Trout

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The children were outside playing a game, after a swim date and a full spread of party fare and a special birthday cake, when we discovered Trout had delivered her kittens.

Trout

She came to us Tuesday, as a foster. She was a very ill, beat up, stressed out pregnant kitty – very young, herself. She’d been fending her way and she’d sustained an attack or two – facial injuries and a nasty cold, with thick ropy discharge coming from her mouth and nose. We took her to the clinic on Thursday where a very kind veterinarian gave her a thorough examination. He said her injuries were healing, and she had feline rhinotracheitis. He said she might get over her cold before her kittens were born, which would be a stroke of luck. He told us she smelled so horrid because she’d been too stressed to groom herself properly.

We brought her home, and I knew we’d care for her very well.

Comfort
Yesterday she was already feeling better. Her eyes were bright and she would purr and stretch out while I pet her.

No one told me, nor did I think on it, that she might deliver her babies catastrophically early.

One was dead soon after birth (if not before); the other died in my hands. 

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Two remain, and Nels and I check on them every two hours and give them care as per veterinary instruction. We give Trout some love as well. She vacillates between calm and loving – then protective and stressed. She is, however, finally grooming herself – and her appetite is better. Even as her younglings die, she is recovering.

I don’t know what’s worse. To be up tonight on this vigil, or to think of relieving my shift – waking my husband – and sleeping, only to wake to bad news.

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milk-fang

My dreams have been restless of late. Two nights ago my husband and I were entertaining suitors, men and women who wanted to carry off and then marry our girlchild. In the dream my daughter was so young she was still Sophia; her fine blonde hair and had that childish fullness in her cheeks. And in the dream Ralph and I had no choice but to find the best stranger for her, in a whirlwind speed-dating scenario. I remember a desperation, a hopelessness, as I interviewed strangers with smiling mouths but who knew what lurked behind. Last night dreams were not so frightful, but were exhausting nevertheless. I held a man’s hand, or rather he held mine. He was old enough to be my father but he only meant it in the friendliest of way. I still felt odd. As with the child-marrying dream, it was I who was out of sync, out of touch with what the world expected. My own secret life. Being different.

Tonight my daughter and I, tonight in real life that is, we take our dog on a long walk, a mile there and back to Canyon Court where our littlest kitty, Herbert Pocket, seemed to have stranded herself on an earlier walk. We have up to three cats at a time go on long walks with us, trailing us silently and racing through dark yards and up birch trees then back down. Earlier today Herbert Pocket had accompanied Phoenix into the small forest, back out – but not all the way back home. This evening, my daughter and I were unsure if we’d find her, or if she’d already made her way back to our neighborhood. I try not to worry, because what good would that do?

Sure enough, at the precise household Phoenix remembered seeing her hours before, our kitty’s sleek little body – black with dainty white mittens and long white “socks” on her back legs – joins us silently, trotting alongside. We’re as thrilled as you can imagine us to be. Tonight’s other walker, Harris – our oldest, age nine, is along for the trip as well. A half mile from home, though, he starts to flop in the road. Figuring he’s tired, I laughingly pick him up. He lets me carry him half a block then, with no apparent tension in his body or display of tooth or claw, a horrible deep growl wells up in his body. Figuring he might be serious, I set him back again on the cool concrete and he continues on with us.

It is cold out; my daughter is in the lovely down coat my sister bought her, for Christmas. And my daughter wears the warm alpaca hat I bought my husband – another Christmas gift, but many Christmases ago.

My body is tired. I’ve been cold all day; drinking a gallon and a half of water, perhaps that is why. Today my paid work was provincial and satisfying; the situation in the department has sorted itself out miles better than when I first started, half a year ago. I am able to do my duties well and not rush through clerical detail. My husband was home with the kids, and he spent the day cooking a curry – sweet potato, peas, and cauliflower fragrant with coconut milk, ginger, and garlic – and painted a table and scrubbed the floor. The kids spent the day playing; Phoenix is on a welcome break from school. She is drawing and playing Minecraft. Nels is doing the same – until the neighborhood boys are released from school, or homework or whatever, and mill around in our driveway waiting for Nels to enrich their play. Then we don’t see Nels again, just glimpses through our windows, until the boys have gone back to their homes.

Spring is feeling good.

the point of pain, perhaps there is no point

I am packing up to head into town with the children. My daughter takes the recycling out, headphones in her little jewel-like ears, as per usual. I hear a small commotion and look outside to see the blonde head of my youngest – he’s racing through the yard. My first thought when I see my kids outside is such gladness they get to be here, not in school. My second thought is usually an intense surge of love so deep it is like a drug hit.

I hear my son crying now. I have a hundred and one things I’m (trying not to be) thinking about, but when Nels comes inside I know something is up, the intensity. “Pip!” he cries out, tears streaming down his cheeks, naming our youngest cat. “He had a rat in his mouth and I tried to get it away from him and he bit down and I heard it squeaking!” Hot tears brimming in his eyes, his face flushed. I bring him on my knee and he curls in close as if he was still a young child. I feel grim about this all, because I can just hear the squeaking, too. I also know in just a moment of my care he’ll calm down. And he does.

