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Just a quick update…this blog is now run by DR. CHEMGRRL.

I defended my PhD on Wednesday. YAY x 10^79

LOVE the animation, LOVE the song. Love They Might Be Giants. Though I thought chalk was CaCO3 (Calcuim carbonate), not CaSO4 (Calcium sulfate). Anyway, this is still the stuff of awesome.

Guess what–I finished a sweater! An old one! Really! Hopefully, pics and actual blog post to follow. Until then, keep humming along.

Kelpie died quietly on Thursday night. We buried her beneath the apple tree.

I miss her a lot.

And the number ‘helpless.’ Kelpie is sick.


Really sick.

She’s actually been not well for a little bit now. Awhile back (I actually can’t remember when) she had this day where she wouldn’t stop throwing up. And I really mean would not stop. She barfed about once every 45 minutes or so. We took her to the vet the next day, but she couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Mary Alice (the vet) gave Kelpie a shot to settle her stomach and sent us home with some wet food. And Kelpie stopped barfing. And she was fine for awhile.

But then she started again. Not like that day, not all the time. But every few days or so. Which was weird. Because until that point in her life, Kelpie had thrown up maybe ten times. Now she was throwing up about once every 2-3 days. Nels took her to the vet at the end of March, but Mary Alice still couldn’t find anything wrong with her. But Kelpie had lost about 2.5 pounds–her healthy weight was always around 11 or so. At that point, she weighed 9.

Anyway, she still didn’t stop barfing. We put her on wet food (I usually only give my kitties dry), and I actually started feeding her kitten food. She was getting so skinny, I wanted to get as many calories as possible into her. But it seemed like she was still getting skinner. And she was still throwing up. So I took her back to the vet. That was Monday night.

Kelpie now weighs 6 pounds.

So Mary Alice palpated her stomach some more. And she found something. So she took an X-ray. Kelpie’s got a tumor. Mary Alice can’t really tell where it is–it could be in her pancreas or in her small intestine. Or it could be a swollen lymph node, but that’s unlikely she said. An ultrasound might give her a better idea about where the tumor is coming from, but then it might not. The radiology guy is going to be in town Thursday if I wanted to do it. But they’d have to sedate Kelpie and shave her and stuff. And what they found probably wouldn’t be treatable. The other option is to do exploratory surgery. But then she said that she didn’t think Kelpie, being in such a weakened state, would recover from such an invasive procedure.

So this is the only option I have left before me: let her die.

Kelpie 3

She’s only ten. She’s not an old kitty. Okay, so she’s not a kitten anymore, but I thought she’d be around for another 5 years or so. But now I’m wondering if she’ll make it to her next birthday. I actually doubt that; it’s not until July.

The reality of this keeps hitting me in odd moments. Like Monday night, when the practical part of my brain said that maybe I should pull my car over to the side of the road because I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t see. Or last night, surrounded by the odd bright colors of the cat food aisle of PetCo, trying to find something, anything, that she would eat, and knowing that I was watching her slowly starve to death.

the kelpers

She’s not eating much at all anymore. I’m giving her everything I can think of, everything she loved before. I even bought her some ice cream yesterday, something she would have practically chewed through the freezer for before she got sick. She gave it a couple of licks. That was it. I woke up disoriented next to her food bowl on the kitchen floor last night, and stared uncomprehending at Oscar, demolishing the food in Kelpie’s dish. “Get lost!” I yelled finally, snatching the dish away. “That’s Kelpie’s, not yours!”

I’m not getting much sleep at all, actually. I stay up late every night reading James Herriot novels. It’s because I am afraid. Afraid that she’ll curl up to sleep one night and not wake up. Afraid of coming downstairs in the morning and finding her cold and still in a corner.

My mom says it might be better that way–if Kelpie dies quietly in her sleep. Because getting our cat Alabaster put to sleep after she got mammory cancer was about the hardest thing she’s ever had to do, she told me. And if Kelpie makes up her mind it’s time to go, then that’s it.

I guess she’s right. I don’t know. I don’t think Kelpie is in any pain. She doesn’t move around a whole lot anymore, and she hasn’t come up to me asking for pats in awhile now. But she still runs out on the porch to meet my car when I get home at night, and still sits on the toilet when I take a shower. She doesn’t talk to me anymore, though. Kelpie is the only cat I’ve ever had that did that–that weird half purr half meow thing. She’d do it at me, and I’d do it back. But I don’t know when she last did that.

