Sophie’s Expanding Waistline

We adopted Sophie when she was six month old, long enough for her to have been trained as a feral cat. It was several months before she trusted us as humans, but she has never shaken the “I have to eat as much as I can because I don’t know when I’ll get my next meal” instinct. She has had her share of medical issues since we got her, and she will be on prescription cat food for the rest of her life (read: $$$) which has a higher fat content than most. After gaining three pounds at her 2009 exam, the vet hinted that maybe she needs a little help on the diet front.

The vet suggested that we hide little piles of food throughout the house to simulate her natural urge to hunt. Okay, first of all, who has the time? Secondly, besides the fact that she’s still a scavenger, Sophie is totally down with the domesticated lifestyle. Seriously, have I mentioned that she rare expends the energy to eat sitting up?

We ignored the issue for awhile, but then I saw a news story about a cat that was taken away from its home because it had grown to 30 pounds and this was seen as a sign of neglect. (More like over-loving, if you ask me.) Sophie is no where near 30 pounds…yet. Instead of hiding food around the house, I started rationing how much dry food she got in the morning, and then I give her a second round of dry food after work, with a partial can of wet food. She is less than happy with me, and usually has her food dish cleaned out within 15 minutes.

She breaks into the squirrels’ peanuts when she can get the cover loose, and will even get the top off of her food canister when she finds that it isn’t sealed securely. While we eat, her eyes follow the path of the fork from our plates to our mouths. Sophie has not learned moderation in all the months that she’s been dieting. Even though she’s still very active, she always looks hungry, and I didn’t rescue a cat just so she could feel deprived.

Yet, she ISN’T. This cat does not want for anything other than gluttony. Nick was awarded a gift certificate at work, and he has decided to use the money to buy an electric cat feeder. You fill five compartments with food and then set the timer to reveal a new compartment at specific interval. Man, and I thought that dieting for myself was difficult! I didn’t have to deal with a pair of limpid eyes speaking ala Oliver Twist, “More, please?”

The night of and morning after my surgery, all I could hear was a cat puking. If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know the sound. Being in the post anesthesia gloom that always consumes me, I kept thinking, “Great. Now I’m sterile and my cat is dying.” Typically, Sophie never has tummy issues, so we are thinking that she found something to eat that she shouldn’t have. Was it the orchid that she literally deflowered, or the cinnamon-scented pine cones on the table? Was it a piece of rubber from a shoe or something she dragged out of a garage basket? Hard to say with this cat, eating will be her demise.

Hodge Podge


Yes, I know I’ve been neglecting you again, dear blog. I’ve been at this thing for over five years now. I remember hard-coding everything in the first several versions, but then the archives just got too cumbersome to handle manually. In a time when I was more “techie” than I am now (I don’t think I will ever forget the hyphen’s HTML entity code), and married to a PHP programmer, I found an open source weblog system called Serendipity. The site basically runs itself now—so much so, I can go weeks without even updating! Whoa. Actually, I really do love weblogging, and I hope that one of these days things will settle down enough for me to write for fun again.

I am officially “sterile” now (unofficially, before). I had surgery two weeks ago, and while I was confident that I was making the most unselfish and ethical choice, the day before surgery was very emotional for me. I returned home from work to find a clean home scented with cinnamon, my favorite meal, and a fresh pumpkin pie…these are a few of my favorite things. Nick left work early to put together the surprise for me. The day of surgery, I was given a gown that fills with hot air—heavenly! After I came out of the anesthesia, I had a bag of ice in a place that wasn’t all that heavenly.

I am having difficulties finding time to run with my current class. I ran the first time post-op last week and it went relatively well (though I was in no mood to push it with speed). With daylight savings time, I’m rather ready for bed by the time I get home from work, too! It’s dark enough!

Tuesday after work, we stopped at Great Dane for one last happy hour with one of my favorite beers: pumpkin spice ale. The tap was not working properly, spitting and sputtering and making a downright mess of our pint glasses. So, the bartender poured a pitcher to let the head settle and charged us for pints—sweet. See all these plans that interfere with my running schedule!?

Sophie got her bum shaved today. I love long-haired cats. They are so beautiful, but oh so much work! She got two lion cuts last summer, and it was the first summer that she didn’t spend panting as she crossed the room. We’ll let her keep her hair for the colder months, but something has to be done about that butt.

Poor thing wet herself in her carrier during the ride to the groomer’s. I lifted her out of the carrier (the groomer wanted no part of it, understandably) and walked her to her “suite”. I couldn’t stand the smell of myself in the car (again, understandably), and Nick took off his sweatshirt so that I could strip off the soiled clothing without riding in the car naked. Besides issues with decency, it’s frickin’ cold!

