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.



  1. Ah yes, all those complicated strands, plaited together neatly or not-so-neatly. Just when I start to feel a little comfortable with my new place, I open a closet door or go out to the garage, and oh dear, there is so much more to do! Not even mentioning bills, taxes, paper paper paper. I hope Turbo Tax can handle my house sale/purchase. And then there are the dear little kitties with their mischief and demands! Luckily they are kind of cute and they do cuddle nicely!

  2. I was wondering when the cats would knock that scratcher off the table… Yes, too many strands to keep going. Cancel some of that mail that you keep getting...

    1. It's so heavy I didn't think they'd knock it over. There had to be some pretty rough running or tussling going on.
      How do I cancel mail I keep getting? It's like rabbits. I order something online and not only do I start getting that catalog (if I wasn't already) they spread my name to all their competitors. (Dumb!)

  3. Lee, I love that selfie! You look so happy. Keep on smiling and snapping cheerful pictures.

    1. Thanks, Renee. I had to smile. If my face is relaxed, the creases around my mouth look frowny, even if I don't mean that, and my chin looks double. (That may all be true-to-life.) So I held the camera up high and threw in the biggest smile I could muster!

  4. Hi Lee, Just found your blog in Sue Rowland's comments section, and have read your comments in Nina's blog, as well. Love your writing. Is there a way to subscribe to notifications of when you blog? I will save your page and check back, if not.

    But when I came to the selfie photo of you in the scarf.... wow, it looks very similar to a scarf I received as a Christmas gift from my friend who lives in CA - here is a pic of me in the scarf on Xmas day

    Hope that works. If not, this is the url:

    Doesn't that look a lot like yours?


    1. Hi Bex, Thanks for linking over. I see your comments on Nina's blog, too. She is my other inspiration, along with Sue. I get notifications about other blogs I follow on my Blogger Dashboard, but I'm wondering whether that's only for people who blog on Blogger. My sister's blog has a little box for subscribing to email notifications. I'll look into putting that on my blog. I announce each blog on my Facebook page, but I guess that's only visible to Friends.
      Yes, another bright scarf. Mine appears to be woven and has a made in Germany label. It's a little vulnerable to yarn pieces being pulled out of the ends, so I need to figure out a way of anchoring them.