My BFF, My Lion, and My Horse

Sagan on grass

Sagan

 

It’s been just over a year now since my Sagan died. He was almost 19 years old, and had kidney disease, but he felt pretty good up until the last couple days of his life. I knew the end was near because he ate very little and drank lots of water, and he had become very thin. Still, even when he was old and getting sick, we did everything together, and he seemed mostly content. The last night of his life, he followed me upstairs to pick out my work clothes for the next day, and I saw something I’d never seen in him before–he hurt. He walked slowly and gingerly up the stairs instead of bounding up them ahead of me like he had a million times in the past, seemingly saying, “I know the way!” When we came downstairs to sit together and read, as we did almost every night for years, he had some trouble hopping up on the footstool. I could tell it hurt him. And I knew tomorrow would be the day to let him go. There would be no needless pain for my baby. I let him sleep on the footstool that night on his heated blanket, instead of putting him downstairs in the basement as usual.

The next morning, he was still there on his blanket, and he greeted me, and he had a little food and water. I could tell he felt lousy, but he had the good manners to use the litter box, which he never failed to do in 19 years. I called the vet and (through tears) made an appointment for later that day. It had been about 3 years since Sagan had been diagnosed with kidney disease, but for about 2-1/2 of those years, he had gone about his daily business feeling just fine, thank you. He ate prescription low-protein food, and started drinking more water, but he seemed to feel fine. He played, cuddled, purred, napped under the covers with me on Saturday afternoons, and remained very much himself. When he no longer liked the special low-protein foods, and grew thin, I said no problem. I let him eat the other cats’ food, which he liked, and decided to let him enjoy eating what he wanted. He seemed to know that he could only eat a little of it at a time.

We adopted each other when we lived in Kansas, and he is now buried in Minnesota. He saved me. He sometimes acted like a big lion, so we agreed he must be descended from the Great Lions of Africa. He had many nicknames, including Orange, Tag, Taggy, Sags, Tay-Tay, Honey, Honey Boy, the Honey-Colored Honey, and My Baby. We loved gardening together! He also loved naps and sitting in the sun.

Sagan in the gardensagan silver mound I

In the photo below, you can see him sitting on the dirt in front of the hollyhocks. His orange fur was more stunning than any blossoms:

Sags33Here’s a favorite of him sniffing the silver mound, his favorite perennial, which he loved even more than wild catnip:

sagan silver mound II

Here he is one winter afternoon, sleeping in the sun that streamed in the south window. This is how I remember him best in his older years:

Sagan in the Sun

This was my view on thousands of nights when we sat together, reading. I  miss this:

sagan on my lap

I love you and miss you, Honey Boy.

sagan

Advertisements
Posted in Cats, Country Life, Gardening, My Photographs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Too Much Cats?

Hubby and I are building a small cabin on a small lake in northern Minnesota. We plan to have lots of lazy summer days up there, someday. “We” (Hubby) are doing most of the work, so it will be awhile before much relaxation takes place there. Last weekend, our task was covering up the insulated ceiling in the kitchen (from which green spray insulation is always falling) with corrugated tin. It took 2-1/2 days on 2 ladders, and there was no swearing. (?)

Since we began this project a couple of years ago, I have started seeing lots of colors, products, layouts, and general interior design ideas that I would like to use in the cabin (again, someday). Unfortunately I have no interior design sense or style whatsoever, and even if I did, we do not intend to spend much money on outfitting the place. Usually after dreaming about a particular design plan, I come back to reality and realize that with my limited funds and nonexistent style, we’ll do this simply, and Architectural Design will probably not be visiting to showcase our place.

Thus, cat shower curtains. If we’re going to outfit the place in simple, inexpensive products that we like, how about a cat shower curtain?! (I’m a little proud and embarrassed that this is really how I think.) A google search revealed several dozen options. My favorites:

cat curtain 2cat curtain 6

cat curtain 4  cat curtain 3cat curtain 1cat curtain 7

The one thing I don’t like about the cabin right now, besides all the work that is involved, is that my cats don’t come along when we go there. They have to stay home and guard the house. Maybe someday when our cabin is finished, we’ll take them along. A five-hour drive with four cats in the car . . . . ? Thus, cat shower curtains.

 

Posted in Cats, Country Life, Just Thoughts | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

No Time Like the Present

I stopped blogging awhile back.

It was before a jetliner flew over the Indian Ocean and was never found.

It was before a bored and thoughtless reality TV Star began running for US President again.

It was before my beloved orange cat and BFF, Sagan, died at age 18-1/2.

It was before I started waking up with numb hands and arms in the middle of the night because my employer adopted SalesForce.com and my job mostly entails clicking and mousing around my now TWO computer monitors all day at work, getting half the amount of work done as I used to, but at least providing managers with the ability to pull reports they never knew to pull before.

It was before I started playing CandyCrush on my smartphone, admittedly wasting countless hours chasing little colored icons that really look nothing candy.

It was before I gained 8 pounds and no longer fit into my favorite pants.

Anyway, you get the idea. Everything, and nothing, has happened since I stopped blogging. And I really miss my blog, even though I have a small (now nonexistent) following and mostly just write for myself. It’s amazing to me how many times during my “absence” (? I was still here) I thought, I should write about this on my blog. And then I didn’t.

