Wednesday, April 16

Horrors of Horrors

Horrors of the movie/convention sort.  Mr. Lina and I spent the weekend at Shock Stock in London, ON.  They aired Tasha on Friday night, too early for me to make it after work.  The guys got a table at the convention - an opportunity to sell DVD's of The Post Lifers and show off some of the prosthetics used in the various films.  That kind of tied us to the convention hall side of things both Saturday and Sunday.

Not bad for being terribly hung over, scarf was purchased at our last house concert.
By "us" I mean Mr. Lina.  I figured there were 3-4 of them there that actually worked on the movies, they didn't really need me at the table so I drifted in and out.  I was mostly there for the socializing in the evening.  It was pretty cool.  I got to know a little more of the film making community that Mr. Lina is connected with.  Quite often I'm introduced to people but don't get to know them, I really enjoyed being able to spend a little more time with those people.
TPL Booth  - That is the mask Mr. Lina wears to play Humphrey.

The hotel that the convention used is all suites.  When Mr. Lina sent me the reservation receipt, I looked up the amenities.  French doors to the bedroom, wet bar with fridge and microwave, desk, sofa, comfy chairs in the living room area... perfect for having people over for pre/post-drinks.  As it turned out, we were on the same floor as the VIP party room, and sure enough, we had 5-12 people in our room pretty frequently.

Mr. Lina met "Scotty" (Hal Delrich) from the Evil Dead movie
One of the people I had met before but didn't know asked me what my role was in Mr. Lina's film making.  I looked around at the people hanging out, the snacks on the desk, the comfort of people and thought... this.  My role is setting things up so Mr. Lina can do what he needs to, figuring out things that he's going to miss, anticipating what will make others happy and comfortable and easier to work with.  It's not like a few pretzels, hummus, and sweets are all that important, but the next day someone mentioned how it helped soak up a bit of alcohol and I felt oddly vindicated.

The horror community seems to appeal to a particular subset of society, people who seem to take pleasure in proving they don't fit into mainstream society.  So me with my basic make-up, un-pierced body and tattoo-less skin, actually stands out as the odd person in the room.  During one of the socializing sessions in our hotel room, we were talking about a line from The Post Lifers.  The character Katie is a former porn star and spends the whole movie talking about sex.  At one point she gets upset saying don't pigeon hole her, she's read books - but then ruins it all buy saying that pigeon holing is awesome... look it up.  I had not heard of it, the writer thought he was making it up, but it is in urban dictionaries and I did explain it to someone I met on the weekend (ah... ranch dressing as lubricant so it ends up looking like pigeon droppings).  She found it rather amusing to hear such naughty words (I was a bit more direct in person) coming out of my mouth.  Funny how the people who seem to want to prove they don't fit sometimes put the same stereotypes they are fighting on others.

All that socializing came at a sleep debt cost that has made this week... challenging.  I'm feeling like I'm in a bit of a fog.  I am happy to help others out, face to face I'm fine, but finding the interest in my own work is challenging.  It's a very good thing that Easter is approaching and it's a short week.

Wednesday, April 9

The Week of Super Aunt Continues

My brother Scot is now a dad.  Under that little hat is a massive amount of blonde hair.


I'm told both baby and mom are doing quite well.  The little guy was born last night so my nephews have birthdays on the 5th and 8th.  I foresee many family birthday parties in early April...


Tuesday, April 8

Super Aunt!

Welcome to the week of Super Aunt.

You may remember that both of my brothers somehow had partners with synchronized ovulation and ended up with due dates one day apart - April 4th and 5th.  How that happens when they live literally 4,500 km (give or take depending on your route) apart, I'm not sure but it did.

Clone (the youngest of us) arrived in time to have a few days with his wife and my niece before my nephew arrived on Saturday, April 5th.  Both my nephew and my SIL are doing really well, I gather he's a pretty hungry baby and feeding well.  With my cough and congestion, I'm not in a rush to meet him, but he is adorable.

Skin time with his dad.
And I just got word that Scot and his fiance are on the way to the hospital.  My mom went to have lunch with his fiance and her mom (who came from Venezuela for the birth) only to find they were off to the hospital because her water broke.  So... more to come on that front.  We know they are having a boy too so I'm going to have a lot of nephew stories.