I have to call Mary Alice and see if she think Kelpie’s hurting. Does it hurt to be so skinny? Good God, she’s so light. Six pounds! Like a little piece of kitty fluff. And you can feel each and every vertebrae, each rib. I don’t want to take a picture of her the way she looks now. It’s so sad. I don’t want to remember her that way.

Kelpie with flowers

I want to remember her as the ass-kicking kitty she was, and is still, although it’s buried inside. I want to remember her ninja moves when she wrestled with Izzy, and the way she would bitch-slap Oscar when he was being a pest (which honestly, is most of the time). I want to remember the time she jumped right in the toilet when she was a kitten, and how she used to leap on my head in the middle of the night, that look of evil glee in her eyes. I want to remember the day she finally let Nels pet her, and then later when she would nuzzle his armpits (ew, but cute). I want to remember how she would catch chipmunks, then carry them around in her mouth like kittens, never hurting them at all. And the day that Bev, my old landlady, carried her upstairs to my apartment, Kelpie’s baby head just peeking over her arm. “Here’s Baby!” Bev said to me, in that bizarre Indiana hick accent she had. That was a week after I moved to Bloomington. Almost 11 years ago.

our feets

Kelpie has always been my kitty. We’ve been through a lot together. And now…now I have to let her go. But I don’t know how. I’ve always been kind of a fierce person, in all aspects. But I think the fiercest parts of me are the way that I love and the way I protect. And just giving up on her, well. It goes against my nature. Giving up is against Kelpie’s nature too, which is part of the reason I love her so much. She’s like me.

I’m sorry. Sorry I went on so long. But my heart is hurting and I’m a writer, so what do I do? I write. Badly, in this case. I usually go over my blog posts a couple of times before I publish them, but I’m not going to this time. I don’t want to read all that again. So I’m sure it sucks and I’m sure it’s sad and I’m sure it’s long. And I’m sure I’ll miss my kitty. And that’s all.

Yup, that says it all. I, for one, am having lots of fun playing with short people and eating way too much sugar.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

love, chemgrrl

Kind of big quake here, 5.8, about 15 miles from where I am. But I’m okay! In the newsroom–this place is going nuts. Gotta run.


Yes, I am SO EVIL! It was a good joke, no? I am sorry if I made anybody sad, though. The funny thing is, *I* started getting all sad when I was writing that post. And after I hit “publish” I was downright depressed. I guess I got into the spirit a little too much. But honestly, everything I said was true (well, excepting all the stuff that wasn’t). You guys ARE really important to me, and I DO cherish your comments and emails, and it DOES make blogging really fun. So yeah. Most of it wasn’t actually bullshit. But, my adviser is really happy with my work right now, so I don’t have to worry about that at least. Finishing, yes. Making my boss happy, not so much.

So. I told the blub all about the joke I played yesterday, and he said I am a Very Bad Person. But I think he was just mad because of the joke I played on him. Want to hear it? Okay!

Background: the blub is a super heavy sleeper. I can stand at the end of our bed and scream his name at the top of my lungs and he won’t wake up. This is not an exaggeration. I have really done it several times.

He is also mostly bald.

a typical picture of Nels

And so photogenic!

Anyway, so. Monday night I waited for him to go to bed. He did. Then I waited about 10 minutes or so and went upstairs, a Sharpie in my pocket. I turned on the bedside light, and waited. He didn’t stir. I pushed down on the pillow below his head (thankfully he was sleeping on his side). He didn’t stir. So I uncapped my little friend and carefully wrote “WASH ME” across the crown and back of his head. Still no stirring. I blew on it for a bit, then turned off the light and went downstairs. Heh heh heh. Mission accomplished.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of this. About 10:30 Tuesday morning, I went down to the restaurant, camera in tow. When I appeared in the kitchen, all the guys back there started cracking up. But there was nothing on Nels’ head! He had taken the directions literally, I guess. I had thought that he wouldn’t have been able to get it all off, but he did. Hmph. So no picture. But I guess Nels didn’t believe the first guy who told him about it. Hee! He thought that guy was playing a joke on him. But when someone else said the same thing, the gig was up. And he washed it off. Oh well. It was still pretty funny! I think at least. He thought it was funny too, but then the pancakes I ordered came in the shape of a devil head with its tongue sticking out. I usually get teddy bears or happy faces. And he made me promise last night before he went to sleep that I wouldn’t write anything on his head. No problem! “Sure, sweetie!” I said, “I won’t write anything on your head tonight!”

*evil grin*

But next time, I’ll get a picture right after I do it. Give me a few days. Gotta earn back the trust.

And speaking of earning back the trust, I do have some knitting for you! I’ve had a bit of startitus, so I think I have 5 or so WIPs right now. Pics soon, when it stops being all nasty and rainy and grey here. I guess that means sometime in May.

