Sunday, November 13, 2022
Saturday, November 12, 2022
This was supposed to be the summer I worked on the house and got it ready for sale. It ended up being a a flurry of TNR starting in August, plus a bucket of kittens. I finally made a contact -- and a friend or two -- at a barn I've been wanting to address, and once I had a a paw in that door, I didn't want to put it off.
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Many of the blogs I used to follow years ago are no longer active.
I miss a lot of my blogging friends. Some of them I never met, but we exchanged comments, read about one another's lives, and even sometimes sent each other something in the mail. Luckily, I'm still able to follow some of them on Facebook, but some -- well, I never knew their names, so was never able to track them down...when I thought to try.
I was certain I'd never fall out of the blogosphere, but I have, like so many others. I spend a lot of time blogging in my mind, which doesn't do much good for anyone, even myself. I've reflected a lot: "Why am I not blogging?" "Why did so many others stop blogging?" I'd thought -- about others -- that they just got bored or distracted, or it was a fad that passed.
I've only posted about 11 times since I left Purina/Petfinder two years ago -- even though I've blogged in my mind about million times.
I began blogging back in the 90s, back when blogging wasn't tied to ads and SEO (search engine optimization -- using key words to make your content appear at the top of search results). Blog posts were shared organically. There was a lot of conservative and liberal blogging going on back then, and it wasn't as polarizing as the world of crazy we have now. (I even found my old blog -- actually 2 of my blogs -- here!) Cats were the excuse for a lot of those political posts...in fact, it's how the blog hop Carnival of the Cats got started (link is from 2015 but sums up a bit of history).
So why mention this at all?
I'm planning a pretty drastic change to my life. For it to work, it requires a return to blogging, and the addition of video blogging/vlogging as well.
Before I gave up my own brand in 2004 ("life, liberty, and the pursuit of loose cats!") and took on the voice of the other businesses I worked for, I used to be a bit of a rebel.
When I jumped from the corporate ship after about 14 years, I envisioned a return of my rebel voice. That hasn't happened.
However -- damn! -- I DO have rebel feelings. There are some new trends in the world of cat sheltering that are really pissing me off. Instead of seeing more and better services for cats that take some of the load off of individual rescuers, I'm seeing trends that dumps every single cat rescuing responsibility -- with the exception perhaps of scheduling spay neuter -- into the lap of unfunded cat loving individuals, and small poorly funded rescue groups.
I plan to go right to shelters (big and small), cat rescues, and individual cat rescuers across the US, tell their story -- and raise money for them at the same time.
I'm going to stop there. All of this means nothing if I can't get back into the habit of blogging -- and get the equipment and skill to start vlogging. I need to rebuild my email list, and I need to wrap up a lot of loose ends.
So hopefully you'll be seeing more me...and more of this silly guy. His name is Wiki. He's fearless, and I hope some of that rubs off on me.
So, old blogging friends, how have you reinvented yourselves?
Sunday, May 16, 2021
For some reason, Blogger is sending messages to subscribers about past posts, anytime I log in and touch anything -- even if I'm just creating a draft for a new post.
I will be suspending notifications completely (Google is getting rid of this option next month anyway) and I'll send an email manually in June to see if anyone wants to sign up for manual notifications once a month. Again, I'm really sorry for the spam. :(
Here's a pic of adoptable Finn to make reading this message somewhat worthwhile:
Love you all!
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Saturday, March 27, 2021
So I mentioned I'd sold my huge old sideboard that had been given me by a good hearted neighbor years back.
A local couple who buys and repaints furniture bought and repainted it. Here it is three days later:
It'll sell for hundreds of dollars, I'm sure, down in Chandler's Market in Sayre. I knew when I sold it for $35 that it would ultimately be sold for a lot more because this type of furniture, chalk painted, is all the rage now in modern "farmhouses." It takes a lot of paint and skill to change a piece of furniture like this (for example, the refurbisher painted the inside, not just the outside as I did), and this took three coats of paint in different colors to get this effect, and I'd just slapped one coat on when I had it. I just don't have the energy or flair to complete re-do furniture for other people. I only do the minimum possible to make it acceptable in my own.