I'm not quite sure how I'm feeling about all of this.  Being sick is (again) giving me a reason to not join the family fray trying to meet the babies.  I would not wish 2 plus weeks of congestion onto the babies nor the new parents, it's best to keep my distance a little while longer.  While true, I think it also gives me a level of plausible deniability.

I love babies.  I want to hold my nephew (and soon to arrive nephew) so much but there is a cost to holding babies.  I know it's going to make me cry, heck just writing that is making me leaky.  I can't do it when lots of people are around and right now, it seems like it is parent and grandparent time more than aunt time.  I really can't do it with my brothers in laws around.  Being sick is a good reason not to go right now but really, it's an excuse for something I'd be avoiding anyhow.

Soon, but not quite yet.  That feels more honest and I have to be honest with myself about this so I can put on the brave face and lie when I have to.

Tuesday, April 1

Home Sweet Home

Ah what a trip...  5 days or so in York, UK, one night at the Manchester airport, another 5 days in Landshut, Germany.  I think it was about the right length.  I was sad to leave friends but my lungs had enough of their cats.  I had a great time in Germany but by the last night I was happy to know I'd be in my own bed soon.  I was not happy to have the vacation end exactly, but I was happy to be going home.  

The film festival was fantastic.  Again, I can't get over the quality of the films being aired.  I means so much to go to a film festival and enjoy watching almost every single movie.  Think of the last 20 movies you watched, did you actually like them all?  I saw 66 movies between Wednesday and Sunday if I got my count right.  I can think of only a couple that I didn't like, but even then I could find something good about it - maybe the cinematography or the originality of the idea. 

Full theatre for the first screening - Shock Block 6, Body Horror.  Just realized that's my head at the front.

Mr. Lina's film was eligible for two awards - a jury prize and a fan award.  The "Lieblingsschocker" was done by polling the audience for each block of films (there were 7 Shock Blocks) and then on Saturday night they aired all 7 of the best of the block and that audience picked their favourite.  Incredibly, Tasha won their block of "Body Horror".  Going into the finals, it was up against (links are to trailers):
  • The Man Who Could Not Dream (Australia)- narrated by Geoffrey Rush and closing song by Radiohead
  • Fool's Day (U.S.)- made by Cody Blue Snider (the son of Dee Snider from Twisted Sister) with a cast drawn from Law & Order guest spots and Broadway productions, won the audience award.
  • Death of a Shadow (Belgium)- nominated for an Oscar, won the jury prize.
  • Killer Kart (U.S.) - 4 best horror/comedy/short awards
  • Sequence (U.S.) - Winner/nominated for 9 awards at various festivals, I couldn't find a trailer.
  • Good Night (Slovakia)
Honestly, airing with these films is absolutely amazing.  Here we are making films in our own basements and living rooms, using friends for free/cheap labour and competing with Oscar contenders and narrated by Oscar winners.  It's a little surreal.

Mr. Lina (centre) doing Q&A after the Leiblingsschoker screening.

Speaking of surreal...  We went again because it was a good festival that lead to some lasting connections for us and gave us a fun place to go for vacation.  Half of success seems to be who you know and building relationships with other film makers and festival organizers is a good thing.  Still... it's a bit strange on the first day to have a photographer from a magazine recognize us.  Outside of having our picture taken last year, we didn't talk to her.  We also found out from German film makers that we're sometimes listed as an example of how successful the festival has become - people come all the way from Canada!  I think we may have even ended up on local television.  We had to "redo" our greetings to the festival organizer because there weren't cameras playing the first time.  It was rather surreal.

Silliness after too many Shock Blocks!
Anyhoo... I have come home with a horrible cough and head congestion and naturally a bit of jet lag from the 7 hour time difference.  I went to bed a bit past 8pm last night (I tried to wait for the sun to at least set) and pretty much slept through until I heard Mr. Lina in the shower at 7:20 am.  Apparently I was tired.  I was also very happy to be in my own bed.  For some reason, the hotel we stay in pushes two single beds together and provides two single duvets to sleep under.  It's a lovely hotel, we even got a free upgrade because our reservation was missed, but I find the bed & bedding situation a bit strange.  We don't get to cuddle (and we usually fall asleep spooning) without either feeling too hot (if our duvets overlap), too cold (if there is a gap between the duvets) or like I'm falling between the beds.  It's very... strange.

