Blue Oyster Cult Mushrooms

Hello there!  Why, yes – this IS my first post of 2015!  Actually, that’s not true.  It’s my first post of 2015 for Fuzzy Undertones, but I have been quite busy with my other website, which also has a blog.  You can check it out HERE (hint hint…yes, please go check it out!!!).  In the meantime, here are some pictures of that time way back in January when I accidentally received a blue oyster mushroom kit and ended up watching them grow over the course of about a week.

Even though I can’t stand eating mushrooms (bleck!), I am mesmerized by their life cycle.  And this isn’t the first time I documented mushroom growth…remember that time when one of my houseplants decided to grow yellow parasol mushrooms?  So very mesmerizing!  I swear, you could see them grow by the hour.  And the colors were amazing!  Have you ever grown mushrooms, intentionally or not?

And for those of you who were expecting to see a little more cowbell in this post, here you go:

It’s starting to look like a real movie! With Zombie Cats!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was working as the cat handler for a movie called Zombie Cats From Mars.  I’ve had four long days of shooting with cats (all from Furry Friends, who can now add “movie star celebricat” to their resumes), with one more to go (tomorrow).  It has been a LOT of fun…stressful at times, dangerous at others (to me, not the cats, mind you, who are armed with claws and teeth) and I was very curious to see how things would turn out on film.  Well, the first trailer has arrived!  You can watch it below, and as an added bonus, I’m including some shots from filming.

The movie will be released in March, and Furry Friends will receive half of the proceeds that are earned from three screenings in Southwest Washington!  I’m so excited to see the final product!🙂

A few of my favorite things (zombie cats included)

Oh dear. I’ve neglected you, faithful Fuzzy Undertones readers, and I am so sorry.  But I’m getting into the holiday spirit, and I’m going to write a post that shares with you some of my very favorite things.  Perhaps you will do the same!

  • To-Do lists, specifically marking things completed (“post for Fuzzy Undertones – check!”)
  • Completing my certification for Feline Behavior and Training through the Animal Behavior Institute.  Three classes since March, over 100 hours of field work, and I only have one final left!
  • Launching my website for Feline Behavior Solutions and becoming a first-time business owner (the website will be launched very soon – just a couple of minor glitches to fix).
  • Fixing minor website glitches.
  • Getting away for Thanksgiving.  It’s never been one of my favorite holidays, but Chris and I headed up to Seattle to have lunch with his family, then we spent three nights at the Tulalip casino/resort.  It was a much needed mini-vacation, and I am grateful for having such an awesome husby!
  • Cats to come home to.
  • Furry Friends.  My work with them has been so rewarding and I feel like I’ve actually been doing good, useful and productive things with them.  They are so generous and kind, and a constant reminder to me that there are good people in this world.
  • The relief that comes with finding that the people for whom you’d like to purchase Christmas gifts have up-to-date Amazon Wish Lists (HINT HINT – GET ON IT, PEOPLE!!!).
  • Zombie Cats from Mars!  Have I told you that I’m going to be the cat handler for the feature film, Zombie Cats from Mars?  It’s true.  I’m not making this up.  It’s for real.  And the zombie cats are coming.  You can help the invasion spread by visiting their kickstarter campaign (there’s a short film about the movie there).  And if you want, you can watch this “behind the scenes video” that the producers made about the cats and, well, me.  Full disclosure:  a) I do not know what was wrong with my hair that day so ignore that, and b) I didn’t know that I would be doing any sort of interview, much less be photographed, so please ignore my general slovenly appearance and most of the words that come out of my mouth.  I’ll let you decide which ones.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great holiday season.  I’m pretty busy these days, with trying to get my business launched and avoid having my brain eaten by marauding zombie cats and all.  But as you can see, I’m checking things off my to-do list, getting things done, TCB.  I’ll get there eventually!  And I’ll keep you posted🙂

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Good Things on the Horizon

Cat at sunset by Serkan Sarikef

Cat at sunset by Serkan Sarikef

I know I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  But that’s actually a good sign, because it means that I’m busy with some really great things right now.  I can’t reveal all at this time, but suffice it to say, I’m thinking about my blogging community (you!) and am missing all the reading and writing that comes with being a part of it.

