Posts Tagged ‘smokey’

Smokey’s adventures

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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It’s been a busy night, so I’ll share a quick set of videos with you of life with our cat Smokey. She’s a finicky girl with some adorable quirks! First she enjoys climbing in one drawer and popping out another, second she tries to escape the scary sound of a dog after surgery on her tooth, and third she tries to walk off the anesthesia from the vet visit.

cat hiding in drawer from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat hiding from dog in kennel from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat walking off anesthesia from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

My pet Hawaiian shrimp

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1

Back when we were in Hawaii, I finally got myself a little Hawaiian red shrimp ecosphere. While I’d seen the crazy expensive closed systems before, I liked that the one I found includes a lid that opens. Just in case I need to feed them or change the water, right? So I happily bought the travel set, which included the jar with sand and a fake little plant plus a separate plastic bottle with the shrimp and some blue pellets (food, I presume). All I had to do was put it in my checked bag for transport back home!

I also decided to get a set of snails to add to my new little ecosystem, just to help clean the water. While in Hawaii, I kept them in the bottle together and spent hours watching them. The snails liked to hide up on the lid, out of the water. Whenever they did go down, the shrimp would immediately gravitate towards them and pick at their shells. They must have some tasty algae growing on those shells! When it came time to travel, I carefully wrapped the bottle in paper towels and put it in a box, just in case anything leaked. I then wrapped the box in some of my clothes to try to offer the best buffer between potential jolts and coldness.

Upon arrival many hours later (and a good 30-degree drop in temperature too), I gingerly opened everything and found minimal leakage of water. The shrimp and snails were just fine. I then set about setting up their habitat and enjoyed a beautiful jar to put on the counter or table. Check out the pictures below to show you what has happened since…

hawaiian red shrimp habitat in store

The original habitat I saw at the store! I couldn’t leave without my own.

hawaiian red shrimp eating off black snail shell

The shrimp, snails, and blue pellets in the travel bottle. Those shrimp loved following the snails around!

cat sniffing glass jar with sand and fake plant

Smokey sniffed at this mysterious new jar while I was putting it together.

hawaiian red shrimp and snails ecosphere self-sustaining ecosystem

I loved sitting and watching them. I mostly kept them on the coffee table or the island in the kitchen.

nerite snail eating in glass jar

After awhile, some shrimp and my snails died. The water began to get murky, so I got a nerite snail from the local pet store.


hawaiian shrimp and nerite snail timelapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

I did a timelapse video of the super active new snail and its four little shrimp friends! Little did I know what was about to happen…

spilled water and sand on hardwood floor

The very next day, disaster struck. Smokey clumsily jumped on the counter, but slid and took the entire box and the jar with her.

tools used for shrimp habitat spill cleanup

We painstakingly got the shrimp back in (one was already dead) and sucked the water back in the jar.

It was too much trauma and the water sucked back in was gross with dust and cat hair. Another one died promptly and I was so upset, until I realized that both my two remaining shrimp and snail are used to not just brackish water, but fresh water and salt water. They’re pretty good at adjusting to different levels of salinity, so I decided to clean out the jar and give them fresh water for awhile. Except I had no idea what sort of fresh water to use, so I used a water bottle. By the next morning, that seemed to kill the other two shrimp (or maybe they were already beyond help 🙁 ). And so it was just my poor little snail. Even it gave me a scare a few days later when I thought it had died. Thankfully, by that night it was climbing up the glass again.

After this happened, I immediately decided I needed to order some shrimp to replace the ones I lost and found Shrimp Mart after some searching. I felt they had really reasonable prices, especially when it came to shipping, so I opted for their 20 Opae Ula selection. I wanted to get their live Angel Hair Moss too, but they were out of stock at the time. Too bad! Maybe another time, or hopefully I can get some locally.

naughty cat laying in cage

Smokey was in a time out during our recovery and cleanup period.

packaging for mailed hawaiian red shrimps

The new shrimp arrived in the mail about a week later.

plastic bag with twenty-plus hawaiian red shrimp

Very well packaged! All shrimp were alive and they gave well over 20 (I think I counted 27, but with so many it’s hard to say).

I’m not sure what the pink thing is, but it seems to be a food source. I think it just allows algae growth on it and is just a sort of sponge that the shrimp wouldn’t eat. I carefully transferred the shrimp into the jar and the amount of water they came in was just perfect! I then noticed a strange thing squirming around, which I figured it couldn’t be parasitic or dangerous since it’d been in the bag with all the shrimp on the trip and they were fine.

hawaiian red shrimp larva in spoon

The strange worm-like thing jerking around turned out to be a larva!

over two dozen hawaiian red shrimp in jar with nerite snail

And now they’re happily settled in their new home. I’m thinking about splitting them into two for more space.

