Archive for the 'pets' Category

Not Ready for Reality

flowering succulents

Oh man, it’s January in New Jersey. We still have a pandemic. It is glorious sunshine out there but you can’t fool ME – I KNOW that we’ve reached our HIGH temperature for today. It may LOOK lovely out there but it’s 37 degrees but will FEEL like 30 degrees. Ugh. Too cold for a walk even if I could. And I can’t because I injured my back a week or so before Christmas. I have no idea how I did it, when I did it. I became aware of someone stabbing a knife into my side repeatedly. I looked to stop them but didn’t see anyone but myself. There was definitely someone sticking something incredibly sharp into my side. Turns out I seem to have an absolutely text-book case of costochondritis. If you follow that link, you will see that the authors had an interview with my then-future now-current self and got the description for the ailment. 🙂 If you are not into links, the short story is that my rib and its associated cartilage had a parting of the ways (for no discernible reason), and I need to wait until they decide to get back together. My brother-in-law (retired doctor) diagnosed me and told me to take it easy and rest. No problem, I thought. It’s the time of year when not much is happening. I’m not doing much. So I kept on walking my mile on my treadmill each day and, yes, sad to admit how stupid I am, kept doing my little try-to-get-started arm exercises. Well. It turns out that walking and arm exercises move your rib cage. I kept that up for 5 days or so after my diagnosis until I nearly passed out from pain New Year’s Eve day when I went to make the sandwiches for the soup kitchen. At that point I decided that maybe walking was NOT such a brilliant idea. Hey – you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!

kitchen bay window full of happy succulents

I’m doing much better, I am happy to report. Last night I actually managed to sleep in my BED, instead of the reclining chair. There is only ONE position where there is no pain, which gets a bit much for all the other parts of my body, but I did make it through the night, thanks to the ever-present heating pad. The cats have been quite considerate and both they and my husband allowed me to sleep late – all the way to 9:30 this morning!! Even better – the coffee was still hot when I got downstairs. 🙂 That is one of the most wonderful things about working from home – my husband brews the coffee every morning. Even when I get up early to do the sandwiches, when I come home he has made enough that there is hot coffee waiting for me. Ahhhhh.

WC on Red Couch – All is Right in the World

White cat is doing well also. As with so many things now, having an appointment with the vet is a production. Two pages of questions to answer about the pet, waiting in the parking lot in the car until you can bring your pet to the door. You hand over the animal and go back to your car. You will field calls from the doctor as your pet is examined. Finally you are allowed to pay (I forgot to ask if my husband had to give that over the phone or if they allowed him in to pay). I had a day full of meetings and I was still not lifting any weights (see above – care and treatment of costochondritis) so my husband took her in. Another mark on the plus column for working from home. Yes WC is old, arthritic, kidney issues, thyroid issues caused by the kidney medicine but for being 18+ years old, she’s in good shape. The doctor told my husband that WC was sitting in the doctor’s lap and that WC is a “beautiful cat”. Note to my sister: Maybe if YOU told WC she was beautiful she’d stop tormenting you. *grin* WC was probably frozen in fear. Unlike my dogs, who loved the vet, none of my cats have ever been able to relax and go with the flow. I’ll never forget the time one of my girls turned and sank her teeth into the vet. He had to pause the exam while he got stitches.

Soaking up the sunshine

I may be going stir-crazy by having to stay home and inside so much, but the succulents seem to be quite happy. I brought in as many as I could fit in the kitchen bay window. On gray days, which are VERY frequent in NJ in the winter, I turn on the grow light at the top of the window. On sunny days they get a few hours of direct sunshine. They are flowering and thriving. It does give me joy and satisfaction to see them all snuggled together, very green, very happy. Once a week I try to get them into the sink and give everyone a good soaking. Three of them are quite heavy so they don’t always get the sink-treatment. Even so, they look happy to me. 🙂

Baby It’s COLD Outside

Basking in a box in the morning sun

Good thing that *I* control the temperature INSIDE. 🙂 I woke up this morning and my phone app and my actual thermometer both agreed: 16 F. This wasn’t a surprise – we all knew this huge drop in temperature was coming. As one of my favorite bloggers has been noting, the weather is yo-yo’ing all over the place. Last Saturday it got up to 70 F. Today our high is expected to be 30. Wooohooo! Thirty whole degrees!

