Only Seconds to Change

It only takes seconds…. One of our cats, Smudge, is recovering pretty well after his life-saving surgery on Saturday. He was attacked by a pitbull on Monday morning, right on our front lawn. My son saved him by prying the dog’s jaw open–getting bitten himself in the process. Smudge ran away in terror and only found his way home 5 days later, with a badly infected, smashed and broken left leg. They amputated his whole leg down in Greenville on Saturday. Josh brought him home on Monday morning to his new circumstances.

His entire left leg is gone, the wound stapled shut where his shoulder used to be He’s got one of those awful cones on and has to live (at least for the foreseeable future) in a large cage. No activity until he’s healed some, and never unrestricted.

This vibrant, energetic, athletic and charming cat’s life has been turned upside down because an irresponsible owner let her large dog wander away on a retractable leash that she failed to retract. She left with her dog after almost killing our cat. No name, no info, no apologies.

Smudge has months of pain and rehab ahead of him with no guarantee that he will adapt and be happy again. We are exhausted and stretched thin after the five day search and 3 days of medical intensity. Josh is getting a full rabies series, courtesy of the VA.

We often say that our pets are second only to our children in our hearts. And it’s true. In this case, both my son and my cat were harmed by this person. I am heartbroken and so angry.

My Favorite Things

I responded to a friend’s internet challenge, to post a list 3 positive things a day. When another friend started as a result of my challenge, I committed to an additional seven.

Here’s the first batch of positive things, and I hope they brighten your day.

josh waiting 1

Day 1:

  1. I’m grateful to my son who mowed the yard even feeling crappy and in intense humidity — it was a pleasure to drive down the street to home.
  2. I’m happy that I knit. I could give all 21 slots with a knitting related post.layout2_r1_c2
  3. I’m with Kim that cats make me smile. The world is better place because of our feline companions.

Day 2: 

  1. My garden has given us fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as lots of Tomatoesonvine2basil.
  2. I am lucky enough to have a granddaughter.
  3. Evenings are getting cooler in Asheville–so much less need for AC, and more chance for open windows, bird song, and breeze.

Day 3:

  1. machine-bestI appreciate breathing…all through the night. I got a loaner C-PAP machine and sleeping is true rest again. What a joy!
  2. I woke early this morning, and one of the first thoughts was “what am I grateful for?” — I attribute that lovely waking to this challenge, which has re-focused my mind on the positive in life.
  3. I’m grateful for metaphoric and literal “off buttons.” There’s a time to walk away from drama and ugliness (as well as a time to act) and knowing when that it lifts a weight and frees the mind and heart. That’s a miraculous thing.
  4. –Oh, and a bonus 4) — I’m grateful it’s Friday after a good week at work.

Day 4:

  1. beautiful bird croppedBirds — when I step out my back door each time I leave the house, there are always birds there — in the trees and scrub, on the feeder, winging by. Bird song and that exquisite flash of upward wing never fail to make my own spirit soar. What a gift that is, through good and bad times, just a bird can make me smile.
  2. Jon Stewart is always guaranteed to make me laugh. He reminds me (in a good way) of my late husband, Dennis, who also could always make me laugh.
  3. barilla3Good Gluten-Free Pasta is no longer a contradiction in terms. There are several mainstream brands making gluten-free versions and this puts some old favorite dishes back on the menu.

Day 5:

  1. zen051Celebration (1)Friends! I could leave it at that, but especially the unexpected close friendships of adulthood. Good friends laugh and grieve with you, make meals, trade favors, secret jokes, and masses of understanding and acceptance. God Bless Good Friends.
  2. With said friends, we drank a bottle of cheap (3.99) red wine that was good!
  3. There’s a new produce stand in my neighborhood. An enterprising older man from the Islands, or perhaps Africa (lovely lilting accent, gracious and warm manners) has taken a vacant building and desolate lot over — he’s put up a large roofed area and has tables and tables of beautiful fresh produce. I stopped for the first time yesterday and bought 4 tomatoes for $2! We talked about things for a bit and then he gifted me with a giant organic tomato and wished me a great evening.

