Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Beautiful Sally has an attitude

Sally is beautiful. She is feisty, has boundless energy, and when it is her idea, she can be so lovable. 

Trouble is, she has a bit of a mean streak too. I hope she outgrows it since she is only six months old. She bites and scratches, growls, and cries.

I'm not sure what lies behind her prima donna attitude, but I believe it is based on insecurity with a little fear mixed in. Bringing Sally into our lives has been an adjustment for us all. 

Her much older step-sisters Kenni and Kasey are unaccustomed to having another cat intrude into their domain. They haven't been very welcoming. 

Bonding with Sally hasn't been easy for my senior cats. Not only are they getting older, but in the last few years they have lost their two sisters Ryan and Boo as well as their mother Timi. And, they are now 15 years old, so the rest of us seniors, they be a little less tolerant than they once were. They have been used to it being just the five of them for so long. For all of their lives, they have interacted only with their litter mates and always had their mother around too to teach them right from wrong. If I remember right, they were all good kitties and although a tad mischievous, they never really were problematic. In fact, I think I've noted many times in the past, they are an absolute joy in my life. I raised them from the moment they were born and never saw the kind of aggression I've seen in them lately until started 'playing' with them. Sally was certainly the aggressor. She is even mean to me sometimes, the lady who doles out cat food, changes the litter box and openly adores them all. 

I had hoped the elders could be surrogate mothers to Sally, try to teach her the ropes, but that turned out not to be the case. When these three are together, it is like being in a jungle with lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my!

Sally is here because she was dumped at a friend's house a few months ago when she was just a small kitten, I have no idea what her first days and weeks were like. Just the fact that she was unwanted and then abandoned is bad enough, but I have no idea if she was nurtured by her mother, father, or if she had siblings. Did she fend for herself without that maternal bonding? Was she dumped because of her mean streak? I've noticed that poor Sally does not knead like other cats. Some people call this behavior "making biscuits," but in our house we call it "dancing." Long ago my son Chris coined the phrase. In fact, I have only seen her dance once or twice. This behavior is often associated with a kitten nursing, and signifies comfort and pleasure. Did she lose her mother and have to be bottle fed? Sally is only now starting to exhibit contentedness. She does purr, when she curls up on my lap or a comfy quilt. I do think she is learning that she is loved, perhaps for the very first time.

Sally has the potential to be loving and gentle, but that is only when she is Dr. Jeckyl. It is when she becomes Mr. Hyde that it concerns me.

To be fair, all the kitties are going through struggles to find their way. I want to help any way I can, but none of them are innocent. Sally has been the aggressor; something the elders are not at all used to. But they are fighting back. The noises they make during this interaction is far worse than it sounds. Sally especially makes really scary noises, like she is being maimed. But there is never a wound nor blood anywhere to be seen. I suspect it is more like very hard playing. 

I am starting to see faint signs that this may just be a horrible phase, not unlike her teething. For example when Kasey, left, joins me in the evening as I watch TV or play word games on my phone. Sally will now jump into my lap too. They have even gone so far as to hold hands, or should I say I hold hands with both of them at the same time making their paws touch. Sometimes though Sally will reach out and touch Kasey's paw without my urging. Kenni, below, is taking a little longer, but she is starting to tolerate Sally. It is interesting to watch their behavior. It has become somewhat predictable and is often funny.

There is a positive in all this running around after each other. Kenni and Kasey are not just old fat cats anymore. The exercise they get, as they chase Sally through the house at warp speed is good for them. They have lost some weight and no longer spend the day like slugs as they did before.

I suspect Sally just wants to play, almost constantly, and with anything. Of course, these two are jealous of my affection for her. It is almost like they put up with my complete adoration of Ryan for their whole lives. Everybody, including them, knew Ryan was my favorite. While I and possibly them too, continue to grieve her loss, there seems to be some competition for my affection. No one will ever replace Ryan. I still miss her every day.

I hope Sally calms a bit in the next six months. As she grows the struggle will continue for Alpha Kitty title. Little do they know, I am the Alpha Kitty, but they will all get it one of these days. 

Not a day goes by that I don't laugh at Sally's antics. Nor does a day go by that we don't have a cat fight. Sally is still smaller and can weasel into tiny places the others can't get to. But as she gets bigger, I expect she will slow down a little. She has the potential to be a sweetheart. She just needs to shed her Mr. Hyde demeanor. I can wait, but for now, can't we all just get along?