This may not be as obvious in a photo, but can you tell which bed is used and which is scorned?

My mother used to have an ash tray (remember ash trays?). I didn’t understand it when I was growing up. I think my sister might have it now. I’m SURE we didn’t get rid of it when we sold the house. It shows 2 men at either end of a table. I think there are either coffee cups or old fashioned glasses or something on the table. They are both semi-reclining, with at least one of them having his feet up on an adjoining chair. I’m fairly certain at least one of them is smoking. The caption on the photo is “Next week we’ve really got to get organized.” See – THAT is adult humor. 🙂 Kids are either totally organized or have no clue what being organized means. I neeeeeed that ash tray. 🙂 I have so many photos I took in order to post here, but I just can’t get organized to write a coherent narrative. Perhaps you’ve noticed that lately yourself. 🙂

My husband “torturing” BC with TV for cats

But writing to you makes me feel as if I’m having a social life, especially on a day when even if there WAS no pandemic I have NO intention of setting foot out the door. Brrrrr. I was supposed to have a massage, which I need badly because I have a spasmed muscle (why does WordPress not think spasmed is a word?) and only my massage therapist can help me now. She’s my only hope! But I texted her yesterday and asked to move the appointment because I am such a spoiled princess that even for my massage I am not going out there. 🙂 I’m willing to bet by now my good friend Honour is rolling her eyes and shaking her head. (She lives on an island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy – they know how to do cold up there.)

Got it!!!!!

One day I may have enough inner strength and control of my temper to tell you the saga of my attempt to get an attractive heater for my deck, so we could still see friends during the winter. Last year we had NO SNOW and fewer than 5 below freezing days. We were supposed to have friends over for dinner this weekend so I had been accumulating deck heaters. Or attempting to accumulate them. One I ordered online on Nov 2. I’ve been assured as recently as yesterday that it really IS on its way to me – it’s on a boat in the Pacific. Still. Before Thanksgiving I went out and bought Mr. Heater and he has been a rock star. He may not be much on looks but he heats like the sun. We took him with us to have dinner with friends last weekend. Between their wood-burning fire pit and our Mr. Heater we were perfectly comfortable for 7 hours of fun and food (all socially-distanced).

Now you know why I needed a ladder – I can’t reach the top without one. 🙂

Last week I began to lose faith that my slow boat from China would ever arrive so I bought a Pyramid heater at the grocery store. I set it up last weekend (remember last weekend? temps in the 60s?). We turned it on, saw & heard it sparking – nothing. I was fairly certain the problem had to be in the control box as there really was nothing else to that tower but structure. I didn’t know WHAT exactly although I had my suspicions because things didn’t really look aligned. I asked my brother-in-law to come help me debug it. He came yesterday, after our big snowstorm 2 days before. That meant before we could work on the tower I had to dig it out, clear my steps off the deck, and bring up both a ladder and Mr. Heater. No way we could work out there for any time without heat. 🙂 As usual, my brother-in-law figured out the issue and we fixed it. I got a lesson in spark gaps. I had thought the one piece was the issue but intuition can only take you so far – knowledge is power. Anyway, I now have 2 working propane heaters AND a propane fire pit with lots of ceramic logs. I cancelled dinner anyway. Even with 3 heaters going none of us wanted to sit out in 30 degree temps.

The handmade ribbon is so pretty

I plan to spend the day baking. This makes me happy. Unfortunately it also makes me gain weight. I’m planning to share with neighbors. Another thing that makes me happy is to get unexpected presents. I looked out the window and saw a package on my deck this morning. A little package. I figured it was something my husband ordered. Nope, it was for me (yes I took 3 steps out the door to grab it). It was from a co-worker. There is also a very long annoying story about the word “co-worker” but all I’ll say now is that corporate politics and policies are blocking me from being on the team (hers) I wish to be on. That team and I, however, are all acting as if I am indeed officially on that team. 🙂 Yeah, you really don’t want to mess with me at this moment. I opened the box and it was SO PRETTY and there were so many goodies inside. Maybe I can trade some of the goodies to my sister in exchange for the ash tray???? Spiced rum? Vanilla cinnamon Bailey’s?

