RIP Felix

Feb. 8th, 2016 11:43 am
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Treatments beginning in November were a blessing; for his last three months Felix was able to eat nearly anything he wanted with no ill effects. But his latest shot last week had almost no effect, and by Saturday I knew he was done.

I have had many cats, but he's only the third who was especially mine, and I don't think I've ever been so bonded with a cat; this is pretty awful. We will have just Oscar for a few months, until Laura and Nala move back in (we will likely be keeping Nala while Laura is in college). If Oscar is miserable we'll consider another cat, but I think he'll enjoy getting all the attention and treats for a while.


Jan. 26th, 2016 08:26 pm
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I was walking today when I realized there was something pretty large sitting on a bluebird house- a northern harrier!

Three more )
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I have a very gently used copy of Traditions that I don't intend to keep. Would any of my friends like it for the cost of shipping?


Jan. 11th, 2016 05:43 pm
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A year ago I wasn't sewing at all-- feeling very constrained by the tiny corner available for sewing in our little apartment. Sewing is good for me emotionally so I finally decided to start a small project, sewing on my desk and ironing on a kitchen counter. I made nine blocks and even got them put together with sashing, and then we began the frenzy of moving. Once we were settled I pulled the project out in my new sewing room. I've been wanting to do something with an elaborate border, and found a nifty strip-pieced diamond border that I posted months ago... and then I stalled again, because clearly it needed to be mitered with points touching, and I had never done a mitered border!

So I decided that in January I would/will sew at least a little bit until it's done. I've stuck to that except for the two days I was gone, even if I only sewed one seam. A couple of times that has meant sewing a seam, realizing it was askew, picking it out and stopping for the day! Today things finally clicked, and I did the last three mitered corners. I am really proud of that border! I'll keep up the daily sewing, but it's all downhill from here-- stacking, pinning, quilting and then binding, all easy. (And then it will be donated, or sold so I can donate the money.)

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Saturday night my cell phone rang, and the screen said it was Mary, one of my best friends in Vermont. When I answered, though, it was her lovely college-age daughter Sarah. Sarah told me that her grandmother was dying; Mary had asked her to call me and ask me to play for the funeral. I said yes, of course.

Sunday morning Sarah texted me that her grandmother had in fact died during the night. This morning I drove up to Vermont, and practiced for 2 hours; the funeral is tomorrow morning. While it is a sad occasion, it is also a chance to see my daughter and many friends, and I'm enjoying the time away from home.

What is really amazing, though, is just making music on a wonderful instrument in a wonderful acoustic. I'm thinking of planning a day to come up here and just play- a mini music retreat.

It's an especially good thing I came in today. No one had noticed that someone had accidentally turned off the heat in the sanctuary, and it's going down to zero tonight.
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I see I've posted almost no content this month, so some updates are in order.

My last significant post was about Felix's health issues, so good news first: he has made some small recovery, and is at least stable for the moment. He's had two steroid shots, and the vet recommended food specifically formulated to stop diarrhea. It worked too well, and he ended up terribly constipated; we are carefully adding in some treats, and seem to be reaching a good balance. If nothing else, it is lovely to be able to give my boy some treats without making him ill! He is especially happy to get a spoonful of spaghetti sauce twice a day, and the vet is happy that he's taking in some extra potassium.

Most of the reason I've been quiet has been, well, December for a church musician. Christmas Eve services, of course, and a children's pageant; and this year I gave in to the handbell director's plea for a Sunday of special music for handbells and choir, as well. Tons of fun but also tons of work! Everything went very well, including my little piano student's debut performance.

I'm afraid all the hugs and handshakes after the special performances were a bit too challenging for my immune system, along with the stress and heavy schedule. I didn't feel well after the bells/choir day; felt even worse after the pageant; and ended up profoundly ill Christmas night. Two days later I am full of seemingly boundless energy, so all's well now.

A month ago I realized that David was complaining about inability to focus with the eye that had the retina surgery, and remembered that there was a danger of cataract after that. Sure enough, he's got a whopping cataract in that eye-- until tomorrow morning.

The kid is on pins and needles right now. She has applied to go back to college! If it works out she'll do a second bachelors, in ASL interpretation. It should be only a 2 year program. Hopefully she'll get her acceptance next week and then we'll wait to hear what kind of finance package she gets. Please send good thoughts her way; this is a big step for her, and I think a very good one.

Still love the house. It was great to get all my Christmas decorations out after a year in storage! I'm told the little children across the street say goodnight to my Christmas tree (in our front window) every night.


Dec. 12th, 2015 09:54 pm
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Pileated woodpecker beside the church parking lot.

Four more )
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"The victims don't need your prayers." I've been seeing that on FaceBook a lot this week. I'm hurt and angry, but I know better than to respond there, so here I am.