So, today I’m putting my toe back into the water. Can I maintain a blog again when my hands and wrists don’t need more stress, when I have 3 new kittens, when I should be exercising, when posting about politics will just upset me, when I feel strangely and undeniably compelled to pass through to the next CandyCrush level or die trying?

Posted in Just Thoughts | Leave a comment

Give Gwyneth Paltrow a Break

Gwyneth Paltrow recently took the FoodBankNYC Challenge to raise awareness about hunger. This means she will do her best to stick to the items she can buy with $29, a “food stamp budget,” for one week.

Late last week, Paltrow posted the food she selected:

gwyneth-paltrow-food-stamps

In short, she chose beans, eggs, tomato, tortillas, rice, and onion, some sort of leafy green, an avocado, and some herbs. No surprise here. Gwyneth eats real food.

And now everyone is hating on Gwyneth again. “She couldn’t eat like this for months on end!” some of the haters are saying. “She’s a gazillionaire; what is she trying to prove?!” others say.

Time Magazine even chastised Paltrow for participating in “Poverty Tourism.”

I don’t get it. What is the matter with this food, and what is the matter with Paltrow taking this challenge? It’s not supposed to be for years on end; the challenge is to raise awareness of hunger in America, and also to try to help food-stamp-reliant Americans to gain empathy and support.

Truth be told, this is a lot of good food for $29, and if more Americans ate real food like this, more of us would feel better and live longer—those of us on food stamps and those of us who aren’t.

We all know Gwyneth Paltrow really does eat real food (not processed junk, and not meat grown on factory farms) and has been a vegetarian for years. So why wouldn’t she buy vegetables and other healthy non-meats with her $29? What would most Americans think to buy—a couple pounds of hamburger, a bag of white bread, and some frozen French fries? Seriously, what? Can’t get much of that garbage for $29.

Shame on you, Time Magazine, for shaming a citizen trying to take part in a public conversation meant to help the poor. I think we know Paltrow well enough to know she’s trying to use her celebrity for the good.

Jesus Christ, give her a break.

Posted in Celebrities, Food, Gardening, Just Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Thanksgiving Poem

On Thanksgiving, I visited my in-laws’ home with Hubby. I wore makeup, blue jeans and a sweater, I drove the car part of the way, I didn’t have to cover my head, and several of the MEN in the family served the wine and dessert, then washed the dishes. At dinner, politics reared its ugly head, and everyone laughingly, carefully participated in the discussion for a few minutes. Before anyone got mad, someone wisely changed the subject. No one was hung or stoned for their political opinions.

We drove home that night, where I got to sit with my cats and read before bedtime. This weekend I exercised in shorts and a t-shirt, bought house siding on sale with Hubby, napped, visited my parents, and ate pizza. Tomorrow I will go back to work after a nice long weekend. I’ll drive there myself and be treated as a professional all day. I’ll earn my own money and know that I am equal to others, and safe in my society and my home.

A couple of billion women in on this planet are not so lucky to have my economic independence, my political and religious freedoms, my education, my safe home, my Hubby who sees me as an equal, or even my ability to drive a vehicle, not to mention my good health and stable job. I don’t have a perfect life, and the United States is a deeply imperfect democracy whose citizens haven’t all achieved the equality that some may claim we have. But wow!, do I have it good. And yesterday I got this poem in my box:

“In November” by Lisel Mueller

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.

Posted in Just Thoughts, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Good End-of-November Poem

“The Thrush” by Edward Thomas

When Winter’s ahead,
What can you read in November
That you read in April
When Winter’s dead?

I hear the thrush, and I see
Him alone at the end of the lane
Near the bare poplar’s tip,
Singing continuously.

Is it more that you know
Than that, even as in April,
So in November,
Winter is gone that must go?

Or is all your lore
Not to call November November,
And April April,
And Winter Winter—no more?

But I know the months all,
And their sweet names, April,
May and June and October,
As you call and call

I must remember
What died into April
And consider what will be born
Of a fair November;

And April I love for what
It was born of, and November
For what it will die in,
What they are and what they are not,

While you love what is kind,
What you can sing in
And love and forget in
All that’s ahead and behind.

Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas

Posted in Gratefulness, Poems | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sonnet! from Senator Al Franken

In Minnesota these 6 years, I have watched Al Franken become a genuine US Senator. Now he’s up for re-election and guess what we Franken supporters got in our Inboxes today? A good old-fashioned sonnet! It’s actually a request for money, but I still like it; you don’t see many new sonnets these days. In fact, this is a pretty bad poem, but Franken states he’s asked for help every way he can except for a Shakespearean sonnet, so here’s that:

This deadline coming up ain’t just a ruse
It’s crunch time, with our foes on the attack
And with just days to go, you have to choose
Will you sit idly by – or
help fight back?

Our field program is fully underway
From Moorhead to Mankato to the Range
And, yes, there’s more new email every day
And, yes, as it gets late they’re getting strange

But right-wing groups want you to hit “delete”
They hope you’re cynical, they hope you’ll quit
Because they want to buy this Senate seat
And that is how they’ll get away with it

So if you think this sonnet’s lame, that’s true
But, hey, at least it isn’t a haiku

franken

Posted in Poems, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment