Apparently, this is me. How embarassing! I am the snorer!!! Wow. Seriously unattractive attribute. No man ever said, "My wife has beautiful blue eyes and the cutest snore."
I did not know this. How could I know this? It's not as if we hear ourselves when we are sleeping for heaven's sakes. And of course, Tim is much too gallant to have ever mentioned it to me.
This came up recently during a doctor visit. Just my usual once a year visit with our General Practitioner. He went over my lab results, they checked all the stuff they usual check and for the most part, everything looked good. He then asked, as he always does, if I had noticed anything new. This is the part where I usually say, "Nope, I'm all good" and I make an appointment for the next year and go on my merry way.
This time however, I said, "yes. I notice that I am tired. I mean seriously just so dang tired all of the time. And even on days when I feel a little perkier, I wear out fast. If I hike in the morning, I snooze in the afternoon. Yes, I even take naps! I means seriously! Naps! Naps do not suit me." He asked a few questions like....am I a good sleeper. And that's easy. No. I am a terrible sleeper. If you look up the word Insomniac in the dictionary, it's probably a picture of me. BUT that's nothing new. I have never been a good sleeper.
One of my earliest memories is of me getting in trouble for NOT sleeping. I wasn't not sleeping on purpose. I just couldn't sleep. So I got really good, as a child, at playing possum. Laying their quietly, thinking about things, pretending to be asleep so as to not get in trouble.
So the not sleeping part isn't unusual at all. I made that part very clear. The extreme fatigue......yeah, that part is different.
So then he asked me, very nonchalantly, "do you snore"? And for a second, I didn't respond at all. I was shocked, surprised, taken aback momentarily. Then I said, 'How on earth would I know?"
To his credit he laughed and suggested that I ask Tim. So when I got home, I did just that. And Tim said, Yes. With not a seconds hesitation. It was not accusatory or horrible or anything like that. In fact, his tone was very conversational and ordinary. "Would you like spaghetti for dinner? - yes" That sort of a yes. I was aghast! I snore???
My cheeks were on fire with humiliation. I was horrified and said so. Tim was quick to reassure me that it didn't bother him, he wasn't grossed out by it and it didn't keep him awake. It was just something he noticed is all. He reassured me but...wow... I've never been a cute, dainty little girlygirl. I was the big clodhopperish nerd who read endless piles of books, wore glasses and got a microscope and a globe for Christmas. But at least I didn't snore. No wait! Yes I do. Dang.
As my late Nana used to say, "Crap and two is eight" Meaning, it is what it is what it is. So what do I do about it?
In my case, my GP referred me to a pulmonologist. Start there he said, and so I did. The appointment was yesterday. It was super quick, in and out. "Do you sleep well?" he asked. "No" I answered, "but that's nothing new. I am a life long insomniac. So why am I suddenly tired? If I've always been a poor sleeper shouldn't I have always been tired?"
Somehow that very reasonable question (I thought anyway) got walked past and the Pulmonologist said, "You have sleep apnea." I do? News to me! In case you are unfamiliar with the term: Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. Characterized by loud snoring and episodes of stop breathing. Oh My God! I stop breathing during the night? That doesn't sound like a good idea!!!
Anyway, the plan is that once he gets permission from my insurance company, I am going to do some sort of sleep study. It seems to involve downloading an app on my phone and me wearing a ring of sorts that will track my sleep (or in my case nonsleep) patterns. I'll do that for a month.
Then the doctor reviews all of the collected info from the study and then we move forward from there.
It'll be interesting. A different experience. It's good to learn new things. Though I think I could have gone my entire life without knowing that I snore! Trying to see the good here. If it's true (and I'm honestly not yet convinced) that I do have sleep apnea and we can fix it, yeah, it might be nice to find out what a good nights sleep is like.
Meanwhile, I'm wishing you happy dreams and good sleep!
Really Super Quick:
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We did! Lots of good food, lots of great conversation, lots of wonderful laughter and the company of some of my favourite people. My list of things and people for whom I give thanks grows longer every year. Among those people, I give thanks for all of you!
And now the race to get everything Christmas related done before Christmas begin!
Enjoy your weekend!
