Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Kitties

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Best: there are two new kittens in my house. Worst: we lost two long-time feline family members in 2011.   I was left with a single cat for the first time in ... well, let's just say "decades".   And, having been adopted into a home where two cats already lived, Tabbitha had never before been an "only" so she wandered around the house, lost and confused.  

As I've been staff (dogs have owners but cats have staff) to at least one cat since I was 20, I know that loss is inevitable.  I also know that (un)fortunately, there are almost always many eligible animals "out there" when the time feels right to seek another. Since each fur-kid has a unique personality and cannot be replaced, I had always let more time lapse between losing and adopting, but the emptiness of the house (and Tabbitha's neediness) nagged at me.  Consequently, I spent WAY more time than I should have perusing the websites of the local SPCAs, the listings of other cat/pet rescue groups, or postings from individuals with adoptable kittens.   I knew "kitten" was the only way to go, so that Tabbitha would more readily accept the newcomer(s).   Of course, I started out thinking "kitten" -- singular.  Little did I know...

My daughters and I agreed that another all black or orange tabby would not be the best choice, as our memories of Charcoal and Mustard are too fresh and comparison would be inevitable.  I've always had a soft spot for tortoise-shell cats, but was also open to black & white or gray & white (tuxedo or otherwise).

As I was plotting out a Saturday trek through three counties to look at kittens in several shelters, I discovered a listing for a home in Fort Washington where a litter that included two torti sisters was being fostered.   Excitedly, I made an appointment to go see them the next night and forwarded the photos to my daughters.  Unhappily, the next day, the foster "mom" emailed that someone else had come the night before and decided to take both of them.  I was so-o-o-o disappointed that I hadn't even gotten to see them!   But, as fate would have it, the day after, another email arrived informing me that the original adoption plan had fallen through and they were still available!   I was THERE that evening, and, even before I saw them, I began to think of the reasons to take the pair.

So ten days ago, I took the tiny cat carrier -- big enough for both of them -- and brought them home to stay.  They are easy to tell apart.  One has a streak of orange on her face, as well as a small spot on her neck and on a couple of paws. She's adventurous and brave, usually the leader of the scouting party when they decide to explore some heretofore unknown area of the house.   And she has the typical torti-attitude.  Hence her moniker: Sassy.

The other is the tiniest one of the litter -- visibly smaller than her sister -- and is a totally brindled-torti, with just a splash of orange on one paw.  Her eyes are rimmed with lighter fur giving her the wide-eyed look of a reverse raccoon!   Since she's such a mite of a thing, she has been named "Smidgen." She looks so innocent, but don't believe it for a minute as she's always right behind her sister in their expeditions around the house.

We're having a good time getting to know one another.  Tabbitha is mostly unimpressed, while they are a little wary of the large fluffy one.

They have begun to "sleep" with me.  If you can call racing around chasing each other, pouncing any time my legs moved under the covers, crawling under the quilt to box with each other (and tickle me in the process),  using me as an obstacle course, and playing "Queen of the Hill" with me as the hill, "sleeping".  But eventually, they settle and, if  I wake up at night, I find them curled up side-by-side, in the crook of my arm.  Fingers crossed that I get at least a part-time lap cat eventually.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good-bye to my handsome guy

My orange cat, Mustard, is gone.  In about a week, he went from pretty healthy for an old guy to dehydrated and not eating to diagnosed with diabetes to unable to move around at all AND not eating or drinking.  There was probably something else going on too, since his belly was bloated.  But I'll never know.

Mustard was a gift to D#1 for her 3rd birthday.  We'd lost a cat to cancer not long before and a friend asked if it would be ok.  She turned 21 this past July, so he was well over 18 years old.  Calling her to tell of his swift decline and loss was deeply painful for both of us, as he meant so much to her.  This photo of Mustard and the one remaining cat, Tabbitha (who really "belongs" to D#2), shows them engaged in their favorite pastime: synchronized sleeping. 

Of all the cats I've had over 4 decades, I only ever had 2 that weren't shelter cats or strays.  He was one of them.  He never knew a life where he wasn't loved and cared for.   I held him on my lap, talked to him, and petted him up until the end.  I'd like to think he still felt loved even then.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

W.I.F. (What I've finished)

Photos as promised in previous post.

Two small quilts for children's hospice at local hospital: 

Quilt for my sponsored child in South Dakota.  She will be 9 on October 21st.  Need to make label and mail.

Almost Amish, made from swap blocks and given as wedding/housewarming gift to the daughter and son-in-law of a colleague who has been especially helpful since I've been alone.  Used the extra blocks in the pieced backing.

Don't have a full-length photo since, now that daughters are gone, I lack a quilt "holder".  But I took one with the quilt lying on my bed which shows most of the blocks. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Progress report: month 15 (September 2011)

September!  The second "new year" of each calendar.   In which I helped both daughters settle into their autumn surroundings -- #1 in DC for a fellowship, #2 back at college for her sophomore year -- and returned to my empty nesting. 

17.  Plant shrubs around front porch and perennials and shrubs in side yard.
48. Watch 125 movies (actually 128).
77. Set 1 set of swap blocks into quilt top. (Finished Almost Amish [photos to
      come].  Given away as wedding/housewarming gift)
Extra quilts: 2 small quilts finished and donated to the children's hospice at the local hospital.  (Photo to come but Nancy posted a description of the group effort.)

    6. Resumed work in basement.
    7, 26, 28.  Kept up-to-date.
    9. Gave away 20 more books to HS teacher for classroom "library".
  10. Started sorting clothes for donation to costume shop.
  12. Completed a few "small things" around the house.
  33. Went to the gym 2-3 times a week -- usually 3!
  48. Watched 7 movies:
        Come back, little Sheba
        Of mice and men
        Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
        The American
        Cry Baby
        The Road
        Scott Pilgrim vs. the world
  49. Read 5 books (45/60, 29/30, 13/10)
        The Eyre affair (Jasper Fforde)
        Through a screen, darkly (Jeffrey Overstreet)
        Room (Emma Donoghue)
        High fidelity (Nick Hornby)
        Celebrity detox (Rosie O'Donnell)   
  75. Started cutting scrap fabric
  78. Scrap quilt (first EVER from100% scraps and stash; background for RR was
        purchased) sent to quilter.
  84. Extra contribution to ASPCA; pledged higher amount to St. Paul's.
  99. Updated blog with progress (15 out of 15)
101. Blog posts:
        W.I.B.W.O. -- Leader-ender project
        If I were a widow
        Taking a class with a friend

October priorities:
  6. Continue work in basement.
  8. Get bookcases into living room and sorted out.
  9. More book sorting.
12. More small things around house.
44. Attend Family Weekend at M.C.
74. Label and mail quilt to sponsored child. (Her 9th birthday is 10/21)