Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Thaw

A warm-up moved in last week after several weeks of below freezing temps, some into the teens.  With the warm-up, I was able to walk a circuit of the nearby park track.  It was interesting, and a wee bit frustrating, to note that the stamina I'd gained before the holidays, before the cold, was gone. But I returned the following day, and over the next four days managed to improve my time.

Ponds are prolific in the area, there's one at the park in fact, and there are even a few small lakes in the county.  All have flocks of resident Canada geese.  Geese are grazers.  Last fall as I walked my mile at the park, I watched local youth playing soccer in an area that had hosted feeding (and pooping) geese in the days before.  Poop on the ball, poop on the shoes, even poop on the kids' clothes.  Disgruntled parents, I'm sure.  And always, there's poop on the track.  As I walked after the thaw had begun, I noted areas along the path where snow had been plowed from grassy areas so the geese would have a food source.  The geese are protected by law, so they can't be destroyed.  But I hope there's a plan to confine and cart them off to the "wilds" when they molt later this year. 

Here at home, the kittens are testing my patience.  (What, you're not surprised?)  Toilet bowl water now intrigues Simon, so the lid on both commodes needs to be kept down.  But I'm tempted to just let him fall in, just once.  That experience might have a long-term impact.  When I shower, they bat at the stall's glass walls, trying to catch the rivulets of streaming water.  At one time they played in the second bathroom, jumping into and out of the tub, until one day Lilli climbed the shower curtain.  (The curtain is now flipped up over the curtain rod.)  I can't water indoor plants without both kittens getting in the pots.  The day I water, I chase them away from or out of the containers by either shaking the squirt bottle of water or actually spraying them.  And they're close to being full grown.  Simon now weighs what Ginger did when she died.  On Monday he jumped up on the bar stool, stepped up on the counter and proceeded to investigate items there such as the poinsettia which had been placed high to keep him, them, away from it.  Now I've moved it to another, more inaccessible, spot.

The thaw of last week is being erased by a cold front moving in.  I won't be walking for a few days, perhaps a week.  But I'll get my exercise here in the condo as I chase the cats out of the flower pots and repeatedly return their toys to the cats' basket.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Simon, the Hunter

On my desk sitting beside the computer are a number of mementos sent by friends.  Slap up against the desk is the kitten's "tree".

Shortly after the kittens mastered climbing the tree, I would find some of those items lying on the floor beside the desk.  The first thing to get Lilli's attention was fluorescent pink feathered flamingo pen that sat in the pencil cup.  Lilli set about defeathering it.  That task has now been accomplished.  I've purchased more feathers and will be attaching them soon so her play can continue.  Now, though, those items that were once merely on the floor beside the desk are being moved into other rooms.

The other day I heard the cats playing on the floor.  I'd assumed Simon and Lilli were wrestling.  I was wrong.  When I looked, I saw that it was just Simon.  He had taken the little koala bear gift, and Simon was either loving it or killing it. Sometimes it's hard to tell, but Simon had successfully removed the koala's hat.

On a visit to see an e-list friend, she gave each of her guests a small pink elephant meant to hang on the lip of a beverage glass.  Mine usually is hanging from the flamingo pot hanger I received from the same person who gave me the flamingo pen.  The hanger/elephant pair also sit on my desk.  Now I frequently find the pot hanger on the floor beside the desk.  The elephant will be found as far from the desk as Simon carries it.  Earlier this morning, only seconds after I put the elephant and flamingo back on the desk, the elephant was back on the living room floor.

If you have a cat, have you discovered the joy they get in playing with the plastic ring to which plastic jug caps are attached?  If not, pry one off and toss it in the cat's direction.  Simon and Lilli entertain themselves and me  as they bat them around or carry them from place to place.  Eventually I'll have to pull the stove out and remove the accumulating collection.

All is quiet right now.  Evidently they're both taking naps, so I can gather these toys they borrow from me and put them back where they can find them.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

At Last!

The holidays are officially finished.  As the crystal ball was falling in Times Square, so were the local temperatures.  As I write this on Sunday, the 3rd, the thermometer reads 6 with the wind chill a negative 14.  I will be going nowhere today!

New Year's Day I took the  family's picture  for next year's calendar.  I'm sharing it with you now, but don't tell Dawn or Matt.  (I want it to be a surprise along with the other selections that are added for each month.)  With all the football games televised on New Years, the traditional meal is casual.  Those who have seats in front of the TV fill their plates during commercials.  Matt and the kids abhor the smell of sauerkraut and those bites the kids must take are immediatlely followed by grimaces and a napkin to the mouth.  The other dishes -- pork, black-eyed peas, cornbread, mashed potatoes and our special greens substitute, molded pear salad, receive marks from more thumbs down to high praise.

Rather than battle the kittens to keep them from knocking holiday knick knacks off table tops, I restrained myself and put up only the tree and a couple Christmas night lights.  All those were packed away quickly on Monday.  Now the storage bins are sitting in the garage, and as soon as the temperature gets above freezing again, everything will be returned to the garage attic.

Saturday hours at the hospital gift shop have been changed.  With Christmas (and the associated  merchandise) behind us, sales will decline significantly and the need to be open for extended hours on weekends is no longer necessary.  My hours were noon to 4:00.  Now they're 2:00 to 5:00.  It's great to have my mornings free, but those three hours seemed sooooooooooo long yesterday!  It's all a matter of mental adjustment.  Give me time.  I'll get there!

So now we move into 2010.  Tomorrow the kids will be back in school, but I'm already getting back to my routine.  I'm looking forward to walking the track every other day.  But not until it's unnecessary to dress like the Michelin Man!