Did You Bring Your Broomstick?

LizzieLou | nablopomo,pets,visitors | Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Does this look like a witch to you?

Some years ago, when my sister lived out in the boonies in Upstate, NY, she was startled awake one night by a loud crash and shutter, as though something had landed on the roof of her house. Nothing could be found that night and the next morning she and her man looked all around the house and couldn’t find a single thing amiss. The cause of the crash was never found. A little over a year ago, here in Seattle, Lolly and I were jolted awake by a similar loud bang from the roof, again as if something had crashed into it. I checked and checked again and found nothing.

Not too long after, I remembered to tell my sister about it when she called. She wanted all the details and I relayed them the best I could, but there really wasn’t very much information to be had.

“I bet is was a witch,” she said. “A witch that wasn’t paying attention to where she was going and she flew right into your house. That’s why you didn’t find anything in the morning!” We joked about finding a broken broom or a shoe in the bushes, and about the witch looking for her familiar and how she was checking out our cats, and the like. At first my sister was kidding, but then she seemed to convince herself that this is indeed what happened. Seriously.

When Ochokitty showed up, my sister hypothesized that the witch had come back. Even now she still brings it up. Yesterday she wanted some recent photos of the kitties and one of the ones I emailed her is the one above. Of course she had to call me to tell me she received it…

“Look at her eyes. She’s totally a witch. Or worse! I’d watch my back if I were you.”

Only Some Updates

LizzieLou | nablopomo,visitors | Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

1) RE: “Jealous” … I did not win the Kindle from the library summer reading shebang. I read ‘Unfamiliar Fishes,’ ‘Chairs are Where the People Go,’ ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘Zone One,’ ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Columbine,’ ‘The Influencing Machine,’ ‘Bright-Sided,’ ‘The Alcoholic,’ ‘Middlesex,’ and ‘The Game of Thrones Graphic Novel.’

2) RE: “&@#%*^!” … The not-swearing didn’t last very long. Damnit.

3) This spring we had visit from Lolly’s parents followed up by the annual visit from my mother. By the time my mother got here, I was already wornthefuck out as leading up to the in-laws’ visit I was once again stripping and staining woodwork, repainting, washing the floors, landscaping the back yard, and laundering everything there was to launder (e.g. curtains, slipcovers, bedding, and the miscellaneous throws that drape all the furniture to protect it from cat hair and barf stains). Then after they left I woke up one morning with my neck out of whack. It worsened until eventually I couldn’t sleep. So I went to the doctor who, because of some radiating numbness, was concerned and had me do xrays, and found spondylosis. Meaning bone spurs, little ones, in there grinding away. Muscle relaxers and physical therapy were prescribed, but then Mom was coming so I didn’t start any therapy. So we didn’t do too much while she was here as I didn’t feel up for any road trips this year. We did do the Boeing plant tour. We Skyped with my sister in Russia (Mother Skyping = leaning forward to shout at the keyboard.) and that was the highlight of our visit.

4) Since then I’ve been pretty much a lump. But I’ll try to craft some entertaining blog posts about what it is like to be a lump, and what kinds of things lumps might like to do if they weren’t lumps, and although I probably can’t speak for all lumps in the world, I could perhaps shed a little light on lumpishness in general as to add to a greater understanding.


Not My Kitty – Part One

LizzieLou | neighbors,pets,visitors,wildlife | Saturday, August 20th, 2011

About three weeks ago Lolly and I returned home from shopping to find a naked tuxedo kitty in our yard. We had never seen her before and thought it must be someone’s lost pet. After she vaulted over the fence, she flopped over in the alleyway and showed off her belly. (The kitty, that is, not Lolly. Although it would have been equally charming – and surprisingly studly with the fence leaping – if it had been Lolly.) Then a car pulled in, but she was in no hurry to get out of the way so we scooped her back into our yard.

As our gluten free fettuccine noodle dinners were thawing in the shopping bags, we stood around perplexed and worried about what to do next. Was she really a stray? Just some other neighbor’s cat? Dumped in our yard because of the pinkness of our lady house and the stunning cat-shaped topiary by the street?

We quickly surmised that she was not feral because a) the belly presentation, and b) taking of treats out of our hands. Also, whilst a little scabby, she also had some shininess and substance indicative of someone maybe doing some caring for her. So we did what anyone who remembers what her mother told her about not feeding a stray cat because it will keep coming back would do and fed her.

