28 June 2019

Friday Funnies

QUESTION:  How hot is it???


and finally ... WOW

Have a good weekend, and try to keep cool!

27 June 2019

In a Bridget-centric World ...

I often think that if only I could be in charge of things, the world would be a lot different.  For the better, of course ... well, for me.  But in a Bridget-centric world, who else matters????

Anyway, in said world, certain things would be required by law.  I decided that for Three on Thursday, I'd share three of them.

1.  All restaurants or places serving beverages would have lemon slices available all year round for your water, hot/iced tea, or any other beverage you purchased.  They wouldn't have to be large, just enough for the flavor in your drink.  And there would be no extra charge.

2.  All women's clothing would have pockets.  Period.

3.  Sidewalks would be divided like some highways are, but instead of HOV lanes, there would be a lane wide enough for a single person to walk at a reasonable pace, so that if you are behind someone or some group who is taking in the sights, or frail/disabled, or just lollygagging about, you could move into the other lane.  This would be strictly enforced.

I would try my best to be a benevolent despot, honest.

Oh please ... ;-)

25 June 2019

Life on the Margins

I just wanted to put this out in the universe, because I've been thinking about it a lot, and if nothing else, it needs to leave my brain so I can have some personal peace.  Having said that, feel free to stop reading if you aren't interested, or for other reasons that you may have.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard about Ravelry's statement released just this past Sunday regarding their new policy dealing with support of the current occupant of the White House and his administration.  It's been trending on Twitter, all over Instagram, and even covered by CNN, The Washington Post, and The Guardian in the UK.

I will admit that I was really surprised when I first heard about it - because I didn't realize that anything was happening, though upon reflection, I shouldn't have been surprised.  Knitters, crocheters, weavers, etc. are all people.  People think (well, at least some of them), and they have feelings, and they react to things.  As a knitter, I enjoy thinking about patterns, yarns, seeing what others are doing, and laughing when things go wrong.  I also have strong opinions about many things and many people, and have no qualms about expressing them when the spirit moves me.  I live in the world, and have serious concerns about what is happening locally, nationally, and globally, and I do what I can to support individuals and organizations that share my values.

Some people I know think and believe differently than I do, and for the most part, I can respect them even if I disagree, because they have come to their feelings and decisions based on experience, thoughtfulness, and consideration of facts.  I have no issues with these people, because it is a live-and-let-live sort of relationship.  We agree to disagree, as it were.  I don't preach to them, and they don't preach to me.

This is completely different than dealing with extremists, no matter what the cause or belief system.  I will admit that I am in no way a supporter of the current occupant of the White House or anyone of his ilk.  Do I think they are to blame for every single bad thing going on in today's society?  No I don't.  But - and this is a big BUT - I think that they are responsible for bad things getting worse, because they do not condemn them.  They are not going up to individuals and saying, "Yes, have a rally against minorities," but they are not condeming them when they happen.  They are allowing every base, terrible instinct to become just another part of our lives.  For example, toxic masculinity and obvious racism has always been around, but through the example from the top, it's more publicly prevalent than ever.  Some would say, "Well, at least it's out in the open," but when actions follow that hurt or endanger others, it needs to be stopped.  We should all strive to be better than this.

Growing up, I was often at the margins of "normal" life.  We moved a lot, so I spent a lot of time being "the new kid," which is as much about being someone no one knows in school as it is about being a curiosity because you're not part of "them."  My family didn't have money, so I didn't travel to exotic places on school breaks or vacations, like nearly every other kid in my school did.  I was never popular, and was often bullied.  The fact that I was smart (i.e., got decent grades) meant that sometimes, kids were nice to me because they hoped I would do their schoolwork for them (I wouldn't).  I was never boy-crazy, which as a teenager made me a really suspicious character.  It was usually unpleasant, often lonely, and sometimes heartbreaking.

