a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

….just took my wedding ring off for the first time since putting it on in 1999. Have never taken it off until now. Guess it was about time.

I guess it’s also time for me to go ring shopping for myself.

Still weird though.

I received the below email today from the rescue organization where we adopted Shadow. They typically do not send out donation requests other than quarterly newsletters with the info on the back page. They are not an alarmist organization that asks for money every other day or sends out horrible “this dog will die if you don’t adopt now” notices like so many you see on Facebook or twitter. And I appreciate that because I know always they need the money and I know there are too many dogs in shelters.

But if you can spare even $5.00, it can add up to help Boscoe, who is still a baby who clearly had a horrible home but can be fixed up and find a good home from early on.

I didn’t include the pics of the injury because yuck. But am including Boscoe’s little face :)

Boscoe at vet

Boscoe at vet

I hate when people ask for donations so I don’t this easily. But this guy needs our help. We might not be able to help every dog, but we can help this one.


Hi friends – I want to let you know about a wonderful three-month-old Siberian puppy I pulled Friday at the Delano, CA, Shelter (central valley/middle of nowhere!). Shelter folks picked him up in a woman’s yard in town where he had laid down to rest, with a horrible gash on the inside of his right rear leg (photo attached) and with the femur on his other back leg out of socket! With no possibilities in store for him except the shelter, I took the 4 hour drive to Delano, and pulled Boscoe. By 4 pm I was at Fourpaws in Dublin and Dr. Tripi was looking at Boscoe (see attached photos)

Sweet Baby Boscoe is at Tripi’s for myriad issues. Chris worked very hard to pop the bone back in place; no go, which leads us to believe he has been limping around in this condition for a week, maybe 10 days or more. Apparently a car hit him. Tripi performed surgery yesterday, cutting the head of the femur and reinserting into the hip. The open wound on his other leg is awful – Tripi successfully sewed it back together, at the same time neutering him. So far the stitches in the wound are holding. And he is “surprisingly ambulatory” considering his injury. He has a little eye infection too, fleas and ticks for days, major tape worm. Yuck. So of course we treated for these parasites too. Bless his heart, this baby has been worked very hard in his short life time. just the sweetest puppy, probably no more than 3 months old, even too young for a rabies shot to take.

This surgery and related necessary vetting are pricey (especially considering our tipsy finances), but when I saw his photo on a rescue listserve, I knew Norsled had to help him. The good thing is he is so young he will bounce back, after proper containment during recuperation. Thank you to everyone for thoughts, concern and offers to help and contribute. Boscoe needs your help now urgently.

If you want to donate, just go to www.norsled.org, click on paypal and we will most appreciate it. You can also send checks payable to Norsled to address below. Please cross post any place you can think of. We need to raise money for this baby’s medical work. Thank you for caring for the huskies. Boscoe sends a woo woo to all of you.

Gail de Rita, Rescue/Adoption Coordinator
Northern CA Sled Dog Rescue (Norsled)
PO Box 30877, walnut Creek CA 94598 – phone 510 676 2215

“Without an Alaskan Malamute to guide me through the bleak landscapes of the soul, I would wander forever without finding my voice.” Susan Conant

Whoever said “money can’t buy happiness” never paid an adoption fee.
Save animals three times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What have you done today to make the world a better place?
Torturing one animal is cruelty; torturing many is science.

It’s been a month since Stormy left me. Hard to believe it’s been a month already really. I still get sad and regularly think, for just that split millisecond, that I hear him moving around.

But when I start to feel sad, I try to remind myself that most people didn’t expect him to make it much past 8 once he was diagnosed with Cushings or past 9 when his 2nd liver tumor (and 2nd surgery) was diagnosed as cancerous. But instead he not only survived those things, he got to go to the beach, play in the snow, have fun, eat freshly made cheeseburger, make and play with friends, and bring everyone who met him smiles every day until he was 11.

When he could no longer stand on his own (late June), I knew our time was limited. I’d help him up and use one of those slings but then he didn’t want that after awhile. But he was still a happy guy every day. He loved to sit on the deck and watch chipmunks and birds. He loved his regular ear rubs, still ahrooed for his breakfast and loved his cheeseburger and cookies. I told him that I wanted him to stay as long as he wanted, but if he started feeling sick or in pain, he had to tell me.

On August 2nd he did tell me. But I do know that he was happy up until then. And I have to remember that is what counts: all of the time that I got to spend with him. I was lucky to have been able to bring my guys to work every day all of their lives, take them to the beach or snow every day, and then work from home and spend the extra time taking care of Storm when he needed it.

I miss my boys. I spent more time with them every day for 12 years than I did anyone else in my life. It’s hard to have that gone. They made me smile every single day. They were the best friends you could ever ask for. If you are lucky enough to have a critter in your life, make sure you hug and love them every day. They deserve it and don’t stay with us long enough.

Stormy puppy with Angelus

Storm and Angelus on bed

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

No, not me. My kitty. She was the original a99kitten. Back in 1999, when I would work on my computer at home at night as my husband (well, fiancee back then) and I started a company at night while I worked at a hedge fund during the day and he was in business school at Stanford, Gypsy would demand attention by laying across my keyboard and knocking the mouse around. She was a cyber kitten and she got the nickname a99kitten when she wouldn’t let me type as I was choosing my username :)

I was signing up for Yahoo and needed a username. I came up with a99kitten for her. It’s been with me since then and I can’t imagine ever changing it. But usernames seem to last longer than kittens :(

We got Gypsy to keep my other cat Jack company. He predated my husband. Jack was a good kitty but since we worked so much and were out of the house a lot, he seemed lonely. We would come home and he’d be in the window looking out and meowing :( So we got him a sister. He liked her right away but she would hiss and swat at him. Jack was a BIG kitty and she was a small kitten but she really wanted no part of him. Her first weekend with us, Jack was sitting on my lap and she was sitting next to me on the bed. She would hiss at him for no reason, and he would smack her in the head with his tail. They kept this up for about 20 minutes. Was pretty funny actually.

The next day, she was still hissing and swatting him at him all the time, even though he wasn’t doing anything. I left them alone for about an hour in the house. I figured, they will work it out. Came back home and they were sitting next to each other. With NO hissing or swatting! They were best friends and inseparable from then.

When we got Angelus, he would chase them up into their cat trees if they ran from him but was generally he didn’t care about them. Then we got Storm. All of a sudden there was a pack. And prey. Storm taught Angelus how much fun it was to chase the cats and try and get them and shake them. If we were home and awake, everyone could live together without incident but at night, the dogs stayed in the bedroom with us. And if I had to leave the dogs home for some reason (they typically went with me everywhere), then I would put the cats in the guest room.

But they got Jack and Gypsy each once. Each time it was for only a second or 2 and the cats were always OK since we separated it quickly, but it was not OK for them to live in fear. So my husband found this company that made outdoor cat enclosures that you build in your yard. They were the size of small rooms. He drove out to the middle of nowhere California and picked up the kit the weekend after the dogs got Gypsy. He built it and put in several cat trees and shelves. I filled it with their beds and blankets. Had tarps on it to close when it got stormy. We ran electricity from under the house to it and put in an electric water fountain (Jack refused to drink standing water) and moved them in.

They actually really seemed to like it as they got sunshine in, could watch the birds, etc. But it also meant they couldn’t snuggle with me anymore :( And from pretty much that point on, I felt like a failure of a cat mom. Sure they were safe, dry, well fed, etc but still. I recognize a lot of cats live outdoors and don’t get that much care but mine always had. I would go out and see them daily. Give them fresh food, water, etc. Pet them, brush them. When I went out of town, friends came by to check on them or I hired a local woman who did pet care to come daily.

