Funny Hats

Boring stuff

I'll make this post a short one, though -- of course the Proust-ian approach would be a possibility, but I simply can't be arsed.
Considering that "When has my life become so completely boring?" is a rhetorical question at best, and a pointless one at worst, I'm not going to ask it. Besides, I'm by no means dissatisfied with my boring life; it just doesn't make posting easy.
Work continues to be almsot nonexistent, which means that I'm still not spending much more than four or five hours (instead of eight) at the office. Since I've been doing this for about half a year now, and nobody has noticed, I am fairly confident that I'll be able to continue in this manner. I certainly get a lot of exercise, usually during the expanded-to-breaking-point lunch break. It's a good time for exercising, in terms of my own personal rhythm, and I almost never have a hard time persuading myself that I really ought to go, unlike after work, when there are suddenly so many other attractive things to do.

Speaking of health issues: have you ever tried oil-pulling? I remember trying it once, ages ago, and throwing up immediately; obviously, though, something must have changed during the intervening 25 years, because, when I made an attempt about four weeks ago, out of mere curiosity, it wasn't a problem at all, and now it's become part of my morning routine. Pretty much any kind of oil will do; I'm using olive oil, because I prefer its taste and texture. The rest is simple: you put a tablespoon of oil into your mouth and rinse for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterwards you have to spit it out (i.e. don't swallow it) and rinse with warm water. While the effects are, of course, not as wondrous as many testimonials on the internet would like to make people believe, it's a) excellent for the gums, and b) healthier and more effecient than mouthwash. Obviously it also has a positive effect on the bacterial flora, but I'm still rolling my eyes at statements like "When you spit it out it's all milky-white, because it now contains all the baaaad bacteria and other assorted pestilential horrors that would otherwise remain in your mouth" -- of course it's milky-white, because it's a saliva-oil emulsion, and emulsions tend to be milky. Duh.

Work on my parents' future flat will be starting at the beginning of May, i.e. according to schedule. My mother gets all excited and bright-eyed, and asks lots and lots of questions -- she's really looking forward to moving to a more manageable place. My father isn't quite so enthusiastic, but he has understood that the move is the only alternative to an old people's home.

Nothing new on the Critters front; Lola continues to be a very happy, and also remarkably slimmer, girl, and Ze Boyz 2.0 continue to get on well with each other. Rambo is, of course, a complete household pest, but that's a kitten's job description and therefore as it should be. I only wish that he hadn't discovered how much fun it is to play with the ceiling lamp while he's sitting on the fridge... Which reminds me that I must buy a LED bulb at least for this one lamp -- if the worst happens and the whole thing comes down, I don't want any of us to die from mercury poisoning. Damn those stupid energy saving bulbs, really. And the EU for banning traditional bulbs. Bastards.

Rather uncharacteristically -- because I usually plan my trips well ahead of time -- I'm still undecided whether to go to Skopje at the beginning of May. True, I was looking forward to going, but somehow it doesn't feel quite right. I'm not sure *why* it doesn't feel right, and hope to find out soon. Cheap tickets are still available, so I may have some more days to make up my mind. My new passport will be ready towards the end of next week, so not having a valid passport is definitely not an argument against going. Drat.

Hermit, yes, reluctant -- by no means

Much as I enjoyed the weekend with my friend Elena -- Friday afternoon till Monday morning -- I was in dire need of some me-time yesterday. Almost 72 hours of communication (interrupted by sleep, but still) are, for me, hard work. Fortunately my friends know me sufficiently well to know that my "sorry, no communication today" isn't personal.
Today I'm ok again, though, and back at work.
Nothing much to report, except that I'm fine, ze boyz (version 2.0) are fine, spring is coming back after taking a short break on Sunday and yesterday, and I spent today's lunch break at the gym.
Brother will be in Vienna from Friday till Monday, so I hope I can induce him to come to my place and help me put up a few mirrors and pictures. I intend to bribe him with food, which almost always works. Once the deed is done, I also intend to post piccies of, well piccies and mirrors. And possibly boyz.

Is there anything better you could be doing at 6.30 a.m.

