R.I.P. fair, white, fluffy one

Today our lovely white hen Stryker was found dead. We don’t know how or why; when Ralph put the birds in their coop last night everyone was fine.

This might sound callous, but after I absorbed the loss the next feeling I felt was gladness she she did not die from neglect on our part or predation (which feels like neglect on our part no matter how much it might not be; so far we’ve only lost one this way). It is so important to Ralph and I we do not let our animals (or young children) down on the safety front. Now, we do not know what felled this wisest of all birds (OK, she was not wise, perhaps I should have said, “This bird who loved sweet soft fruit with a deep abiding love”) – there was no trauma or sign of distress. Ralph worries she ate a piece of plastic. Chickens are not especially intelligent but even I have a hard time believing she would have accidentally murdered herself. So far: a mystery. Ralph and I are researching but I’m not sure we’ll ever know what happened.

R.I.P. Stryker. You were kind of one of my favorites. You would run SO FAST with your leggy hips bobbing up and down if I brought out strawberry tops or part of a muffin or a very, very ripe banana. I don’t know how you knew when I had something sweet just from when I slid open the back door, but you always did. It was the only time you ascended the pecking order and intimidated the other birds.

Stryker’s nestmate Peepterton is very sad and lonely and shook up.

In other pet/death news last night we deflea’d the cats (newcomer Josie brought a strapping colony with her). We had to put the little ones in the bathroom for the night so the dying parasites could jump to die of poison on towels, not our bed (ask me how I know this). The older cats got to stay outside with their street smarts and impressive fat reserves. Late last night Ralph brought me in the kids’ room to use the new microscope to look at one of the kitten’s dying fleas. Don’t do this. Ever.

Now, I wasn’t particularly grossed out or scared of fleas.

Before.

hoga-cat count, back up to 4

Meet Josie.

Meet Josie

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their support, well-wishes, advice, and hugs regarding our kitty Laurence. It’s been a month exactly since he went missing. I tell myself it is possible we will see him again (which now means our kitty-count would go up to five, which is something I try not to think about) which would be wonderful… but my hopes are dwindling. Ralph and I have been wondering if he was adopted illicitly by someone else around the way. He disappeared so quickly, without a trace, and the flyers we put up around the neighborhood were immediately and categorically torn down. It really hurts my heart that I don’t know what happened to him.

Since little Hamilton was robbed of her brother and playmate, Ralph and I have been entertaining the idea of adopting a companion kitty for her. Today I received notice of kitties about Hamilton’s age and therefore a potential perfect match.

Josie was a free kitten, as it turns out residing at the fellow’s home we sold our van to over a year ago (a carpet cleaner; he’d tenderheartedly brought a litter and mama home from a woman who was moving and planning to dump them at our in-town [kill] shelter). She came already named*, as it happens a name I completely love (in fact it was on my very short list for my firstborn’s name). She’s been pretty mellow since she got here. Mostly just sniffing and stropping herself against my legs for comfort. As I type she has one pristine paw resting on my shoe while she looks at me quizzically.

Right. A Bunch Of Sniffing.

Today was sunny; lovely. Early in my day I went for a run, a bit longer than usual. It put me in a great mood as did the hot shower and hot coffee afterward. I delivered the limón bunting to the intended recipient (who wasn’t at her workplace to receive it, so no feedback yet), which made me feel good. Oh and by the way, guess how easy it was to motivate kids to get dressed & teeth brushed to head out the door for kittenz-adoptin? Yeah.

Getting Ready, Pt 1

As I type this two of Phoenix’s fan club have arrived. The children immediately squeal upon seeing the new kitty. One of them, J., misapprehends when he hears squeals of kitty-delight. “You found him?” he asks, delightedly (meaning Laurence). What joy, what care these neighborhood children evidence. Now that I’ve learned how to be around children I wouldn’t trade their company for just about anything else.

