Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The rain cleared up part way through the day yesterday and the sky is the brilliant blue of autumn. I can't remember fall beginning this early in previous years, but I'm ready to start nesting and cleaning and baking.
Finally, here's the requested pesto recipe:
½ c. olive oil
¼ c. water
¾ c. fresh Parmesan, grated
½ c. pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
1 c. packed basil leaves
½ t. salt
Sometimes I substitute walnuts for pine nuts and parsley for basil.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I had been rendered unable to knit anything more complicated than a dishcloth. (Stress is all about humility. Seriously.) Technically it was possible to knit from patterns. I had before. But now, my brain refused to count, to think, to follow a pattern. I gave up and knitted dish clothes. Then I tricked my brain and knitted Kitty Pi, which requires a small amount of counting and pattern following. Last week, I blatantly knitted a sock. The toes still need to be stitched up and the other sock made, but this is progress. One day I might be able to knit a sweater!
The weather here turned decidedly cooler. I chopped up beef stew ingredients and tossed them in the crock pot. Tomorrow morning I'll turn it on before I leave for work. I'm looking forward to the cooler-weather cooking. I'm also looking forward to coming home to a home-cooked meal tomorrow. It will be the perfect evening for planning what to plant in the garden this fall and to freeze a couple of batches of pesto.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
My sister is in the kitchen making an apple crisp. I made a taco casserole. We've got our Woodchuck cider and our knitting. I've made it to the foot of the Spring sock and my sister is knitting a table runner from Rowan tweed. This is a good way to spend an evening.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Speaking of odd colors, Oscar the Furminator is looking as much the wild man on the outside as he is on the inside. As a kitten, he's basically a seal-point mutt. My sister adopted a cat that was half Maine Coon, and the woman who gave her the cat said, "The mother was a Maine Coon, and the father came in through the basement window." Oscar's coloring shows a similar up-town meets wrong-side-of-the-tracks mashup. The kitten fur is turning into cat fur, and the seal points are turning into tabby points. (Yes, I made up the term "tabby point" right this minute.) Where his face was a dark brown, it is turning into dark brown stripes. The cream on his body has a barely discernible, reddish tabby pattern to it as if someone painted a henna tattoo on him and it faded. His tail is showing white spots through the brown. He's gonna be one crazy looking cat, and I can hardly wait to see the results of this transformation.
I'm pretending it is fall. Baking gingerbread, knitting sweaters, and reading under a down duvet are starting to sound appealing. Of course the low temperatures are only in the 60s, so all I've done is throw open the windows to enjoy the cool the inside of the house. Stove top cooking is back on the agenda too. Reheating a homemade soup for lunch or dinner. Going to an apple orchard or picking pumpkins also sound like good ideas.
Andie, Bean and Jill came over for a potluck dinner on Thursday night. We had a great time talking too much, eating home-cooked food, and going for a walk. Jill arrived with a lovely blue bag that had gifts! She knitted beautiful cream colored wash clothes. One has a heart-shaped design on the front and the other is moss stitch. She also put in a bar of acai and pomegranate soap. She noticed that I've been feeling down and wanted to cheer me up. It never fails to surprise me that people have so much love and caring to share, and I was delighted to get such a thoughtful gift.
Today's the day for Crocheting 102 at Twist. I'm so excited. This is where I will learn enough to move onto the Crochet Embellishment class that Tamara is teaching in September. I know that I talked Shelly's ear off about learning how to do this. It all happened because Tamara started to show me what she made the last time I bumped into her at the shop, and I started hopping around singing a tuneless song: "Me monkey! Monkey see, monkey do! Monkey, monkey, monkey!"