There’s a new chapter I’m working on right now, and it is taking time to form and shape.  But it is moving forward.  I’m nearly done with my classes and field hours.  I’m scheming and making things more and more solid.  With the help from a few folks I’m actually getting things done and checking things off my list.

January 1st, folks…I hope to be in business January 1, 2015.  It has been a long time coming.  Thanks for your support, and forgiveness for being so vague.  Muah! ❤

Meet Locket: It Won’t Take Long to Find Her Close to Your Heart!

Locket loves watching the world go by from the catio!

Locket loves watching the world go by from the catio!

It has been a great summer for adoptions at Furry Friends!  If you’ve been following my blog or Furry Friends on Facebook, you’ll know that both Bandit and Penny have been adopted and are doing great in their new forever homes.  Hooray!

Now I’d like to introduce you to Locket.  Locket is a beautiful gray and white petite girl who has worked hard to overcome the challenges that life has tossed her way in the short time she’s been alive.  Back in February 2012, Locket showed up in a crate left on a disabled woman’s doorstep.  Unfortunately, the woman was not able to care for Locket, who surrendered her to Furry Friends shortly after.  So Locket has been with Furry Friends for about two and a half years now.  Why hasn’t this beautiful girl been adopted yet?

Like I said, Locket has been working on overcoming the challenges she’s been given.  We can only guess at her circumstances prior to showing up  on a stranger’s doorstep.  We do know that she was about a year old when she came to Furry Friends (so she’s probably about 3 and a half now), and she was initially very distrustful of people.  She was very shy, very quick to defend herself.

Locket also has a playful side!

Locket also has a playful side!

However, I never knew this version of Locket.  I started volunteering for Furry Friends in April 2014.  She was not one of the first cats I got to know, remaining in the background, just observing me as I did my chores.  I’d see her walking around the house or lounging in the catio (she LOVES watching the world go by from the catio!) but it was a while before she specifically started coming to me to investigate who I was.  She would let me give her some brief pets on her head and around her ears, slowly getting to know me over the weeks.

One day, I was in the Furry Friends kitchen and Locket hopped up onto the counter where I was.  She walked over to where I was standing.  I gave her a couple of scritches on her head, and then she did the most amazing thing ever:  Locket sat right in front of me, then put her two front paws up on my shoulder so that she was standing up against me.  I started petting her down her back, and she actually lifted up her back foot and placed it on my arm, literally climbing up so that I would hold her.  She was purring and nuzzled my chin.  I’ve NEVER had a cat do this before.  And then it happened – I fell in love with Locket.

Locket is not like this with me every time I see her, but if she knows that I have some time to spend with her, she will hop into my lap and hang out for some petting (like in the above couple of pictures…I just sat in the lounger and she bounced right up, nestling herself into my chest).  She can be such an affectionate and loving cat!  She is spayed (of course) and is ready for a forever home.  I think she would be best off being an only-cat, but I have never seen her get into kerfuffles with other cats; she largely ignores them and does her own thing. The only thing Locket truly needs, I think, is a human that she can depend upon to always be there for her.  She was first abandoned, and is now cared for by plenty of people who come and go during the week, but some consistency in her life would make her one happy cat!

Like many cats, Locket might need some time to warm up to a new situation.  However, if you are willing to be a little patient and give Locket the space she needs to get to know you, I promise that you will be rewarded with a loving and affectionate kitty.  If you are interested in finding out more about Locket, you can ask me any question with a comment below, visit the Furry Friends website, and/or see Locket’s listing on Petfinder.com.  Or, share this post – you might have a friend who needs a furry companion like Locket.  She’s a lovely little soul and I can’t wait for her to find her forever home!