Hugs all 'round
I know everyone is super busy right now, just two days before Thanksgiving! Yikes! So Much To Do! But maybe you have time for one quick, funny little story before you dash off to get done the next thing on your gotta do list?
As you can see by the photo at the top of the page, I already have our tree up. Yeah, too early, even for me. BUT still there it is. Up and bright with lights and beautiful in the way that all Christmas trees are. If you recall, I haven't been able to put up a tree for two Christmasses with all of the Construction and related ish-kabibble that was going on. There was just no room to squeeze in the tree. Literally no room. There was barely room for us in this house for two years! Therefore, I have been looking forward to putting up our tree since that last lick of paint went on the walls in the Family Room (formerly known as the project room) and all of the furniture went back to where it belonged. What a relief to have it over! I was so excited at the prospect of a fully decorated house With A Tree!
I am actually kind of impressed with myself that I waited this long to put the tree up. But I restrained myself. Originally the plan was to put it up the day after Thanksgiving thus following my own policy of "One Holiday At A Time Please". But then I remembered that Thanksgiving is on Thursday and the great Christmas Cooking Bakathon begins on Saturday and if I put up the tree on Friday I will be Toast by Saturday. Crispy! Thus dimming the pleasure of anything else. Therefore, I wisely decided that the Friday between Turkey Day and Cookie Day be a day of rest. Which means either putting off the tree for one more full week OR putting it up early. You already know which one I choose.
Sooooo Sunday past, Tim helped me put the tree together. It 's still a wierd thing getting used to a fake tree. It's handy, I will give it that. Just a quick as anything, the tree was constructed, the electric cords all connected (carefully covered and cat proofed) and plugged in and tested (yes! it still works) and we took a moment to consider what happens next.
As it was, the kitties were showing GREAT interest. No shocking at all. Cats are notoriously curious. The cutest part was once we plugged the tree in and the lights went on. They went from curious to mesmerized!
Tim and I put a lot of thought into what decorations should (and more importantly should not) be used this year. Out of deference to the baby kitties, we decided that only unbreakable things would be on the tree, We knew, no wait, we KNEW that ornaments would be batted around and possibly gnawed on a bit from many previous kitty owning years.
Once the boxes of ornaments came out, we sorted through carefully and only choose things made of fabric and leather and yarn and wood and, well you get the idea, things that are, generally speaking, unbreakable. We had enough of them that, while the tree was not nearly as heavily decorated as usual, was good enough to appear finished. Yay! Good Job! We even found the Christmas Train to put under the tree!
Tim and I put all of the bins and boxes away while Brysco and Wyatt sniffed around and checked things out. In general, their attitude seemed to be very paws off. They were interested but only mildly. Brysco took a little nap underneath and Wyatt showed even less interest than that. :
All in all, we felt like we got really lucky. We have spent many a Holiday season plucking kitties out of Christmas trees and cleaning up broken stuff. I even considered that perhaps soon I would take a chance and put out some of the other Christmas stuff. You know what I mean, the pretty little (mostly breakable) things that sit on table tops and in surprising little corners, Ultimately, as it was nearly the end of the day I decided to wait and give it an over night think before I acted. Thank goodness!
We woke the next morning bright and early to discover that during the night there had been a terrible train wreck:
Oh, the humanity! Train cars scattered thither and yon!
Then through my sleepy eyes I noticed an ornament on the floor near the train. And another. And another. And..... Oh dear, the violence of this train crash obviously caused an avalanche! When I squinted through my not quite awake peppers, I slowly (I'm not too quick on the uptake first thing in the day) realized just how many ornaments had fallen. And they were strewn around the family room and, I later realized, into the living room and beyond. Wow, that was some Crazy Avalanche eh?
I asked the kitty boys if they knew anything about this little collection of ornaments and, as expected, initially they professed their innocence. But when I later caught them in the act, they had to confess, yes it was them.
However, in the way of cats everywhere, they showed no remorse whatsoever
I suppose that to their way of thinking, we obviously put the tree up for their enjoyment, right? Otherwise, first of all, why would it be there at all? They were feral kitties, they have climbed a few trees in their short little lives, trees are for climbing! And secondly, all of the dangling little objects in the tree clearly are intended to be played with. I mean, otherwise, what is the point at all? Why would those enticing little bits be hung in the tree?
I collected all of the ornaments as I found them throughout the day and debated. Should I bother putting them back on ? Should we take the tree back down? In discussion with Tim we decided that A) it's their tree too, leave it up. Thus far they haven't managed to actually knock the tree over (though it's not for lack of trying I assure you) B) It was a cheapo tree from Big Lots and we've had it for 7 years now. It's not like it's valuable or precious in anyway. C) they are still babies. In a few years, they won't be as frisky or silly or fun.
So we decided that when they nap in the afternoon, I would put the ornaments (which I have collected through the day) back on the tree and during the night they can, if they choose, once again have the fun of taking them back off.
During the day they don't seem to bother with the tree much other than to sleep under it. The undecorating and train destruction are strictly night maneuvers. Which means that, foolishly, after the first night, we thought, maybe they got it out of the system and tonight will be different. HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Silly Humans.
I woke this morning to yet another train wreck and about half of the tree undecorated
I'm not sure, of course, but I suspect that the goal is to denude the tree fully. It's important to have goals. I think I have found most of the ornaments now. A few were inside the kitty tunnels, under furniture and behind things but still they were found with only a few fang marks marring them. Later today I will, once again, put the ornaments back on the tree and tomorrow we will do the dance again.
Some of the branches in the tree are looking a little worse for wear too. While the boys are indeed babies - only 7 months old after all, they are BIG babies. I measured Wyatt when he was sleeping and from the top of his head to the tip of his tail he is over two feet long. They aren't cats as much as they are mini-panthers. I'm quite sure that this cheapo tree wasn't intended to carry the weight or length of kitties this size. (or probably at all though that is naive - everyone knows that cats are the arch enemies of Christmas trees)
The rest of the ornaments, the table top things, the Father Christmas, the snowman collection and so forth, will stay in their boxes and bins this year. This tree, such as it is, will be our one and only decoration this year.
Right now they are sleeping the sleep of the righteous and innocent and they look so dang cute. Later they will wake to wreak chaos and havoc once again. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Hey, there you guys are! Glad you are still around! I was having some computer problems last week so it's been a few days. Hope all is well with all of you!
As you can clearly see (Joy on the left, me on the right) Joy and I hit the trail again this past Friday. Even though we have several days of rain (which we needed so very badly that I won't even complain about it) Friday rose with heavy fog but by the time we arrived at the preserve the sun had come out. Perfect for a Photo Safari Day! I'm calling with one the Spidey Hike because even though we saw lots of wonderful things, I was so struck by the sun shining through the spider webs everywhere that were right at the very beginning of the day! There were literally hundreds of them. Wow!
I ought to apologize because that's a lot of spider webs to post, but I did love them all! It's funny how we only saw them because the light was just perfectly shining threw them in just that moment. A short time later it was as if they had all vanished!
There were, as there always are, some lovely botanicals too. A few of them still have those sweet early morning dew drops on them too:
I must have been on my A-Game too because I caught a lot more creatures than usual..woohoo! The one and only butterfly that I managed to photograph did not come out very clear, but I am posting it anyway, just as the representative for all of the butterfly pictures I did NOT manage to get. Oh well.
We all know that birds are not my best thing. I love them, I see them, I try to capture them, but I kind of suck at it. Still, I keep trying and I have a small collection of them for you today. We saw quite the birdie variety which is super nice but it seems that mostly what I shot were various sorts of woodpeckers, a bluebird, a warbler of some sort and a hawk in mid-scream! And if you've never heard a hawk scream, honestly, it's blood chilling!
Lastly, as always, are my favouites, the rando's. There is no rhyme or reason as to why I like these particular pictures, but I do. Hope you do too!
Hiking for the next few weeks will be a lot less likely as the holidays approach us and the window for getting all the gotta-do list completed in time grows short. So I hope you enjoyed the Spidey Hike because there may not be another until the New Year!
There will, however, be loads of other things to talk about, so expect me back again later this week. Meanwhile, everyone please enjoy a fabulous Thanksgiving. I hope your pies are perfect, the potatoes are mashed and your holiday companions are exactly what you want and need.
