One of the saving graces in my life right now is a gratitude group that I’m a part of — a private, online group — sorry, you can’t join but you could start your own and invite others to comment with their own daily/weekly gratitude posts.
How does it work? Well, here was mine today:

  1. It’s a gorgeous fall day (by Friday it’s going to be wet and snowy and wicked cold overnight, but right now? It’s gorgeous with clouds and sun and wind and fall colors).
  2. One of my favorite blog writers has a new post about taking care of ourselves mentally right now — and not just a new post, but several others that I missed somehow over the past few weeks/months of being in and out of connectivity. She’s made me smile and nod with recognition, touched my heart with compassion, and made me guffaw over a dog story about the puppy in their house. I’m grateful for her writing and sharing of messy life.
  3. My cat is still alive and still healthy. (She is also annoying, constantly wanting to be in a lap and she sometimes yowls because she is deaf as a doorknob and that is lonely.)
Help! I’m being held captive by a sleeping cat!

Strange Spring

Monday afternoon in this strange spring of 2020

The cat is curled up in my lap right now. She’s 17 years old and we recently discovered she is deaf. This might explain why, after years of being petrified of the vacuum, she now enjoys being vacuumed. The Barefooter is mowing the lawn — second mowing of the year — and the buzz of the electric machine is distinguishable to my ears but not by much. Like most people my age who blasted music through her earbuds at a younger juncture of life, I’ve got a bit of hearing loss, but the thrumming tinnitus has been non-stop for 3 weeks and counting. I’d developed a bad headache on Easter Sunday and while the pain abated after a week or so, I’m still “hearing underwater.” After my almost sleepless night of listening to the imaginary hum of airplanes and slow-moving locomotives, I’m envious of the cat’s ability to sleep when she is tired. (The inability to sleep was last night; now I can barely hold my eyes open!)

The annual Lilac Festival would normally be happening over these next few weeks; yesterday should have been the 12-km Bloomsday run. But nothing is normal during a pandemic. Bloomsday has been rescheduled from May 3rd to September 20th, but I don’t believe it will be possible for nearly 50,000 people to gather and run or walk, or even half that many. No one is willing to acknowledge how very much life has changed and will remain different for the foreseeable time.

Friday Five: Catching up is hard to do

It’s now October, and I’m still not back to regular blogging (and let’s not discuss the status of my feed reader). Consider this my reaching out to keep in touch during a busy season of life by way of letting you know what I’ve been doing these past few weeks:

Fall earrings, Disco ball earrings, and Seahawks-theme key chains, charms, zipper pulls, and earrings -- all for sale

Fall earrings, Disco ball earrings, and Seahawks-theme key chains, charms, zipper pulls, and earrings — all for sale

  1. Keeping my farmer’s market booth stocked with new items — some of these are now up on my Etsy site as well.
  2. Working on a few special orders for lanyards and cards. Normally I only make note cards using my own photos, but a friend is now living in Guatemala and has asked me to make cards using her own photos and those of a mutual friend, highlighting scenes from her adopted country. This is the second time I’ve made a batch of cards for her to take back with her and I like to give credit where credit is due.

    Cards going to Guatemala

    Cards going to Guatemala

  3. I took boy#3 to college on September 19th, had dinner with a few friends on Friday night and then attended my high school 30-year reunion the next night. Most of the people there looked terrific and I even remembered some of them. (I moved to a new city between my sophomore and junior year of high school, so I hope my lack of memory has more to do with so little time spent with them and not a sign of memory loss.)
    Move-in weekend is a stressful time to drive in a University District in a big city.  I must be old because the two late nights of little sleep and driving back and forth across the state wore me  out!
  4. Hopefully all of that driving isn’t wearing out my minivan. She passed this little milestone on that trip:
    Betty turns over 100,000 miles
  5. On my days off, I try to accomplish a few errands and take care of appointments. I’m still going to PT for my foot which is really helping.  I can only hope that my insurance company will see the benefit of continuing those visits.

ANIMAL UPDATE: The dog has taken boy#4 for his very own and hardly raises an eyebrow at the cat. The cat was slowly realizing that the dog will not eat her up… until she looked out the window a few days ago and saw him running in the backyard chasing a squirrel. There went several weeks of progress… she is back to square one, walking around with ears pricked, jumping at the slightest noise. I moved suddenly a few nights ago and her tail fluffed out rather dramatically, the hair on her back raised at least an inch, and she is once again mistrustful of all of us.

Why the cat is miffed

Here is the rest of the story from yesterday:

With a name like Cleopatra, it is no surprise that she believes she is the queen of the household.

In her kingdom there is no such thing as a dog in the house or the yard.

Until Thursday evening, when her world was turned upside down.

DSCN1070 cropped, a boy and his dog

We have a new member of the family: a ten-year-old black lab named Moses.

DSCN4522  what the cat saw

This is what Queen Cleopatra saw when she surveyed her domain on Friday morning.

