Posted in cats, depression, dragon, grief, Personal

6/21: Dragon’s Cat

Portia is pushing 12 years now. I’m using her “gotcha day” as her birthday, since I adopted her at roughly 5 years of age (they said 4-5, but I have no clue so I’m going with 5) on October 30th, 2010. Which means she’ll be 12 this year. I chose her partly for wanting a dilute tortie, but also her personality was more social than JoJo ever would be (she was very much a one-human cat and was scared of other humans).

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I mention further down that she likely has Maine Coon in her. I say this because of her mane and then the short fur, and then the varied fur on the rest of her.

She’s always been a bit goofy… not the brightest feline on the planet, but gorgeous, floofy, silly, and friendly. Not the “in your face” friendly, but enough of an attention-hog that she will take it from damn near anyone.

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Hey YOU! You there!

Then she gets her “zoomies” or Elevenses, or whatever you might call them. Usually after a meal. Well, today, she’s full up and knocking things over. Almost broke her food dish in a failed attempt to make a u-turn from the bathroom to the hot tub cover where her food and water are (and the turboscratcher, which is getting a lot of use today). Failed only because the piece of carpet she dug her claws into to gain traction and jump wasn’t exactly attached to the flood (it’s a scrap and the floor is tile). Same piece of carpet nearly got flipped earlier this morning during another round.

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Her Turboscratcher. She LOVES this thing. 

She also has her lovey moments. Especially ever since JoJo died in February, she’s been my sleeping buddy. She was before, but not as clingy. Now a night (or the next morning) doesn’t go by without her taking a nap on top of me. Usually my chest, but if I’m on my side, she’s discovered she can perch from my shoulder to my hip (yes, she’s a sizable cat).

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On my chest. To be fair, this was in the apartment and I was sitting, but still. She has to be touching me or near me (with me in her sight line). 

She has a face that can melt hearts, eyes that change colors, a squeak that informs me of her mischief, an innocence that belies her years, and a heart of gold that has eased the blow of losing her older (adopted) sister. She likely has some Maine Coon in her, from the way her fur is. She’s roughly 14 pounds… which makes things interesting when she wants to sprawl all over me and my bladder is a bit full. She hates being groomed and will give me many -MANY- warning bites.

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Her mat trimming haircut from April 2016. In order to get to the mats, I had to trim rather haphazardly. It looks like a 3 year old found the scissors, but ultimately, I think she liked having less fur during the summer as it grew back. This took me over a month to get all the mats. Yes, go ahead and laugh. I’m still giggling over it over a year later.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. She will need a companion in the form of another cat once I get work again. We’ll see who chooses me when that time comes. A black cat? A Siamese? A Tuxie? Who will be that new friend for Portia? We’ll have to wait to get into our own place again before that happens.

~Dragon

Posted in baking, cats, dragon, food cravings, life, Personal

6/19: Dragon Bakes

Technically, I’m supposed to eat gluten free. I get sick if I go off the proverbial wagon. Ginger tea and similar stuff helps ease the pain. Well, this month I went off the wagon a couple of times: Poptarts (Cherry frosted ones) and a package of Fireworks Oreos. Yes, I’ve been reaping the side effects as well.

While my housemates (hosts) are off chilling out at the RV, I’m at the house, tending to the felines of the household (one theirs, one mine) and hanging out. This means I have the kitchen entirely to myself.

Heh heh heh….

Getting myself back on track. I don’t have much left of my EBT/food money. Eating gluten free on food stamps is hell. You think it’s hard with regular food? That box of granola bars is at least $2 higher for gluten free. I do limit my carbs. I try to eat alternate foods that are still reasonable. But I still run out of funds.

So I’m baking. Well, I will later. I have gluten-free flour, using the last of my butter, a little vanilla, and some sugar. So, what am I making?

Gluten Free Shortbread.

Something I’ve wanted to attempt for a few years now, but never bothered because I didn’t have the space and didn’t feel the need for cookies. I’m just going by a regular recipe. The flour I have is a 1-to-1 blend from Bob’s Red Mill. I’m letting the butter soften. I took the two sticks out of the freezer last night and put them in the fridge. Now they’re sitting in the microwave (long ago deemed the safest place for food to thaw… and no, I’m not melting it… microwave is not on… and by safe, I mean away from curious paws. Someday I’ll tell you about what Jack the Cat did years ago when I forgot to put the plate of brownies back into the microwave).

I’ll report later on the results.

~Dragon

Posted in bugaboos, cats, chronic pain, depression, eviction, grad school, life, Personal, storage

6/12: Monday Ramblings

A few things on the plate tonight.