...than cleaning out your oven? Especially if said cleaning involves a metric ton of carbonized gunk you have to scratch off?
I thought not.
So, yes, I did have a lovely morning, why do you ask?
I had friends over for dinner last night, and I made an absolutely gorgeous, traditional Viennese dish; it's best if you prepare it in the oven (as opposed to on the stove), but I ought to have been a little more careful when covering it with tin foil: when I realized that gravy and condensed steam were dripping onto the bottom of the oven, it was already too late. Still, it's clean and sparkly now, and the dinner was very good indeed. Not least because I decided to splurge on top-quality beef, which does have its price but is exponentially better, both taste- and consistency-wise, than anything you buy at a supermarket.
Fortunately the weather is warm and lovely, and so it was/is possible to air the flat properly; a lot of onions are involved, which you have first to stew and then put in a dish with the beef and stew in the oven for at least two hours, so you can imagine the smell. Really yummy before you eat, but quite unpleasant once you've finished.
I'm really too tired to write much, so here's the latest news in a few words:
- My friend Elena from Skopje is coming tomorrow, to stay the weekend
- My parents will be moving into the flat they viewed last week. The renovation work will take about four months, starting after Easter (barring any unforeseen disasters), so the actual moving will probably take place around the middle of September
- Considering how much work will be involved for myself, I decided not to participate in the SSHG promptfest, because I might have to drop out.
- Lola has been living with her new Mother Goddess for almost two weeks and is settling in very well. Everybody's happy, including Ze Boyz -- Rambo, a true household pest if ever there was one, has stopped being skittish and jumpy, too.

Going back to sleep now, because I'm at work, so I can.

Updating the update, so to speak

Or rather, filling in a few blanks.
What I didn't mention in yesterday's post was work: there has been a slight improvement, or rather two.
1) Since our new minister came with a whole new department (integration) as his dowry, there's a bit of a space shortage at the ministry. So, they put my highly annoying, and now thankfully former, office mate next door together with her boss (who previously hadn't shared his office with anybody), and replaced her with an older guy from a different department. The advantages are manifold: a) he doesn't have a shrill voice, and doesn't conduct his private phone calls at the office, b) he's pretty quiet but freindly, i.e. occasional breif conversations and otherwise silence, and c) he works from 6.30 (no typo) to 14.30, which means no raised eyebrows if I leave early.
2) It's still only cut-and-paste, but I have been blessed with a bit more work.
All in all, I really can't complain anymore. Especially considering that my parents moving into my building is going to take a lot of preparatory work; also I'll probably be glad of the opportunity to have longer lunch breaks or leave early once they actually live there.

It was funny, really, how this whole moving thing started: since November (or was it October? Not sure.) I've been seeing my "old" therapist, i.e. the one I'd been going to before leaving for Ankara. What with coming back to Vienna, and work, and pretty much everything, seeing him again seemed like an excellent idea. (Privately of course -- I don't trust Public Health Care any more than my employer and would never get therapy on prescription) Among many other things, I became gradually aware that my father isn't really an issue anymore. I mean, I'm not overly keen to have him back in my life, but it's not a problem anymore.
And so, when I went to have coffee with my mum, we somehow talked about her oldest friend, who is the same age as her: she lives in a converted farmhouse, together with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Of whom there are many. My mother remarked, a little wistfully, that, while it's certainly not always harmonious, what with four generations under the same roof, it does have its perks. Slightly nonplussed, I asked whether that was something she'd like, living in close proximity, because if she wanted to, it would definitely be possible. It was as if a light had been switched on in her eyes. So I got the whole project going.

And, since I'm a slightly crazy cat lady (with only two cats now, but undiminished craziness), one word about the Lola business: I know I ought to feel a bit guilty for talking Irene into taking Lola, but I don't. She wanted a cat only once she retired (i.e. in slightly less than a year), and maybe she wouldn't even have got one then, but frankly, my being completely stressed-out was stronger than any friendly concern. What definitely helped was the fact that I was looking awful the day I finally broached the subject: the day before, I'd picked up Rambo to cuddle him, standing with my back turned, so I didn't see Lucius preparing to attack Lola. Rambo saw, though, panicked, and fled, scratching my face in the process. That may have helped... Then again, I am completely sure that Irene and Lola will be very happy together; without that certainty I wouldn't have foisted Lola on her.

Now I actually have some work to do, but there's still time to say this: if you're suffering from (pre-)menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, try evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil. After about a month of taking it (once daily, in capsule form) my hot flashes have stopped completely.

Almost-postscript: SSHG promptfest? I'm still undecided...

Long overdue update

OMG I can post and view the friends page again at work!!! However, since this has already happened once or twice -- i.e. being able to post/read, and then not, because all of a sudden it's 'suspicious' -- I'm not holding my breath.
I wish I could bring myself to communicate in the morning, but it's simply beyond me. Unless I'm talking to the cats, of course, but that's maybe not quite what one might call communication. And writing anything coherent really is beyond me at 6 a.m.
Never mind, right now I *am* capable of putting coherent thought into writing. Hopefully.

