not writing this to convince anyone of any argument either way. I just have been thinking about this and the funeral I went to this morning added additional fodder for my brain processes. I also wanted to get this down in writing if I forget again.
jillithian: (pwnd Cute Overload)
My dad has had his motorcycle endorsement for years. I think he got it long before I was born, but I can't remember at all a time where he actually rode motorcycles. So he is particularly jealous of me and my two motorcycles. (Well, two for now.)

He has changed his ever-present search for a boat to a search for a motorcycle now, especially since some of the ads running down in Tampa are saying that the new 250cc bikes can get as much as 80 mpg. This weekend he and Mom went out and sat on a few Hondas, Suzukis and Yamahas. He says "Mom forgot the checkbook," so they didn't buy one. Yet. :) He got himself a "Cycle Trader" magazine and has really been eying up the lots.

I'm not holding my breath, though, as he's been looking for a boat for at least three years. But, boats are much more expensive and the type (read: size) of boat he's looking for won't fit in his garage and would cost a lot for storage and upkeep whereas a bike could fit pretty easily in the garage. His next problem would be to find enough room in the garage for two bikes, though, as he says if he gets one, "Mom's gonna want one for herself, too." heheh




He says he probably won't buy one until they get back from Aruba next month. His friend Randy is an accountant from International Falls and goes to Aruba every spring after the tax season. Dad finally agreed to go with this year. He was complaining because "it'll probably get up to 90 here today so," he doesn't "know how hot it'll be down in Aruba."

As it just snowed this weekend up here, I told him I'd sit in a snowbank for him, then. Whiner!
jillithian: (That kind of day)
While we were down in Florida visiting the parents for Christmas, there was an article in the St. Petersburg Times about how Intelligent Design was approved to be taught in public schools. You'll have to forgive me, but I cannot find the exact story I was reading. Here is the closest article I could find: On Evolution, Case Closed.

I have to admit I was shocked. The Tampa/St. Petersburg community is no small hick town back of beyond. This is a large metropolitan area!

One often hears of Christians denying evolution exists - claiming Creationism and Intelligent Design being the only options. I am not a Christian, but my mother is. She was raised Catholic up until the churches stopped having mass in Latin. She and Dad still go at least on Christmas and Easter. She's a firm believer in evolution. And she believes in God. To her, those two beliefs don't contradict each other. Why can't one assume that God would be able to create beings such that they would evolve and change as their surroundings changed? I would think that if a god wanted it's subjects to survive, it would create them such that they could evolve.
jillithian: (Polly)
So, funny thing happened last night.

Tim and I were down in Kimball at my friend Angela's house having a good time playing board games, eating fried food and drinking beer and root beer schnapps shots.

At 11:30, I get a phone call from my mom.

Ok, now my mother lives in Florida. It was 12:30 her time. My first thought is that my grandmother just died (they just put her in a nursing home two weeks ago).

"Hi Jill. How are you? Are you guys having a good time?"
"Hi Mom. What's up? Why are you awake this late?"
"Yes, it is late. Apparently your dog is going crazy and the police are trying to get a hold of you. Can you please call Officer XXXXX at XXX-XXX-XXXX. I think that is the dispatcher so you'll have to specifically ask for Officer XXXXX."

!!!!!

Ok, #1. How is it that my mother in Florida is the one the cops get a hold of first?!? We don't share the same last name anymore and Tim's dad just lives a couple miles away from our house.

And #2. Sorry, it's still the same as #1 because I'm kinda in shock by that and I feel really bad that they had to call my mom in the middle of the night.

So, luckily Angela's friend James was kind enough and sober enough to drive the thirty miles from Kimball back to our house so I could speak with the officer, pick up our crazy barking dog, and drive back 30 miles to Kimball.