I'll have more updates to come, I have a skirt to blog about!

Tuesday, March 18

I sewed!

Sadly I'm not done yet so I don't have pictures to show you, but progress has been made.  It's been ages since I last sewed and I'd like to commemorate the event with a sewing room saga.

When my parents were in Florida, I had two pieces of corduroy shipped to them from Fabric Mart.  Sadly, I forgot to save the pictures from the web site and I haven't taken my own.  Mind you, black fabric doesn't photograph well anyhow.  So... piece #1 was black Ralph Lauren stretch pin wale corduroy and #2 is a dusky plum (hedging towards brown) very wide wale corduroy.  The reason pictures are moot is that they would not convey how soft both fabrics are.  I swear the dusky plum is like velvet in it's softness.  Both pieces are far better than the fabric I used for my grey skirt, the skirt that has me wanting another corduroy skirt.

I washed the fabric late last week.  I left it to finish the last drying over the railing in the upstairs hallway so it would be in my way, taunting me.  Sunday I had the whole day free.  I woke up and told myself I'm going to sew today.  And did I?  No, stupid Facebook games...

But the England/Germany trip is fast approaching (like two more sleeps approaching).  I thought of how much I want another somewhat casual skirt to wear.  So I did it.  I moved crap from my sewing room to the guest room, I chucked more stuff to clear off the cutting table.  And I was decisive and I cut.

A pencil skirt is pretty basic.  I have made a few skirts and didn't see an issue.  But then I started looking, I've mostly made A-line skirts, or patterns for stretchy fabrics (my mom loved Stretch n Sew patterns), or for a size 10 that would need grading even from the grading I did when I made it before, I couldn't actually find a pattern that was... perfect.  I have a UFO for the pencil skirt for Butterick 5147 but something went wrong at the zipper.  It's horribly warped and yes, I probably need to put some interfacing to stabilize it, but I think part of the problem is that my hip is not the right distance from my waist making it bunch up too high.  It was not the pencil skirt of my dreams.

Somehow, I thought it would be easier to work from a combination of a) measurements, b) the Lekala back skirt piece (no idea where the front piece is) and c) the front DRESS piece for Lekala 5432 just guessing where to put the waist based on the curve of the hip.  I've made Lekala 5432 many times, first as linked above for a wedding with satin and swiss dot, then again in a knit, then again looser in a light rayon.  Lekala has no seam allowances, but I also needed to add width.  The pencil skirt was 3" smaller than my measurements (with no ease),  I know that the dress I wore to the wedding that is the same size as the pieces is too snug at the moment and I used every bit of seam allowance, so it needed a little width too.  Added to this, I had the back pattern piece but no instructions (although it's no real loss, Lekala directions are well, worse than Burda), so I opened up another pattern to borrow the directions.  And yet, I chose to frankenpattern it up because the shape is right.  Mr. Lina loves that dress because he thinks it makes my ass look good.  I trust his judgement on something I can't see well myself.  I added the requisite inches (roughly) and cut away.

At that point, I became my usual terrified self.  What if it's too small?  I knew I wanted either lining or underlining, I've found tights get caught on my grey cord skirt. So I used the already cut corduroy as my pattern and cut out some Bemberg lining.  I sewed it up with the laziest (crappiest) French seams EVER, and pulled it on with lots of room.  Lots.

For my grey skirt, I finished the seams by zigzagging and while it works and it's fine now, there was a phase of finding loose threads everywhere until it essentially shredded back to the stitches.  While I was trying to find pattern pieces, I came across my shoe box of satin bias tape and I thought that would be lovely on the inside.  So now it's sort of a Hong Kong finish with ivory satin bias tape.  But in my slapdash mood, I just folded the tape over and sewed it up rather than two passes to sew it on like proper bias tape.  The plum stitching looks pretty on the ivory satin bias tape.

As I was about to figure out the zipper situation, Mr. Lina came up to bed.  A sure sign it's time to stop sewing.  I really didn't want to sleep with thoughts of how it could be big like the lining or too small.  In attaching the bias tape, I was also having second thoughts because the seam allowances were going to HAVE to be wider than the bias tape (and thus wider than my crappy French seams).  And the corduroy is a lot thicker than lining, there will be turn of cloth kind of issues, I used the cut cord pieces for my lining patters so the lining is naturally a little bigger... maybe it wouldn't fit...

