22 November 2014

new moon in Sagittarius

 New Moon; 7:33AM. I woke at 7:27, knowing it.

New moon. A time of new beginnings. For me a time to sob uncontrollably, till the cats have gathered around me (21 of them now), trying to purr me comfort; even the chickens come to the window, clucking concern.

I sob, I cry, I take a break to wash the sheets, wash the dishes. A time of renewal, so I wash everything that isn't put away in closet or cupboard. The throw rugs. The blankets. I clean off my desk. I take away the recycling gathered on my porch. I take a load to the charity shop. I cleanse.

Cleansing myself with tears, but they're never enough. Always more. The heartbreak does not wash away.

A time to break habits. I've begun chewing my nails again, drinking before noon. Facebook games. Time to tighten up, to use the time allotted more wisely. To what purpose, the sad core of me asks. Why bother? The habits I'd most like to break are breath and heartbeat.

These cats (21 of them), they have no place else to go. I feed them and give them warm soft places. I've taken away any survival instinct they had. They --my responsibility to them-- are all that keeps me alive.

14 September 2014

gratitude week

 I was tagged to list three things for which I'm grateful, each day for seven days.

Day 1...
I'm grateful that I found my soul-mate, and that I had the opportunity to spend 12 years with him. Bob Sloan you taught me so much, not least you taught me to know myself. I will always miss you.
I'm grateful for my upbringing. My dad was in the USArmy and my mom was German, so I saw much of the US and Europe before I was ten years old. It gives one a different perspective, though I did --for many years-- waste a lot of time wishing I had an answer to "where are you from; where did you grow up?"
I'm grateful for where I live now. Now I can say I'm from Morehead Kentucky. I've lived here almost 14 years --six years longer than I lived in any other locality-- and I've been in this house twice as long as any other house previously. This is my home.

Day 2...
I am grateful for my family: my birth family, my inlaw outlaw family, and my adopted family ( the ones that took me on when Bob was dying and includes me in all family events )
I'm grateful for my animal family - the cats especially, but also the chickens, the guineas and bees, and the seasonal animals that visit me -- old mr. possum, the flock of turkeys, the deer and hummingbirds and all the other strays that let me feed them
and I'm grateful to have a job that I'd literally do for free.

Day 3...
I am grateful for books. If you get it, no explanation is needed. If you don't get it, no explanation would be sufficient. I've learned spelling and logic from books. Books have distracted me when I could find no comfort and have inspired me when I had no ideas.
I am grateful for water. My sign is an air sign, but water is my element. I love the ocean and the rain. I can watch a creek or river all day long. If my water heater was large enough I'd happily stay in the shower for hours. Nothing is as refreshing as a glass of cool water. Water nourishes.
I am grateful for the internet, one of my favorite "new technologies." On the internet I've made more and closer friendships than I ever had before, because I express myself better in writing than in spoken words. Without the internet I'd have never seen the picture that initially brought me here - Sapphire and Ruby as kittens, eating cat food on Bob's kitchen table.

Day 4...
I am grateful for earth - I _am_ a dirt dauber and never feel quite right till winter's over and I can get my fingers in soil.
I am grateful for people; friends and acquaintances. Lately I'm around a lot younger people than I'm used to - a lot of twenty-somethings - and it's really been fun; I never know quite what to expect. I'm looking forward to going to the nursing home for clinicals and being around the older folks too. And I even have some new friends that are my own age. I love my facebook friends; the ones I've never met yet hold a special place in my heart. I'd like to gather you all together here on the farm.
I am grateful for wine, red wine, even though thanks to one of the fosterkitties it's now all over my keyboard.

Day five...
I am grateful for my appliances. The washer and dryer run daily. The fridge never quits. I hope I'm not jinxing them like I apparently did my shoes, because I've had 2 good pair fall apart this past week, and two more that I'd like to return where I got them.
I am grateful for wind and clouds and air in general. I love a breeze and one really good memory is sitting on the back porch with Bob while he pointed out that sometimes you can hear the wind roaring thru the trees up on the ridge, while down here in the holler the windchimes hang perfectly still and silent.
I'm grateful for memories.