Anyway, it's on to a new life and it was fun to watch it's transformation on the new owner's Facebook page. And I have a TON more room in my house.
Monday, March 15, 2021
I've talked to a couple of friends who are experiencing the same ailment. Here we are at home, so you'd think we'd get more done. But due to...what? Angst over the elections? Tons of snow? Isolation doldrums? Who knows. It's not getting done. It helps to know I'm not alone, but it's been dragging us all down.
I've finally taken some steps to get my butt in gear. I hope I can keep the momentum going.
Since the screen door on the stairs was added years ago, the screen has been getting more and more shabby. I sort of tacked a piece of wood at the left because the door was too small for the opening and I needed to attach a hook-and-eye. Of course, one hook-and-eye wasn't enough for cats intent on getting downstairs, so I added two. Plus one on the inside. It looked like hell (IMO) to visitors, and of course was difficult to explain how to latch as I led people upstairs and they were left to secure the door behind them. Two years ago I bought a new door and a door knob, but the bears destroyed my porch, and I used that door to replace the one they'd smashed to bits.
So a few nights ago I pulled down the old door, ripped off the screen, attached plastic hardware cloth that I'd purchased on Amazon, and installed the sitting-in-a-closet-for-two-years door knob kit. I also purchased some wooden ornamentation for the corners, to keep me from splurging on a fancy new door (the bones on this one were just fine). I got a new piece of wood for the door frame instead of the mismatched thing I'd had tacked up. Now people can go up and downstairs without wondering how the heck to open and secure the door. And it doesn't look a total mess. I can't begin to tell you how much joy I get out of opening and closing this door with a simple knob instead of messing with hooks on both sides.
I had some help from Mocha who didn't seem to understand that he was doing an "if it fits, it sits" in a contraption meant to cut things in half.
Then the front storm door blew off the hinges in a gust of wind earlier this winter, so I ordered a new one from Home Depot (the cheapest brown one available, because I was damned if I'd be scrubbing dirty fingerprints off a white door before every visitor arrived again). It barely fit in the car, and it was a pain to put up (thank you, YouTube!), but now that's done as well. There was quite a bit of swearing involved, and I really hope no one was enjoying a country walk at the same time as I was exercising my vocabulary.
A few years back, a neighbor renovated their kitchen and gave me the vintage furniture they'd been using as a pseudo-kitchen until then. I chalk-painted it up and it's been hugely helpful. But one of the sideboards is absolutely huge (72" long) and the amount of storage it provided in return for the space it took up was insubstantial. For about a year the room it's been in has seemed more like a repository of extra furniture than an actual room I could hang out in. I put the sideboard up on Facebook Marketplace for the cost of the paint and knobs I put on it ($30) (since it had been given to me for free) and quickly got a taker.
To replace it, I picked up a beat-up but sturdy dresser at the Re-Use Center in Ithaca, and threw some chalk paint, wallpaper, and Mod Podge at it. I already had the supplies. So I have as much room, but I can put the dresser along a small wall instead of it taking up the entire length of the room.
Now the couch, which was literally sitting diagonally in the middle of the room before, can be along the wall. The sideboard is waiting to be picked up tomorrow -- you can see how huge it is, at the right. And now all the furniture that was pretty much just thrown in there is an actual room.
I've been getting some professional coaching, and I really haven't been able to explain to her how much all these undone projects have been preying on me. Every time I see something that I've started and just haven't finished, it ties up my brain so that I can't even think about the things I ought to -- and really want to -- do. Take photos of the cats, paint the art walls I have planned for the cat rooms, make videos to help with adoption processes... So I've just decided these projects HAVE to get done so I can be mentally free to work with the cats.
The two biggest things remaining projects are the backsplash wall in the kitchen, and the last of the flooring. Then I won't be tripping over the boxes of flooring that sit in the great room, or the box with the new kitchen light that's on the floor in the pantry. I'm already thrilled that the boxes of doorknobs are on the doors and not in a pile in the closet, and that the stair door is actually pretty instead of a wreck. And that I have a storm door again so cats are less likely to zip outside.