Tamara is a very savvy shopper and her story sounded much like this. "One day I was walking down the street and a fairy godmother was selling the a boring, but perfectly good sweater, for one cent. I bought that sweater and snipped off some pieces, crocheted beautiful things, put them on the sweater. Now I have this. I think it is okay." The thing about Tamara is she says this just as if this sequence of events and talent could happen to any ordinary person. At this point, she's holding a lovely sweater that is tastefully trimmed in lace and has several flowers and leaves on it. Anthropologie would sell that sweater for a pirate's treasure chest of gold. (Love ya, Anthropologie, but you don't fit my budget). By this time, the fantasy I had in high school where I am Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) from Pretty in Pink and I make my incredible prom dress cotton candy and fireflies has come back to life. Now, I have to practice my crochet, find the fairy godmother with the perfect sweater for the right price, and take Tamara's class. I can hardly wait.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thank you for all of your supportive comments about the situation. Sunday are the worst days for self-pity. I should just turn off the computer on Sundays and do something for people who are truly needy. The Lord's Diner always needs help. Or I should remember that the Ex has divulged information about the Hot Water Closet that would horrify her. It is about human nature. He's probably unhappy and struggling too although he looks pretty damn cheery these days. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
The intermediate crochet class is Saturday afternoon. I'm looking forward to it. I've been practicing the single stitch. Then I realized I don't remember the double or the half-double. I may have to spend the rest of the week preparing for class. I just love that I can spend all week with a hook and yarn and saying I'm studying -- as if it is virtuous. That yarn is such torture.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
All in all, it was a lovely Saturday spent with friends. Just the sort of thing a girl needs to snap her out of the doldrums.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
You all are so sweet. I've gotten the most supportive comments, emails, tweets, and even a few hugs. I feel whiny and mopey sometimes. I try to keep things on the blog happy and perky. The last few weeks have slipped away from me, and I've had a pity party. They're really pretty gloomy and I don't recommend them. I feel so fortunate to know or meet all of the positive folks who are sympathetic and cheery. It keeps me moving in the right direction.
What is the right direction? I'm not absolutely certain. I think it involves keeping my house tidier and cooking diner at home. Seriously, cooking for one is a drag. Food is such a social activity for me. I've always got friends who will go out to eat or a drive-thru nearby. It's brainstorming time. I've got a bunch of ideas about how to make it worth my while to cook:
1) Get together with 3-5 friends and each one cooks a dinner. The night someone cooks is the night that person hosts dinner. Home cooked dinner 3-5 nights and cleanup once a week sounds good to me.
2) Blog it all. That would be hard on y'all and it would be one heck of a lot of work for me. Why not eat meals that don't have to be photographed. Ugly food often tastes great. Whoever said presentation is everything obviously never tasted burnt marshmallow s'mores.
3) Another item for friends. Grab 3 - 5 friends and have them buy matching Tupperware. Everyone cooks a main dish and divides it into appropriate serving sizes and freezes it. Swap once a week for a week's worth of entrees.
4) Rotate a potluck once a week among friends.
5) Declare a certain night to be picnic night in the park and meet the gang on the green.
Fortunately one of my friends has decided that she's my momma. She invited me over for dinner on Monday and tonight I reheated some Taco Soup. It was delicious and I have a new recipe. I've still got a persistent, self-sufficiency dream. One day I could cook my own food. It is so turn of the century.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I live very close to where I grew up -- within three blocks. My house is nearly the same floor plan as the house where I grew up. Sometimes I wonder if I never grew up. Maybe that's why I married the man who always said, "No." No adventure, no fun, no spending. Feeling guilty and working was very important. (See Nathaniel Hawthorne for more details.) If he said, "No" to everything, it remained a dream, and I remained the same. Sometimes I wonder why I let his veto stop me.
Last night it poured buckets of rain and this morning was very damp and misty, but I was stir crazy . Since I'm here, in the same place I never left, and I went exploring by my old high school.
The bridge has Indian and buffalo motifs to match the high school, and the work crews have spent a considerable amount of effort repairing it. Construction probably won't be finished when school begins, but it should be closer. The art work looks so different from a few feet away than it does from a car moving at 30 mph. These old relics are historical landmarks, and they are made from local materials that are specific to Wichita.
The Ex was part of the reason I was anxious and wanting to roam around the neighborhood. He visited this afternoon. The visit had been arranged one week in advance. He had some books to bring me, and he preferred to meet in public. That isn't so unusual except that we don't usually meet in public. We meet at my house. We first arranged the visit via instant messenger. He wrote this : "I have some of your notebooks." I responded: "You have my journals?" He must have sensed that I was highly aggravated by this because the display said, "The Ex is typing" for a very long time. When he finally responded, the message said, "It is school notebooks. I closed them as soon as I saw your handwriting." My confidence that he will tell me the truth is dropping.
My Ex moved into his parent's basement. I know that cannot be pleasant because his mother has superior guilt-trip skills. I also know what she thinks about his behavior because she wrote me a letter to say she hoped we would get together and save our marriage. She liked having me for a daughter. Also, she is concerned for his soul. I knew there would be no peace for him in his childhood home. I was okay with that.