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I’m Child-Free: The Questions Change, But My Reaction is Always The Same

no_kids_2I’m taking a break from my regularly-scheduled-something-about-cats post and thought I’d share with you some musings that I’ve been thinking about for, oh, let’s say 35 years now.  Since I’ve been reading a lot about this topic in the media lately, I thought I’d add in my two cents.  And I’ll say right up front: even though this post is about me choosing to not have kids (and including some lightheartedly fun and informative links and memes along the way), I honor your decision to have children (or not).  It’s not a choice I’ve made for myself, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good choice for you…so if you have kids and you love them, hooray for you and your kids!  Truly, I am happy for you.

But let’s get back to talking about me, because this is my blog.  I’m forty years old, and I’ve noticed something – my entire life, people have asked me about whether or not I’m going to have kids.  But as I’ve aged, those questions have changed, morphing to reflect my (I can only assume) biological child-bearing status.  Because I’m getting up there, right?  And that biological clock is a-ticking!

Well, hold on there a second, pard’ner, because that biological clock?  I’ve never heard it tick, not once.  It’s probably one of those fancy digital types, or maybe that’s too presumptuous.  I might not be that evolved, so maybe it’s like a sun-dial, or whatever it was that the Mayans used to track time.  The fact is, I’ve never wanted children, even when I was a child myself.

When Ino_kids_3 was about five, I remember going on a walk with my mom when I was visiting her in L.A.  There was a woman who lived down the street from us who didn’t have kids, and I was always kind of nervous around her because of that.  I asked my mom, “Mommy, is it against the law to not have kids?” and my mom actually chuckled a little bit and said something like “Of course not! You don’t have to have kids, or you can have as many as you want!”  The reason why I remember this so clearly is because of the immense sense of relief I felt; it was as if a burden had been lifted from my five-year-old shoulders.  Up until that point, I believed that I had to have children; I had already received the message that because I was a girl, I would grow up to be a mommy.

Not unlike other girls, I had a doll named Mandy whom I used to take everywhere with me.  But really, she was much more of a friend or a sister that I took care of, and people talked with me like I was her mother and she was my baby, and that actually pissed me off.  I really hated that people assumed that I was Mandy’s mommy!  I resented it.  It irritated me that people made assumptions about me because of my gender, and I was keenly aware of that, even when I was five years old.

no_kids_4Then, in my teens and twenties, the lecturing started.  The inevitable question would be asked: “do you want kids?”  My response was always the same – no.  And it’s funny, because I think that when people ask that question, they don’t expect you to be honest – they expect you to say yes.  The responses to me were always so dismissive or (again) presumptuous: “oh, you’ll change your mind when you get older”, “when you meet the right man, you’ll want to have his children”, “but women are supposed to have children”, and all the rest.  Ugh!  I just saw this as so disrespectful of me being an individual, with my own identity, hopes and desires for my future.  And, it reinforced in me that there is a huge expectation of women to become moms…otherwise, there’s probably something wrong with you.  Because I didn’t feel the desire to have children, obviously I had a problem!

In my early 30’s, I got a reprieve.  Most people had stopped asking me if or when I was going to have kids.  The reason for this, I suspect, is due to two things:  first, most people knew me well enough to assume that a question about my reproductive intentions would elicit a reaction from me that would earn the questioner a swift punch in the throat.  Secondly (and I’m ok with acknowledging this), most people were probably scared that “the question” might actually encourage me to really think about having kids, and WHO KNOWS what kind of terror would be unleashed upon the world by humans that carry my genetic legacy.

Since I’ve moved and have a new suite of friends and coworkers, the questions have resumed.  But, like I mentioned earlier, the questions have changed now that I’m forty.  Now, it’s not so much “are you going to have kids?” but “do you have kids?” and I still get mildly irritated by even that question!  However, at this point, I can laugh at myself.  My responses are more about my own identity and individuality than it ever was: “HEY!  Do I look and act mature enough to have kids???” and “puhleeeeze…why would I have kids?  Being taken care of when I’m old…that’s what spoiling nieces and nephews is for!” and even more frequently, “Hell no…cats cause enough stress in my life, and you want me to add to the mix small humans who can’t do anything for themselves except create messes and noxious bodily emissions?  Disaster!!!”  At this point, the fact that others can’t look at me and immediately determine that I don’t have kids is not my fault, and frankly, I’m a little judgmental about their inability to judge me.  So hey – if you want to ask me if I have kids (or even when I’ll have kids), that’s on you.  You might be my friend, my colleague, or even a relative, but your perceptiveness score has just gone down a notch in my book.