Sunday, October 23, 2022

Votes are important and should not be bought. Instead, be an informed voter!

I can't wait to vote for a candidate--and I don't care what party he/she belongs to--I am looking for someone who needs to point out the complete insanity of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get elected to public office. 

Money should not be the incentive for public service. Holding public office is not a get rich scheme, or at least it shouldn't be.

Why do people have so little faith in government? 

Look at the obscene amount of money that is spent every election season. Look at the number of millionaires that make up the U.S. Congress. Money in politics is almost cartoonish! At least it would be if it wasn't so tragic. And, it harms us all! The first priority for public officials should be getting money out of our political process. We need more than lip service. We need reform!

Since I claim to be a lifelong Democrat based on policies, substance, and philosophy, I can assure you that it is not because I enjoy the countless emails, phone calls, and advertisements asking for money I don't have. It is infuriating that candidates require any more from me than my voice or my vote.

In these difficult days when corporations pay zero in taxes, the middle class is disappearing, people beg in the streets, and children go hungry, it is obscene to allow so much money to be wasted to win favor of potential voters. Do we really want to select leadership by awarding it to the highest bidder? The process to elect leaders who represent us in this Republic needs to be fair. Citizens United needs to be abolished.

We all need to pay our fair share in taxes because taxes support government services that are used by all. Taxes should not be favors for friends, family, and campaign donors. 

Nor should religious institutions be exempt from taxes beyond its normal charitable functions. Religious institutions have proven they cannot be trusted to keep their beliefs out of policy-making. That is not what our founding fathers intended as they proposed a strong separation between church and state. Corruption occurs when blurring that line. If churches want to be a business rather than a charity, they too should pay taxes. Simply advancing religion should not be a reason for tax exemption.

Health care should not bankrupt people. Perhaps some of those campaign billions could be diverted toward making health care affordable for everyone. People are living longer because of the advancements in medicine. That is good, but when so many seniors have to choose over their pharmaceuticals or food on the table, there is a big problem. 

Health care decisions should not be made by insurance companies.

Cannabis, a naturally-grown herb which has proven to have health benefits and been used by humans for eons should not be illegal. 

Women need to make their own medical care decisions. The idea that politicians decide what is best for women and their families is unthinkable.

Voting is the ONLY option we the people have to turn things around. It will not happen in one, two, or three election cycles, but we voters must be diligent. We have to do better. We have to be informed. It isn't enough to follow the loudest voices, especially in today's climate where lies are treated as truth for the gullible and easily swayed. 

We the people must all do our homework, at the local, state, and federal level. It is vitally important. We are electing people that affect every aspect of our lives. We must read and judiciously study the candidates. We must watch how incumbent politicians vote on all issues. We need to educate ourselves. With 24-hour news and access to every speech, every debate, every aspect of a candidate's record, we must ensure that we know who we are rewarding with our precious vote. Voting is our link to the democratic system. And it is vitally important.

Democracy will only work when we the people participate. We can only participate if we are informed. Change will come, but it has to come from us. We are the foundation of our democracy. The elected officials merely represent us. These people are not elite, regal, or royal. They are PUBLIC SERVANTS.

We need to elect leaders who will truly represent the peoples' interests and not their own. Money should have little to do with it. 

Change begins now. We must all be a part of it.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Just a reminder, if quilting is your thing...

Just a reminder that this site, CHMusings as I like to call it, is a testament to how much I love living in the Arkansas Ozarks.

But, it also contains a link to all the posts from my other blog, CHQuilts, one that is dedicated to my love of all things quilting. 

Feel free to follow my quilting journey, one that has spanned nearly 30 years, even though I still consider myself a newbie quilter. I continue to learn new techniques, challenge myself with nearly each project, and share what I've learned.

While CHMusings contains mostly generalized and even personal postings about my life in the Ozarks, it also contains links to CHQuilts. This is a blog within a blog, of sorts. 

Quilt-related posts can be accessed from clicking on the above tab - CHQuilts, There, I have provided the name, title, and short description of each post. 

CHQuilts  can also be accessed by any of the links herein. 

Typing into any browser will also take you there. 