I'm getting there.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Daphne's (formerly Goggles) mom, sent these photos over, titled "A demonstration of the evolution of the the streeeeetch (with bonus teefs)" The teefs are the cutest:
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
This is a door knob in the Owl House.
This is when I purchased replacements, in my baby steps to make the house look a bit more like a farmhouse again:
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Anyone else getting the winter/COVID blahs? Wow. I feel like I'm swimming (unenthusiastically) through a fog. I've been trying to focus on getting a few things done (checkmark by checkmark) so that I don't pile more crap on that heap o' blah by falling behind on projects and day-to-day stuff. I need to at least keep creeping forward.
Oliver can tell when I'm just noodling around, not actually getting anything productive done. Or maybe I just like to think he can. At any rate, he lets me know by plopping a paw -- or sometimes his entire butt -- on my hands.
We've had a shit-ton of snow. Some of your probably got whomped with it, too. It's time to take down this garden flag, I think, lest Mother Nature continue to take it literally. (If you are on your phone and you refuse to admit your eyes are getting old, like me, the flag reads "let it snow.")
So how are you getting through it all? I'm able to get myself outside to walk now and then by reminding myself that warm weather will be nice, but it will also bring ticks, and it's glorious to walk outside without having to strip and shower after every short hike or trip to the woodpile. If you've had motivational success with anything you've tried, let me know. I could use any techniques that have worked for you.
I've been trying to erase some of the negatives in my daily attitude. One of those is (no surprise) the number of unfinished projects I have around here. For example, my kitchen and walk-in area need a paint refresh. But this is how I roll. I repainted the kitchen white a few years back, and this is the area around one of my outlets:
Friday, January 1, 2021
Thursday, December 31, 2020
What we TRY to do with the American Cat Project, is fix cats (not shelter and adopt cats out). When I first started working with a national website that helped adoption groups, TNR was new. At that time, we did phone interviews of every new member. Every week a new TNR member would join, and inevitably they said "We were told that all we had to do was spay/neuter with TNR, but we've found we always have friendly cats or kittens that shouldn't be put back, who need homes, so we need to post them for adoption."
They were always a bit shell-shocked that TNR often meant becoming a small pseudo-shelter. Some groups were lucky enough to have good contacts with actual shelters, and could turn socialized kittens over to the shelter. But 15 years ago, many TNR projects were started because the local shelter was so overwhelmed they simply didn't have room.
(The change of TNR over the years is a topic for another post. Sentiment has very recently swung toward returning almost every healthy cat -- even friendly ones -- with "return to field" or "shelter/neuter/return." I don't agree with this practice except in large municipalities who are so swamped with cats they can't get ahead without this emergency practice --I would argue short-term for 10 years or less. But...didn't I say that was for another post?)
So what the traditional view of TNR often requires, to save on gas and time for all parties involved, iis "cat smuggling" in parking lots.
It's NOT cat smuggling, but it often feels that way, as you swap cats back and forth in carriers while nearby people look at you in curiosity. After an initial site visit, the caretaker and TNR group find a halfway point, meet in a parking lot, and the cats are transferred from car to car so one person isn't spending hours and gas on very long drives.
Most recently, my rendezvous point for a Chemung County colony has been Sportsman's Warehouse. It's clearly a building that's hard to miss, and the parking lot is a reasonable size so caretaker and rescuer can spot one another. Although this week the caretaker's truck was hidden behind a huge bank of plowed snow, so it took awhile for me to track him down.
Emmett and Eveline (now Gracie) went to their new home in the Binghamton area this past week. I try to say my goodbyes before I crate them up, because when they are released in their new safe room, they tend to head straight under the bed and there's no chance for a cuddle. Most safe rooms are a guest room or the new guardian's bedroom.
Sometimes I forget to say goodbye when I pack them up, and it's always somewhat bittersweet when I leave them behind.
Emmett surprised me by checking things out first (how could he resist all that cool cat stuff?) but soon joined Gracie in the usual kitty safe spot. Kim, their new guardian, and a previous adopter (Tyler, a Russian blue type cat who was a close buddy of mine when he was growing up), sent an update:
"Emmett and Gracie have full run of the upstairs when I am home and then just their room when I am not. I sleep in the other room upstairs and wake up to find both of them under my bed. I learned that Emmett can be had for treats so while he is still not all in on pets he will come right up to me, show me his belly and talk to me. Gracie loves to sleep under the comforter so I lift it up, give her pets and talk to her then leave her be. She doesn't move so that is good. Tyler has seen them both through the gate. There has been a little hissing but no hair up and neither Emmett or Gracie seemed impressed so I think that is just him being nervous. They are all very curious about each other."
It's always a bit interesting to see how cats act in their new home. Kim chose both Gracie and Emmett so that Emmett would have a brave cat to pull him out of his shell. But in the new home, Emmett is the brave boy and Gracie is cuddling under the comforter.
If only they could talk to let us know how they really feel, because just watching cat behavior in their first home (here at the Owl House) just doesn't really give a good window into how they'll act when they move on to their next chapter of life.
Here's video of the beginning of their journey when they were being trapped! SO cute.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
I'm guessing I'm not the only one who is feeling somewhat bogged down lately. I've been shaking my head a bit over all the "let's get 2020 over with" chatter and memes - mostly because, of course, nothing magical is going to happen on January 2021. COVID isn't going to go away. Politics aren't going to magically be perfect. Bills won't magically be paid. Oddly, this actually gives me a bit of a brighter outlook. I'd rather slowly and hopefully build toward a new normal (hoping for that vaccine!) than expect some amazingly brighter future after a New Year's Eve countdown, only to be disappointed. Does that sound gloomy? I don't mean it to.
This Christmas had some weather gremlins. We got socked with 34" of snow. It took five days to shovel out, all the while knowing that on Christmas day the temperature would skyrocket and rain would come. It would be tempting to let it all melt on it's own, but immediately after that they were predicting freezing cold temps again...which means neglected snow could turn into frozen chunks.
So...shovel and shovel some more. It could have been worse -- I could be the dedicated FedEx guy who still managed to get my Chewy shipment to me and had to drive through all that bad weather.
But I couldn't shovel my barn roof. So 2020 had one more unpleasant surprise for me:
The image above is from inside the second floor of the woodshop addition. The image below is the hole in the main barn where the second floor addition used to connect.
The more expensive tools were safe. Luckily I'd been slowly removing anything valuable from the second floor over time, so the only thing destroyed are piles of old windows. A big stack of valuable 10"x12' boards were buried in debris, but I'll worry about that in the spring.
At first I figured I'd just tear down the whole thing. Then it occurred to me that if the first floor roof (the floor of the second floor that's buried in all that snow) is strong enough, maybe I'll just tear off the second floor walls, clear out the debris, put a flat roof on down, and build a railed deck that looks out over the creek. That may actually be the cheapest option.
Spring will tell. There's nothing much I can do now, unless I find someone who doesn't mind clearing out all that debris and cutting down the broken walls in the cold weather. If the snow melts and the ground freezes so a truck can be driven out there, I might be able to locate someone who won't charge an arm and a leg.
What other surprises will 2020 bring? And what new ones will 2021 startle us with?
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
I've moved this post to another URL. The original got linked to a community listserv that is looking for Timmick, so I've remove the political rant from that one. :) Sorry to subscribers who are receiving a notification on this content twice!
I simply have to revive this blog. I'll be moving over to WordPress soon, where there are more options. I've been paying for an acccount for over a year and haven't done a damned thing with it. In the meantime, I--like most of the rest of the world--have been wrestling with pandepression (the blahs caused by social distancing). And based on the lack of interaction on my Facebook group, I'm guessing a lot of cat-parents are as well.