But here's the thing.  I was never left out because of the color of my skin.  I've never been the recipient of cruelty or negativity based on the person I chose to marry.  No one's ever told me to go back to where I came from, even if I was born here.  I've never had to explain my decision to change my gender.  I've never had anyone threaten to kill or lynch me.  No one has ever followed me around a store because they were sure that I'd steal something, even if I'd never even considered doing such a thing.  No one has ever called me terrible names related to my ethnic background or religious beliefs.

These are examples of people who are truly marginilized.  These are the ones who get hate mail, or mocked on Twitter, or in worst-case scenarios, have people call them on their phones to spew filth, or show up at their homes to harrass them.

There are not "very fine people on both sides" of extremism.  Ravelry took a stand, which was within their rights.  The First Amendment protects free speech, but only regarding the government.  Individuals and private companies can decide for themselves what is acceptable and not acceptable.  Those responsible for Ravelry decided where the line in the sand was located, and unlike many other websites, companies, and individuals, they said enough is enough, here is how we will go forward.

We all need to follow their example.  Thank you for reading.

EDITED TO ADD:  Thoughtful comments, as always, are welcome.  Rude, abusive, or threatening comments will be immediately deleted, because, to use a popular saying, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

24 June 2019

A Good Combination Weekend

Well, the weekend did not disappoint.  In more ways than one, actually - we had good weather, and it actually felt like it consisted of two days as opposed to two hours.  It was an excellent combination of accomplishing things and relaxing.  I love it when it works out that way.

Saturday consisted of some running around in the morning.  We headed over to NJ for a trip to Kohl's, Target, the liquor store (don't tell the PA officials!), and the mall.  The Tim had a coupon for Kohl's, and I benefitted from it, and we also picked up some kitchen towels, which we seem to go through at a record pace.  We bought some wine and gin at the liquor store, and I returned a pair of shoes and got a battery for my watch at the mall, then we headed to Target for some groceries.  We were finished and home before noon.  Then The Tim took a nap, and I "finished finished" my Shift cowl - meaning that I sewed up the back seam, and so now the knitting isn't just finished, the project is!  I absolutely love it and will share it soon in an FO post.  That evening we just hung out and watched some shows we had recorded.

Sunday The Tim had to work, so I was on my own as usual.  Hamlet and I took a really nice, long walk in the morning, and stopped at the dog park on our way home.  He was pretty wiped out afterwards, I have to say!  Then I swept up in the garden, which didn't really take long because I'd done the major cleanup a few weeks ago.  The only downside was that I really really really missed my snoopervisor, Jack.  :-(  The others are nervous about going outside, so the Koodle just slept upstairs, and Pip sat at the screen door giving instructions the whole time.  I was hoping to sit out there in the evening, but dinner was later than usual, and by the time we cleaned up, it was getting dark, so hopefully after this week's heat wave we'll have some nice days when I can enjoy it. 

After that and taking a shower, I decided that I deserved some relaxing time, so I sat down and started working on the socks I want to make next, and watch a podcast.  After that, I spent about an hour ironing - yes, there are things I still iron.  I actually find it to be one of those activities that I don't do very often but when I do, I enjoy it, as it becomes a bit meditative.  Also, it's not that great to iron in our basement, so I like to bring it all upstairs to the living room, where I can look out the window into the garden and watch the birds and squirrels.  And - I'm actually accomplishing something at the same time!  Then I went back upstairs and cast on my Pabaigh and got about 4 rounds knit.  After dinner, I finished a book I was reading, and then headed to bed, since my busy day was catching up with me.  But it was a good way to end the weekend.

So now it's Monday, and fortunately this morning walking to work it was still quite pleasant outside.  Which was nice, because heading home I think it's gonna be a lot different!  This is a short work week for me, since I'm taking off Friday, so there is one fewer day of vacation I lose at the start of the new fiscal year.  And then next week is the week of the Fourth of July - WHAT???

Here's hoping that we all have a good week, one way or the other.  If you are in the heat zone, I hope you can stay cool.  I'm already busy figuring out how to make it work ...