Please know that when I count up all of the things for which I am truly thankful, my readers are on that list!
Happy Thanksgiving ya'll!!
When you have been petless, especially if it's been for a good long while, there are accommodations you must make in your home when you, once again, have pets. Suddenly you realize that you must make space, not just for them - and as small as they are they seem to take up a great deal of space - but also for their stuff: beds, toys, water and food dishes and litter box.
In our family we are very good at the idea of "everybody shove over" to make room so that part wasn't hard, not really. It was just a matter of rethinking the space, seeing it differently. Some things we have moved multiple times because our first idea wasn't the right idea. Like the kitty beds. Initially we put them in the kitchen/living/dining space because during the day, that center of the house is probably the area nearest us. My "office" as it were, is the kitchen but, in the way of all "open concept" homes the kitchen over looks both eating and living areas. Tim spends most of his days in his office but he comes into the main area fairly frequently.
Side note here: The idea of an open concept home is supposedly a new idea. Our house was built in 1962 so perhaps it's not such a new idea after all. Makes me giggle a little bit
ANYWAY, these two sillycats didn't seem to like their brand new comfy kitty beds. In fact, the only time any of the cats ever did was one day when when Tim and I were relaxing and chatting in the living room with two friends who were over one afternoon. To our great surprised, Brysco got into one of the beds as if he did it every day, curled up and immediately fell asleep. First Time Ever. The message was clear. They want to be near us when we are relaxing...not racing around cleaning or cooking or working! Gotcha. The beds have been moved to the family room where they are used on the regular now. They snooze in their beds when Tim and I are relaxing in the evening, reading, watching TV, chatting, playing games. Much like the new cats, Tim and I are teachable. Sometimes we guide the kitties, sometimes they guide us.
Other accommodations, very small things, were, for example, learning that we must ALWAYS put the lid down on the toilet seat becoz these two kitties are fascinated by water. Water of any kind. Lids Down! Got it.
Some of our tabletop decor has been put away too. I used to have this adorable little golden carousel that sat on the coffee table. It moved by air currents and with the ceiling fans always going it spent it's days gently spinning, catching the light as it turned and I was charmed by it. Kitties were charmed by it too and for a few days, every morning, I would wake up and have to put all of the horses back on the carousel becoz they had been knocked off. No big deal. Like I said, it's little things. The carousel is now in the display cabinet, safe and sound. Small accommodations.
Another was was not so small.
This is our pantry which is in desperate need of a reorganization so please ignore the mess!
It has doors. But back in BC (Before Cats) I generally didn't bother to close the doors because I was in and out of it all day long. Leaving the door open was just more efficient.
However! The thing about kitties is that they are naturally very curious. About everything! And the pantry is something they desperately want to explore. And if they happen to stumble across some kitty snacks along they way, all the better. And that is not a good idea. So I began to close the pantry doors.
The doors have little magnets at the top that were supposed to hold them closed. And I suppose if kitties weren't attempting to open it, it might actually work too. Those magnets were no match for Brysco and Wyatt! Clever little kitties.
So we had to come up with another thought on keeping those doors closed and while it was very low tech, it worked.
Ahh, the old rubber band over the doorknobs trick, as Maxwell Smart might have said. It worked great. Kind of a Pain in the Arse to be undoing and redoing all day long over and over but after awhile, you get used to it. Except the rubber band doesn't get used to it and in the short time that these kittyboys have lived with us (3 weeks now!) we have had to replace broken rubber bands as locks three different times. Sigh. It was clear that either we would have to invest heavily in rubber bands OR find another way of securing the door.
Tim spent awhile exploring options. Part of the issue is me. It has to be a lock that even with my stupid arthritis clumsy hands, I can easily work it BUT it cannot be so easy that the cats can figure it out. Believe me, yes that is an issue these guys are super smarties.
After a little trial and error, Tim found a solution! A lock that I can work, holds the doors closed and, thus far, the cats cannot operate:
The bottom holes? Like I said, a little trial and error was involved. The important thing is that this lock or fastener or whatever we shall call it, works! YAYAYAYAYAYAY!
It's funny. We've had pets before, all sorts of pets. So while we knew that there would be accommodations, and a lot of them we knew about ahead of time, this one we did not expect. As time passes, I'm sure there will be others. And I also know that we will find solutions because that's what we do.
Meanwhile the new mystery today is that Brysco has somehow managed to lose his collar! Obviously it is somewhere - SOMEWHERE - in this house. The question is where. I've already looked everywhere I can think of. Now I suppose I need to look everywhere I cannot think of.
I promise you that the next post will NOT be about the cats. I swear it!
Hope your weekend was grand!
Life is fairly ordinary around here lately. But then, I find that most of life is like that. Mundane, normal, sameysame, uneventful. And you know what, I honestly am fine with that. There is a comfort to be found in a mostly quiet life with only occasional moments of Excitement or Surprise or Scary Stuff.
And I don't think that is just Our life that is like that. I suspect that Most people's lives are 80% prosaic. There are of course the exceptions to the rule. People whose lives are filled with one exciting adventure after another. But now that I think about it, I bet that even those people, whose lives are Very Different from mine, (and perhaps yours) have moments when they look around and think, "This is so very monotonous". Their monotony may sound exceptional and fascinating to us but to them it's all rather "meh".
As is most everything, this too is relative.
I suppose I could post some updates on our very ordinary life today. Keep in mind please that , when your life is very small, small things become very large.
Update the first: I made a big old batch of chili, something I absolutely love but only make rarely. But when I was ready to serve it I discovered that we had no cheddar cheese.. Traditionally I always sprinkle the top with a little cheddar (and sometimes sour cream and chopped scallions). It's just something I do. But when I went to the fridge to get said cheese, I realized that we had no cheddar. NO Cheddar??? Dang. Ok what alternatives do we have then I asked myself. Well, we had provolone - nah, swiss - gosh no, American - absolutely not and some shredded mozzarella. Hmmmmmm. Gave the mozz a try and oh my goodness, it was wonderful! Way better than cheddar. I think that's going to become the new normal. Mozzarella cheese on Chili! Who knew?
I don't seem to be able to make a small amount of chili. Nope it always ends up being created by the vat. And it's a busy sort of chili with lots of veggies: tomatoes, onions, peppers, 3 kinds of beans and corn! Ground beef of course. Loads of spices and other flavourings. And then it needs to just simmer awhile. Let those flavours mingle :) Served with Cornbread. The first day always freshly made cornbread.
In subsequent days it may be served over baked potato, on a salad or with elbow macaroni so that it becomes Chili-mac which is definitely a comfort food. Ain't nothin' wrong with that!
Update the second: My hair. It's still growing long, it's past my shoulders now which is perfect for a ponytail, a braid or just thrown up into a messy bun. But the bangs are still in the process of growing out. I can't quite tuck it behind my ears and have it stay put yet. Almost! But not quite. So I still employ a great number of clips and barrettes and pins to keep it out of my face.
And of course, I am greyer than ever before. It wasn't that long ago - last year maybe? or the year before - that I stopped colouring my hair and was disappointed and surprised to find that it was just a boring sort of mouse brown. Bah. Then when the greys starting coming in, I was honestly pleased. Almost anything is better than Mouse brown. Even grey. Not only is there more of grey but I think some of the grey is leaning toward white and that absolutely delights me!
In my order of preference it's Number 3 grey...bah...grey...just not appealing to me in any form or fashion. Number 2 is silver. I suppose technically it's still grey, but at least it's sparkly. And then Number 1 with a bullet is white. Soft, bright, shiny, white hair is gorgeous! As more and more of Numbers 3 and 2 creep into my hair, which are kind of ho hum, I am encouraged to see bit of white in certain places which give me great hope. Mostly, so far, the white is at the temples and can only be seen if I clip the sides up. Still, I'll take it!
It's not as if I have any control over it. I cannot order my hair to do something it isn't going to do, or force it to be a particular shade (other than by dying it which I am not going to do). So I have chosen to be pleased with the results no matter what they are.
This is me back in August. So definitely more grey and silver and white now, 3 months later.
Update the third: The kitties!
