Thursday, January 29, 2004


Max temp: 22 degrees F
Min temp: 11 degrees F

That's all I want to do--snuggle down in the warmth of my flannel-sheeted bed, nestled among the accepting forms of my cats, and sleep. Perchance to dream. Sweet refuge of sleep.

That's a pretty good sign I am depressed.

I miss the way the group used to be. We never used to invest so much in our every word. It used to be fun and stimulating and wide open. Now it seems most of the people posting are more interested in Trying To Look Good than in actually exploring ideas. And some go even further--not only TTLG but Trying To Make Others Look Bad. And I am just very tired of it all. And very depressed. Because at one point that group mattered to me and now I see it sliding slowly into fannish banality and I can't care any more.

So I am trying to maintain and hold the sadness at arm's length. I have been throwing myself into the world of Tolkien and LOTR, finding Middle Earth an escape. I am just chagrined that it took me so many years to actually read the books that captivated my contemporaries thirty years ago. Better late than never, I suppose, and I can tell myself that I am better able to appreciate the nuances at this age.


Smoothing a blanket over the newly-cleared half of the sofa upstairs, I noticed a pink stain--a small smount of dried liquid--and my heart twisted. Amoxicillin. A spill left as evidence of the fight to save Rosie's life, just a year past. (I haven't washed that blanket in a year? I guess being folded in the laundry basket didn't give it much use but still...)

For years after Kisa died, I kept--unwashed--a jacket that still bore the blurred, muddy imprints of her paws...

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Life In The Slow Lane or Something Like It....

Max temp: 23 degrees F
Min temp: 10 degrees F

There was a new face outside at the food dish this morning. I looked out the kitchen window while rinsing off my hands and a pale face was looking back up at me. "Hello, Kitty," I said, ever ready with the witty repartee. I opened the door to offer him some fresh (ie, unfrozen) wet cat food but he scurried off under one of the trucks.

I think--from the glimpse I got of him--he is an orange tabby. (And I use "he" because orange cats run about 75-80% male due to feline genetics that I won't bore you with here.) Maybe when he learns we mean him no harm, he will be less skittish. Maybe he's just a neighbor, making his rounds. One can only hope...

I dreaded getting up this morning, so set the coffee pot on auto-brew so there'd be coffee and set the alarm to allow me an hour and a half to leave the house. I taped SNL (Elijah Wood) but still sat up 'til damned near one watching TV anyway. And with one-two-three-four-five-six cats on the bed clustered around and on top of me in various constellations, I had to wake up numerous times during the night to negotiate any change of position.

Still, after the alarm rang and I had downed a cup of coffee, I didn't feel half bad.

It is getting noticeably lighter by eight-thirty in the morning. We are just over a week away from Candlemas (there's an unpronouncable Pagan name for it but I can't recall...) the half-way mark between winter solstice and spring equinox. Halfway there, though that doesn't mean much this far north, since spring doesn't really get here until May...

I do wish Pickle would start looking better. I suppose I will be taking him back to the vet this week but I don't have anything new to show them. I could try to come up with a stool sample but in a multi-cat household, that isn't as simple as it sounds. I mean, coming up it some cat crap is no problem at all, but being sure that said sample belongs to Pickle entails following him around for hours at a time...

Damn, I have such a glamourous life!

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Where We Live...

Where we live
There's a million stars at night..

I glanced out the window as I got up from the desk this evening at work and just about called Denny back to urge him to go outside and look west. The thinnest sliver of a cresent Moon hung with Venus in the evening sky.

Later, on the way home, I looked to the right as I approached the State Shop and almost pulled to the side of the road. One long, glorious streamer of green-yellow fire wavered in the sky from north to southeast.

Friday, January 23, 2004


Max temp: 29 degrees F
Min temp: 17 degrees F
Oh, and there's probably eighteen-to-twenty-four inches of snow on the ground...

I saw our pheasant around noon today, enthusiastically eating the sunflower seeds I had thrown out for the birds and ignoring the chicken scratch feed I had bought Just For Him.

In related news, the stray cats indicate that they Would Rather Starve than eat the Precise dry food I bought them. Probably because it has real cranberries, though the manufacturer touted that fact as a major selling point. (Don't fret--the strays had access to their usual Iams Active Maturity dry food as well.) I'm just glad I didn't buy big bags of the stuff. I suppose someone in our crowd will eat what's left of it...

Thursday, January 22, 2004


Max temp: 38 degrees F (just after midnight)
Min temp: 30 degrees F

I heard something that sounded like rain but then turned into ice falling last night after I went to bed.

I woke up with a splitting sinus headache--almost sick-to-your-stomach intensity. I crawled out of bed long enough to start coffee, feed Sunny and Toby and then grab some Benadryl tablets. It took two cups of coffee and a second dose of medication before I felt like I could function. I had all the cat boxes to clean as I had skipped them yesterday. I also needed to give Toby and BeBe some change of scenery from their separate confinements.

Picky's eyes are still veiled. I wish I knew what was bothering him. He eats and plays as usual. He absolutely hates the medication Elaine gave me--the big horse-sized pills I have to cut in half. Even the halves aren't that petite. He foamed at the mouth and drooled so badly after the first dose that I haven't repeated it.

