Introduction post for newcomers to my journal

I thought I should do a quick intro for those I've added recently, and even those added not so recently who might now know all my info.

Cast of characters:

Me. I'm 46 years old. I was diagnosed with Type 1 aka juvenile diabetes at age five. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and non-verbal learning disability when I was 35. I work on a seasonal basis as a transcriber and editor.

My parents. My Mum passed away from Alzheimer's Disease in 2009. My Dad passed away in June 2013. I have one brother and one sister, both older. Brother is a control freak who bosses around his younger siblings and our Dad. Sister is five years older than I am and we fought a lot when we were growing up but now we're really close friends. I communicate with both of them mainly through Facebook (my brother) and Twitter (my sister.)

My nieces and nephews: Two of each. One nephew has ADHD and possibly undiagnosed Asperger's and is very, very bright even though he never finished school. One niece has non-verbal learning disability and an unspecified developmental delay that makes her act a bit younger than her actual age. She got her high school diploma through high-school equivalency courses at the local community college. Other niece and nephew are pretty much certified geniuses.

My friends: victoriacatlady and jenfer47 are my oldest real-life friends. I also have friends that I know through work and sometimes mention here: Amy, Aaron, Glenn, Anne, Dan and Emily. Amy lives close by and we take turns kitty-sitting each other's cats if either of us goes out of town.

My boyfriend/partner/significant other: I call him Monster, but his name is actually John. We've been together for 16 years. He also works a seasonal job. His job is as a tax preparer. We don't live together but he's here about half the time anyway. He says we can't live together until my housekeeping abilities improve, but I rather like living alone half the time anyway. He's also a computer networking technician and plays around with NetBSD. He's obsessed with money and capitalism, which causes a bit of tension between us as I am more along the socialist part of the political spectrum.

My cats. There are four of them right now. Chaya is a shorthaired black-and-white girl who is seven years old. Inky is a black shorthaired girl kitty who is just over a year old. In December '14 I adopted a calico mama kitty (around a year old) and her tortie kitten from Cats Cradle animal rescue. Calli was my 16-year-old tortoiseshell who passed away in June 2014. Rosebud was a dilute tortie rescue kitty from the animal shelter whom I adopted in the summer of 2012 and had to euthanize in the summer of 2013 because she had cancer. In September of 2011 I had to euthanize Poupée, my grey Persian rescue kitty, also because of cancer.
autumn hunting

Smelly cat!

My Katniss Everdeen-no-longer-a-kitten has a terrible tendency to make massive stinks in the litter box. The stinks had been going on for months, but with four cats and five litter boxes, we didn't know which cat was responsible. Monster and I were able to figure out that she was the one responsible only after we left her in the porch while we ran an errand. We were gone for only about 20 minutes, and Katniss was the only one in the porch (with a litter box) while the other cats were in the house. As soon as we opened the front door, we were confronted with the unmistakable odour of cat poop. Very smelly cat poop. Since Katniss was the only kitty in the porch, she had to be the one making the stink.

Monster, who is more brave than I am, investigated the litter box deposit. He declared that it appeared that it consisted of mostly undigested food, and that perhaps Katniss had the kitty equivalent of celiac disease and couldn't digest what I was feeding her. He suggested I switch her to a grain-free wet food.

I started with Whiskas wet food. The ingredients list on the package lists no wheat or gluten, and it doesn't require a trip to the pet store to buy it. Alas, Inky threw up almost as soon as she ate it, and Katniss made another stinky not long after. I did wonder whether I should have mixed it with the Friskies they're used to eating instead of abruptly switching them.

After that I continued with the Friskies, and I noticed that Katniss is not consistent with when she makes stinks. Sometimes she eats Friskies with no stink, and sometimes she makes a stink. I made a trip to the pet food store yesterday and bought a few cans of a brand that advertises "grain free" right on the package, but except for Katniss, the cats don't seem all that crazy about it, and I am fairly certain I smelled yet another stinky after Katniss ate it for her supper and bedtime snack last night and her breakfast and supper today.

The vet recommended a hypoallergenic food, and while Katniss and Jubilee are happy to eat the crunchy food, they turn their noses up at the hypoallergenic canned food. They like their Friskies. I like their Friskies, mainly because I can stock on it at Canadian Tire for 58 cents a can. Katniss doesn't seem distressed by her stinky poop; she doesn't seem to have an upset tummy. However, Monster and I are distressed by the stinky poop.