Where to begin?????

Living With a Retiree

Is that a blissful face or what?

While BC has become my office mate, and is especially present to “help” in the afternoon, WC has retired from all such obligations. She is on the feline equivalent of Social Security and Medicare. In cat terms that means she meows and we do whatever she wants. The meow is usally one of two things – either a strident demand for me to get to the kitchen and put more wet food on her plate, or a strident but plaintive cry for my husband to sit back down on the couch so she can snuggle. BC wonders why SHE doesn’t get a plateful of wet food every hour, so I have to buy her off with catnip-flavored greenies. WC has yet to demand a place on my husband’s keyboard, but she HAS gone back to utilizing her hiding spot on top of one of his other desktops (really floor model). It’s very warm there, and safe. I’ve found her sitting next to the electric radiator in the breakfast room and snuggled up next to the hot-air humidifier in the sunroom. Ahhh, the life of a retiree – eat, sleep, snuggle.

I bet she has the same expression that I have when I feel the sun on my face.

Office Mates

Sharing office “supplies” (btw – we have more, but some were on the floor)

I shifted my home office several weeks ago. I used to work in the dining room, where we have very strict rules about the table. I moved up to my son’s bedroom. There are some great advantages up here. First, warm air rises so it’s much warmer up here than downstairs. Second, there is a red tailed hawk in the neighborhood and up here I sometimes glimpse it as it soars. Third, my office mate is much more present. This of course has both an upside and a downside. We share supplies, although I tend to have less need or desire to knock them off the table. We both like warmth, however, and that can lead to a few disagreements. Overall, I’d have to say the new location has been working out quite well.

Awkward but manageable. I can still reach the mouse.
At this point, we disagree. Only ONE of us gets the keyboard.

Mealtime

Come upstairs, already!!!! Where ARE you, WC????

My mother used to tell us that she ‘wasn’t running a restaurant’. If we didn’t like what she was serving when she was serving it we could fend for ourselves. I like to pretend that I am that strict with my cats, but our reality is a bit different. WC (and GC when she was still alive) takes medicine for her thyroid. My technique for giving medicine to these cats is to grind up the pill and put it in their wet food. While some may prefer the ‘grab, hold firmly, pop it in their mouth, and rub throat” method, I’ve found that our cats, like ourselves, are more willing to accept unpleasantness if there is good food to ameliorate the situation. Unfortunately this means that I must stand guard over the plates so that the right cat eats the right food. When GC was alive she was convinced that the other 2 plates might have something BETTER than her plate, even though everyone got the same food and WC had the same medicine.

In order to maintain some illusion of control, I don’t put the plates on the floor until both WC and BC are in the kitchen. BC understands this concept. I come down in the morning, go through my routine and BC is right there with me. WC, who is old, and sometimes cranky, and completely deaf, is usually here, but not always. If WC decided to sleep in the basement, she does not always hear me in the kitchen and doesn’t see me. I try stomping on the floor (she seems to feel vibrations and maybe even hear them) and I flip the lights on and off. I call for her, even though I know that she can’t hear. BC sits there, looking for her, waiting for breakfast. Ultimately WC will come slowly up the stairs, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Ah, mealtime!

Postscript: Came down to my computer this morning to work. Not only had ‘someone’ turned off the power strip, apparently ‘someone’ walked all over my keyboard before shutting off the power. Have now spent over 20 minutes trying to get things back the way they should be. All I see are innocent little faces. Who ME?????

I’m here, I’m here. Make it worth my while.

Hard at Work

Look at that sweet, innocent, baby face.

SOME of us are extremely busy at our day job. It is not easy to keep the furniture in place, or to keep the rug from bunching. And you thought YOU had stressful tasks?

