June is Audiobook month!

I have not one, but 2 audibooks to work on for #audiobookmonth. I will admit they are not lucrative projects, but they are flexible so I can fit recording around my other jobs. One is a steamy ‘beach read’ type of story about a married woman’s “harmless” affair. The other is a book of devotions. Talk about opposite extremes of content! This is the first non-fiction I’ve done, so that is a new spin for me.

I recently got some new sound absorption panels, so my home studio set up is looking more professional! I still have to figure out the most ergenomic way to place my laptop for recording and iPad for script reading.

I’ve moved which part of the room I record in as well. Before I was in the middle of the room. Now I am in the doorway. There are closets on either side of the door, making the doorway itself almost an extension of that closet. With the new panel on one side, and a padded room divider screen on the other, it’s fairly quiet.
Not perfect yet…but getting closer!

Life with Cat

It’s been a long time since I posted about how Monsieur Le Chat is settling in. He is getting more comfortable and becoming quite a darling. He has a big personality…which is good. I’ve seen other cats that just lurk in the background and don’t do much. Not as much fun.

Monsieur still seems a bit scared. He bolts when doors to the outside open (maybe he is worried he will have to leave?) He likes to sit under chairs and stools…. like a protective cage. He still has yet to really warm up to hubby. He has sat on his lap once, and will allow pets. He doesn’t hiss, but he also doesn’t willing spend time with the hubby. If I am away all day, he stays up in ‘his’ room, even though there is another human in the house who will give him love.

He’s still very fussy with food. He loves a new bag of food…then when it gets close to the end he seems less interested. Same with wet food. Some days he loves it, others not so much.

I will post pics of him once I get the interface with google photos to work!

Absence makes the Cat grow fonder

I think the assimilation to the new home is almost complete! We came back last night after a week’s vacation and Monsieur Le Chat was very happy to see us! He spent the week exploring the house without us around to interrupt him, so I think he’s feeling more at east roaming around while we are here too. He’s been very chatty – I suspect registering his displeasure at his abbandonment over the past week.

He voluntarily jumped up on the couch for lap time serveral times over the past 24 hrs. He followed me around and came to watch us eat lunch. He also jumped up on the table and sat in my chair when I got up to get something. We’ll work on his table manners later.
For now we will enjoy having a cat that wants to be around us!

Good Friends

Monsieur Le Chat and I are becoming friends. I won’t say we are BFF’s yet… after all he still doesn’t roll over and show me his belly…which is a sign of vulnerability and therefore trust. But he does come over to me for pets and attention. He loves having a good brushing. Some weird things I’ve noticed. He likes to press his head up against a wall while being petted. It’s almost like an “assume the position” thing. Time for petting? I’ll assume the position.
And he is learning what windows are all about! He lived many years in an apartment that didn’t have much of a view, so he wasn’t even noticing the windows here. Now ‘his room’ is off the balcony, with a nice perch right in front. After a couple of times having to put him up on the box (yes, he actually lets me pick him up now!), he has started sitting up there on his own.

Speaking of picking him up… he has sat on my lap a few times. Now this is generally good…except for his dismount. My office chair has arms, so he can’t just jump down from any angle. He has to back down. On one attempt he actually got stuck with his claws in my thigh/clothing and couldn’t extract himself. He was not happy about this…although to be fair, neither was I. I still have claw marks in my thigh.

He still isn’t sure what to make of the other house resident. I have brought him downstairs a few times to sit on the couch. He will tolerate it only as long as I am petting him. If I get up, he’s back upstairs. My hubby has been trying to make friends with him, but so far Le Chat is still skeptical. He spends 80% of his time in ‘his room’, only venturing downstairs at night when we are not there to freak him out. But he’s nice company in my office!


Ooooh progress! Le Chat has deemed me worthy to see his portliness. He used to run out of the office early in the morning, so we wouldn’t have to share the same space. Over the weekend I came in a few times while he was in here and he didn’t bolt, so I guess he finally figured out he’s safe. He’s currently napping in his box. He has condescended to let me pat his head even! He’s not interested in the homemade chicken dinner though. He reminds me of my dad in his last years. Cranky, sedentary and generally uninterested in things that make life pleasant. I can’t believe he has not even looked out a window at the birds/squirrels. Maybe he doesn’t like wildlife. He did evict his toy mouse from his snooze box.

Waiting to escape
I made him a whole chicken breast for meals…Monsieur is not interested
Finally showing signs of socialability!

The Routine

Monsieur Le Chat is over his hunger strike and is accepting that he now lives here. A weekend with his ‘mommy’ helped to put all right in the world, and even though she is no longer here, he seems resigned to live.

Now we are starting to get into a routine. He wants nothing to do with us…so he hides somewhere during the day, and then sneaks upstairs to ‘his room’ around 9pm to eat /use the box and continue sleeping. We have installed a security camera to see where he’s going. First it was under the couches, and now it’s moved to the office / his room overnight. He knows exactly what the camera is and doesn’t like it one bit. When I was trying to reposition it to get a view of the new couch position, he was very vocal about his displeasure and let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not ‘ready for his close up’. Hmpf. For a cat who is used to living with an actor, this is disappointing.

We have been able to get some fun behind the scenes views of life as a cat. It involves primarily shifting from prone to semi-prone and sometimes sitting up. He is using the fancy bed that was bought for him.

He is also quite a finicky eater. Right now chicken…(real chicken, if you please) is the only ‘wet’ food he will eat. Luckily there is one dry food that he will also eat. I’m hoping he gets past this phase and starts eating some of the many, many stockpiled cans that his owner brought. There are raccoons in this neighbourhood who would love to have his leftovers!

Cat purgatory

(Note: I waited a few days before posting this to make sure the cat wasn’t in any serious health trouble!)

It seems Le Chat is on a hunger strike. He’s been in the bathroom since the big extraction on Tuesday.

It’s a large bathroom. Much more space than he would have if he were boarding at a kennel. Luckily we hardly ever use the giant jacuzzi tub, so his litter box is in there, separated from his food area. He has a scratching post and some boxes with his momma’s clothing in them for security/familiarity. So far he has favoured hiding behind the toilet. I’m amazed at the tenacity of cats. He spent about 24 hrs facing the wall. He has turned around now and is facing the door. I rigged up some room dividers to create a ‘hallway’ from the bathroom to the spare room (where the dreaded wall bed is currently tucked away). That way he can’t go downstairs. I don’t think any of us are ready for that stage yet.

I read that cats will let you know when they need more room because they will try to bolt past when the door is open. Well, the door is currently open and Monsieur Le Chat is still praying at the porcelain throne for rescue from purgatory.

It is the safest spot for him. The bathroom, relatively speaking is free of humans most of the time. We only go in for short periods, so he has the place to himself. He is peeing, so I know that means he’s drinking water. Unfortunately he has no interest in food. Not even treats. He ate a couple treats one day and now there are 5 sitting in front of him and he’s not budging. He does have a fair amount of ‘reserve’ and isn’t really expending much energy at this point, so I don’t think there is need to worry just yet. Again, articles say it can take a week or more for a cat to adjust to a new place.

He did skulk across the room while I was in the shower (the bathroom has a tub and a shower stall). So I know he is capable of movement!

I once took in a feral cat as it recovered from neutering. It was in a cage in a spare room for about a week. He also snarled and hissed at me, but I feel like he had the better reason for it. After all, he was an outdoor cat who didn’t want to live inside and just had his bits chopped off. Monsieur Le Chat is more like a surly teenager.

Settling in…with a few bumps

Monsieur le Chat arrived Friday night, heavily sedated. The accessories – enough to fill several bags were unloaded and spots designated. Dinner was served, wine was poured. Then came the ‘after dinner show’. Someone in a Mercedes parked directly across our driveway, blocking our guest’s car from being able to leave! My neighbourhood has a very active FB page so I posted a message there to see if the owner could be found…no joy. So, we had to get it towed so that our guest could leave! It was quite exciting. How long for the parking enforcement to show up? Would they tow? The office was kind enough to look up the address of the owner and walk over to their place to give them the chance to move before getting towed. But as luck had it, the address was for a building under construction with no occupants in site! So, the car was towed and our friend was able to leave.

Now back to Le Chat. He was shown the litter box and food areas in the morning, before the sad departure of his Human. He was hiding under the couch at the time, so he didn’t realize he was missing his chance to say farewell. He had the guest room to himself for 2 nights. It’s actually my office. With the COVID lockdown we realized it was not reasonable to have a room taken up with a bed and me squeezed in front of the computer trying to work. It’s not like we are having lots of overnight guests. Especially considering I had an audiobook to record. So, the normal bed was converted to a wall bed. So much more space!

Early Sunday morning (4 am) I had to get up to pee and the cat was lounging in the bathroom doorway. Now, I hadn’t actually seen much of the cat up close and in person. All I saw before was a glimpse under the sofa, as I shoved in a plate of wet food to entice him with. And now I had to walk past him to get into the bathroom. I had been warned that he can be a bit ornery… he had hissed at others before. I very gingerly walked around him into the bathroom. Success! No hissing, no bolting away in fear. He just sauntered back to ‘his’ room and let me have the bathroom to myself. What a gentleman!

Sunday afternoon I had to get the office back in shape as I needed to be on video for Monday morning work. I had no idea where the cat was. I lifted the bed… didn’t see him underneath and very slowly closed the bed back up. Maybe he is exploring the basement. By Monday night it was just a bit too quiet, so we installed a ‘cat cam’ with night vision to see where he was hiding. The camera was aimed at the water dish/food dish area. We also heard from the owner of the Mercedes! They posted in the neighbourhood page owning up with appropriate shame to their oversight of our driveway. They even brought over a bottle of wine as an apology. My neighbourhood is the absolute best!
Tuesday morning… no litter box use. No food eaten. Hm…not a good sign. A video chat with my friend leads us to look inside the bed. I was so sure that there was no way he would have stayed there while the bed closed up over him…but there he was! Poor guy was there for over 24 hrs!

