sweet little baby on a big white doorstep

I’m dismayed to report that stress has gotten the better of me, just a bit. It’s not that I think I should be stress-free or anything. It’s just: I’m on that roller coaster and while I can practice some self- and other-care to help me out, I can’t just magic-wand the anxiety away.

A few times this last week I’ve been slamming awake at night just minutes after falling asleep, in a panic. This used to happen nightly; but I’d had a reprieve for a few months, thank baby Jeebus. The panic dissipates slowly over a few minutes, and I fall asleep within a half hour. Then, I sleep well (I think), but then in the morning, the last couple weeks or more, every morning, I wake up and:

How will I feed the family today? Tuesday I had put aside my Singer treadle; an acquaintance had asked us to hold it and was adamant they wanted to buy it. Then, about an hour before they were to come over, they cancelled. Now this kind of thing, to them maybe it’s no big deal, but for me: food for us for the next four days, vanished. I am not angry, though – of course not. I know that caring for my family is my responsibility, not someone else’s.

Yesterday I saw my doctor for a few issues, including some “sports” injuries, and an unrelated nerve pain in my arm. He gave me medicine for the latter and said it would help with insomnia. I thought about telling him I was experiencing stress but I kept quiet on that point since we had other things to talk about. I have a follow-up with him in two months and if I’m still having troubles, I can tell him then.

There are times in my life I find it almost impossible not to be intensely preoccupied with the struggles I have. Yes, they are real but, come on – they aren’t that big a deal, when I pull back and look at my life from the perspective of the massive, infinite Universe. I am only on this planet in this body for a minute or so! Why my preoccupation? Selfishness, really.

I do what I can to find some balance. I try to eat right, to drink my five quarts daily of water, to get some exercise, to rest up, to meditate. It is at the point that even if I rest, I don’t feel very rested. I am drained and tired. But I try to rest and eat anyway, as well as I can, and I turn my thoughts to one thing that seems to ease my mind and nurture my spirit: helping others without regard for return.

And on that note, wee kitten No-No, whom we’ve fostered a little over two weeks, is going off to PAWS on Saturday to receive her vaccinations and be made viewable to the public. Surely she will be adopted her first day in public (and if not, we will pick her up and bring her here again, then bring her back on next adoption day) so on Saturday when we drop her off and I CONFESS after we kiss her black kitty lips at eleven A.M., it will likely be the last time I get to hold her.

This is going to sound – well, who gives a shit how it sounds. What I want to say is, I am proud of my family for fostering this little kitten. She is just a little tuft of life but without our care (and the vet’s medical attention) she would have had a feral kittenhood and adult cat life, which is to say a dangerous one. As it is, in our home, she’s been well-fed, de-flea’d, and loved up almost every waking moment.

Maybe it’s precisely because times are tough, doing something I know makes a difference, it feels concrete in some way.

Some people teased me we were just adopting a kitten, not fostering it, but our foster intentions were real and still are. I am glad to let No-No have a forever home although I’m not going to lie, I will MISS HER so much.

No-No, Nighttime

Little scrap!

No-No, Nighttime

Even as I type, she prounces under my desk and swats at my feet. I reach down and she’s already purring, an anticipatory response to pleasure. I curl her up on my chest and smell her honey-fur warmth and it’s off to lie down a bit. Patience, and rest, and taking things slow.

unleavened dough and a bit of work

A few chores then Nels and I spent the day on the road with a friend, who bought us a wonderful lunch. When we got home I put in several hours sewing something, the first project I’ve worked on since a little after New Years. Whether due to my bodily pain and fatigue, or some other unnamed and unknown issue, even after this modest day’s activities I am tired and looking forward to sleep.

I’ve had a chronic and irritating pain for several months now; a pain that starts deep in my bicep and extends down the length of my arm. At night, after a day’s worth of work and exercise, I often notice the sensations have extended: across my scapula and into my upper back, and down through my forearm into the hand. My history tells me I have a high tolerance to pain – especially chronic pain – and I also have a tendency to tough it out and wait for it to resolve. In this case, however, I have decided to seek treatment for my arm, because I do not think it is improving on its own. I have been waiting it out a little bit as the new year has started and we will be paying on a deductible. But I don’t know how much longer I can or want to wait.

The day draws to a close; my son bathes and sings in the adjacent bathroom. He can make up songs and sing them for over an hour. His sister, fresh from her shower, sits next to me and sketches. “Mom? Do you have any tips for ____________?” she asks, naming one of the important issues she’s grappling with. (An issue that obviously is remaining private!) In the kitchen Ralph puts away dinner – pierogi and green beans. The dog sleeps beside my bed. Our foster kitty watches Nels in the bath, sneaking up a tiny little peg-like paw now and then and retracting it. Her ears are on point; her bright eyes affixed on droplets of water trembling on the enameled tub.

Yesterday a friend asked me how I gave up drinking; what made me decide to stop, and how I knew I “had a problem”. As much as I think about this I have never been able to figure it out (except for the date, and the way I felt on that date!). I still can’t fully articulate in a logical way how and why I made this change and just exactly how much it has affected me to stay sober. I don’t think about alcohol (or drugs) or miss all that but at the same time, I think a whole heck of a lot more about my feelings, my thoughts, and my conduct than I used to. And I honor my feelings a LOT more than I used to.