There isn't all that much to report -- basically my life has been rather stressful these last weeks, but right now it seems as if all the unpleasant stuff is actually unravelling and re-patterning itself into happy endings:
1) My parents (yes, both of them, but by now I'm thinking of my father as an unpleasant but necessary collateral effect) will very, very probably be moving into a flat in my building. It still has to be renovated; they'll view the premises this Wednesday, and if they're ok with it (my mother has already seen the place and likes it), the relevant permits will be obtained, work started asap, and the flat should be ready for moving in this summer (July I'd say).It's going to be quite a lot of work for me, but at least I can *FINALLY* help my mother, and she's willing to accept my help.
2) Lola has gone to live with Irene on Saturday. I was very reluctant to ask Irene, but the domestic/feline situation had become completely untenable, especially after Lola was fairly sick in February. And my nerves were completely frazzled -- having to foil attacks and de-escalate tense situations at least five times a day was really getting to me. Fortunately Irene had already been anticipating my question, and was quite willing to step in. Today, i.e. on her third day with the New Mother Goddess (whom fortunately she already knew and liked) Lola is settling in well -- I suppose she thinks she's gone to heaven, what with no boyz and complete freedom to roam her new territory. Ze Boyz (version 2.0), too, seem very happy -- especially Rambo isn't so stressed-out anymore; he was so very afraid of both adult cats, when they had one of their increasingly frequent conflicts.

So, while there won't be much of an opportunity for going on holiday during the next months, until my parents have been safely packed and moved that is, the new cat situation means that I'll actually be able to contemplate a holiday in autumn. Ze Boyz 2.0 can be left for a week in Irene and Janine's care, and I could go to Crete for a week of sea, sports, reading and relaxing. I'm looking at the idea out of the corner of my eye only, so as not to jinx it.

And now some f-page reading :-)

Oh, and here's a pretty boy for your enjoyment -- Rambo, a few days ago. Pretty kitteh, huh?

Junker Rambo

More stuff, including inappropriate leering and housewifely advice

Since returning to Vienna I've been doing my own cleaning and, strangely and surprisingly, finding some sort of pleasure in doing so. Well, good for me, I say.
Due to feline presence, and also because I want to do my bit for our planet, I try to use the strong stuff (i.e. those sprays etc. which contain lots of chlorine) as rarely and sparingly as possible. Nevertheless, I also want a clean, mould-free bathroom -- nothing is more unappealing, not to mention a health hazard, than a mildew-infested shower. Yuck. On the other hand, I really, really don't like cleaning the shower screen from inside: I have to step into the tub (it's a combined bathtub-cum-shower), and it's just, well unpleasant. BUT, I've found a way to avoid that almost completely, meaning that really serious cleaning with some sort of strong chemical has to take place only once every two months or six weeks, which is a distinct improvement. Plus, it's cheap. Really, really cheap. It also requires a bit of discipline, but since I'm the only one using the shower I don't have to enforce discipline with recalcitrant spouses or children. Anyway, here's what I do:
I keep a kitchen sponge and a bottle of the cheapest possible white vinegar in the shower; after finishing my ablutions, I simply drench the sponge with vinegar, wipe down the inside of the screen, taps and edge of the bathtub, and rinse. If you do it every day (if there are more people using the shower, you just do it after the last one, of course), it works most effectively against limescale and the residues of shampoos, conditioners etc., which means, in turn, that there are no breeding spots for mildew.
In other housewifely news, yesterday I tried a variation on my cabbage soup, leaving out the fennel and bell peppers and adding instead green and Chinese cabbage and red beet. Oh the yummyness.
Oh, and something else: if, like me, you absolutely can't abide the (IMO strangely soapy) taste of Hungarian salami or pepperoni on pizza -- I think salami is good only when cold -- then try to get Spanish Chorizo and give it a go. I fried thin slices of Chorizo yesterday in a minuscule amount of olive oil, until they were crunchy, and sprinkled the soup with these chorizo crisps. Apart from having the advantage of getting rid of most of the fat (chorizos are *very* fat), you also have the taste, which is a bit like fried bacon but better.
So now I'm drooling, which is the ideal state in which to communicate to all and sundry that, in my opinion, Jon Hamm who plays Don Draper in "Mad Men" is quite possibly the sexiest man alive. He looks -- and here I have to give a variation of something I said to mundungus42 about John Miller -- like the result of mixing Jason Isaac's and Timothy Dalton's genes in a genetic cocktail shaker. For those still unaware of the man's mind-boggling dishiness, here's a link: Go forth, ye children, ogle and drool. And watch "Mad Men", because it's really, really good -- those who are about my age or older will get the bonus kick of recognizing lots of things from our childhood.