My kidney pain is horrid. It comes and goes. Last night in yoga class I panted and closed my eyes and tried not to throw up. Coughing weakly a bit. I’m feeling angry as I stretch up, arms reaching up up up, then fold, and then lift, then plant hands, then plank. Angry. Angry at whom? No one did this to me. Or if they did, why anger? What is the point? My shoulder twinges. I move back into Child’s Pose prematurely, my forehead on the grimy mat. My mind on the palm of my hands, the deep stretch in my hips, which feels divine.

I suppose I’ll never really figure it out.

Pip

so everyone is pretty much settled in

Pip
I can’t believe how many changes hit our family at once. A couple are too private to write about – at least, not at the moment, not until I can collect my thoughts. But – we bought a house, we moved, the kids came back home to homeschooling – and a job found me.

Yes – for the first time in thirteen years I am working day hours out of the home – and today was my first day. I guess these last couple weeks – and the next few – I’ll be taking it easy. Remembering to breathe.

Sometimes life comes at you fast!

The Move

the day I became an Aberdonian

The day before the move: packed up, and (mostly) ready to go:

The Move
Annnd… we are homeowners!

The Move
A friend asked for a ride on our big day. And like – of course! So she got to share in my little photoblog:

The Move

So… is anything more heartrending than recycling pounds and pounds of paperwork – lovely drawings, journals, and the like? I try to enjoy those moments because – whether you cram all this stuff in a drawer or closet for someone else to deal with, or not – we can’t take any of it with us.

The Move

I wish I liked anything as much as Nels likes our new house. In fact, this morning he told me he thinks he likes it “too much”. Yeah. Yeah, I hear you kid!The Move
It was a beautiful day. Rain-drenched greenery.

The Move
Stacking random packages, teenagers:

The Move
The first residents: my plants. <3

The Move
Feeling left out: Queen Josie:

The Move
Phee texting. And being ethereally beautiful. I forgot to budget for curtains, and the house came with only Walmart bare-bones versions. Thinking these will be our “real” curtains a loonnnnng time!

The Move
We took the jars of coin we’ve saved in the old house, converted to cash, and will now be donating to a homeless project. I’ll keep you updated!

The Move
A simple dinner with the two men who helped us move. Some candelight. xxx ooo

The Move
Cats came over later. Pip was a little clingy. 

The Move
It’s been a great deal of work, but it has gone well so far. With some weirdness – I was charged for, and delivered, TWO king-size mattresses. AND I had a fraudulent charge – almost $600 – on our main checking card! I caught that, and corrected it, right away. But it has been a juggle outfitting the new home and keeping our financial picture afloat. 

We are having a great time. We are out of funds. I am almost out of energy, for a thousand and one reasons.

But we’re still laughing, and enjoying this time special together.

Bairn

st. bernadette

Today, I don’t understand what happened. I get up and discover that some time in the early morning, before anyone was up, a neighbor came over to report a cat killed by a motorist – a Siamese-marked kitty. My daughter woke, answered the door. Threw on her shoes and went out to investigate and – thank goodness, it wasn’t our Pip, but rather a semi-feral little rascal living and snooping around the neighborhood. R.I.P., little kitty.

But this morning my daughter tells me this and I’m a little knocked sideways. Amazing to me she handled this like a grown-up. I guess she’s becoming a grownup.

Something is off, though. Her color looks terrible and retires to her bed, to wake in the early afternoon. I make her a breakfast; I charge Nels with the dishes. When it’s finally time for her to rise, something is wrong. At first I am thinking she has some kind of sore throat. A little fever. She feels nausea. But then she doubles over in pain after trying to eat. She is suffering, and says so. My heart flutters. My daughter doesn’t complain about jack shit. Something is wrong.

We wait a while in the doctor’s waiting room but I don’t mind. I’m glad to be there. Her doctor gives her lungs a listen and I can see his concern. He orders a breathing treatment right away. He tells her, “you’re too tight to even check for pneumonia.” He goes out the room a while while she gets her treatment. She’s laying on the table because she can’t move around much without feeling terrible. I’m stunned because just yesterday she was running around like normal. And the doctor comes in, he’s a good doctor, and eventually he brings me over, loans me his stethoscope, for her lungs. I am not a doctor, but I am very upset by what I hear – and what I don’t hear. And the doctor says, “I’m amazed you haven’t passed out,” to my daughter. What’s really cool is he talks right to her and always have, even since she was little.

My daughter is sardonic but straight-forward. We get her a few prescriptions called in; we head up and get an x-ray. Her color is a little better; maybe the breathing treatment helped.

And, in my mind’s eye, I’m still hearing the pop and growl of her lungs. Her pink little lungs, in distress!

It’s funny, because this morning before everything went down I was fetching my first cup of coffee and feeling kind of ugly about the normal trifling concerns of life and I thought, I should be grateful I’m still breathing, that I can draw breath.

I am anxiously awaiting the results of tomorrow’s chest x-ray.

To say I’m anxious is a bit of an understatement. There aren’t really words.

