Sunday, November 14, 2021

The magic of cats

 

Smokey (2000-2012)

It's true confession time. I haven't posted as much as I had hoped during this blogging challenge. But that's all right. It's still November, and, as long as I make an effort, it's going to be okay.


Here is another true confession. After the deaths of two cats and my parents, I had decided that I wasn't ready to adopt another cat and that I may never be ready to adopt another cat.

And I was okay with that decision. 

Until Lucy came along. Lucy was the beloved tabby cat belonging to a couple who lived just down the hall from me.


She had everything that a cat could want. She had humans who doted on her and she even had a dog friend, who came to visit her. And then, for Lucy, it all fell apart. Her mommy went to a nursing home, and, a few months later, her daddy passed away. That was when I was asked to foster Lucy.

When Lucy first came, she was stressed by being abruptly taken from the only home that she had ever known. She growled and hissed furiously and she tried to run back to the apartment door that used to open and let her in when she snuck past her human.

Fast forward four months. Lucy was able to purr and run and jump in the apartment. But, as soon as the door opened, she made a beeline for her former home. She had not forgotten. Nor was she close to healing from her loss. She was taken to another foster home, where she could run up and down the stairs. She had windows to the world. She was taken on trips out of town, and she regained the happiness that she used to have.

Today was Lucy's Big Day. She was adopted by a family. She is now a happy, well-adjusted cat. She is at home, surrounded by love. I am so happy for this sweet girl.

When Lucy went to another foster home, I got another cat to foster.


The cat that came to me was Trinity. She is a Maine coon cat, approximately ten years old, who had endured some really horrifying experiences that neither human nor cat should ever have to endure. Trinity had some health issues after she moved here with me. She suffers from pica, which is a condition that causes its sufferer to eat nonfood substances.

For Trinity, the nonfood substance was cat litter. Fortunately, Mel from Forgotten Felines of Western New York took Trinity to the vet, where she was diagnosed and treated. When we discovered that gorgeous Trinity was eating cat litter, we replaced the clay litter with litter made from wood chips and wheat.

She has been recovering in ways that I can see and in ways that I can't. She went through strange behaviors. Also, she has skin problems as a result of being shut up in a moldy basement for a year


For weeks, she decided that the closed toilet would be a nice cat bed. She wasn't very happy when I placed her on the floor so I could use the bathroom. I thought that the toilet looked like an uncomfortable bed, but Trinity had other ideas.

Then, for a while, she spent her time in a little cubby in my living room. And now, she is living in a kitchen cupboard. It is her little furnished apartment. Well, it has a rug. It doesn't have any furniture. She is happy to come out to meow for food, to relax in the kitchen, to eat from her food bowl, and to visit the litter box. 


Despite, or maybe because of, Trinity's quirkiness, I fell madly in love with her. I also was ready to let go of my heartbreak at losing my precious Smokey and Zoey. I felt as if those two cats, as well as my parents, were telling me that the best way for me to remember them is to love Trinity.

And so, Trinity is the foster failure. I am adopting this girl. I confess that Trinity has opened up a space in my heart that I didn't think that I had anymore. Welcome to the family, sweet cat.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Autumnal images

 

Not my self portrait

After years of volunteer work for newsletters and an alternative newspaper and freelance work, I am now a Real Journalist. So far, my career is pretty new, and, at times, I have the urge to pinch myself to make sure that I'm not dreaming. I had fallen down repeatedly in my quest to be a Real Journalist. I have reinvented myself a few times and, in the process, had some great adventures. Somehow, I found my way back to what I had intended to do all along.
Maybe this is me??

And then, I realized that I had never stopped doing journalism. I had been documenting my life and my world. I feel that the experiences that I've had have made me a better human and a better journalist. In future blog posts, I will go into more detail about the metamorphosis that I've experienced over the years when I was sure that my journalism career was dead.

Today's post, however, is more focused on the fun side of journalism. In the past few weeks, I have reported on just about every aspect of Halloween and autumn that I possibly could find, especially trunk or treat events and fall festivals and farmers market decoration.
I probably ate more candy than I should have. So, here are the images of the fun that I've had as a journalist. I have tried hard to be objective in my reporting of the events. I also failed at objectivity when my glee at reporting on my favorite holiday took over. 





I hope that you enjoy these images of a very fun season.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Questions and answers

 Today, the last day of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, I am answering questions! So, without further ado, here are the questions:

Martha asked: How did you get into painting? You are so good at it and your paintings are beautiful.


Thank you so much, Martha!!! It was my mother who pushed me to do art. When I was fifteen years old, I suddenly came to the conclusion that I had no artistic talent, so I gave up art entirely. Well, maybe not entirely. I used to draw cartoons and I doodled. For years, my mother told me that I should take art lessons. And, for a long time, I said no, I had no talent. At one point, I had gone back to college and I saw that I had to take some sort of arts class. So I took an art class for nonmajors. I said to myself, "Self, you have no talent. Your paintings are going to be bad. Don't worry about that. Just have fun and enjoy the process." Inadvertently, I took away all stress from the process and had turned it into a fun time. And, as a bonus, I even liked the paintings that I made. After that, I took more art classes, in a variety of places. 


I am thankful to my mother who set me on my art journey. Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons. I learned that I don't have to compare myself to others. I am on my own art journey. It's not a contest. It's about growth, not winning. Another thing that I was told that really helped was that talent is overrated. It's the effort and practice at creating art that matter more. It is the desire to grow as an artist that makes a difference. And, most of all, it's about happiness. I have found that creating art makes me happy. I get to interpret the world with shapes and with color. That's really as good as it gets.

keithaw2k asked: How do you rate your blogs? Do you go back and update them? 

