You know how some people get wanderlust, and just have to move, or find a new job, or make a massive life change every few years to stem off boredom? I’m not generally one of them. Except with this blog, which is now on its third home. Whew.
“But Becky!” you might cry. “Isn’t moving your blog without bothering to set up some form of redirect pretty much the worst way to build up or maintain an audience of actual readers?”
To which I would say, “Thank you for being so concerned! But no. The worst way to do that, I suspect, is actually to only update twice in one year.” Then I would probably pause and think about it, and say, “Oops.”
So if you’ve found me somehow, hello! Nearly all of my old, old, old blog entries have made the leap, except for some that were so embarrassingly earnest that I winced upon rereading and decided the internet didn’t really need to see them any more.
As for what happens now, well, if I were the sort of person who made a lot of New Years resolutions, I’d almost definitely have resolved to blog more. But I’ve had various online journals since roughly 1998, and history indicates pretty strongly that I’m not cut out to be a regular blogger. I’m okay with that, but it’s why I wanted to downsize from a blog that was a whole domain, to this little personal site. Rebecca-Allen.net still exists for my online professional life, but this new space feels much smaller and cozier, like a return to my old Geocities collective of web projects, albeit with less Sailor Moon fanfiction.
So anyhoo: if you’re reading the RSS feed, click on over! I’ve got a lovely new template up and running and relentlessly tweaked. We’ll see how long it lasts before I decide I hate it.
And to get things started on the right foot, here is a picture of my cat:
First things first: I wrote an article for work about the increasing funding issues that AIDS Drug Assistance Programs are facing, and specifically about a woman who, after years of drug addiction, getting her HIV diagnosis in jail, and then doing a 180 and turning her life around, was kicked out of her drug assistance program. Though the story is pretty depressing, she was a lovely, fascinating person, willing to share all that with me despite not being out about her HIV status and needing to remain anonymous to avoid stigma. So if you have a moment, please do read.
Over at AV, I recently reviewed The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. Two cupcakes. Not great.
Somewhere in one of the Hitchhiker’s Guide books — I suspect one of the later ones, which I haven’t read as often1 — there’s a character it always rains on. He actually turns out to be descended from a rain god, but doesn’t know that, so instead he just copes with the fact that everywhere he goes, it rains.
I’m starting to think I’m something like that. But with leaks.
Growing up, my bedroom leaked. We had the roof rebuilt and reshingled, but couldn’t find the source of the problem. This was upstate New York, with all of its ridiculous blizzards; after every one, we’d shovel the driveway, and then my dad and I would climb up on to the roof and shovel that off, too, hoping that it would keep snow from melting directly into my bedroom.
When I got to college, the source was eventually found. It was one of the joys of living in a very old house: the thing had been built out over a hundred years or so, the front rooms being the original section — then the next two rooms built on, the upstairs, and finally the back section of the house, which included my room. The house was built on a hill. And whoever added on that last section did not, as it turned out, build a foundation under it.
My bedroom was slowly falling off the house and down the hill, and whatever stretch and strain that put on the house opened it up to leaks.
I moved to the city four years ago this month, and within three months there created a leak from our bathroom into the next apartment down. (I still feel guilt over this, accident though it was.) I flushed the toilet, got in the shower, and when I stepped out, discovered ankle-deep water on the bathroom floor, and rising. Luckily, that building had the greatest super of all time, who not only fixed the suddenly-broken pipe and helped get the water under control, he also calmed down the downstairs neighbor. Phew!
Greatest super ever exhibit number two: a year later, when a leak opened in our ceiling — barely a drip, but definitely there — within 48 hours, the super had the ceiling open, the pipe replaced, and the ceiling closed back up, repainted, and all the dust and debris swept up and dealt with. For those of you who’ve never seen something like that in action, that was remarkably efficient. My sister and I left that building really reluctantly because seriously, that guy was awesome.
All of which is a leadup to this series of pictures of my kitchen wall over the last week:
The large hole in relation to relatively small me.
“The hole will be fixed today!” …It wasn’t.
We didn’t even know about this leak; the pipe was between our wall and the neighbor’s, and dripping into the basement while affecting us not at all. But it had to be fixed, and our wall had to come down to do it.
The worst part wasn’t even the return of my leak-inducing superpower, or whatever this is. There were two real issues: #1, with the kitchen totally disassembled, we had the sink sitting on the floor, and the cabinets in front of the fridge, and everything that had been in them piled on the stove. Meaning there was no way we could, you know… cook. For the four days it took to get this settled. Yeesh.
But worse yet was what happened to poor Lily Flufferson, the terrible mouser. She couldn’t be allowed to roam free with construction stuff sitting around and a giant hole in the wall for her to get lost in. She’s not smart enough to avoid such things. So for three days, she had to stay in small rooms if we weren’t home or awake to keep an eye on her — meaning the whole work day, and overnight. On day #3, I worked from home because we just couldn’t do that to her anymore. Poor kitty.