So come on over and check out some of my latest quilting posts. Each contains a photo and story. Subscribe today to either or both blogs, so you don't miss a post. And don't forget to leave a comment.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Sally fits right in

This has been a hard year for John and me. With the devastating loss of the best cat that ever lived, my Ryan, who died last March. We also lost Timi, the mother of my beloved kittens in August. Timi was John’s favorite.

John was hospitalized and was in rehab at a nursing home for several months. I had some health issues of my own. The country is going to hell, and the world is less safe than anything I’ve known in my lifetime. It seemed every day there was something to challenge my good humor and destroy my sparkling personality.

But there was one bright spot.

In June a friend and neighbor posted a picture on Facebook of a kitten that was dumped in front of her house. She was looking for someone to adopt her. I took one look at the face of this little Tabico kitten and knew I had to have her.

I was still aching from the loss of Ryan and Timi. A new kitten was the last thing I ever thought I’d want or need. But there was something about this girl. John called me that morning. He had seen the photo too and asked if I had seen it. I said I did and I wanted her. He was not surprised. I contacted my friend who came right over with this adorable kitten.

The first thing she did was play with a toy with feathers. I named her Sally, after Burlesque queen, Sally Rand who was known for dancing with feathers. My Sally loved to dance with her feathers too.

As of this writing, Sally is nearly five months old. Sally is not at all like Ryan, even though she has a bit of a Ryan look about her. Ryan was an angel. Sally can be angelic, but she can also be a little devil. She is Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde. But she is a kitten, after all. It has been 15 years since I had kittens around the house. I guess I’ve forgotten about their naughty antics.

As Sally grows, her personality leans more toward lover than fighter. She follows me around the house during the day and sleeps with John at night. She paws, hisses, and fights with her step sisters. Poor girls are 15 yrs. old, and slept day and night before Sally showed up. Now they are getting their exercise as they chase her through the house and certainly hold their own against this little maniac running around the house. There is lots of chasing, and even a little fur flying, but that seems to be waning. I have seen them exploring one another, sniffing, and even sleeping together now and then. Sally just has to learn the boundaries. She already knows the spray bottle means business. One look at it is all she needs to stop her in her tracks when she digs in my plants, tries to bite my hand, or picks on her sisters.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Peace be with you Timi

This is a sad day, in that we had to say goodbye to Timi, who in many ways was the matriarch of our family. As with many families who have multiple feline members, it is clear that they often times rule the roost. That was Timi.

Timi was the Mother of our five kittens, born fifteen years ago. She outlived three of them. Most recently, her first born was my Ryan, the best cat that ever lived in my view. I just lost Ryan last March and still miss her more than I can say. 

Timi gave us the greatest gifts in those little bundles of fluff she birthed in a box on the front porch on a hot July day in 2007. Timi was a special cat who used to take walks with us. She was a stray initially, but kept looking in the windows until we gave in and let her inside. Once we did, she broke out of an ill-fitting screen and came back pregnant. 

I’ll never forget when she climbed the window next to my computer desk, her little belly bulging, to alert me that ‘it was time.’

I met her on the front porch where I had already prepared with a birthing box for her and a baby box for the little ones.

I had read up on what to do in case our young Mother-to-be was unsure of how to proceed with the birthing process. I was fully prepared to help her any way I could. 

Timi did great. She was such a trouper. And she raised her girls well. I have been so happy with this little feline family we melded into our own. As empty-nesters, whose kids live far away, John and I considered the girls our second family.

Now, with the loss of Timi, we now have only two of her kittens. Rusty, the runt of the litter lived only 11 days. Boo died two years ago with a respiratory ailment. She was a special needs kitten, in that her entire right side was not fully developed. She basically was a three-legged cat, but she never let that stop her. Kenni and Kasey are doing great. And, we have taken in a new little girl, Sally. But this mom and her five babies can never be replaced. 

Timi may have been somewhat demanding, but she gave so much more than she took. When we went for walks, Timi would always walk with us, her tail high in the air. She loved our walks. She wasn’t strictly an inside cat; she still liked to go outside. After all, she was an outside cat. She made friends with the other animals, opossums, skunks, foxes, and deer. Strangely, she was my cat outside, but she was John’s cat inside. She often slept with him. When he was sick, he called her his nurse.

It has been an absolute joy to have shared our lives with this cat family. Each and every one of them was special. We will never forget Timi, who really did give us the greatest gift. So, R.I.P. my little mama; you will always have a special place in our hearts.