November 25th 2007 9:58 am
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Snowball got adopted yesterday. He was taken in by the family of BJ Honeycat, another one of our KittyWhiskas For Catsters members. We're sure his mother Smokey is happy, too, though she'll probably miss him. We just hope that Snowball will still be part of the group in his new home. He's adopted now, so he still qualifies.
November 22nd 2007 11:37 am
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Bitu seems to be growing in popularity lately. She was Cat of the Week in the Kitty Festival Club, then her story "The Wishing Plate Brigade" won her Cat of the Week honors at The Kitties' Club. Then she was invited to Buddy Baxter Button Face and Tux's wedding. Though she was hesitant about going, two boy cats were practically begging her to be there so that they could dance with her at the reception.
But when she worried that the licenses on her collar would rattle from nervousness, one boy cat offered to take it off, but she preferred to go home with her other partner. It wasn't easy finding something at the buffet that wasn't fish, but Chef Skylar was nice enough to fix her a "kitty bag" of ribs to take home. It was a bit hard to find a non-alcoholic drink, too, but somebody managed to find her something. Then she's been getting "rosettes" and stars from a number of her friends, even those who she thought didn't like her that much. She even got an electronic Thanksgiving card from somebody who takes care of one cat and has an "angel cat". Then she got some more Catster Friends through the Friendship Drive being held at Big Leo's Stray Cat Alley which recently changed their name to include dogs, even though dogs have already been there for quite some time (at least as long as Bitu's been there). Since we had turkey sandwiches for dinner last night from a boneless turkey breast which a friend of ours sent a coupon for which he'd been given at work, Bitu had a nice big piece of turkey which came loose from the netting around it, though the netting was a pain to get off when the meat was cooked through, even though we cut it in two to try and get it off easier. She expects to get goodies from the turkey TV dinners we plan to have later. When my brother asked her what she might be thankful for, Bitu said (by meowing) that she's thankful for her home and her people and all her Catster Friends. But we know that she likes bites of turkey, too, the spoiled runt (that's what my brother calls her sometimes, but I don't think she minds being so spoiled).
November 17th 2007 9:57 pm
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Bitu has finally gotten a chance to meet the real Tazzy Poodle through his new Dogster page. And guess what? He's not a poodle. He got his name from one of his younger people when they were just learning to talk. But Tazzy Poodle lived up to the reputation of animals having such a generous spirit and didn't let being called a poodle faze him at all. He died about a year and a half ago, but his people suddenly decided that they wanted to remember him in more than just their personal memories, so they tried to get another dog of theirs (Precious) to take over Tazzy Poodle's identity and hoped that nobody would notice when trying to enroll him in various dog groups here. But Bitu wanted the real Tazzy Poodle to be remembered, so after some negotiations through the Catster Mail, a picture of a lit red candle was decided on and put up in the Group Photos space on the KittyWhiskas For Catsters Memorial Wall, since it was assumed that Tazzy Poodle had no pictures in life to go by so he could be issued an official invitation. Then some pictures were found on a cell phone with a camera showing the real Tazzy Poodle. Not too long after that, some of those pictures were put up on a page just for him, though it was too bad it couldn't have been done in life, though Minnie's in the same fix but without the surprise pictures like Tazzy Poodle had. Now that the real Tazzy Poodle has shown himself, as it were, Bitu has issued him an invitation to the KittyWhiskas For Catsters Memorial Wall so that he can keep the other dogs company who are already there. But we still hope to keep the candle up for him, since I went to a lot of trouble to find just the right one.
November 16th 2007 9:32 am
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Not too long ago, one of our newer members of KittyWhiskas For Catsters indicated that her person needed to interview a disabled person for a college project. When I offered the services of my younger human, both the cat and her person thought it might take too long to get the questions and answers back in time to type up a transcript. Then I explained how things worked for my Interview of the Week from the "I'm No Longer Alone" Club - Athena sent some questions to me through the Catster Mail and I answered back through the Catster Mail. Then when the interview went up on the computer, my younger human spent over an hour and a half copying it into my diary. So some questions were sent to my younger human through the Catster Mail last night (November 15, 2007) and she spent a couple hours composing her answers to send back through the Catster Mail. The interview follows:
1. How were you treated by:
family members (parents, siblings, grandparents, others)
schools (administrators, teachers, special education teachers, etc.)
friends, schoolmates, peers
colleagues, work, professionals?
