Monday, July 5, 2021

Mourning Miss Molly

 Our Molly died a few weeks ago. I miss her greatly. She adopted us (actually, no, the girls invited her into our home despite my insistence that we could most certainly NOT keep another cat) about 13 years ago.  The vet estimated that she was about two years old at her first visit.  Molly was the most affectionate cat I’ve ever lived with. My belief was always that she was grateful to have a home and people who cared about her, and so, she spent a lot of time on my lap, on my desk, and on my bed. Maybe she was just wanting to be near the person who usually fed her.

Sweet Molly MooMoo

Molly got sick and the vet was not sure which condition (heart or kidney) was the worst. Long story short, she just got too sick to live. Erin was home when she died…I am grateful. Molly was an outdoor/indoor cat and she conveyed clearly that she wanted to be outdoors. On her last full day of life, Erin and I sat outside with her to love on her and to keep her from wandering off into the woods to die. She mostly laid still (slept?) in the grass as we watched and tended to her.  She refused to drink.  We brought her inside that night because it seemed too cold for her, even on the porch.  The next morning, Erin got up to check on her and was with her when she took her last breath.

No euthanasia for Miss Molly because she did not seem to be suffering and she always stressed out terribly anytime we took her to the vet. I would have taken her if she showed signs of suffering. After she died, we washed her, brushed her, and laid her in a box for burial. Emily came home and we had a proper kitty funeral.  Miss Molly joins our other beloved pets in the family pet cemetery. 

Miss Molly Beans

For the first time in 40 years (perhaps more), there is no cat in my life. It is odd.  Someday, I can imagine going to the pound or an animal rescue to get another, or perhaps another stray will turn up.  For now, we will take time to grieve our Molly.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Beautiful Lake Tahoe Adventure

Earlier this month (June, 2021), Someone and I went on a “real” vacation – just the two of us – to a place we’ve never been before.  We stayed for a week, which was plenty of time to explore and have dinner with my cousin (our grandmothers were sisters). 

We stayed at David Walley’s Resort in Minden, Nevada.  The resort (David Walley’s) was wonderful – everything about it.  It’s out in the middle of nowhere – you get that impression when you see it from the highway.  But, once you start getting familiar with the area, you realize that the resort is very close to Carson City which has anything you could want, and minutes from Kingsbury Grade and Route 50, both which take you over the mountains to Lake Tahoe.  Genoa is within easy walking distance from the resort.  It's the oldest settlement in Nevada and very quaint.   We loved our suite. The hot springs were…well…interesting and different, and very beautiful.

View of springs from our balcony. The lilac near the railing smelled heavenly!

The hot springs were what enticed David Walley to build a resort in that location (many years ago). Hot water bubbles up through the ground in puddles around there. It’s full of minerals that are somehow associated with good health.  People with arthritis and other ailments use to come and soak in the spring water long ago (as shown in old pictures posted around the resort).  On our last night at the resort, we tested out the hot springs. Because of our litigious society, the resort modernized the springs experience for guests by creating five small pools for people to sit in - they are much like swimming pools. They have to control the temperature and filter the water so that people don’t get burned or sick. We sat in several of the pools (some were just too hot for one or both of us).  It was interesting and pleasant at times, but the water made my skin and swimsuit smell like sulfur. I was grateful to take a shower afterwards.  It was very much like sitting in a bubbling, hot jacuzzi that smelled bad. 

We could see the hot spring (kind of like a creek) from our balcony at the resort.  Steam rose off of it in the mornings – the temperature there was in the 40s (F), even in June.  We were walking along the creek on the path when we came to a water puddle with what looked like little air bubbles.  I watched the bubbles for a moment and wondered if the water was actually boiling, or if perhaps a creature was below the surface, or perhaps something below such as a pipe was leaking and causing air bubbles.  Silly me, I stuck my fingers in the water to test it…yes, it was boiling water. 😊

Lake Tahoe is beautiful! The first time we saw it (just as we drove over the top of the last mountain), we said “OHHH” simultaneously.  Pictures cannot do it justice.  The water is bluest blue and along the shore where it’s not so deep, you can see rocks on the bottom: clean, clear water.  I took more than 300 photos of mountains, lakes, pinecones, trees, and flowers.  We hiked 9 to 14 miles everyday that we were there.

My two favorite places were Spooner Lake and Sugar Pines Point State Park. The sugar pines have the most gigantic pinecones I’ve ever seen in my life. They are 14 to 15 inches long and when you try to wrap your hands around them, your fingers don’t touch. Spooner Lake has a trail around the entire lake (a little less than three miles) with beautiful, tall aspen trees and lupines growing all around it. The Spooner Lake trail is easy walking – the trail is well worn so you don’t have to constantly look down to keep from tripping over rocks and roots.

Our flights out and back were uneventful and surprisingly (pleasantly) on time. Flying used to be fun, but these days, not so much.  We had to wear masks in the airports and on the flights.  I’m not a fan of masks, but I follow rules about such things. I am hoping the rules change for vaccinated adults (at least) before the next time I fly.  

For anyone who enjoys hiking and biking, swimming and boating, or just walking outside, visit Lake Tahoe. You won’t be disappointed.   