I’m hoping/planning on going to storage later this week. I don’t think I’ll make tomorrow, as I have two appointments and the second is closer to “home” … unless I have some surge of energy early in the morning and go over there before my first appointment downtown at 11.

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I need to pull a couple of things and brainstorm something from what I already own to lift Portia’s food bowl up. She’s doing something she never did when it was elevated back at the apartment. She does this half cough/half hairball hack. What I think is happening is that she needs the bowl elevated again so that the food is staying where it needs to. This is why it’s strongly suggested to elevate bowls off the floor/ground. The problem is that the item I was using back at the apartment was a few old shelves from long-dismantled IKEA bookcases. Both food bowls, the water bowl, and the container of kibble were all on there. I can’t bring anything like that into the house. That’s been well established. I think they’ve mostly been tossed into recycling anyway during the move-out.

So, I need to jury-rig something smaller. Using only what I have in storage.

This will be fun.

I have mentioned I grew up watching the original MacGyver as a teen, right?


I had Physical Therapy today. Because of the new order for my back, we did an evaluation on that. Here’s where things get bothersome:

Medicaid/OHP+ only covers 8 visits to therapy type things like speech therapy, PT, etc per 12 months or something like that.

I had 4 approved visits for speech therapy due to my vocal cord dysfunction.

Then 4 approved visits for my knee, one of which we used today for the eval for my back.

I have one visit left for my knee. I need to get them to somehow approve/jump through flaming hurdles visits for my back.

Ahh, bureaucracy and red tape at its finest.

My knee is doing better… my back? Not so much. It’s getting rather inventive with new curse words. I’m not sure what language it’s using…. not sure I want to know either.


I have a lot of things swirling around in my head about some of the bigger things in my life. I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to keep my shit together long enough to finish grad school. Frustrated I can’t get very far with job hunting. Frustrated that I crave the peace of my own place but can’t see when that place will happen for me.

I’ll figure it out at some point… just wish it wasn’t so damn frustrating.

~Amanda

Posted in asexuality, bigotry, cats, chronic pain, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, sexuality, storage

6/7: Random Ace-ness and Antics

My last three posts have been about sexuality/asexuality, dating, disadvantages of being Queer Asexual in this society. I will certainly continue on this general topic this month, being Pride Month and all.

This post will likely be a bit of that plus updates on other things….


Asexual Erasure: When I got home today, I saw that a friend on FB had posted an article on the erasing of asexuality within the LGBTQIA community. This is something I’d mentioned in one of the recent posts. We don’t get taken seriously. I highly recommend reading the article linked above. She did an incredible job detailing the shit we have to go through. Yes, ‘A’ can be for Allies as well, but being an Ally isn’t a sexuality… Asexuality IS. We aren’t aliens (although I do tend to feel like one that got left behind on Earth sometimes). We’re human beings just like everyone else (I hope we all are), and our lack of sexual attraction should have nothing to do with whether we, who are -at times- even more marginalized than others within the LGBTQIA community.

I am open about my sexuality because of this crap. I’m tired of people dismissed us, telling us we’re mentally ill for it… and the list goes on. So I’m “out and proud” and you can’t tell me or anyone else that we don’t matter just because we don’t get sexually attracted to others.

The way I see it is that with being Ace, I have less issues in my life. I have other things to do with my time than go to bars and clubs and be treated like a piece of meat. I have many hobbies. I like my hobbies. I don’t need a bunch of horny assholes trying to get in my underwear to tell me that I’m a real woman.


Storage: Two days in one week… that’s pushing it for me. I had an appt to trim up my mohawk downtown today, so after that, I headed up to storage. I didn’t get very far, but did do some shifting around of things. I even found a jar thingy of hair stuff to spike/play with my hair.

Note to self: learn the lengths for hair clippers… do not do a 1. Unless you like having hair that almost passes for military.

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This is for all the assholes who treated me like shit. 

Portia is sleeping… for now. With a full moon in a couple of days, her antics have ramped up. It’s funny and adorable, but when I’m trying to sleep at 3am and I heard these thuds because she’s playing on the hot tub cover…. it isn’t so cute.

*thud*chirp*squeak*thud*thud*scrabble*thud*squeak*thud*


I’m still exhausted and dealing with pain… I just about have all the “tools” needed to start organizing some of the stuff I have here. Gradually…

~Amanda

Posted in adoption, anxiety, cats, depression, empath life, family, Personal, PTSD, storage

6/4: Crash Day with Portia

Originally today was going to be spent at my storage unit selling off the bed frame to a friend and then organizing and trying to reclaim some space in the back half of the unit. My mattress is resting on edge on my beloved coffee table (that I’ve had since I was about 18 and needs refinishing one day). All of that blocks my views of the rest of the space behind it. On Thursday last week, I managed to get to where I was sitting on my taller chest of drawers (I tend to call them dressers, even though that’s inaccurate, but yanno, it’s easier) and noticed that the space behind the mattress is not being utilized to its full ability (think vertical). So my goal is twofold: find a way to store the garment bags of costumes so they don’t “avalanche” while being stored flat, and then clear a better path to that area and organize it better.

One goal, when I have the funds (which I’m looking at costing more than I originally thought at around $60-$80, depending on the diameter of the chosen pipe) to make a steel pipe garment rack. I’ve had purchased racks from Target and IKEA and they cannot withstand the weight of the costumes. Eventually, I’ll get some plywood and make a platform on casters and put the steel pipe rack on wheels, but that part can wait. I need three 6′ pre-threaded pipes, four 12″ pieces, two elbow joints and two T joints. Yes, I know my way around a hardware store… maybe a little too well.

Honestly, if I could work retail again, I’d love to work at Ace Hardware. The people there understand thinking outside the box and have always helped me suss out how to work around problems with creative things (the guys at Pearl Ace still remember my dragon puppet head from 2009).

So, today was going to be spent at storage, but after Thursday afternoon in there, then two days of moving books and stuff around at the yard sale here, I was tired. When my friend who is buying the bed frame said he wasn’t feeling well today, I decided I’ll just stay home. Tomorrow, I tackle storage. So, about today…


The rest of this is part of a status I wrote earlier about Portia… the parts in Italics are the original post.

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First Position. She normally sprawls on my chest if I’m in bed, but not today. 

Although the bond with Portia isn’t as strong as mine was with JoJo, she is still bonded. Note in this picture that while it isn’t obvious, she’s napping on my left hip/pelvis. The side that has been problematic for a couple weeks now. Earlier she was roughly in the same spot, purring and grooming herself.

I adopted Portia October 30th, 2010, a few weeks after I had to put Jack to sleep due to Acute Renal Failure. His quality of life was extremely poor, so it was best to let him go. I tried making JoJo an only cat, but that didn’t last long. She became “Super Cling Kitty” within a week. I found Portia through Petfinder at Cat Adoption Team.

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Second position. Still in the same place on my left hip and leg, but this time taking my hand as hostage.

I know some people who think “she’s JUST a cat,” but I know better. Having been a petsitter, volunteer at shelters and rescues, and a lifelong cat person, I know behavior and a lot of health stuff. As an Empath, I connect with cats and dogs. Cats can, if you let them, be amazing therapy animals. Both girls were there for me last November as I dealt with the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death as well as his 90th birthday and on top of that, a massive trigger of my C-PTSD. Portia and JoJo got me through it. Three months later, we lost JoJo, oddly to an illness similar to what my dad died from. Portia has picked up where her big sis left off, being there for me in her own quirky way.

She’s adjusting to being an only cat better than JoJo did. Granted, we’ve also been in this transition and technically homeless since early March. I think she wants a buddy, as she tries to get along with the resident cat, although that girl isn’t too keen on Portia. Hence my reference to baby gates on occasion. I have to keep them up to keep her contained.

It’s been 4 months as of yesterday that we lost JoJo. My father died of heart failure and then JoJo with Congestive Heart Failure. Two of my closest companions gone from similar issues.

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Third Position. Belleh Floof! A fair amount of the time, she actually likes belly scritches. Jack was the same way. 

Portia has picked up on things. She makes me laugh, does things like in these images today to help comfort me and be a bit of therapy. She’s feisty but sweet. Hates being groomed, but loves attention and treats. She gets underfoot a LOT and loves wet food. She’s a total dork of a cat, but she keeps me grounded and sane. For me, if not for the cats in my life and music to help push the emotional pain out, I don’t think I’d survive my life right now.

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This is from a few days ago. She was partially on my lap and licking my nose and chin.

Cats are amazing creatures in so many ways. Far too many people see them as aloof, cold animals, but those of us who have shared our lives with them? We know better. There is power in those paws. The whiskers. Those knowing eyes. The power of absolute love.

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, bigotry, cats, chronic pain, creativity, dogs, empath life, Personal

5/28: Empath Burnout…

I have this longer post in my head and hopefully I’ll get it out and up on here before too long. It’s about the wave of violence and hate crimes even just here in PDX in the last couple of weeks. One of the worst made international headlines. Some here are freaking out, wondering why here? Why now?