…And, lo and behold, she doth return…

However, without capturing her and stowing her in the basement –which we felt we couldn’t do because of exposure to our other extremely sheltered, coddled, spoiled, fraidy, indoor-only cats– I didn’t think we could put up flyers in the neighborhood to say she was “FOUND!” Really she was just “SEEN!” and “SOMETIMES ON MY PORCH!” and those wouldn’t make for very helpful signage. Instead I did some sleuthing: posted on our neighborhood forum and called around to local vets and the city animal shelters, repeatedly checked Petfinder and Craigslist, and looked for “LOST” signs in the area. No luck. No match. I also started pestering people about taking her in if she was in fact a homeless kitty, e.g. phoning my boss after work and telling her, “Your cat is on my porch again. I think you should come get her.”

I knew that the next thing to do entailed bringing her somewhere to have her scanned for a microchip (because cats with chips are allowed to roam around without tags on according to someone at the city shelter). But the thought of taking her somewhere, finding out she was nobody’s, then plopping her back out into the alleyway to continue to fend for herself seemed too cruel. If not just to her, then also to me. Closing the door in her little face every night and leaving her out there in the dark alone was making us anxious. And some of us began weeping regularly.

Then, a breakthrough. My boss’ daughter lives two blocks away. One afternoon she was over there with her new grandbaby and started a conversation with one of the neighbors. This neighbor, we’ll call her Alice, told my boss about a black and white cat that she used to have, three of whose grown kittens she still has, who didn’t want to stay with them anymore and was taken in by another neighbor who then moved away without her. Hence, Alice’s former cat was now roaming the neighborhood for the past year, coming and going as she pleased with no particular place to call home. Could this be the same cat?

The squawk box in my head told me I had a new mission: to confirm tuxedo kitty’s identity. I wrote a letter. I printed out some pictures. I left the letter on Alice’s porch. Later that day, her husband called me and filled in a little more of the story… Their daughter brought them a kitten one day. They kept her for about three years or so. In that time she had kittens of her own (because -I paraphrase- having animals needlessly reproduce is a great thing for kids to witness and kittens can be sold to people, who will even come from out of state to buy them, for twenty bucks or more, so kittens are not the burden one would think they are, and besides, she is spayed now). Then, mysteriously, the cat no longer wanted anything to do with her kittens when they got a little bigger and she stopped coming home. She “divorced” Mr. and Mrs. Alice. “We didn’t abandon her. She abandoned us.” He said she was not friendly to them and was even “semi-hostile.” Still, she was welcome to come around if she wanted and have some food, etc. etc. I thanked him for calling and kept my WTF to myself.

I made some more letters up and delivered them to the house where the lady-who-moved used to live to find out if anyone living in those apartments had taken up care for the cat. One of them, we’ll call her Betsy, called me to tell me that Socks/Boots was left behind by the woman who lived there before her. She does visit with her, feed her, and allow her into the house last winter, also that she gets along okay with her two cats.

We felt quite relieved by this information, but by this time she was already at our place in the morning (asleep in her be-blanketed crate until we make kitchen sounds), back in the afternoon (to have a nap and a treat if Lolly sees her), and here in the evening (for dinner, petting, playing, and sleeping). So while folks have been looking after her now and again, she has pretty much taken up residence here, and even more neighbors have noticed. To date, when I’ve been busted feeding her spotted with her, I’ve been asking, “Hey, do you know this cat?” because she is NOT MY CAT!

and another thing: puget pano

LizzieLou | large print,nablopomo,visitors | Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Here is one more photo from the trips around the sound this fall. I thought I was taking a snazzy series of photos to make a big 360 panorama… but the lens cover didn’t open all the way and it was a little weird to put together. But the effect is kind of like magical tape that you can peep through and see another world. Or, like, a little of Olympia.

I think you can click here to see it LARGE: olympano.jpg.


I hope that works so this whole post isn’t just a bust. (I’m having a little trouble with this revamped WordPress.)

sightseeing again – part two

LizzieLou | nablopomo,visitors | Monday, November 16th, 2009

On days three through five, we went to various places around the Sound. One of the reasons my sister was interested in seeing different places – town and neighborhoods – was because she was toying with the idea of maybe moving out here. Probably she won’t be and one of the reasons is her arachnophobia. I had told her stories about big old s-p-i-d-e-r-s that I’ve seen in my garage and garden (and sometimes in the house.) That made her go looking online for more info. Of course she finds the websites (arachnophobes don’t click!) sponsored by the companies that want to sell you the spidey traps and sprays; so she has come to believe that the PNW is crawling with crawlies.