Stuff, including Culture. And cats, of course.

I was lucky enough to find out, via facebook, that a cinema in Vienna was going to screen both versions of "Frankenstein" from the National Theatre. Since I was also lucky enough to find out quite early, there wasn't a problem getting tickets for both.
So, on 14 December, we -- i.e. Janine, Irene, myself and another friend -- went to see the version where Cumberbatch played Frankenstein, and John Mills the Monster, and we saw the other one yesterday.
All things considered, I'd say that I prefer what we saw yesterday, because Cumberbatch playing Frankenstein was so similar to him playing Sherlock that I couldn't help feeling rather disappointed. Mills was fine in both parts (and he's also really, really, dishy -- a more nervy, high-strung version of Colin Firth. Yum).
I think I may also have finally come to understand why on earth anybody would undertake to put Frankenstein on the stage; after the fist viewing, I was completely dumbfounded by the utter lack of any sort of message whatsoever -- I mean, honestly, is there any other story that screams "CLONING!! GENETIC MANIPULATION!!! SCIENTIFIC HUBRIS!!!!" more loudly than this one, even though I concede that it wasn't exactly what Shelley intended. So, not a whiff of that. And I kept wondering why they'd done the piece in the first place.
I'm still not quite sure, to be honest, but at least yesterday there was some sort of epiphany: shortly before Elizabeth is raped and killed by The Monster, Frankenstein confesses to her what he's done, and she says, "If you wanted to create a human being, why didn't you marry me years ago and give me children? This is how we create human beings, Viktor!", and while he doesn't agree with her, neither does he contradict her when she claims that it wasn't about science and progress, but about pride.
And shortly after this scene, when Elizabeth is dead and V.F. claims he can resurrect her, his father breaks down, because he, i.e. the father, has created a monster, i.e. Viktor, and doesn't understand where he went wrong.
So, on the one hand, a human being created "the usual way" and raised according to the highest priciples, who chooses wrong over right in order to further human knowledge; on the other, a monstrous-looking but undeniably human being abandoned at birth, for lack of a better word, hated, mistreated and shunned (except for the old man in the forest, but his perceived betrayal was maybe the worst trauma), who also chooses wrong over right, because it's the only way he can exercise a modicum of control over his life. Which, if considered from the nature-vs-nurture angle, doesn't favour either school of thought. So, duh.
It's been ages since I read the novel (and maybe I only read excerpts back then, not sure), which is why I don't feel 100% justified in doubting whether the many instances of (sometimes quite unintentional) dramatic irony have anything in common with the original. I doubt it, though, and even if I discard the many moments of "defensive laughter", so to speak -- the audience was quite young -- there were funny bits which I felt were just out of place. The plot and character are doubtlessly compelling enough to make a riveting piece of threatre, and the Twiddledum-and-Twiddledee Scotsmen were completely unnecessary. But I'll get the book and re-read it, or rather read it because I have no memory at all of it, and then form an opinion.

In completely different news, my bum muscles are sore because Klaus and I played Badminton after a few weeks' pause, and it uses muscles quite differently than running, so sore they are.

In feline news, The Mother Goddess and Wielder of the Horribly Howling Hoover (it's a Miele or Dyson, but I'm not going to sacrifice a perfectly good alliteration to a mere brand name) is constantly puzzled by her Critters' behaviour.
I carried out my plan re. putting dry food in more than one place, i.e. both kitchen and living room --the aim was a) to reduce stress for everybody, and b) to reduce Lola's weight.
While I may have achieved moderate success in the a-department, b seems doomed to fail.
I suppose I underestimated Lola's willingness to drag herself to the North Pole if there's food to be had there.
So, now the situation is as follows: the centre of activity has shifted to the living room; all three are spending most of the time there. Lola seems to be less stressed about monitoring food access, and she spends more time sitting close to me. Lucius and Rambo are less stressed about eating in peace. There also appears to be something like a cautious détente between Lola and Lucius, while her behaviour towards Rambo hasn't changed so far. I think, though, that spending more incident-free time in the same room as Lucy and Rambo, as well as close to the Mother Goddess, may in the long run reduce her stress levels and thus lead to less eating *and* less aggressive behaviour. Which would be a blessing for all concerned.