Note: Knitting also works.  ;-)

21 June 2019

Let's Do Another TGIF, Shall We?

I have to be honest with you - I sincerely doubted that this work week would EVER end!  It has been one of the longest weeks ever, topped off by one of the stupidest/most frustrating days (today), and I have never been more ready for the weekend!  I am in the mood for a TGIF post, so here you go.

Thinking About - how in a couple of hours, the Summer Solstice will be upon us, and summer will officially be underway.  Perhaps this being the longest day is why this seems to have been the longest week?  Who knows.  Contrary to what you may think, I try really hard to be excited for summer every year.  It's my least favorite season, but it arrives anyway, and there is nothing I can do about it.  But when the weather report on the radio says "Next week, summer really settles in; right now, it looks like every day will have high humidity with temperatures in the mid-90s," it's hard to think positively.  I am grateful for air-conditioining, even though I don't like it, but it's frustrating when it is completely ineffective both at home and at work.  Yesterday, according to the little thermometer I keep on my desk at work, it was 85 degrees in our area, with 72% humidity.  So today I am trying to think of things that I enjoy that I want to do this summer - things like planning day trips "down the shore" as they say here, at least four times this year; or, going to our favorite place for fried clams at least once this season - to keep my spirit from spiraling downwards. 

Giggling About  - we both really like Stephen Colbert, and often record his show to watch the next evening.  The other night, one of his guests was Tig Notaro, and she told a story that I am still giggling about!  I mean, just thinking about it again right now has set me off!  Here is what I am talking about, I hope you get a smile from it.

Intrigued By - people who feel the pressure to be "perfect" on Instagram.  I do enjoy looking at beautiful photos, of lovely things, perfect shots, etc.  But I also enjoy most of what people post, because it's a little glimpse of their day, that moment, their thoughts - you know what I mean.  Just this morning I have heard two different people say (one in person, one on a podcast) that looking at Instagram makes them feel pressured to be perfect in every way.  I have to wonder why.  I am in no way a well-adjusted person with perfect self-esteem, but it never occurs to me to feel pressured - maybe because anytime my photos are perfect it's a result of dumb luck and no ability on my part.  Even my best photos that I post on Instagram - or on any social media - are, frankly, not that great.  But to me that's not the point.  I just enjoy sharing them.  Oh well.

Feeling - nervous, though I'm not sure about what.  Also grateful that it's Friday, and the weekend is here.  Also frustrated by the state of our country.  Also tired, since sleep was not my friend the past couple of days.  Also hungry because, well, I'm always hungry.  I'm working on feeling industrious so that I can manage to clean up our craft room/office/junk room at least a little bit in the next couple of days.  I would be pleased if I could even put a small dent into the mess. 

And that's it from here for now.  Here's hoping that all of you have an enjoyable weekend, even if it's not perfect enough for Instagram.  ;-)

20 June 2019

This Week's Thinking

Last Saturday, I finished the knitting part of my Crazytown Cowl, soaked it and set it on the blocking mats.  Because it's been ridiculously humid and rainy this week, it only finally felt dry last night.  So this weekend, I'll do the seaming and have another FO, which is such a good feeling.  And yesterday, The Tim took the finished pair of socks to the Post Office, so they should arrive at their destination today or tomorrow, another good feeling.

I don't know about you, but occasionally, when I finish one thing, and another project is nearly finished, rather than starting something new, I *have* to finish the other project - that's what happened with the cowl, and I think it was also because it was a good occupation for my brain, which trust me, still needs to be busy!

Having said that, it does not mean I haven't been thinking about what is next.  For whatever reason, everything and nothing appealed to me, so I was back and forth on things and frankly it was driving me nuts.  So I told myself that I needed to just decide on SOMETHING and just organize things to get started so that when I was ready to sit down and get moving, everything would be ready.

Once I told myself that, things started to fall into place.  I even knit a swatch!