* One of her littermates was originally called “Patches” but since the little girl living in the house couldn’t say it, the name became “Blatches”, which makes me laugh until doubled over.

summations

Today:

I sat next to another Soccer Mom and knit while watching my daughter’s first soccer game of the season. I truly feel like an interloper at these sporting events. I could list on and on why: I have the shittiest car in the parking lot, I often am sitting on the grass getting wet instead of packed into North Face and cozy under a big umbrella, I tend in conversation to immediately be espousing controversial ideas instead of trading in niceties, I am not a screamer urging my kids to GO GO GO GET ON IT MOOOOOVE SHOT! SHOT! – et cetera. That said it is a delight to watch my daughter play; as in everything she does, her spirit shines forth. She worked hard today and I took her out afterwards for cheesy bread, tomato soup, and a Sprite.

My husband told us he woke early and while he cuddled my son he watched me sleep for a while. He told us I looked “beautiful… her hair was perfect, and her face looked so beautiful”. I told him thank you, but not before I had to make an amusing crack at the fact I am so much prettier when my beak is shut, right?

Ralph assembled the IKEA furniture J. and I shopped for last night (my first time at IKEA and yes, I had their meatballs; tasty enough but mine are better). When he went off to band practice he left all the packaging out on purpose for Hammy the kitten to totally tear the hell out of the business. I mean she really ripped the lid off of it.

I brought my grandpa hardtack and my mom some hazelnut chocolate I bought from the abovementioned; the two were deep into their nightly wine-drinking and watching Casablanca and totally in the catbird seat.

Haven’t got up to the sexiness with the husband in a while; today watched Antichrist and now I’m not sure I’ll ever want to again. Also Lars von Trier, that was a total piece of uber-misogynistic dogshit, I don’t care how brilliant you’ve convinced yourself you are (the fox part was pretty good tho’).

I am about to collapse with exhaustion. In the last week and a half it seems the days I don’t eat red meat I feel quite fatigued. This is a bit daunting as I don’t know how to prepare red meat (what cut to buy and how to cook it), I don’t really want to eat steak dinners out daily, and pasture-finished cruelty-free beef is hard to come by around here unless you buy half a cow and I never have the money nor the freezer and remember that part about not being good at cooking red meat.

Fin.

just to sear you in the eyeball

I seriously, seriously dare you to watch the entirety of this video:

Look, I enjoy both Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta as performers, but sometimes people we like very much do some very wrong things in tiny and upsetting shorts. I am completely distressed I watched the first few frames* and that I then I dared myself to watch until the end, which came seemingly ages later, and by then I was a changed person, my eyes flat and despairing and my soul sucked from my body, I mean just how long did whoever that director was think we wanted to watch sweaty man-batch bouncing around in the most graphic fashion while attached to an eerily smiling perpetrator, let alone the delight this seemed to afford his yelling aerobics instructor – and yes no matter how lovely Ms. Curtis is I would rather not watch anyone in a leotard thong “presenting” to the beat of tepid Jackson has-been pop while leading a large cult of 80s fitness-Hell minions who are seemingly oblivious to all the creepy eye contact… good Lord, even typing this is sucking me back to the Darkness again…

Tonight while handsewing – painfully, my arm hurts, and the end result of 1.5 hours of my time looks too shitty to use anyway – I watched the 2008 film Defiance. Daniel Craig is total eye candy whether classed-up as Bond or super-smudgy and thyphoid-infested as in this film but he is also (as far as I can tell) a rather impressive actor as well; the film itself was devastatingly rough – not quite what I was looking for while stitching, but good nonetheless. Besides all that, Ralph’s afternoon nap was incidentally tortured by phantasms including shooting, explosions, screaming, and violently-shouted Russian (as well as an Actual Real Kitten who batted at his hair and face while he slumbered).

* How/why did I run across such a clip? Why from the rather charming video here: “Dancing at the movies” and just because you’ll probably never trust me again let me offer full disclosure: the “Dancing” video is a mixed bag: super-annoying Loggins music-action but very fun movie clips.

missing

Lost Larry

Our kitten Laurence is missing. This is causing us a lot of distress. If any Hoquiamites know anything about this little guy (last seen 2 days ago here on 1st street in HQX) please, please let us know!

If anyone else wants to send prayers or vibes. I know that might sound silly to some. But I am rather upset about it all. His sister is curled up on my lap purring. She misses him and we do too.

stuff we’ve been up to

My husband is making a drum machine. But not like you might think. Like a physical drum set that is beat upon by a robot. A robot he powers from a MIDI-sequencer and arduino and hand-built circuit and solenoids. I’m not even making this up. It took a while for his friends and admirers to catch on he’s actually building a goddamn amazing robot and after he’s done with this maybe I’ll tell him to build another one to terrify the hell out of you mere mortals.

Robo-Drummer

Brilliant Man

I made a pair of pants for Phoenix that were PERFECT in every detail. Here’s a picture of the pocket bags. Yeah I know. You stitchers want to punch yourself in the crotch that this is the INSIDE of the pants and looks so good (I am feeling cocky and all about the CAPS LOCK tonight). You’ll be seeing the rest of the pants soon enough. For now, weep at the preview of awesomeness.

Pocket Bag

I cooked down all our extra CSA veggies yesterday (and we had a lot) and made a resultant slow-cooked organic veggie puree and froze it in batches and gave one batch to my mom and used a batch in tonight’s dinner and will be making up some soup this week (for my SOUPTAKER daughter) and have a little more besides. Tonight’s dinner was amazing, because I have finally hit on the perfect spaghetti and meatballs recipe and it’s good every time. We had my mom over to share and she baked brownies and covered them with Tillamook vanilla ice cream. I haven’t had any dessert yet because I’m still recovering from MEATBALLS AND RED PEPPERS.

August 8th, 2010

Our kittens found another place to perch, prairie-dog, and sleep. When the living room carpet is entirely dry from shampooing THIS rug will be rolled back out and they’ll have to take their shady business somewhere else.

ON THE RUN

Also: bike rides, friends over for music recording and talking and tea, lunch date with my husband, many snuggles, my son sneaking under the covers to the bottom of the bed last night to gently massage my feet and then pop his blonde head up and smile at me, my daughter opening her eyes first thing this morning and saying dreamily, “The nights go by so quickly…”

Good times this weekend.

of flannel and warm fuzzies

Breakfast!
August 4th, 2010
(I have three whole followers on my little food-update Twitterstream – and one of them is my own husband! Make no mistake at just how much of a nerd I am who does a bunch of stuff hardly anyone else cares about!)

Today one of my ladyfriends L. came to visit. She’d been a student of mine at GHC winter before last. I really like her. She’s sweet and funny and since she likes sewing and fabric well, we have plenty to talk about. I was a scattered hostess, trying to cook up the daily fare and talk sewing and try to keep my wits about me under duress because the neighbor kids were in and out and they were a little rambunctious. Within their first five minutes in my home they’d broken my back screendoor and put their hands in the goldfish bowl and smeared the results (combined with the extra stuff on their hands, a few of them are routinely very dirty) on my front door. While L. was here I made a chicken pot pie for the kids tomorrow and a devil’s food cake with fresh strawberries and cream for the lot today, which incidentally when I served the kiddos I only got back three out of seven forks; the rest are outside God-knows-where.

I enjoyed L.’s visit very much as she’s a person I genuinely enjoy. She brought me fabric gifts and I cut off a length of a lovely deep-purple satin for a project for my daughter.  Before she left I asked her what she might need. Her eye fell on three yards of a lovely Alexander Henry flannel I had on my shelf (dear reader, I image-searched to find you the pattern and now I am weeping and gnashing my teeth with fabric-lust! And I didn’t find the fabric anyway). It was a wonderful bit of yardage and perfect for the pajamas project she was contemplating. I rarely have more than a yard of any particular fabric anyway, as I am rather quick to sew up what I buy. Seeing this L. asked if I was sure I wanted to gift it. But I felt like absolutely; I’d had the yardage for about four years now and had stashed it away as one of those “precious” items but had not cut into it. It felt wonderfully freeing to gift it, part of this was happiness at giving a present that was well-received and part was happiness at letting go of my hoarding impulse.

In other news I am buried under email despite my best efforts. Some email provides a respite, something lovely to read. Some is designed specifically to get my goat. For instance, my husband and my brother Billy like to call me Bird and make fun of my beak and dirty feathers, delivering various pathetic attempts at wit and commentary now and then or emailing me pictures of fat and/or clumsy birds. They especially like to tease me if I’m sleepy or have had something alcoholic to drink.

