Monday, June 22, 2015

Above the Stage at the Rolling Stones Concert

If you do an internet search, you'll find better pictures and even a video that all show both rainbows' full arcs, but this was Mike's quick shot Saturday night.  We had been sure all day and even while we walked into the stadium that evening that the show would be cancelled due to the stormy weather, but no:  Instead--this and--an incredible performance.  I was disappointed not to hear "Beast of Burden," one of my favorite songs of theirs, even though I'd read the set list online before the show and knew not to expect it, but that's a quibble.   The Stones are Mike's favorite band after the Doors, so I'm tickled that the weather held for a few hours and he finally got to see them. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Iceberg Rose

As it was last year, one of the treats of making a June visit to my parents' house was getting to see one of the roses in my garden there in-bloom.  This visit, my white Iceberg was just beginning to open.  'Glad I got even these these pictures last Sunday because by Monday the rain had beat down the flowers. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Home Again

Monday morning, Mom and I drove out to see the house we lived in in the 1980s and the one I always dream of and tend to remember as Home.  What to say except that upon returning here Tuesday, the hometown city council received a note from me with mentions of "houses that look like they should be condemned," "trash and BLIGHT," and "the worst-looking street in town."  Oh, my heart!  
There are only seven homes on the tiny sloped street I grew up on, and mine was the house at the very top.  This Monday, by the time Mom and I reached the house Mom's great-aunt Clarice once called "a doll house--just a doll house, Christine!"--I was so shocked by the appearance of the state of the first six houses, the current condition of my own former home barely made an impression.  Mom didn't even feel safe the few minutes we spent on the street before walking back to where we'd parked the car.
I have already dreamed of it twice since then:  In one dream, there was a sense of danger in the air and I knew something bad was about to happen somewhere on the street, and in the other, Mom and I were sitting where we'd parked the car Monday and seeing our former street as it had looked when the town was first founded.  In that gift of a dream, what is now the literal junkyard at the foot of the street was still all meadow, and part of the creek that winds through town opened onto a pond. 
Seeing it again has made my beautiful childhood there seem even more incredible.  "When my family lived there in the 80s," I recounted to the city council, "It was such a pretty and well-kept little street.  Good people, nice neighbors, pretty houses and yards, roses and Lilac bushes, clean porches. . . .Seeing it this past weekend was truly saddening.  If I had the money to throw at it, I'd love to buy it all up and completely restore it to its 1980s sweetness.  It really used to be a charming little family street."  Oh, truly!  What fun--what glorious FUN--it would be to play Daddy Warbucks and bring the street back to life. . .repair and repaint the houses, remove all the trash and junk cars, redo the landscaping, fix all the broken fencing,  replant the roses that used to separate a couple of the yards. . . .Ah!  I had expected it to look different, of course--twenty-seven years have passed since we lived there--but not dilapidated and depressed.  Maybe someday, it will take a turn for the better.  I have been telling my parents since I was a kid that if our former house ever came up for sale and I had the money to buy it, I would really be tempted, and oh my, yes:  That one and all the rest, by God, so that someday another almost-five-year-old girl could move into a blue "doll house" and sit inside one of her neighbor's heavenly-smelling Lilac bushes with her new friends and use another neighbor's fallen rose petals as faux makeup and pretend her parents' blue and pink gingham front porch is the judges' station she needs to acknowledge before beginning her Olympic gymnastics floor routine.    Oh, beautiful days!  And poor little street. 