Admittedly, I do not enjoy swatching, but I have learned the hard way in the past that at least in the case of garments, not swatching can mean you have wasted a lot of knitting on something that doesn't fit.  The good news is that this swatch was right on gauge, so I don't have to knit another!  Because I have mostly wool and wool blend yarns in my stash, and am trying reallyreallyreally hard to not buy yarn unless I simply must for a project, I had to think ahead to cooler weather and what yarn I had waiting for its turn.  When Pabaigh was first released, Kate Davies had a sale on yarn kits to knit it, and I purchased this yarn, which is the same color as she used in the pattern photos.  I decided to knit this now because since it is not a heavy sweater, knitting it in summer weather shouldn't be adding to any heat happening.  Plus, since it is intended to be a layering piece when the weather gets cool, I was hoping that it would be finished by the time summer moves along into fall.  We'll see how this all goes.  The pattern is mainly just knitting in the round, so in theory, it should keep my brain just as busy as it needs to be, but also mean that I can watch movies, have a conversation, or watch a podcast while working on it.

Then I decided that my next pair of socks would be the Georgia Socks, by Tracie Millar of the Grocery Girls podcast.  I have been wanting to knit some more shortie socks, and these have just a bit more happening with them than simply stockinette ones, plus a different heel for me to try.  I haven't decided on the yarn for these yet - I want to look through my leftovers, rather than use a "fresh" skein/ball.  So in the next few days, I'll be poking through the Bag O' Leftovers sock yarn that is for my Cozy Squares of Memory blanket, to see what I want to use.  I do have some things in that bag that have more than just a few yards left, so those will be the likely candidates.  I know that Lisa of Hidden River Yarns is making these and just using self-striping yarn, so depending on what/how much of that I have left in the bag, that's also a possibility.  It's funny, because I seldom actually purchase sock patterns since so many freebies appeal to me, but this pair is one of the ones that just struck me as something I really want to knit.

I'm really pleased now that I know what projects will be next.  I hope I'll like working on both of them, since my previous two projects were so pleasing.  Whatever happens, I'm sure you'll hear about it ... ;-)

I hope your last day of Spring is a good one.  It feels like the end of July here with heat and humidity, and is raining buckets today, but tomorrow and the weekend are supposed to be nice, so I'm looking forward to that! 

18 June 2019

... of the Day

Do you ever look at the various "of the day" things?  I find them interesting, when I do think to check, because sometimes they are right on target and other times, I'll think who finds this the least bit interesting/true/appropriate??? 

Today was one of the days I looked, so let me share with you.  These are not from regularly visited sites or anything, just the first results in a Google search.

Quote of the Day:

We cannot live only for ourselves.  A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.
-- Herman Melville

My take:  OK, I guess.  It's not really making me want to change my whole life though.

Joke of the Day:

I should have known better than to flush my wooden shoes down the toilet.  Now it's clogged.

My take:  Funny if a kid told you.  Otherwise, worth a smile.

Bird of the Day:

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet

My take:  I have never heard of, or seen this bird, but I am guessing that is since it is native to the Southwest.  I do like him/her, though.  Admittedly, I like birds, so I may be biased.\

Animal of the Day:

Another bird - the California Quail!

My take:  I LOVE the little doodly-doo on his head!!

Botany photo of the day:

My take:  I have never seen these, but they look like mushrooms that had some "wacky mushrooms"!

Astronomy photo of the day:

My take:  WHOA.

Born on this day:

Lou Gehrig, Paul McCartney

My take:  Happy Birthday!

On this day in history:

In 1983, Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space

My take:  YES!

Weird fact of the day:  "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all of the letters in alphabetical order.

My take:  I am quite possibly the only person in the world who is extremely pleased to know this.

Word of the day:  Precarious

My take:  OK, sure.