We considered finding them a new home but that’s pretty much impossible. There are so many cats and dogs in shelters that I couldn’t ever ask a friend to choose my safe and cared for cats over a shelter cat who would be put down if not adopted.

Several years ago, Jack died. So that left Gypsy alone out there. Then I felt really horrible. I would try and visit her more but it was still not the same for as having her kitty brother or living inside with her humans. But it also wasn’t right to bring her inside so she could be afraid every day.

When I moved up here full time last November, I brought her up with me. I made the upstairs her domain and the dogs were not allowed up there ever. She seemed so, so, so, so happy. I have 2 guest rooms so she had numerous beds to sleep on and under (of course she didn’t want either of her beds that she had.) She would cruise downstairs at night when the dogs were asleep and I went upstairs numerous times during the day to pet her and brush her. She seemed like a happy little kitty.

About a month ago or so, I noticed that she wasn’t eating. After 2 days of that, I took her in to the vet hoping for a simple, fixable problem. Nope. She was in renal failure. Now, that can mean a day, a week, a month, a year. You just don’t know. I started giving her sub-cutaneous fluids daily, extra potassium and put her on a special diet. She seemed like she was happy again. Yay. But kidney failure isn’t curable. Just manageable. And she is 16.

Yesterday morning she didn’t want to get up to eat. She’d ate like a champ if I brought it to her but she didn’t want to walk anymore. I brought her out into the sun with me on the deck and we hung out. Storm stayed in the shade and said we were crazy.

But then she didn’t want to eat last night. I brought her bed into my bed last night and she slept there. This morning she doesn’t want any food or water. She doesn’t get up from her bed. It’s her time. We are now hanging out on the deck in the sun. She has always loved the sun. Every time I pet her, she purrs and purrs. It’s a very hard decision to make when you see them looking at you and they seem like they are “there”. But her body is betraying her. And I do not want her in pain or feeling very sick. She deserves better than that.

I called the vet this AM and she agreed that beyond giving her fluids, there is not much to do at this point. It’s just deciding when. I had to with Jack and it was awful. Angelus took that decision out of my hands, which I am frankly still not fully recovered from. Gypsy will need me to help her. We are sunning for the rest of the morning and afternoon and I am taking her to vet late this afternoon. It’s not fair. She finally gets back inside and is happy and nature takes her away.

Gypsy has been a great little kitten who always just loved people and attention. She is the true a99kitten.



Looking at the pictures of devastation in Oklahoma is just plain awful. The scarier thing is that all that destruction took only minutes. Nature does not mess around.

Years ago while in Florida for work, the day started out sunny and blue sky. It’s Florida. Weather forecast was the same as it always was, sunny with a chance for rain in the afternoon. This is the daily forecast from March to November. Literally. Every day. Unless there is a hurricane warning.

Sometime in the middle of the afternoon the sky turned green. Wizard of Oz scary green. The winds were picking up. A lot. Our office was on the 3rd floor of a small bank building. Huge windows around the whole thing. The winds started getting heavier and heavier and it started to rain. We saw a newspaper dispenser machine rolling down the sidewalk. Then the bank sign from the top of the building went flying by and landed in the parking lot. We all got away from the windows and the power went out. The building was literally shaking. Florida, not California – no earthquake. Just from the wind.

I called my Mom at work and she was fine. Called my brother’s school and there was no answer. My boss said we could all leave, no power anyway. I drove to my brother’s school and there were huge trees, oaks or some such not palm, all ripped up and seemingly thrown everywhere. In the street, etc. A huge one was across the entrance of my brother’s school but luckily everyone was safe and they were getting the kids out of there.

I got him and we went and got my mom from her job and went home. It took a while as power was out everywhere so no traffic lights and branches and trees were laying everywhere. No damage at my parent’s house luckily but no power or phones. We found a Denny’s several miles away that was running on their own generator and, along with I think every other person in town, got some dinner after a 3 hour wait (truly was THE only place with power.)

Our power came back on the next day. Of the surprise storm, the news said it was a freak storm (how can you NOT see that on your gajillion dollar radar storm tracking radar?!?!) that sprouted numerous tornadoes. They showed my office building on the news and they mentioned that corner as a spot one twister touched down. Wonderful.

Obviously it was NOWHERE near the strength and destructive power of the Oklahoma storms. But that scared me. You have no warning or prep. I have gone through 2 Cat 5 hurricanes, one in Mexico where I do not recommend being in a big storm, plus the big 1989 SF earthquake (I was at the World Series game for it…fun times.) None of those things freaked me out like that Florida storm. Tornadoes can just come out of nowhere and strike. Blow apart 1 house and leave the neighbor. Or wipe out neighborhoods. Sure you don’t get warnings with earthquakes either but there is also no such thing as earthquake season every year.

I was born in New York, lived in Illinois, and moved to Florida before moving out to California. Even though I was one, I say now you East Coasters and Mid Westerners are nuts. I’ll take the risk of an occasional earthquake any day.

Today is my brother’s birthday. He would have been 30. Wow. He would have been old. I still think of him as the 6 or 8 yr old I took to Disney World on numerous trips.

I would have made so much fun of him today. Crusty. Krusty the Clown (he loved the Simpsons.) Would have been relentless. He did to me so it’s only fair. But I didn’t get the chance. I lost him in November of 2010. I loved that kid like he was my own and always will.

Happy Birthday Jonathan.

This story is sickening. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-05/obama-budget-calls-for-cap-on-romney-sized-iras.html

“Under current rules, some wealthy individuals are able to accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving,” the statement said.

Who exactly are YOU to say what is a reasonable level of retirement savings for me? You don’t know my life, my responsibilities and IT’S MY MONEY. That I worked for and saved and invested smartly, not spending it, so that I have it for me and mine later.

I am the one working my butt off for years to make sure I have enough because unlike government stooges, I don’t have a tax-payer funded pension plan and health benefits to live off of for the rest of my days.

For every “Romney-sized” retirement account, there are tons more of “regular” people who socked money away for years and watched it grow. Doing nothing wrong. Doing the right thing which is saving for their retirement so they are NOT dependent on the government or anyone else.

And since there is *NO* way Social Security, that I pay into all my life (and might as well burn the money in the driveway for all the good it will do me), will be around to help me, shouldn’t I be doing everything I can to make sure I (and my family) will be OK?

I think the thing that makes me sick the most is this class warfare rhetoric is used over and over by a government that spends so much more than it can take in and sees nothing wrong with it. Just tax people more. And more. And more. Take. Take. Take. All the while these same guys are SO corrupt.

And people who have no intention on saving since they know the government “safety nets” will take care of them, and have no drive to change their situation (in no way can you argue that everyone wants to work as hard. No. Way.) are the ones who vote these idiots in. Repeatedly. Because why wouldn’t you?

The government continues to take steps that make being successful a bad thing. To strive to be successful is becoming more of a detriment since you can just live off your fellow citizen’s hard work while working much less.

This is not the American Way.

One year ago today I lost one of my best friends.

It still makes me incredibly sad but at least I can look at his pictures or talk about him with a smile as I remember how much happiness he brought to my life. But today is a little rough. Or rrrruufffff as he would have said…


Angelus on deck

Angelus snow head

I miss you Angelus.

Much has been made by Yahoo’s decision to pull the plug on remote employees last week. I was surprised by the decision since a lot of Bay Area companies have been allowing this for awhile now and it’s been gaining traction as a good way to attract employees. But I also understand why a company would make that decision.

I read a LOT of con articles, a few Pro and listening to pro and con on CNBC. I honestly wanted to smack a lot of the writers of the con articles, especially when they morphed into saying Yahoo was against women and mothers. And draconian. Give me a break.

I work from home. But I work for my own company so I get to make those rules. And if I don’t get my work done, I can fire myself with very little fanfare, threat of lawsuits or fear of taking to the internet with my gripes….against myself.

But I didn’t always work for myself (well…was still partially my company but totally different.) I was HR. And did receive requests for work from home policies. And we said no repeatedly for years. Not one single executive actually wanted it. Some said it would make some employees happy and they would live with it if the company established a policy, but none really wanted it. There are a lot of reasons for that. And some of those are the exact reasons Yahoo laid out as to why they were stopping their remote policy.

I get that, especially in the bay area, you can spend a fair amount of time on the road because you live far away due to housing costs or choosing to live away from the hectic business areas, near better schools, etc. Plus traffic is hellish. But that’s the way the bay area has been for years and years so it’s no surprise to anyone.

And I also get that, as a parent you want to spend more time at home with your kids. But that’s the exact reason I don’t think you are working as much as you should be if not in the office.

Face it – not every job can be done as well remotely. And really face it – not every employee can be trusted to work as efficiently when not in a work/office environment. And there are a lot of administrative reasons to not want employees working away from home – confidential/proprietary information worries, workers comp and labor law BS, etc. I was 100% against it as HR. Most of those things are never thought of by the complaining employees. Or reporters.

And frankly, the employees that we eventually allowed to work from home didn’t seem as part of the team. This includes me! When I changed my schedule to work from home part-time (before transitioning out completely), I noticed how I felt less like part of the team. And I didn’t have a department to miss – I simply reported to the CEO.

It all of a sudden becomes harder to get those employees to Team Events (even a dang holiday party for fun!), to team building things, company meetings, team lunches, department meetings, etc.

I know at least some of these employees at Yahoo took the job after being told they could work remotely. And yes that does stink. But company policies can change. And you have the option to change with them or not. But to cry and complain that you have to GO to work in order to keep your job is a bit ridiculous.

It’s not the job of a company or a CEO to make all decisions to make life easiest for the employees. It’s the goal of the company to create excellent products that keep customers happy and make money for their investors and shareholders (some of which are probably employees via options and stock plans!) And make money for the company. And a lot of this money is then spent on salaries, bonuses, benefits, perks, etc FOR the employees.

It is a job. You are employed. And if the company thinks they can get more and better work product out of their staff by having them work together and not apart, then that’s what the company should do. And you can feel free to quit and work elsewhere. I can pretty much guarantee that your job will be filled pretty quickly.

Received a phone call around 1pm from the town electric/water company that my usage shot up over night and has stayed up all morning. I’ve been in the bay area this week so away from my house. The guy at the water company said there has been a lot of burst pipes today due to the intense cold for the past couple weeks and then it finally warmed up to above freezing (in the afternoon) for the first time yesterday. Great…

Got a hold of a General Contractor that has done some work on the house and asked if he could drive over sometime today and check it out. He said no problem, he’d go right now since if a burst pipe inside it would be very bad.

20 minutes later he called back saying yes, a pipe had burst but in the garage (it’s for the outside spigot.) He turned it off at the source. Said the garage floor was wet along with some of the stuff (toolbox, cabinet, snow blower, few empty boxes) in the garage but most of the water had run outside. There was some dry wall damage by the area of burst but nothing major.

He offered some of his crew to come over after their job today to get the damaged dry wall out of there so the interior wall could dry out. He’d call one of his plumber contacts to get out there tomorrow to replace the pipe and then he’d get his crew to replace the drywall.

So thanks to the water company for noticing this and alerting me to it and a local GC who takes care of his customers (past and present!), no major damage and it will be fixed quickly.

I can assure you this would NOT have happened so quickly or seamlessly in the Bay Area. Pretty sure the water company here could care less about your usage unless you don’t pay for it. And good luck finding a GC who would go out of his way to check for you and then react that quickly unless he was actively working on your house, and that’s even questionable.

Score yet another giant point for small town living in my mind.