Spring in Cross Timbers—Photo Blog

Just a quick blog with photos of the flowers up and blooming, and of Loki taking his proper place as lord of the manor. His throne, of course, is the top of the car.

Mazu, of the pretty, pretty coat.

Verdandi, checking out the mulch I put beneath the Bradford Pear.

The flower garden waiting on the tulips to come play.

Daffodils:

Hyacinths:

And that pear tree:

Hope those tulips come soon!

My Cat is Home

Last summer, I posted this blog about my cat, Loki, having disappeared a week earlier. It is leaps and bounds ahead of every other blog entry I’ve posted in terms of hits, and that must be because so many people have had pets go missing and reach out to find others in the same situation to look for some hope that their own animals might return.

Loki’s Misssing Photo

Well, there is hope! Loki has returned! Last Friday, eight months after he disappeared, I received a phone call from Home Again, one of the microchip pet locator services.

“Hello, Becca Gomez Farrell?”

“Yes.”

“You have an orange tabby named Loki, who’s been missing?”

“Yes.” At this point, I think I started going into shock, a sensation that didn’t leave until I had him home for a couple days.

“Well, I have a vet office on the line in Apex, who has your cat. Would you like to speak to them?”

“Absolutely.”

I then learned that he had been brought into their office only an hour ago for emergency care.  Apex is more than 10 miles from here, and the lady who brought him in had been feeding him on and off in her neighborhood for the last six months. He was likely hit by a car, or possibly fell from a high height, and ended up with two fractures to his jaw and a ruined eye with an abscess behind it. Before the accident, he had still been wearing his black collar, but the tag had fallen off. The woman, who was crying with worry, and her son waited to meet me.  She told me that she had gone to all forty houses in her neighborhood when he first appeared, to see if someone were missing him, but hadn’t considered a microchip. Many people don’t even know they exist; I’d heard of them but gave them no thought myself until I adopted Loki and Verdandi two and a half years ago from the shelter.  I give much thanks to that woman for her having compassion and bringing him in to a vet, who check for microchips as part of their normal routines.

Loki was a mess. He was acting every bit the wounded cat–drowsy, in pain, smelling like an infection–but would try to purr through his broken jaw when I pet him. I’m not sure I would have recognized him-he looked much larger than he used to–but I think that was mostly swelling of his head, though he is a bit taller. The vet said he perked up when I came, but I would never have been able to tell that myself.  Ben joined me after I’d spent two hours there, and we ended up waiting for another one before they finished checking his blood tests and referred us on to Cary Veterinary Specialty Hospital for further treatment. Except for what was likely a false positive FIV test (Loki’s vaccines lapsed in September, but once a cat is vaccinated for FIV, we’ve learned from my regular vet and the Internet that any test for it will turn up positive because they have the antibodies in their system. He’s had four FIV vaccines in all.), his chemistries looked great, thankfully.

Interview at The Muffin Blog and New Year’s Blog Resolutions

Last week, as part of winning 3rd place in Women on Writing’s Summer ’09 Flash Fiction contest, I was interviewed on The Muffin Blog. We covered my inspiration for Last Complaint, how and why the character came to be the selfish yet somehow human character that she is, my food/wine/cocktail reviews, my lifelong obsession with General Hospital, for which I write a weekly column at Eye on Soaps, and my fantasy novel. So if you’d like to read more about any of the above, wander on over! I’d love to hear your comments on it, either over there or over here.

Interview with me.

Switching gears, I’m mulling over any blog-related resolutions I might want to make this year. In the past year, I’ve gone from the occasional post to nearly daily ones, increased my traffic around 100%, and added in other blogger’s thoughts on wines, in addition to some smaller changes. I think that what I’m missing is more communication with other blogs! But how to fit that in with a schedule where I really don’t just plain write as much as I should? Hmm. Must think it over. If you have a blog that you don’t think I visit, though, please leave the link in the comments and I will add it to my roster!

On my fiction/creative nonfiction goals, I plan to submit at least one piece a week to either a contest or magazine/journal, as long as I have finished ones ready to go. That shouldn’t be too hard to do, right?

Saint Mazu and the Fountain — A Photo Essay

Mazu, our five-month-old kitten, has four goals in life: 1) Convert house plants into litter boxes, 2) Rush out the front door, 3) Pretend I’m a tree, and 4) Defeat the monster in the water bowl.

It’s a Petmate water fountain and the motor makes sucking noises whenever the water gets low. To Mazu, these noises can only mean one thing — there’s a monster in there somewhere and she’s going to get it. She spends at least half her day batting water out of the thing so the noise comes back and she can attack it. Please enjoy these images of one such battle.

The first swing

The first swing

Try the other side

Try the other side

Mid-Strike

Mid-strike.

The Hunt for the Mantress

Lately, I’ve been on a kick to find good words to use as slurs against men, such as bitch, cunt, whore, slut, etc.  Specifically, I wanted terms that don’t stem from female roots, such as son of a bitch or douche bag, but carry the same weight, mainly to satisfy my curiosity about how many words exist that don’t also demean women in the same breath that they are used to insult men.

Name calling generates a lot of interest on Facebook and Twitter, apparently, because I was supplied with a number of good options, most notably jerk and asshole. I’m still not sure that these are quite as cutting of a name as the female options I listed above, but they do serve the purpose.

