I'm Thankful for My Less-Than-Spectacular Life

Happy Thanksgiving! As I write this in the early morning hours of Turkey Day, the one thing you have to do is think about the things for which you are thankful. Actually, I've been doing this for about a week now, as my life could be a whole lot worse than it is right now. I could be single. I could be homeless. I could not have anything to eat for holiday. I could have no way of earning an income. Although, in the big picture and on a global scale, my life is probably pretty fantastic. So, I'm thankful for a lot of little things, things that some might not consider something that's worth gratitude, but my life could be a lot worse.

bigger problems in the worldI'm Thankful that I Don't Have Television

I did just write an article about the stupidity of World Television Day, but that's not why I don't have television. I don't have television because my fiance and I were ripping it off from the cable company, until the cable company came and disconnected everyone who was ripping it off. Ever since then, we haven't bothered, and that was almost two years ago now.

It's the holiday season again, and I don't have a television to remind me about Black Friday sales, the gift of giving, and all those commercials that essentially tell me that I need to buy people expensive stuff for Christmas. It's nice not to get bombarded. It was particularly nice during the 2012 election, when I didn't have to bother with any of the political ads. I'm thankful that I won't have to deal with political ads during the upcoming 2014 midterm elections also. Granted, it would be nice to have television so I can watch Survivor when it actually airs, or the live performances of The Voice when they are live. But, those are small prices to pay to avoid commercials and to waste less time getting caught up in new shows and reruns.

I'm Thankful for My Cat Because He Almost Died


About two weeks ago, my cat Flop-a-Set had a urinary tract blockage. He was howling on the top of his lungs, having trouble going to the bathroom, and throwing up his food. My fiance and I were going to take him to the vet first thing in the morning. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the floodgates opened overnight and he peed in our bed. The next day, he was a completely different cat. He was no longer howling. He kept his food down. He didn't mind being pet. Although, he didn't continue to use the litter box regularly, and went in our bed the next night as well. So, we took him to the vet to figure out if he was still sick or not. My fiance and I were getting tired of the limbo, and it was clear that something was wrong and not entirely fixed.

After a vet visit, some antibiotics (which he does not like), and a new diet (which he eats, but doesn't like as much as the old food), Flop-a-Set is 100% again. He has used the litter box every time and has much more energy than ever before. He's louder. He plays a lot more and is more active when he does play. He runs around the apartment more often. He's on the new diet for life, and the antibiotics are almost done, so I am thankful that I still have a big fuzzy kitty.

I'm Thankful that I'm Never at Income Zero

Income zero is my term for not having any means of making money. Some people fall into that position and its a tough one to be in. I'm thankful that I'll never be in that position because as a freelancer and entrepreneur, I'll always have a source of income as long as I have one client paying on time. One client may not be able to pay the bills, but one client puts me in a position to get two clients. Having one client means that I'll have at least one good reference and recent work to vouch and to demonstrate my skills. Sure, my career choice is much tougher than most, as I don't make a much as I could if I got a normal job. Plus, I have to spend time marketing myself, doing my own accounting, covering business expenses, and make my own sales on top of the work that clients actually pay me to do. But, I'm thankful that I'm capable of doing all that and that I'm skilled enough in writing and marketing that people are willing to pay me to do it. I'm thankful that I am committed and courageous enough to be a freelancer.

I'm Going to Be a Blogger and Write about My Cat

new kitty When I interviewed technology evangelist Ramon Ray, he said that the did not identify himself as a blogger. Ray said that bloggers are people who sit in their pajamas and write about their cat. Well, that's exactly what I'm doing tonight. I'm going to be a "blogger", as I will spend this post in my pajamas writing about my kitty (and bother my mother at the same time. She doesn't like cats).

Last time I wrote about the kitty, he didn't have a name and we had just gotten him from Animal House Fund, the really cool no-kill cat shelter in St. Louis. It took us a few days, but we finally came up with a great poker-related name for him: Flop-a-Set Bluffy Cat BigStacks. Or, just Flop-a-Set for short. Cats need to have long names with multiple syllables, and this name suits him perfectly because he flops around a lot and he's a really big kitty.