And that, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, is my Post of the Day!  :-)

14 June 2019

Friday FO

I am happy to report an FO - these were actually finished a week ago tomorrow (Saturday), but I didn't have them blocked and photographed until now.  These are the socks I knit for a friend's husband who is having a kidney transplant this coming summer.

You may recall they started out like this:

The first sock went pretty quickly, and soon I'd started the second.

The second sock zipped along - mainly due to the fact that I needed something to occupy my mind over the past week, and knitting fit the bill.  Since these were just plain vanilla socks, they were a perfect project.  And I think the finished pair look great.

Project:  Socks for Brian
Pattern:  Classic Socks for the Family, with a 2 x 2 rib on the cuff, 3 x 1 rib on the leg, and an  Eye of Partridge heel
Yarn:  fiberstory FAVE sock, in the colorway Tranquil; the toes are Knitted Wit Gumball in the Cranberry Bog colorway
Needles:  US size 1
Modifications:  None
Notes:  This turned out to be a wonderful project on several levels.  I actually bought this yarn, because since I don't know Brian that well, I wasn't sure if he would like bright or wild socks, and that is most of the sock yarn I own.  When I saw this color, I not only liked it, but the name of the colorway - Tranquil - seemed perfect for him, since hopefully his life and health will be more tranquil once the transplant happens.

The yarn is so lovely - tonal, and so incredibly lofty and soft to work with.  It takes a pattern really well, and I can imagine that a textured pattern would look great using this.  I was a little bit nervous that I would not have enough yarn for both socks, since the yardage is slightly less than I'm used to, so I decided to jazz them up with a different color toe.  The Knitted Wit Gumball in Cranberry Bog seemed like a good combination, and I love the way they turned out.  (As it turns out, I would have had enough of the other yarn, but I didn't want to agonize since these were a gift, and I wanted them to be an enjoyable project for me).

I took these with me when we went home over the Memorial Day weekend, to add in some extra good juju.  While we were there, I showed my niece Amanda and her husband Patrick how they were coming along, since they are the ones who are really good friends with Brian and his wife Nancy.   Then I had the brilliant idea to have them knit a few stitches, for even better juju.  So Amanda knit about five stitches, and Pat did three stitches.  They were both nervous and worried that they would mess them up, but both of them did just fine, and I think they were surprised that it "worked."  There are some thoughts and prayers of Jack included as well.

I figure with all the goodwill and good thoughts in these socks, Brian's recovery should be smooth and hopefully without issues.  :-)


If you are reading this, you've made it through another week.  We don't have any plans for the weekend, which is fine, since we are still taking it one day at a time.  I hope that whatever you have planned - or however you decide to just relax - makes your weekend a good one!

11 June 2019

Another Tiny Needle Tuesday

I thought since it was Tuesday, and I had made a bit of progress on my counted cross-stitch project, that I would participate in Tiny Needle Tuesday.  

The last time I showed this project, I had completed half of the honeybee, and was getting ready to move on to the honeycomb "trim" on that half of the picture.  

Since then, I've gotten a good start on the honeycomb and am making some progress there.

For whatever reason, I seem to only work on this on Saturdays, and call it Stitchy Saturday in my head.  Which is fine, as there is no specific deadline on finishing it.  Of course, close-up you can see that things are not perfect, but I'm making it for me, and I'm happy with how it looks, which is what matters.  I would like to finish it before too long though, since I have some other projects that I want to make as well.  And unlike knitting, where I can have more than one thing going, I don't want to get too carried away with cross-stitch projects.  Right now, I still have to pay pretty close attention to what I'm doing, and I think concentrating on one thing at a time is the best way for me to proceed.

Over the past week, I have to say that my knitting as well as this project have gotten a lot of attention.  It's a good way to occupy my mind and my hands, and that's been just what I've needed.  Last Saturday, I got the larger honeycomb part completed as well as the smaller bit at the upper left. 

Am I the only one who thinks the larger honeycomb part as it is right now looks a little bit like the state of Michigan appears on a map?  I find that quite amusing, I have to admit.  I'm sure once it's all completed that won't be the case, but right now it makes me smile whenever I see it.