So I set the longest stitches and sewed up the sides.  The zipper isn't done so I can't speak to the true fit, but it's going to be just fine.  It's not crazy potato sack big, it went over my hips and it's not obvious where my thighs end so I won't be crying as I give it away or wait for 10lbs to magically disappear...  it's going to fit.  I can't speak to the fit at the waist, I haven't sewn the front darts nor the zipper, but if there is a little extra room there I might add a little elastic to pull it in rather than using darts to remove it.  A little pretzel and schnitzel room so to speak.

I am going to wear it in Germany after all.

Tuesday, March 4

Movies and Movies and Migraines

I had a migraine on Thursday.  It's been a while since I've had one start at work and felt trapped.  I get auras before my migraines.  In theory, this early warning that life is going to suck should be helpful.  I can start taking medications before my head is about to explode.  The down side, I can't see.  The aura blocks part of my vision (like when a camera flash creates spots) so I have to wait for it to pass before driving home and the prescription meds make me stupid so I don't drive while taking them.  I got home at 6:20 on Thursday (the aura started at 4:30) and by 6:30 I was asleep in bed.  I woke up when Mr. Lina came home and when he came to bed at 11 (enough to wash my face and pee) and slept until the alarm went off.  For me, sleep really is the best remedy.  I have no idea how people manage with chronic migraines.

My migraines are usually tied to stress.  I can't find a single common food, weather pattern, hormone that ties to my migraines.  I used to get them far more frequently with my last job, where I'd say most of my stress came from boredom and feeling penned in than stress in the typical fashion.  I spent two years knowing I needed to leave that job but not sure where to go.  I'd say this job has more typical stress to it, and yet I have fewer migraines.  Sometimes my migraines seem to be my body saying "enough already", like the week of migraines that was my honeymoon.  I held it together leading up to the wedding, but I fell apart when it was done.

I suppose this warrants some thought on my part because I feel very migraine-like today.  I started getting a headache as I drove to work, I took Advil for it.  The pain is not bad, but my eyelids feel heavy, I feel stupid for lack of a better word - switching words, more typos, forgetful.  Something for me to keep track of I think, just in case this is the start of a pattern.

More fun stuff...  movies.

Tasha and Friends is entered into a contest.  I gather that Hellion is looking for a short film that is going to be on a screen in their movie.  To drum up entries, they are running a contest with each week announcing an audience favourite.  T&F is part of week one.  Right now, it has 10% of the votes (top movie has 26%), you don't have to watch any of them, but if you have a minute, I'd appreciate your vote.

T&F is also airing at the Landshuter Kurzfilmfestival and we booked our flight to go.  We went last year and had a great time meeting other film makers including Richard Stanley.  Last year we didn't have a lot of vacation time to put towards the trip.  This year, I have an extra week of vacation and we know what we're getting into.  The plan is to visit friends living in York, UK first.  We'll fly to Manchester (which after reading two Peter Hook books I think of as Madchester) overnight on March 20th, take the train to York and stay from Friday to Tuesday.  I'm hoping we can do a little day trip to Scotland given that York is pretty far north.  Then on the Wednesday we'll fly to Munich for the film festival and come home on the Monday.  A little less whirlwind than last year.  We saw Munich last year and know Landshut well, so we're going to explore other parts of Bavaria, it's not far from Austria and the Dachau Concentration Camp.  But we will likely play those plans by ear.

Booking the tickets makes it seem so much more... real.

Tuesday, February 25

Swiss Cheese Memory

I'm sure I blogged about this at the time, possibly just in passing, but my mothers cousin's husband had a stroke about 18 months ago now.  Sounds like a pretty distant relation, doesn't it?  And yet, in the way of families, I've always felt closer to him and his wife than my aunts and uncles.  Let's call them, oh Don and Ann

My mom and her cousin were close as kids and young adults.  Their grandparents often took them places together (a weekend trip to Ottawa for example), they were bridesmaids for each other.  My parents met about 3 weeks prior to Don and Ann's wedding, Mom brought Dad to the church for the wedding rehearsal and then the minister told my Dad to pay attention because he was next, Dad promptly turned red as a tomato.  Maybe the minister saw something because Dad did propose a month or so later.  But life gets busy with kids and I really don't remember spending a whole lot of time at their house as a kid.  I knew them from family events, but we didn't get together for play dates that I recall.  So the closeness isn't from spending more time with them than my aunts and uncles.