I need to make sure I get the right kind of brackish water for them before I use another container for some of them. I hope they don’t feel too crowded in this jar. I’ve since put the pink thing in with them, so they have a place to hide and eat from. And yes, I am much more paranoid about where I place the jar now. No place feels safe, even the ground!

hawaiian shrimp eating

Check out the video of them settled in their home!

Smokey’s calming collar

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Sometimes, Missy and Smokey will get into wrestling matches. I can’t quite tell who is instigating it and who is causing more damage, but Smokey is larger, so just putting her weight on Missy is potentially dangerous. For a long time, I’d just make a loud noise when the fighting appeared to get aggressive. One day, Panda suggested we put collar back on so she can’t sneak up on Missy. We decided to give it a try and we found a surprising result: Smokey appeared to be much nicer overall with the collar on!

smokey cat sleeping on body pillow with red collar on

Look at how angelic she is! She’ll even touch my leg when she’s sleeping.

Not only did she and Missy fight less, but she was less aloof and more tolerant of being held or picked up. It seems that she became more docile, as if it exerted control over her and kept her bad behavior at bay. What a curious effect. It ended up being far more effective than we’d imagined, so now whenever she acts up, we put her collar on. She’ll sit there frozen as we strap it in and then calmly strut around, not looking for trouble. When she sleeps, she actually looks happy. Not alert, or wary, or downright uncomfortable/unhappy. It’s like she’s finally at peace.

This usually works for 2-3 days and then I start to feel bad because she can’t hide from Missy and I also notice her starting to kick at it. So by and by, I remove it and let her be free (but perhaps more prone to attitude too). At least we’ve found something simple that can help curb her issues if they escalate again! Overall she’s getting better at letting us pet her and even hold her at times. I’ll retrain her yet!

Cardboard success!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
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Alright, tonight’s the first night we saw Smokey go into her new box of her own volition. Pretty exciting stuff, I have to say. Panda did have to cut the hole larger after the original hole turned out to require Smokey to squeeze in and out of. Now she can easily step in and out of the box comfortably. 🙂

cat half in half out of cardboard box with hole in side cat head looking down in box hole cat sniffing hole cut into side of cardboard box cat face peeking out of hole cut into side of cardboard box cat sitting in carboard box with face showing in hole cut into side of box cat sitting in cardboard box with hole cut into side

A shelter for Smokey

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
1

Panda’s been wanting to create a little hideaway shelter for Smokey to use whenever she wants to get away from light and noise. She likes to go sit in our closets sometimes when the outside stuff gets to be too much. We decided to cut a hole into a cardboard box we have that she can crawl into. We put shredded packing paper on the bottom to make it more enticing and hopefully she’ll like it!

plated cardboard box with circle marked for cutting

We used an old box and traced a circle where we’d cut a hole.

cat sitting in cardboard box with white tissue paper padding

Smokey waited nearby in one of her many other boxes.

cat sitting watching cardboard box being cut

As the cutting began, she moved closer for a better view.

circular hole cut into side of cardboard box and cat staring at it

All done! Time to set it up.

cat sitting by card board box cat shelter

She was hesitant to try it out.

cat paw and tail hanging out of hole in cardboard box cat shelter

We eventually convinced her to go in for a whirl.

cat squeezing out of hole in cardboard box shelter

But then she came right out. I guess we’ll see if she takes to it.

Our first Halloween

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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It’s our first Halloween as homeowners and you can tell by the massive bags of Sour Patch Kids we gave out (along with Rice Krispy Treats too). The Sour Patch Kids were a hit with pretty much ever kid who came to our door. I think we had a total of twenty-some-odd visitors over the course of about half a dozen doorbell rings. A mostly quiet night, but that’s probably partly due to our neighborhood still being new and many condos still standing empty. It wasn’t easy to tell whether people were home and/or living in each unit, plus with our condo style, the doors are down a sidewalk between the walls of our buildings. The other style condos in the area have the front doors all along the front facing the street, so it’s easier for the kids to run from one to the next.

We made sure to turn on our front door light and we lit up fairy lights in one of the windows facing the road. Inside the front door, we lit up the tiny pumpkin I got from my recent HelloFresh box. Panda originally wanted to shine a light on it to cast a shadow like the bat signal, but the shadow was either too small or too blurry, so we decided to light the mini pumpkin instead. Next year we’ll have to make sure we carve a pumpkin and light it up out by the end of our sidewalk to get more people to our door. It also took use some time to hop off the couch and run down the stairs, so maybe we can read books on the stairs or something to be closer to the door.