1a. I was my family's foster child in the beginning. The medical profession insisted that I would be nothing more than a vegetable, but the only mom I ever knew was determined that I shouldn't be a vegetable, even if she wasn't sure how much progress I might make physically. So she made sure that I could at least talk and think. She always said, "Books are your friends." and I believe it. I love to read, and in more than one language, too, though my talent has always been greater than my financial resources. My dad supported her, though he retired from Davidson's Bakery in Portland, Oregon when he was in his late sixties. Because my folks were older than most when I came along, they asked their own children to sign legal guardian papers for me so that I could be adopted and always have a home. Only the oldest boy of theirs agreed to be my legal guardian and he's the only one worthy of being called my brother. His other brother and own two sisters have never cared to have me around and they were having kids of their own around my own age, so who were they to complain about me when they didn't want their own kids? There was another baby born before all of them, but she lived and died in Nebraska before they came out here to Oregon in 1934. I was born in 1959 and was with my family since I was three days old, but I wasn't adopted until I was almost eight. I never knew my adopted grandparents, but my real grandma had seen an article in the paper about my folks' foster care work and kept in touch with my mom over the years, though I didn't know about her until I was in college. We wrote back and forth to each other for about 25 years until we were cut off after Mother's Day 2003 because her family didn't want to believe she was my real grandma, even though nobody else has ever come forward. She died in 2006, but I didn't hear it from anybody in the family. A stranger ended up telling me when I asked them to see if they could find out what had become of her. I wasn't even able to tell her about Minnie or Bitu after they came along, and that hurt. Only the brother that signed papers for me has anything to do with me now. Dad died in 1981 and Mom died in 1996. I wish I could be with them.
1b. Boys and Girls Aid Society of Oregon (the agency who had my folks as foster parents) were so determined to turn me into a vegetable that they made me go to a crippled kids' school until I got to sixth grade, though they could have kept me there until I was sixteen. They were hoping I'd turn retarded so that they'd have justification to put me in Fairview Hospital in Salem while it was still open. There was some academic work, but most of the emphasis was on how to walk, talk and use your hands. There was also speech therapy, though I never needed it. At one point we were briefly taught a little Spanish and Japanese by a speech teacher who wanted those with speech problems to try and make sounds which they might not make normally in English, though they never thought to let the best and brightest actually learn those languages, or else I would have been so far ahead of the rest of the class when I got to high school that they wouldn't have known what to do with me.
By the time I got to regular school, I wasn't able to be friends with the kids because I wasn't from the neighborhood and some of them called me "mentally retarded queer". I wanted to be on the Safety Patrol, but all I ever got to do was deliver the equipment to whichever class whose week it was, then after that I had to keep the room neat where they stored the equipment when they got rid of the cart that was taken to the different classes. I was a reading tutor one year to a second-grade kid, but the next year "The Electric Company" started and they decided that they didn't need me anymore. I was in regular school from sixth to eighth grade, even though it was a K-8 school in those days. I went to Madison High School after that, even though most of the kids went to Washington High School while it was open. I was in the band (I played second trumpet), though I only went on one trip during the 1974-75 school year. I was on the Honor Roll twice, once when I was a sophomore and once when I was a senior. I graduated in 1977 somewhere in the middle of my class, though I can't say how high I was.
1c. I've never had too many friends because people think that I should only be with my own kind, even though I don't believe in segregation on the basis of handicap. I have some friends, though I hate to make friends because when they go off and do something with their own lives I tend to be forgotten. If people can't be my friends from a distance as much as they seem to be when we're face-to-face, then what's the point? And the ones in the family around my age are as bad as their folks in that regard. I wonder what their Grandma and Grandpa McClintock would think if they knew that their grandchildren have turned out like most of their own children.
