recovering

I initially decided to camp out at the gym for election night. They had TV, they had endorphins. I spend a solid two hours there.

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Got good and sweaty, #nastywoman. But then it was like 9:30 and my knee hurt and things were no closer to being called and in fact were actively EXTREMELY NERVE WRACKING.

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I went home and as returns started looking grimmer and grimmer, I sought more and more to distract myself. Like with a nice horrifying movie! (No not really I could not handle watching this alone at night. I am only human).

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Went to bed at 1am, woke up at 5 and pulled up CNN on my smellphone and went “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God” out loud alone in my room. At that point I became so cold that I had to put on my COAT, underneath my sheets and blanket in my fully heated apartment. It was so weird and so sad.

I got up and got my life together- my last day of my internship was actually election day, so the following day I packed up my life into my car and departed Winston Salem, NC, my temporary home of 10 weeks. And drove straight to Virginia.

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I swear to God, I felt safer when I crossed into a blue state. (Was it safe to take the picture above while driving 70+ miles per hour? No, readers. It was not).

I also refused to spend money in NC on that day because I was too mad at my state (they have somewhat redeemed themselves by- probably, pending recount and inevitable attempts to cheat– ousting “Bathroom Bill” governor Pat McCrory).

I crossed into Virginia at just the right time… I pushed my financial punishment of NC to the limit as my gas light was on (but not blinking, so it’s okay, amirite?!)

At the very first exit, I purchased gas and a bagel and gave my precious sales tax to enlightened Virginia.

Then I got home to my mama’s house. Home meant spending time with my wonderful mother. Home meant tiring my emotionally ravaged brain with manual labor (leaf raking! Deep cleaning cat debris! Lots of laundry)! Most of all, home meant fur babies.

Lola, who was cared for by my mama while I finished my internship, was in excellent spirits. By which I mean Lola was in heat. It meant she was sweet and cuddly as all get out, which was wonderful.

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But then she started getting GRAPHICALLY friendly. You can read about the really… explicit behavior of a female cat in heat here.

Sheila was her usual sweet self.

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Also, in case there are dog lovers who read this blog and are *@#% sick of my billions of cat pictures, here is my dad’s dog Bodie. Though he still behaves like a puppy, he is getting on years, and now his sweet little muzzle is going white haired!

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I hung out at my dad’s for a bit and Sally (my stepmother) and I took a lovely, looooooong autumnal walk with the dog. It’s amazing how being physically active helps during periods of emotional stress.

I can always count on Sally having fun weird Asian foodstuffs around the house (she’s from Taiwan). When we returned from our walk, she whipped up a batch of homemade bubble tea! It’s actually quite easy- you just boil the tapioca pearls and make extra strong black tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk.

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A little extra sweetened condensed milk never hurt anyone.

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Fun Taiwanese desserts (she just got back from a visit with her family there).

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This had taro filling. More American desserts need taro!

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Let’s see, what else did I do at home?

I took my poor hormonal cat in to get fixed. Homegirl was NOT happy to have this cone. It lasted about five minutes and then she ripped it off in a pretty impressive feat of strength.

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In general, the main problem with Lola getting fixed was that no one told Lola that she had recently had major abdominal surgery. So she was like “HEY FRIENDS PARTY PARTY LETS DO JUMPING AND CLIMBING!” and we were like “DEAR GOD, CAT, YOUR INCISION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET DOWN AND GO TO SLEEP!”

On the bright side, rather than giving us pills to administer to the cat (an undertaking that anyone knows is virtually impossible) the vet gave us syringes of a liquid to squeeze into her cheek that apparently tasted DELICIOUS, based on Lola’s reaction. Either that or she is now an opiate addict.

I saw friends- first I caught up with a friend from my program who’s finishing her internship at the US Surgeon General’s office in DC. We hit up the Bolivian bakery (!) and worked on our masters papers. My draft is done, but it’s 5000 words- which is a problem, since the limit for the journal to which I’m submitting, Breastfeeding Medicine, is 3500 words.

I also hung out with another friend who I’ve known since high school. He was randomly visiting VA at the same non-holiday time I was. I highly recommend hanging out with enlightened feminist ally men in this dark time. It helps. Plus also we drank a bottle of wine and then some, which frankly was just necessary.

When I was picking up said friend, I discovered that my car only sometimes felt like starting. Said friend’s dad has worked as a truck mechanic, and taught me- PRO TIP!- that if your car won’t start, try having someone smack the starter with a wrench while you turn the key in the ignition. It works- yayyyyyyy! While unfortunately proving that your starter is busted- nayyyyy.

