Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, January 25, 2020


I don't post much about the animals in my life.  Not sure why that is.
There are some wonderful pet soul mates in my past and

But these past 6 months definitely belong to my cat Wallace, 
Wally for short.

Max Left, Wally Right
At 13 years of age we consider ourselves luck to have had Wally that long.  He started out life with his brother, Max - Maximillan. We adopted them together, wanting a bonded pair.  After years and years of 4 previous cats at odds with each other, we wanted the next set to be peaceful.

I think these boys are the best looking of all our cats over 50 years.  The first two weeks we had them, we spent $2,000 to get them healthy.  Shelter cats typically come with various problems and we were committed to giving them a fair shot at life. Wally was underweight and ill due to lack of nutrition. During that time I had to force feed him.  His brother Max was 'the dude' in charge - he ate first and didn't care who else was hungry.  Max was a sweetheart, but food was his God!  Wally was docile and waited his turn to eat!  Once we got this pair in our home and discovered the situation, food was abundant for both.  But old habits die hard and Wally continued to defer to his brother.


For 3 years things were great.  Wally was always "second banana" to his brother, but we kept tabs on that relationship and no one ever suffered.  But at 3 years of age, Max was diagnosed with degenerative kidneys - a common condition for cats, but way too early in his young life.  Between prescription food ($$$$) and subcutaneous fluids (injected under the skin of his ruff) every other day ($$$$) we kept Max alive for another 8 years.  He died at 11 years of age from kidney failure - finally.  But for such a long life, he should be in the Records Book somewhere!  When vets hear Max's story they are astonished.  "Unheard of" ... is the frequent comment.

So that is the back-story of the two brothers.

Now we were down to 1 cat - Wally.  Initially we worried that he would pine for his brother.  Nope!! No pining here!!  In fact he actually flourished.  He was no longer the second banana.  Wally was loving and happy now that he was the star of this household!!

In August of 2019 - 4 years later - when it was discovered that he was hyperthyroid - another common condition for cats.  Over the course of the last 6 months we struggled with medication at various strengths and appetite problems.  We tried a large range of prescription foods and grocery store food.  All efforts cost many dollars.  But this guy is family so we plowed on as we did for his brother.

Getting food into him was the greatest challenge.  I had visions of my force feeding sessions with him as a kitten. Finally his eating trickled down to almost nothing.  Was it his thyroid meds or was it is teeth.  We moved forward with the dental and they discovered the probable cause of his loss of appetite.  His teeth were a mess.  After the cleaning, we took him to a recommended Vet dentist - where we were told his poor gums and teeth were not the result of improper care - but a condition called Tooth Resorption.  His body was "reabsorbing" his teeth - breaking them down right to and into the root.  When cats in the wild get this condition they starve to death because they cannot eat.  It is an internal process separate from regular tooth care.  And he was in a lot of pain as you can imagine.  But, typical of cats, he never showed that.  Just couldn't eat.  Not showing pain or illness is a survival technique for cats in the wild - they don't want to become prey!  Cats are only partially domesticated and predators by nature, so it all fits together.


The total visit with exam, X-rays, surgery costs, recovery costs, extraction of 8 molars, injectable meds for pain and antibiotics ... (drum roll ... ) was close to $1900.  Did we wince at that cost??  Absolutely not.  He is now comfortable - eating soft foods - and returning to good health.  We hope to have him for many more years.  He is a fabulous cat and we love him dearly.

Non-pet folks I find don't understand our willingness to do whatever we can for our pets.  My response is that pets are family.  If you look into those eyes, how can you not see a beautiful 'soul' staring back at you?

Pets 'give' more than they 'take.'  And if good health and a quality life after treatment is possible - I will do it no matter the cost.  If they are in pain and treatment will not fix the cause - like with cancer - we painfully and sorrowfully say goodbye to them, release them from their pain, and give them back to God.  We have done that 9 times and it never gets easy!  But for now this beautiful creature belongs to me.  He hopefully has many more years ahead of him.  Now that he has those pesky teeth out of his mouth, he can enjoy living again.

My husband and I have lived with one or more cats our 50 years of marriage.  I think life would be less without one of these graceful and independent animals!

Rest on my dear Wallace.  
You have earned your place in our home and hearts.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Apologies to my children

Have you ever felt like a deficiency in your personality
 is beyond your ability to fix?

Do you struggle with a "just nuts" personal behavior and you fear it will be part of your life until you draw your last breath?  To make matters worse, could this unwanted 'whatever' behavior be a burden to your family after you die.  And because you can't seem to change that 'whatever,' all you are left with is an apology?!?

Think on it!  I'll give you a moment.  What would you apologize for after you are dead?

It can't be the typical stuff like losing weight, exercising more or leading a healthier life, because that lack of self control only impacts you - and not those left behind after death!  Deficiencies in kindness, consideration, generosity, gratitude or love don't count either ... because, again, after your death, it doesn't impact anyone else.  In fact, if your are a selfish, insensitive clod in life, others might be glad when you are gone.  Ha!