I want to share my thoughts on those questions, but I need to do a bit of research first. I also need to come out of the burnout as an Empath. The fear, anger, and sadness even just among local friends and their other friends is palpable. 

I’m also dealing with more pain. I may have mentioned it. Last Wednesday, my left hip started to hurt in a way I’d never felt before. I have sciatica, so at first, I dismissed it. I did my best to stay off my feet Thursday through Saturday. Today, I went to a big meet & greet with several cartoonists. I’m FB friends with Jim Horwitz, who does Watson (the dog). Met a few others, had a good afternoon, but I was in pain the whole time. I’m still using my cane for my right knee… and now my left hip? There aren’t enough swear words to convey my opinion. It started hurting as I was going down the steps from the porch. I wasn’t 5 feet from the door before it started up. I had hoped the rest would help, but it didn’t. 

I just WENT to the doctor last week because of my TMJ. 

Needless to say, between my physical pain issues and the burnout as an Empath, I’m kinda done right now. So if I’m not posting much, it’s likely been a bad day. 

Here’s Fatcake, one of Jim’s characters. Watson is in the main pic. 

It was a good couple of hours for me, despite the pain. I wish I knew what was going on with my hip. But back to the doc I go, as soon as I can make an appt.

Some days I may only muster a poem. Others a post and maybe a poem. Pain has a way of making other things come to a halt. The sad thing is that all of my annual allotted “therapy” appts via Medicaid are used up/scheduled. You only get 8. I got 4 for speech therapy and the remaining 4 for PT for my knee. So this will be a challenge. First, we have to figure out what is going on. 

One day at a time… 

~Amanda 

Posted in animal advocacy, cats, community, dreams, homeless, life, Personal, silliness

5/22: Baby Gates, Cats, and Chickens

As you can possibly tell, this post is not about crowdfunding.

Baby Gates: I have two wood frame baby gates. I stack them one over the other in the doorway so that Portia, my fluffy escape artist, stays in the room. I have to take the top one down to get in and out. Earlier, I was coming back in, took the top one down, and climbed over the both of them. Portia, of course, was in the way. BTW, that brat can clear one gate without touching it.

I moved my bare foot forward, but didn’t know that the latch piece was sticking out… my bare toes hit gate latch. Now, I’m notorious for breaking bones doing the most mundane of things. Like walking on the sidewalk. So far, nothing but some scraped skin… but they do still sting a bit. I would love a better system, but it just ain’t gonna happen.

Speaking of cats… eventually, I will get my shit together, get a decent job, and get my own place again with Portia in tow. Then… I’ll get a second feline to keep her company while I’m off doing whatever job I end up getting. I’ve sworn for years that I’ll only adopt adults. But Portia is taking up JoJo’s DIVA CARD since she passed away in February. She’s showing intolerance for other adult cats.

At the same time, I have zero interest in getting young kittens. I believe, in her life before me, that Portia had at least one litter of kittens. She’s shown an interest in certain things. Indicators to me that she’s been a mommy cat. Coming to the computer when I watch a video with kittens mewing… alert and looking for the kittens in distress…. moving “kittens” (my balled up socks) from one place to another…. all momma cat signs. Again, no interest in little ones.

So, despite my swearing up and down to only adopt adults, I’m thinking someone at the 6 month to one year range may be best. Young enough for her to see as someone to “take under her mommy wing” but not a little one. So, we’ll see. I’m definitely not ready yet. Still between “homes” of my own.

Chickens: A few years back, I worked for a guy who had a couple of chickens in the back yard. When I started working there, his family was out of town (we worked in a home office). He had more eggs than he could handle, so I got to take some super-fresh eggs home one day.

I have never had eggs that fresh before. Holy Frijoles, Batman!! MASSIVE difference from even the “fresh” eggs at the store. No comparison. Seriously.

There’s a neighbor near where I’m staying who has four chickens (and a Corgi who guards them). Whenever I walk past them, I think of how cool it would be to have fresh eggs like that again. So, while I prefer a more urban life in a building with things called elevators, there may come a day when I find myself with a house, or at least a place with a backyard. In that yard, I’d have two things: a Catio attached to the back of the house so my felines at the time can have an outdoor space if they wish, and a coop with a couple of chickens. Maybe do some veggie gardening. Although I have a terrible habit of killing plants… I don’t mean to, it just… happens.

For now, I live the life I have. It isn’t always easy. There are many frustrating and exasperating things. But I’m here.