Overall it was a fun Halloween, not too crazy, but it had its moments (especially at work). Here are some highlights:

laughing girl dressed up as waldo for halloween blending in with whiteboard with red stripes drawn on

This idea for Where’s Waldo sounded much better in our heads, but still provided for some great amusement today.

halloween trio dressed up as lumberjack with axe, shark, and waldo

In no other scenario would you find a lumberjack axing a shark attacking a Waldo. What fun!

mini pumpkin held in the palm of the hand

Fits in the palm of my hand.

light shining on mini pumpkin inside window by door

Our makeshift lighting for the “pumpkin signal” that didn’t quite work.

mini pumpkin inside window by door lit up by lamp

From the outside, I think you get the idea that we’re open for business, right?

cat chewing on bag of candy in basket of halloween candy

Smokey tried to dig in as soon as the kids were gone and the doorbell stopped ringing.

Freaking out

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , ,
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Tonight, Panda and I changed up Smokey’s litter because she didn’t like the lightweight one we were using. We’d gotten a more normal type that she was quite happy with and we haven’t had any accidents since we got her the new litter. With another litter box and a pan, we decided to add the new litter and see how she reacts. Right after the change, she came around to sniff the pan. She started to get in, sniffing hard, but then decided to go into the litter box she favors most. We waited as she kicked around and then did her business. As she was coming out, she was furiously kicking the litter.

Suddenly, she plopped out of the box. Like her butt landed on the ground and she was curled up with her rear tucked up under her. I thought her foot got caught, but then she stayed like that and suddenly I thought she hurt her foot. Horrible thoughts of paralysis and diseases raced through my mind as we watched her start to drag herself along, butt scraping the floor. She left little poopy drag marks. As she made her way down the hall to the bonus room (our giant room the size of a 2-car garage), Panda and I stared in shock. What was going on?

We then realized that she was rubbing her butt because it somehow didn’t feel good. When it looked like she was going to continue her duty on the carpet of the bonus room, I quickly went to try to pick her up. She stayed in that awkward vertical position, making it difficult to carry her. At first she meowed her sad, complaining little meow, but then she hissed at me – that’s the very first time I’ve ever heard her hiss. I quickly let her down and we managed to get her in the hallway again, where she continued dragging her toosh on the ground. Finally, something came off and she ran off to lick her wounds.

I guess she’s not getting enough fiber, because that’s one odd issue that I’ve never seen before. I wonder what would have happened if Panda and I weren’t there to observe. Thank goodness we were, and quickly cleaned everything up. Smokey then sulked around for much of the night, before collapsing in exhaustion and sleeping the stress away. What a little worrywart.

cat curled up in circular wooden tray with one foot sticking out sleeping

Before the chaos, I was admiring how cute she is.

New furniture!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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I’m so excited about the newest additions to our home – a (real) TV stand and a dresser! Panda and I got a chance to put everything together today, so I feel super accomplished.

pieces of tv stand furniture before assembly

I came home from volunteering to find Panda starting to put together the TV stand.

box for tv stand

We got it on Brookstone’s website because we had a Groupon to use.

instructions for building tv stand and nearly finished product

The instructions were stapled on the right corner. Who does that??

new tv stand with tv and cable box set up

Yay, new TV stand all done! Now the other table that came with our sofas can actually be used as a table.

box for room essentials black 4-drawer dresser from target

Next up was the dresser we got at Target for like 40% off.

pieces of dresser in open box

This was sooo heavy we just let the pieces slide as we opened the box.

cat sitting on pieces for dresser yawning impatiently

Smokey was already impatient for her new playhouse, aka the drawers.

sides of drawer put together

Pushing together those drawer pieces.

pile of screws, dowels, cams, and other hardware for dresser

That’s a lot of screws and cams and whatnot.

cat sitting in newly built drawer for dresser

As soon as we had the drawers made, Smokey made sure to test them out.

cat sleeping in corner of drawer with face squished

Soon enough, she was passed out in another drawer. Must mean they passed QC!

adding drawers glides to side of dresser wall

Things got a little confusing when we started adding the drawer glides.

frame of dresser created and cat sitting on upside down drawer nearby

We were getting close and Smokey decided she needed to try the support of the drawer from the underside.

black 4-drawer dresser newly assembled but with one brown drawer

Alright, dresser! It wasn’t until we put the drawers in that I realized one of them didn’t quite match… looks like I’ll be calling for a replacement piece.

cat laying in open dresser drawer

We’ve designated one drawer for Smokey’s enjoyment and I finally get to move my underwear from a suitcase to a drawer!!

4th of July Pittsburgh

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1

Last weekend, for the 4th of July, Panda and I went on our little vacation to Pittsburgh. He chose that city because we were looking for something within a 4-5 hour drive, didn’t want to do NYC again, and wanted to try a new city. I might have gone there once upon a time, but I don’t have a memory of it, so it’d pretty much be like going there for the first time anyway. We also planned for quite awhile to prepare Smokey for the trip, since he was able to book a hotel that allowed pets for free. It was a nice, quick getaway and there was a ton going on in Pittsburgh that weekend.