So on the chance that he is suffering gastic distress, I cooked up some slippery elm syrup and dosed him (and Punkin too while I was at it.) In good faith, I suppose I should try to get one of the pills down him this evening, just so I can give it a fair trial. His ailment doesn't appear serious but we don't know, do we?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Max temp: 42 degrees F
Min temp: 30 degrees F
Winds easterly at twenty

Up early this morning (7:30, early by my lights) to go to the Shelter. This is the last week that I will be covering PD's shift but I may continue to get up early to do my volunteer bit even when I am back to my regular schedule. The work goes much faster without the social component, and since the Shelter doesn't open until 11am, I can work undisturbed.

I opened the door to plug the Chevy in and rain was pouring off the roof. The temperature was near forty, so plugging the Chevy in was probably not necessary... I thought about it for a few minutes then decided that I'd drive the Suburban today. If the road got too soft, I might need the 4-wheel-drive option. So I went through the shop ("Good morning, kitties...") and plugged the Suburban in. Because it had been sitting in the sub-zero temperatures since the last time it had been run.

I made some coffee, then checked the woodstove, and watched the morning news while I drank two cups. About 8:30, I headed into town.

It wasn't a bad morning at the Shelter. There were three empty cages and the cats in residence were all very nice. People have been trapping and bringing in strays during the cold snap, but we have finally had some good adoptions so the population hasn't increased.

I sang to the cats as I worked in the quiet morning--the songs I had made up for Kisa and Newt and some others that came to me.

We seem to be on a run of white kitties lately--there were four currently in residence. It is funny how it seems to go in spurts. A few months ago, all we seemed to get were black cats. Then it was black-and-white cats. I told Sherry we should have a January White Sale...

I got all the cats done by eleven, then Sherry showed up and we chatted for about twenty-five minutes. Then I had to head to Save-U-More for dry cat food (I forgot it when I went shopping on Monday). I bought two small bags of Precise dry cat food--will see if the strays like it. It seemed like a high quality food and I want to give them the best nutrition I can during the winter. And three big bags of Iams for our cats. And some Johnny Cat for the Shelter. And a couple of boxes of Litter Perfect for me. And a bag of dry kitten food for Clarence and Lola...

After unloading all the supplies, I still had time to take a shower and wash my hair before battening down the house and heading back into town.

There were fresh chicken-like tracks in the yard when I got home last night, so the pheasant is still doing okay.

Today is the first sunrise at Barrow since November 18th...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Max temp: 39 degrees F
Min temp: 25 degrees F

In the past 48 hours the temperature has gone from minus ten to near 40--the bank thermometer showed 42 degrees in the heat of the day. MH is right--if the temperature would stay 20 degrees all winter, life would be good.

Saw the gray stray heading for the brown van this noon. I think there is still a box full of insulation covered with rags that I put out there for Wild Red many years ago. There is something that makes the van attractive to strays at any rate, so I trust he is staying sheltered and warm enough.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Max temp: 35 degrees F
Min temp: -10 degrees F
Winds easterly 25-35 kts

The wind started blowing this morning, when the temperature was still below zero, but by the time they began to really howl, driving fine, dry snow out of the east, the temperature had risen to sixteen degrees or so. The gain in air temperature was off-set by windchill, but it was good to see the cruel cold begin to abate.

I saw the tracks of the gray tabby this morning, so he has weathered the cold, and the black cat was by this evening to eat so I know he is okay. I haven't seen any sign of the pheasant since Denny and I watched him on Friday.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Max temp: 14 degrees F
Min temp: -10 degrees F

Up at four to send Denny off. It was cold--minus ten as I stood on the porch waving him off.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year

Max temp: 24 degrees F
Min temp: 11 degrees F

And the new sun rose, bringing the new year.

If I couldn't spend it with Dennis, I spent it as best I could, warm in our snug home with the cats as company. I opened a bottle of bubbly and sipped it from one of our new champagne flutes throughout the evening. Denny called around six to wish me a Happy New Year and say he was going out with the boys and wouldn't be calling later because he'd undoubtedly in no condition for serious conversation by midnight.

Which was cool and thoughtful of him--I know he was thinking of me--as I was of him--when the year turned. We have the memory of our first New Year's Eve party spent together, in Fairbanks in 1982, you see. That evening, when the clock struck midnight, we looked at each other and just sort of knew that 1983 was going to be a special year for us. We never actually vocalized it, but the glance we exchanged said it all. And so New Year's Eve has always been a bit special for us, whether we are together or apart.

So, it being the turning of the year and all, I de-grayed my hair. I was trying the L'Oriel Multi-Tonal stuff--first you apply the base color and then you add highlights. Well, despite the directions, I found I hadn't applied the highlighter all the way to the roots of one particular strand, so I dug the discarded lightener out of the waste basket and applied it to the offending roots. Upon rinsing my hair, it was apparent that one small section of hair had gotten a double-dose of lightener, so there's sort of this light spot. And this strand is--of course--the first one I did, right in front of my head.

So, if I part my hair to one side, I can disguise the offending streak. And I can re-color next month...

Anyway, the rest of the evening was uneventful. Just the way I like my New Year's Eves...

I did get an unexpected phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in some time. He's been going through some changes this year and seemed at loose ends--his wife and kids were spending the holiday elsewhere. Truth be told, we were probably both a bit in our cups but we had a great conversation about love and loss and life and all those heavy things people discuss when they are being drunk and brilliant. Heh heh heh.

Then, about eleven-thirty, I got the traditional call from Up North. Why am I sometimes surprised when my family seems to like me? It was sweet and thoughtful of them to include me in the celebration via speaker phone.

Still, I was glad to be tucked into bed with my kitties and a bottle of water in time to watch the (tape delayed) ball drop in NYC.


My warmest wishes for a happy and healthy new year go out to you all.