1d. I've never had a job, even though I graduated from Portland State University in 1982 with a degree in Administration of Justice. Only my mom and the brother who loves me were there to see me graduate because my dad died the year before and the rest didn't care. About all I've been able to do with my college education is be on jury duty occasionally.
2. What has been your greatest success or successes?
My greatest success will be if I can die without being turned into a vegetable or spending the rest of my life in some institution or mentally retarded group home. That's why I'm afraid to outlive my brother (he's 73 now, but he almost died at 69 in 2003 when a whole bunch of things went wrong with him at once). I called 9-1-1 for him and he was well enough to come home in two days, and all he has to take now are blood pressure pills and water pills, though his family still treats me like trash. Since my birthday is so close to Christmas, they tend to send him cards with money inside without a word for me and they tend to arrive around my birthday. It makes me cry all the time, but they don't care.
3. What has been your greatest problem or failure?
My greatest problem is the cerebral palsy that has plagued me all my life. I hated it even before I knew what is was. At least one time I remember my mom telling me that I tried to turn over when I was a baby and I couldn't, so I cried until I was red in the face, and I don't even know how old babies are supposed to be when they turn over. My brother is afraid to have me cry too hard now because he's afraid I'll get sick. I don't know what I can term my greatest failure because I've had so many.
4. Who has been your best "cheerleader" or support person?
My greatest "cheerleader" has been the mom I always knew. My brother comes a close second. My dad supported me to some extent, too (he had to if he knew what was good for him!).
5. What is your greatest challenge?
Other than a constant lack of money (Social Security Disability can only go so far) and my physical problems, I wish that people would stop discriminating on the basis of handicap and stop lumping everybody together on the basis of disability. There's still a long way to go, though I'm not sure that handicapped people will achieve full liberation and equality in my lifetime. They should have done it years ago (you'd think they would have done it during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's time, but they didn't, and even he knew he wouldn't have been elected Governor of New York or President of the United States if he'd played up his disability the way some people think nowadays that he should have).
6. What are your "dreams" or goals?
I might like to travel and develop my linguistic talents, but my brother doesn't think I could go everywhere I might like to go because of the lack of accessible architecture. So I get my hands on every foreign-language book I can and go to foreign-language computer pages. Besides, since we've had Minnie and Bitu, we can't think of going off and leaving them, even though it's just Bitu now because she and Minnie never met in life since Minnie died of a bad case of fleas in 2005 before Bitu was adopted on Valentine's Day 2005. Other than that, we wish we had a house with room for us and all our stuff and room for Bitu to lounge in so we wouldn't have to pay for two of everything because of being on two separate floors of the same building because of when we each moved in here (me in 1981 and my brother in 1996). But we don't have the money or the credit to get a place, so we have to content ourselves with dreaming of our mansions in Heaven when we'll be with the folks again and our troubles will be over.
November 12th 2007 11:08 pm
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Somebody in our building wanted to find my brother so that he could pick up her Schwan's delivery at the same time we get ours because of a doctor's appointment. While they were discussing the details, one of her two dogs was eager to come in and see Bitu. He was on the leash, but still anxious to come in. Bitu, on the other hand, wasn't all that thrilled. She give him a hiss while he barked. When the dog left, we asked Bitu what she thought about having a dog come to visit, but she didn't say anything before we came back up to the seventh floor. Given how she reacted to her unexpected visitor, however, we suspect she feels the same way about having dogs come into all-cat clubs, even though she's in several mixed dog and cat clubs here. This is less exciting than the story I helped Bitu write in her diary the other day, but notable in its own right. Minnie reacted to a dog from the seventh floor the same way when she was alive, so she and Bitu should have something in common besides some of their looks.
November 11th 2007 11:43 pm
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Bitu took time one day to have breakfast at The Kitties' Club. She'd heard about the famous Wishing Plates and wanted to try one out. So after answering some early letters in the Catster Mail, she went to the Kitties' Club to see what they had for breakfast.
