Monthly Archives: April 2006


Boil ’em, mash ’em, put ’em in a stew.

As part of my first year at Buena Vista University, I got to experience my first Buenafication Day, for which classes are canceled and students* give 2 hours of their lives to spiff up the campus or to work on various worthy clean-up projects around town. As a reward, they get lunch, a day of loosely organized activities and prizes, dinner, and 3 bands. And warm feelings of charity and accomplishment, but hey, these are teens/young adults — they’re much too cool to admit they’re in it for anything other than lunch/games/music.

I worked with one of my English colleagues, an avid gardener, and with the wrestling team to do something new — we planted a large plot of potatoes. 100 lbs of potatoes, to be exact, which we hope will yield around 500 lbs of potatoes to donate to a local food pantry.**

While the pictures below illustrate my best strategy for avoiding doing any of the actual labor,*** I did end up toting and spreading bucket after bucket of compost. After lunch, the students skipped off to play games and win prizes and do other things that their teachers remain adamantly unaware of. I limped home, took three ibuprofen, and slept for 2 hours.

So here are my work-avoidance artifacts….I mean, pictures. Click to embiggen and render text readable.  I’m going to take another nap.




*Mostly those students who a) belong to an organization or are on a team and who b) dragged themselves out of bed on a day b.1) without classes and b.2) very possibly with hangovers.

**How/by whom the potatoes are going to be harvested come October is still unknown and may well include some further type of bribe to the wrestling team.

***In the digital age, no one even questions the need to record for posterity any- and everything, including a bunch of college students planting a field of potatoes.

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First off, in honor of the holiday, I give you a collection of Peeps photos, many of them dioramas made for a contest in Minneapolis, where people evidently have lots of time and peeps on their hands.

Secondly, in response to a flood in inquiries,* here are pics of our new kitten, Squinty McGee. Notice two things: one, that in all the pics, her eyes are just tiny. She always looks half asleep, even when she’s tearing around the house, and hence her name. Second, she’s just barely a tabby, with stripes on her face, elbows, haunches, and tail. Otherwise, she’s got a coat like a cougar.

World, meet Squint (click on pics to embiggen)



*Here at LOM, three may be considered a flood.

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Many people believe, or at least are fond of saying, "When God closes a door, (s)he opens a window." Well, animal lovers know that such a sentiment is better expressed as "When one beloved kitty passes on, another shows up on the doorstep." And so it was with the new resident at Left O’Mississippi, a little, puma-colored kitten we’ve named Squinty McGee.* More info and pictures soon.

*We tried a cute little kitten name, honest: first Chirp, then Cricket. But Squinty McGee is just so obviously her name.

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Sad day

Amelia kitty, pictured below and not yet a year
old, was sick on Wednesday and I took her to the vet. They decided to
keep her and run more tests. The vet called last night and said Amelia has
feline leuk and liver failure and tumors around her pancreas. I’m going
in this morning after my first class and say goodbye. After they put her to
sleep, I’m going to pick her up and my friends with the farm have
offered to bury her in their beautiful flower garden.

Pissy, pissy day. Oh, and I have to get Astrid tested for feline
leuk next week, although I know she’s been vaccinated. But still.

Amelia has been such a bright little spirit in my home.

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A cat is a cat is a cat is a hog

Back in the, to Astrid Kitty’s mind, blissful past before Zeke Quaker and Amelia Kitty came to live with us, Astrid had a big pillow to sleep on, on my computer desk. As I toiled away in the wee hours on grad school projects,* Astrid slept peacefully and received the occasional ear rub. As Amelia has grown and become more pushy, however, Astrid has been crowded out of her computer table bed.

So I bought a small dog bed instead, figuring that a bigger bed would allow them both to sleep in companionable comfort as I work on important, college professor projects.** Alas, despite my excess of education and 20 years of cat ownership,*** I neglected one constant of cat physics: a cat can expand to fill all available space.

See? Here’s Amelia, smack-dab in the middle of the more-than-big-enough-for-two new cat bed, selfishly sawing logs (click to enlarge. You’ll thank me):


And here’s Astrid, relegated to the back of the futon. Look at that expression:

However, after 2 weeks, I’m happy to announce that computer desk detente has been achieved:

NOW I can shop for a new computer game. I mean, research project…..

*Doom, Doom II, Doom III, Diablo, Diablo II….

**Bookworm, Zuma, Tumblebugs….

***Romeo, the Cary Grantesque tuxedo cat, Paisley, the very fat lap cat, Herkimer, the sleek black spazz, Jane Austen, the grumpy torti, Drake, the fluffy black kitten, Hudson, the brave tabby kitten, Lilith, the fluffy, three-legged legend, and Mab, the sweet air-headed tabby. All but Mab and Jane (both of whom live with my ex) have passed away. All but Mab were rescues.

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