Bairn

 

Interfacing

in SPACE-VISION™

InterfacingI am elbows-deep in supporting my kids through their schooling and extracurricular activities, paying our bills and keeping house, practicing yoga daily, firing up my B-movie site in a big way (as well as participating in the Bmoviecast and attendant community), and working on a semi-secret (but not really) and massive sewing project.

Also: setting up a 3D super-Wi-Fi blu-ray projector system in our house!

Space-Vision (TM)!

But sadly – all too often, movie night ends in a senseless napping tragedy.

Movie Night

This Baby Was Grouchy

an extra baby just for a minute

This Baby Was Grouchy

omg baby looks sad here but she really was OK – promise!

So a year ago last night, I helped my friend through a dark time in the ER. I thought a lot that night about how wonderful a gift sobriety is. Tonight things haven’t changed on that account:

When I got sober, I worried about some things… I worried there wouldn’t be joy in my life, that my life would be like this dry diet (or at least, what I imagine a diet is like) of “good habits”. I truly worried that I’d be bored, or boring. And I definitely thought I’d miss drinking.

 

Of the one hundred and one amazing and incredible and unexpected things that have happened to me the years I’ve been sober, not one of those worries has come to fruition. My life isn’t very boring. It doesn’t go according to my plans either.

 

I didn’t think tonight I’d find myself spending my set-aside rent money on the food and alcohol she needs to live. Two cases of skunky beer. Coors Light! I enjoy carrying the cases though. They feel substantial. Medicine they are!

 

Cans of tinned soup, packets of Chinese pork, fresh fruit, corn chips.

Today was a good day. I was home with my children, and I cared for a handful of other people. I let my husband hold me. I made a delicious dinner.

I got to be me, and like me.

So, that’s a pretty good gig.

Cracker Bros.

Cracker Bros.

Cracker Bros.

Phee + Pocket 

no family is safe when I sashay!

I’m up before the children – three, in all – and I have those few minutes after my husband leaves for work, and before anyone else joins me. I shower, and dress. No makeup but a little lipstick – hair back in a slouch cap. Dishes, and laundry, and tidying up some tailoring work as we’ll be expecting company throughout the day.

Now I wake up the children: first, my son, who is frightened over the vaccination he’s set to receive this morning. Then, the girls: my daughter and the kids’ friend C. We’ve got to hit two doctor’s appointments back-to-back. We’ll be doing that before we get a meal out together.

It’s rainy out but I have a little coffee in my Nalgene bottle, and my warm scarf. The kids are cheerful company. Phoenix is a young woman now and would no more skip a morning shower than I. Her hair is wet; her face dear freckled face snubbed with a little powder. At the doctor’s, she finds some women’s magazine – Jane or Marie Claire or something – while the other young girl finds a Highlights.

People in the office, and later running errands – so many seem so unhappy. Irritable at those minor delays that happen everywhere. At the taquería working class men look me up and down as I ferry drinks and napkins and salsa to the table. I eat slowly, checking my phone. Enjoying that first meal of the day. I eat until I’m satisfied. And now: I must get us home. Drop one child off, receive another. Put together a few Christmas gifts.

It’s cold and rainy; my car is giving me fits. Tomorrow is payday so tonight I can write a check for our dinner, and for Christmas Eve dinner. My husband is tired – as tired as I. My knees, my neck ache. My son runs through the house, first acting out every song in “Jesus Christ Superstar” (he’s still quite fixated); later, in a pair of neon green boys’ briefs that match the garish bandaid on his thigh – his vaccination site.

The rain, the curious meow of kitties needing love. Keeps me company as the house falls more and more still.

Jon-Won Kitten / Cupcake Party

on hospitality

Jon-Won Kitten / Cupcake Party

Today is less peachy-keen than yesterday. Still very low levels of kidney pain – most of the day, non-existent – but I am fatigued, and suffered a good deal of nausea rising in the later part of the day.

I do the best I can: rescheduling an appointment, making a few more. Laundry (a neighborhood gentleman came over and helped inspect our dryer), dishes, and food – cupcakes and chicken sandwiches for our later event. Drive to the bank to make a deposit.Thankfully, the deposit gets there before the check for rent pulls funds.

Put the house in order; light candles. Cut out three layered t-shirts; return pattern to envelope and filing system. Fold clothes and make a pot of hot, strong tea.  Drive the rainy distance along the river out to pick up my children, and one other young one, at the bus stop. Put a call in to a friend.

The sandwiches, the tea party: a few visitors today, one very special. My friend E., my daughter’s best friend A. – and the kitten new to A.’s home. A kitten almost identical to our own Pip, but of a fluffier nature with a hard, round, low-slung belly.

You can see why it was pretty important we make it a real Occasion.

Jon-Won Kitten / Cupcake Party 

A. and her kitty leave a little after 8; I tidy up. It’s 9 PM – my makeup is fading; my body feels ill. My son collapsed at six PM, clothes and all, in his bed – lights on. His early bedtime somehow leaves me feeling lonely, sad and ill. The early sunset isn’t a great help, either.

I remind myself that just because I am not feeling well, does not mean those in my home are similarly afflicted. It is so important to give them all the love I can.

No matter what!