Communiqué from Coco, the Community Cat

I is being watching the snow go from this …

Snowing again

… to this

One last snow-shower

… to this …

That’s just sad

… Now, is mah job …

… to watch the rain fall

 

***

For the newcomers to my blog, (Welcome!) Coco the Community cat adopted us after Widdercat died a few year ago. Actually Coco wanted to adopt us the minute we moved in but Widdercat would have none of it. Two fluffy Grande Dames going at it hammer-and-tongs, fur a-flying, all hissy and spitty, is a sight to behold, but not to be repeated, so Coco was hugged and cuddled when we went for walks, but studiously ignored when we were at home.

After Widdercat , we decided our lives were too transient (and dealing with the home owners association politics as lowly renters too futile) to give another cat a forever home. (we intend to have gazillions of them when we next move to our forever home. It’s been Mrs Widds and my experience that our cat companions have always found us at the right time)

In the absence of fur-fights Coco decided that, as absurd as our decision was, she would respect it and invited herself into our lives for cuddles, pats, and ‘now let me out’ visits.

We’re not the only cat-orphans she’s adopted. The four houses at our end of the driveway are all blessed by her Most High Fluffyness.

So, my finest Winter, to date, (3 months of snow on the ground) is now done and we are back to our usual Spring, Autumn, and Winter, rainforest-y climate – rain.

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Dandy Lion and Teh Pawz of Doom

We had high hopes for our dandy-lion wine, (see part 1 and part 2) but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. For some strange and unknowable reason we’ve ended up with dandelion and orange cider vinegar. We’re going to have a chat with our wine making expert next time we’re in town to pick up our latest batch of red wine. Thusly armed (with both red wine and information) we will try again next year, omitting the oranges. Mrs Widds and I concur, ‘the oranges did it!’

***

In my last post I teased you with teh pawz of doom. Here’s the pic again to refresh your memory.

Pawz of Doom

Pawz of Doom

No, we haven’t gained another household member, this is Coco, the neighbourhood cat Widdercat refused to have anything to do with, and we, being well trained staffpersons, also had nothing to do with. (sneaking cuddles down by the lake doesn’t count)

A few weeks after Widdercat crossed to the Summerlands, Coco decide to drop in for a visit. After thoroughly checking every nook and cranny in the place, (just because someone has vacated the premises physically doesn’t mean they don’t leave ambushes for fluffy interlopers) she decided we would become her adopted staffpersons for a few hours every day.

Teh Fluff of Doom

Teh Fluff of Doom

I dare say she felt it her duty to make sure we didn’t lapse into any un-staffpersonly habits.

This has always been my chair

This has always been my chair

It’s kinda like being cat grandparents. You get the cuddles and playing (and cyoot photo ops) then pack ‘em off back to their parents.

World Domination

World Domination

 

Dandy-Lion Wine Part II

I posted about our adventure with dandelion wine at the beginning of May. Since then much has occured that had nothing to do with our fermenting experiment, so it continued on its own merry way, until a week or two ago when we unwrapped and sniffed, and strained, and tasted, and rewrapped.

It didn’t smell exactly off, more like an orange that’s just about to keel over and let mold devour it.

Straining the pulp

Straining the pulp

We strained it a couple of times to remove as much of the broken down orange and lemon bits as we could. Then we let it settle for a couple of hours and skimmed a snifterfull off the top.

We each took a mouthful and after letting it sit on our tongues for a moment (to appreciate the ‘full bodied’ flavour) we swallowed.

To say it had a kick like a mule was like saying Voyager I passing into interstellar space was just a bit of a space jaunt.

I felt my knees go numb and sat down, somewhat abruptly.

I think it needs to age a little more.

Not the Green Hat again!

Not the Green Hat again!

 ***

 and, a Widdercat pic for LondonMabel

I know. Sleeping again. What can I say? I was an old cat.

I know. Sleeping again. What can I say? I was an old cat.

The Suckitude of Grief and Soggy Toast

It’s been a very ‘interesting’ two weeks-ish. We have Widdercat’s ashes back, (they’re sitting on our altar) and, in the mysterious ways that cats have, although she’s not physically with us anymore, (unless you count the ashes, which is interestingly morbid) the big hole she left in our lives is lessened.

On the other hand, grief sucks. It turns me inside out, gives me headaches when I have big sobbing crys. I feel as though I’m the only one in the entire cosmos who’s feeling this bad. (seriously, the rest of the world ought not to be allowed to just continue turning and have the temerity to look exactly the same when I do eventually surface)

On occasions, it’s also funny.

I don’t know if the ‘baby brain’ of pregnant women and new mothers is a myth, but I can personally attest that the ‘grief brain’ is alive and well. Take breakfast the other day.

I had just turned the dishwasher on. It’s one that connected to the kitchen sink hot water tap. I then set about preparing my breakfast of eggs on toast, one of my comfort foods. We’d recently retired our old frying pan and bought a shiny new ceramic one that was just for the frying of eggs. It takes some time getting used to the whims of new appliances, and after a few not-so-dazzling efforts on previous mornings I was determined this time my eggs would be perfect.

The scene is set. The play begins …

I plop the bread (Mrs Widder’s 1-day-old bread, ‘cos it’s a mortal crime to toast fresh bread the day it’s baked) into the toaster and prepare my plate. Usually I run a bit of hot water over it to warm it up, (there’s nothing worse that your eggs-n-toast cooling too fast on a cold plate) but of course the hot water tap is currently occupied.

There is still some hot water in the kettle from my tea so I pour a bit onto my plate and set it to one side while I cook my eggs in our shiny new frying pan. I sense that this time they’re going to be perfect, and I’m right.

The toast pops up … I throw it on the breadboard … turn the heat off under my eggs … butter the toast and quickly throw it onto my plate before my eggs get too hard …

… with frying pan and eggflip in hand I turn to deposit the eggs on the toast when I realise …

SOGGY TOAST!

By the time I toast some more bread my perfect eggs are somewhat past their former glory.

😦

I told this story, along with other non-funny stories of my journey through my grief, (they did ask first. I was merely being obliging) to a not-quite-an-acquaintance who then commented with the best of intentions that they didn’t really get why I was so upset, after all she was just a cat.

This person is still alive only because it was a public place and I couldn’t immediately think of anywhere to hide the body.

I’m willing to bet if they had an animal in their lives at all, they’d consider themselves to be ‘owners’ of a ‘pet’ rather than sharing their life with companion of a different species.

However, the incident made me realise what a wonderful genre Speculative Fiction (SF, Fantasy, Paranormal, etc) is, and how glad I am it’s my genre of choice for the writing and reading of. I think that more than any other genre, it has raised the awareness of other species as being more than just ‘pets’.

***

In among all of the turmoil of these last weeks we did have a peek at our dandelion wine. I’ll tell you all about that in my next post.

Fare Thee Well, Old Friend

Widdercat had a very bad fall this morning and broke one of her back legs.

Surgery would’ve been too much for her poor body to contend with.

She died this afternoon.

She was one hundred years old.

Our hearts are broken.

Her favourite faceplant, in her favourite nest

Her favourite faceplant, in her favourite nest

Old Friend

This summer is hard for Widdercat.

In spite of our efforts to cool the house, the prolonged heat leaves her drained of energy on her best days, and almost comatose on her worst.

The four-legged full arm stretch, with neck extended

The four-legged full arm stretch, with neck extended

She sleeps so deeply that we peer at her tummy hoping we’ll see it rise and fall, hoping she still breathes.

There is no movement for so long that our hearts contract.

At last she breathes, and so do we.

She looks amused to see our hovering concern so she stretches out a paw to acknowledge our attentiveness, to reassure us.

Two paw stretch with delicate head droop

Two paw stretch with delicate head droop

Her time with us is measured in units of unknown length – months, weeks, days, become irrelevant.

Only the next breath counts.

Underneath her favourite tree, before it got too hot

Underneath her favourite tree, before it got too hot

From Inertia to Creativity

To go from inertia to creativity is one of the hardest things an artist can do. I recently did a huge editing job. Because the text was full of technical details I had to play close attention to not only standard editing practices, but the demands of the technical writing too.

After I finished, my brain felt like it had been squeezed too tight for way too long, so I took a break from all sorts of writing except for an occasional comment on the blogs I follow.

I had some major computer hardware challenges during that time which is a strange sort of a way, was a bonus. I had a legitimate reason to take a break. (kinda sad that I felt I needed to legitimise my choice, but that’s another story for another time)

So, I’m staring at the pages of my Works In Progress on their shiny new Scrivener formats, (I’ve finally become comfortable enough with the program to migrate all my major works there) and I have no idea where to begin. I have no desire to begin. Inertia or ennui, I can’t decide which, has me firmly grasped in her tastefully polished claws.

I have story ideas so jammed up inside me, they’re beginning to tempt me to try a metaphorical enema to get ‘em moving.

But I have come to a decision. I shall write a blog post, the shortest form I write in, and I think I’ll call it, ‘From Inertia to Creativity’, and I’ll start it like this, … ‘To go from inertia to creativity is one of the hardest things an artist can do …’ 😀

An elegant leg extension and gratuitous tummy fur

An elegant leg extension and gratuitous tummy fur