Yes, I am praying for the victims and families, and for an end to gun violence. I also have written to my US Representative and both Senators; regularly donate to an anti-violence group; and am watching for local demonstrations I can attend in support of true gun control. I'd love to know what each person posting "the victims don't need your prayers" has done besides posting intolerance and judgment of other people.

And if they mean "politicians should shut up about their prayers and DO something"-- well, that's not what they said, and they are responsible for what they actually said.


Nov. 30th, 2015 08:53 pm
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Yet another deer pic. This one, however, is not cropped, and just barely zoomed-- she was only about 30 feet away. And though she was very alert, I was able to quietly walk past without causing her to bolt. Saw three other deer later in my walk, and a rather late blue heron-- the ponds are beginning to freeze.
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Felix has had some rough times lately. He's been moved twice in 18 months, and lost sister-cat Gypsy just a couple of months ago. He's always had a finicky stomach, and has had increasing episodes of diarrhea and vomiting, and lost a lot of weight. A vet visit last summer gave us some good advice that helped him along for a year, but he took a worse turn the last couple of weeks, so off we went to a new vet.

The bad news is that he has low-grade kidney failure, and because of his finicky digestion we really can't treat it. But that generally moves slowly; and meanwhile the new vet had some much more effective suggestions. He got a steroid shot while in the office, and came home with new food, both canned and dry, specifically designed for cats with frequent diarrhea. Given how serious his condition is, the vet said to switch immediately, no gradual transition. He ate and ate and ate for 6 hours, and none of it came back out precipitously, and then he (and I) slept through the night for the first time in months. Today he is a bit subdued, but calm and relaxed and still very happy with the new food. And I am very relieved to see him comfortable and content, though sad about what is to come. But he's 16, after all; and I hope to have him with me for months or maybe even another year or two.


Nov. 17th, 2015 06:47 pm
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This very narrow underpass served a back street along the railroad.

Two more )


Nov. 16th, 2015 09:21 pm
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What a delight to see this stag moving through a meadow!

three more )


Nov. 15th, 2015 07:00 pm
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company in my back yard today

Read more )


Nov. 9th, 2015 10:30 pm
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Encountered this lovely old barn while exploring my new region today.

Two more )


Nov. 5th, 2015 06:07 pm
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I was on an access road near the back of the nature preserve, all by myself, when I heard a sneeze close by... isn't he lovely? Just call him Spike!

Two more )
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So, I was reviewing the bulletin rough draft, and discovered that the handbell director had included notes on the two pieces they are playing. One is a setting of "Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees," and the note made reference to "the experience of slaves worshiping at communion services in Anglican churches in the late 18th century." I shot off a note asking where this came from, and the director answered-- "from our hymnal." Sure enough, there it is.

In its literal form, the note is true; slaves worshiped (or at least were present) in those Anglican services. However, I think two other things were implied: slaves were receiving communion (maybe, maybe not); and they were singing the song (almost certainly not).

Christians had held slaves before the African slave trade began. The big difference with enslaving those taken from Africa was that it was lifelong slavery, without any assurance of being able to earn freedom; and children born to slaves were slaves from birth. This created a dilemma when some of those African slaves expressed belief in Christ, because somehow it didn't seem appropriate to hold a brother Christian in lifelong slavery. And if belief in Christ, and baptism, became a ticket to earning one's freedom, well, pretty soon they'd all be free. Can't have that-- so most churches stopped baptizing slaves, and thus wouldn't be serving them communion.

Then there's the musical side of things. Would "Let Us Break Bread" have been sung in an 18th century church? Let's see.. in the 20th century, there were raging arguments about including that very hymn in an Episcopal hymnal, with 'experts' arguing that spirituals contain far too little theology, may include pagan influences, and are unsophisticated musically. (Really?) Two centuries earlier? Almost certainly not-- not even in special early services just for the slaves.

And now I have to write an honest but not too offensive blurb to replace the great big white lie. Within the next 9 hours. Whee.
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After three weeks of unpacking and arranging, last week I finally mostly just *lived* in the new house. I had time to quilt, play my keyboard, walk, make a grocery list and shop for more than one day at a time, watch my bird feeders... it is fabulous!

I ran a lot of errands yesterday, and then walked nearly 3 miles; I guess I can say I've got my legs back. And it feels natural to have my camera around my neck again.

I've got my shoulder back, too; it's almost entirely pain free. Wrist is still pretty bad,though. Hopefully 8 sessions of physical therapy will help that.


Oct. 26th, 2015 10:02 pm
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Cardinals at my birdfeeder; finally they are less worried about me moving around behind the window.

more )
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A snake and a beehive; cut for the phobic.

Two )


Oct. 24th, 2015 08:05 pm
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A macro shot of small berries found in the shady parts of my new back yard.


Squirrel gnawing its way into a walnut.
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