Day 6:

  1. I love the way Facebook helps reveal social connections and make them visible in ways I never paid attention to before social media. The spread of this lovely challenge and the interesting variations it has taken fascinate me. Like an old-fashioned game of telephone, spreading the message changes the message and the messenger.telephone game (237x136)
  2. When I stop and think of it, I realized I have been much loved in my life — many of those have left the planet now, but the love doesn’t go away. It lives in me and my memories and I can continue it on by loving others. What beautiful magic that is!
  3. It’s Monday morning and I feel no dread or sorrow or anger at the prospect of going to work this morning and the rest of the week. That’s a blessing — if you’ve ever experienced those feelings in response to the work week, you know. It’s also a privilege to have meaningful work in a pleasant setting with good co-workers. It’s one I pray every worker can have. When I center myself around the thought of how blessed I am to have that, I feel the glow of gratitude and joy seep through me and a smile spread across my face.

Day 7:

  1. Gorgeous George

    Gorgeous George

    Pretty much the whole internet agrees with me that kittens and cats are an endless source of fascination: more personality and energy packed in those springy bodies than can be contained, so it leaks out in extreme cuteness and apparent wisdom. When I need to laugh, a silly kitten attacking something harmless with such zeal can always do the trick. And isn’t it great that there’s no prescription cost, or anything….

  2. It’s the last few days of August and I’m not dreading September. Between world events and personal losses, the 9th month had assumed a pretty bad rep in my mind. This year, it’s pretty much just another month — I’m excited to see fall arriving while I mourn the loss of fresh tomatoes and basil. I see the sky lightening in the morning a few minutes later each day. But I don’t want to take to my bed with the covers over me! There’s a song “Wake Me When September Ends” that used to match my feeling, but now it’s just a song again. Since I loved September and its promise of autumn and new starts, I’m grateful to have it back.
  3. Sisters. I have only one official sister, who I love and adore and hope to continue laughing, playing, cooking, knitting, arguing and hugging for decades yet to come. I also have several sisters of the heart that joined my inner family over the years, and they too are a whole bouquet of graces.

With special thanks to Kim for starting me on this, I say with joy, And So It Is.

Cat Burglars and Staying up Late

I’ve been knitting most of the evening, watching old TV episodes on Netflix and finishing an elegant and subdued scarf for Josh. Then I’m making a bright orange wool cap for a friend who works outside on foggy winter mornings, plus something I’ll make out of this lovely Juniper Moon silk/merino blend. and then there’s the primary colored free-form shawl, a few ideas for the next scarves and shawls.

Out of the corner of my eye I keep watch for the cat burglars. Ellsworth is the invisible sneak thief, creeping in close, head low, with precise foot placement. Delicately, tenderly, he nudges the skein shifting it so he can get a sure grip with his mouth.  He clamps down, pulls back in slow mo, and then dashes for the hall …yard trailing behind him, catching on everything in its path.

Ellsworth can not resist orange yarn. While for Smudge, I think the biggest attraction is proximity and a clear line of escape. He wants room to dash off to the other end of the house tearing loose locks of yarn and tangling, — indeed wrestling with it — and claiming it as prey.  Smudge is on the hunt.  Ellsworth is playing a sneak thief version –sealth is the purpose, my surprise the reward.

Let’s catch up a bit…

  • I finished school this week!
  • I have a new job (well, still new-ish) that I really enjoy
  • The cats have grown like mad
  • They are proficient and sneaky yarn-thieves.
  • I’m selling vintage glass, some jewelry and my knitting at the Downtown Market in Asheville. Also on E-bay and Etsy.
  • Christmas is just around the bend and I’m almost there too, these days.
  • Life is good.
  • I’ve missed blogging and plan to resume.

Blessings to all.

Cats: The Next Generation

So, a couple of years ago I posted about Lady Grey destroying a skein of yarn (When Loves Collide). She’s still with us, but her two partners in destruction, George and Topaz, have passed on to kitty Elysian Fields…where there are miceys and voles and very slow squirrels, along with endless skeins of yarn and people to trip at will (and of course, a few fish for George).

The next generation of cats is here now: Smudge, a lovely grey mackerel tabby with a white nose accented with matching smudges of black; and Ellsworth — all black and very sleek with the loudest purr ever. EVER.

Smudge is following in the yarn-napping tradition. Here is exhibit one: his first snarled skein.  He does his spiritual fathers proud.


George’s Last Fishing Trip

Sleeping George

Sleeping George

Some of you may know that my beloved cat George died on Tuesday evening. He was nearly 17 years old. I know everyone who has a much loved pet thinks that particular animal is special; and I’m no different.