He Tricked Us at the Shelter


He really did! We thought he was mellow, friendly cat. We thought he had taken his chill pills and wasn't too energetic. Boy, we were wrong! Flop-a-Set makes lots and lots of noise, especially around dinner time and particularly after I get up in the morning and open the bedroom door (and sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night and open the door. He loves me greatly.) He's mellow if my fiance and I are mellow, just working on our computers or watching a movie or something. But, we spend any significant amount of time doing something, say walking back and forth between the kitchen, or cleaning up, or getting ready in the morning, then he gets ramped up and runs back and forth throughout the apartment. He loves to play (especially with ANYTHING that dangles. This includes belts, drawstrings, and iPod ear buds).

We probably should have suspected something at the shelter, anyway. He caught our attention because I put my purse down to get to know the cats, and he came over and started playing with my purse. Then, four other cats came over and had to see what was up, and had to play with the purse too. After that, Flop-a-Set (named Murray at the shelter. It's a stupid name, so we changed it.) wasn't interested in the purse anymore and walked away. We also thought he was softer than his brother, and that he would need a little less grooming attention than his brother also (his brother was full of tangles. We weren't sure if he easily tangled, or if he hadn't been brushed recently since the shelter has over 200 cats and can't brush each of them every single day).

We Love Our Kitty!

Here's curled up behind me to take a nap. I really don't like when he does that because I'm always afraid I'm going to forget he's there and run over him with my chair. He would sleep in one of the camping chairs, but I had to put those  away to make room for my new desk and to move out the old desk. So, now he has nowhere to sleep except the floor, although he still did that from time to time when the camping chairs were up. He's never been one for the couch, the bed, or the love seat. Because he makes a lot of noise, one thing that I like to do, when he's sleeping, is see how close I can get to him before he makes noise. It's kind of mean since he wakes up with my face right in his face, and no one appreciates that, but I do it out of love and affection.

snuggling with cat

I Have a New Kitty!

new kitty

Kitty Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat

Our new kitty finally arrived from the shelter yesterday. He is awesome and it is so wonderful to have a cat in the house again. He is only 20 months old and he will be our kitty for the rest of his life. I am at work as I write this and I miss him very much. He needs love and attention and treats. I might go home early so I can pet him and teach him how to be held. However, I must do more work... after I finish writing this post. Fortunately, I get to have even more coffee tonight so I will get lots and lots and lots of work done (and playtime, which is most important).

He doesn't have a name yet, as we originally planned on naming him Pizza the Cat, but he doesn't look like a pizza. We want to give him a poker-related name, but haven't found one that's really good. The best we have so far is Mr. BigStacks, which we might end up settling on because that's not bad, but we have yet to think of one that jumps out at us. We'll probably have a name by the end of tonight. He can't go this long without a name.

Good News and Bad News

new kittyGood News about the Cat: He is fuzzy, outgoing, cute, playful, and talkative.

Bad News about the Cat: He doesn't yet understand bedtime, or what to do when the humans are sleeping. Thus, he wins at 7:00 a.m because I got out of bed, and tried to catch more sleep on the couch, but he saw me and that was enough to wake him up and to get him talking.

Good News: He always wins. That's the rule, except when he wants almond butter. However, all the rest of the time, he wins. It's probably the only way I'll wake up in the morning.

Bad News: I leave this Saturday to go to Las Vegas for a week! I have to go all those days without any kitty! That's no fun, and I am worried the kitty will miss me and bond with Sean without me.

Good News: He understands the scratch post, so he won't ruin the carpet.

Bad News: Anything that dangles is a toy, so my ear buds and belts are in grave danger.

Other Than the Kitty...

I am incredibly tired (because the kitty doesn't yet understand bedtime), so I haven't been as productive as I need to be today. I'm a little scattered and it's taking me longer than usual to get each thing done. This is also a reason why I want to go home early. I can take a quick nap before my Amnesty meeting tonight (which also gets in the way of kitty time). I wish I could skip it, but I can't because I promised yesterday that I would arrive early to put the sign up for the meeting at the coffee shop. Now, it's all a matter of remind myself to go to the meeting, and to go early, and to remember the sign.

new kittyBut, the meeting will be fun! And I will have a medium soy latte with brown sugar! We will discuss things to do regarding the Arms Trade Treaty, and it will be invigorating as I will contribute ideas and then feel inspired to reading our book club reading once I get home. Of course, if I don't get home and get distracted. He meows a lot and wants to get my ear buds.