I am Darkness

Cat Reality

Sometimes (most times) I find the reality of life around me to be a bit stressful. Hurricanes. Fires. Politics. Protests. Covid19. Unemployment. Weeds. No-see-ums. Micro and Macro events can create a sense of “It’s so big and I’m so small”. At those moments I look to the experts for guidance on relaxation. I’m told that sitting in a box is very calming. The red couch is yet another place of serenity and peace. The red couch is usually occupied but perhaps I can find a sufficiently large box.

Sleep Well, Beloved GC

Siri 1

GC passed over the rainbow bridge last night. We knew it was going to be any day now. We’ve been cherishing her, and trying to give her last treats and indulgences. This weekend we had been giving her cream, and a little bit of cheese, and any cat food she wanted, and greenies.

baby kittens all together

Baby kittens in their new home

She did not seem to be in any pain. She has been growing weaker and less steady for weeks, months. No matter how much we fed her she was growing thinner. She was a happy girl, though, and stuck to the regular schedule. She got her cuddles, her skritches. She came to check out visitors. She and WC were born in August 2002 and came to our home in October 2002. Someone had dumped them in a dumpster next to a pet grooming business. We brought them and their little rescue mate brother (from a litter dumped 2 weeks after theirs) home together. We had only planned on 2 kittens, but there was no way we would leave any of them behind. We were determined that being dumped in a dumpster would be the last indignity and cruelty they would ever suffer.

baby gc exploring the new world

baby gc exploring the new world

We brought them home to our 6-month old puppy who ADORED them. She promptly adopted them and took care of them. Her favorite thing was to lick their ears for them – we called that a Mu-do, a shortening of the dog’s name. While the others seemed to take getting a Mu-do in good humor, GC merely endured it. 🙂

gc Oct 2002 after what might have been her first Mu-do

gc Oct 2002 after what might have been her first Mu-do

From the time she was a little kitten, we were fairly certain that GC was going to be a couch potato. She loved to eat and sleep and sit around watching everyone else work. Everyone needs a manager, and GC figured she’d be perfect for the role. She had a special affection for our son – he was “her boy”. I used to tell her when “her boy” was coming home so she could have the fun of anticipation.

baby wc and gc oct 2002

sisters learning the world can be good

She was so plump and cuddly. Do any of you remember Gund stuffed animals? They are/were the softest plushiest cuddliest stuffed animals. GC was what Gunds would be if they came alive. She was beautiful, so beautiful. She looked like she could have had Russian Blue blood in her, her coat was that color. Her paw pads – I always called them a dusty rose color. They weren’t pink – they were much more subtle and interesting than just pink.

GC and LB 2005

GC and her little brother, who was quite a bit larger

Oh my G kitty – we will miss you so very very much. May you be where you can have all the treats you want and a warm comfy place to nap.

Beloved GC

Beloved GC

double-decker sisters

double-decker sisters

Didn't happen often but they DID get along

Sharing a seat didn’t happen often but they DID get along

GC and her little brother on the steps 2005

WC is/was, oddly enough, much braver than her siblings. They’d sit on the stairs during parties while she would venture into the room once the crowd thinned out

sisters 2005

Before we had the fireplace, warm radiators were the place to be

gc and wc snuggling 2005

snuggling sisters

3 cats on a couch

proof that there were times when we were one big happy family, no sibling issues

Deceptive Appearance

wc napping on kitchen floor

She looks oh so innocent, doesn’t she? Adorable, sweet, quiet. You might ask, “WHY is she sleeping THERE?” Why? Because if she is there, the moment I move from my chair she will know, and begin meowing piteously for more cat treats. She has become addicted to Greenies. She will meow and meow and meow until she falls asleep in exhaustion. That is NOT a picture of sweet innocence. That is a picture of the fierce predator in wait for the prey. 🙂 I ❤ WC.
wc still stalking

Social Distancing With My Cats

Social Distancing With My Cats

My sister got me a prezzie the other day. 🙂 The true names of GC, WC and BC are on the shirt, but I’ve cropped them out to protect them from the paparazzi. We will be distancing more than ever. My brother-in-law was running a fever all day yesterday. Now there are MANY things that can cause one to run a fever. But until we know why, we are being much more vigilant and distance. We’ve all signed up for testing over the weekend. Time to get back out in the garden.
GC social distancing
WC social distancing
BC social distancing


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