Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Month from hell rounding out nicely

Just wanting to check in here. Over the past month, we've both been sidelined with illnesses, but at least we are taking turns. Earlier in the month, I guess I picked up a nasty bug that made me progressively ill for a week. I semi-recovered for the next week during which MrB endured a couple of days of food poisoning brought on by something at his office Thanksgiving party - then we were both pretty well for one day (Friday) when we went out to see The Band of Heathens and the Beckham Brothers. It was a great show and we got to see friends and dance by the stage - but on Saturday that intestinal virus hit me again with a vengeance. It is now Tuesday night and I am no better yet. I have seen a doctor and gotten some advice, trying to eat some of the recommended foods but there's really no point in eating food at all. MrB has gone to the store to get me some Pedialyte, Ensure and some more Imodium.

All this is right before an extremely rare visit from MrB's family in a couple of days, who "can't wait to see our house!" Well... maybe I actually can use the illness as as excuse for my dust-bunny collection.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A few days off, if you are lucky

Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. The real events which made up 'the first Thanksgiving' I'm sure would not resemble the picture postcard described to us as children and continued to believe in as adults, but it's fair to say that some people were just happy to be alive and making the best of their circumstances.

Most people love Thanksgiving. I'm one of those rare ones who never liked it. Family gatherings have always been on the painful side of awkward, and the only memories of the holiday that I can conjure up that are worth it are the ones that involved alcohol. It's worth noting that alcohol has ruined as many as it has redeemed.

These days it is much easier. The #1 thing I am thankful for is that I have not had to endure a traditional Thanksgiving for quite a few years. MrB has been my hero in this. We are both Thanksgiving 'orphans,' he because his immediate family is in another state, and I because I have no immediate family other than him. We will spend part of Thanksgiving seeing a movie and ordering off the menu at the Alamo Drafthouse while watching The Descendants. The rest of the day we will do whatever the hell we want. Thank you MrB for not insisting that we conform to society's norm.

The #2 thing I am thankful for is not having to deal with the abominable Black Friday. Isn't this Xmas's evil twin? And it's only in America, driven by a pretense of holding back Xmas with Thanksgiving, it all explodes on Black Friday. Every year people are injured and even killed by people stampeding through the store doors when they open - and there is a war over which retailer will be open first. Almost none of the ads I see are about the Thanksgiving holiday, just BF. I really believe that Black Friday has grown to be nearly as important. Some of the big retailers like Best Buy and Target are opening at midnight on Thanksgiving this year (instead of the once-shocking 5AM Friday) so the staff has to be there on Thursday night. There have been petitions against it, but those will have no effect against this impending buygasm. Black Friday is like Christmas without the fake facade of pretending that it's about something other than raw consumerism. Ugh!Our Black Friday plans only include going to see The Band of Heathens. Will see some friends there, I'm sure, and hear some great music.

I've been bitten by the redecorating bug. Not sure if I will be able to capitalize on this enthusiasm by actually putting some paint on a wall, but I am most thankful that I am lucky enough to have a few paid days off, and that we haven't yet sunk to the point where the average Joe or Jane no longer have any benefits such as that one.

November 22

Remembering the awful events. I have written about them previously. At one time, the truth was known by some, but I'm afraid that too many in possession of it have now died, and many of those would never have revealed it anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tiny arrows made of metal pierce the heart

It's been a week of adjustment, mostly to the loss of Henry. I've been 'under the weather' as the saying goes, hoping to be on the mend soon. We love The Jayhawks, and went to see them in a theater setting on Friday, very different from other times. They seem to be in a constant state of breaking up and reuniting in different configurations, so it's a treat to catch them on tour. They very much remind me of Buffalo Springfield. It's a sweet sound, but a lot of their music has an edge too. This is one of their new tunes, called "Tiny Arrows."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Henry - In Memoriam

When a really elderly person dies, people don't always ask the cause. "Old age" will suffice and is assumed. Everything was just worn out. Henry was 20, which is 96 in human years. I believe that "old age" was definitely a factor. He'd had a bladder stone for quite a long time - years - and we knew that at some point the stone could get lodged in the wrong place, and his time would run out. That is what happened. His age and frailty were a factor because a stone that size could have been removed (while it was still in the bladder) through surgery. A special diet might have helped also, but he was too old to endure invasive surgery, and was already on a very different diet to control something even more risky (diabetes). His quality of life has been borderline for a very long time, due mostly to severe arthritis, near-blindness and asthma. Our relationship with him for the past few years has been one of giving lots of meds and taking care of his needs. His pain was somewhat relieved by steroids, adequan and buprenorphine, but he got to where he wanted us to keep our distance for the most part. Maybe that's a pain thing, or dread, or just grumpiness. It was OK. Part of life, if you make it that far.
Note on the wink: He had a squint in that eye due to a recurring itchy irritation, but it makes a cute picture.