There are still a couple more brands of grain-free food to try, but it may not be the grain she's reacting to. The vet said we could try a different brand of hypoallergenic food, but I hate the idea of having to make a special trip to the vet to get the wet food. The cats go through three cans of wet food a day. That's 21 cans in a week. I'd have to buy a case of it every week, which means making a trip to the vet's office, which is out of my way, in order to buy it. (I don't think I could carry more than one case of cans in one trip.) It would also be a heck of lot more expensive than 58 cents a can, and there's no guarantee the cats would even like it.

Then there's the possibility that it's not wet food that's making her stink; it could be the hypoallergenic dry food. If she stinks no matter which wet food she eats, then perhaps it's not the wet food at all. The difficulty will be in somehow preventing her from eating her daily serving of crunchies while her mama, Jubilee, eats them, to see if she stops making stinkies when she doesn't eat it. Jubilee is the one the hypoallergenic food was prescribed for, in hopes of settling down her inflamed gums.
Neal handcuffs

I hate this time of year

I turned down work because I don't want to have to calculate the complicated formula they gave us to try to determine how much money I have to report to employment insurance. I said I'd go back to work when the full-time work starts, rather than working a half day here and a half day there and then trying to calculate my earnings so that I don't get nasty letters from the government telling me that I misreported my earnings. However, having turned down work means that I basically have no social life to speak of, and I'm bored. The weather isn't nice enough to go geocaching or take my bike out for a very rare ride.

I am getting rather tired of and bored with my autism group. The same people always come, and they're all ten to 20 years younger than I am. We have nothing in common besides autism, and that's not enough to build a friendship on. Unfortunately, it's become a bit too cliquey, and it's hard to welcome new people to the group. One time, a new person came, and I wanted to talk to him to welcome him to the group, but I was too occupied by the regular group members and couldn't get away from them. I should have just said something like, "Talk amongst yourselves while I talk to this new person."

I would so much like to meet an autistic woman or two my own age, but it appears that very few people my age are diagnosed, and of those few, almost none are women. I sometimes think it's a minor miracle that I was actually diagnosed. It's hard to get women to come to the meetings of the main group because it's almost all male. One woman said she won't come because one of the guys asked her how old she was, and he should know better than to ask women their age. My reponse to that (if I'd said anything) would be: he's an Aspie, and you expect him to follow unspoken social rules that he is most likely completely unaware of?

I do have a women-only group, but it's hard to find time to meet. I can't afford to take more than one night a month away from work for my main group, so we meet on Saturdays, but meeting on Saturdays means taking time away from Monster, and Monster time is scarce when I'm working full-time.

David Bowie

I cannot watch the new (final) David Bowie video, Lazarus, because it gives me the creeps. The thing wrapped around his head with the eye things poking out of it makes my skin crawl. It gives me the heebie jeebies. It's nightmare fuel. And I hate that so many news outlets and tribute articles and social media posts are sharing it widely.
Barrowman kilt

I felt the earth move

Last night I was binge-watching season 1 of "The Librarians." It was just after 11:30 p.m. Chaya Kitty was curled up on my lap, Inky Kitty was on the back of the couch behind me, and I don't know where Jubilee and Katniss were.

All of a sudden, I heard a loud "BANG!" and the house shook briefly. I was wondering what the heck the people next door were doing this late at night. (They're remodeling the house next door, and one morning I woke up to discover they were dragging an oil tank behind their pickup truck.) Then the house shook again, for a longer period of time. The Christmas lights on the windows rattled. I pretty much gathered that we were having an earthquake, and I tried to grab on to Chaya Kitty for security, but Chaya was having none of it. She jumped off my lap and ran for cover. (I probably should have done that, too, but I don't have any appropriate cover in the living room, and I don't think I'd have been able to stay upright if I'd tried to walk into the kitchen.)

Anyway, earthquake was not very long, but it was scary. I've never felt one in my mobile home before. Last few earthquakes I've felt were on the middle floor of an apartment building, which is a lot more solid than my mobile home.

Once the shaking stopped, I went and stroked Inky and gave her a kiss. Chaya reappeared, and I scooped her up and gave her a hug. I called Katniss and Jubilee, who came right to me for hugs too. After I had ascertained that the four cats were okay, I did a quick eyeball of my house. No books had fallen off shelves, no pictures off the walls. The Christmas tree didn't even tip over.