Domestic stuff

Gah, I had a shitty night. First, Lucius and Rambo engaged in some epic sparring, which of course had to take place on top of me, or at least on the bed, and later Lola woke me up my meowing -- nothing wrong with her, I think she just decided that it was time to exercise her voice.
That's not the domestic stuff, however, that's just whining.
More in keeping with the subject line, the Critters are doing well.
I've decided to try something new: it's pretty obvious that Lola, antisocial bitch extraordinaire, has claimed the kitchen and entrance for her very own territory. That's not a problem per se -- on the contrary, if she has a safe space that's hers, I think it's good for her -- but the cat buffet is in the kitchen. This means a) that sometimes Lucius and Rambo are a bit reluctant to go near the food bowls, if Lola is blocking the access, and b) that Lola has unlimited food access and keeps eating too much. Now, I can't put her on a diet as long as everybody is eating in the kitchen, but what I can do is put the bowls containing the kibbles for Siamese and kittens in a different room. I just have to figure out which one, but probably the living room. That way, if things play out as I expect them to, the two boys will be able to eat whenever they want, and Lola will have to make do with the calorie-reduced kibbles.
Of course there is also a possibility that she'll try to expand her territory so that it includes both food areas, but I'll have to wait and see how that goes. Crossing the bridge and all that.

In other domestic news, Janine got me a Dyson vacuum cleaner for Christmas.
For those -- dickgloucester among them, if I remember correctly -- who are contemplating buying one, here's my two cents: it's a fantastic device, but I wouldn't want it to be my only vacuum cleaner. For one, the noise is truly horrible, and it also consumes a lot of energy. Besides, the sort of pore-deep cleaning you can do with a Dyson isn't necessary every day. So I use my Miele every day, and the Dyson on Serious Cleaning Days. I have yet to see its equal for vacuuming rugs and upholstery. A word of warning: the machine comes equipped with a variety of brushes; the standard brush (i.e. the one shown in the picture on the box) rotates at high speed, but there's a button for switching it off, so there's merely suction. While the brush is rotating, never ever get close to the fringes of a rug. You can't ruin the brush but the rug might sustain some damage.
All in all, though, it's a really great household device that helps reduce dust, better than any traditional vacuum cleaner I've tried.

And for even more domesticity: if you like cabbage, have you ever made cabbage soup?
I'm a cabbage junkie -- it's a typical winter vegetable, its dirt cheap, retains its considerable vitamin C content even if cooked, and it's equally good raw (salad) and cooked.
The soup is easy to make, light and very tasty.
The only caveat: the carrots you use need to be julienned, i.e. either you can buy them that way, or you have a special cutter. It just isn't as nice if you slice or dice the carrots.
Wide, not too high pot, put in a bit of olive oil, put on medium heat. Add sliced cabbage (doesn't have to be too thinly sliced) and carrots, let fry for about five minutes, stirring every now and then. If you like fennel, add two or three heads of fennel, also sliced medium-thin. The veggies shouldn't turn brown, just glassy and soft. Add roughly-diced tomatoes and one or two cloves of garlic (sliced), then pour in a glass of white wine (optional) and as much vegetable stock as is needed, so that you can see the liquid but the veggies aren't covered. Add a bay leaf, a soup spoon full of roughly ground caraway, a few dried juniper berries, paprika powder both sweet and hot (to taste), stir well, cover pot, let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes on minimum temperature. When that's done, add a tin of chickpeas and let simmer for another five minutes. If you think there's too little liquid, add some more stock. Right before serving, mix in a bunch of coriander, roughly chopped.
It's absolute heaven.
You can also add very little stock and serve the stewed cabbage (with or without chickpeas) as a side dish -- I'd say with pork chops or roast, maybe lamb.
Boyz in Spring

