invalids, some small and furry

Yes, as I type this the cat is running about around my feet and being cute. Last night the kitten turned from the docile, tame creature it had advertised itself as to, well, more of a kitten, and that includes claws and teeth and general randomness.

I really have to give a shout-out to Ralph for what he did yesterday when we brought the little kitty home. My husband had a date with a friend which he ended up being late for because he gave our new pet a painstaking, tender, very long flea-bath. He even used tweezers to remove some of the fleas, as well as a fine toothed comb. The little guy was really suffering and when the flea shampoo hit his fur the parasites started biting him. Ralph said the kitty was bleeding at the neck where the fleas attacked! The kitten seemed to feel so much better after he was dry and flea-free. It was clear he felt his situation was much improved.

The most astounding thing happened last night. I had called the Princess and was blah-blah-blahing about our kitty and he told me he was sick. Then I found out he was rather sick; a very painful sore throat. I asked – ibuprofin? throat gargles? honey and lemon? and soon realized Billy would rather just be sick, and plug along, then pause to take care of himself. You have to understand my brother is likely to have sat inside his apartment – or worse, gone out to do stuff with friends – looking like a diseased rat monkey. Even though his suffering was likely viral I convinced him to come over and let me take care of him.

My husband cut his man-date short and brought Bart along to pick Billy up. I convinced Billy to have some homemade soup and rolls, let me make him tea with honey and fresh lemon. And he stayed over and everything! In the morning I made bagels, an omelet (fresh thyme from Bart’s garden), and blueberries from my mom’s garden.

I really do like helping people. It is no trouble at all and when I don’t want to help or take care of people, I don’t. I was glad Billy let me take care of him a bit; it was fun and nice to spend time with him. And so far, none of us seem to have caught whatever disease he has.

another grey weekend – for a change

"Sleeping Beauty"
Last night while my brother was here (for sewing photos and family dinner) Nels and I played one of his favorite games – where he lies on his back and waits for the Prince to give him a kiss. Note cat skulking off. She’s had three days of being totally stoned from a rather potent handmade catnip toy we picked up at the Farmer’s Market.

little monster
Sophie is now a big girl. She barely needs to cuddle and her manner with me is distracted, thinking of other, larger things. I want to be pregnant again and get another baby. They are way more dependent and stuff.

At the park
Today after we went grocery shopping we hit this park my Sophie has been begging to go to for weeks. Here we see Nels, back on the carousel after being thrown off it. He is having a rough time of it lately. My husband doesn’t even want to hang out with him.

As I type this Ralph and Sophie are with my parents at a protest and I am struggling with a headache. Nels had some down-time playing in his room (one hour plus, because I am awesome and I can get away with that) and he and I are about to take a bath.

Big Fun Weekend this is not – at least not yet. Where is the sun?

back to work but i’m glad

Mornings I often get a blissful few minutes to myself. My children stay up late and thusly sleep in nicely. I have been taking baths in the morning, lately out of necessity for my sinuses (sinusi?) but even as I get better I am still enjoying the ritual: the only light that of the window and a few candles, hot, steaming water, quiet through the house (which will not be quiet again until late in the afternoon, if that).

This morning, after washing my hair and leaning back, hot towels packed around my face, my body feeling strong and elastic and no longer alien and bone-achy, I eventually hear the rustle of Nels fumbling down the hall. I’d already been to his room twice this morning as he restlessly half-slept and tossed, grumping aloud, a troubled expression clouding his angelic brow (“angelic” here referring only to perfect, flawless skin and sweet, sleep-laden features – not the actual behavior or mind within said brow). That’s just how Nels can be in the morning – grouchy (or “growksy” as Sophie still pronounces it) for no good reason although almost always feeling much better after the first bite of his morning meal (which today will be: toast, the last of Abbi’s farm eggs, oranges and kiwi, the latter Nels’ favorite fruit).

The disgruntled little soldier stumbles into the bathroom and sees I’m not providing him with a bowl of oatmeal or whatever, I am in the bath (which he loves to share), and he has to pee (which he never wants to do in the morning). Long story short, this results in: yelling (his), partial undressing (him), and finally, pissing on the floor (um, him there, yes). “Oh Nels. It’s OK,” I tell him as he cries piteously, having hosed a tidy corner of my floor. “I need to have a bath with you!”he wails (such drama!) and I pull him inside: of course, of course… I stroke him and the warm water envelops his body. He calms instantly and we float and I put my face in his damp hair and breathe.