Now the details of getting him out of there are the stuff of many sitcom plots. He refused to budge. I couldn’t wedge him up through the opening (a portly fellow is Monsieur Le Chat). There was a broom and lots of cardboard boxes and towels involved. Much hissing. Post extraction cleaning and airing out was needed. He is thoroughly pissed with me now.
He is currently in the main bathroom (thank goodness we have 2). He has lots of catnip, food, water, litter, toys, soft things to curl up on. Not sure how long it will take for him to forgive me. I will have to leave him in the bathroom overnight, just to make sure he properly eats/drinks/bathrooms before I let him run off to find a new hiding spot. I feel certain it will not be in the wall bed again. After all, it is closed now!

Stay tuned for more adventures!

The Cat Adventure

A friend is heading off for a big overseas adventure. She isn’t leaving forever, but she can’t take her beloved cat with her. She had plans to board him that fell through and was pretty stressed, so I offered to take him. It may be fore a year…more or less. Now, I have done this before. Another friend, another overseas adventure. She actually never came back, and the cat ended his years on earth with me and was an absolutely amazing cat companion. That time, I already knew the cat, so I knew what to expect. I had also moved into the friend’s apartment, so the cat didn’t have much adjusting to do. This will be quite different. I’ve never met the cat…and his owner says he can be difficult. He will also have to move to my place, which isn’t really set up well for pets in my mind. It’s one of the reasons we never got a pet of our own. I’ve gone through the house to see how to ‘cat proof’ it. Moving some of the more decorative (breakable) items behind doors, rearranging plants (who knew so many plants were toxic to cats? Hopefully my friend is right about hers not being much of a plant muncher).

Tomorrow night will be ‘move in day’ for this cute tuxedo cat (pics to come) My friend will stay over to help the cat get settled. I’m getting her to leave some clothes here so that he will be able to smell her and feel safe. A ‘safe space’ will be the big challenge. The guest room is now my office…so although the Murphy bed will come down for the night while they stay over, it will be turned back into an office later. No bed to hid under. No avoiding the human (me) in the room all day. The main bedroom where we sleep will likely also not be a place to get away from us, except during the day. Of course that is where the red leather chair is. The chair that has proven to be irresistable to cats in the past. I was hoping to keep that door closed. I was also planning on moving some of the more dangerous plants in there.

Basement? Hubby’s office. Also occupied 40 + hours per week. That leaves the big bathroom on the 2nd floor (interesting option, but there is no window, so that seems cruel to shut him in there….plus we do need to use the washroom)

Dining room/kitchen/living room are all open concept with no doors. They are the least used rooms of the house, but no good hiding spot for a cat. I suspect the cat will have to have shifting safe spaces. Perhaps under the couch in the living room. Those rooms do have the best windows for watching the birds and squirrels. No good window ledges for lounging. Poor guy… I hope he can find a comfortable spot!

It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Stay tuned!

Described Video / Audio Description

Confession time: I’ve a ‘secret’ job for over 20 years in voice work. The job is narrating the visual details in a film/tv show. I first heard about it while I was volunteering with VoicePrint at NBRS (National Broadcast Reading Service) back in the previous century, when they first offered VHS movies with description added. Since then I have done many hours of TV and movie descriptions. I love being in the studio and helping to make programs more accessible with the addition of voice. I love using my voice to bring stories into a fuller picture. Action sequences are my favourite. I narrated the description for Matrix Reloaded for The Movie Network in 2018. Trying to see how long I could talk before I tripped up was a great joy for me!

Why was it a secret? Well, no one knew what it was. There wasn’t enough time for credits, so I never got named. In the voice world, it wasn’t recognized as being a transferrable skill to ‘real’ voice work. Thankfully that’s changing. It’s becoming more and more prevalent now as we are recognizing the importance of making things accessible to everyone.

Of course trying to describe more material brings new challenges – enter AI voice and ‘text to speech’. There is still an overall lack of funding for DV/AD, and although governing bodies have mandated that all prime time shows need description, it’s up to the broadcasters to foot the bill. The attitude “it’s better than nothing” is rearing it’s ugly head, and many broadcasters are choosing the cheaper route to description. I’m going to look for some new companies to work with that still value the human voice. In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the work I have done that is still available to view online! (for now). Let me know what you think!

The AD is found by adjusting the settings. CBC TV:Big Block Sing Song: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/big-block-singsong/s01(I did all the episodes)
TVO: (various episodes of several programs- There is a toggle switch for DV)
Hope for Wildlife https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/hope-for-wildlife-episode-13
Paw Patrol https://www.tvokids.com/preschool/videos/paw-patrol-season-2/pups-save-elephant-family
Political Blind Date:https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/ep-1-hallway-medicine-0

Life Sized City:https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/the-life-sized-city-new-orleans