Day six...
I'm grateful for fire. Heat and electricity and the lightning I could watch all night. I love a bonfire --even tiny ones-- and candle flame.
I'm grateful for weekends, days like today that I spent in bed with books (studying for two tests) and a sick kitty, just drowsing and cuddling all day. Days without outside responsibility. Days off.
I'm grateful for tears, such a release, and emotions in general.

Day seven:
I am grateful for karma, my belief in it, without which some of the injustices in this world would be just too much to bear.
I am grateful to the moon for controlling the tides, for lighting the sky and for giving us a calendar.
I am grateful for colors, the many many infinite colors in nature. The trees alone hold every color in the spectrum as the year turns.
and one bonus gratitude:

I'm grateful for life; not just my own and the people I love, but the tiniest insects and plants that together make this earth a complete and independent organism.

10 September 2014

cats cats everywhere cats

 I've been given keys to the kingdom --to the gate and doors of the animal shelter, that is-- so I've adjusted my work schedule to begin half an hour earlier. I like starting before anyone else gets there; it feels like I get more done when I'm alone. Also I can theoretically beat the mad rush for the gate at noon: last one out locks it. I say "theoretically" because I still manage to work past noon...

...well, not today. I was done and ready to go by eleven. Said good bye see ya tomorrow to the kitties, threw my trash bags into the wheelbarrow and my camera and flea comb into my pocket and hit the door.

Way at the other end of the parking lot, where I park, near the dumpster, because, well, why not? I'm taking out the trash right before I leave... I see a black cat sitting, looking at me. I said, "hi, kitty," and kept pushing the wheelbarrow toward the dumpster. Cat got up and trotted off. I thought, "my, what a skinny black kitty, what a ragged tail on that long-haired black kitty," and after tossing my trash and parking my 'barrow, I went back inside to fill a newspaper fold with kibble for it. Then it hit me. Is that Sapphire???

Sapphie's been missing. The last time I saw her was last Friday morning, or possibly Thursday evening. She tends to "go walkabout" so I'm not overly concerned, but she's sixteen and has skin problems and her tail is very ragged, and --although she did catch at least one hummingbird this summer-- she's well, she's old and frail. Could she have hitched a ride underneath the truck and been living out of the shelter's dumpster ever since?

I looked and I called and I crawled around the vehicles permanently parked there, but didn't see that shadow cat again. So I went home. I'll be back early tomorrow, and hopefully, if that's indeed my Sapphire (Bob's Sapphire; she's lived in this house 2 years longer than I have), she'll come to me.

So then I went home. Greeted the dog, a couple of the cats, the chickens and guineas and was walking around the chicken enclosure looking for eggs when I saw Alice. Skinny Alice, who had been quite wide through the middle just 24 hours earlier. Alice who'd had her kittens this morning. I knew this, because I got rid of the dead one and put a fresh towel under the other four, but I'd completely forgotten about it till just then. It's nice to have a job that so thoroughly distracts me from the rest of my day-to-day drama.

Well, the four are still on the couch and still warm and not making a lot of noise, so I assume either she's taking care of them and just stepped out for a break when I got home, or is not taking care of them and they're too young to make a lot of fuss about it. Time will tell.

09 September 2014

September

 kind of angry right now.

an envelope came in the mail today, addressed to th'Mr, hand written address on the envelope. Return address, Dave something, somewhere in California. The envelope was 5x7", pale blue. The kind a greeting card comes in. Happy anniversary, Heard you were sick, etc. I put off opening it, thereby putting off replying to an old friend of Bob's who just recently heard --or hadn't heard yet-- that he is gone.

Gone. *poof* disappeared.

So I put off opening it, till right before leaving for class tonight. Inside is an invitation to try DirectTV. Yeah, that pissed me off. I'm not likely to try DirectTV, not that I was inclined to before today.

But.

There oughta be a law. Then again, what good would that do? I still get plenty of advertising phone calls, though I've been on the Do Not Call registry for years; and yes, I do renew every year.

