Since last we met

23 03 2011

Since the last time I blogged…

* …we received our Visas with no problems whatsoever – and the whole process took only three days! I was (and still am) very impressed with their quick service and efficiency. Scotland (i.e. honeymoon), here we come!

* …I found out that there will be a new DARK TOWER book coming out next year 😀 King’s latest novel will be available on the 8th of November, which is probably why the DT book will only be published next year. No matter – happiness all around!

* …my Significant Other and I were treated to dinner at a nice restaurant by his uncle and aunt. I had an exquisitely delicious bowl of tagliatelle with courgettes, mangetout and spring onions in a gorgonzola sauce topped with pine nuts. It was great to spend time with part of my future family – the meal was simply a bonus.

* …I’ve become a bit riled up with the religious nuts out there – more so than usual. I watched a video where this girl was saying that a group of them were praying over Lent for something to happen to the atheists in the world, and then two days later their ‘prayers’ were ‘answered’ when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. What is the world coming to?! It just sickens me… this is why I’m not religious. Some people (I refer to them as the ‘Bible Crazies’) are messed up to damn others for their choice of religion/ not being religious. Who are they to judge others and say that a natural disaster was a good thing?! F*ck.

* …I got into one of my cleaning frenzies again (something I blame on my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, especially when it comes to cleanliness). Instead of singing mice or birds a la Cinderella, I only had Smudgy watching me as I scrubbed the one bathroom’s floor, toilet bowl and basin. Perhaps I could teach her to meow on key…?

* …one of the neighbour cats came in, ate Smudgy’s food and threw up on the carpet twice! I have reason to believe that it’s That Darn Cat (yip, Dusty) since he’s the only one who comes in here for food. He also managed to spray/ pee on some of my books… Yesterday morning, I found him asleep on one of our balcony chairs. Something must be done.

* …our electricity was out from 8AM until 4PM one day for the 5 year maintenance service, or something like that. This gave us a ‘reason’ to go out and have coffee, plus I could ‘validate’ the purchase of the new Scarlett Thomas novel, OUR TRAGIC UNIVERSE.

* …we bought an exercise bike – a Trojan elliptical trainer, they call it. It doesn’t have a seat, so you stand and pedal on the thing, mainly exercising your legs, although you can feel it working a bit on your abdomen (I’ll have to do crunches or something to exercise that section more). In the long run, the ‘bike’ will be worth it, despite the fact that I’m currently still in the ‘no pain no gain’ phase of it all.

* …we took my younger sister, Addy, to Stellenbosch in order for her to do some research for a few projects she has due. On the way there, we had to stop for petrol, so I bought a cappuccino for my Significant Other and some hot chocolate for myself. I normally don’t buy myself hot chocolate anywhere, since they make it with milk and it makes me feel extremely nauseous, but today, the stomach ache and increased headache are absolutely worth it, because that hot choc tasted wonderful!

* …I’ve started to become really annoyed with my inability to ‘get into’ the books I’m reading. Take this Scarlett Thomas novel, for example. It took me four days to read 425 pages, and why? Because the ‘novel’ seems to be a lot of theory trying to pass itself off as a novel. I’m all for intelligent discussions and talking about science and hypotheses and so on, but if the whole book is going to be like that, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed and not ‘into’ it. I want to read for enjoyment and relaxation, not to feel like I’m in a lecture hall.

* …Smudgy has been having a ball playing with all the bugs around here. She’s even brought in two crickets (on separate occasions, of course), and been curiously puzzled about a praying mantis that looked more like a giant grasshopper or something. I love my kitty, even though she’s a bit ‘weird’ sometimes – like when she grabbed my hand, smelled at it fervently, and then went on licking herself as if I wasn’t even there. ❤

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That Darn Cat

16 02 2011

I love my cat, Smudgy. Probably more than a lot of people I know… but hey – she’s ‘family’! Plus a cat, which sort of already places her above the human species.

[I am not a crazy cat lady, I am not a crazy cat lady, I am not a crazy cat lady…]

Being the cute, not-always-but-at-least-sometimes loving cat that she is, I obviously care about her well-being, hoping that she doesn’t stray outside the complex’s gate to go explore the wide world down the street and meet with unpleasant circumstances (say, the yapping dogs or kids on skateboards or such).

So, one could argue, I was validly worried when I started to find her food bowl empty so frequently and she kept staying hungry – to the point that I had to refill her bowl two or three times daily, with a bit more food than usual. Sure, she’s active. She likes running about outside and regularly comes in with bits and pieces of thorns and brambles and ‘sticky’ flowers and whatever else stuck in her tail. But still: having to give her a lot of food so regularly, causing the large bag of Whiskas to disappear practically overnight?

There was a snake in the grass…

…or cat leaping through the window, if you like. Literally.

Exhibit A (and B, and C, if you want to get technical) – one of our neighbours’ cats:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

I took these pictures at the end of September – almost a full five months ago. Let’s call the cat Dusty, since my English readers probably won’t be able to pronounce his real, Afrikaans name.

Now, Dusty is a sweet old thing. He doesn’t mind if you pet him, and he has this cute meow that doesn’t seem to fit him. About a month ago, I raised my concern with our landlady that the cat might neglected or something, since he actually started to come running to me once he saw me, meowing and rubbing against me, wanting to come into our apartment… I fed him for three evenings, I believe, waiting out the weekend to see whether or not his owners were away for the weekend and perhaps their apartment window had banged shut, thus cutting off Dusty’s entryway to his food supply. I doubted this, however, since said neighbours have another cat, and s/he seemed to be doing just fine.

I ended up feeling a bit foolish – Dusty’s owner came to thank me for my concern, then told me that he has some kind of cat virus/infection, which means that he’s on a special diet and does get three meals a day, plus a treat at six in the evening. Turns out he was the first cat to live in the complex (three years ago), thus he sees himself as the king of this here ‘castle’ and was accordingly playing me for the sucker in order to get more food.

Pretty foolish…

But now, however, I’ve had enough. We caught him sneaking into the apartment once or twice through the window we leave open for Smudgy in the evenings, so my Significant Other gave the cat a hiding (just to scare him a little bit, so he wouldn’t come back), and we didn’t see him at our apartment for a while. Yet since Smudgy’s food started ‘vanishing’ so rapidly, we started to suspect that Dusty – or That Darn Cat, for future reference – might be coming in again…

And what do you know: this morning Smudgy sat silently next to the bed, so I got up to feed her. I even let her out of the apartment myself. Then a while later, I heard the soft tinkling of a bell, and I knew it probably wasn’t Smudgy. I caught the culprit in the act, voraciously nomming at my cat’s food bowl, which by that point was just about empty, give or take a few crumbs. That Darn Cat saw me, fled to the balcony, and then made a dash for the study and the open window.

I don’t know what to do. There’s no use talking to his owner, because she cannot lock him in at night. And I cannot not leave the window open for Smudgy, otherwise she’ll meowing my ears off. We’re thinking of moving her food bowl right next to our bed in the evenings – and if we find That Darn Cat, we’ll simply spray him with water, or something… I honestly don’t know 😦

PS: did I mention that Dusty’s owner is an animal behaviorist?! Yip…