My Parents are Reading

Murray the Cat They totally are, which is fine, except that they print out my blog posts and the criticize them for having too much information. That's the point of a personal blog! I'm certainly not going to rant about politics like too many other bloggers out there. I also don't need a place to blog professionally, as I already have plenty of that. I could do a 100% poker blog, but I don't think I have a cool enough poker story to tell. However, I am now self-conscious of what I write here, and this post is probably going to warrant a phone call and a scolding.

"You talked about us in the blog!"

"We don't criticize."


"Cats suck."

As punishment, I am putting pictures of the two possible cats we are getting this week. I can't wait, as we need a kitty in the apartment again! They are brothers, and quite frankly, I'm not sure which one the shelter will bring to our house for us to keep. It doesn't matter, as both are cute, fuzzy kitties that will bother my parents because they don't like cats. Print this out! Pretend they are scratch-and-sniff pictures!

Oh, and Facebook

Myron the Cat

What's worse than the blogging is the Facebook! See, my mother has a Facebook page, but she doesn't post anything. She doesn't even have a profile picture. However, she happily uses it to stalk my Facebook page and then comment on how I share stupid things and ask why I share this and why I share that. Too much information,  she says. But that's the point of Facebook! It's the epitome of TMI! It's not fun if it's not TMI, and I could be a lot worse!

Why couldn't my parents have figured out Twitter first? See, with Twitter, then they would read about marketing twice a day. They would learn things and think that I am very professional and knowledgeable. I don't spend time on Twitter retweeting funny statuses and sharing clever memes. I don't spend much time on Twitter period. Although, they would probably love Pinterest. My mom can finally get all those crafty, creative ideas she's been seeking at craft fairs for the past 15 years all in one place, and all without leaving the house.

Cash Games

I started playing cash games online over the weekend. I lost the first couple of times I bought in, but yesterday I almost doubled my buy-in in the two or three hours I played. I actually went 140 hands without going to show down! The table was incredibly nitty, so it was just a matter of raising and taking the pot, or betting into the flop, or even getting a few walks. I don't even think I was playing all that aggressive; it was just that blinds weren't being defended and hardly anyone was willing to call or to raise. I wanted to try and to go to 200 hands, but then my streak broke (with pocket 10s, so it could have been worse), and then I wasn't interested in playing anymore. In all those hands, besides the one that went to show down, I only went to the river once and the turn maybe two or three times. On top of all that, I won between a quarter and a third of the hands I played. I don't remember the exact percentage, but I hope to continue that win rate! I might play again tonight.

fluffy kitty cat

A Virtual Executive Assistant... And Other Thoughts

hartford coffee companyI am writing this blog post from Hartford Coffee Company, a wonderful coffee shop in the Tower Grove neighborhood. Back when I was working from home, I would drop in here regularly work just as an excuse to get out of the house and to force myself to get a few things done. I didn't go to the office today, so I decided to come here and to get some things done. I have succeeded tremendously.

However, I'm Still Behind

The fiasco of last week has still put me a little behind. I do have four articles that I need to do that I haven't done yet because they didn't get delegated or because they are still leftover from last week. I'm very close to finishing that big order for February, so I should have most of tomorrow and Friday to catch on these things. I don't expect to start on the March order until Monday, at the earliest. I'm not too worried about the big order, but I am a little worried I'll get some backlash from being behind. One of them is a new client, one that hasn't paid me yet for two previous articles and pays well below what I would like. Perhaps it's not a big deal if we lose them. I do need to work on the Stirring Standard too, and improving my website, and improving my calls-to-action, and working on my content marketing goals.

Obviously, I need an executive assistant. Either that or I need to stop blogging.