So Billy writes, “Hey, I found a clip of you online.” and sends me this:

And finally. There’s something insulting about how much I run around trying to get shit done with THIS under my nose at every turn:
KITTEN DECADENCE

You probably aren’t even noticing Laurence’s back leg extended at maximum pleasure-stretch while he sleeps!! WHO LIVES LIKE THIS?! The only thing they like more than sleeping on my down comforter is sleeping on a pile of warm laundry on the down comforter. They get up to this about twenty hours a day. The rest of their time is spent eating food and liberally pooping in the litter box. Then once we’re in bed they form a rift in the Space-Time Continuum to make MORE time to fight viciously, usually in my hair, until my just-fallen-asleep ass has to re-stumble out of bed and throw them in the bathroom to sleep. And I am not even joking, they immediately stop horsing around and sleep. All night.

It’s a good life. (For them.)

“It’s hard to concentrate on the work at hand when a kitten is playing at your feet.”

The neighborhoods we walk in and bike in often contain derelict houses, overgrown lawns/lots, jagged unfriendly pathways (seriously I could keep up an entire blog mocking the HQX sidewalks). One time last summer as we made our way across Hoquiam and Aberdeen to get our groceries my daughter, irritated at the broken bottles, garbage, and variety of obstacles she was having to steer past on her new, almost-too-big-for-her bike, querulously asked, “What is this, a Glass Parade?”

This morning at 5 AM when I finally surfaced out of a lovely sleep as I realized I’d been hearing a crystalline “tink”, “tink”, “tink” for some time. I came to and discovered Hamilton the kitten was on the windowsill, six inches from my head, repeatedly and rhythmically tapping the window-blind cord stop against an empty glass. I removed the cat from the sill and disentangled my feet from her slumbering brother and got up for a glass of water and heard the sound of one of my adult cats outside, fighting/arguing with another feline from the neighborhood (you know that low, threatening cat-growl that sounds so alarming).

So that’s when the phrase, “Cat Parade” enters my mind, i.e. a world with Let’s Face It, too many tuna-breath little scurriers who, somewhat humiliatingly, follow me through the house and much like my children enjoy nothing more than being with me as I A. sew or B. cook. In fact as far as sewing goes at this point when I’m in the back room contentedly stitching the floor is so littered with cats in such extremely excessive states of repose I often feel embarrassed for them and myself because of how much pleasure we take in our company.

As I type this I feel one of the kittens begin climbing my back (fortunately I’m swaddled in a blanket so I don’t scream in pain and anger). I reach back and gently grasp the animal; you can tell it’s Hamilton because she has a very fat, round tummy (her brother is quite skinny). A few minutes later and she’s up watching me, cuddled up near my computer monitor. A couple minutes after that and she’s become singularly obsessed with attacking the mouse (computer-mouse that is) on the desk.

This is Hamilton:
Natural Defenses Hamilton is blurry in this picture. Now we own an incredibly cheap camera, I admit it, but nevertheless I rarely end up with an unfocussed picture like this. So I’m pretty sure she looks blurry because she is starting to feel sleepy.

Don’t tell anyone I was online reading “kitten quotes”, but I totally was, and I liked this one:

“A kitten is so flexible that she is almost double; the hind parts are equivalent to another kitten with which the forepart plays. She does not discover that her tail belongs to her until you tread on it.”

I know my kittens are just sort of Nothing to anyone else, just a blip, another mouth to feed or a series of rather uninteresting anecdotes. For me the little ones remind me how fleeting life can be; how special is our Now and our time of self-discovery. My kittens remind me of the incredible good fortune I have, how I find I am able to give a little more to care for one more person or one more body and how I can always find more love. My kittens (are far, far, FAR easier than caring for a child but) remind me of babies and newborns and that when one chooses to care for others there is a lot of feeding and cleaning and loving-up and chores and just plain stewardship and often the acts themselves are the “rewards” and not all see how this is so. Some of the people I like best in the world are those who care for others – deliberately and with great joy – because people/pets/the world all need care.

But I’ll tell you one thing. If I’m going to own four cats I’m a little resentful that there have been moments when I totally want to sit down and have a cat on my lap and none of the little creatures are willing to provide.

I have the feeling I could own twice as many cats and never get that lap-love guarantee.