And I might as well share two of the future projects I am planning to do once the honeybee is finished.  The first is going to be a gift for my niece Amanda.  She loves witchy things and Halloween decorations, etc.  I saw this and thought of her right away, so I definitely want to do this one as a gift for her.  In theory, for this year, but then again, whenever.  She doesn't know it's coming, so she can't be disappointed if it doesn't show up soon, right?

The other one I saw in this Instagram post, and decided to order it.  There is a renovation starting at work (don't ask) and I thought that when it was over, I could hang this one in my office, because it seems particularly appropriate for a cataloging librarian, don't you think?  Though let's face it, I would make it and hang it at home anyway, even if I worked someplace else in some other job, because, well, BOOKS. 

I like having these two things in mind as next up, because it encourages me to keep going on something that I had forgotten that I enjoyed doing.  I haven't cross-stitched for years, and am so glad to be needling along again, and am glad that Dee encouraged it with Tiny Needle Tuesdays.

10 June 2019

A Quiet Weekend

Why does Monday mean you have to go back to work?  Sigh.  I know the answer, but still ...

How was your weekend?  Ours, as you might expect, was quiet.  I'm grateful that I did not have anything I absolutely had to do, and could just feel, and be, and do whatever.  We are all still having a rough time, so it was nice to stay put and be together.

However, it was a lovely weekend, weather-wise, and though I couldn't find it in myself to go out into the garden other than to water the clematis I planted a couple of weeks ago (and which seems to be happy, which is a nice thing), it was nice to have the windows open, and to take Hamlet for walks that didn't completely exhaust both of us from heat and/or humidity.  That really helped overall.

Did you participate on Saturday in World Wide Knit In Public Day?  I really didn't do anything in public this weekend, but it looked like a lot of my Instagram friends were enjoying the event, and I hope it made others at least smile, if not think that maybe they might want to learn.  Having said that, I did do a lot of knitting and also some cross-stitching, which was good because it kept my mind occupied, and I felt like I was doing something useful.

Besides that, it was also a big weekend here in Philadelphia for other reasons.  Yesterday especially, when at one side of town there was the Pride Parade, and on our side of town, was the Odunde Festival.  So people were everywhere, celebrating and having fun, and being lucky with the weather for a change.  In the morning when I took Hamlet for his walk, we walked along the main route of the Festival, where the vendors and food tents were setting up.  Hamlet thought it was great, because nearly every person spoke to and/or petted him and made a fuss.  I think he would have happily spent the day there, just soaking up attention.  I love seeing the colorful things for sale, and even though I am a vegetarian, the smells of the grills still say summertime to me.

Here are a few photos - that I did not take, but were published in the newspaper, etc. - showing the events and crowds.

From the Parade:

Gritty, the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers (who is both ridiculous AND awesome), attended:

 From the Festival (this is seriously right around the corner from our house):

This morning, it's rainy and cool, and so very quiet in the neighborhood, it's almost impossible to think that all of this was just yesterday.

But I'm glad it was a good day for so many people, because life should be about enjoying yourself, instead of only about work and worry.  Sometimes you just have to swallow hard and keep going, but that's the way it works.  And for everyone at these events, seeing their happiness and joy makes you feel that maybe the world has something going for it after all.


Finally, I want to thank each and every person who read my last post about our sweet Jack, and also those who wrote such heartfelt and lovely comments.  Most of you are people I have never met, or probably never will meet, but just the same, your thoughts and prayers made a huge difference for me.  For those whose e-mail addresses I had, I am pretty sure I responded (I hope I did!), and if I dont' have your e-mail address to respond, please know that I appreciate that you took the time to write something.  I generally don't respond in the comments, because a) I completely forget to do that, and b) a lot of the time - as in this case - I am not quite ready to revisit the post anytime soon.  Nonetheless, thanks to all of you, from us and from Jack.  xoxoxo

07 June 2019

Sweet Baby Jack the Kitten

That sweet face!