She’s fine now. The wall is fixed. Ish. The kitchen is still a wreck, but what are you going to do?
In conclusion, have a picture of my cat being adorable. (You’d think with that much fur, she wouldn’t want to sit directly in front of the radiator.)
- Rachel corrects me, it’s in Dirk Gently, it turns out. Right author, wrong series. ↩
So Rachel and I tentatively refer to Lily, our cat, as the failiest of fail cats. She’s a cat who climbs up on top of our highest cabinets and then can’t get back down. She’ll get so excited someone is petting her that she’ll roll right off the couch. She is exceedingly ginormous, but not terribly ferocious.
Tonight, Lily caught a mouse. This is the good news.
The bad news — other than the fact that our building in general and, evidently, our apartment in specific, has mice — is that she is still a fail cat. So she ran from the kitchen where she caught it, past us in the living room, and into my bedroom, and then, whoops! Dropped it.
IN MY BEDROOM.
Now, Rachel and I used to be country folk; we grew up in a house with birds in the eves, a few bats in the attic, occasional mice, and on one very memorable occasion, a raccoon in the bathtub. So it’s not like we’re afraid of such things. On the other hand. MOUSE. HIDING. IN MY BEDROOM.
After our moment of shock that our failcat is secretly a mouser — albeit a bad one — and some very brief shrieking because such things are startling (AND DID I MENTION SHE LOST IT IN MY BEDROOM?) we tracked it down, hiding behind my bookshelf. This necessitated removing all books from the shelf and moving the shelf itself, at which point the mouse naturally ran out from behind it, and in underneath it, in the approximate half-inch of space there. (It was a very small mouse. And brown. And actually quite cute, but I DO NOT WANT IT IN MY APARTMENT.)
Luckily, Rachel was on the phone with our friend Erin at the time, and Erin is super smart and suggested perhaps, if we could flush it out from under the bookshelf, we could catch it in Tupperware and put it outside. This was the best solution we could think of — Rachel and I are both vegetarians and have been for a long time, so even if we’d had a convenient way to kill it, we probably wouldn’t have.
How does one flush a mouse out from a dark space under a bookshelf? Well, if one is me, one uses an adorable (and, it turns out, highly functional) keychain with a rubber ducky charm. A charm that happens to light up and quack. Presumably terrified, the mouse dashed from its hiding spot and right into the waiting Tupperware, and we carried it out the apartment and halfway down the block without pausing to put on coats (or, in my case, shoes — going sock-footed in January on a New York City sidewalk: I don’t recommend it). We let it go and it scampered off, which was probably for the best, since that meant it likely hadn’t been hurt (just terrified) and wasn’t in pain. The down side is that even if it can’t get back into our building, it likely will get into someone’s somewhere, because where else could it go?
But at least not back to ours, we hope.
On the other hand, mice rarely travel in packs of one.
So we’ll see. This requires some serious thought and consideration about how to prevent future mice in an apartment when we have no control over the building as a whole, and what to do with any mice we might catch. Or maybe consideration of moving. Either way.
I’m off to go put all the books back on my shelf and clean up the havoc wrecked by the cat, the mouse, and me and my sister. Then clean the kitchen top to bottom. So I leave you with a picture of the mighty huntress:
Isn’t she ferocious?
Sorry for the lack of posting; real life is hectic. (Not bad, just busy.) I’m working on, like, three different entries when I’ve got the time and haven’t managed to finish a single one of them. Go me.
In the mean time, here are pictures of my cat, who loves being upside-down.
Actual content soon, hopefully.
In cute cat news, my sister had this to say last night:
I have been knitty lately. Only for some reason, my cat, who has ZERO cat-like tendancies (she runs to the door when you come home!) saw a ball of yarn and every kitty instinct I thought she didn’t have kicked in. “Yarn!!” she thought. “I MUST CHASE IT!” And then she attacked my knitting needles, my thread, the ball of yarn, and my needles again. She is on water-bottle probation.
Speaking of books, I’m still accepting submissions for the Carnival of Feminist Scifi and Fantasy. And of course I’m out seeking posts of interest. Here’s what I’m finding so far: there are a lot of people who write about comics and feminism. There are a handful of people who write about gaming and feminism. There are a lot fewer people who write about books, movies, and other geeky media and feminism. Or at least, I haven’t found ‘em yet.
So my plea: if you’ve written something, or if you know of a blog that posts about, books, TV, movies (and etc) with a focus on feminism, pretty please drop me a link.
Since Harriet (she teaches and blogs, yo) just got a new camera, oh boy, do I have pictures of our cat. Apparently, this is what people do on Fridays.
I doubt this will be a regular feature. But still, aww, Lilly.