Bitu was greeted by Alfie, the owner and manager of the Kitties' Club Breakfast Buffet. "G'day, Miss Bitu," Alfie said cheerfully in a British accent after getting over his initial surprise at her appearance. "Are you here for a bit of 'brekky'?"
Bitu looked over the breakfast buffet to see what she might like. When nothing seemed to catch her interest, she replied, "I've heard about your Wishing Plates. Can I try one?"
"Why not?" Alfie asked in reply. He went over to a fresh stack of Wishing Plates and handed one to Bitu with his front paws. "Just go to the Breakfast Garden and make yourself at home." Then he went to tend to other guests waiting in line at the buffet. "Who wants a full English breakfast?" he asked as he went back to work.
Bitu had no idea where the Breakfast Garden was. She didn't even know how to use the Wishing Plate.
Then she spotted Felix and asked, "How do you use these Wishing Plates? I don't know how."
"It's easy," Felix replied. "You hold up your Wishing Plate and wish for whatever you want. Then you turn around three times and whatever you wanted will be on the plate. It's like magic."
So Bitu cautiously held her Wishing Plate up, imitating all those times she saw her people hold artificial crab flakes up for her adopted sister Minnie to enjoy from up in Heaven. "I wish...I wish..." Then she turned around three times and looked to see what actually appeared on her Wishing Plate. Bitu couldn't believe her eyes. "Oh, boy!" she exclaimed excitedly. "Bacon-wrapped turkey, boneless chicken and bits of roast beef! It's too bad I can't have stuff like this for breakfast every day!"
Then Bitu tried to make her way to The Kitties' Club Breakfast Garden. Since she'd never been there before, she appeared to be a bit lost. She tried to find Felix, but he seemed to be lost among other cats enjoying their favorite breakfasts.
Unknown to Bitu, some of her other friends noticed her predicament. An orange cat named Simon turned to a black and white cat named Athena and said, "Do you see how lost Bitu looks?"
"Well, she's never been here before," Athena replied. "She doesn't know her way around the Breakfast Garden like we do."
Despite being a bit lost, Bitu found a spot to enjoy her special breakfast. Then she made her way back inside so she could return the Wishing Plate to Alfie until next time.
But when she went back to use the Wishing Plate again, everything at the Kitties' Club Breakfast Buffet was all awry. She found Alfie bemoaning the situation. "Look at this, will ya!" he exclaimed as he pointed out the disaster with one of his front paws. "Somebody gave me some nice new appliances to make 'brekky' with and I can't even use them! Even our gardens are a mess!"
Many other cats who'd heard about the disaster had gathered at the Kitties' Club Breakfast Buffet to see for themselves. There were murmurs and even a few hisses of frustration as they surveyed the scene. And all of them were asking, "What happened?"
Athena appeared to be especially distressed. "Oh, dear!" she exclaimed with a hint of disappointment in her voice. "I was so looking forward to the tea party in the Butterfly Garden today!"
"We might not be able to have a tea party in any of our gardens today if this keeps up, Miss Athena,"
Alfie replied with a sigh. Then he scanned the place for some outlets to plug his new appliances into. "Well, I'll see if I can get these new appliances working so you can have some 'brekky' while you're here."
As Alfie tried to figure out how to use the new appliances, Simon came in and reported something he'd found. "It seems that the fleas have taken over again," he said, pausing as the room filled with disappointed groans. "I can't get to my Catster Mail or send messages to groups or anything!"
Bitu's ears went up alertly at the mention of fleas, since fleas had taken her adopted sister Minnie at just over four and a half. "We have to do something!" she exclaimed urgently. Then she turned to Athena and asked, "Can't we use the Wishing Plates to clear the fleas out?"
Bitu's idea was met with waves of derisive laughter from the other cats. But Athena replied, "I wish we could use the Wishing Plates, Bitu. Then everything could go back to the way it should be."
"Why don't we try it, then?" Bitu asked. "If we can get anything we want to appear on the Wishing Plates, then we ought to be able to make things we don't like disappear, can't we?"
This thought had never occurred to the other cats before. Then Felix asked, "How would we do it?"