I went online and checked Twitter and Facebook for reports, and then my phone started buzzing. I have an app called "Geo News" that came with my phone. It monitors my area for reports of severe weather and seismic activity, and it wanted to tell me about the earthquake. It reported a magnitude of 5.8 and that it was centred about 20 kilometres from me. Then it asked me if I was okay and whether I needed emergency services. I told it I was fine and didn't need any help.

Eventually I went back to watching the show I had been in the middle of when the shaking started. Then I went to my computer and went to the website of the federal government earthquake monitoring agency so that I could record my experience of the earthquake. I stayed up till almost two in the morning because I was still quite anxious about the quake. Unfortunately, none of the cats came to sleep with me, which is very unusual, because I often have three of my four in bed with me.

Answer for question 4575.

Are you good at building or assembling things (furniture, toys, etc), or do you find yourself frustrated every time you have to put something together? Would you pay more to get something delivered fully assembled, just to avoid having to do it yourself?
I'm terrible at it. I get Monster to assemble everything for me. I'm usually good at following directions, but not when it comes to building things. There's a fellow who will pick up things from stores that don't deliver, and deliver them to you, and he'll assemble them for you too. If I didn't have Monster, I'd probably be hiring this guy.
autumn hunting

End-of-year meme

Taken from sinnamongirl

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Went on an airplane! Twice!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

No. I resolved to walk to work from downtown instead of taking the bus, which I didn't, and I vowed to drink coffee at work instead of buying Starbucks coffee, which I also didn't. Well, I did for a couple of weeks, but not for long.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, but my auntie is terminally ill. :-(

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

A reliable source of income.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don't recall the dates of my trip to Alberta, so I'll say December 15, which is when I met Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Planning a trip and travelling on my own.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not saving money.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Does tendinitis count? I've had that in my left arm since spring.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A light-up TARDIS for my yard.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Justin Trudeau.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Donald Trump.

14. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, but a few people have made me very annoyed.

15. Where did most of your money go?

Concert tickets, e-books, mostly frivolous things, plus a new oil tank for my home and a new air conditioner.

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Seeing Jamie and Adam, and the federal election (though the latter was a disappointment.)

17. What song will always remind you of 2015?


18. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder, a little, because I'm less secure about my money.
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, I think.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Saved money.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spent money.

21. How will you be spending Christmas?

Going to dinner with Monster.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?


23. Did your heart break in 2015?

Not really, unless you count the results of the election.

24. How many one-night stands?


25. What was your favorite TV program?

Sens8 and Supergirl.

26. Where were you when 2015 began?


27. Who were you with?


28. Where will you be when 2015 ends?


29. Who will you be with when 2016 starts?


30. What was the best book you read?

The Rest of Us Just Live Here. It's a YA novel that I would describe as "what normal people in Sunnydale would be doing while the Scooby Gang was out killing demons and vampires."

31. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Uh, nothing that I can think of.

32. What did you want and get?

Tickets to Mythbusters!

33. What did you want and not get?

A team leader job at work.

34. What was your favorite film of this year?

Either Ant Man or the Martian.

35. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Went out to dinner with Monster.

36. How many different states did you travel to in 2015?

None, but one province (other than the one I live in.)

37. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?


38. What kept you sane?


39. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Nobody any differently from before.

40. Whom did you miss?

My parents. Cats who have passed away.

41. How many concerts did you see in 2015?

Lots. Let's see. Heart. Ringo Starr. Shania Twain. Barenaked Ladies. Bryan Adams. Celtic Thunder.

42. Who were the best new people you met?

Didn't really meet anyone new. Maybe my cousin's husband.

43. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

You don't have to go to every concert that comes to town. Save your money better.

44. What are your plans for 2016?

Don't have any yet. Just go to work and hopefully earn lots of money and save at least some of it.
Jamie wants

Myth confirmed: Mythbusters are awesome!

Way back in May, I got an intriguing e-mail from Ticketmaster. I don't recall why I signed up for notifications for Ticketmaster, as they don't cover events in Victoria, but I'm glad I did, because this one told me that Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters were coming to Vancouver in December as part of Jamie's farewell tour. I quickly grabbed a ticket for me and a ticket for Monster -- VIP tickets that admitted us to a post-show meet and greet. (I told him the ticket was his Christmas present this year.)

Monster agreed to cover the cost of a hotel room so that my credit card didn't cry 'uncle,' (I told him that can be his Christmas present to me if he likes) and last week we headed off on a whirlwind trip to the mainland. We left at nine on Tuesday morning and arrived back at my place around ten on Wednesday night.