no_kids_1Honestly, for me, it’s not about being stubborn, radical, hating children (which is not the case, but even if it were, that’s still perfectly valid), having a sucky childhood, being depressed, or any number of assumptions that people make about child-free people.  I’ve watched my parents divorce and remarry (several times), and have seen great suffering on the part of children who have parents who aren’t up to the task of having kids (I know that sounds judgy, but seriously – there are so many unhappy kids out there whose problems start at home).  I saw a great article in Salon on reasons why the article’s author felt that not having kids was the best decision she ever made.  I related so much to her words, and this especially struck home:

Those of us who opt out of having children often do so not because we take parenthood lightly, but because we take it so seriously.” — Liz Langley

Kids were just never in the cards for me.  I never imagined myself as an adult with kids – I imagined myself as an adult who worked, traveled, had a quiet and calm home, and who had plenty of time for myself and my husband (and my cats).  And here I am, just as I imagined.  This was what I envisioned, and how I choose to live a fulfilled life.  And that’s plenty of living for me.

Summer Travels Part 2: Whale of a Tale Edition

The end of summer is nigh…and there is so much to catch up on from just a few days of traveling!  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, probably the best way to tell you what Chris and I have been up to is to show you what we’ve been up to.  How’s that?  This post will be mostly about the trip we took at the end of July, which we split between Seattle and San Juan Island.  Ready for the recap?  Swell!

First up, Chris and I stayed at Tulalip for three nights so that we could [both get pedicures and] attend his high school class 20th year reunion in Seattle.  It was weird – even though I didn’t know anyone there, I could still see all the cliques and kind of tell who was who.  Everyone was trying to impress everyone else.  I can’t say that I’m terribly disappointed that I missed mine last year; between Chris and me, one 20 year reunion was enough!  But Chris was happy that he went because catching up with a couple of old close friends was worth it.

DSC00756The next day was Chris’ 38th birthday.  Now he’s only two years younger than me and can’t make fun of me for being super older than him.  I took him out to a really nice dinner, because I’m sweet like that❤

We spent Sunday traveling over to the San Juan Islands.  We caught the ferry at Anacortes and took it to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island proper.  The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful!  We stayed at a nice little bed and breakfast right downtown, where we had our own little apartment complete with private hottub and magically-appearing fresh-baked cookies.  And the breakfasts were Ah. Maze. Ing.  Nom nom nom!

One of the highlights of our trip was taking a five hour sea-kayaking tour.  There were only six of us on the tour, plus our guide, Owen.  We left out of Roche Harbor and kayaked completely around Henry Island, which was about 11 miles in all.  The weather was completely fantastic – sunny, a slight breeze, and warm.  We saw a pair of bald eagles, and a little red fox joined us on our lunch break.  We also saw plenty of harbor seals, but whenever I got my camera out, they dunked underwater.  Why do they have to be such camera haters?  The most amazing part of the trip happened about halfway through our day when we saw approaching orcas – K-pod, to be exact.  I don’t know how many we saw, but they did come fairly close; one female swam under our kayaks to get to a younger orca that was headed toward us along the shoreline.  It was really cool being so low on the water, watching them surface and blow, and even breach.  It was Chris’ first time kayaking (my second) and I’d say it was a success!

But wait!  There’s more, yes, still more!  The final full day of our vacation was spent driving around the Island, stopping wherever we thought would be interesting.  We saw both English Camp (hip hip hooray!) and English Camp (sad) AND I got my NPS passport stamps at both places, we stopped for an unexpected visit to some tidepools, said hi to a few shy alpacas, were astounded (and slightly dismayed) by the gastrointestinal parasites of pinnipeds at The Whale Museum, and bought a few treats at a lavender farm (the lavender ice cream was nom-tastic).  Here’s a quick tour!

Thanks for joining me on my little vacation retrospective.  We had a great time, plus I got to meet this guy and his dog!

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