Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Death and Life, and so it goes...

Easter came and went... 

My sister created some incredible patterns with a unique procedure.

It has been hard getting over the long winter, over Longfellow, and all sorts of other issues. I dwell too much on the pointlessness of it all, and wallow too much. I came across this new term in the wellness field: self-compassion. Well, I am pretty sure I don't have any! I recently heard of the passing of an old high school friend. She was my age and had MS since 1997, and yet despite all that, she was able to remain cheerful, joyful even. How? I complain of my hip pain (osteoarthritis), but I can still walk. It is painful getting up, but I can still get up. What is it about me that cannot seem to focus on anything positive - the clock is ticking, and still I am incapable of any type of sustained happiness or contentment. Sometimes I pity those who have to live with me.

I even thought my desire for gardening had left me. But spring has come at last, all is fresh and green, and that spark is ignited once again. As Robert Frost said, "nature's first green is gold."  I saw this greenhouse on ebay, shelves included (though 2 were actually missing - bummer) - and for now, I am able to lose myself where I love to be, where the cats love to be, and for a little while, I am away from myself - and that is always a good thing.
Hooray! Not the greenhouse of my dreams, but it will do!

The elegant and regal visitor Butterscotch relaxes
(if you look carefully, you'll spot another frequent visitor)

Wee LV peeks through the tulips - her wide-eyed antics cheer us all up on a regular basis.


RIP Patti - sorry I wasn't there.

Friday, March 28, 2014

R.I.P. Our Longfellow

 The poet Longfellow died on March 24 - the same day our Longfellow fell into decline. 
He passed to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. 

May you always find that sunny spot you so loved.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Little Voice

 Little Voice: aka L.V. - Mega squeee alert!!!

Zena looks down on LV,
and wonders when she gave birth to her!
She doesn't remember when that happened!
(Just kidding, of course :)

Now how darned cute is that???

Intently hunting her prey


Strike a pose!

Little babe in Amaryllis-land
PS - Little Voice is a splendid movie with Michael Caine, Ewan McGregor and in the title role, Jane Horrocks. Check it out - it's a gem!  We named our new girl after LV, because she does not meow, not since we first found her in the snow and ice, she just emits the tiniest little squeaks - so cute!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sun Dogs

This was the view that greeted me on my walk to the bus stop.
Many folks were taking photos this morning,
and a very cold one at that with minus 21 Celsius,
of a lovely phenomenon called "sun dogs".
With sunglasses on, it was even more spectacular,
as one could see rainbow colors on each side of the sun.
Pretty awesome.

Read more here:
All about sun dogs

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

... the cosmos gave to me, oh no, another kitty!  Yes, on December 28th, some wretch of a human being decided to dump an approximately 4-5 month old kitten near my porch. This, on the heels of a devastating ice-storm - sharp shards of ice everywhere, and a day before the onset of the worst cold-spell we have ever had. Very cold for very long. Had my sister, who was visiting that night, not gone back to her car for something at the right moment, heard the plaintive meowing... Well, I shudder to think. She surely would not have survived the cold for so long. When I followed the sound, I spied a wee little thing, a kitten, maybe 4 months old. Grabbing it quickly and firmly by the scruff before it could escape, I exclaimed "it's a baby Zena" (the "new" kitty we had just saved this past fall). Oh dear.  Once I see them (read: have them in the house), I’m done – toast. Folks, there is a reason why "kitten" rhymes with "smitten"!! Such an incredible cutie, as you can see, with wide innocent eyes. She had a nice round tummy, not starved at all, and in very good shape all-in-all. Not fearful either, which indicates she had no been out on her own for too long.

Yes, she has claws!!
I say this happily because here in Quebec, the pet stores almost always declaw the kittens - so barbaric!
Especially since these poor babies so often find themselves outdoors with no protection.

Baby "Zena"

Zena has just barely settled in, and I mean barely – still chaos and “territory wars”. I don’t think she has ever been socialized with other cats. Days are not so bad, but she seems to be hunting our gentle giant Manitou at night – while he's fast asleep - awful! Not just for the sudden awakening to THAT sound, and cat people will know what I mean. Why him? He is so non-confrontational. I think in her former outdoor life, she spent all her time warding off potential danger and defending herself from other cats.  Nights must have been the worst, maybe she was ambushed a few times, and maybe this is why she behaves this way. Her sleep is sound and deep during the day. And now, this kitten….  