The tickets I bought were quite literally front row centre, and while I was a little peeved with myself for shelling out for such premium tickets (as it meant we kind of had to crane our necks to see the stage, and a couple of times we even stood for a brief moment to see what was happening on the stage floor), I am very pleased that I did so. See, Adam Savage has a tendency to get distracted by what I would call shiny things. He will be doing his part of the show when suddenly something will catch his attention and he'll go off script. And what caught his attention was little old me, sitting in the front row, wearing a t-shirt that says, "Autism is not a tragedy. Running out of bacon is. Also ignorance, but mostly the bacon thing."

Adam Savage read out my t-shirt to the entire Queen Elizabeth Theatre. I was stunned. I had hoped I'd get to be part of the audience participation, or that I'd be invited up on stage to show off my shirt, but alas, no such luck. Still, it was pretty awesome to be noticed. At the meet and greet he repeated how he liked my shirt, and he also thought my Omnipod insulin pump was "cool".

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Monster and I also got to go to the brand-new cat cafe in Vancouver, called Catfe. Our visit was at four in the afternoon, and the cats were apparently kind of worn out by all the visitors they'd had, so they weren't interested in playing with me or being petted and fussed over. I did get to pet them, though, just not play with them.

That was quite a lot to fit into one day, and our second day was very dull. We had nothing to do after we checked out of our hotel and had breakfast. Monster insisted that we take the five o'clock ferry home, because he wanted to eat supper on the ferry, but that left us with several hours to kill in downtown Vancouver. Monster didn't want to buy a day pass for the bus, so were limited to a small area within walking distance of our hotel because he refused to take the bus anywhere. We hung around a mall for awhile, but there was nothing there I wanted to buy. A security guard started taking an interest in us because we were doing nothing but sitting around using the wifi, so I suggested to Monster we go to Tim Horton's or Starbucks.

"I don't want anything to eat," said Monster.

"Then I'll buy you a hot chocolate," I said.

"I don't want anything to drink," said Monster.

I suggested we take an earlier ferry, since we had nothing to do.

"Can't eat supper on an earlier ferry," said Monster.

We wandered around a couple of very boring stores to kill time, and finally Monster agreed to go to a coffee shop. Starbucks was full to bursting with nowhere to sit, so we went to Tim Horton's, but the mall fire alarm went off and threatened to send me into a full-blown meltdown, so we had to leave Timmy's and the mall. Fortunately there was a Hudson's Bay across the street that had a small coffee shop, and were able to go there to kill time till it was time to catch the Skytrain out to the ferry.

Unfortunately, there was an accident on the highway going to to the ferry, which caused a traffic jam, and we arrived at the ferry terminal five or ten minutes too late to catch the five o'clock ferry. We spent two hours in the ferry terminal. Monster took a nap and I played with my tablet using the ferry terminal's wifi. We caught the seven o'clock ferry instead and did indeed have supper on the ferry. They were serving turkey with all the trimmings in the Pacific Buffet, but Monster hates turkey, so it's a good thing they had salmon as well.

One of my neighbours in the trailer park fed the kitties while I was away, though she didn't see Inky at all. (Inky hates strange humans.) In fact, while she happily accepted food from me, Inky didn't speak to me for two days after I got back. No rubbing around my legs to welcome me home the way she did after I spent a week away from home in the summer or like she does when I get home from work. No letting me pet her. She basically ignored me when it wasn't food time.

I definitely need to slow down on my spending now, at least till I start earning money in the spring, and lay off using the credit card.
autumn hunting

I seem to have responsibility for another cat

There's a large, fluffy, black-and-white cat who (sort of) lives in my yard. There's a cat-sized hole going under the fence in my backyard. On the other side of the fence is a strip of tangled trees, bushes and branches, with lots of birds, squirrels and probably other small wildlife there. I have bird feeders hanging from the trees, and I toss "squirrel food" on the ground every day, and it's possible that the cat (who one of my neighbours has dubbed "Sylvester") hangs out in my yard to catch birds, squirrels, mice or whatever else lives in the trees.

Anyway, the neighbour who told me that he's named Sylvester trapped him, got him neutered and vaccinated and also treated him for a severe ear mite infestation. But he's very feral. The rare times I see him, he takes off like a bat out of hell. The person who was feeding him regularly just passed away a few days ago, so I have taken responsibility for feeding Sylvester. He's probably never going to become tame, but I hope he will at least come eat the food I put out for him.