Anyway, here are some photos from our journeys…

sightseeing again – part one

LizzieLou | nablopomo,visitors | Sunday, November 15th, 2009

This fall my mother and my sister came for a visit….

They arrived quite late the first night and I had to drive them to their hotel. They didn’t want to share the futon at our house and no one wanted to sleep on the fold-away sofa in the living room so in order to come together they opted for the hotel. I warned them away from the dodgy strip of motels nearby, so they found a place by the mall. My older sister was excited to be getting special alone time with our mother: “Just me and Mommy. Like it was in the beginning!” They were getting settled in to the room and we were waiting around for my sister to freshen up so they could get something to eat (late night dining = Denny’s). Meanwhile my mom unpacked gifts she brought me: rocks from her trip to the Middle East (my request), a sketchbook (into which I immediately drew a picture of my sister), and some newspaper clippings and such.


Then we went to Denny’s which, when you are sober, sucks horribly.

Day one. I got out my new sketchbook and we spent a good portion of the day getting everyone to agree on what we would do when. Srsly. We did a spot of gardening, but it was too hot to do much. After dinner we went to see Julie and Julia.

Day two. We rented a car and drove up to Whidbey Island. We cruised the towns and the beach and the parks. As the sun was starting to set we stopped at Deception Pass. Mom and I had passed under the bridge there on one of our previous jaunts around the Sound when we clippered up to the San Juan Islands. There is a parking lot where you can pull off and go walk around and across the bridge.

Just typing this is making my hands sweat and tingle!! You see we, the lady family members of our family, are a little wobbly with the heights. Some of us do better than others; everyone does better than my mom. My sis walked out a little ways and then stopped and prevented our mother from going any farther, afraid she might just croak from fear. I, ever willing show-up a sibling, took the camera from my mother and strode forward out onto the expanse. . .

As soon as I got past the treeline, I felt a most curious panic run from my fingertips, through my stomach, to my knees. The dreaded tinglehands. But, I was determined to get good photo for my mom – since she went to some effort to get the ones from below on the previous trip (rocking back and forth out on the back of the clipper in the cold and the spray, etc.) so I ventured forth. It was a narrow sidewalk with a low railing on the water side and a cable or two on the road side. There were cars whizzing by. And other people on the walkway. I’d have to pick a side — road death, plunging death — to squeeze towards so they could pass me and vice versa.

I wanted to get to the center-most portion of the span to get a nice photo of the sun n’ stuff, but I probably only got about a third of the way out. I knew I wasn’t steady enough to twist around to get the photos I needed for a panorama. Too scared! When I took the camera down from my face I felt a little dizzy and wanted to grab on to the railing, but I had the camera looped around my right wrist so I couldn’t use my right hand and on the left hand it was just that cable and of no use to steady me so I had to switch hands with the camera and at this point I think I might have started to squat a little. I was getting that frozen feeling, that hey-maybe-my-legs-aren’t-going-to-move-it-sure-will-be-embarrassing-when-I-need-a-fireman-to-come-walk-me-back-to-the-parking-lot feeling. However, I did not pee. I reminded myself that I was not going to suddenly lurch over the railing, nor was it possible for me to be blown off. I looked up to see if my family was at all concerned or if they could tell that I was doing the scaredy-squat, but they were gone. Not even paying the least bit of attention to me. I could have just plunged over the side and they would be wondering where I went with the camera.

Walking back, just I was about to land on solid ground again, there was a fender bender right in front of me when someone stopped short to turn into the parking lot of the scenic overlook. Despite all this I didn’t die and made it back to the car, with the fam, and we were soon on our way again.

…to be continued.

The Month in Review: Other Life Forms, and More of the Same

LizzieLou | pets,reading,visitors | Friday, August 31st, 2007

Lest you think I have been so dejected by collisions and candidates that I could not bring myself to write, I must declare, it’s been a busy month.

Mother arrived in town and stayed with us for the first week. I tried to find new things to put on the itinerary for the annual visit, but I might be running low on local attractions that will keep her interest. She’s all about the traveling for the sake of traveling and the educational opportunities that it presents. She wants me to go on an Alaska cruise with her. I try to get her to convince my Dad to go with her instead. Mightn’t they want another honeymoon after 40+ years? Anyway, here’s what we did this time; pictures may eventually appear.