Jack the Kitten
Born:  early May 2016  Adopted:  October 2, 2016   Died:  June 5, 2019

No one wants to write this kind of post, and no one wants to read this kind of post, especially leading into a weekend.  But I wanted to do it before much more time passed because you should know.

The photo I had originally planned to post on Wednesday, with Jack inspecting
my latest knitting project that I was going to discuss.

The day before yesterday - Wednesday of this week - we lost our Jack.  It was quick, unexpected, and we are all still reeling.

Always on the move

As you know, in my previous post, I showed photos and told about how he had been helping me in the garden on Sunday.  And of course, since then, he'd been his usual happy, active, funny self.  When I left for work on Wednesday morning, he was there as usual, saying goodbye as we did each day when I left for work (we have a whole little ritual in our house).

His photo on the adoption site, The Philly Kitty

Wednesday was The Tim's day off, and he left in the morning to do a grocery shop.  He was gone no more than an hour, and when he got home, he said he could hear Jack crying, but he couldn't figure out where he was.  After looking, he saw him at the foot of the basement steps.  When he went down to investigate, Pip was with Jack and very concerned.  Jack was unable to put weight on his back legs.  The Tim thought maybe he had been running and jumping around and fell or something like that, and had hurt or broken something.  So he called our vet, who had no appts available until sometime next week (WTF?), and then decided to take him to the VSEC here in town, where we had taken Dug for his specialty tests and diagnosis when he was failing.  He called me at work and said to leave, take a cab, and get there ASAP.

Window closeup

It turned out that it was not an injury from a fall or anything else, but rather related to a heart condition that Jack had that we did not know about.  (Which is ironic because he had the best heart of all!)  The vet said that we shouldn't feel bad, because in cats so young, it is not common to check for heart problems unless something manifests itself, and this is unpredictable at best.  Jack had suffered FATE - Feline Aortic Thromboemolism - and in his case, of the Saddle, which is of course the area that controls the back leg muscles.  It is sudden and painful, paralyzes the back legs, and though it can be treated, most treatments are not successful, and not for very long periods of time - as in, not even always a week or a month.  They gave him medicine to control the pain, but there was no way we wanted him to suffer at all or any longer, and especially not be able run and pop around like he did every waking moment.

Sunshine belly

They brought him to us, and we spent about half an hour talking and singing to him, and settling him down to the point where he was purring.  He was clearly comforted and glad we were there, and though it was awful, we felt the same.  Fortunately, the injections the vet did acted quickly, and he left quietly and peacefully to join St. Francis and so many loved ones that will take care of him and play with him and love him until we can all be together again.  He wanted to stay, I'm sure, but wouldn't have known how, and we could not bear the thought of him limited in any way.

Always ready to assist, and he loved knitting projects!

Jack was only three years old.  He should still be here, feisty and intrepid as always, still enjoying himself, still cuddling, playing, exploring, helping, making that little noise that only he made. We were talking about it yesterday, and he never ever did anything bad.  He would get in trouble for being stinker, but he didn't have the capacity to be a bad kitty.  When he joined our family, it was after we had lost Dug in the summer, and as The Tim said, he brought us some much needed joy.  We called him Jackie Joy most of the time, since it described him and how he looked at everything in his life.  (He was also known frequently as Jack Attack, or BooBoo, but mostly Jackie Joy.)

His first time in the garden

This is a huge loss for all of us, and the fact that it was quick and unexpected makes it all even harder.  We are glad for some of the small mercies:  1) that The Tim was off from work that day, 2) that even if he had the episode right after The Tim left the house, that it was only an hour or less until he could help him, 3)  that Pip stayed with him, 4) that we could be with him and help him even when we never ever wanted to let him go, and 5) that such a wonderful group of people exist in the world to help.  I can't say enough about the VSEC staff, who sadly for them often see people and their sweethearts at in the worst possible scenarios.  The kindness, empathetic, and immediate treatment of Jack and of our feelings makes them all heroes as far as I'm concerned.