Still, when I was with them, it felt more like puzzle pieces falling together than with my aunts and uncles, a very genuine feeling of being comfortable.  Their daughter and I are like peas and carrots, birthdays weeks apart.  She's autistic and even when we were 11 years old, I liked being around her.  It is fascinating to see how her mind connects seemingly unique songs, phrases and toys/props.  But believe me, if you look, there is a reason she's quoting "The Music Man" or singing Lollipop at that particular moment.  

When I was working on my masters, I helped Don with his PhD.  He did survey based research that required statistical analysis and he didn't know his way around a computer or stats at all.  I think if it was my own research I would have run to the hills scared that it was beyond my skills, but somehow I helped him through it.  His wife was teasing that I was probably under the table at his defense whispering the answers to him.  

In exchange, Don would buy me a very late lunch and part of lunch would be a pint of beer.  But of course if two people are having a pint, it's not that much more to have a pitcher of beer...  Don would be driving home so I would get more of the pitcher than he did. I think I was drunk by 5pm every time we worked on his research.  In the end, I found out I liked dark beers and Indian food, and I gained a friend.  When my 6 year university relationship was ending and I felt lost, alone and hurt, I called him a couple of times when I was an absolute wreck.  He was a friend when I needed it.

So when Don had this stroke, I felt a fear unlike what I've felt for other relatives.  When my grandparents died, I felt they were old and had a good life.  I was sad to lose them and struggled with grief, but not afraid.  But Don is a friend, he feels closer to my age than my parents (which made his 70th birthday party a bit strange).  The other scary part of a stroke is that you don't know what's going to be left behind.  Strokes can be debilitating even for survivors, this was not a small stroke like my grandfather had and recovered from.

A year ago at Christmas, so a few months after the stroke, they had an anniversary party at the hospital.  It was helpful to have familiar people around him and it was great to see improvement from his initial days after the stroke, but it still wasn't... Don.  At the family brunch two weeks ago, he was there and I could see a little bit of the old Don.  But with so many people, and names not being a strong point, it was encouraging but I was still feeling out where the edge of his improvement was.

Wednesday night he phoned us (my favourite moment, I said hello and he said "I do know you!" - keep in mind, he phoned me, but I get it, he was pleased he had the right voice and face and name connected).  After the family brunch, Mr. Lina sent him some links for his movies (Don's background is in film, he's be so supportive and provides very specific feedback) but Don couldn't make them work.  We arranged to come over to watch them together, it's more fun that way anyhow.  

Last night we went to their house and it was lovely.  Don has a Swiss cheese memory - he remembers a pub that he and I went to for lunch 14 years ago, but still can't quite picture what my parents look like.  He could talk film with Mr. Lina - both from a film making perspective about layering sounds and the more hands on work involved with actual film stock.  There is some repetition to topics, or revisiting points because he needs the reminder or more context.  But his humour is sharp, he's building new memories and it was fun to talk about shared times.  Since Ann wasn't there for research days, it's often a new story for her too.  I can see him taking threads of stories and weaving a context for some of the memories he has.  One research day, he wanted to go to a restaurant in a nearby small town where he grew up.  The restaurant was sadly closed that day, but we drove around town and he pointed out his childhood home and told me that his high school principal lived down the street - he couldn't skip school if he wanted to!  And Don chimed in with the principals name.  

Those post-grad years weren't the best times in my life, maybe not the worst but I was pretty confused on a relationship level, scholastic level, what the hell am I doing with my life level...  It wasn't spiralling in the right direction and one insecurity built on the next.  Those times with Don were really good memories for me.  Helping him was good for me, made me feel more confident in what I knew.  He was a friend when I needed it and it was good to see that friend back last night.

Wednesday, February 19

Randomly, on a Wednesday

In an effort to post more, I will write today.  But let's take it easy on me, eh?  Time for a list...