A heartfelt Thank You!!! all of you who commented on my last post. Your support and understanding helped me a lot.
By now, I've reached the stage where thinking of Cornelius doesn't make me cry any more, but smile. He did, after all, have a wonderful life with lots of love and very little stress, and the fact that I could be there for him when he died does, in the end, make it easier for me to cope with the fact that he left me far too soon. He wasn't even eleven yet. But better this way -- i.e. no illness, no endless trips to the vet, no pain -- than drawn-out suffering, ending in a last trip to the vet's.
When I took Rambo to be neutered, on December 12, I'd agreed with the vet to take Cornelius as well, because his teeth had to be fixed, and I wanted a complete blood test -- from age 10 on, this is what ought to be done every year, mostly to make sure the kidneys are ok. Which they weren't, in Cornelius' case; it was just the beginning of the usual kidney problems most older cats have, and therefore not overly alarming. For the time being, the doctor said, giving him heart-strengthening pills should easily do the trick. Fortunately giving Cornelius pills had never been a problem (with Lucius or, god forbid, Lola, I'd end up as minced meat), and so he took his one pill a day like a good boy. Still, I was observing him closely, and it was fairly evident that 1) his liquid intake was still too high, and 2) his breathing was the slightest bit laboured. (Not audibly, but visibly -- the rising and falling of his flanks was a bit more pronounced.)
Having nothing to do at work proved to be a good thing, for on January 2 I called the vet to ask him whether I was being paranoid or not, and he said, "Look, there's nothing going on here, so if you have time, grab Cornelius and just come." So that's what I did, and the blood test was much, much better than in December. However, we also did an X-ray, and while the heart's size was perfectly normal, he pointed out that the pulmonary artery was looking as if there might be a slight anomaly.
Had Cornelius been human there would've been surgery. But you don't do that sort of surgery on a cat, and besides, even if I'd had the possibility I would have declined. So much trauma and stress for an uncertain result -- it's just not worth it.
So I suppose that what ended Cornelius' life was either a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism. And while not the peaceful death I would've wanted for him, it was at least quick -- it can't have lasted more than a minute, maybe two; it's difficult to say in retrospect. I tried to help him breathe, but when I saw that it was useless, I just held and stroked him until it was over.
I have no idea whether cats do or don't still recognize a dead fellow cat as such, and whether they're still able to identify it by its smell, but on the whole I daresay it was a good thing not to keep Lucius and Rambo away from him, but let them see and sniff him. (Lola didn't come near the bed.)
What was also very lucky was that Janine, the notorious night owl, was still awake and came over right away. Of course one has to bear one's sadness, shock and pain alone, but a comforting presence does help.
Although already cooling, Cornelius' body was still warm and soft, and I couldn't bring myself to put it between the windows where it would've been cool -- even knowing rationally that he was dead, it seemed a terrible thing to do, to put him in a cold place. So I put him on a towel and in the bathtub, and closed the shower screen. That way the others couldn't get to him, and he was resting in a place he liked, because brushing (which he loved) always took place in the bathtub.
I finally fell asleep around 5 a.m. and woke at 7 -- that was probably the most horrible moment, when everything came back to me, and I knew it hadn't been a bad dream. I don't think I've ever felt so tired, body, mind and soul, so heavy and almost unable to move. Still, I had to feed the trio and clean their toilets, and then to call the vet, because they had to take care of the body.
Taking Cornelius there was also horrible, and taking him out of the bag and giving him to the assistant (who is a lovely, wonderful girl and behaved in the sweetest, most considerate way possible) maybe even more so. When I'd stopped crying I walked home -- the fresh air and cold did have a somewhat beneficial effect.
As for Lucius, Lola and Rambo, I'm not quite sure yet how things are going to play out.
Fortunately, Lucius and Rambo do have a close bond, although not as close as either of them used to have with Cornelius. But at least they're not alone; there's sparring, and running, and sleeping next to each other. Both are eating normally, which is good, because Lucius is thin and Rambo still growing. Also, they have me, and they make ample use of it.
Lola, that antisocial monster, certainly doesn't feel the loss; what might take effect, at some point in time, is the realization that 2 vs. 1 is less threatening than 3 vs. 1. What is causing me great worries, however, is her behaviour towards Rambo, and the lack of change therein. I'd hesitate to call it "aggressive", because hissing isn't aggressive but defensive, but OTOH she actively seeks him out to back him into corners, and then hiss and bat at him. I know it's a horrible thing to say, and I *do* feel ashamed of even thinking it, but if I had a possibility of giving her away, I would. Her social intelligence is nonexistent, and I'm sure she would be much, much happier being a single cat. I'll continue to monitor the situation, and if nothing changes I'm going to ask Klaus whether he'd take her. Or maybe Irene. Both want to get a cat eventually, and I would of course pay for any necessary adaptations in their respective flats (mainly cat-proofing the windows, and in Klaus' case also the balcony).

So this is it. Other stuff -- not that there's anything exciting -- will have to wait until a later post.