Monday, May 31, 2021

I'm still standing

Oh my!  Time goes by (as it does) and it’s all I can do to find time to participate in my own life.  University #1 has wrapped up for the spring term and I’m now on vacation until the summer break ends.  With two full months (plus a few extra days off) from University #1, it should feel like Endless Summer, but it will be nothing like Endless Summer.  I have to migrate five courses to a new platform over the summer.  My estimate??  I’m thinking 40 – 60 hours per course.  You’re welcome, University #1 (it’s time and labor gifted – I don’t “work” or get paid during summer months).  

COVID seems to be winding down in our area.  Thank you, Jesus. I’m grateful for the vaccine because I’m tired of wearing masks and worrying about germs. I have LOVED working from home all semester – that part of the pandemic has been most agreeable. It was always my dream job to work full time from home and I got to experience it for six months. It was completely marvelous!  Come August, it’s going to be very difficult to leave Gracie and Molly and go back to campus.  Even more than that, I’ll miss watching my birds and squirrels at the bird feeders.  Having fed the birds every morning, you can’t even imagine the increased diversity of birds in our yard.  I’ve been working to identify and learn about them: the ones I did know (cardinal, blue jay, gold finch, dove, sparrow, wren, bluebird, chickadee, titmouse) and many new ones: Northern flicker, towhee, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, rose-breasted grosbeak, purple finch, and others I can’t think of right now. I love watching birds.

Northern Flicker - one of my favorite visitors

One of the most delightful outcomes of feeding the birds regularly is that we now have doves living near our house. They coo in the early morning and late evening hours. Hearing them triggers memories of my tiny, upstairs bedroom on 20th street – the last house I lived in before leaving home to embrace the world on my own. My bedroom was on the corner of the house with two windows (one on the south side and one on the east side. We had no air conditioning in the house so I slept with both windows open in the summers. My bed was in the corner between the windows where there was the most breeze. Just outside my front window was a huge maple tree. Doves nested in the tree. Their mournful coos serenaded me in the early morning hours, and it was a lovely to listen to.     

In February 2021, we had a horrific ice storm. Thousands of people in our area were without utilities, and it took nearly six weeks to restore services. The ice bought down trees which blocked and damaged roads. Trees fell on houses and garages.  It was devastation for many people.  We were so fortunate that we were not affected directly. The National Guard was called in to help with repairs. Every morning for weeks, a fleet of military helicopters flew over top our house around 7:30 AM. They were used to drop supplies and people to work areas and to identify places where roads and bridges were impassible, and utility poles were broken.  Having not been inconvenienced, we were able to get out for Gracie’s walks and appreciate the magic of ice on trees and plants.  When the sun shined on the ice, the beauty was beyond breathtaking. Pictures can’t do it justice.

Erin made a snow cat

Ice on the trees

Fast forward to spring. The KYLady garden is well underway.  We are feasting on lettuce now – it is tender and delightful!  Soon, broccoli will be ready to cut. We also have tomatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, cucumbers, beans, and corn underway.  

My irises are amazing this year, though now after a lot of rain these past few days, they are mostly gone.  The deer ate all of them last year, so this year I began spraying them with repellent starting early spring before buds even formed.  The deer will eat almost anything, so spraying Deer Fence (the kind I use) is a frequent task.  I have to spray almost all my flowers and almost every bush. They don’t seem to eat rhododendrons which is good because ours are big and would need a lot of spraying. Deer Fence isn’t cheap and it’s a miserable product to use – it stinks SO BAD!! 

These irises smell like licorice.

Beautiful irises

Someone broke a bone in his foot about two months ago. He’s had to give up everything he enjoys – karate, tennis, running, and even golf.  He is now much better (praise God, because I am a lousy and impatient nursemaid) and it’s a good thing because we are leaving on vacation next week - we are going to see Lake Tahoe and some of the places near there (Reno, Carson City, and maybe Yosemite). Mainly, we plan to hike, but we are there for six days, so I’m not sure if he can hike for six days.  Someone likes to gamble so no doubt he will spend time in casinos. I have a relative (my great-aunt’s granddaughter) who lives in Reno that we will meet somewhere for lunch or dinner.  It will be nice to see her and her husband. I hope Lake Tahoe is as beautiful as the pictures I’ve seen.  

And now for the BIGGEST news of all...imagine drumroll...Sarah is pregnant with my grandbaby!!  She and Desmond are preparing themselves for all that is to come, as if that is really possible.  I think childbirth and living with a newborn are things that are impossible to really understand until it’s experienced. It’s kind of like trying to describe what honeysuckle smells like.  I could describe it for an hour, but you wouldn’t truly know what it smells like until you actually smelled it.  

My grandbaby is due in early October. Sarah and Desmond do not want to know the baby’s gender before the big day, but I do.  It’s not that it really matters because I have no preference, but it’s hard to imagine this baby in clear detail without knowing gender. The baby is “it” rather than “him” or “her” at this point.  Whatever it is, this baby, I can’t wait to meet him or her, hold him or her, play with his or her tiny feet and hands, and kiss his or her soft skin.  He or she will be beautiful regardless of gender and a blessing to our family.