We started driving at night, avoiding all toll roads.

We started driving at night, avoiding all toll roads.

On the 4th, we went to join in the regatta festivities.

On the 4th, we went to join in the regatta festivities.

We walked across the bridge to get to the Carnegie Science Center.

We walked across the bridge to get to the Carnegie Science Center.

Pretty flowers!

Pretty flowers!

Outside the science center, we entered the Brain Maze.

Outside the science center, we entered the Brain Maze.

Do I weigh enough? Yes!

Do I weigh enough? Yes!

I had to put on a shirt since my shoulders weren't covered. Also had to tie back my hair.

I had to put on a shirt since my shoulders weren’t covered. Also had to tie back my hair.

The zero gravity machine letting me hang. I did all the tasks almost twice over! Total astronaut material here.

The zero gravity machine letting me hang. I did all the tasks almost twice over! Total astronaut material here.

Going through the stinky submarine. I could hardly breathe.

Going through the stinky submarine. I could hardly breathe.

I wanted to be served by a robot and get a commemorative cup, so we got some froyo.

I wanted to be served by a robot and get a commemorative cup, so we got some froyo.

The world through my heart sunglasses.

The world through my heart sunglasses.

The first time, we didn't have cash so we had to go hunting for change! Then it was up the incline.

The first time, we didn’t have cash so we had to go hunting for change! Then it was up the incline.

What a fantastic view.

What a fantastic view.

Up on this steep hill.

Up on this steep hill.

Looking down, it's a ton of greenery.

Looking down, it’s a ton of greenery.

On our trip back down the incline, we pass over the road with cars driving under.

On our trip back down the incline, we pass over the road with cars driving under.

The journey we made.

The journey we made.

Hey, we were up on the tiny round platform earlier!

Hey, we were up on the tiny round platform earlier!

Yelp helped us find this dinner spot.

Yelp helped us find this dinner spot.

Yum, cornbread and fried pickles!

Yum, cornbread and fried pickles!

How cute, the pizza has flavoring sides.

How cute, the pizza has flavoring sides.

Final morning and I take advantage of the Texas waffle iron.

Final morning and I take advantage of the Texas waffle iron.

Alright! Texas waffle. :)

Alright! Texas waffle. 🙂

On the drive back, I discovered some slippers I might want to get.

On the drive back, I discovered some slippers I might want to get.

Traveling with a kitty

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , ,
1

For the long weekend, Panda and I planned a little trip to Pittsburgh awhile back. Panda got it into his head that we’d bring Smokey along and it’d be a grand adventure, but as we started to train her for the car ride, I became concerned that she would freak out too much. However, it turned out far better than I expected and while I wouldn’t say Smokey is looking forward to another trip, she did seem to have moments of almost enjoying herself. She certainly did acclimate to the new hotel room very quickly, but the whole moving vehicle thing still makes her antsy.

I’m so proud of how she did! We made it home with no issues and boy has she been living it up. I’ve never seen her sleep so well. Well, it was quite the eventful day for her, so she’s pooped. I checked in on her earlier to find her sprawled out along my windowsill and she didn’t even lift her head up when I turned on the light in the room. Here’s a look at how taking our cat in the car for a road trip went:

On our night drive out of town, she found a few favs including this spot.

On our night drive out of town, she found a few favs including this spot.

Upon arriving at the hotel, she decided this was the optimal perch.

Upon arriving at the hotel, she decided this was the optimal perch.

The next morning she chilled in her new spot.

The next morning she chilled in her new spot.

We came home to find her staring out the window and eventually coaxed her to bed.

We came home to find her staring out the window and eventually coaxed her to bed.

This morning, noises outside made her suspicious.

This morning, noises outside made her suspicious.

Got a quick break of playing in before hitting the road.

Got a quick break of playing in before hitting the road.

She loved perching on top of the carrier.

She loved perching on top of the carrier.

Just trying to get some shut eye.

Just trying to get some shut eye.

A few times, she'd get overwhelmed and pant.

A few times, she’d get overwhelmed and pant.

She really loved having her paws on the center console and her feet on the back seat... leaving her belly to hang.

She really loved having her paws on the center console and her feet on the back seat… leaving her belly to hang.

Making sure this driving thing is working right.

Making sure this driving thing is working right.

"Is it over yet?"

“Is it over yet?”

Gathering herself for some zen moments.

Gathering herself for some zen moments.

Nauseous or sleepy?

Nauseous or sleepy?

Hanging on for dear life, lol.

Hanging on for dear life, lol.

Home! I see home!!

Home! I see home!!

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