We have now had the kitty boys for two weeks and we are definitely becoming more comfortable with each other. Every day is a new surprise! Probably the biggest changes have come from Wyatt who was the original "scaredy cat" when they first came. Wyatt spent most of his time hiding under the bed in the guest room the first few days. Eventually he began coming out a little more but he allowed no touching. No touching! And he continued to sleep in the far corner under the bed in the guest room.
It makes sense if you think like a feral cat. One of the times of their days when they are the most vulnerable is when they are sleeping, so ferals choose a spot where they feel safe. We get it. So we didn't force him to come out, we tried to help him realize that this entire house is a safe place. We are his safe place. Eventually he graduated from under the bed to in our closet. Specifically Tim's side of the closet where this silly kitty chose to sleep on uncomfortable shoes so he could feel safe but still be near us. To our great surprise one day I stepped into the family room and Wyatt was sound asleep in his kitty bed!! Right out there in the open! Wow!
He also actively seeks out pets now. Lots of pets. Lots and lots of pets! Tim says he is making up for lost time. And if that is the case, it's just fine with us. We can absolutely take out time in our day to stop whatever we are doing for a few minutes to lavish Wyatt (and Brysco) with lots of attention.
They also sleep in the kitty tree, paper bags, and inside their kitty tunnel and kitty cube! The tunnel and the cube I think are reminiscent of whatever safe kitty den they had as feral kittens.
And they play. Playplayplayplay!! They are good about entertaining themselves and each other but there are times when they definitely want us involved too. And it's frankly a lovely break in our day to stop what we are doing and play with them a few minutes.
As is the way with most cats, they play a lot a night! Every morning one of the first things I do is put the house back to rights. We find the most surprising things. Fang marks in my newspaper (that I didn't read the night before and was sitting on the counter to be fair), towels on the floor instead of on the towels racks, my glasses.....everywhere! They are crazy about eyewear! Books knocked off the bookshelves (of course - no surprise there), soap dispensers knocked into the sinks, and all of their toys strewn all over the house.
The most surprising thing so far was the morning I found the cloth bag that holds our gloves/scarves/mittens, which is normally on a shelf in the guest closet, on the floor of the living room. How on earth did they get that down? This is the shelf that is Above the clothes rod. I have trouble reaching it! But there it was on the floor in the living room, partly open (I guess they eventually gave up on it). Did they levitate? Ah the mysterious ways of kitties.
None of those things I just listed bother me in the slightest. They are baby kitties. They are curious about everything and they didn't harm one single thing. I just put it back where it belongs and chuckle to myself.
They do make us laugh. Tim and I have always been people who enjoy laughing but I think we laugh even more now. All these silly goobers have to do is look at me upside down and I'm cracking up.
Brysco still wants to help us do whatever we are doing. He was trying to help me fill ice trays this morning. He definitely wants to help with cooking or baking but is actively discouraged from that. Nobody wants fur in the food for one thing but mostly I don't want him to get hurt. He still follows me around as I vacuum (to save me from the vacuum monster maybe?) and checks on me every time I shower. (you ok in there mom?) He helps me dust, sweep, fold clothes and change sheets. He would like to help me iron (by playing with the cord) but I also discourage that. Repeatedly!
I guess they are the most exciting things in our lives right now and that suits us right down to our toes. Here are some new photos : (You knew you werent' getting away without that!)
I guess as updates go, it isn't much. But honestly that's all I have. Maybe I will have something more exciting and interesting for you next week!
Meanwhile, Have a wonderful, full-filled, exciting, adventurous weekend! And then tell me about it. I'm good with living vacariously ;)
Welcome to yet another Photo Safari Report! I will call this one The Hike of Many Birds because we saw LOADS of them this time around. We were surrounded! And, unless you are in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds", it's always a good thing.
I have to start this report with the little bit of time prior to the actual hike. It was while I was waiting for Joy to arrive. I generally wait outside, loaded up with camera, water bottle, phone and monopod. Anyone driving by knows what I'm about to do with one glance. It is no secret. Well except maybe to the kitty waiting inthe window, watching me. Oh My Gosh. It about broke my heart.
