Bone weary gratitude


Something hit me. Hard. Whatever it was (or is!), I went from 100 mph doing chores, cleaning dishes and getting charting done to about 5 mph as I crawled into bed at 9 pm and slept for about 12 hours. A fever and GI symptoms knocked me FLAT!

I have gardening to do, housecleaning to mow through, reading to finish and reviews to write, and absolutely none of them grab my attention. My pillow, electric blanket and bed are calling me…

I am emotionally and physically run down. But I am also blessed down to my toenails with the good things in my life. So what do you do when you know you need a quick re-start to get back on track again?

You. Rest.

I know. DUH. But that’s what I need to do. So today I slept almost all day. answered a few emails that couldn’t wait (about 2 out of 50) and followed my cats’ examples of getting into a good nap.


I’m still tired. I’m still facing the problems and discouragements of yesterday. I’m still angry at the lies and collusion that appear to be rampant in our government. But I’m a little better rested than I was yesterday.

And maybe, just maybe, I can tackle my “do list” with more enthusiasm and grace.

Here. Let us “help” you.

It’s that time of year. Time to pack up the stockings and ornaments, the wreaths and lights. Time to put away the holiday linens and platters, and the Christmas coffee mug. To be honest, it’s one of my least favorite chores. (It’s right up there with cleaning out the garage and scrubbing bathrooms…)

The job was almost finished. One or both of our cats decided to “help” take it down in the mean time. I heard a funny crashing sound and the scrabbling of two cats running for cover.


OK, Christmas is over. Epiphany was last week. I promise we are taking the tree down this week. (I’m just waiting for a little muscle to drop by later this week and help haul the tree up into the rafters.)

Cats. Making sure you get your chores done, whether you like to do them or not.

Ants in the Coffeepot (and other things that make me crazy)

IMG_0460-0For the last week or so, we have spotted ants on the kitchen counter. It was usually after a heavy rain, and it’s also as the weather begins to cool. We thought it was just the periodic foragers for fall, and made our usual precautions: moved the sugar bowl off the counter, put the honey bear in a water moat, and were scrupulous about cleaning the counters. We put out a few random “ant traps” but didn’t cover things with chemicals. This is, after all, where I prepare food!

This week the ants were busier, and there was a “line” of them. Stopping and “talking” in “ant code” and then bustling on back to their terminus, we would clean a few off the counter and go about our day. We kept looking for home base but didn’t find it. The usual suspects (the compost bucket and the honey bear) were carefully monitored. Last night I thought I had found the nest – under my African violet. I quickly rinsed the pot, moated it and went to bed, feeling victorious.

HUZZAH! No more ants!

(You know where this is going, don’t you?)

This morning, as Bearded Brewer was on his daily inspection and sleuthing of the ants, he moved the coffee pot. Lo and hehold, ants came streaming out of the back of the coffee pot! It’s the kind of pot that has a reservoir and a “cup-at-a-time” dispenser. And apparently, the dark, heated spot was ideal for warmth-seeking ants. He quickly poured his as yet uncaffeinated spouse a cup of coffee, and then moved the coffeepot outside.

I went to look at the pot. The bottom and inside were COVERED with ants! Not the part where the coffee brews or the reservoir where it is stored. Just all up underneath in the “guts” of the heating element and the wiring. I couldn’t wash it, and I didn’t want to put ant poison on it. Coffee with ant spray just doesn’t cut it.IMG_0459

This morning I’m going to buy a new coffeepot. I’m also going to call the refrigerator repair place and find out when they can come fix the ice-maker which is ( — correction — WAS) spraying water all over the kitchen wall, onto the floor.

Then I think I will solve one of the biggest mysteries of the universe: why cats always hork a hairball at least twice, and ALWAYS in the middle of the step. On carpet.

It’s the random little events that make me nuts. Not the big crises. I seem to be able to rise to the moments of greatest need for myself or those I care about.

But the jerk on the Beltway that cuts me off? Ants in my coffeepot? Hork on the basement steps? A busted refrigerator waterline? THOSE nibble at my patience and scrape away at my self-indulgence. And they are minuscule inconveniences in the grand scheme of things.

May we each remember what matters and get upset by the things which are world-changing. Despite my desire for morning caffeination, ants in the coffeepot doesn’t make the list.






She was a Feisty One…

Polgara; the Duchess Who Outranks Everyone

Polgara; the Duchess Who Outranks Everyone

She was born in a dumpster and rescued at about 2 days old. The first time we held her, her eyes were still closed and the umbilicus was still attached. Her mother was a feral cat, so a vet tech hand-fed the litter of three until she and her sister were ready to be weaned and come live with us. Her brother went to another home.

Polgara lived up to the inspiration and audacity of her namesake, the sorceress Polgara of David Eddings’ books. She was small-boned, dainty and a whole 8 pounds when she was full-grown.  She had a ‘tude like a mountain lion and took no sass. But she was also smart enough to know when to beat a hasty retreat if she was outweighed and outplayed.

In November, we noticed a bump on her left shoulder blade. In December, it had grown enough that we took her to the vet (or as she called it, “The Shoppe of Horrors”). It was diagnosed as being a fibrosarcoma, rare in cats these days with changes in vaccines. At almost 17 years old, we did not opt for surgery (she would have lost a whole leg!) or kitty chemo. We knew we had chosen kitty hospice, so we got a pain med for her from our vet, made sure she had cozy places to sleep, and spoiled her with treats and extra snacks.

The toasty spot - right in front of a heater vent in the kitchen!

The toasty spot – right in front of a heater vent in the kitchen!

As winter got colder, she looked for toasty spots around the house, choosing a sunny window, or putting her affected shoulder near the heater vent. We created cozy beds for her there.

This last weekend, we saw that climbing steps had become difficult for her. And if she tried to turn suddenly to the left, she would stagger and catch herself before completely losing her balance. She had stopped grooming herself as meticulously,  (probably because it hurt to twist and groom her back), and she wasn’t playing with pingpong balls, or doing her “nighttime crazies” romp around the house. On Monday, I took her to the vet… knowing that probably it was not going to be a round trip.

We miss her talking to us in the kitchen, snoozing next to us on the couch, and just being present here and there with her dainty, regal presence. While we love and enjoy our other two cats, she had a “purrsonality” that we miss. A lot.*

Life goes on. We are sad. It’s kind of a stop-and-gut-check moment, to appreciate the people and animals God puts in our path. And to celebrate the lovely, whimsical bit of Creation we share space with every day.

Quiet moments this morning... 2014-02-28 14.40.25


*I know many of you are not “cat people” or even “dog people.” We’ve had people tell us “Oh, it’s just an animal – why are you sad?” (And if you are thinking that, why are we friends? Just sayin…)