When deciding where things began to go badly in my marriage has been difficult. It is like unravelling a sweater. It never really stops until the entire garment is gone. Ex has been involved with another woman although he denies it. This other woman and I have the same employer. I can go months without seeing her, but she walked by my desk last week and had an hour-long meeting at a table near my desk. It was excruciating. Thank goodness my iPod was in my purse to drown our her voice. Make believe can be a good place to go at times like this. A very understanding co-worker named her: Home Wrecking Cunt. He recommends calling her HWC for short or Hot Water Closet.
Here's how the marriage unravels:
11 years ago we were married
10 years ago he met her in grad school
8ish years ago they started an online publication together
6 years ago my mother and grandmother thought I should be concerned about the way she looked at him
2 years ago I expressed my concern and was told that I should feel more secure about myself
1 year ago Ex's best friend started saying that I would get a divorce because Ex and Hot Water Closet were having an affair
5 months ago Ex moved out
4 months ago he said they weren't dating -- they were just hanging out a lot
2 months ago we got divorced
Today he came by to bring the books and told me that he'd moved into her basement. They are roommates. Only roommates. Whatever. I feel so bitter and stupid and used. My bullshit meter is off the charts. For an added bonus, he told me that Atticus, the cat, really likes her house and really likes her. I just hate this wondering if we were ever in love, if anything was ever good about our marriage, and if I imagined it all in my head. At least he told me in person. It would have been much worse to hear it from someone else.
Thank goodness Ms. Naplover knew about the errand and knew that I had really bad vibes about why Ex was visiting. She told me to come visit after he left. I got TLC, knitting, and talking and calmed down. Her daughter is cheery and happy and excited about starting school this week. It's hard not to feel blessed with friends like that. It will get better. I believe it will get better. It's already so much better than I feared it would be.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The plucky, sassy, determined Ms. Lemon-Says took a spill from her attic to the floor below. Although I've never met her, we've swapped comments online since 2003. She crocheted beautiful clothes and dyed her own yarn before I ever considered using knitting needles and yarn. I look forward to seeing pictures of her children and hearing how her husband is doing. She's now undergoing a series of surgeries to repair a shatter pelvis and a broken elbow. She's resilient, has a wonderful support group, and has the promise of a full recovery. I want to send her all of the good wishes and hope that can be offered. She has a special place in my heart.
The yarn that needed to be plied slipped off of the bobbin with the help of my kitchen shears. It began innocently enough. When I started to ply the yarn, it stuck, snagged and was very resistant to my efforts. Edward Scissor Paws and his mentor, Miss Tangles with Paws, twirled between the bobbins and the wheel and dragged several yards of yarn across the room. Distracting with toys has worked in the past, but toys with feathers couldn't compete with wool from a real sheep (and probably the faint scent of genuine sheep poo). For the first time in their furry lives, I squirted them with water from a spray bottle and they acted as if they'd been burned by acid.
Next, the drive band on the wheel snapped, and I dissembled whole wheel apart before determining that the drive band would not go onto the wheel as a continuous loop. I snipped it, tied it and reassembled the wheel. A person with good sense and this level of frustration would not continue to spin at this point, but I did. Shortly thereafter I concluded that spinning was more about process than product and bid the Kool-Aid Border Leicester adieu. In the cold light of day, I can sincerely say that I do not miss it. Finishing every project is over-rated.
Slips abound. I'm off the caffeine wagon. At this very moment, I'm drinking an iced, white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. It is nearly impossible to feel penitent while sipping this concoction. The regret will not begin until I crash from the coffee high later this afternoon. Eric Clapton's Cocaine may or may not have been playing on the radio as I took my first sip. I know what I'm doing. Really.
Not even half-way through my year off from men, I'm struggling with that decision. It's hard. However, everyone from pop psychologists to Mom to good friends have recommended it. I have enough relationship judgement left to know that my perspective in the dating area is skewed after being dumped by my husband with a note that said he was leaving because he loved me. Sometimes the bitterness is all I can feel, and then other times the relief and forgiveness washes over me. A year would help me get perspective on Men and Relationships or even men and relationships. All of this leads to my confession: I've been watching Swingtown. Someone mentioned that the dialogue wasn't very good, and I was thinking, "What dialogue?" The beautiful people, seventies music, vintage clothes, and, um, cheap thrills are plentiful.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Furminator also goes by Oscar these days because it is easier to say several times fast. (Go ahead, try it. Here Furminator, Furminator, Furminator . . .see?) He likes to sneak up on Norah all the time and goad her into playing with him. It usually works. Sometimes Norah turns the tables.
