The Vine, Anniversary Edition: April 30, 2010
I did not manage to clear the entire backlog…because y'all's enthusiasm for the anniversary project created an entirely new backlog. Heh. We'll get to them all in time; until then, see what you can do with today's questions. I'll select prizewinners over the weekend. Thanks!
I've exhausted the limits of what my brain and Google can do, and I need help! I'm searching for a YA novel, possibly written between the late 1960s-early 1980s about a mysterious young teen girl and her two (?) friends in her new neighborhood. I read it sometime around 1988 in paperback form.
I wish I could remember more of the story arc, but I do remember that the girl had a small cement or concrete owl statue with green eyes (I can't remember if it was hers or if she had taken it from someone). The girl also wore a shark-tooth or alligator-tooth necklace that she had cut her teeth on as a baby. I think her mother was out of the picture, and the girl had moved around a lot with her dad. I also remember a scene where the teens are digging a hole (to hide the owl? to find something else?).
I know it's random and sketchy, but maybe the answer is out there among the TN faithful? Thanks a bunch!
I have been trying to remember the titles of a series of children's books, and was hoping for some help from the TN readership. Here is what I know about the books:
- The main characters were two cousins named Cassie and (I think) Max. They were both orphans who were adopted by their aunt (or great-aunt) Alexandra, who took both children out of school to travel with her. The children studied with a tutor, who had a formal manner and insisted on calling Cassie by her full name.
- There were at least two books, but probably three, in the series. Each of the books involved the kids traveling somewhere and solving some sort of mystery. One of the plots centered around a werewolf, who could be heard in the woods at night. As I recall, the howls turned out to be the product of Alexandra's friend, who was attempting to keep the wolves near her house safe from hunters.
- The books were probably published in the late '80s/early '90s, and aimed at middle-junior-high-school kids.
- The books were not written by Bruce Coville, although they sound similar to some of his work.
I know it's not much information, but this has bugged me for years, and all attempts at Googling have been futile. I would really appreciate it if anyone can help me to identify these books.
AK in Boston
My mom has a cat problem. The Vine and The Nation have successfully rehomed cats before, so I'm reaching out to try to help our cat.
Ten years ago, my mom adopted a young cat (not a kitten) from the humane society. She's a smallish Abyssianian mix or something, maybe 6 or 7 pounds. Her name is Stella. She was an only cat in a one-old-dog-and-one-cat household for a long time. She tolerated the occasional feline visitor in the form of my cat.
My mom loves having two cats, so she got a second cat, Zeke, a few years back. Two cats and one old dog was the status quo for a while. Then the dog crossed the rainbow bridge, and my mom, a year later, got a new dog. So the house is at two cats and one dog again.
The problem: Stella would prefer to be a solo pet. She just doesn't like other animals that much. She likes people pretty well. But she acts out quite a lot in my mom's house, and we really believe she would be happier as an only. If no one wants her, we'll keep her. We love her, and we're prepared to keep dealing with her issues. This is not an either-or situation. My mom's been dealing with Stella's behavior issues for some time now, and she's tried just about everything. Bottom line: we're 99% certain she wants to be the apple of someone's eye, not one of two or three apples. But if we can't find the right home for her, she stays in our home.
In the interest of full disclosure, Stella's behavior issues are primarily related to peeing outside the litter box (we have two or three, some covered, some not). She's not destructive or anything else. She whizzes on area rugs, and leather furniture (not carpet or upholstered furniture). She does not have a bladder infection or a UTI (Mom always gets that checked), or any other physical causes for the peeing.
Mom tried Feliway, to reduce Stella's anxiety, but that hasn't worked that well. We've considered Rescue Remedy in the water, or feline anti-depressants, but it really seems like this is a matter of lifestyle. Is it really preferable to medicate Stella for the rest of her life over finding her a good single-pet home? Stella isn't comfortable in a multi-pet family, and we want her to be happy.
Stella is fixed, and she's about 10 years old. She's a very small cat, indoors only, although at our house she goes out on the lanai when it's sunny. She is brownish-grey on top, with a tummy and toes the color of butter. She is missing several teeth (she had gingivitis when we adopted her), but she eats dry food like a champ. She likes sunny spots and fleece blankets. She prefers to sit near you, not on you.
So Sars, I'm asking for your help. Maybe you and the Nation can think of something we haven't that would allow her to stay in our home, or maybe you agree that Stella would prefer a new home. We really wish we could find a good way to keep her in our home, so suggestions are welcome. If anyone out there wants to adopt an older cat, please let us know. Stella currently lives in southwest Florida, but she'd probably go anywhere.
Stella has always had other pets in the house, no? So, what does "for some time now" mean, exactly? How long ago did Stella start pointedly ignoring the box? What happened around that time?
Ask the vet for suggestions on correcting the behavior, or have her recommend another vet who specializes in that kind of thing. Before you speak to either of them, create a detailed timeline — when the peeing started; how often it occurs; what seems to trigger it — and a map of the incidents. Include every piece of information.
What any vet will probably suggest, and I agree, is that Stella have a part of the house, even if it's just one room, where the other pets cannot go. Keep her litter and food in that area, and exclude the other pets from it — and discourage your mother from getting any more pets. If this had been going on for a while, and "Stella wants to be an only cat" was the conclusion early on, getting another dog only aggravated the situation, but the only thing to do about that now is to acknowledge the territorial issues and try to make Stella comfortable.
But rehoming her is, I think, a more dramatic measure than you need. Give Stella her own space — a spare bedroom, the basement, whatever — and let her feel like an only cat for a while…and I mean "a while." Give it a few months to take. But if the problem is that she's marking because she feels insecure about her space, giving her away isn't so much going to solve that.
Dear Sars and brilliant Vine readers,
I would be eternally grateful if you could find a song for me. It's an Italian pop song, and its video was in fairly high rotation on a now-defunct Italian music channel in the winter/spring of 2008. It is sung by two women. I have no idea what their names are, or if they sang as a duo or had a group name. I think that one of the women was blond and the other was brunette.
The video is set mainly on a beach (a rocky/pebbly beach as opposed to a sandy one) and its colors were muted brown/blue/gray rather than sun-drenched (the visual reminded me more of an Irish beach than an Italian one). There were big cliffs. The song is neither a ballad nor very fast (it was in rotation with "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat, and I think it was similar).
So I don't know the title or the artist, so my Google/YouTube search strings were vague and didn't turn up anything useful. Does anyone know the song? Or know of a website specializing in Italian pop music videos? I am hoping that I will recognize the song when I hear it. Thanks so much for any ideas!
I don't speak Italian, and don't even know what the song is about
I'm hoping the awesome TN readers can help me mend some fences with my roommate. A year or so ago, she bought a set of dishes at TJ Maxx. They're not hugely expensive, in fact I think they were originally sold at WalMart, but she really loved them.
Oh, did I say "loved"? Well, if you guessed that I broke one, you'd be half right. In fact, I broke two. On her birthday. (Yeah, ouch.)
I've been looking for a way to replace them, but the pattern is discontinued and I haven't had any luck online. It's called Blue Poppy, by Baum. Replacements.com and Ebay are coming up blank, and all the store links I can find are from 2009 and are sold out.
I'm hoping that the readers' hive-mind might know of a site that I'm not familiar with that can help me track down a set or individual replacements. Googling "Baum" along with the word "poppy" just keeps leading me down the yellow-brick road. Any suggestions would be welcome, and anyone who can find me a retailer or active auction will get a $100 donation to Donors Choose in their name come October. Thanks in advance!
This would be driving me to drink, but I'm afraid I'll break the snifters
I need to switch blog hosts in the next few months, and I'm wondering which one to go with. I'm pretty addicted to the set-up of my current host (which is university-specific, and woo-hoo I'm graduating, but boo-hoo I can't use their awesome online resources anymore) and what I don't want to do is go to the trouble of setting up a blog somewhere and then discover that they don't have the functionality I want.
I know SOME coding, and I would like for the blog to be open-source so I can screw around with colors and fonts and whatnot, but I am not tech-savvy enough to build from the ground up, so I need something that has ready-made themes and templates that I can work around. I would like to be able to create new pages attached to the blog (an "about me" and so on) but I don't need message boards or site-specific emails or anything like that.
I don't care at all about generating a lot of traffic — it's pretty much just my mom and my friends from college reading this thing, and that's cool with me — so preferably no hosts that require ad space on the page. Also, I'm currently avoiding the social networking stuff, so it doesn't need to be compatible with any of that.
Can you (or other amateur bloggers out there) give me some pros and cons of the various systems?
By the way, the winning blog host will ideally be FREE
Browse around WordPress.com and WordPress.org and see what you find. I've used the free version (hosted by WP), the free templates with a host (Bluehost, which is a reasonably good service), and paid/customized templates with a host (the current version of TN), and the main thing to recommend WP is how customizable it is. Also, their community BB is very helpful for bug fixes no matter which level of template or hosting you decide to go with.
I hadn't bothered with this one, because I'm pretty sure I will never find it. But then, I didn't think anyone was going to find that primitive Thinker statue either, so what the hell. I am looking for this.
It is a stained-glass reproduction of the Seven Ages of Man window in the Folger Shakespeare Library. I saw it in a store years ago, and loved it, but didn't have the money to purchase it at the time. It appears it is no longer made. eBay has turned up nothing on multiple occasions. Google-fu turns up a lot of places that used to have it, but don't anymore.
I've near given up hope, but Ask the Readers has a most impressive success rate, so let's see what happens.
Why Yes, I Was An English Major, Why Do You Ask?
Tags: Ask The Readers cats Donors Choose popcult retail sites