Friday, on NPR, I listened to an interview with a woman who chronically has affairs. It struck me, as she referred to herself as a mistress, that she hadn’t actually called the men with whom she cheated anything equivalent to that word (both parties were often married). The fourth definition of mistress, which is how I am exploring the word, as found in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate 11, is a woman other than his wife with whom a married man has a continuing sexual relationship. So I asked my friends and tweeps if they knew of a word for a man other than her husband with whom a married woman has a continuing sexual relationship.  And you gave me plenty of suggestions but I’m still not sure if any of them capture quite the same thing as mistress:

  • mister
  • manwhore
  • mimbo
  • lover/luvah
  • boytoy
  • kept man
  • sancho (Spanish, so it’s cheating)

There were also some great joke options:

  • mattress
  • pool boy
  • not for you (from my husband)

My sister also pointed me to this article on Daily Writing Tips that discusses the same subject and offers gigolo as a possibility but like kept man, that word doesn’t imply adultery in the same way that mistress does, in my opinion. I’m not sure myself, but I’m thinking kept man is probably the closest option of these.  What do you think, dear reader? Are any of these good male approximations of mistress? Do you have something else to add to the list?

North Carolina Literary Festival

My weekend was what some would call a writer’s paradise.  I spent it attending various authors’ sessions at the North Carolina Literary Festival held at UNC Chapel Hill, which happened to be free!  Yay!  I would say, however, that a writer’s paradise would be to sit on the other side of the table from where I sat, as an author with published works.  Someday, someday.

Anyhow, I had a great time at the sessions I attended, which featured a mix of well-known and newly published authors, almost all with some sort of connection to the state.  The first I went to was “The World of Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” which featured John Kessel, Warren Rochelle, and Mur Lafferty.  I enjoyed the readings, Lafferty’s especially, and will likely buy Playing for Keeps soon, which is her superhero novel about a woman who has something both the jock-like superheroes and nice guy villains want. Lafferty is a friend of a friend and also runs a writing resource website called I Should Be Writing.

Def Leppard, Poison, and Cheap Trick in Raleigh

So, back in the beginning of August, Ben and I scored free tickets by way of our friends Jess and Iris to go see Def Leppard, Poison, and Cheap Trick in Raleigh.  Thanks, guys!

Jess, our benefactor, and Iris, our lady in the know.

Jess, our benefactor, and Iris, our lady in the know.

Things I learned from the show:

1.  There are angry hippies. One was behind us in line, growling loudly and drunkenly as other people met up with their friends further up the line.

2.  The Time Warner Cable Pavillion gets packed–so packed that we missed nearly all of Cheap Trick while waiting to get inside.  What we heard of them was fun, though!

Cheap Trick before I got a better picture-taking vantage point.

Cheap Trick before I got a better picture-taking vantage point.

3.  People go to shows merely to tailgate in the parking lot and miss bands play.   I’d tailgate in my driveway for free, if I was that intent on it.

4.  Poison is way too country for me.  I suppose I should have known that from Brett Michael’s cowboy hat and a mic stand wrapped in the American flag, but it still took me by surprise.

Yes, that red and blue is a flag draped around the stand.

Yes, that red and blue is a flag draped around the stand.

5.  Def Leppard is an awesome live show!  No seriously, they rocked.

Def Leppard front and center...and shirtless.

Def Leppard front and center...and shirtless.



For more pics, check them out at our photo website, under Def Leppard and Poison.  Click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to cycle through the set.
Ask me if you want to see the other pictures!

Would it be too revealing to mention that, while I had fun, I still enjoyed the American Idol show more?

American Idol Concert

I may give off an artsy, sophisticated air but as all those who know me can testify, I’m really a soul-sucked television glutton at heart.  I’ve had many obsessions stem from the world of the glowing screen including Sonny & Brenda (General Hospital), Spike (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer), and most recently, Adam Lambert (American Idol but soon…the world!).  My fascination with The Glittery Alien from Planet Fierce, as dubbed by his own brother, reached great heights this summer.  So much so that I did something I thought I never would.  I bought a ticket to the American Idol concert in Greensboro.  Not only that, but I suckered three friends into going with me.

Me and three of the girls.

Me and three of the girls.

Now, I still try to maintain some sort of dignity, so I don’t watch American Idol until the performances start getting meaty, around when the Top 10 perform.  This year, Matt Giraud’s save was the first episode I watched so I had never heard the first two performers of the night before except for a duet on the finale.

My Cat is Missing

loki-lost

Loki is a male, neutered, orange and tan tabby.  He has a white spot under his neck/on his chest and bits of black on some whiskers, close to his nose.  He’s always been a runt, so his head is small and he is usually skinny.  If you live in Southwest Durham and think you may have seen him since 5/28, please email me at becca@yellow5labs.com.

My cat is missing.  He’s been missing for almost a week now and every day, I cry.  I miss my cat.  He is one of the most personable, friendly, mischievous cats that I’ve ever known.  It probably doesn’t help that we named him Loki after the Norse god of trickery.  Loki, you see, likes a challenge.

Book Signing and Discussion with Michael Lux

Last night, I finally made it out to an event sponsored by Traction, a Triangle organization dedicated to discussing and promoting progressive issues in politics.   I’ve wanted to many times before but the stars just never aligned until now.  So I headed on over to The Regulator Bookshop and decided to learn a little more about this movement that I believe I ‘d like to be a part of.  Michael Lux, author of The Progressive Revolution:  How the Best in America Came to Be, was giving a discussion of progressive politics and signing his new book.