  • I would rather not be at work today.  Nor yesterday really.  
  • Not quite sure if that's more about me or my client at the moment.
  • I used 8 cm of snow (a little over 3") and traffic reports of accidents on a highway that is slow moving in the best of days as a reason to work from home.
  • As much as this winter seems to go on forever, I like the work from home snow days.
  • I did get laughed at (by email) from my Quebec team mates.  
  • Rightfully so.
  • Shovelling snow is good exercise so long as you pace yourself and stretch a bit.  Given that I don't like exercising much, I'm not sure why I like shovelling snow but I suppose there is some accomplishment that goes with it.
  • Something is going on with my hormones. 
  • My breasts are confused enough to make me take a pregnancy test and while I was quite sure of the results, it was better than letting my head go to crazy places and second guessing if I should have that caffeinated beverage or glass of wine or shovel snow.
  • Side question - How can spell checker have decaffeinated but not caffeinated?  
  • My period better show up soon.
  • Oh right, Valentine's Day.  Mr. Lina took pictures of our food but I think they are still on the camera.  It was all very tasty.
  • We made so much food between our Venezuelan meal and Chili Night, I didn't have to cook anything more exotic than eggs and toast the whole Family Day weekend.
  • I put the registration form for PRIDE training in the mail yesterday.  This is the 27 hours of parenting lessons we have to take to adopt.
  • We went snow shoeing on Monday.
  • I forgot how hot I get.
  • I bundled up for the cold weather (although at -9C, it wasn't all that cold I suppose) and end up pulling my hood down, taking my mitts off, and unzipping half my coat (leaving it snapped at the neck and zipped at the bottom).  
  • And to think I put warmer mitts in the backpack in case my hand knit ones weren't warm enough.
  • It wasn't as bad as the year we decided to try a trail that was longer than we thought (Beaver Dam at Hilton Falls for local readers) and our snow shoes were pretty new.  3 hours of snow shoeing later, there was steam coming off our heads.
  • I took our little camera but forgot to take pictures.
  • I don't think like a photographer, it never occurs to me to take pictures.
  • Mr. Lina dyed his hair black on the weekend.  
  • Some dripped on the carpet (fortunately this is the semi-permanent kind of dye), which made us clear crap out of the hallways upstairs and use the carpet cleaner we borrowed from my parents in August.
  • August.  
  • We are never leaving our house, are we?
  • I know we hosted oh 25 or so people and 10 entries to the Chili Cook Off, but outside of that we spent the weekend together.
  • It was lovely.  
  • One of my friends came with her 3 month old baby.  I couldn't see her when she was pregnant, but babies are cute. 
  • She does think like a photographer so I can share a picture of that, although I've blocked his face for privacy.  There was a smile under there.
  • Mr. Lina continued his streak of being the baby whisperer.  Feedback the next day is that whatever Mr. Lina did (blowing in his face I think?) became is "favourite" thing.
  • Someone walked around the office offering pieces of cake, I asked what the occasion was and there wasn't one.  
  • Random cake to go with a random post.
  • It has led to quite the sugar rush, I believe it was red velvet with cream cheese icing.
  • No sewing lately, I have picked away at cleaning/packing my sewing room.  
  • I did darn my slippers.  I purchased hand knit slippers oh.. 4 years ago maybe and wore holes in both slippers.  Sunday I finally got around to darning the bottom so they are wearable again.
Okay, that's long enough.  I hope it is vaguely amusing.  I have to get back into the swing of things and publish more of what I write.

Friday, February 14

Loves!

Happy Valentine's Day!  I really despise the commercialism of Valentine's Day but it sure is nice to recognize people you care about.  Mr. Lina and I have a tradition of picking a culture/location and making a meal together on the theme.  This year we're leveraging my future SIL and having a Venezuelan meal.  We're relying pretty heavily on this Venezuelan food blog, I'll let you know how it goes.  Right now all I can say is that the black beans are soaking.

Did you happen to see the Star Wars fashions at Falling Through Your Clothes?  I think it's pretty awesome, and if you liked that, I have a Valentine or two for you.


Maybe you liked the Luke dress better.


No?  Maybe you like the dark side better, look at the drape on that cape.


Oh but Funnygrrl said she liked C-3P0 best.



Full credit to www.somethingawful.com for these great Photoshop Phriday images.