The queen was NOT amused.

Unexpected Art

I work in a building that is nearly 100 years old. I’m usually bent over and jiggling my key in the office door, but occasionally I look up and appreciate this sight:

DSCN0412 Knox hall wall art, cat

Sometimes the best thing to do with an ugly hole and jutting wires is to bend the wires into whiskers.

Ready-made cat: just bend whiskers

Ready-made cat: just bend whiskers

Patience Crabstick’s recent post inspired this one.

Thank you, Hilary, for this award!


Caturday: highlights from Mrs. G’s collection

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to spend time with Mrs. G. of Derfwad Manor.

kitty gigantica

This is her infamous cat painting, which has caused a great internet stirring on both sides of the opinion fence.

If you have never read about the Siamese Cat, you really ought to do so now. It is a classic post.

This painting of a Siamese Cat is not a small picture.

This is the lovely Mrs. G. and the infamous kitty picture.

This is the lovely Mrs. G. and Kitty Gigantica.

It's almost like sleeping in a cat art museum!

It’s almost like sleeping in a cat art museum!

Da Kitty now hangs on the wall in Mrs. G.’s guest room (because Mr. G. could not abide having it watching him sleep) along with a collection of other cat art.

DSCN2747 web-sized

DSCN2743 cropped

click on pic to embiggen

click on pic to embiggen

DSCN2742 classy cat

DSCN2748 cropped

I had no trouble sleeping under the watchful eyes of these cats.

kitty gigantica

Kitty Gigantica behaved very nicely.

Mrs. G. with Gus and Chewie

Mrs. G. with Gus and Chewie

Mrs. G loves her dogs, too.

a gift, a desire, and a request

With retirement comes the ubiquitous fixed income, leaving little for fancy extras or large luxuries. The dream of 20 acres backing up to a thousand-acre nature preserve has faded into the background. Don’t cry for me — in retrospect, I would have spent many lonely, depressed hours there so far from other people.  I’m fairly certain I live in a place of privilege, with the public library and grocery story just one mile away (great for when I can walk again!) and a 12-acre natural park directly behind my house.

With the passing of my mother and the settling of her estate, I am blessed to have a small sum which I can spend on one of those “fancy extras.” My choice? An upgrade from my Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR camera with a regular/zoom lens and a macro lens.

I have no illusions of greatness when it comes to my photography skills. I’ve been to museums and I’ve got cable internet; I’ve seen great photography.
But I enjoy photography and often work hard at getting a good shot. I know a little about composition and lighting. I took 2 semesters of photography in high school where I played with lenses, developed film, printed pictures, and tackled assignments.  I really enjoyed playing with night photography, those streaks of light caused by long exposure to moving cards and capturing colored lights reflected on wet, rainy streets.

A better camera would let me take better pictures of my cat. Of course, that is really a side benefit, as Cleopatra rarely allows photographs.

A better camera would let me take better pictures of my cat. Of course, that is really a side benefit, as Cleopatra rarely allows photographs.

Yep, all done now and hiding from her fans

Yep, all done now and hiding from her fans

So. I’ve got about $400 to spend (okay, with tax and shipping, maybe up to $500). Yes, I know that’s not much money for a DSLR (or a camera that does everything I want), but it’s what I’ve got to spend. There are children to help put through college.

I need your help choosing my next camera! I want to get a camera that will allow me greater freedom and ability to get the shots I want to capture:

  • ability to choose the subject on which I want to focus (point-and-shoot has trouble with this)
  • ability to get good shots in low lighting without flash
  • close-ups! The macro on my p-and-s is a joke. I want to take quality macros.
  • zoom! I want to be able to be far enough from a subject to be unobtrusive and yet still get a good shot.

I do realize that I may or may not be able to get those last 2 bullet points covered in a single package. While I’d rather not have to change lenses, if there isn’t a decently priced camera out there with those capabilities, I’m willing to get over the idea of a single camera and purchase a camera with 2 interchangeable lenses. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Simple is better than complicated. I want to buy this new camera soon (like, last week) and taking a lot of extra time to learn how to use it really isn’t on my wish list.
  • I shake sometimes. I have what is technically known as a benign familial essential tremor and this can impact my ability to get a decent shot, so whatever camera I end up purchasing should be pretty stable. Too heavy and I will have trouble holding it for very long without shaking… too light and I will have trouble holding it still, too. (Welcome to my life.)

That’s it in a nutshell …er, blog post. 😉

Can you help with specific advice?


My dear M-I-L doesn’t know it, but she inspired this post. (That’s what forwarding e-mail can do!)

CAT math

CAT Twilight Zone

CAT see no, hear no, EVIL (Sabrina)

That black cat reminds me of a cat my mother owned for several years. Sabrina was evil… trust me, I love cats. She was baaaaad news. I think she even considered doing this:

CAT surgeons

CAT Batman

CAT confession