Several folks have inquired about my spinning. The green-blue pound of BFL is still on the wheel. The roving came from wool2dye4.com and the dye was from Knit Picks. I have several bobbins of it that need to be plied. Then I'll get started spinning again. I hate to mention how much of a beginner I am, but starting the bobbin and getting the yarn to wind on properly takes quite a bit of concentration for me. Once that is in order, the whole spinning and plying process goes smoothly. Late one night about two weeks ago, I'd been spinning for an hour and I realized that I must ply with the last bobbin or else! Getting everything running smoothly was surprisingly difficult and frustrating, so I gave up and went to bed. The gumption to fix it is simply lacking. Sometimes I am very persistent and sometimes I just don't care. I wish I knew myself well enough to anticipate what degree of motivation was lurking around the corner.
So with motivation like that, what's a girl to do? Maybe that's why when I bumped into Connie at the Stitch n' Bitch at Twist, and she sang the praise of the Schacht Ladybug I knew that I needed one. It's so adorable. I want to dress it up and hug it and love it . . . . As much as I would love to start a huge collection of spinning wheels, I've decided to spend more time with the lovely Mazurka before I commit to another wheel. Then again, if I keep buying more bobbins and more wheels, I may never have to ply the BFL.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Today Kay accompanied me. She's a former knitter, and I knew she'd appreciate the yarny goodness of the store. She hasn't been tempted by the knitting bug again, but I'm certain she will be with enough exposure to yarn. She was, however, smitten with the pottery display and might even sign up for a class. If she hasn't found her way to salvation yet, at least she will have a delightful craft.
For my part, I signed up for the crocheting class on August 7 with Tamara. I've wanted to learn how to crochet, and Tamara fills Twist with the most appealing creations. Rumor has it that crochet is just as addictive as knitting. Be still, my OCD.
Maxine and Carol were there knitting away. I'm still astonished by how these accomplished knitters will say they know nothing about knitting. They say it so quickly too. These women have been knitting for years and their knitting is beautiful. Carol was knitting a lacy, drapey shawl in a deep green color. Maxine was making the Fiddlehead mittens that are all the craze on Ravelry. I'm jealous of the gorgeous yarn and patterns, but I've got two different pairs of socks on the needles, Kitty Pi, and two sweaters on the needles. I am ready to see a finished project. Maybe the cats will help?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Then, intoxicated by all of the laughing and fibery fun, I went home and dyed a big batch of superwash merino. It was meant to be a solid green, but I like variations in color. Here's a picture of it drying on the deck.
Monday, July 7, 2008
The place is lovely with lots of trees and fields. Since it was a warm day, I was particularly fond of the trees. Based on the previous evening outdoors, I doused myself liberally with insect repellent in hopes of keeping the number of bug-induced welts on my body from increasing. My friends were also going through bottles of the stuff.
The first order of business was to bundle the friend's children and husband into a pickup truck and drive across a field and through the trees until we reached a clearing spot along the Arkansas River. That was the campsite. I didn't stay overnight, but I did help clear out sand burs and entertain the little ones while the parents pitched the tent. Another couple followed in a different pickup truck. They wisely decided to forgo camping in the sandy stretch near the river in favor of a wildflower meadow.
My friends were pulling stickers out so that they wouldn't be pricked through the floor of the tent. I helped for awhile, but I was wearing flip-flops, the stickers hurt, and frankly, I wasn't going to be sleeping there. The husband leaned on a patch of stickers and yelped, "Fuck." His wife said, "Language, Daddy." Then she knelt on a patch of stickers and shouted, "Oh holy mother of fuck!" And he said, "Language, Mommy." I liked to die laughing. I remember when these two called each other by their given names and didn't police language one bit. The husband wound up getting gloves and needle-nosed pliers for the sticker work.
It was sweaty, sticky work, but we were very pleased with ourselves. The dirt was also starting to stick to us and our insect-repellent covered selves. The insects seemed enamoured again so we all sprayed ourselves with the stinky stuff again. At this point, I stopped worrying about whether someone would notice I forgot my deodorant.
Then we all bundled into cars, caravaned back to town and bought fireworks. What I mean when I say "bought fireworks" is filled our cars with so many explosives it is a wonder the ATF wasn't concerned about the sweaty, dirt-streaked people who reeked of anti-bug chemicals. No one noticed a thing, and the fireworks folks happily took our money. We went off to roast hot dogs, make smores and begin to celebrate. Just for good measure, we dumped a bunch of bug repellent on ourselves. After a while it starts to smell pretty good.
My friend convinced me to try my hand at shooting a gun. It wasn't like the rifle my uncle used to teach me how to shoot clay pigeons when I was twelve. That thing hurt my shoulder when it fired. This was a little handgun, which felt almost to light and gentle to even be a gun. We shot at soda cans. I got very close to hitting a can or two, but no cans, people or animals were harmed.
Then we settled in to watch fireworks. Correction: I settled in to watch fireworks. Everyone else ran around with punks and fired the noisy things. They were beautiful, colorful, and squealed. I enjoyed the show a great deal. My favorite seven-year-old (featured in the photo above) got tired and sat next to me. I was pleasantly surprised when she climbed up in my lap and fell asleep. I used to hold her when she was little, and I thought those days were long past. It was a terrific day.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Cathie Ryan, a Celtic singer, was performing. Andie, being her usual amazing self, got us an introduction to Ms. Ryan. Not only does she have a lovely stage presence, but she is a generous and down-to-earth person. And she talked about our choice of wine.
Several people stopped to ask about our choice of wine since Andie and I arrived together and toted our picnic back to the garden with us. Andie brought wine for the picnic. She carried one bottle and I carried the other. (Before any rumor starts about us and our bottles, we shared with Jill and Michelle. It was four of us and two bottles. Shush.) You'd think no one had ever seen wine before with all of the comments and snickering. Ms. Ryan was very polite about it. She admired the white Chilean but thought the red Australian would be better. She also thought that white should be the first drink in the twilight and the darker wine should be imbibed after the sunset. By the time we arrived at our table, I was convinced that others wouldn't be drinking at all. I was wrong. The wine, the beer and other beverages appeared out of picnic baskets and purses and backpacks. Our only misstep was not disguising it when we walked through the entrance. Note to self: a felted wine sleeve would be a fun, fast knit. I wonder if I could bear to felt Noro?
Michelle thoughtfully brought fresh organic carrots and celery which went well with my newly acquired, Weight Watchers habits. Jill concocted a fabulous chicken salad sandwich with grapes and walnuts. It was a sandwich and desert all in one. We sat around a table in the garden happily munching, chatting and listening to Celtic music. The fireflies twinkled. We sipped wine. Jill and I knitted. Life seemed so peaceful and quiet and right. I was filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude and at peace with my life.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The sales at the department stores are very good these days, and I took advantage of the opportunity to find clothes-that-fit as opposed to the ones in my closet. The most coveted item of my search still eludes me: knit, black gauchos. If I find two more pairs of pants, I'll have one pair of pants for each day of the work week. Then I will achieve laundry nirvana. Sadly, nirvana is a not permanent state, but I plan to enjoy it while I can.
Between all of the storm watching and shopping, I'm tuckered out. It's time to curl up with a good book before bed.
Monday, June 30, 2008
My parents met when they were in a small-town grade school. They graduated from the same high school class and remember talking to each other, but they never dated. When they took my sister and me to see a movie at the old movie theater, Mom pointed at the balcony and said, "That's where people sat when they made out. I never went up there. Your dad was always up there." Dad looked embarrassed and said, "Yeah, that's probably right." Eventually though, they met again and got married.
Now when they tell stories, Mom remembers some parts and Dad remembers some parts. Dad can usually fill in the part that Mom wouldn't know. Mom was pretty sheltered, but no one kept too many tabs on Dad so he knows the exciting part of the story. On the other hand, Mom could tell us more about what actually happened in school. She says that it is a good thing she has Dad around because it takes the two of them to tell a complete story.
I do get some small town perks and opportunities to catch up with old friends. Wichita is the biggest small town ever. Seriously. Final Friday is a big event. On the last Friday of the month the art galleries in town open their doors, and people stroll from art gallery to art gallery. The trolley shuttles folks back and forth. All kinds of people are chatting and mingling and enjoying themselves. I see my parents' friends, old college friends, acquaintances, neighbors. Pretty much anyone could show up on Final Friday. This week was no exception and I enjoyed seeing the array of people who were out on a summer evening.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Ex sent email updates about Atticus. The emails help me tremendously. I can tell he's being taken care of properly. When the Ex says, Atticus talks, it is appropriate to think of several minutes of loud, insistent meowing, which is normal for that cat. I'm sure the former in-laws thought they were getting a quiet cat to live in the basement with their son.