Before I walked out of the house that morning, I kissed Tim goodbye and petted both of the cats. Wyatt just watched me walk away and jumped back up into the kitty tree for a snooze. But Brysco walked me all the way to the door, right at my heels. And then he got up into the kitchen window and meowed at me. He meowed!! So I stood on the outside of the window, one fingers pressed against the screen as he purred on it explaining that I would be back in a little while. And he meowed again. And then gave me the sad kitty face. OMG! How am I supposed to ever leave the house again??
I steeled myself and with a final wave walked out of the courtyard and to the end of the driveway. But as I waited, I couldn't help myself, occasionally I did look back at the window and his little kitty face was still right there pressed up against the screen. My Heart! Thank goodness Joy showed up right then. I jumped in the car and we took off before I could change my mind. It was sort of like leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time and they think you are never coming back!
ANYWAY, to the hike. We went to Oscar Scherer state park. There are loads of trails so there are a lot of possibilities. We like that. We were greeted by a very cute little squirrel who was carrying around an acorn as if he had no idea where he was going to put it.
You know it's going to be a good hike when it starts out that cute :)
There were a few botanicals worthy of snapping:
But mostly it was about the birds. We saw all sorts of birds. Birds in trees, birds in shrubs, birds in tall grasses. Birds in the sky, birds on the trails, birds everywhere you can imagine. Wow! Now, Joy is the Wildlife Photographer in this hiking/photo taking duo and her pictures are nothing short of gorgeous. But here you are stuck looking at mine instead. And I will be the first to admit that some of mine came out ok, but a lot of them are very meh. So I'll give you the best of the "meh" photos first: (the only reason I'm posting them at all is because they are pictures of birds, that we saw and photographed. You can skip this part if you want)
I think most of those shots were either taking directly facing the sun which is always a photo taking issue, or hiding out in shadowy bits, but what you gonna do? That's where they birds were! (and come to think of it, they might have done it on purpose...the buggers)
But a few other shots came out pretty well:
I have a few rando's for you too this time:
There you go, the Hike of Many Birds! Considering how few bird photos I've posted in the past few Photo Safari Reports, I think I made up for it with this one ;)
By the way, Tim sent me a text with a photo of Brysco, still in the window waiting for me, about half way through the hike. That's loyalty baby!
So excited to present to you, our two new family members, Brysco (in the blue collar) and Wyatt (in the red collar)!!!! These two crazyboys have already brought so much laughter and joy into our household, I cannot evenn begin to describe it.
Tim and I both grew up in households with pets. For him it was cats and dogs, for me it was cats, dogs, fish, birds, turtles and whatever else happened along. It was almost unfathomable to us to not have some sort of pet in our home. And yet, and yet, for the past seven years, we have been petless.
It wasn't really the plan, it was just a matter of timing. Just before we moved to Florida from Colorado, our one remaining cat passed away. It was very sad of course. But we didn't really have time to grieve or consider getting another because we were so busy with the process of selling the Colorado house, finding a Florida house and all of the fal-de-rol involved with moving. Once we moved into our Florida house, with next to no furniture (having gotten rid of almost every single piece before we left Colorado), we immediately began construction and renovation. And buying furniture. And painting. And learning our new town. And settling into a new routine. And, well, time flies by.
The chaos of construction is not a good environment for toddlers or pets (and come to think of it, most pets are very similar to toddlers), so we postponed even thinking about whether or not we should get a new pet. And as 7 years of nearly constant construction and projects going on, we continued to not think about it...............most of the time. Occasionally we would meet up with friends and neighbors who have pets and we always found ourselves lavishing attention on their cat or dog. Then we would return home with a vague longing. But shook it off. It was something not to be remotely considered until construction and projects were done.
Last year, during my constant round of surgeries and recoveries, I found myself missing the comfort of a pet more than ever before. Tim and I discussed it and decided that once the family room was done, we would give it serious thought.
Owning a pet does require serious thought. Pets, like children, are an enormous responsibility and, let's face it, expense. Their food and vet bills (which are sometimes more expensive than humans), the toys and beds, the collars or harnesses and leashes, carriers and treats...well it adds up. And like with a human child, you do not take that on unless you are prepared to do it right.
