Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Floor Story

So, the big Marmoleum flooring project is just about over (thankgoodness) and we are pleased with the results. No more OSB or holey 25 yr old vinyl as a flooring material; whoo! That alone is exciting, but I do like the color and feel of this stuff, and there's NO smell of toxic vinyl, etc. It's long-wearing, but we've already managed to ding it while moving furniture back into place. Ah, well... at least the color goes all the way through, so it's not that noticeable. At the cost for this stuff (not cheap) we will not be replacing it any time soon (whew)!

A couple gratuitous flooring views (as clean as you'll ever see these rooms!):

Dining Room

(can you see why I didn't want to go with wood floors? We didn't install the wood walls; they are nice if a bit dark).

Things are slowing getting back to normal, with installation of the stove today so we (WF) can cook. Still a few things to reinstall, but our friend Lutsen is willing to help, so we're getting there:

We also had exciting critter news today: can you see this winter's first offering, hidden here in the hay? WF thinks it's from an older hen, who has finally finished molting. We haven't had any eggs for the past couple months, so it's exciting to see this happening again. Horray for projects proceeding!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

We managed a small, "historic" artificial tree (I purchased it years ago before realizing real trees are the best environmental choice) in the midst of our chaos this year. The stove is still not installed after the flooring projects, so we are thankful for the woodstove. More projects today, but it was a lovely holiday with some family time and safe travels amidst the snow.

It was a cozy evening; Schroeder enjoyed my lap. The belly makes a good cat pillow, for now!

Blessings to all and wishes for a wonderful new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Room Progress

This is also a place to post some accomplishments!

(a clean if ugly slate)

The small room of big clutter, the previous “office/library” that became storage space and is designated to someday become the baby’s room…is NOW CLEAR! Completely empty. No carpet, nothing. Whew. The Marmoleum flooring installers are there now, working fast (I hope) to get the job done by tomorrow for the 4 upstairs rooms. It feels really good to be at this next step.

Of course, the living room now looks like this:

Eeek! The upheaval isn’t ideal right now (no holiday decorating/baking or even working on cards has happened this year) but we’re moving forward.

It’s probably a better time than the original install date in January in regards to my belly. I’m not feeling TOO big yet, but this belly (and baby) is definitely growing! I feel pretty good, but know I only have about 5 weeks left before the third trimester, when supposedly this new energy level drops again.

After the holidays, with new (non-toxic) flooring and ideally new (low VOC) paint, I’ll be able to focus on getting the room (and the rest of the house) ready for the new resident. Baby-to-be already has some things that need a home, and having a physical place for them in our house will help me get my mental space more ready.

I’m hoping it will be fun, rather than the usual stress that accompanies most “house” dealings for me. This house overwhelms me, sometimes, and it feels really good to be getting through some of the long-standing challenges (like flooring and clutter). Whew!

Cat Comments

Thanks again, everyone, for your thoughts on Bill the cat’s passing. I am surprised at how much I do indeed miss him; he had a certain way of really appreciating a good head-pat or chin scratch that the other two cats just don’t have. Eyes closed, head up, purr….

But fluffy Schroeder seems a bit more cuddly, meowing often to be picked up. Bill was present in the house when she was born, and he was here every moment of her whole life. It’s hard to know if she misses him, but maybe…

It’s times like this when I’m glad to have a blog; some place to post pictures of Bill-cat, a place to post thoughts…. The second anniversary of the blog passed unnoticed in November, so I know I’m beating the odds of most blog longevity!

I do sometimes feel I spend too much time aimlessly online, but it IS satisfying to have a venue to post material. It’s definitely nice to have response from the outside world. I am not great at responding to comments, etc, but I do really appreciate them!