"We should do it the way we want things to appear on the Wishing Plates, except that this time we'll use them to make something disappear," Bitu replied. "But we'll all have to use the Wishing Plates so that the fleas will be driven out."
"How are we going to do that?" Simon asked. "There are more of us than there are Wishing Plates."
"Then I guess we'll just have to pass them around," Bitu replied. To show what she meant, she took one of the Wishing Plates and explained, "After each of us who uses a Wishing Plate first makes their three turns, then we'll pass it to somebody else to make their three turns until everybody's had a turn to use the Wishing Plates. Then by the time we're through, we can see how it worked."
A murmur of excitement began to circulate around the room as the other cats thought about Bitu's unusual plan. "Anything's worth a try as long as the fleas will go away," Felix said at last. "But how will we make sure that everybody gets a turn to use the Wishing Plates?"
"I know!" Athena exclaimed excitedly as she was struck by a sudden burst of inspiration. "Why don't we line up like we line up here at the Breakfast Buffet and pass the plates along until we get back to where we started? We'll make a Wishing Plate Brigade!"
A cheer went up from the other cats as some of them eagerly went to the stack of Wishing Plates to pass them out as everybody else got in line except Simon. "I'd like to stay and help out, but I think that one of us should check things out and see how they're working after everybody gets done here,"
he said as he turned to leave The Kitties' Club. Then he paused and added, "You don't mind, do you?"
"Go ahead, Simon," Athena replied reassuringly as she made sure that the line of cats was orderly and ready to take their turns with the Wishing Plates. "We'll be okay here."
When everything was ready, Bitu started the proceedings by holding the first Wishing Plate up as if to let something slide off instead of staying on like most of the cats would when wishing for a special breakfast. Then she said, "I wish...I wish...", then she turned around three times and looked at the plate.
When the plate was still empty, some of the cats thought that they'd been had. "We've just gotten started!" Athena cut in before the other cats could berate Bitu for having such a dumb idea. "You'll get your turn!"
Then Felix began to understand. "I get it now!" he exclaimed as Bitu passed him the empty Wishing Plate. "By holding the Wishing Plate up like Bitu did, we're trying to make the fleas go away so they won't bother us anymore!" He eagerly held up the empty Wishing Plate sideways like Bitu had done, said, "I wish...I wish...", and turned around three times as Bitu started doing the same thing with the second Wishing Plate. Then after checking to see if the Wishing Plate was still empty, Felix passed it to the next cat in line as he waited to get the next empty Wishing Plate from Bitu.
The room was soon filled with cats saying, "I wish..I wish..." as they held up the empty Wishing Plates sideways and turned around three times before checking the Wishing Plates and passing them to the next cat in line. As the first group of cats finished using the Wishing Plates, they were glad to be able to stop turning around so much, even though it was for a good cause.
By the time the Wishing Plates had all been returned to their usual place, Simon came running into the Kitties' Club Breakfast Buffet looking excited and all out of breath. Alfie must have anticipated his arrival because he brought Simon a cup of tea and said, "Come on, mate, have a cup of tea and catch your breath."
Simon gratefully took the tea Alfie offered and took a few sips before he spoke. Though he appeared less out of breath now, he was still excited as he eagerly reported, "You won't believe this, but the fleas are all gone! I can get to my Catster Mail and everything!"
A murmur of astonishment rippled through the room as the other cats began to realize what had happened. Just to be sure, however, those who were familiar with the various gardens at The Kitties' Club went out to see for themselves. Then Felix came back and happily reported, "The Breakfast Garden is just the way it was before and even better!"
Athena had gone out to check the Butterfly Garden. Then she came back and joyfully exclaimed, "The Butterfly Garden looks wonderful! We can plan for our tea party after all!"
Other cats were coming back with similar reports of good news. Then when everybody had assembled in the Breakfast Buffet again, Alfie cried, "Three cheers to Miss Bitu for makin' the fleas go away with our Wishin' Plates! Hip-hip..."
"Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!" the other cats shouted happily. They knew that they'd have something exciting to write in their diaries when they got home.