 

I'm working now, finished out my first pay period Friday and will be paid the end of this week.

How that came about, the job I mean, is I really needed to get out of the house. I went to Florida in April and when I came back I started helping out someone who wanted her house cleaned a few days a week. She's a relative, so it felt icky taking her money, so eventually I started doing something else.

...which was volunteering at the local soup kitchen, which I'd been meaning to do ever since the tornado tore up West Liberty KY and I learned we have a soup kitchen here locally.

Once I figured out when I'd be most useful I showed up there every weekday morning at 6:45 and worked till 9 or 10, by which time a gob of other volunteers usually showed up. The owner/manager said he'd be a reference for me on job applications if I needed him to.

Then I joined a friend (who is also the mother of a friend and the mother in law of another) volunteering at an animal shelter a couple county lines --a fortyfive minute drive-- away one day a week. After 3 weeks of that, the manager of the shelter told me my local shelter really needed someone to work with the cats. So I volunteered there. Five mornings a week. After a week of that, the fellow who is (now that I'm hired) my boss' boss, suggested I put in an application.

I can write my own schedule, as long as I keep it at or under 20 hours a week.

My friend I went to the other animal shelter with also stood as a reference for me.

 

Believe me, there's nothing like having a job you'd do for free.

23 March 2014

memoir-ies

 About 20 years ago... I was working construction, riding a motorcycle that weighed 5x what I did, and had been doing yoga for a month. I was in the best physical shape I'd ever been in.

  I lived in a rental, and my landlord had purchased a truckload of gravel for my driveway. He'd have come by and spread it later, but I felt like doing it now. So, armed with a shovel, in skinny jeans and a sports bra, I set about changing a 4' high pile of gravel into a 2" high layer of gravel. The neighbor's (landlord's) wife came out to see what I was doing. "Damn!" she said. "You're stout!"

  Up until that time I'd thought "stout" meant teapot shaped.

 

02 March 2014

when I was six

 woke up this morning and cried for 2 hours. Not so much about Bob being gone, but about something that happened when I was six! I know, sounds crazy. Of course it tied in - everything ties in - with Bob being gone, because it was a lesson learned, that NOBODY has my back. Bob did. Finally I dragged myself into the shower and washed the salt off my face. Decided I'd shake off the winter blues and drive to Lexington, something I've been putting off for months. But before I finished feeding the cats and cleaning the kitchen, ice was falling from the sky. Guess Lexington is put off for another week or month or two. At least I have clean hair now.

01 March 2014

March 1

 Like everyone, I'm getting tired of Endless Winter 2014. Though unlike everyone else, I can't make up my mind if it's always like this, or if this winter is indeed unusually long and cruel. If I could get outside and get my hands in the dirt I think I'd feel better. Maybe I just need to take my vitamin D more faithfully. I'm sorry, I'm emotionally exhausted, too much so to really write.

21 January 2014

winter wonderland musings

 I used the big leaf rake, and then a broom, to clear the snow off the car. Halfway through I stopped, startled by the memory of midnight, when I'd decided to go outside and roll up the car windows. I'd had them down for several days, airing out the car of its musty shut winter smells.

 Now there's about 4" of snowman-quality snow on the ground, and still falling. The next few days are going to be bitter cold again, into the single digits at night - not as cold as a couple weeks ago, but lasting longer.

 I laugh at the tendency of people to panic every time the weather turns, running to the store for white bread and toilet paper, but am I really any different? I'm heading to town for bird seed and cat litter.

05 January 2014

January

 I used to count my cats in pairs: the big boys, the bitches, the fuzzy girls, the siblings etc, but lately am finding it easier to do a nose count by color: at the moment i'm seeing five black, two tabbies, one red and one grey; which means i'm missing a tabby (Fraidy), two reds (the siblings) and, oh, there's the other grey.

 This matters today because we've got a big storm coming, beginning, uhm, soon. It's quarter after one in the afternoon as i write, and "scattered showers" were forecast to begin at noon today (Sunday). 100% rain this evening, turning into 100% snow a little after dark, and then the temperature drops, from 46F (8C) right now, drops continuously without a single upward spike, till it bottoms out at 6 below zero (-26C) around sunrise Tuesday. Then Wednesday and the rest of the week back up into the mid-forties, smh.

