As previously posted, my orange tabby cat, Thyme, had been very old and sick for some time. We lost him on 1-7-09….less than 6 months since our other cat, Abbey died. :(  But instead of talking about how terrible it was to lose Thyme, I’m going to tell the story of how we met…

I arrived at my future in-laws house for the first time back in (cough*cough) 1996,  I’d been told Thyme (who started out a semi-feral barn kitty) never expressed much interest in people, but I’ve never seen a cat act quite the way he did after we met. He followed me everywhere. Even though he wasn’t allowed in the main part of the house, he walked around it outside, following me from room to room through the windows and meowing. When we went outside, he came running. When we walked the dogs down the road, he followed. He talked at me constantly, meowing with a harsh, raspy voice that was startling coming from a cat. I have no idea what struck him about me…maybe he thought I was his ginger mama. ;) Needless to say, my in-laws (who had close to 10 cats total at the time) were more than happy to let Thyme have me. So when we moved into our own place…Thyme retired from the barn. We spent many happy years together, his favorite place being the same as mine – bed. He helped me write my first novel. My lap misses him.

To lighten things up a little…here is a (poor quality) picture of the bereavement card my mother sent me upon Thyme’s death. She was NOT trying to be funny, and I hate to sound cliche by saying my mother has no clue, but…um:

You might need to have met my mom to understand, but I will treasure this forever. LOL.

And finally…S and I lasted abour FOUR days sans cat before we couldn’t stand it anymore and visited a local shelter. I was determined to find SOME cat out there who no one else wanted, or at the very least, who might love Basil, our standard poodle because he ~misses~ Thyme. So among 200 other cats at the shelter, this tiny little eight pound female went out of her way to get our attention. She followed me around and meowed, and batted at my hands to pet her. When I did pet her, she arched her back so high, she almost fell off her perch! Sadly, she was a teenage mother who’d had six kittens and is FIV+. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is much like HIV in humans. It can only be spread to other cats (not dogs or humans) via a deep penetrating bite or scratch wound. But being FIV+ meant she had less of a chance to get adopted because (like HIV) people don’t understand the disease. She can still have a long life and live safely with other friendly cats. And now that we have her home…OMG she ADORES Basil! Yay! :D So without further ado…here is Dagny:

She does look VERY Maine Coon, doesn’t she?

An Interview with Parker Fadley and Her Author, Courtney Summers

 CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers made its debut on December 23rd. I’ve invited Courtney and her main character Parker Fadley to tell us (some very random things) about themselves and the book, which is so awesome you might want to run out and BUY IT FIRST and then come back. Oh and if you haven’t seen the book trailer, that’s a must-see. To be honest, I wasn’t sure Parker would even show up to this interview, but she graced us with her presence in her own unique way, and I didn’t even have to bribe her! Really!

Cracked Up To Be
Perfect Parker Fadley isn’t so perfect anymore.  She’s quit the cheerleading squad, she’s dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she’s failing school.  Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she’s playing games…but what they don’t know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn’t something she can say out loud.  It isn’t even something she can say to herself.  A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault.  If she can just remove herself from everybody–be totally alone–then everything will be okay…The problem is, nobody will let her. "
Q) So Courtney let’s get right to it: What Is With The Volcanoes?
I just love them.  I think they’re fascinating and terrifying and beautiful, much like zombies.  Except for the beautiful part.  I actually used to be really, really afraid of volcanoes.  Don’t laugh, but Dante’s Peak scared me to DEATH.  The thought of a volcano taking out Pierce Brosnan was more than I could bear.  Somewhere down the line, my terror shifted to awe.  It was also around the same time I decided Pierce Brosnan was no longer attractive to me.  Do you think that is a coincidence?  In any case, volcanoes are AMAZING.  And you should RESPECT them.

 Q) Parker, how do you feel about social networking? Do you have a MySpace/Facebook/Twitter?
Q) School Uniforms (either/both of you): Yay or Nay? Why?
Courtney:  I think uniforms are horrible.  For the most part, I can understand the reasoning behind them but, God, I hated wearing mine.  I found them as stifling as the environment I was in.  I prefer a dress codes vs. uniforms.  Blegggh uniforms bleeeeeegh.
Parker: (ò.ó)
Q) How do (either/both of you) feel about pressures to stay in/drop out of high school? What would your advice be to someone having a rough time in school?
I (Courtney!), will take this one.  I think the pressure to stay in school and the stigma of dropping out can be equally ridiculous at times.  The education system isn’t for everyone and I would encourage anyone who is having a rough go of school to explore all their options–whether that means staying, going, transferring, or seeking an alternative education (unschooling, homeschooling, etc).  I think one of the hardest parts about these types of situations is that some (not all) parents and teachers assume having a difficult time at high school is par for the course and inadvertantly shrug off a genuinely unhealthy situation as being ‘normal.’  This is really unfortunate.  On the flipside, leaving school is not the most feasible solution for some families, even if it is the best option.  That’s also really unfortunate.  I can’t tell someone who is having a rough time at school to drop out or keep plugging away, but I would encourage them to talk to their family and their teachers, to examine all their options, and hopefully some sort of solution will present itself.  If not, write it all down and put it in a book later!

 Q) What kind of music do you like, Parker? Favorite bands/artists?
d-_-b  Matthew Good Band, all the way!
Q) Courtney, in 140 characters or less…what is the best thing about Twitter?

 Q) (either/both of you) What would you do if you woke up to find Edward Cullen sleep-stalking you?
Courtney:  (ó.ò)
Parker:  (ó.ò)
Q) Parker, I know Courtney feels strongly about the impending zombie apocalypse…what is your opinion?
zombies: f(O_o)f   [¬º-°]¬
Parker:  (ó.ô)
zombies:  f(O_o)f   [¬º-°]¬
Parker:  (9ò_ó)=@
zombies/Parker:  (x(x_(X_x(O_o)x_x)_X)x)
Q) Courtney, what is the coolest/freakiest/weirdest authory-thing that’s happened to you since Cracked Up To Be was released?
It has all been cool, freaky and weird, to be honest.  People where I live know that I write now.  I used to hold that card close to my chest.  And now it’s just out there!  It is bizarre.  But in a good way.
Q) (either/both of you) You can SAVE THE WORLD or go after the ~*sparkly*~ thing. What do you do??
Well, obviously we would–OH MY GOD LOOK AT THAT ~*SPARKLY*~–
Q) BONUS QUESTION for Courtney: If you could be Doctor Who’s companion…where/when would you go/see/do?
Look.  To be honest.  I would just stay in the TARDIS all day and make out with the Doctor.  Yeah, that’s right.