Day 2: Cougar Mountain. She really likes tigers and there were tiger cubs on parade at a nearby zoo. They also had cougars (duh!), emus (terrifying!), alpacas (smelly!) and lemurs (urinating!). That evening we cooked out at home. Lolly is an expert with the beer can chicken.
Day 3: Olympic Sculpture Park. This is newly opened since Mother’s last visit. It’s nice for hanging out in, however the sculpture is a bit sparse. This was also the weekend of Seattle’s Seafair brouhaha so the Blue Angels were buzzing around, traumatizing all the house-cats in the downtown area. I hate them and everything, but I have to admit that it was an entertaining challenge to try to get photos of them as they came out of nowhere. We spent the rest of the day walking around the waterfront and up to the Pike Place Market again. (Of which one should be reminded: Summer + Saturday = many many tourists, not even counting Mother.)


Day 4: Ballard Farmer’s Market. Mostly we hung around at home this day because on…
Day 5: We arose before dawn to get down to the pier on time to take the Clipper up to the San Juan Islands and go whale watching. I found it really enjoyable to be on the water all day. The scenery is beautiful of course. We saw a whale (elusive!), seals (fat!) and eagles (eating seal pups!). I sometimes forget that I live near the water in spite of seeing it on a regular basis. I don’t know how to explain that any better. I now have the idea that I might join a sailing club next summer. (Eelaine will understand if I hesitate, as having one’s own weather system might make sailing hazardous.)
Day 6: The Underground Tour. Again, very very crowded. This was unfortunate as it made our group have to rush through to make way for the group behind us. They were selling out every tour all day. This tour will soon be featured on some ghost hunter show on TV; my ghost hunting sister will be thrilled. We also went up the Smith Tower, which I hadn’t done before. I liked it up there.
Generally, we had a nice week; although, I think we were both pretty tired the whole time and it led to periodic crabbiness (by me.) Familial interactions just wouldn’t be as memorable without a little woe.

During this visit of Mother, Lolly and I noticed that Ashley was a bit subdued. At first we thought she was pissed off at having the door to the back bedroom closed. She likes to hang out in there most days and Mother didn’t want the little creatures frolicking in her things. But then it became apparent that she was walking funny, almost limping. She had shown some limping a week or two prior and we thought she probably crashed into something or fell, but by the time the vet appointment came around she was better. This time her gimp didn’t clear up and we thought her toes were off kilter and bugging her so we went in to the vet’s office. The doc that saw her couldn’t tell what was wrong so we were sent home with some pain meds and a follow-up appointment. She was more concerned with her weight loss since the last visit than she was with her toes.

Ashley didn’t seem to get better and I began to suspect something other than crooked toes when she got even less active and then eventually had a fever. We called up and got an appointment with our usual doc, the Best Vet Ever, and we have been trying to figure out what’s going on with the Ashleycrumb ever since. About three weeks now and counting. Just this weekend some blood work has ruled out multiple myeloma, but it could still be FIP (shocking!), pancreatitis (unusual!), or some other inflammatory thing (mystery!). The doc has prescribed oral narcotic, oral antibiotics in capsules I coat in butter before sticking them down her throat, probiotic goo, laxative goo and most recently an oral anti-inflammatory that seems to have had the best results so far in returning our little princess to normal. Of course, feeling better, she is right pissed about all the molestation. She is scheduled for an ultrasound on Wednesday and by then all the blood work should be back and maybe we’ll have an answer.

Then work has been busy.

And it’s WNBA playoff time. A big time-suck that has been quite exciting as sports features go.

After all this, I did not get all the books read that I had planned in order to get in more entries to win the Big Bookbag of Crap from the summer reading program that ended August 31st. My last entry form was a bit cheap, I’ll admit, but because all three titles were checked-out of the library I have to assume that they can count.

Deogratias: A Tale of Ruwanda by Jean-Phillipe Stassen (A graphic novel about a young man during war in Ruwanda showing in flashbacks what lead to his madness. )

Red Eye, Black Eye by K.Thor jensen (A graphic novel about a young man who spends a few idle months riding around the US on a bus and the stories of people he meets.)

Lucky by Gabrielle Bell (A graphic novel about a young woman looking for an apartment, finding a job and generally eking out a living as an artist in NY. )

I have also been reading a few other things, but sadly was unable to finish them in time to submit to the Big Sweepstakes. No word yet on what I’ve won. No notification emails except Due Date Reminders… Gulp! Can I still win if I owe fines???

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