I don't really know that much about rating my own blog. I am sure that there is a technique to that, but I've never done that. Also, I don't go back to the original blog to update it. Sometimes, I will post followups to the original blog post. That is as close to updating as I get.

PhxAzLaura asked: Agree with you about Cherry Garcia, but I've never liked Cookie Dough ice cream. Yippee for you for trying something new, though. I love this post. My question: what adventure would you like to go on next?


I do have a few adventures planned, which include kayaking in the Niagara River and a tour of Seneca Falls, New York, which is the site of the first women's rights convention, in 1848. The town of Seneca Falls is also believed to be the inspiration for the setting of the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," a movie that I've seen... repeatedly! The town is on the shores of Cayuga Lake, which is the longest of Central New York's Finger Lakes. There's a lot to see in Seneca Falls, including the Women's Rights National Historical Park, the National Women's Hall of Fame, Cayuga Lake State Park, Seneca Meadows Wetland Preserve, and so much more. The tour that I am taking is just a day trip, so I am sure that I will leave, ready for another adventure!

Vivian asked: Why do cats chase spiders and then are afraid to eat them? 


Oh, the complicated webs we weave. I mean, oh, the complicated webs spiders weave. I don't know that cats won't eat spiders. Some spiders, such as brown recluse and black widow spiders, are venomous and don't make a good meal for the cat. I have, however, never seen a cat turn a spider, venomous or not, into a meal.

Diane asked: How do I overcome my fear of the oven? Any suggestions on how I figure out how I cook in it?

Did you know that fear of the oven is a real condition? It is called fournophobia, which literally means a fear of ovens. I don't know how you overcome the fear. If you are really terrified of using ovens, you do have the option of not using an oven. It is actually possible to do all of your cooking on top of the stove. It's even possible to make a cake in a frying pan or a skillet!

If you would like to try to cook in the oven, I would suggest that you use simple recipes. Talk to people you know who like cooking and ask them to recommend a recipe for a beginner cook, preferably a recipe with easy to follow step by step directions. The whole idea is that you make something easy so that you can experience success. Good luck with your cooking journey.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

sunflowers (almost #WordlessWednesdays)

 


Ah! sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun,

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the traveller’s journey is done;


Where the youth pined away with desire,

And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,

Arise from their graves and aspire;

Where my sunflower wishes to go.

--William Blake (1757-1827)


















Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Creating a fun wall hanging

 


On Friday evening, I went to the Orange Poppy Art Studio for a fun workshop. The project that we were going to make was a wall hanging. The Orange Poppy Art Studio, which is owned and run by Bonnie Nevans and Crystal Still, is dedicated to the idea that there is an artist inside of everyone. The concept of process art is that it is the creation of art that is important, not the product. It's sort of like when you're on a long trip and you realize that it's the journey itself that changes you for the better, rather than just the arrival at your destination. Destinations and finished art are great but they really are just frosting on the cake. 


Sooooo.... the wall hanging. It was truly a process that started with polymer clay. The cool thing about polymer clay is that it doesn't have to be fired in a kiln. You can bake it at relatively low temperatures in an oven, and it's finished. We had two methods shown to us for molding polymer clay.

The first was to roll the clay into coils and the second was to roll it with a rolling pin until you got it to about one-eighth of an inch in thickness. It's easy to get into the zone when rolling out the clay. With my first effort, I rolled it so thin that it could have been a crepe. That was easy to fix.

After rolling your clay, you can use cookie cutters to make shapes.


Once you've finished making your pieces, you make holes on the top and the bottom so that your pieces can be strung together to make a wall hanging. You're also going to need a bunch of beads. Before your pieces are baked, you're going to watch to photograph your entire design so that you can remember what it looks like and can put it together after it comes out of the oven.

After your clay polymer pieces come out of the oven and cool off a bit, you can arrange them and piece them together.


I pieced mine together with cord and jump rings and with a large ring at the top. I had so much fun designing my wall hangings! And I went home with extra polymer clay. In the next few days, I'm going to make a few pieces of jewelry with that clay, to match the wall hangings!


What are some of the creative projects that you've enjoyed lately?

Thursday, August 19, 2021

My failed attempt at extreme multi tasking

 Yesterday, I enjoyed a fun decorating project. I had waited almost two years to do this project. On the day that I had scheduled to do the project, I had a conflict that I didn't anticipate (scheduling isn't my best skill!). The project that I ended up by doing was a painting at a fun paint night event at St. Timothy Lutheran Church.


What could be more fun than paint night? I had a great time making this painting and hanging out with the other painters. Plus there were refreshments, so it was a win-win situation. The painting that I was directed to make had a thankful theme to celebrate Thanksgiving 2019. That painting is now hanging on my wall next to my front door. 

After almost two years, I still feel thankful. Thankful for being alive, thankful for family and friends, thankful for the simple things of life.

Both projects were supposed to be done with groups of people all doing the same activity. But, because of the accidental double booking, my participation in the second activity, which was scheduled for a fall evening in 2019 (the same evening as the paint night!) at the Grand Island Golden Age Center, had to be postponed. Little did I know how long it was going to be postponed!


Yesterday was the day, at long last! I spent much of the day doing the fun creative project, which including painting, gluing, and embroidery. It was a fun activity. I ended up by doing it by myself, partly at the Golden Age Center, where I went to have lunch and play bingo (I didn't win, lol), and partly at home.

It was a much-delayed activity but it was still very enjoyable, and I learned a valuable lesson from the experience: Don't double book yourself. It is physically impossible to be in two places simultaneously! Extreme multi-tasking does not work!

What sort of oops experiences have you had lately?