Wednesday, February 12

Bad times make the good times better

Nothy left this comment in my last post, "bad times make the good times better". That is a concept that Mr. Lina and I have been talking about. But let me give you some context of our conversations.

We're pretty avid watchers of "The Critter Room". Foster Dad John (FDJ) fosters cats (and lately kittens) and he has a web cam showing the room so you can see most of the antics they get up to all day. Considering we are both allergic to cats and Mr. Lina adores cats, I thought this would be good for him. It seems to be backfiring but that's a story for another day.

Most of his foster families are a stray cat who is found pregnant, she has her kittens at the shelter and then they go to FDJ. Sometimes it takes a little while to gain the trust of the mama cat but she's usually pretty happy when she figures out that her kittens are safe and there is food available. The last two litters have been a little different.

From Critter Room Facebook Page
The "Artificial Intelligence" fosters were GlaDOS and her son Hal. Another cat had a HUGE litter of kittens 5 days after Hal was born and it was decided that maybe GlaDOS could take care of a couple of them so it was easier on the other mama cat. Apparently GlaDOS went over to Holly, Jarvis and Eddie, sniffed them a bit and sort of said "oh that's where you went to" and brought them over to Hal. She was a very good mama cat and she's now adopted with Holly.

So there were some conversations about adoption and how sweet it was to see GlaDOS not caring if they were her kittens or not, these were little guys who needed a Mom.

Foster Dad John (FDJ) had a long break without kittens. It was kind of driving Mr. Lina a little crazy but most of the kittens from his litters have Facebook pages so we still got our kitten fix seeing how everyone was adapting to their new families.


GlaDOS and Holly have a Facebook page.
With this litter, the Pixar kittens (Dory, Sully and Dash), it's the first time since we started watching that they weren't tiny little kittens. Dory and her boys were found under a barn, she's a bit more feral than other mama cats that we've seen and she was REALLY skittish. The boys were already 8 weeks old, about the age we usually see them adopted. Dory was rarely seen on camera the first few days, she ran from FDJ and would come out briefly for food. When she was fixed at the shelter, they docked her ear because they weren't sure if she would be adoptable and the docked ear indicates she's been spayed. FDJ had to put a screen shot up of Dory so we'd know who to look for.

Dory in the middle, Dash left corner, Sully sleeping on the catcave. Link
Not only was she not sure about FDJ, she was also pushing her kittens away from her - what good feral mama cats do when her milk has dried up and it's time to move on. She would hiss at the kittens and sometimes swat if they came close to her. It was hard to see and the kittens were pretty confused.


But with patience, and slowly trusting that the room was safe, food was always available, she's really blossomed. She loves rubs from FDJ, runs to the door when she hears him. It's very sweet. Yesterday she even rolled onto her back to get some belly rubs. She plays with her kittens now that she knows they don't have to leave. FDJ figures she probably had a home, she responds to human things like rubbing fingers, but she probably spent the last two years on her own.

Such progress
So going back to Nothy... Bad times make the good times better. We've had a few moments that made us a little leaky with Dory. Seeing the first time she rubbed up against John, or when she forgot to be afraid and briefly showed her belly for the first time. Each of these things if done by other mama cats would be cute but not remarkable. With Dory, it means so much more.

If all goes well, the kittens will be adopted on Feb 22nd. They have been deemed a bonded pair and won't be separated. Dory would not do well with all the noise and confusion at a PetSmart for an adoption event. Instead, FDJ is going to personally take her to her family and show them how to win her over.

One aspect of adoption I struggle with is drawing up the list of what I want. I wouldn't do this if the child was biologically mine. I'd take what I was given by genetics. But with adoption, we need to decide on ages and challenges we can deal with and those that we can't. I struggle with finding the limit because my heart wants any children, but there are physical and developmental issues that would mean I'm not the right mom for that child. Mr. Lina struggles from having confidence in his own parenting that he could rise up to the challenges. His list limits where mine extends too far.

But he found himself thinking about adopting Dory (not really as she lives in Washington State). He thought he could find the love to overcome her challenges and be patient with her and how rewarding a head boop would be from a cat that had been so skittish.

And then he thought, if I could for a cat, why not for a child? I know there are miles of differences between a cat who could happily live in the corner of a bedroom and a child that needs to interact with the world, but it's facilitated a few conversations. Conversations that can be kind of scary.