Monday, June 8, 2015

Welcome back to the randomness...

I've already managed to post twice in the last two weeks (albeit with sad subject matter), and I don't want to give up my posting momentum... so here's a random recap of some of the boring stuff that's been happening around here lately:

*It's warm in Chicago, finally! This is a big deal here, as spring tends to be VERY finicky -- one day it's 80 and you think it's safe to put away your sweaters and coats for the season, and then the next day it's back down to 40 and you have to drag them all back out again. It's kind of like winter in Texas -- where it's usually pretty mild, but every now and then it'll dip below freezing and you have to figure out where you've stored your heavy coat. But at least the weather forecasters in Texas usually seem to have SOME grasp of what's going on out there in the atmosphere -- sure, you get random pop-up thunderstorms every now and then, but for the most part, Texas meteorologists are able to make pretty decent educated guesses. But Chicago? It's like they all gather around dart boards with randomly placed weather phenomenon scattered over their surfaces:

Today it's going to be... (throws dart)... sunny! And... (throws dart)... 68 degrees! And tomorrow there's a... (throws dart)... 70 percent chance of... (throws dart)... locust swarms!

We then have a cold, rainy day, followed by sunshine and gathering fog. Yesterday, for instance, the forecast called for strong thunderstorms all day. We got... absolutely nothing. (Well, that's not entirely true -- we did see some nice lightning flashes out over the lake last night.) Rick has been extremely disappointed in the lack of storms so far this year. I'm guessing he just needs to wait until the forecast calls for clear skies and lots of sun. Because then... watch out.  Ah, well, it's always an adventure... :)

*I've been lucky to have a LOT of freelance work so far this year. Although June is starting out rather slow... but my experience seems to be that I either have more work than I can handle, or I have very little. Feast or famine. All or nothing. And it's the slow stretches that give me the time to catch up on things like writing blog posts... :)

I just finished a fun Christmas movie trivia project, where I spent several weeks writing various trivia questions for movies like White Christmas and Home Alone and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I actually spent an hour one day watching the latter (as well as How the Grinch Stole Christmas), because I hadn't seen it since I was a kid. And of course, when you have hundreds of little trivia blurbs to write about various holiday movies, eventually you find yourself running out of familiar films. After exhausting my knowledge of just about every Christmas favorite I could think of, I wrote my last few bits of trivia about that good old-fashioned holiday classic, Die Hard. (Hey, it really IS a Christmas movie! The whole thing takes place during a Christmas party! :)) What's really funny is that I was using mostly internet movie sites and my own memory to come up with trivia, and then literally the DAY I sent off the last of it, one of the channels on TV aired a Die Hard marathon. I watched it anyway, even though I was finished with the project, just because I'd spent so much time writing up trivia about it.

*So Rick read something the other day about how when bananas start to turn brown, they create some sort of substance that can break down abnormal cells, and by doing so, they might prevent cancer. I took this to mean that I should DEFINITELY use the browning bananas I have on my counter right now to make banana bread. Right? That's the obvious conclusion here...

And on that note, I should go work out... because I'll probably be making banana bread later on. ;) 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A few more pictures...

So it's been a bit of a rough week. I never realized just how present Riff was in our lives until now. He wasn't the typical aloof, indifferent cat... the kind who keeps to himself until he is forced to rely on the opposable thumbs of his human captors to open a door or pour food into a dish.

No, Riff was a "people cat." He always wanted to be where the people were. If we were sitting on the couch watching TV, he was curled up next to us. If I was cooking dinner, he was climbing on counters to inspect the produce or overseeing the culinary process from his favorite perch on top of the fridge. When it was time to work out and I did push-ups or planks, he would "help" me by standing underneath me so I couldn't collapse onto the floor. When I washed a load of towels or sheets, I would always dump the clean laundry onto the bed, and then wait a couple hours before I even attempted to fold anything -- because invariably, Riff would burrow into the pile and take a nap...

When we came back to the condo after being out for a while, Riff would be waiting for us just inside the door, greeting us with meows and happy tail twitches, as if seeing his humans was the best part of his day. We often wondered if he waited there for us when we were gone... did he lay on the carpet in the entryway eagerly anticipating our return? Or did he scurry over as soon as he heard the key in the lock?

But perhaps my favorite thing was that after I'd settled into bed for the night -- ten, fifteen, twenty minutes later -- Riff would jump up, snuggle up right against me, and spend the whole night keeping me company. This was especially comforting when Rick was out of town -- I never felt like I was alone in the condo, because my buddy Riff was always right there with me.

So it's been painfully obvious that Riff is gone. He followed me around like a shadow... but now, where my shadow should be, all there is is empty space. It's been strange, and sad, and very quiet... although to Piva's credit, she seems to be attempting to pick up some slack. She's been much more clingy this last week, and keeps loudly meowing at random times. She knows something has changed... I'm sure she misses Riff, too, even though she'd never admit it, because Riff had a tendency to antagonize her. :)

Anyway, I've been going through lots of pictures this week, so here are a few more:

Baby picture! :) This was a few days after Rick's sister found this little guy and gave him to us. To be honest, I wasn't even sure I WANTED another cat at the time... but it didn't take long for him to fit right in and become a part of the family.

About six months old... and probably trying to figure out how to get into trouble. I think I spent the entire first year of his life with perpetual scratch marks up and down my arms, because he LOVED to play... and he had very sharp claws. :) 

What, you don't have a cat in your fridge??

 This was one of his preferred ways of sleeping... he was actually quite comfortable like this...

Riff had a couple absolute FAVORITE toys... and he had the uncanny ability to swipe them across the slippery hardwood floor and directly under the refrigerator. He would then attempt to reach underneath the fridge to retrieve his toys... I can't even COUNT the number of times I had to pull out a flashlight and yard stick and fish out little rattling mice from the dark recesses of the Under Fridge.
This was the only time that Riff and Piva would sleep this close to each other: Towels. The great equalizers.

 And he loved hanging out in sinks...

  A lot...

What do you do with a Halloween pumpkin? Why, eat it, of course! :)

This guy made me smile EVERY single day. I could be completely depressed, having a horrible day, sad, angry, upset, whatever -- but every day, without fail, Riff would make me smile. Sometimes even laugh out loud. It's crazy how much I miss him -- I mean, he was "only" a cat -- but he really knew how to work his way into somebody's heart. If he only had five years to spend here, we were lucky that those five years were with us...