The first time he got to hang out with his brothers on the bed

So we are sad, and it will take all of us a while to adjust, and as my mother used to say, you never get over it, you just get used to it.  To quote The Tim from Wednesday, "Life can turn on a dime, can't it?"

Exploring the goodies from Santa with Pip

But thank God (or whoever/whatever you believe in) that there are Jacks in this world and that they find us.  He truly saved us, and his everyday love and joy made it clear that he was a happy boy.  So yes, be sad that he is no longer with us here to cuddle, see, and laugh about.  But then try to live a joyful life however you can.  Whether it's chasing a bug, helping/assisting even if not asked, or just enjoying everyone and everything around you, try to find some joy every single day.

Always happy to lounge in the garden!

That is the main thing about Jack - he was joyful without even trying.  He lived a good life every day, and shared it all with us.  He was our baby, our shadow, our goofball.  Please give your family - any and all of them - lots of love, joy, and kisses for us and for Jack.  Now he really is an angel in every sense of the word.

Sleepy baby boy.  Things will never be the same.

I hope you are all able to have a good weekend, and that you will always remember to say I love you whenever you get the chance. Enjoy your life when you can, because we only get one chance.  Take care, and thanks for all of the wonderful, funny, and kind things you have always said about our sweet baby Jack the Kitten.  

03 June 2019

Weekend Clean-Up

I hope all of you had a good weekend.  Ours was basically uneventful, but very nice, with the temperatures and humidity at a more bearable level, which helped overall. 

As you know, every year I try to work on cleaning up our garden so that in the rare occurrence of a day or evening with bearable temperatures, we can actually enjoy being out there.  A couple of weeks ago, I'd started with the back area, which is not that difficult, not being covered with as many leaves, twigs, etc.  Then last weekend we were gone, so yesterday I decided to get an early start and see what I could accomplish. 

I had my work cut out for me, because with all of the rain we had over the winter and recently, tons of leaves and twigs had been sitting there and in some cases, were "glued" to the cement or bricks.  Fortunately I had help - well, let's not get carried away, more like I had company in the garden, in the form of Hamlet and Jack.  Now Hamlet does fine, in that he just enjoys being where you are.  So he will just lie and provide his support.  Jack, though is a different story.  God forbid he not check out everything you do, play attack games, and take random "rests" in that piles of leaves you have created.

That's about 4 layers (smelly ones!) of leaves, etc.  

Inspector Jack begins his rounds.

It took me about 2 hours of work, but I managed to get things to the point where the occasional sweep will keep things cleaned up.  I had 4 huge bags of leaves and such that I collected!  I just hope that now we will have enough nice weather to take advantage of this lovely outdoor space.  It's so nice to sit there and read or knit or whatever - you're outside, but not on display. 

Everyone was quite worn out afterwards, which meant that the rest of the day was pretty quiet and calm.  At one point, I did look over and see Jack cuddled up with Hamlet, but I knew if I moved to take a photo, the moment would pass quickly.

And so now, we are as ready as we can be for summer.  I'm really hoping that it will be one where we can spend time in the garden more often than not. 

Jack hopes so, too.  I mean, there are all kinds of bugs to get up close and personal with ...

And nothing says "covered by random stuff" like a good roll around on the bricks.

You really can't pay for this kind of help.  (Thank God!)

In other news, today I am home because I have an appt for a chest x-ray in a while, to see if the continuing saga of my cold/allergies/whatever is something more serious.  I'm hoping that whatever is or is not found, I can get some help with this crud.  I haven't had a good nights' sleep in three weeks, and my cough is killing my vocal chords (which I think The Tim finds to be a relief in all honesty).  Here's hoping that soon I can return to my usual dulcet tones ... ;-)