Hey guys! I know I've been a bit quiet lately. Trust that I've got some projects in my pocket, but they're all in the planning stages. Good things are coming.
In the mean time, my Charles and I took the dog to Death Valley recently to celebrate my 40th birthday, and you know how much I love to share a sampling of my photos. Some are even available in my shop on Society6. Ready? I hope you enjoy!
A little less than 12 years ago, I got a call from two of my best friends. Ryan and Val had recently bought their first house and had discovered that the previous tenants had taken their cat with them but left her kittens behind.
A tortoiseshell kitty with gorgeous green eyes had been tentatively coming up to them lately, and they were wondering if I’d adopt her?
The poor, little half-grown miss had been abandoned and left to her own devices. She was a little survivor. Of course I’d take her. I decided I’d name her, Jazz.
The next day, Ryan came calling with a scared, wee thing in a carrier. Our eyes met as I opened the door, and I knew it was love. I’m not sure she shared that sentiment, at least at first.
Week one was a lesson in patience as my new kitten hid behind the toilet in the downstairs half bath of my townhouse. I’d quietly clean the litter box, freshen her water, and leave her food every day. By the end of the week, a dark shadow could be seen darting about the house from time to time.
Her bravery rewarded with a larger, much more interesting space, Jazz began to seek my company. While still afraid of strangers, she was comfortable in my lap – and even more so – comfortable sleeping on me each night.
A couple months later, her sister, a faded calico, was caught and added to my little family. Mabel repeated the hiding that Jazz had done, but as the bolder of the two, soon, she too was out and about, snuggling with her sister and finding sunny spots to lounge.
My kitty companions were there as I achieved my second B.A. They moved with me from the townhouse to a house with roommates to Charles’ and my first apartment together. Jazz’s easy acceptance of Charles was a miracle and a testament to what a great guy he is. Both kitties timidly accepted our first place in Grass Valley and whole-heartedly embraced the converted barn, and its glorious sun room, that we rented before buying our little house.
No matter what our environment, my Jazz slept on my side or stomach each night, purring quietly in the night, easing my insomnia, and loving Charles, me, and Mabel with all her might. Bodie, it must be admitted, was never her favorite.
At the beginning of November, Jazz and Mabel had both put on that layer of fat which meant colder days were coming. By Thanksgiving, Jazzy had lost that layer and more. On December 1, I took both cats to the vet. Mabel got a clean bill of health. Jazz came back two days later for an ultrasound. My poor, brave kitty had liver cancer, a rarer type that didn’t cause her liver to swell, so it could only be detected by tests and machines.
I spent the next two days hanging with my little fur ball, finding food that she still enjoyed eating, lavishing her with as much attention as a cat could stand. Jazzy rallied, and I went back to work. She would hang out with her sister at night and wander around the house, but would always return to sleep on me, quieting my restless dreams.
On December 13, Jazz’s spark was dim. She seemed frail and tired. She had already crawled into her favorite daytime spot while I was getting ready for work. I picked her up and held her, petting her for as long as she’d let me. I set her down by her food, and patted her head, telling her we’d be back in the afternoon. She looked at me with her brilliant green eyes, a look both weary and full of love. When we got home from work, Jazzy didn’t come out to greet us. I found her in her favorite spot. It looked like she had passed soon after we left. She smelled slightly of food, and she was stretched out in her favorite sleeping position.
She passed in warmth and comfort, without any fuss, and I’m grateful for that. But boy do Charles and I miss her! Mabel misses her, too. She spent all of yesterday in Jazz’s daytime spot. The house seems too big sometimes, now. Jazzy may have been timid, with a quiet little purr, but she was a huge spirit.
It’s hard to sleep now. It’s colder, and there’s no comforting weight of a little, fuzzy cat that always kept insomnia at bay.
I have to have a skin test for allergies next week, so I'm feeling pretty miserable right now, as I'm not allowed to take any allergy medication until after the test. Because of this, I don't have the energy for projects, but in the interim, I thought I'd share what's on my mind, via Instagram.
As many of you know, I love the ocean and desperately miss it now that we live inland. What better way to celebrate my 38th birthday this past week then to take a long weekend at the coast? We feasted on wine, cheese, and crackers, filled our lungs with the salt air, and were lulled to sleep each night by the constant crashing of waves on the shore. It was wonderful, and I was home.
This last weekend, we decided to extend our time off a couple of extra days and travel to the Ruby Mountains in Nevada. We had been working so much on the house, we hadn't even had time to take our new camper on its maiden voyage. At the end of the trip, I wrote down snippets from the most memorable aspects of our mini vacation.
We have two cats and a dog. What does that have to do with resolutions and goals? Well, I'll tell you. You see that kitty on the left? That's Jazz. She hasn't been completely happy with us since we moved from our rental (a converted barn with a sunroom -- kitty bliss) into the house that we own. She was not pleased and showed it on the carpet. (Mabel, our other cat, is a lot more laid back and would probably be horrified if she made a mess.) Then we added a dog to the list, and Jazzy REALLY wasn't pleased. She ruined the carpet. So the first thing on our 2012 home goals is:
1. Replace the carpeting in the house. We're saving our final call until we go look at flooring, but at this point, we're focusing on bamboo.
2. Paint the outside of the house.
3. Fix and/or replace the deck.
4. Create a garden.
5. Finally build that clothesline.
6. Build a railing for our new, beautiful concrete steps.
7. Finally build a pergola over the front door (and maybe a second one for the deck).
8. Finish the bathroom (sink vanity, flooring, medicine cabinet, toilet).
9. Organize the laundry room.
10. Replace the kitchen countertops with white quartz, change faucet, add backsplash.
11. Extend Bodie's yard.
12. Get a Tough Shed garage.
Plus there are lots of little projects including trimming out the bookcases and adding baseboards to my office. I'm optimistic about getting this laundry list done because we only have one house to focus on this year. And buckle-up because I'm going to share my personal resolutions, too.
1. Nurture an Open Heart.
2. Write more (freelancing, blogging, etc.).
3. Be healthier. (I started the year off with pneumonia, so I'm hoping to only improve from here on.)
4. Let the blog's readers get to know me better. (Have some more diverse posts.)
5. Embrace Nevada County more, seek to make it home.
6. Explore and hike in Tahoe -- it's only 45 minutes away!
7. Take more overnight camping trips with the pup.
8. Keep painting, even if I don't have any upcoming shows.
There you have it -- two very full lists. As always, I'll share the processes, and since I'm hoping my camera will become another appendage, there should be lots of photos.
A blog about writing, art, projects, or whatever else tickles my fancy.