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Friday, April 27, 2012

Missing My Fur Baby

I had forgotten that Pirate Baby's hair has been three different colors in his young life. It was this brownish color when he was tiny, then it went red for a couple months, and now it's blonde.

I miss my cat.

When we first moved here, we had been told there was a litter of brand new kittens out on the farm. That first summer, Surfer Pirate bonded with one of the male kittens. The kitten would ride on his shoulder when he mowed the lawn out there and would follow him around as he worked.

Then, just days before Pirate Baby was born, we had gone out to the farm to let the dogs run around in all the snow. We went looking for the kitten, and found him starving and half frozen. I put him in my coat and we brought him home. We wrapped him in a blanket and snuggled with him and got him to eat a little. Over the next couple of days, the kitten and I really bonded.

But I had checked out of curiosity and had discovered certain... ...body parts weren't there. I showed Surfer Pirate and said "Look, you were wrong. This is a girl, not a boy!" He agreed, and Brave Bonny got a girl's name.

She was a very affectionate cat. Anytime any member of the family was sitting down, she would be right there on your lap to snuggle. She liked to curl up next to Pirate Baby, and it was a constant thing for a while to see me with both of my tiny babies on my lap.

Brave Bonny was never the smartest cat. She was from a long line of barn cats that were all from the same litter generations earlier. Generations of inbreeding leads to some interesting traits. Her one eye was never quite right, and she seemed a little lost half the time. We kept waiting for her to get pregnant (Captain Kitty isn't fixed), and even thought she was at one point. Nope. She'd just been pigging out and had developed a bit of a fat belly.

And then one day, Surfer Pirate got to show ME something. Certain... ...body parts had resurfaced! (Can they descend, ascend, and then descend again???) Brave Bonny was indeed a boy!


...that would explain why there weren't any kittens at our house.

But considering that she he wasn't terribly smart, we decided not to change her his name. It was quite confusing for all of us. We were constantly having to correct ourselves when talking about the cat.

But then, about a month or so ago, Surfer Pirate and I were standing in the mudroom when Brave Bonny marked her his territory. In the house. On one of the windows.

Ya know.....

the weather was really nice. Spring had come...


Let's make the cats OUTDOOR cats.

So out their food and water dishes went, on to the porch. And out the cats went.

Captain Kitty was thrilled! He has always LOVED being outside. He already knows the area, has a girlfriend, knows where home is, etc.

Brave Bonny, on the other hand, stuck around the house for the rest of the evening, hoping to be let back in.

The next afternoon, Captain Kitty stopped by to visit the family.

No sign of Brave Bonny.

After a few days, I was getting really worried. There was a light snowfall one night, and there were tiny little Brave Bonny sized paw prints going up the porch to the food dish.

But still, we never saw her him. Still haven't.

And I wonder. Does he still remember living on the farm, hunting for his food? Is he enjoying his freedom? Being such an affectionate cat, did another family take him in? Or is he simply too dumb to figure out where home is?

Captain Kitty is around pretty much every day. Some nights he sleeps in the house. Some nights, he goes out. Having one cat is much simpler than having two. And we've already decided that when Captain Kitty passes away, we probably won't get another cat. It will be nice to not have to deal with litter boxes and cat fur on everything. My mom will certainly enjoy visiting more when she's not plagued with allergies.

But I miss my snuggly little Brave Bonny.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Should Be Sleeping

Stress is a funny thing.

The last few weeks have been utter chaos. Weddings, birthdays, baptisms, travel, and carrying and sorting through many, many boxes took their toll on me. Today was the last of a long list of major stresses. I got home and promptly went to take a nap while Surfer Pirate and my mom (who is visiting right now) were in charge of the kids.

I slept for about 4 hours!

Can we say EXHAUSTED???

It took a while to get out of bed when I woke up because my muscles hurt so bad I couldn't move. But the nap left me refreshed and now I'm wide awake even though it's after midnight.

So you, my lovely readers, finally get a new entry from me!

Aren't you lucky?????

I've mentioned before that I was the 3rd generation owner of the house we lived in, in Montana. My mother had lived in the house for 30 years. And, that house had a LOT of storage space. When she moved out of the house, she moved into a teeny, tiny little apartment. 30 years worth of stuff with lots of places to store it + no room in a tiny apartment = lots of stuff left behind.

Through the years, as she's visited, she's gone through some of the boxes. But there was still more to do.

And then we moved to ND and brought all her things with us. For her latest trip, she made the very long drive out to see us so she could finally deal with the last of the boxes. I sorted through all the boxes in my basement to get her things separated for easier sorting and then made a final count, out of curiosity.

32 boxes/plastic bins that were hers!

After two days of sorting through them, I've experienced my first bout of sciatic nerve pain (holy CRAP!!), and she's narrowed down what she wants to keep to only 6 boxes!

As someone who is trying to make life less cluttered, I have to say I'm super proud of her!

Meanwhile, that leaves me with a bunch of fun new things to look through this next week as I sort through the remaining items. I'm so excited to start digging through all the stuff! I already have 3 1/2 yards of a pretty blue fabric that I want to make a dress out of! Plus, one of my favorite things to do when I lived in a bigger city is what I call "treasure hunting" in used bookstores. And now I get to go treasure hunting in my own house!!

But the biggest treasures of all are some random papers that used to belong to my grandparents!

I have always loved to write by hand. I remember reading the play Love Letters (A.R. Gurney) in high school. I think it was the character of Andrew who talks about how he enjoys the actual art of writing - forming his letters the way he'd been taught growing up. I've always felt that same way. Physically writing words is an art.

Because of that, I have a bit of an obsession with handwriting. Technology is a wonderful thing. Electronic communication has made staying in contact with our loved ones very convenient and fast. But there is NOTHING like a real, honest-to-goodness handwritten letter! Handwriting captures the personality of the writer because everyone is unique in how they form individual letters. When I hold a piece of paper written by a person and not a machine, I feel like I'm holding a bit of them right there in my hands.

In the process of going through my mom's boxes with her, I have a little notebook of church things written in my sweet little grandmother's own hand. And I have notes and song lyrics written in my wonderful grandfather's writing! I am so thrilled to have them!

To me, they are as precious as the rarest gems.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I've hardly touched my camera over the last couple weeks. I've been getting my house ready for some visitors we'll have next week.

Ever have one of those rooms that's usually closed off, so it becomes really easy to just toss stuff in there - knowing you can put it away later when you have time? And then next thing you know, that room has become chaotic because you've been doing that far too often for far too long? That was my guest room. Not only had I been dropping the "I'll put these away later" items on the bed, but it's also where I was sorting my books for the future bookshelf. The bed was buried and the floor was an obstacle course of book piles.

Yesterday, I got the room to the point where the only things left to do in there are laundry! (My laundry sorting baskets are in there.)

I always like to have freshly washed sheets for guests, so I won't wash the bedding until next week. I'm going to put one of my sister's quilts on the bed. It's been on my quilt rack for the last few years, but its beauty can't be fully appreciated there. I'll take pictures of that room when I've got it done.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to sort through some boxes that have been in that room since we moved into this house. One of them was a GIANT box that had Pirate Munchkin's stuffed animals. We kept some, got rid of some, donated some, and voila! Empty box.

I had tossed some old flannel sheets down the stairs earlier in the day, and Miss Dampier had been laying on them every chance she got. The thought kept sitting in the back of my head "I should figure out how to make those into a dog bed."*

And then it hit me.

The giant box is made up of a really sturdy tray-type piece and then framed out by cardboard walls. The edges of the "tray" are over an inch thick. Box + old sheets = perfect dog bed! And so easy to clean, too! Throw the sheets in the wash from time to time, vacuum out the box sometimes, and done!

Most importantly, Miss Dampier loves it! Here she is enjoying her new snuggly bed.
I feel like a good Dog Mom this week.

*Miss Dampier has really short fur, and the floors in this old house get really cold. She spends a lot of time shivering when the weather is cold.