The police officer was very nice. He stated that the city ordinance is that dogs cannot be barking for more than three minutes straight and he'd been sitting in the alley for almost an hour listening to her bark. He said he appreciated that I came home to get the dog and he's glad he didn't have to take her anywhere for the night. On the phone he asked if she was a nice dog because then he would try to pet her to calm her down or something, but she's wary of unknown men in her home/yard, so I didn't think that'd be a good idea.

He was a very nice officer and didn't give us a ticket or anything. I think he was just glad that I came home.

But anyway. So that is the story of how we got the cops called on us.

She's never done this before. I don't know what's up with her. We bought a barking collar for her on our way home this morning and decided to try crate training again. This time we put her bed inside the crate and she went in there quite happily right away. She's voluntarily taking a nap in it right now:

She went in there all by herself. I'm not sure how much she'll like it after locking her in it tonight for the first time, but we'll see. *shrug* She chews on stuff too much to let her have free reign of the house while we are gone.

Oy. The questions that go through my head are: If its this hard to have a dog, how fucking hard is it to have kids?!?
jillithian: (Big Earl)
It is day 2 of my diet relaunch.

I believe the photos from our User Group meeting last week were the big kicker.

So, it is day 2 and I am hungry and I just ate. :( The cat and I have something in common: we both lick the black plastic bowl thingie for those SmartOnes dinners clean. What I don't get, she'll lick and lick and lick until the thing is stuck under my desk and she can't quite reach it anymore.

Dad made a drive-by visiting this week. He arrived around 6pm on Tuesday and left around 5:30 am on Wednesday. He had just finished his "gut bomb" at Burger King (his terminology) before he got back to my house and so was too full to have any of the brownies I made especially for his birthday.

I'm not sore about it, really, except that we don't usually have brownies or many other types of refined sugar in our house. Otherwise I will eat it all. So now I am stuck with a pan of brownies (of which I've probably ate 1/4 already). Stupid brownies. Stupid, fattening, delicious brownies with chocolate frosting. I told Tim to bring them to work, but I think he forgot and then gave the excuse that he wants to eat them. He better eat the whole damn thing, that skinny bastard. Mom is arriving tomorrow evening, so she better help, too.

I think she yelled at my dad because Wednesday night he called me and apologized for not eating any of the brownies. heh

I have to somehow convince myself to do my homework tonight so I don't have to work on it when Mom is here. This will be a very difficult task as I have started a new crochet project and am a touch excited about it. Plus, I'm a big lazy ass.

My cubicle at work has a view of the Mississippi river out the big wall of windows. So we had a nice view of the crazy tornado storm that passed through yesterday afternoon. All the different offices in the building emptied to the corridor outside ours by the brick stairwell and we watched as the sky went from gray to black to yellow to blue to white. No damage to our building or my house. Trees are uprooted all over the place, though. Our yard just has extra downed branches and that's about it.

I think my best argument for not putting off doing my homework is that by doing my homework, I have a good excuse to continue to put off putting the laundry away. Welcome to my brain.

update: I have the exercises completed but now I have to read two case studies and report on them. Ugh. I am not interested by case studies. They always ask stupid questions at the end that are just odd. Maybe I'll do those tomorrow morning....
jillithian: (cabin at sunset)
Spent Wednesday through Saturday at a hotel in Minneapolis for our company's user group meeting. It consisted of free food, comfy beds, and hours on end with a bunch of optical people I don't know. I'm the sort that handles large groups of unknown people only in small doses, so by Friday afternoon I skipped out for an hour and tried to take a nap -- I had a massive headache. The unfamiliar people paired with the unfamiliar setting and then add to that my first two days of classes on Monday and Tuesday and then Saturday skipping out early to play in a golf tournament with more unfamiliars and I was wiped out. Oy. It was nice, though, that Jody and Jack were able to stay over at the hotel with me on Friday night. I still don't get to see them nearly enough.

Today consisted of being a bum, trying to finish my homework, and re-acquainting myself with my wonderful husband.