Update 1: "We're still wanting to hide, but we'll talk. Well, he'll talk to me, at least. So far, wet food hasn't been much of an incentive, but it's more interesting than the dry, at least, that's what he says. Dad says he'll stop hiding when he's ready, but I'm getting a little antsy to have him out and about."
Update 2: "He's been alternately hiding and insisting that I walk around and scritch him as he explores. Got him to eat a little lunch--the dry food--and spent about 45 minutes hunched over petting him as he cruised around the basement sniffing stuff. He went back into one of his hiding places after I went upstairs to get a sandwich, so it's like two steps forward, one step back. "
Basically, Atticus is living with someone who caters to his every whim, as he deserves. It is certainly better than he got from me. I'd cut him off after five minutes of scratching. Norah's much happier too now that she doesn't have to worry about a cranky, old cat whomping her on the head when he felt like it.
Last night I went out to dinner with the women. I was going to write "girls," but frankly, we're grown, we're adults, we've got opinions, and we've got careers. When I was a girl, I lived with my parents, had a curfew, thought everything would be okay if we were all nice to each other. Experiences change things.
We're grown ups. We're women. And let me tell you, that group of women can talk. And laugh. And eat. And carry on even more. It was a delicious dinner from the salad to the soup and lovely, right down to the last bite of white chocolate, raspberry cheesecake. Maybe that's why my stomach hurt too much to go to work today, but my heart was singing. I'm so fortunate to have all of these wonderful friends in my life.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
*Yoga on Saturday morning
*Walking with team Twist this morning and brunch at Sugar Sisters with the lovely Becca
*Sunday afternoon nap
This evening, I'm going to watch the gymnastics Olympic trials and paint my toenails. I am a delicate flower, after all.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
My father constantly reminds cautions against anthropomorphizing, and I know I'm sentimental. Plus, my little sister means the world to me. When I saw that cat looking I after his brother, I knew that both cats were coming home with me. Maybe it should have been a warning sign when the pet store folks bickered about who had to pull the shy kitten from the cage.
As soon as we got home, the shy one disappeared under the couch. For several months, I only saw him as he dashed past me trying to get to another room without human contact. His brother and I were old pals by that time. I named him Trouser. The shy kitty was named Atticus since he was inordinately cautious and prudent. I'd just finished several semesters of Latin and Roman history, and I remembered Cicero's friend Atticus urging Cicero to leave the country to save his life. That pretty much matched the cat I saw lurking under the furniture.
The next year I was married and my husband won a fellowship in creative writing. All the grad students coveted that award because it meant a year to study and write without the burden of teaching classes. Just as dreamed, my husband spent the next year sitting on the couch, reading, writing, and drinking huge quantities of coffee. That was the year that Atticus decided people might be okay. He would sneak up next to my husband and carefully place himself in the same sunbeam. By the end of the year, he was pushing the books and papers off of my husband's lap and taking bites out of notebooks. After another year, he condescended to let me pet him. He took up meowing loudly and often. It's quite a bit like being lectured by a cat.
He and Trouser were good buddies. They romped, snuggled, played and beat the snot out of any other animal that dared to enter their house. In the evening, Trouser sat on my lap and Atticus sat on my husband's lap. Atticus has seemed more fragile since Trouser passed away.
Last week came a trip to the vet. According to the tests, Atticus has kidney disease. He needs to eat special low-protein cat food -- no more regular cat food for him -- and he will probably have some good years left. The kitten is not supposed to eat the low-protein food. Being natural contrarians, they swap food every time they get fed. Atticus' kidney disease would progress more quickly and the kitten might develop problems.
Sometimes doing the right thing is just plain hard. The ex was over on Sunday afternoon and I explained the problem to him. Atticus was so happy to see him that he was practically drooling. Then he walked in figure eights so he could butt his head against me, then the ex, then me. The ex agreed to take Atticus. Tonight I packed up some of the cat toys, the special food, and scratched the kitty as much as he demanded. I cried a little. The ex (and this is why it is impossible to hate him) cried a little. I imagine the two of them will be very happy in a bachelor pad somewhere where the ex still grades lots of papers and spends lots of time reading, writing and drinking very strong coffee. I have even been invited to visit sometimes.