 I've spent the day so far splitting firewood and bringing it to the back porch and into the house, emptying standing buckets of water so they don't freeze and split, adding canvas tarpaulin doorway curtains and insulating layers of straw to the dog houses, bringing in the quilts that normally lie on the porch furniture: more layers to hang in doorways and over windows; more insulation to push into cracks where the wind sneaks through. And it does. A few years ago th'Mr and his best friend replaced the old masonite siding with vinyl, never considering the windbreak properties of the masonite, which the vinyl seriously lacks. I plan to eventually tear out the inner paneling and at least add a layer of fiberglass insulation to the outer walls, but that's a job for warm times.

 I worry for my water pipes, though i probably shouldn't. Don't we have temperatures this low almost every winter? "but do we have them suddenly and for 36 hours at a time, in the middle of two weeks of highs in the 40s?" a small voice in my head frets, "and haven't the winters been mild since the siding fiasco?" Burst water pipes might be the last straw for my fragile hold on give-a-shitness. These days i function simply because the cats need feeding, and i can't just leave the house and cats to someone because the house isn't paid off. I have built-in space heaters in both bathrooms. They're nearly as old as this house and they demand a lot of electricity, so i rarely use them. Usually the wood stove is my only heat source, but last month i bought a small EdenPure. It's wonderful, and it's going in the kitchen tonight. I can't do anything about the pipes under the floors but keep the water trickling at all faucets. I do hope they don't burst. As long as the power doesn't go out it should be okay.

01 August 2013

How.

 I'm having a hard time responding to "how are you?" or "how're you doing?" these days.

 My husband died. That's always at the forefront of my awareness. But I'm having better days lately. Yesterday I cleaned the oven. Also took some stuff to our local charity organization for their shop and donation activity, had a conversation with a friend, and filled the bird feeders.

 I'm making an effort to drink more water and less alcohol, eat more protein and less carbs, spend more time doing than sitting, and more of the sitting time away from the computer. There are still many areas I can make improvement in, but one thing at a time is movement in the right direction.

 In cat news, I am currently feeding 14 (and the dog). One, a tabby with lighter-colored chin, has never been indoors yet, though it has sniffed my hand.

 A 2nd, tabby with adorable white markings, under 6 months old I'm sure, prefers living inside the house and rarely ventures past the porches, but won't let me touch it. Both of these cats have been hanging around for 6 weeks or more.

 The other cats are Shorty, Sapphire, Nameless, Booger, Klutz, Roadie, Red, Barney, Growler, Sugar'n'Spike, and Tuffie Tuftkins, who came to us from the neighborhood, a female kitten of about 4-5 months old when she came here February 14th, 2013.

 I'm not ready to write about th'Mr yet, except to say he died of pneumonia, which was the result of the inactivity caused by the brain damage (he thought he was being active. In his dreams he was active, doing all the physical therapy he was supposed to, and he couldn't tell the dreams from reality), the brain damage that he sustained from the radiation to treat the bits of his tumor they couldn't cut out --radiation is some wicked powerful stuff. It made his brain look like he'd had strokes on both sides-- the brain tumor that had metastasized 18 months after his lung cancer tumor was successfully removed.

 Apparently there were some little cancer cells floating around in his bloodstream, just waiting for a place to anchor. That's called blood-borne metastasis, which is better than the kind of metastasis that gets in your lymph nodes and kills you within 6 months, usually. Instead, 18 months after the upper lobe of th'Mr's right lung was removed, his brain's frontal lobe grew another tumor. And he lived another 33 months after that, so 51 months instead of 6 from finding the original cancer. I guess I should be grateful for that extra 4 years, and I am, but all the same it was a heartbreaking road to travel.

 The first 8 months after his brain surgery he was home. And the last 9 months. Now he's been dead 3 months, 2 weeks, and one day.

 That's all I can write about that right now.