My dad's birthday is on Tuesday. His namesake, my great uncle Bibs, passed away the week before last. (He was nearly 90) Turns out they scheduled the funeral for Tuesday. So, my dad is flying up from Florida to attend a funeral in Hibbing and then staying at my house all on his birthday. Doesn't sound very festive to me. In the few spare hours I will have before he arrives, I'll have to spiffy the place up a bit and try to make it seem more festive. If I can get it done right, I hope to have a plate of brownies (his favorite instead of cake) and maybe his favorite beer and his favorite pizza ready for him. I won't even be home when he gets here as I have class on Tuesday. I just feel really sad for him.

I'm not sure when he will be leaving, but then on Saturday my mom arrives. She has some work meetings in the cities next Monday and Tuesday, so she figured she'd fly up a couple days early to visit Tim and me.

Ug. And the headache is back and I still have a little bit more homework left.

Good night.
jillithian: (Wedding Day)
Monday was my first class. It is Facilities Planning and Material Handling. I am the only white girl in the class. :) There are two white boys and then there are 2 girls from India, one girl from Nepal, a man from Nepal, a man from Eritrea, and then 5 or six men from India. Decidedly different from the CSCI classes that were filled mostly with Bangladeshis and Japanese.

I'm excited about the class. It'll be tough, though, as there will be two big projects for the semester and I still have my other class that starts tomorrow. My mom and dad think I should ask my employer to reimburse me for this first class because we will be covering 5S and LEAN Manufacturing - which is what our company is trying to start up right now.

Last night I drove down to Minnetonka to have dinner with my mom. She and a couple co-workers flew up from Tampa to help a project up here for a couple of days. We talked for 3 hours straight and I think the waitress was a little frustrated with our slow eating. One of her co-workers is from Puerto Rico originally and she said that as soon as she walked into the hotel room here, she turned the thermostat up to 78 and debated turning it up more. heh.

Our company's winter party was on Saturday. The theme was "prom" and so Tim and I dressed up! We had a really good time. I won a $10 Target gift card for being the best dressed female.
picture here )

I'm so ready for the trip to Italy....
jillithian: (Default)
I got some mail from my mother the other day. It included a card, a check (to pay for part of my cousin's baby shower gift), and page 1E of the June 20th St. Petersburg Times.

A handwritten note from my mother:
Hi Jill -
This piece of performance art is hilarious/serious! I thought it deserved a lo-tech delivery. Besides - some of the other articles in this paper are pretty entertaining, too.
Enjoy. Love, Mom


Secretary TO THE PEOPLE by John Barry

Definitely an interesting read.

Goodness.

Apr. 3rd, 2006 12:46 pm
jillithian: (That kind of day)
Tim in Vegas )

Mom's travels )

Shower scares )

Sunday adventures )

And then we had some Pho. :)

Shower decorations )

Saturday night )

Math problems and crazy seamstresses )

Then we had BLT sandwiches at Benton Station. Mom thinks it will be a great place to bring Dad for lunch when they come up in May.

I also amused my mother this morning with this video.

Her friend Gail gave her a book that had us both cackling on the couch.

And now I think I will reserve hairdresser appointments for the big day and take a lovely nap on the couch.
jillithian: (Big Earl)
Weighed in today. I only gained 1.2 pounds after all of the key lime bars, pumpkin bars, brownies with M&Ms on top, Trisha's German chocolate Cheese Cake, the freshly squeezed fruit juice from Mom's trees, the Cheeto chowing (I only eat the stuff at the parents' house), the parking on the couch in front of the tv for hours, the airplane food, the Val's bacon cheeseburger with fries, the disappointingly bland Burger King Whopper Jr and limp onion rings, the buttery grilled catfish and lemon egg Greek soup, the chinese buffet at Kwanda, the slice of pizza I stole from Tim yesterday, the beer, the three meat (steak, shrimp and mahi-mahi) Christmas Eve dinner that Mom cooked and served before we went to Trisha's to have more food, and the family size bag of Twizzlers I've been eating all day yesterday and today.

Woo hoo!

I think I shall celebrate with a caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper...

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