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, dragon, emergency, family, friends, Personal, storage, urgent

5/17: Adventures in Dragoning

The stickied post is above this one, sorry folks… until storage is safe, it stays. Getting close, though.

My adventures out today. I definitely over-taxed my knee. But that’s what I get for walking from the MAX downtown, up to The Roxy, then over to Mud Bay on 16th & NW Glisan, then up to Safeway on Lovejoy (this will all make sense to people who know the downtown and Pearl/Alphabets areas), then to the Post Office (central), then the Greyhound station MAX. Almost 9000 steps today. My knee is swearing at me again.

I’ve picked up a modest writing gig with a friend of a friend (we had breakfast at the Roxy)… after breakfast, we went our own ways… needed kitty kibble so off to Mud Bay. Then picked up one of my scrips at Safeway and then mail, then back here. One thing I learned the hard way: If you’re going to run errands afterward, don’t drink two large sodas at the Roxy (the pitchers)… I was waddling the whole way. I did get some good belches off thanks to the root beer. Yeah, I have a teeny bit of redneck in me. When your Southern Boy boyfriend (this was years ago) feels mildly insulted that his native Californian girlfriend can belch better than he can… heh heh heh.

While sitting at the station for the ride back here, I ended up writing today’s poem. More of an observational theme than internal. But you have to wait until later for it.

Okay back to raising the last of the funds.

Posted in cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, emergency, Personal, storage, urgent

5/17: pain & #crowdfunding 

Last day before auction. Please share so I can get close enough to convince them to pull it from the list. Paypal preferred, but YouCaring works as well. It just delays payment. If it’s there, I can say I’ll have it before the weekend and they should be okay. 

Wake up to Portia meowing at me… she normally squeaks. My jaw/tooth pain has returned full force. And I still need to summon a miracle by 6pm today to get storage pulled from the auction list. Anything you can donate to get me closer is awesome. If you can’t, please share and encourage others to do the same. 

~Amanda 

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, emergency, friends, Personal, storage, urgent

5/16: Updates and Stuff (like #crowdfunding)

Here I am with two days left. A little less, really. I’m sucking it up and posting in a couple of my FB groups I run (I think it’s tacky to use groups for other things as a place to beg for help, but my groups, my rules), and friends and FoF’s are sharing as well. Also an unlikely person will be stepping up to help however they’ll be able to. Trust me, that blindsided me. But I’ll take what I can get.

I have to get at least close to the 1500-1600 goal on YC to prove I have it and can get the unit pulled from the auction before they close the office tomorrow at 6pm PST. Cutting it really close… and I’m stressed out. I’m trying to remain calm, but that isn’t easy in this situation.

As I stated on today’s YC update, I will be reactivating my Taskrabbit Tasker account. I let it lapse during the eviction because, well, my mind was on other things. You have to submit at least one invoice/job every 60 days to stay active. Business was picking up a bit but not enough to pay rent and all. If I can get back into the swing of it and get a few tasks a month that give me something decent, I can at least get close to or make storage rent. Hopefully. I have to do the orientation thing again… and they only do those once or twice a month.

The nice thing being a Tasker is that as a woman doing furniture assembly, I get a lot of female or older clients. They feel safer having a woman coming into their home to do stuff than a strange man. I’ve had several clients tell me how much they appreciate the fact I offer this service. It’ll hurt what with my knees and all, but it will also get me moving and more active. And I’ll still have time to job hunt and go to Voc Rehab, etc. I don’t get THAT many tasks… I had a couple of weeks where I had two or three each week, all small ones, but still… I don’t make a lot of money. But it would be nice to get back into it. At least until I get a FT job.

Some of the stuff I did in PT yesterday brought back memories of when I switched from dance to weightlifting. Nothing major, but strengthening muscles helped my balance (which has always been awful). I used to do leg presses at almost my body weight at the time. I was around 140 and could press about 120-130lbs. About 60-80 for curls and extensions. Arms were always my weak spot. But I get two PT sessions left, and I think I want to find somewhere I can afford to go in and keep going on the machines. She explained to my that if my quads are stronger (which they aren’t right now) then my knees won’t have as many issues. Eventually. I have some standing exercises to do that hurt almost as much as the machines right now. Today I’ve mostly been off my feet because both of my knees were swearing at me for yesterday.

Well, I have a cat who wants my undivided attention… so offline I go. For a bit. I’ll keep checking in. I made a video earlier, but trying to upload from the phone is taking for-e-ver. It would be nice to have them up there tonight, but I don’t know if that will happen.

~Amanda