Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tired, with a sense of relief . . .

The call I was waiting for came at 11:55 AM. Cautious optimism started to grow when I heard the upbeat note in the voice of the caller from the veterinary hospital. A little awkwardly she read off the name: "Little, er, Gray Kitty came through her surgery just fine. She's still waking up in back."

We chatted about details. Yes, they got the hernia out. It had been slightly attached to the bladder; had she been leaking urine? (There was that concern when her little injured self had first been taken into the vet and the urine she spilled in her carrier had a pink tinge around the margins.) She had not, I didn't think, although she hasn't got the whole litter box utilization down pat. But even the lifelong litter box users in the household sometimes hang their rear ends outside the box.

Anyway, I'll pick her up tomorrow afternoon after NeedleCrafts.

I had to get up at 6:30 AM to get her to the doctor on time. That's awfully early after my going to bed at my typical 2:00 AM and then not being able to fall asleep for awhile.

When I got home, I couldn't find Sami. I lifted her crate and it was empty. I started to search in the spots that Little Gray Kitten had hidden in at first. Then I found her in plain site, in the large carrier on top of the cutting table, practically eyeball to eyeball with me. It's where she has stayed when I'm in the room, as long as I don't approach her too closely, although she managed to stay when I wafted a plate of food under her face.

"Beware. I give you the icy stare."

I sat in the room with Sami for quite awhile, then decided the time had finally come to collapse all the cardboard boxes in the garage and basement and take them to recycle. Most of the new furnishings I've purchased to spruce up the place to go with the new room addition and new paint and carpets throughout have arrived and been assembled. Time to take out cartons and styrofoam. There was a supposed final collection of styrofoam on the rainy weekend and I didn't want to take the chance of driving to the Little City down the Hill in the rain, only to find the event had been rained out. I may be stuck with throwing it in the trash, which I hate to do.

I missed the part where I took the cardboard to the recycle place. I think I spent about four hours turning all the boxes into flat cardboard. (Not everyone observes the sign that says "flattened cardboard only," but I do.) It was dark and my back was killing me by the time I'd loaded it all into the truck. I'm hoping for no rain on my truckload of cardboard. I'm also hoping I can figure out how to anchor it all so it won't sail out of the truck bed.

About halfway through

It filled a terrific amount of the garage, but doesn't look so big in the truck.

Flatter is smaller.

This picture of the garage will probably only look like an after photo to those who've seen the actual before. I've saved a small collection of boxes for mailing out, or it would have looked emptier. Not empty, just emptier.

This is good. With any luck at all, I'll get to bed before 2:00 AM.

See you soon.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's all on the line in the morning . . .

This little girl, known officially at Little Gray Kitty, will learn her future in the morning. Will she come home spayed and put together to go to her forever home with Daughter and get a real kitty name? Or will the bulging hernia near her groin be irremediable?

She got sent back home from her first visit to the vet hospital with antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection and instructions to get her eating, peeing and pooping. And it wouldn't hurt to tame her enough to be handled. She does all that, and she comes running and meowing when I go into her room. I hope she's well enough for all that is to come.

Our parade of rain storms fizzled, while I attended to Kitty and other tasks. After the first day, I let Kitty out of her carrier. I found her hiding place on three separate occasions. She eventually decided I was okay.

*     *     *     *     *

This little potted tree confuses February with spring and maybe it's right.

Tom tends to laying pavers and tamping pea gravel between them on the path that will be to somewhere.

I needed to make a shopping run to the Little City down the Hill, so made it on the same day as French class. I raced through shopping and grabbed a Starbucks skinny triple grande latté and a bite to eat to keep me awake through the evening and for the drive up the hill after dark. The sun went down with spectacular color as I waited for fellow students and the prof to arrive.

Clouds scudded across the nearly full moon on the trip home. Doesn't that moon look like a glowing eye beneath bushy brows, with a sharp nose reflecting a spot of light, and a goatee?