And you guys do know I love you, right? Big smoochy smoochy poogly oogly wuv!

No joke. :)

Hey everybody.

Well. Crap. I guess I might as well get right into it.

So maybe you guys have noticed my absence for this past week. Maybe not. It doesn’t really matter. The thing is, my research adviser pulled me into his office for a serious “meeting” early last week. It was really more like a “barraging” but whatever. The gist is that he thinks I need to work a lot harder. Now. And if I don’t (and this is a direct quote) “pull my head out of my ass” and get some things done, he’s going to kick me out. He doesn’t have time for slackers anymore, he said. Either finish my projects ASAP or leave with a Masters at the end of the summer. My choice.

Is it a choice, really? I’m sure you can guess what I said. I’ve been in grad school for four years now—all that work is not something I’m going to throw away that easily. So I’ve got to put in some really hard work now. I figure I have to work about 80-90 hours a week to get everything done that I need to get done. So that means, unfortunately, that some things have to go. Don’t expect to see me on Knitty anymore. I’ve actually already deleted my account, so I won’t be tempted to just go read the boards “for a bit” like I often do. I’m also getting rid of my bloglines account, so I won’t be commenting on your blogs anymore, either. That’s really sad for me, as it’s usually one of the highlights of my day. I save blog reading for when I’m eating my lunch at my desk. It’s my time to relax during my hectic days here. No more though. I’ll miss it.

And the last thing. The pretty big thing—this blog. I do really love blogging. When I started this blog, last September, I had no idea how important it would become to me, how important you guys would become to me. I cherish every comment, every email. But…yeah. It takes time, time that I just don’t have anymore. So I have to quit. No more blogging for me. I’ll leave the blog here, for a bit. I’ll probably delete it in a few weeks or whatever. It’s too sad for me to leave it dangling here in the ether, sad and lonely and depressed. I need a good clean ending. So away it goes. I hope it made at least one person happy, for a little while. It did make me happy. But no more.

I will miss you guys a lot. I’m keeping my Ravelry account, so you might find me there, occasionally. I expect I won’t have much time for knitting anymore either, so updates will likely be scarce. But drop me a line once in awhile, okay? I’ll probably need all the cheering up I can get.

So. Yeah. I guess I don’t have anything else to say.

Bye, knitting world. I hope to be a part of you again some day.


P.S. There is one more thing…


One very sweet, very loving kitty. Have you seen him?

Oh Buster, where are you? I last saw him as I was pulling out of the garage Monday morning. He was sleeping on the seat of the old, broken down riding mower parked in the driveway. Nels said he saw him in the house on Tuesday afternoon. But since then, nothing. No signs of Buster.

I guess I should explain a little bit. The blub and I live in kind of a remote area, between two state forests and near the end of a dead-ending gravel road. The four cats come and go as they please. Sometimes they wander off on little adventures, but they’re rarely gone for more than a day.

buster 1

Buster’s been gone for almost three days. None of the neighbors have seen him. Last night I wandered around in the woods for over an hour, yelling myself hoarse. Izzy came with me. At one point, he got kinda freaked and started hissing. I don’t know what he was hissing at, but we came home then. Nels and I then canvassed the neighborhood. Nels said that he would look again today, plus go to the animal shelter.


I’m really worried. There are things out in the woods. Things that can hurt kitties. Bobcats. Raccoons. Dogs. Coyotes. Copperheads. There have also been a few rattlesnake sightings lately. The timber rattlesnake is supposedly rare, but lives in our area. The blub found one under the front porch last year. Our neighbor’s groundskeeper found three just a few days ago. Now, Copperheads scare me, because a bite from one of those is enough to kill a cat. They’re generally not very aggressive, although it would bite in self-defense (and our cats have been known to catch snakes in the past). The rattlers, there’s a different story. Those things are highly poisonous; one bite can kill a person. But they’re also big enough to eat the cats, and they’re kind of aggressive.

intervention attempt

I slept on the couch last night, so if he came home I would know right away. Every time I hear the cat door click, I look, expecting to see him. I keep staring outside. I keep calling. I keep thinking he’ll just trot right up as usual, leaping into my lap and demanding pats.

buster in profile 1

Buster, where are you? Please come home.

Now clink me links lest I give ye a keel-haulin’

I be readin’

I be watchin’ again, cuz that Cary Elwes makes a sexy pirate, he does. Ramming speed!

In me earholes


I’m thinkin’ that some scurvy dog slipped into me mornin’ grog

Have ye a nice day.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
June 2021