I spent my last day at home at the service station, getting both my car’s battery AND starter replaced! Oh happy day!

I hung out at the car place getting increasingly hangry. “It’s almost done!” they lied. “It’ll be easy to track down this part!” they lied. Finally, I made them give me a ride to the nearby mall, and I got myself a killer late lunch at Cava.

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Base: mix of rice and superfood veg (greens, shredded brussels sprouts, etc.)
Protein: falafel
Dips: baba ghanoush, tzaziki, crazy feta
Fresh veg: tomatoes/cucumbers/hot peppers, cherry tomato goodness, olives
Dressing: sriracha yogurt

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$650 later, my car was safe to take back to NC. Which was good, since I had a task to complete. Though it seems like my whole purpose of going to Virginia was to heal emotionally… that was actually not my main reason for going! In fact, I was relieving my wonderful aunt Dena and uncle Louie of KITTEN DUTY.

Tangent: Lola and her babies have been loved and cared for by so many people since I adopted my sweet little prego kitty:
– My friends Myra and Alex, who watched Lola while I finished my summer internship
– My wonderful mom, who gave Lola a safe home to finish out her pregnancy, give birth, and take care of her kittens when they were tiny gray breastfeeding fuzzies
– Dena and Louie, who fostered the kittens for several weeks after they were weaned from their mama and needed to be better socialized. Socializing the kittens was tough at my mom’s house since Lola had to be confined to my bedroom since otherwise she tried to come out and murder Sheila. Plus, my mom works lonnnnnng hours and has a lonnnnng commute whereas my aunt Dena actually works from home and is around more to get in face time with kittens.
– Louie’s sister Laura, who loves cats and became kitten socializer in chief when she was staying at Dena and Louie’s. She particularly bonded with Bill, who is so so shy and so so beautiful.
– My sister Malindi, who helped me during the hellish drive taking Lola up to Virginia and has provided many hours of love and snuggles socializing the kittens. Also the rescuer of Lola’s foster baby
– My aunt Kathy, who came over for playtime with kittens 😀
– My cousin Lara and her husband Tim, who all the way from their home in California sent the kittens a feather toy that they are OBSESSED WITH
– The people who have thus far adopted kittens (Clovis, Levon and Pinky now have wonderful homes!)

So now that I’ve given all that thanks…

Dena and Louie were off to Austin to celebrate Thanksgiving with their kids/grandbaby. My mom was still taking care of Lola, as she recovers from her surgery (and mama cats and kittens should not be together once the kittens are weaned). Therefore, that meant it was time for me to take the last two kittens (Angela and Bill) home with me to NC! So I did, and we are all nestled into my house after a pretty uneventful car trip down.

And oh my God, Angela and Bill are BEST FRIENDS and SO CUTE!

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This is a temporary arrangement, since I fortunately have a friend of a friend who is probably going to adopt them (he’s taking them for a “trial stay” at his house over Thanksgiving… but AS IF, right?! Who has adorable kittens in their home and then returns them?!) But gosh this is the FUNNEST temporary arrangement! I am of course biased but I will also say that Angela and Bill are probably the cutest kittens who have ever lived.

Some fun things to share about my past few days with these little babies:

  • I will hereafter always refer to them as the “kitinds”, from this cute interaction with Liv, the adorable little girl nannied by my friend Andrea. I sent Andrea a kitten video (I’ve been updating her and the kiddos throughout this kitten journey) and somehow Liv got ahold of her phone and we had this very entertaining exchange.

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  • The kitinds are still fairly shy but are warming up to me. I find they are most inclined to let me pet them (and purr! And sometimes offer their bellies for belly rubs!) when they are having snuggles (like pictured above) or when they are eating.
  • I generally don’t let them in my room unless I am there to supervise, since they turn literally everything into a toy and I don’t want them destroying all my stuff. But as a result my room has become Mission Impossible and they do absolutely everything they can to get in, including meowing piteously outside my door like they are in horrible pain and near death and then sprinting inside when I crack the door to check on them.
  • They talk to each other! Bill in particular does this little chirp when he wants his sister to come play with him.
  • On the subject of playing, they play all. day. Their custom game I would call a mixture of hide and seek, parkour, wrestling, follow the leader, 50 yard dash, and gymnastics.

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I know my blog is always unfocused and stream-of-consciousness but I wager this post was among the most random!

Next: reflections from my most recent internship in the NICU. And more ways to keep yourself and your baby out of the hospital!

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