Well we finally settled on a name, in the end Tiss insisted on calling our new kitten Fizzgig (after I showed him a pic of the character Fizzgig from Jim Henson's "The Dark Crystal") - so she gets called Fizzy most of the time. Kinda suits her because she is very effervescent! I'm amazed at how social and playful a cat can be - that's kittens for you I suppose. Fizzy follows me around like a puppy most of the day, crawls into my lap at any opportunity. When I am working she sleeps on my desk with her head on the mouse mat so that I bump her head with my hand every time I move the mouse. (yes, its gets irritating!). She is incredibly patient and tolerant of the boys, she plays with them readily, her favourite toys are marbles that she bats up and down the hallway (even at 3am) and pretty much anything the boys are playing with. She has moments of total craziness - racing through the apartment, paws sliding out on the lino - and definitely has a strong character of her own. Matiss has started drawing series of cat pictures while Mikus' favourite toys at the moment are six little plastic cats he got a the toy store. So there you go! An irreplaceable family member already!
(Oh by the way, Māra F., thanks for the antique tsar-era basket... its now Fizzy's favourite place to sleep...)

I'm not really a political animal. Opinionated, certainly, but I don't usually immerse myself in the minutiae of political life, reading newspapers avidly and keeping up with the names of ministers and their lackeys. But when important things happen, like elections, I make sure I read up on the necessary information so that I can take part in the democratic process knowingly...
There's not an election on at the moment, but lately, even this a-political mum has taken to the streets.
I'll try not go into a rant about exactly what's happening in Latvian politics - if you're interested I can point you to a few political opinion websites - but basically, the government's level of shameless corruption and pure self-centered greed have hit new heights. As the latest in a recent succession of dodgy power-grabbing moves, our premier illegally sacked the head of Latvia's anti-corruption commission last week, for a set of accounting misdemeanors, the kind that would usually earn a stern talking-to at most.
When watching the political process in Latvia, you often end up feeling a little like you're watching a sci-fi movie - things don't seem quite real. You often sit there wondering how this could all be allowed to happen.... I suppose the answer is that the government is the highest power and a law unto themselves, and they can do whatever they want - who will stop them (especially if you fire the head of the anti-corruption bureau! Oh, and instate a new Prime Minister who is a surgeon and publicly admits to having taken bribes!).
So to cut a long rant short, FINALLY more people have got fed up, and a few days ago there was a protest outside the Saiema (Parliament) in Riga. It was the largest protest gathering since the protests calling for Latvian independence. Over 5000 people turned up, although it was early morning, cold and pouring rain - and I think it was well worth it. Both politically, as it seems to have sent a message to the government, which have gone into 'crisis mode' since the event with ministers stepping down etc., we will see how things unfold - but also personally. It was a very heartening experience to take my personal despair at politics out on the streets, and to see that others feel the same. It was inspiring to be amongst a throng of people, pensioners and students and well-known academics, writers and musicians - and feel a sense of solidarity. This is not something you see that often here - people rarely wear their sense of social responsibility on their sleeves - and I often feel like there are only a few of us who make choices based on other principles rather than "me first". It was also a great feeling to be actively involved in caring about this country - instead of passively listening to the news and shaking my head and switching off in despair.
So here's to taking to the streets - with husband and kids in tow next time! And I expect the next time will be soon, as the Saiema will be voting on the dismissal of our sorry anti-corruption chief in the next few weeks... Will keep you posted!

Here he is, our new friend! He/she's half feral - we rescued him from the street last week. We figured that little kittens didn't stand a chance if there was a cold snap (which is coming, soon!) or vicious dogs around. I have always harboured a secret desire of owning a cat again, so we figured that this was a good a time as any to adopt. The boys were over the moon, of course, until they realised that he wasn't that easily coaxed out from under the bed, but over the last week he has got more used to us and has started to play like kittens should. The only catch is that he won't let us pat him! He'll sit on my lap, rub up against our legs and chase us around the house, but patting or touching with hands is strictly forbidden. I wonder if he has been traumatised, and associates hands with bad things? Who knows. Hopefully, he will slowly get used to us.
We haven't got a name yet! The list just keeps getting bigger, so I thought I'd 'throw it out there' for some votes, please! If you're reading this then express an opinion. it might help give little whatshisname an identity. We are tossing up: Fizzgig (my choice), Grover (Matiss' choice), Pūka (Latvian for "Fluff" - Jeremy's choice), Scrappy, Beelzebub, Snowy (yep, just like 'bluey' for a redhead), Slinky Malinky, Scarface Claw (Mikus' choice) and others. Any more suggestions?
An early morning game of "catch the string" with Tiss

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