Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tales From the Zoo

And by "zoo," I mean the Wicker Park condo in which I'm currently staying to cat-, dog-, and house-sit through Thursday.

Who knew that three animals could be so much to handle? Admittedly, I've always been a cat person, and shied away from dogs, especially the big ones. But the dog, Lucky, is small. And cats, even if there are two of them, are easy to handle, if only because they love to sleep, right??

The cats, Zack and Chloe, are brother and sister, but Lucky, a black cockapoo, might as well be related to them too. Not only do they have the same shade of black fur, they also play (and fight) with one another.

I pointed a red laser at the ground and Lucky went crazy, scrambling across the wood floor or the stretch of carpet, trying to "catch" the light. The cats sat at the room's edge, and only darted for the laser pointer if it came close to them. But, watch out, if the cats got in the way, Lucky head-butted them. The cats didn't just sit there and take it either -- they swiped at Lucky with their paws. See? Siblings.

So, yes, the animals can be fun, and, yeah, they can be energetic (especially with Lucky running up and down, up and down, the length of the condo)--but I'm definitely learning what my limit is for animal antics.

Tyler and I felt bad for keeping Lucky in his kennel all day while we're at work, so we let him sleep on the guest-bedroom bed, where before he went to sleep, he kicked around, pushing his paws into my sides, and licking my face.

The cats are no better on the bed, either. On Sunday night, I crawled into bed, started pulling the covers over me, when something furry scurried up against my leg and popped out from under the covers -- a cat. I nearly screamed.

Other patience-testing moments in the zoo:
Lucky growled at a plate of food. (okay, I know, I know, dogs do this. They like human food. But, seriously, what about growling at a plate that is sitting on the table, that no longer has any food? Is that normal, really?)

Lucky followed me around the condo, wherever I went, including the bathroom, where he whined at the door when I wouldn't let him in.

Tyler and I heard what sounded like the twinkling of ice cubes hitting the sides of a cup. Sure enough -- the cat was drinking out of one of our waterglasses.

Lucky pulled off the tree's ornaments, shattering one of them.

At 6:30 am, Tyler takes the dog for a quick walk. Once Lucky is back, he jumps on me, still lying in bed and trying to sleep, with his paws soaking wet from last night's rain or snow, depending on the day.

The time of 6:30 am also signaled when the cats start howling -- note, not meowing -- and wailing for food. And, as I scoop out their food, they sniffed my hair and tried pawing at my head.

But all three of the animals, the pets, the kids -- at least once a night -- all stared at the door to David and Brodie's (the owner's) bedroom, which is firmly shut, so that Lucky doesn't go hunting for things to chew on.

Maybe they just miss their owners, David and Brodie. Maybe they think they can get away with more, knowing we're not their "parents."

Maybe I'm just not used to having pets around, and maybe I just miss being in my own place.

Yesterday, Tyler commented that he couldn't tell I didn't like dogs, considering how often I played with Lucky. I was tossing toys high up in the air, so I could see how high Lucky could jump (seriously, he gets higher than my head. I know I'm short, but I'm not that short!) And outside on our walks around the block, I kicked snow at Lucky, which he jumped and pawed at over and over again. So, okay, I admit, a dog entertains me, so maybe I'm not just a cat person after all.

But, one thing is for sure, these three pets -- Lucky, Chloe, and Zack -- are all it takes to make a house into a zoo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Facebook... writing exercise?

Lately, Liz thinks about herself in third person -- and she blames Facebook for always asking: 'what are you doing right now?' And then demanding she answers using her name, rather than "I."

Liz admits this tendency has grown quite annoying. She doesn't like to think of herself as someone separate, someone other than, well, who she is.

Then again, thinking about herself in third person allows her to see herself from a different angle, especially now that Liz doesn't always have to be "Liz is..." according to Facebook. She can think of herself in relation to any verb!

Liz thinks...
Liz hates when...
Liz just ate...

Liz loves...
Liz survives Mondays by...
(Or even) Liz:

And then what Liz shares about herself to the Facebook world, well, that says a lot about her too.

How, you ask, can this be a "Facebook writing exercise"?

Even if your latest short story is written in first-person, try writing about your latest short-story character in third person, in a string of one-sentences that each describe an aspect of the character, including what they think, feel, hate, love, care about, miss, wish, etc. Also consider what they would admit on the world wide web -- and what they'd be less inclined to share.

Liz thanks Facebook for this writing exercise.
Liz also realizes that she's become way too addicted to the social networking site.