Lucky us, that we do have our cats to make us smile wanly. Other petless people aren't so lucky, and there are a lot of pet-loving people who are petless by circumstance, not because they want to be. Seniors in assisted living, younger folk stuck in no-pet apartments who don't dare move right now, and people who just don't dare take on the responsibility of a pet in this not-so-secure world we live in now. These petless pet lovers used to get their fix at the local shelter or their friends' homes. Those options are more limited now.
So I understand I am, actually, blessed.
Nonetheless I still have the blahs. Even with this:
Yesterday was my birthday (58 years) and last night, Ruth Bader Ginsberg died. And I know Trump/Mitch will shove for an immediate replacement to push the balance of decisions away from the 50/50 it currently is at. Even though Mitch said this would be an abomination during the Obama administration.
Before she's even cold in the grave. Am I right? Let me know.
At that moment, I had been scrolling around Etsy looking for "blue ring" to buy myself a "less-than-$20" birthstone ring as a selfie-birthday present (I'm big into cheap sterling silver stackable rings--pretty much the only jewelry I wear since I keep the same set of studs in my ears 24/7 and don't wear necklaces because....kittens). When I saw RBG had passed I changed my search to "black ring." A mourning ring. Because I need something I see every day that reminds me that...
...America is dying. The US is burning. My planet is dying. Kindness is dying. We were once seen as the guiding light to freedom, and now the rest of the world is sad and appalled at what we've become.
When I was a kid, I used to wonder how the chance of life had made me lucky enough to be born in the USA.
Surprise! That comes back to haunt you.
(Post note: this is not about wanting presents for my birthday: this is about the reality that one day presents have to not be important): BTW young readers, there will come a point in your life where you will no longer receive birthday and Christmas presents--not a one, unless you buy yourself one. Loved ones will leave you or die, or you'll die first. You'd better be centered enough to deal with the fact that holidays needs to have meaning that isn't about "you" and that Christmas REALLY needs to be about the spirit of the season, because you'll wake up in the morning and it will be nothing special unless you've made it special...all on your own
If you are wondering why I'm feeling so dark, a second cat has been lost by an adopter this year. And I'm really not sure I can deal anymore.
Timmick came to me as a kitten from a neighbor. He was hideously ill. We had his eye removed due to that illness. He was stuck in a cage for a long while to recover, and single kittens have behavioral issues. He was a bit of an asshat, and needed a understand guardian. His new guardian is a great guy but you know? Normal caring people just don't get how paranoid you need to be to keep a cat inside a house.That's why there are so many lost cats. And that's why the world shouldn't be so judgy when someone loses a cat. Because cats are smart and stealthy and don't know that "inside is safe and outside isn't." So the smartest person in the world can lose a cat.
Timmick either pushed out a screen or got out through a basement access door. Now he's lost in Ithaca on Cascadilla Street and I'm wondering if I should keep even doing rescue. Not because so many of my cats are lost, but because the few who are lost destroy my soul. Because every day and every night I think about them out there in the cold, without food.
Every time one gets lost, I find myself less willing to do what it takes to find them again. It just sucks the energy from my soul.
And that's how I see our country. We are all so tired, we aren't willing to do what it takes to save her. I'm fucking shocked by how many of my friends say "I don't dare put out a Biden sign because I'm worried about retaliation." FUCKING WHAT? We are appalled by people getting KILLED or DYING from Covid and that's why we want a different president. We say we are shocked by Black citizens being killed due to racist profiling. But some of us won't put out a freaking LAWN SIGN while others are risking their lives in protests (or just Driving or Walking While Black in their own neighborhood).
My friends who say they aren't willing to believe in COVID-19 aren't rich, but they ARE relatively comfortable. What does it take for you to believe? Someone dying? And my friends who say they are voting for Trump...I get it. This is pretty much unreal to them (meaning, it hasn't impacted their lives, not that they don't care). They fear what they've been TOLD will happen (guns being taken away, Antifa invading their homes) and don't believe the results of what is actually happening (climate change, skyrocketing national debt; no ACA = no health care for lots of people you know; no payroll tax = no Social Security). But wait until someone calls you and says "Your mother/father/sister is dying and we need to authorize $$$$$ and decisions on life and death." And it all falls on your love AND your pocketbook. Or wait until that mammogram comes out with red flags and suddenly you are paying $4000 for cancer screening. Or wait until you get the call that your sister has been involved in a devastating car accident and you are driving toward a hospital wondering "does she have insurance? I think she does? What if she doesn't? Could I sell my home?"