A few minutes later Sophie comes in, hair tousled and smiling; lean, barefoot. and looking half-grown in her grownup little pajamas. Seeing us in the bath she says, “I want to get in, too.” then stops and sees the boy-puddle on the floor. “What happened?” she asks, eyes and freckles open on her face. I tell her her brother had an accident. “Oh,” she says. A pause. “Can I wipe it up?” “No, Mama can do that, it’s OK.” As she finishes her morning pee I sense, rather than see, our black cat scuttle along the hallway in some kind of cat-distress. A minute later the animal makes a crazy sound which I immediately recognize as a siren for getting the fucking cat out of the house. * Sophie is amazed: “Mama, the cat was talking!” she says, delighted (she is so amazed by “real” magic). “Yeah,” I say, “That’s not a good thing. That means she’s upset and has to go outside.” Sophie scoots out the door to take care of the cat (my children have both gotten strong and adept enough to pick the cat up and it is now one of their favorite things to do) and I get out of the bath, favoring Nels with a toy helicopter to buy time.

My daughter rejoins us in the bathroom. “The cat did something really gross on the floor,” she tells me, flatly. **

But despite a few bumps in the road this morning, I feel so much better. Last night I slept long and well, no drugs nor booze nor congested nose nor night-terrors (although, sadly, a few instances of getting up to spit blood in the sink – just a nuisance, not really much of a disruption). And today the world is washed in new colors. Steam rises from the kitchen sink with the familiar joyful energy, I see my house again and restore order. My children crawl all over me, go through my purse, shout suggestions for our day’s plans.

Thank you, universe.

* One of the best stories in our lore was my sister’s ex-John’s cat – I don’t remember the animal’s name – who literally said, “Oh no!” twice before vomiting behind a couch. I’m told there were two witnesses. John’s impersonation of it was hilarious and eerily, entirely believable.

** Blackie had, in fact, deposited a not-too-gross hairball on the floor that Sophie’s keen eye had spied immediately. And as it turned out, Sophie and Blackie had also only made it “outside” as far as the laundry room, where the cat pissed on the floor, not able to access her litter box nor the bushes. Therefore it was a total of three bodily messes, none of them mine and two of them feline, I’d already dealt with before 8:30 AM this morning.

holding up through the winter


Our house has a new center. The downstairs bedroom, now converted to ours, is now where we four end up congregating for movies, cuddling, and playing. The room has one bed and one dresser in it (challenge: can anyone identify the object on the windowsill here?). Ralph and I consolidated our clothes to a small dresser and the closet. It feels nice.


To our surprise we found being a two-kitty household is actually more fun than having one! Fancy sleeps and plays with the kids (at any opportunity she can), Blackie sits above the computer and glowers at Fancy. No one is saying this out loud, but we notice Blackie is no longer hardcore enough to pout outside for weeks at a time in protest. She skulks down from her perch regularly for food, and we pet her and say nice things to her when she does (to soothe her rankled feelings).


I bought other stuff, but this about sums it up. You’re looking at two of the top-ten staples for our house. The large econo-tub of peanut butter was something new at the store – in the only brand we buy, no less.

changes, just a few

Today we did a couple new things: we re-arranged almost our entire house (we switched my sewing room, our bedroom, and the kids’ bedroom ALL around) and we adopted a kitty named Billy. A tortoiseshell semi-longhaired spayed two-year old beauty. She was the cat Sophie liked and I agreed; she is also a small cat, like the one we already have.

I am currently putting away laundry and Sophie is talking to the cat (who remains in her caddy until the house is restored). Sophie’s bringing the cat pictures and telling her who everyone is (me as bridesmaid, Sophie as a baby, Daddy and Mama getting married). She is alternatively accidentally calling the cat “Callie” (my neighbor’s cat) and “Uncle Billy” (my brother) and filling her in on every detail of our family life.

Good girl.

I’m going to go collapse in exhaustion now.