George had a complete and unique personality. He oozed “Georgeness” with every breath. He wasn’t the smartest cat I’ve ever shared my life with, but he was one of the most loving, good-natured, patient and happy cats ever. He had a checkered past: from an early run-in with a rooster that left him with a kinked tail; to a serious bout of ideopathic vestibular disease (his inner ear/balance stopped functioning); to a badly broken leg; to a 3-day ordeal stuck in the top of a very tall tree; to his passion for fishing, and the record 3-squirrel night a couple of years ago.  George lived large.

George riding Josh

George riding Josh

One of his nicknames was Fuz-ee… we called him the great and terrible Fuz-ee, kung fu master cat. Another cat of ours, Topaz, couldn’t resist attacking him in play and always always George won, hands down. Tope would start it, and the great and terrible Fuz-ee would end it. My husband used to say they were playing dinosaur kitties again.

Until a little while before his death, George groomed himself immaculately. This was challenge because he all that fur and very tiny tongue. His white paws were pristine, and his ruff shone in the sun. Once he got too decrepit, his paws soon turned to mud brown. We were bewildered, since he was no longer leaving the house (or so we thought).  But muddy and brown they stayed.

Gorgeous George

Gorgeous George

Many of you enjoyed the posts about George fishing in the creek across from our house. During the course of the year, George gifted us with about a dozen fish. We’d often see him ambling across the street, paws wet up to the black fur, happy as could be. When he caught something he did the usual happy song, yowling his triumph on his way from the cat window to the kitchen, where he’d plop down his prey. When it was a fish, it was often still flopping, which he adored and I hated!

I noticed a couple of years ago that he often brought in a fish after I’d shared a few bites of my fish with the cats. I guess it reminded him how much he liked seafood.

the predator☺

the predator☺

Two nights before he died, in an effort to tempt him to eat, I minced a little cooked fish for him. He actually ate two bites, then, exhausted, went to sleep. Next time Josh and I checked on him, he was gone! Josh went outside to call for him, and saw him coming home from the creek! Wet and muddy, very unsteady on his feet, and barely able to walk up the drive.   No fish, but I bet it wasn’t for lack of trying!

That was last burst of energy he had to give — and he spent it being quintessentially George. Tuesday around midnight, he died in Josh’s arms, while we sat together and kept vigil.

He’s out there somewhere, beating Tope up, catching fish like crazy, and blinking in the warm sunshine… being George.

IMG_0099And so it is.


My Hero

The Hero

My son is my hero right now (well, always, but that’s a different story☺). He just got up to save me from my mighty huntress cat’s latest find.

I get upset when the cats bring in dead stuff, but I get more upset when they bring in not-yet-dead stuff.  Josh came to the rescue.

It was a hummingbird of all things! I’ve never heard of a cat catching a hummingbird before.

The Culprit

The Near Victim*

He took it outside and it may be just shocky… or it might be too late. But at least it has a chance now.

Thank you Josh.

*not the actual hummingbird involved, who is now in a witness protection program (lol).

Eww! Gross!

Do you ever have one of those moments when you are totally disgusted with yourself?

I’m having one now. 

I have a very old persian-type carpet in my bedroom. It’s funky and threadbare. I’ve just never bothered to do anything about it. It’s hard to vacuum because it’s thin and the vacuum always tries to eat it. So I’ve been very neglectful, lived with the giant dust elephants created by three cats and a couple of visiting dogs, and just swept it occasionally when my conscience demanded really really loud.

In an old house like mine (92 years old), nothing is airtight or plumb. So bugs and moths in the summer are par for the course, especially in the south. You just live with it.  This summer seemed worse than usual in the moth department, so I finally began to investigate and this is what I found:

Moths! Old-fashioned carpet-eating, wood-devouring, clothing-destroying moths!  Whole sections of rug under a file cabinet are down to the backing threads. The detritus (yuck!) of a summer’s crop of moth leavings littered the area before I vacuumed them up. So this shot actually looks better than what I initially encountered.

It’s like this under every piece of furniture that’s not either flat on the rug or high enough for light and air to circulate.

So, we’re in for a summer-clean. Even though it’s hot, muggy, and miserable, we’ll be opening all the windows, tearing up this particular rug, taking down curtains to wash, vacuuming the living sh*t out of anything that holds still, and examining all the wool and natural fiber items (which abound — just my yarn stash alone could be a challenge) for damage.

The killer is, I really knew it sooner. I just didn’t want to cope. So now I have  twice as much to cope with. And it’s all my own fault.

Eww! Gross!

Wish me luck!