Anyway, time changes everything, as we all know, but for now the very familiar symptoms of "cabin-fever" abound, and we are all dreaming of spring, which seems so very very far away. The ice-storm just before Christmas was devastating. Much of the lilac decimated, and lots of branches snapped from trees. But luckily we were amongst those that retained power - some had a dark Christmas - so sad.  Here are a few scenes of the aftermath:

Everything drizzled with 2-3 inches of ice!

Intrepid Manitou inspects the newly transformed landscape.

"When's spring??"

Friday, December 20, 2013

End of the Year

 My little tree at work,
on the last day.
Off for two whole weeks!
I never have that much time off,
not even in summer.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Introducing Zena - Princess Warrior!

This is Zena, Princess Warrior. Zena spelled that way on purpose. She is our recent rescue, and what a story she has! Even though we are FULL, cat-wise, what with refugees from the cold and our own gang, this was a very special case, quite the exception. She was living out on the streets for God knows how long until she found my friend who loves cats. Never comfortable to be inside, this kitty was basically living for 4 years outside on friend’s porch (screened with plastic in winter),  and further protected against cold with many sleeping bags, blankets etc.) She got tucked in securely every night, with just a nose barely showing! Long story short, friend suddenly had to move from her house this summer, and this little one, which she had named Sillyhead, was suddenly really homeless - her world as she knew it, shattered apart. The people who bought friend's house were not cat lovers - had dogs - imagine the scenario. But friend would not abandon SH, no way: she went EVERY DAY back to her old street, calling for SH, and feeding her well, and making sure she had water and at least an hour of companionship. 

This went on for 3 months during the summer! I went along a few times as we tried to coax her into a carrier (I had already agreed we would take her, if she were captured). Unfortunately, this kitty was very very wary, and would not allow herself to be captured. Finally, after 3 months of this,  another circumstance arrived that meant it was "now or never" to catch the elusive Sillyhead. It was her last chance. Somehow, she must have known this, as the much anticipated “Gotcha Day” arrived when I received the phone-call "I've got her!" That was August 29th.  And it has not been exactly boring ever since she arrived.

Early days - stealthily conquering the bedroom!

Of course, we went through all the appropriate procedures when bringing in a new cat into the house: 2 weeks or so sequestered, gradual introduction to the others etc. But most did not warm to her at all! So much growling and hissing, and general grumpiness. To make matters "worse", SH, now renamed Zena, Princess Warrior, due to her "spunk" and daring behaviour, has decided to take over the bedroom, and basically the entire upstairs, much to the chagrin of the others, who regularly slept with me on the bed. 
For a while the resident grumps were in self-imposed exile in the basement. Chaiyka, the big tabby, joined in in solidarity as shown in the photo below,  even though he was cool with the new one. In fact, I have learned that in many multi-cat households, there is often a “facilitator” cat, that makes friends first, and tried to smooth the rough edges. He does try – such a good boy. The rest remain on high alert, eyes wide and terrified every time they catch a glimpse of the stealthy and speedy Zena, Princess Warrior.

Refugees in the basement

But she has become very attached to me, and when alone with her, she is “little mouse”, close to my side. She also loves her little basket in the bedroom, and her spot near the window that, on sunny days, is the place to be. And besides, no one else had been using it. 

"My basket!"

She also loves the window garden – now THAT is prime real estate – everyone loves to be there, as is a frequent backdrop for fabulous photo-shoots that feature both  cats and flowers. A perfect combination.

Conquering the much-coveted Window Garden

But of course, cats have short memories sometimes. Here is Zena anxious to go out the back door, despite her many years out in the cold. I think that is where they have it over us: they get over things, and get onto the next challenge or adventure.
Naughty girl wonders what's out there!

After a week or so, the "refugees" in the basement relocated to the ground floor, where they are "suffering" on the living-room couch - such hard times!

It’s gonna be a loooong winter!
Down to -27 Celcius tonight!