Yup. Those are real thoughts.
Imagine if you had to pay for all of that yourself? No, really, think about tomorrow getting a call that a member of your family is on life support and you have to sign the paperwork OR say "oh so sorry...not my problem."
I have a friend who said he doesn't believe COVID-19 is a threat because he hasn't seen anyone ill or dead (our area is rural and does a good job with masks, but Google Lighthouse Baptist Church and see how we've screwed things up). Does it really take your girlfriend dying before you'll believe this is all real?"
And for those of us who won't even put up a sign? I understand. I get that reluctance. But we are at a tipping point. And if you aren't willing to put a sign in your front yard, I'm not willing to watch you gripe on Facebook with a privacy setting for "friends/not aquaintances."
I deal with this on the micro-scale with cats. I've dealt with this on the macro-scale with family. And I know people reading this can share similar stories.
All this from one lost cat, and the death of a woman I've never met.
I love you Timmick. And I'm sorry RBG, that you were not able to die with the peace that you deserved.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
I'd planned to move the tall coffee cabinet from the barn into the upstairs of the house where the cats are, thinking that if people had the food near them, without me hovering, they'd be more likely to make themselves at home.
But that's not an issue any longer. No one is going to consume food here for months due to COVID-19, even if they do visit a cat.
It occurred to me I probably should put the coffee bar away. It was a rather sad half hour, throwing some things out, and finding a home in my overpacked cupboards for the bowls. Luckily a volunteer couple had stopped by to see if the cats needed anything, and they were able to give a home to the box of untouched individual creamers that otherwise would have gone in the trash.
The kitchen bookcase used to be Fluffy's perch. I purchased it as a cat tree. When he slept there, the other cats all joined him, ranged across the shelves. Since he passed, the shelf beds were abandoned. I keep one bed on the bottom, but the rest of the piece has reverted to human use. What to put there now that the coffee bar is gone?
Books I need to read.
My unread books previously sat in an unruly pile. When I cleaned, they had to be moved from place to place. With them poised right in my face very day, perhaps they'll get read!
Once the weather warms up, my porch will be set up with two comfy chairs, 10 feet apart, for occasional visitors. While I've cut back almost entirely on my alcohol consumption, perhaps I could put a little wine bar out there with small single serving bottles of water and wine that visitors could help themselves to. They could swig right out of their bottle, then toss it in the recycling. So classy!
Is there anything anyone else has put away or changed, anticipating a quiet summer of social distancing?
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
But because "others" are talking about deep home cleanings, getting organized, and pushing paperwork woes out of the way (those who aren't home-schooling, caring for other people in need, or recovering from COVID-19 that is), it can't help but rub off on me. Let's hope it sticks. I'd love it if this were finally the summer that all the big projects were completed, so that future summers I could spend less time scrambling around like an underprepared squirrel.
Jo (rescuer of Pepper and Timea) sent canned food again this month, which is always a blessing:
I emailed Nancy, P&T's adoptive mom, for photos to send to Jo, and she always comes through. Given that they are most-amusing cats, I'm sure she has a camera full of shots. Pepper has always preferred being under blankets rather than over them. Since Timea is his buddy, it's not hard to find him when he hides.
Laundry-snoozing is a traditional cat pastime that Pepper didn't get to experience here.
To date, Pepper and Timea have been my most "perfect" cats. They are amusing without being dangerous (no throwing themselves at my feet), neat (no shoveling of cat litter, no pushing of objects, no dragging cardboard shreds around the house), and have the perfect personality balance (Timea liking to be closer to you, Pepper more independent). They are BIG cats, so there is the issue of hauling them to the vet in crates, but that is offset by their beautiful presence. They also brought me a friend (Jo) and went to a friend (Nancy).
Pepper and Timea have been a perfect circle in my life.