Bitu was speechless. She didn't think the other cats cared so much, especially since they'd laughed at her idea to begin with. She wondered if she should say something, though she actually felt like crying. But it was the kind that her older human would call "a happy cry".
"Come on, Miss Bitu, let me treat you to a full English breakfast. You've earned it!" Alfie suggested eagerly as the other cats quickly got in line to get their own breakfasts. "And I'll show you to the nicest spot in the Breakfast Garden myself!" And he did.
November 10th 2007 9:46 pm
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Bitu had her first breakfast at The Kitties' Club today. She'd heard about the famous Wishing Plates and decided to try one out. One of the other cats she knew showed her how to do it: just get a Wishing Plate, wish for whatever you want, turn around three times and the stuff you wish for will be on your Wishing Plate. Bitu had some bacon-wrapped turkey, boneless chicken and roast beef bits. But she had a little trouble making her way around The Kitties' Club Breakfast Garden. One of the other cats thought she looked lost. Maybe the Breakfast Garden is bigger than what she'd thought. Maybe next time somebody she knows will take her with them when she comes so she won't feel lost. And we thought we had it good having biscuits and eggs for our breakfast!
November 8th 2007 11:52 pm
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In order to generate more interesting group participation, Bitu recently launched the KittyWhiskas For Catsters Video Vault. This will be an outlet for members to express their talents through video clips which we hope to show as the Video Vault Movie of the Week. But because we want everything to run smoothly, we're only going to put up one video a week with the link and a description of what the viewer will see in order to minimize technical glitches (especially important when you're a Mac user who usually has to run a video on the computer several times to be able to see the whole thing). Since a number of members are familiar with one of the newer member's work in computer videos, those will be featured first, though we hope to get more members to participate who know how to do such things so as not to overwhelm our established star. There's also a KittyWhiskas For Catsters Video Vault Movie Reviews Forum where the members can come back and write a review of what they saw. In light of the recent pre-fight trash talk going on at Big Leo's Stray Cat Alley, Bitu has urged fellow members of KittyWhiskas For Catsters to maintain a G rating for their reviews, since the videos would also likely be rated G. Given that the first offering seems to have gotten such rave reviews, we hope to make the KittyWhiskas For Catsters Video Vault a real success with a long-term run.
November 6th 2007 11:32 am
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Big Leo's Stray Cat Alley is holding a fight in honor of Diesel Blue's memory, although it's supposed to be a surprise for him. But I wonder what he'd think of the trash talk that's going on before it even gets started. I thought we were supposed to keep things clean even as we're trying to get pumped up for a special event. If you want to _____ , then save it for the litter box. Don't say that somebody shouldn't talk _____ if they can't back it up with their performance. We're not in an R-rated movie here, you know. If this had been said on TV, it would have been bleeped out. If I were about to be in a fight such as the Stray Cat Alley might put on, I'd probably say, "When I get through with you, you'll be as shredded as my scratching box after I've given it a good workout!" That's the way to pump yourself up without resorting to R-rated language. As long as they're going to honor the memory of Diesel Blue, they should run a good, clean fight without the R-rated language. Hisses from the cats and growls from the dogs should be enough to get the point across if they can't think of the right words to get into the mood. Even trash talk can be G-rated if you know how to express yourself right.
November 4th 2007 11:55 pm
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It seems that KittyWhiskas For Catsters is expanding despite our recent losses. We're also getting more occupants for the KittyWhiskas For Catsters Memorial Wall, though Milo's still missing. I've had to help Bitu write more welcome letters than she's had to write for awhile. I just hope we can keep up with everybody if our group expands further. But unlike Big Leo's Stray Cat Alley, I'd rather go for quality rather than quantity. We may not expand to ten times our size in two and a half months, but at least we're trying to be understated about it. Bitu never asked Ulysses or the rest of his family to leave the group anyway. They're welcome to come back, but so far they haven't. Maybe if there hadn't been such a ruckus over the article about the Puerto Rican Animal Control Massacre, maybe they would have stayed. I'm not sure if the number at the top of the group page accurately reflects those who are actually there. I wish it could. I think Bitu does, too.
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