I lazed abed the next morning, waking gradually to morning TV and playing with email and Facebook on my laptop. Tom was scheduled to do some honey-dos in the house later in the day, but I didn't have to get up early for that. I'd told him and Craig earlier about how I captured Little Gray Kitty and mentioned a couple of other ferals I'd like to see captured for spaying, one that a friend would like to adopt, and the other for the Siamese, because as a former Siamese owner, he (I thought) just appeals to me. Since I saw the Siamese on the down side of an encounter with an unidentified cat, that has led me to call her her, thus making capture more urgent. I call it Sami, kinda related to Siamese, spelled in a unisex way.

Anyway, lazing in bed I suddenly saw Craig racing up the driveway with a flailing Sami held by the scruff of her neck. Tom came racing up behind him and they tell me it was a major struggle to get her locked in the cat carrier on the deck. She'd wandered into the basement (curiosity killed the cat), they closed the door, and it took a major effort to corral her. She's still so traumatized that I'm holding off taking her into the vet for another week in hopes I can gain a bit of her confidence.

I left Sami's crate door open from the start. When she disappeared and a casual hunt didn't find her, I eventually discovered she had migrated into Little Gray Kitty's carrier, on which the open door faces away from the way I enter the room. She is coming out to use the litter boxes.

People helpfully suggest I get a humane cat trap and bait a feral with a can of tuna. How do I get the one I'm aiming for to be the one that goes into the trap?

Tom has been placing pavers; Craig has been tossing stones. We're at a pause for delivery of some more pavers to Our Little Town.

I finally took the new chairs out of their boxes and assembled them. It took about 20 minutes to get one out of the box and 10 minutes per to assemble. A lot more minutes to clean up the debris.

Here they are in their context. I need something between them for people to put a beverage on, but waited to see what size or style would fit. I bought this nice indoor fountain awhile ago, but how do you empty your indoor fountain? Or do the cats drink all the water?


One of Tom's tasks was putting appropriately spaced hooks in a thin board, then mounting it level on the wall, so I can hang a design wall on it. I didn't take it's picture, but the design wall is visible hanging down on the right of this photo. I fell for these paintings related to music in an exhibit at Stage 3 Theatre and planned to hang them with my guitar. The really bright abstract is actually something that was randomly on my TV, or ???  Something from the Olympics.

I cuddled her for awhile this evening. She has to fast after midnight. She has the cutest silver nose and paws.

(Can you tell I might be a little worried about the baby?)

RIP Sue Rowland, author of the blog "My Incredibly Unremarkable Life," whose life had been quite the opposite. She was my original inspiration to blog.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Too many strands . . .

At various phases in my life -- the long hair phases -- I wore braids. When I was a kid in elementary school, Mom did the braiding. Some of the girls' moms knew how to French braid. My Mom didn't but she did kind of a double-decker arrangement, braiding each side at the top, then blending each smaller braid into one of the lower hanks of hair.

For the next braiding phase of my life, I took over, with two braids starting low on each side, in what I thought of as an American Indian style. My final braid phase was one braid, down the back. It could be pinned up if need be.

One thing about hair braids is that all the strands get woven together. And then they get to an end.

Life feels like braiding many strands together, too many to hold in your two hands, and none of them ending at the same time, or even ending. I'm a little discombobulated, keeping track of all the strands these days. One of my new tasks has been feral kitty nurse and tamer.

Last time I squeezed in a blog, I ended on the note that I found the little grey feral kitty lying with her face in the water bowl out on the deck, practically unconscious. The fur on her back and head were covered with dirt and prickly oak leaves, and her entire hind section was matted with feces, mud and cat urine. She didn't resist when I put gloved hands on her sides and picked her up and put her in a cat carrier.

These two, litter mates, were born in my wood pile sometime last
 spring. If feral cats ever think they're somebody's cat, these think
 they live here. If only I could organize myself well enough to catch
 them and get them spayed/altered as case may be.