But give it some thought.

Still no ideas?
Here is a hint!

You come into this life with absolutely nothing
 and you leave it exactly the same way.

I have told this story before but its worth repeating.  My Uncle died suddenly in his 90s. He died within a month of my mom's death. My cousin (his son) called me to offer condolences and to share a family story or two.  One story that made a BIG impression was the positive 'gift' he left for his children after death.  In settling his estate, his children entered his house to prepare it for sale. They discovered a house almost totally devoid of everything, except the actual items he needed for living.   Closets and cabinets were bare, counter and furniture tops were clear ...  the basics of living were all that was left.  Simplicity in its purest form.

Now why do I go through this elaborate exercise to only end up with an apology?

I don't believe my children follow my blog.  They may never receive this apology in the present.  But after I die and they are summing up all the little details of my life, (which I intend to leave as neat and tidy as my Uncle's house,)  they may come across this blog.  They may read the title - Apologies to My Children.  They might read and understand that I wasn't totally insensitive in the burden I left behind for them.

You see, despite all my other good intentions, there will be this mountain of yarn that will greet my children when they come into my condo.  Beautiful colors and wonderful fibers and luscious to the touch ...  all just waiting for someone who knits to pick them up and ease them into a perfect project.  *sigh*.  It pains me to know that much of my yarn will 'out live' me ... still waiting in their turn in balls and cakes and skeins ... patiently waiting and waiting.

I have long since accepted that I can't fix this yarn hoarding problem.  Yes, I downsized yarn, books and knitting tools when we moved. Prior to that I did a massive inventory of exactly how much yarn I had.  That was an eye opening and embarrassing experience.  It did slow the flow of yarn into the house.  I even revised that inventory a second time - only to discover that despite my best efforts, I couldn't knit faster than I could buy yarn.  But still I struggled manage this.  I deleted yarn vendor emails.  I stopped buying knitting books.  I didn't visit local yarn shops.  I only shopped for knitting patterns that would work for yarn already in my stash!!

But there were some exceptions to this 'yarn fasting.'   I did go to Yarn Fairs during the year - only 2 fairs and yarn was purchased there in very modest amounts (read: normal amounts for normal people.)  And when babies joined our family, cashmere, merino and silk just didn't seem quite right for children's clothes.  So acrylic yarns were added to my stash.  I also added a small amount of fat yarn to my stash - I needed a palette cleansing after almost a year of skinny yarns.  And in my defense, the acrylic and fat yarn did get used.

But then this month I saw this pattern.

Nuallan Cape by Jen Pierce
Knit Picks
Darn!!  I bought the pattern only - 'cause I love it.   I was sure I had something in my stash that this cape would work well in.   I didn't!!  Double Darn! So I went out to Knit Picks just to look at the yarn they used.  Knit Picks yarn is very reasonably priced, but I would need 2200 yards of it for my size.  That's a lot of yarn.  I hesitated.  I set the pattern aside.  I tried to forget about it for now.  I talked myself out of purchasing the yarn.  Focus, focus, focus.  You have enough yarn!

Then Knit Picks ran a 10% off sale on that very reasonably priced yarn - with free shipping.


The yarn is sitting my condo ... waiting and waiting!  *sigh*.

So ... to my children!!  I am very sorry that when I die you will have to plow your way through so much yarn at my death.  I will leave detailed instructions on how to proceed with clearing out this stash and getting it to good homes with loving knitters.  You might consider burying some of the better choice yarns with me and some knitting needles - just in case there is no yarn in heaven.

So sorry, so sorry.

In an effort to redeem myself, I will work on my list of project for 2020.  I will do my best to avoid these impulse purchases.  But I won't go into any 12-step program to fix this problem.  I just don't wanna!!  I will apologize over and over again - probably until the day I die.  And I will keep knitting.

Dear children.  So sorry.  Love, your mom!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Quiet Month

Finally I have reached the best month of the year
 that I earned by surviving the previous two months.  
The Quiet Month ... January!

I love everything about January.

I love the absence of holidays, the routine of each day, and peaceful weather that has done all its contortions to change the seasons. Settling into the placid pace of winter is the reward.  Even when there is a snow storm - it usually approaches quietly no matter how intense it becomes. And a snow event leaves behind a beautifully clean white blanket ... hiding many of the ugly signs that man has passed this way.

Even my frantic decluttering mojo that struggled to make space around me has passed, as I knew it would.  It will return, but for now it is hibernating.

The whole of January is like a pause that allows time for rest and recharge.  No distractions from the chilly outside world or demanding holidays.