Wanting to do a house post, now… two posts in one day. Coming right up…

Friday, December 14, 2007

Farewell to Bill

Sleek Bill-dude enjoying the yard, '05

Bill the Cat, age 18, passed from this realm today. He purred until the end, a deep, continuous throaty purr that vibrated through my whole being as I held him in his last hour. After days of not eating anything, he had a tasty bit of cheese puff (his favorite treat) and a bit of sardine today. It was a good last day, mostly limited to his favorite cat-bed. Walking was hard for him in the end.

His passing was assisted by a very kind vet who came out to our house and kissed him good-bye along with us. I am grateful for that. They have watched me nurse Bill along for quite some time. We are well known in that office, even though we made it clear from the beginning that we’d keep treatment as basic and natural as possible and Bill rarely made an appearance himself.

I’ve never had to schedule a “final vet visit” before, and struggled with that for days. But it was time to let go… and now we feel peace. He was in pain, starving to death. Now he is free. He was the first cat I really took on as my responsibility (we only met 4 years ago when I met WF), and so this was even harder. Bill welcomed me to this house and to cat “parenthood.” But this feels right in the end.

So, thank you, Billbo-bean, for your kind presence, your intent green eyes, your accurate belly-clock (feed me now!), that rumbling purr and your lessons in healing and nurturing. I never really figured out that water-splashing habit, but I’ll miss the rattle of your water dish and the ever-present puddles nearby. The hallway looks too empty without your cat-bed-enjoying presence. I will miss you so much. Farewell and blessings...

Bill on the blog...more under "Cats"
Helping to compute
Celebrity Cat
Crazy Cat lady film
Bat Cat!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cat Concern

Dear old elder Bill-cat seems to be winding down. He is still with us, purring and resting comfortably. But he has pretty much given up eating. He's still drinking water, and I can occasionally tempt him into eating a bit of homemade chicken soup or his nutritional gel. Not really enough to sustain him for long, but I get a sense that he doesn't want any extraordinary measures; maybe this is just his way of going. He's not requesting much, and does seem to be at peace overall, for now.

He's come back from so many past "down times" and has really been a practice in nurturing for me. We've been medicating for his thyroid issue for over 2 years, and lately I think it's his kidneys. I've researched and read and tried lots of things. We've done fluids, but I haven't been doing much lately- he doesn't seem to like it and was Ok without it for a long while. Right now I'm not sure what is the exact cause of the decline, but it's been a long road.

It's hard to let go, but it might be his time. I want to ease that process however possible, trying to do what's right by him and by us. Reiki seems to help; I've been doing that more lately. I have mixed emotions, which make me feel a bit guilty. We are scheduled to get new flooring in most of the upstairs next week, and the house will be in chaos. I don't want him to spend his last days all stressed by this upheaval. What to do?!?

Lots on my mind lately. I know there are larger issues in the world (and even in my world), but this wise old cat is very dear to my heart. He's a great cat friend, and has taught me much. Here's wishing for peace and wisdom in this journey...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Other People's Pants

I packed away my too-small pre-baby pants today. I’ve been wearing maternity pants for at least a few weeks now. They are liberating and comfortable (you mean my belly can have as much room as it needs? No sucking it in? Huh).

Some of the stretch panels look ridiculous, and are still too big. Some of the pants slip down and none really fit “just so.” I am wearing a mix of stuff I got from thrift stores or from friends. I now know why so many of the maternity clothes one sees in a thrift store have initials inked onto the tags, something I wondered about at first. People loan them out and pass them around before the items ultimately end up at the thrift store. I’m wearing pants regularly with my friend’s initials in them, remembering that she wants them back when I’m done with them. She’s hoping for a second baby sometime soon.

It’s an odd feeling, wearing other people’s pants. I’ve long shopped at thrift stores, and it’s not the idea of “used” pants that feels odd to me. I guess it’s the sense that I’m suddenly wearing a whole new set of pants that will be temporary. Old favorite jeans are set aside for these months in favor of “strange” pants, pants that may have seen a couple people through this temporary time. I think it’s one of the first things that’s really been a tangible reminder that things ARE changing for me, and that my life and body won’t be the same after this baby adventure.

It’s been about week since we used technology to take a peek at the “junior tummy resident” as WF likes to call him or her. I have mixed feelings about ultrasound, but both the midwife and doctor agreed that I am “big for my weeks” and asked about twins. I wanted to know, and didn’t mind having the extra little assurance that things are all in place. Things seem fine; (there is just one!) and it was nice to have a small glimpse of this new being. We do have a few pictures, but I find them a bit strange and don’t want to post them here. It was not unlike this experience, actually.

My parents are loving them (look! A little skull!) and telling everyone they have their first pictures of their new grandchild. Yes, indeed, he or she is in there, and even appeared to be giving us the peace sign (two fingers up) at one point. Wow. The world is changing, and it’s going to mean more than just changing pants!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snow wow!

I am very glad that I still have a 4WD vehicle (I think that up here we really DO need them).

This is the scene that greeted me after work today- wow. For some reason, it seems more normal to get such large amounts overnight, not during the day. It sort of snuck up on us, promised as "flurries". I've heard reports of more than a foot! The traffic was stop and go on the interstate, but people were fairly polite and calm. It only took a hour to go as far as I usually go in a half hour.

We were afraid we'd be walking down our driveway once we got home, but we live far enough away from the Lake that we hardly got anything. We'll see what morning holds!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Breaking the "UFO" Habit

The “UnFinished Object” Habit, that is (knitting lingo, y’know).

I am not a prolific knitter. I have a long-standing issue with hats; they either turn out waaay too big or too small, and if I can tell that before I finish them, I just stop. And the yarn languishes for years that way; stuck in a half-way-too-big hat. I’m not a fast knitter, either, so it just seems like too many hard-won stitches to rip them all out. It’s enough to send me running to the polarfleece!

I’m trying to get more efficient with my time and/or yarn. I have “thrifted” a bunch of rather sub-standard (acrylic from the 70’s) yarn that clutters up my space; I plan to get rid of that soon. I also buy nice yarn from time to time with the best of intentions, then don’t use it. I intend to try to use that stuff up before buying more (yarn is expensive, and I spend too much time stressing about our money future lately).

But with baby on the way, I really feel this is the time to do a bit of knitting (I know, all stereotypical and stuff). Hey, I’m just thrilled to think of SMALL sweaters and small projects that I have some hope of completing in a weekend or week or so.

So, I am pleased to announce my first finished project in a quite a long time: simple booties! These came from a free pattern available here. Organic cotton yarn, purchased long ago with vague plans of washcloths (my typical mindless knitting project).

These were very simple and quick, and good practice for the more “advanced” (for me, anyway) knitting in this lovely vintage book:

Alison at Brainy Lady was kind enough to mail it to me all the way from Montreal; I was the lucky winner in her comment contest last month. I love getting mail from afar, and this really will inspire me to do a bit more knitting. At least one of the sweaters is in "plain knitting" so it is within my skill level, I think. So, thanks,Alison- and here’s to wishing for some more, efficient knitting to come!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snowshoes and Shovels

Ah, yes, the first obligatory storm post! We did indeed get socked in by snow last night. It was really blowing by mid-day, and now we have about a foot of fairly fluffy snow. WF has finished snowblowing a path out so I can go to work tomorrow.

It is amazing to see this much so soon after last year's nearly snowless winter. We already got out the snowshoes (baby-to-be's first snowshoe!). I am surprised at how soon I was out of breath during that little adventure. I've pretty much stopped running due to the odd back/hip pain it causes (pregnancy related) but am still trying to walk. Not enough, probably... need to get out more!

The chickens refused to go out in the snow; WF reports that even the enticement of nice hay didn't get them out the door. The first hen to explore the possibility slid down the snow-covered ramp, and promptly turned around to go back in. Wimps!

This evening, we're hanging out around the fire, cooking a rooster and some historic beets on the woodstove and trying to dry this week's laundry nearby. I wish the weekend was a few days longer so I could catch up on everything here. More soon...