I took her to the vet the next morning for an assessment of her health and her chances of survival before deciding whether to go ahead and get her spayed, or whether I had to make a sad decision. I left her in medical hands, to be picked up later. Two nights and days away, at the local clinic the first night, where they found her severely dehydrated (thick dark blood), an abdominal hernia, possibly leaking slightly blood-tinged urine, and pale gums, They would give her IV fluids and test her for feline leukemia and FIV. Her rear end was too dirty to do a good exam, although they cleaned her up a little. I left her there feeling pessimistic about the outcome for her.... 

The next morning I talked to the vet who told me she'd passed her disease tests but had an upper respiratory infection which disqualified her from immediate surgery. She needed either some kind of IV or a long acting antibiotic. Jen at the local clinic said she did not appear to have eaten or drunk, but was really pissed with her. She did not have the long-acting antibiotic there at the clinic and wouldn't be able to administer it alone, so she agreed to drop kitty off at vet hospital in the Little City down the Hill on her way home that night. I went into a group consultation on Facebook with my cat peeps. Daughter saw this pic below and agreed to give her a home if I could get her restored to health.

Official name on vet's records: Little Gray Kitty

Jen brought her back up the hill the next morning and my instructions were to get her eating and drinking, pooping and peeing, and tame her as much as I can. (Lee's first effort ... blanches.)

Another task is to get a handle on the mail overflow and filing situation. It's discouraging because new stuff arrives faster than I can figure out a place to put it. I had a change of mind on how I'd had the guys arrange the filing cabinets. I'd asked them to put the different depth cabinets with their fronts lined up. This turned out to allow for cat mischief behind the cabinets. Two cabinets needed moving back to accomplish this. That was a little complicated without someone who can lift more than 37 lbs, but they're as I think I want them now.

There are the boxes of mail. Chloe thinks these are a nest for her. I sort and I sort and I make no dent in it.

There is a talk of rain in our future. Storms at sea head our way, then change courses, going north of us several times, then heading south once along the California coast to give them some relief in Southern California. But not very much. "They say" the storm door will open by the weekend, with a good drenching and low snow, followed by a succession of fronts. There is a feeling of anticipation in the air. The animals are restless. Large groups of deer traverse the yard, scarfing up acorns. (And there is the one with the missing ear tip that jumps the deck gate to raid the cat food.)

Just a few of an enormous group

The cats congregate on the birdbath.

Craig and Tom came back to add a stairway onto the path to nowhere. Before the room addition, the path went around the end of the house to access the under-house area. When it was cut off by the addition,  a steep, hazardous scramble down a hill was left that I can't negotiate, so I have to go around by driveway for basement access. So it's underway now.

The plan was to finish parts of the area with river rock to match rock along other banks on my lot. A light bulb went off in my head as I remembered that the landscape maintenance guys had hauled away the remnants of the old oak barrel fountain that had fallen to pieces. The fountain had been perched on a mound of river rock. Voilà, a wheelbarrow and river rock.

I set out one day when deep blue skies were streaked with beautiful clouds to take some pictures to use for a photo group. My focus for the day was on old buildings, kind of a Gold Rush era perspective. I'm not sure whether this is from that era, but it's definitely old. It's the rusty roof that attracted me. There are "keep out" signs as well.

This is the Odd Fellows hall, 1852, truly Gold Rush Era, but still in use for community dinners, craft fairs and flea markets, and, meetings of the Odd Fellows. My husband was an Odd Fellow for awhile, but I guess they were more interested in good works and he was more interested in good times with the guys.

I'll never forget a sight I saw several years ago when I rounded a curve coming up the highway at sunset and I caught a glimpse of a gold-infused church seemingly hovering in the sky. The road was too narrow to pull over so I kept watching for another glimpse where I could take a picture. There were none. It seemed that brilliant sight could only be seen from a small number of spots on the highway. It was only happenstance that I saw it on the right day at the right time to get the effect.