For me - January is month made more special because of the full display of all the seasons in my area.  How fortunate I am to live where the four season equally share the spot light.  Folks who crave heat and love living in more southern climates miss out on some of nature's best displays of energy and wonder.  How sad it would be to never enjoy Fall's breathtaking colors, Spring's budding and waking, and only have Summer's showy lush greening and growing day after day after day.  And those that live in areas where Winter is King and night never seems to end also miss out on some of the qualities that Summer contributes.   Without all those experiences, January might lose some of it luster for me.  Because of the seasons, January makes its own quiet statement.

As interesting and celebratory and visually stunning as those other seasons are ... I always look forward to the rest and recharge month.

Let's hear it for the Quiet Month!!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Connections and Mojo

The restraints are off!!  
No Goals or No Resolutions or No Guidelines or No Anything
 that speaks of a yearly intention.
I have plowed ahead regardless - one connected link at a time in "making space"
  just like I always seem to do every single January.

And yes,
all the actions were curiously linked.

It started with a walk-in closet.  This closet holds 'stuff' - paint, rags, wrapping paper, Christmas decorations, cleaning supplies, tools ... it is a catch-all closet.  When the door is closed - it is OK.  When the door is open - it is not.  When I decorated for Christmas I had to practically empty the closet to get to the right boxes.  Same struggle when I needed wrapping paper.  Ugly!  God forbid I should need a hammer or a nail.  When Christmas stuff returned to storage - I did a big clean out.  Now I can walk into the closet.  Fancy that!  I can actually walk into a walk-in closet!!

The closet clean-out produced two bags of donations.  My first thought - two bags - not enough to make the trip to Good Will, so I easily created a few more bags from my "guest/yarn/book/hobby room."

BUT ... while tootling around in the "guest/yarn/book/hobby room" for donations ... I remembered a problem that needed my attention.  My knitting notions and needles were in total disarray after 9 months of marathon Christmas knitting.  The disarray was so bad I was forced to buy several circular knitting needles in sizes that I already owned but could not find.  *sigh*  Now I have an organized knitting notions bag - an actual tote size bag.  (Yes, I have a knitting notions problem.)   And finally, all the knitting needles are back in their 'homes' ready for the next project.

And speaking of the 'next project,' after wandering around in my knitting supplies, I pulled out all the knitting projects that I set aside to get Christmas projects completed.  Yep!  I did a little line up of things that needed finishing.

Finally I was done.  'Stop looking at stuff' I cautioned myself.  It never ends.  Best to do something that really need doing ... like bill paying.

Ha!  I am so naive.

I set myself to working on bills.  Of course, my wandering eyes drifted towards the 5 inches of filing that I put off for months.  At the same time,  I remembered that I needed to find a specific proof of warrantee that my previous searches didn't turn up.   Filing followed bill paying.  And a search for a specific paper followed filing.

Filing done!  Warrantee info found.

Since I am not a fan of filing, I decided to distract myself with a cup of hot tea. (Seriously, a cup of tea ... where could that lead, right?)

See, I am a coffee drinker, but for some reason I have boxes and boxes of different kinds of tea.  And much of it never gets consumed because most teas upset my reflux.  (Bet you know where this is going ... ). So with a ton of tea taking up space - most of which I cannot drink - I decided to thin it out.  I made several cups of tea to taste, and I pitched near 100 tea bags in the trash.  I still have a life time supply of tea, but it felt good to get rid of the stuff I couldn't swallow.

NOW I am done!!
(Does anyone believe that?)

My knitting activities will probably lead to a much needed reduction in knitting patterns and books.  My tea tasting adventures will definitely lead to a much needed clean out of my messy pantry.  Who knows where this 'clean out fever' will connect to next.

January always seems to trigger this fever in me.  List or no list - ironically downsizing and cleaning out usually makes an appearance in my New Year.   This year it popped up spontaneously without a set of New Year goals.  It felt wonderful to just do what was in front of me rather than what was on goals list.   All that was needed was the mojo to do it!

But here is the really satisfying thing. 
If the mojo goes away - oh well.  
I got a lot done while it was here.  
It will return.  
It always does! 

 "Clean Out January" - a very satisfying thing to do!!
  A lovely way to begin the New Year!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Problems Commenting AGAIN!

I can't believe I am experiencing this problem again.

Problems commenting started before Christmas.  I noticed when visiting others blogs:
  • if a blog use "Embedded" comments, I could not leave a comment easily - meaning that it did not recognize my Google Log In and I had to leave my actual named and Web Address.  So I typed in my name and my website and sometimes it confirmed my comment was received and sometimes it didn't and sometimes it left a message and sometimes it didn't.
  • if a blog used "Pop Up" comments, I could easily drop a comment on their site.
The last time this happened, it was a problem with my browser in Safari Privacy Settings.  Once I fixed that, all commenting problems resolved.  My Safari Privacy Settings are still set correctly. So this is a new problem and I don't know if it is me or Blogger that has the problem.

Has anyone else who uses the browser Safari noticed this problem?  Is there a fix?

!! Frustrating !!

So if I haven't commented at your blog in awhile, that is why.

Has anyone else noticed problems?