We debated whether we should get a dog or a cat and landed on cat, mostly because cats are easier. Yes, I know that sounds lazy, but honestly, neither of us is getting any younger and easy is, well easier. Tim and I both agreed that two pets was the right idea, not just one for each of us, but also so that when they tired of human companionship, they woudl have another feline to commiserate over how stupid we are ;) So are bonded pair was an ideal plan.
Last week, I filled out an application to adopt at an excellent cat shelter up in Sarasota, The Cat Depot. We tried looking at the photos of their available cats online, but every kitty picture is so adorable that we just couldn't make the decision that way. Nope, we had to see them live and in person. So last Saturday we did just that. We met so many very nice cats and liked all of them. And then we met these two goofballs.
They are absolutely identical brothers, six months old and originally ferals captured in a TNVR sweep. That is: Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return. They each have one ear that has been docked or tipped if you prefer, poor babies. But are still very handsome devils. We were told by the folks at the shelter, they nobody, not one single solitary person, had shown interest in these two sweet boys. So, clearly, we had to take them. For some reason, which absolutely baffles me, people do not seem to adopt black cats. They would have been doomed to live out their lives at the shelter.
Don't get me wrong, Cat Depot is a wonderful shelter staffed with loving, caring knowledgeable people but it's not the same thing as being in a loving home. Without even checking out all of the cats available for adoption, we knew that these were our boys. We paid the fee, signed the papers, loaded them into their carriers and brought them home.
They were surprisingly well behaved on the long car ride back and once we arrived home and let them back out of their carriers, they were more curious than anything. We allowed them to just sniff and wander and check the place out. Clearly we passed their inspection because with each passing day, they become more and more relaxed and goofy and fun.
For ferals they are surprisingly affectionate and love getting pets. Because they are physically, carbon copies of one another, we put different coloured collars on them immediately. Otherwise, we'd never know who was who. Their personalities are a little different, which helps. Brysco is a little more trusting, a little more outgoing, but Wyatt is relaxing more and more all the time and now, (less than a week later), will sometimes walk up to Tim and I to request pets rather than hiding in the far corner under the guest bed which was where he choose to be between meals the first two days.
They are very easy going so far about mealtimes. They don't get noisy or pushy about wanting to eat, which is nice. But if I call them to breakfast or dinner, they thunder up like a herd of ponies. And, like most ferals, they aren't at all particular about what they eat. I, however, do care and read every can and every bag in the cat food aisle before purchasing any.
They are slowly learning the word no. They are not fans. No you cannot be on the stove. No you cannot scratch the furniture. Same goes for the rugs. No you cannot chew wires. No you cannot climb the window screens. No you cannot help yourself to our food. But as I say, we are making progress.
They are endlessly curious about everything. Shockingly, they are not afraid of loud noises so when I dry my hair, they sit and watch. When I vacuum, they follow the vacuum around. Both boys love sitting in an open window watching the world go by, bicycles, people and cars are mildly interesting but bunnies, squirrels and birds are awesome!
They want to help us do whatever we are doing, tying shoes, making the bed, typing....oh yeah, they are big on helping type. The number of sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs that I've had to delete are legion. All typos from this moment forward I'm blaming on the cat. They want to help wash dishes, read the newspaper, fold clothes and wash floors.
Brysco is especially good at helping Tim watch television. Every day, at least once, there is a battle for cube supremacy which Wyatt usually wins. And then somewhere along the line, usually late morning or early afternoon, they disappear and we wonder if it was all a dream. Do we actually own cats ? They vanish into closets or the little "clubhouse" on the cat tree or under the coffee table. And seriously, a black cat in the dark is totally invisible unless they have their eyes open.
There is all sorts of literature about the positive health benefits of owning a pet. They lower blood pressure and anxiety, decrease risk of stroke, lift depression, and because they want to playplayplay, get us up off our arses to play with them which is exercise! And best of all, they make us laugh.
I will say that it's hard to get decent photos of them. They are in near constant motion! But I try. Here are some other photos of our new house panthers:
We are delighted with our new kitties and know that they will bring us great joy in the years to come. But I feel so very sorry for this years Christmas Tree. Making a mental note now to only put unbreakable ornaments on it!
Tell me about your pets!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.