Nights like tonight when I am very tired I think of how glad I am to have the life I have and that I don’t need to do anything or take anything to relax, and to sleep a good sleep. I’ve begun to wake up, to see things as they really are – or more so at least, and life is – different. Tonight I know that pain and deprivation have me run a little ragged, but I also know I can get through the day with a little dignity, helping others, and enjoying what the day offers. I am so grateful to have a partner, and children in my home – and pets! – and so many wonderful friends who love me and whom I love very much. At the end of the day I hope I’ve done my part, discharged my duties, had a few laughs and made the world a better place to live.

Tonight I am going to put forth a little prayer. I have these hopes for this and that, a few necessities in life, and it must be confessed a nicety or two as well. But mostly, I know I am at the mercy of the Unverise, and today I am okay with this. I have patience and I have faith and those are some of my best possessions.

what you need is a jolly good murder!

Last night I made Ralph one of my favorite arid, incredibly civilized, faultlessly prosaic British television shows – in this case, “Foyle’s War”. I laughed in silent delight the entire hour and a half as basically almost nothing happened, in the way that I love “nothing happening” in these kinds of dramas. After almost an hour of talking a statue on a manor’s roof fell and actors looked pained and dyspeptic and disapproving. Ralph valiantly kept his eyes open and pretended he wasn’t in agony; eventually his efforts were rewarded when someone finally got murdered in the most parlor-room non-grisly sort of meek way. I WAS DYING because Ralph watched this dry crumpet of a show just for me because he loves me. And I love him very much and there is literally no one I’d rather watch telly with.

Ralph spent our last $20 on trappings for lasagna tonight: a hearty meal to share with my mother next door. I took a break from my usual sewing flow and helped my son learn a bit on my machines – serging yardage, winding a bobbin, threading the machine. Nels was at first irritated I was asking him to learn these tasks; but within a few minutes he was quite skillfully managing the very exacting and precise hand movements needed to sew with accuracy. He made his father a “quarter holder” (a very small fabric sleeve) and is now excited to sew much more elaborate items for his Daddy.

The kitten No-No bandies about on bow-legs, now running through the house following Ralph, or one of the children. Only a few ounces of swaggering hubris, she surprises us all by LEAPING off our king-sized bed and waddling after Ralph with her round, tight belly hindering quick progress. Her appetite has increased to ravenous and she is more adventuresome, less likely to want to cuddle. She lays on her back between our legs and lets us pet us, then “attacks” with these tiny, useless paws and teeth so small they don’t count.

Nevertheless: no biting, No-No! We are quite stern. We’re not running a charity here, you know.

you can count on about two more weeks of this

No-No last night…


No-No this morning:
Knittin Kittin

SERIOUSLY though this kitten-fostering has no downside. She’s so young and mostly she needs so much love, water, food, and cuddling. That’s it.

I should add that if anyone reading here wants to adopt No-No, our family is not responsible to place her. Interested parties can call Inge Johnson at 533-1141 on a Wednesday or Saturday – she works at PAWS of Grays Harbor. I have not yet met Inge; I have been working with Deb from Harbor Rescue (FB link) and very slowly learning the ropes of fostering and responsible rescue.


No-No, Day 2 There are ACTUAL, documented, SCIENTIFICALLY-SOUND reasons we are devoting so much time to kitten-snuggling. We are socializing this little one such that she can fit in with any combination of cats, dogs, and humans – as long as those creatures are willing to Play Nice, too. No-No has been getting TLC pretty much non-stop from many people. She slept with three humans and one cat last night; she spent all morning chilling with Nels. It’s a good life. No-No, Day 2

the Littlest Boss!

Noelle AKA No-No

We are currently fostering Noelle (or “No-No” as Nels has taken to call her) in our home for two weeks while she recovers from her feral beginnings. My plan is to post “kitten-pr0n” pictures of this awesome little kitty such that when she’s ready to go to a home, she has a wonderful family to go home to. I don’t think I have too much hard work ahead of me – do you?

Noelle AKA No-No

Noelle AKA No-No
(ZOMG… getting sleepy…)

No-No and her family hail from South Aberdeen. She and her feral relatives are currently being humanely trapped, medically-treated, cared for, and will hopefully be relocated to forever-homes. In the meantime she needs to be loved, fed, vaccinated, and socialized with regards to grown-ups, children, cats and dogs!

This is our first kitten-foster. This should be obvious but I will say it anyway: unlike fostering human children, one doesn’t get paid for the work – but the food and medical care are supplied by the rescue organization. I will be interested to see how the experience plays out. Hutch is of course the PERFECT dog for cat fostering! And I believe all of the kitties, the rabbit, and the adults and children who come through our home should help No-No have a wonderful, much-loved kittenhood so she can develop into a secure and loving kitty.

In the meantime. Our other pets are doing pretty good.

Seems Legit.


Bunny Murder Mystery

This last picture is awesome because it is from a Bunny Murder Mystery.