As I was driving back toward home after taking my Gold Rush pictures, I glimpsed the church again, not the same lighting, not the same ethereal quality, but I'd identified a spot in the roadway beside the gas station whence I could see it. I whipped into the gas station, got out and leaned into the roadway to catch this picture of the local Catholic church. It's farther away and higher up than it appears in this picture, as the distance is foreshortened by the telephoto lens and then cropped, but at least I found a spot if ever the radiant light comes again!

Here's progress on the outdoor stairway, the initial placement of pavers, top view . . .

. . . and bottom view.

I needed a picture of “orange” for a photo group, so I used this fabric. Yes, I succumbed to a sale at Keepsake Quilting. All quilters just need a little more fabric. Among fabrics for the stash, I also bought some to make a skirt for the bed. The disadvantage of all those nice under-bed gift paper boxes is that they are quite visible. I want to hide them. But my cats like to romp under there, between the boxes, so the skirt will need breaks for them to run through. It will be an interesting project to design.  

Rain came to our mountains and the Olympics came to Russia. It's cozy to sit inside and watch the spectacle.

I guess I won't be able to fool you that I personally took pictures of the magical opening ceremony at the Winter Olympics in Soshi, Russia, since NBC has their logo in every shot I took off my TV screen. Thank you, NBC. I can't resist posting these fantastical scenes from that ceremony, just so I'll never lose the pictures.

The Olympic Hymn was sung in a surprise appearance by opera superstar Anna Netrebko, backed by an all-male chorus.

The Olympic Flag is raised, beside host country Russia's Flag.

Former Olympic medalists Irina Rodnina (pairs figure skating) and Vladislov Tretyak (hockey) jointly light the Olympic Flame in a big burst of fire.

Next morning I was jarred wide awake from a half-sleeping state by a big thump. A BIG thump. I quickly located the source by finding two guiltless cats, winding around the cat apparatus that had formerly stood on the corner table. What a fine new experience. Note also the overturned cat scratcher with its legs broken off. A glimpse out the door revealed a bowl of dry cat food upended into the water bowl in the kitchen. It was not mice who played.


Glorious rain continued to fall. Droplets poise at the tips of pine needles and flow off the bottoms of the oak apples.

Little Gray Kitty has cleaned herself up and lets me stritch her neck and pat her back. She's learning to use the little litter box, and got her appetite primed by chicken shreds in gravy.

I had a photo group prompt to post a colorful selfie. This is the best I could do on short notice and nowhere colorful to go in the rain.

This is colorful, the quilt-themed Olympic posters. You can read more about it by clicking the link under the picture.

For more information 

My to-do list taunts me. I need to at least take a peek at my income taxes. For years I owned shares in a limited partnership, and limited partnerships aren't required to get their tax report to you until March 31. So I couldn't file early, even if I thought I might get money back. I'm certainly not going to pay before I have to. I think I sold the partnership, but I'm not sure when. I did buy Turbo Tax.

There are bills to pay. That's a strand in a braid than never comes to an end. My RV club checkbook needs some TLC. The replacement part for the partially assembled shelving unit in the basement has arrived. We're having a warm spell. I should finish that up before it gets freezing down there again.

Speaking of assembling things, the love seat has been taken to the dump land fill transfer station. The attendant looked it over to see whether it could go into the recycle used furniture pile, proclaimed it too gnarly to salvage, and consigned it to the compactor. Off it went, into the hole to disappear forever. There a two boxes with chairs in them, waiting in the wings. User reviews say they're easy to assemble. I've heard somewhere that cats can be taught not to scratch the new furniture by swathing tempting surfaces with aluminum file for a week. I despair of anything teaching my cats anything.

I have some tasks to do for Soroptimist's next fundraiser. I have clothes to mend, curtains  and bed skirt to make, quilting to do -- use the quilting studio for something besides isolating feral cats.  Boxes of books need to be put on the shelves.

Too many strands to braid together, the never-ending condition of life. I'm discombobulated just keeping track. But that's life, too, isn't it?

The promised series of storms petered out after last weekend.