I continue to write about it all, still sharing the table with Stuffed.  While home, I told my parents about the memoir project, and they answered a bunch of questions I had about those years.  We laughed Monday night as I read aloud a few of the entries from diaries I'd kept as a nine, ten, and eleven-year-old in that dear little house.  Dad especially enjoyed 1988's mention that "I gave Dad some 'Almond Joys' for Father's Day!"--since I had just, twenty-seven Father's Days later, given him the same thing for the same occasion.  Ha!  Sweet family, year after year.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 2015

It is about 90° here and another day and week when sleep is eluding me. 'Not an issue for certain cats who have taken over the dining table as they convalesce.   Ever since Stuffed first jumped up onto the was-intended-to-be-temporarily-fleece-blanket-covered table at the start of last Friday's vet visit, it has been The Place To Be.  Sweet Kit Kat.    His side looks so much better, and although he still hasn't joined us in bed since this all began, he seems much more himself. 
Has it been two years since I mentioned how Grandma would try to come up with names of flowers--and birds, and who knows what-else--that began with each letter of the alphabet the nights she couldn't sleep?!  I thought I had written that just last summer.  As it was for Grandma, my not being able to sleep seems to be a life-long issue, and it is worse in this humidity.  She would be proud--or bemused, at least, let's get real--to hear that this past week, before giving up and getting up to read--another "Grandma thing," that--I decided to think of Things I Would Have in My Dream Home from A to Z, and although sleep didn't come as a result, I had quite a charming list going:  African Violets, Braided Rugs, Calico, Daffodils, Elementary School Photo, Fresh Flowers, Groundhogs, Hyacinths and Hollyhocks, Ice Maker. . . .Whatever gets you through the night. 
I'm going home to see my family--and to visit my childhood home!!!  --this weekend and could not be more thrilled.  Yet to pack a thing, I've just gathered a few tops to take with me and have made a couple to-do lists.  Always, with the lists. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Good News (and Cat-Shaped Doughnuts)

Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.  The vets just left.  Stuffed received an antibiotic injection--and many compliments from the vet and her assistant:  "Oh, he's BEAUTIFUL!"  "What a CUTE! CAT!"  "He's so well-behaved!"  He was so calm and good-natured with both women, I was quite proud, as if I have anything at all to do with his personality, but still, I was proud.  :)  
They said he did have an infection but that it appears he's feeling better now.  The antibiotic lasts two weeks and should get him back to full health.  Exactly what I was praying to hear today.  I couldn't be any more relieved.
When I was unable to sleep earlier this morning, I made cat-shaped mini doughnuts--a much simpler and nowhere-near-as-cute take on the ones pictured here-- to give to the vets--and kept a few here for me and Mike, in the hopes that we would be celebrating exactly this good news tonight--and the vets seemed tickled with their surprise snack, and I gave Stuffed a few treats and a new bowl of wet food while they wrote up my bill, so everyone was especially happy at appointment's end just now.  Thank God.  And thank you guys.    This is the calmest I've felt since this all started three weeks ago. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Prayers for Stuffed

In one of the most boneheaded moments of my life, I cut Stuffed's side a few weeks ago while trimming off a matted piece of fur.  The wound seemed to be healing well but developed an abscess two nights ago, and it burst today.  I have been cleaning and bathing the wound all along and hadn't been as worried as I am now until reading things about abscesses/infections turning septic and leading to death.  Until today, Mike and I hadn't even realized it was an abscess--We'd been assuming it was just a blood blister forming near the original cut.   It has been a tear-filled day for me here after a few weeks of tears over this.  Throughout all of this, Stuffed has been eating, drinking, sleeping, and using the litter box normally--he never even seemed to realize that the cut had happened--but he has been keeping to himself on his window perch at night instead of joining us in bed, and he hasn't been playing with Mike the way he usually does.  A vet is visiting us tomorrow afternoon, and I'm praying she says that he's healing as well as we think he has been and that he just needs antibiotics now, post-abscess, to help him get back to normal.  This dear, sweet cat had never been sick or injured at all before I did this to him, and knowing that he's going through all of this now--when he's likely about sixteen years old--and because of me is a guilt and heartache I don't see myself getting over at any point.  If you're the praying kind, please pray for this gentle little soul.  I'm so incredibly sorry, and I just want him to be back to his normal self.  It has only been three months since Mike's dad died, and even though we keep trying to reassure each other that Stuffed really does seem fine and that cats get injuries and even abscesses and live to tell the tale, it's just too much stress right now.  I can't believe I caused all this, for any of us.