Well, I guess I have put off writing my essay on Wal-Mart’s initiatives as outlined in their 2009 financial statement long enough. I’m a hobbyist writer and find distance education too writing intensive. How do normal people survive? If only essays could be on things that interest me (like the evolution of foods on a stick, for instance), and I could use the word “it” without caring about number agreement—and run-on sentences should be allowable expressions of a thought that just does not want to die. Really, proper grammar is overdone. Now someone who is a little hyphen-heavy (and even knows the HTML entity code!), now that someone is interesting—someone I’d like to know!

Over and out.

My Own Two Feet

I have never tried to hide my devotion to a certain shoe. I have been wearing New Balance for as long as I can remember, and they will always be the shoe that let me be a kid without the obligatory twisted ankle. Too bad I didn’t find them (with the help of a good looking Podiatrist) until I was a teenager!

In any case, it’s been well over a decade since my first pair. For anyone who buys one brand of athletic shoe (exclusively), you know that one tends to develop a keen awareness of how to achieve the perfect fit. In my case, I know it to be a size eight, wide width. In NB lingo, this translates to an 8D. Anything smaller, and it hurts to walk. Anything bigger, and I trip over myself (or, rather, I increase the likelihood of tripping over myself).

This is the last pair of running shoes that I bought, which was last May (above). Back in the weight loss days (I’d say 2002-2003), when I was walking 15-20 miles a day, I was told that I would need new shoes every 500 miles. I don’t know if the guideline has changed or if it is different for running, but the guideline is every 300 to 400 miles. I guess if you have joint deformities such as I have, this is especially important. I decided on the 1063 model after exchanging emails with a rep from New Balance. I explained that the best running shoe I’ve ever had was the 891 I bought in 2006. Unfortunately, there is no direct descendant of that model out there.

“Sharyn A.” was kind enough to tell me that, “The style that would be the closest in terms of cushioning and support technologies to the W891’s would be the WR1063. This is a great neutral running shoe with ABZORB SBS in the forefoot and ABZORB DTS in the heel area. It offers Stability Web and our N-LOCK Midfoot Support technology.” She also recommended that I look at the 1011 since I have flat feet, and I guess that is their flat-foot-flagship. I headed to my nearest New Balance store to try on some shoes. The 1011s squished my toes, and I knew that my black toenail percentage would change from 20% to 100%. I loved the 1063s as soon as I laced up.

The experience back in May was extremely pleasant. Sure, the salesman insisted on measuring my foot and questioning my size, but in the end he gave me a punch card toward a free pair of shoes, and stamped it several extra times because I have shopped there in the past without being offered a punch card. In May, I was feeling dedicated to getting my running feet back. I even remember taking a trip to Chicago and making sure to bring my running gear so we could run around the city before we left. Then, injury…and you know the rest.

I put on about 200 miles during September and October, and my ankles finally got to the point where they need a couple days between runs. As you can see by the shoes above, I come down with my weight on the outsides of my feet, and I’ve worn down the soles of my shoes so that they no longer protect me from myself. I went back to the New Balance store yesterday, and was helped by the same gentleman—who was the manager, I discovered.

I went to the 1063s again (if it “ain’t” broke, don’t fix it?), and told him that I would like them in an 8D.

“8D? Are you sure?” He looks at my frame, looks at my feet. “Let me measure you.” So, I play along and slip off my shoes. “I’m measuring you at a 7, 7.5” he says, “with probably a C width”. I tell him that I have been wearing NB for years, and to trust me on the 8Ds. So, he played along with me since I played along with him.

I try on the first shoe, which he insists on lacing himself (to prove me wrong, I assume). He feels the top of the shoe for my big toe. “Well your toe is where it’s supposed to be.” He then feels the sides of my foot, and seems surprised to find my foot right where it’s supposed to be. Without another challenging word, he boxed up the shoes and rang up my purchase (punching my card two more times…props for that!). As you can see, the new shoes should keep my ankles under control. Ignore that cat in the background who is trying to attack a fresh pair of shoelaces.

I just find it funny how many times people have questioned me on my shoe size. Don’t they know how many times my mother dragged me to the foot specialists? Seriously. I don’t love my feet, but at least I know how to take care of them. Give me some credit! I am not one of those uninformed consumers who buy shoes because they look “neat”. Speaking of which though…there is something about an orangish running shoe, no?

I wonder how many shoes posts this makes now?