Flavored Lattes are Pretty Good

Who would have thought? I was at Hartford last night, and the barista recommended me a flavored latte with toasted marshmallow and chocolate. It sounded good, as I didn't want something too sugary since I had a sugar crash in the afternoon (mochas are much more sugary than I thought). Turns out it was delicious, so today I got a flavored latte with brown sugar and vanilla, which was also delicious. Fortunately, Hartford has like 50 flavors to choose from, so next time I might go for coconut and macadamia nut, or coconut almond for the Almond Joy approach. Yum yum!

We are Getting a New Kitty!

Last weekend, we stopped by the Animal House Fund to pick out a new cat. They have over 250 cats there, so it was tough as well as fun because there were lots and lots of kitties and the more kitties the better. This organization was recommended to me by Hartford, so I knew they would be a good place to go for a new kitty. The cat we have chosen is Murray. He's a big, fluffy cat as big, fluffy cats are the best. He should be coming home this weekend, and I can't wait to have a cute kitty in the apartment again. I want to brush him and to carry him around the place and to teach him how to play poker.

I Need to Go Home Now

It's almost six, and Sean should be home by now. I want to talk to Sean. I want to eat dinner, although I don't know what I want to eat. I might play poker, or just watch more poker, or watch Sean play Age of Empires II because that came in today and I know he'll install it and play it. Or, I could finish this book I'm reading so I can start reading Half the Sky and be prepared for the next Amnesty book club meeting. I should also read Half the Sky to remind myself that I should be Oprah status by now. I don't have to go through what some of these women have gone through, and those women are awesome and successful in these countries with fewer resources and opportunity. Oprah status: the goal. I will discuss tomorrow.

Bye Bye Ambrocious

Ambrocious Today we had to put down our wonderful kitty Ambrocious. He stopped eating a few weeks ago, losing lots of weight and showing less and less interest in food. We took him to the vet on Saturday, only to find out that it would cost $600+ just to get him on IV fluids and to run the tests to find out what's really going on. The vet's best guesses were liver failure, kidney failure and/or cancer. We tried over the weekend with some prescribed food and antibiotics, but they haven't been helping and Ambrocious has only deteriorated. He barely has any strength to walk, and he's not even interested in us anymore. He just wants to sit under the bed all day. Ambrocious was over 17 years old, and has no health problems up until this point, so we've had a wonderful time with our wonderful kitty.

In commemoration of Ambrocious, I am writing this blog post and sharing the only picture I have of him on my computer. I would reprint my 'Nature of the Beast' essay about Ambrocious, but I've already done that. I have 300 more pictures on my phone, but I have a very junk phone so I don't have any way of putting all those pictures on my computer and creating an Ambrocious album or slideshow. I'll now probably just delete them all and then take lots of new pictures of my new kitty once I get a new kitty. Anyway, Ambrocious was a very good cat, and it sucks to make this decision. It's sad to see him wither away and not really know what's wrong with him. We've known we had to do this for a few days, and that he was a very old cat, but it's still no fun.

Tough Several Days

It's been emotional, since we've had the cat for so long and there's not much more we can do about him. We knew the diagnosis wouldn't be good and that it would probably be expensive to fix him. I've felt heavy with sadness, and although we will eventually get a new cat and be very happy again, it's sad to let go of Ambrocious. It sucks that we have to make the decision to put him down, instead of having him pass on his own. But, the latter will be very painful, as he's not eating. He looks at food and water likes it's an affront to his existence. He doesn't want it at all. He's not meowing in pain, but when he does meow he doesn't sound happy, like he is in pain. It's better this way.

Bye Bye Ambrocious

Bye bye big fat kitty. He was the big fat kitty fluff, full of stuff. Without you, I wouldn't have known how to hold a cat, or love a cat, or bond with a cat. Without you, I don't have anyone to give treats to, or to have lick the water off of my hair. Without you, I don't have anyone to greet me when I wake up in the morning, or to think I'm opening up a can a tuna, or to follow me around when I come home from work. Without you, I wouldn't have known how awesome life is when you have cute kitties in your life. Now, I know, and I must forever have cute kitties in my life. But, Ambrocious will always be the first cute kitty. The big fat kitty who has set the precedent for all the other kitties. The bestest best kitty in the world.