How we got him
For some reason a 4-month-old kitten was wandering around outside in January 1992 in Missouri. We don't know if he was put outside or just lost, but was nearly frozen when he came to my friend's door and he chose the right door. She already had 4 cats and told me if I didn't come and get him she was going to have to take his to the shelter, she also mentioned that he had claws and purred really loud. Perfect! I already had a clawed cat (Alex) and didn't want a declawed companion for him because Alex played rough. Her daughter had already named him "Phil" (I think after Phil Lesh of the Dead) but I named him after Prince Henry (aka Harry), son of Diana, and didn't learn until later that the day we picked for Henry's official birthday (Sep 15) was also Harry's birthday.

Younger Days
Henry was an ultra-sweet tabby who got along with other cats (and all people) but Alex was an abuser and not a little bit psycho, so Henry had to learn to deal with the hell-beast. He never once bit us (or another cat) and was very affectionate and not a bit mean. The cutest thing he would do, and he did this almost every day, was to get on the bed with us, crawl under the covers, then lay on his side facing me with his head laying on my pillow. Then he would purr big and make kneading biscuits on my face. What a sweetheart. ❤

When he was about 5, I brought him home a little black kitten buddy who we named Duncan. Henry and Duncan were inseparable for Duncan's entire 11 years of life, until he died of heart failure.

I know that Henry mourned him, and was never the same after he died (Alex and Duncan both died in 2007 just 3 months apart). I think that's when he really started to age. Frankly, I think it's when I started to age too. We still had Jax (our other stray we took in as an adult) with his health issues (we lost him last year) along with Henry's. We now find ourselves with an empty nest. It is going to be quite an adjustment, but I think it's best to leave it empty for a good long time.

We went through the house and rounded up our entire supply of cat supplies, including a tall stack of cat beds, meds, syringes, towels, fleecy blankies... all will be leaving the house for the animal shelters. There is too much need out there to even think of hanging on to any of it for "later."

Maybe possibly someday we will be able to go somewhere if we feel like it for a weekend or even longer. I think that we did a great job taking care of our furbabies throughout their lives and they were shown great love by both of us, but often I put more value on their health and needs than on my own. All things must pass.

More Henry

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Catblogging: Nothing to see here

These two neighbor cats were in the middle of a standoff when I came outside to play cop. The managed to muffle the grrrs and do their best to present a "who? us? we aren't doing anything" facade. After the picture was taken, Fluffy skulked across the street and got under a car, followed by Martin, who was so interested in stalking Fluffy that he crossed the street in front of a car. No harm done from vehicles, and hopefully no bites or scratches. I worry about the outdoor kitties.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Celtic Festival Saturday

The Celtic Festival was this weekend, and we were able to make it there on Saturday after having missed it for a few years. The weather was amazingly wonderful, a perfect match for the ambience created by the music of whistles, pipes and fiddles. Pictured above are brothers Niall and Cillian Vallely with John Doyle (left to right, on button accordion, uilleann pipes and guitar, respectively). Also saw John Williams & Jeff Moore, Scots Ed Miller (who lives in Austin and has a wonderful radio show of traditional music on KUT) & John Taylor, and locals The Tea Merchants. While we were sitting in the front row for some bands, a kid with a guitar case came over packing a chair, and placed it next ours (in the aisle) to get a good spot for the music. He was intently looking over his schedule booklet (pictured) - obviously a big music fan. Then, I realized that he was the kid pictured on the cover! I mentioned that, and he said "Do you want me to sign it?" and, of course, I did. You can see his sig right there: "DAWSON." He said that his big brothers were in one of the bands playing the festival, and that he had his guitar so he could take part in a workshop. He said he didn't want to do anything at the festival except see the bands, and I totally understand that (same way myself)! I'm glad I got his autograph, someone who loves music that much might just be a famous musician someday.

We also got to pet the little-bitty horses. These miniature horses are part of Minis and friends, a charity org that takes the horses to visit people who might benefit from some animal company, such as people with disabilities or in nursing facilities. I am generally not in favor of breeding animals, or making animals work, and that applies here (to the breeding part of it), but oh how cute these little guys are! They seem to be treated more as pets and working critters, so I can overlook that part - at least somewhat.

Now that Sunday is here, I've been unable to drag my butt out for any kind of entertainment. Just waiting for Monday to hit, at this point. Back to the routine and waiting for another Saturday.