The Kitten In The House

My old, loving, sweet-tempered, devoted male cat passed away two years ago at the age of 19. We had been together since he was 6 weeks old, and he slept with me every night.

His passing left a big hole in my life.

True, we still had the other cat, a bad-tempered foul-mouthed cat who refuses to cuddle. She also belongs to my husband. And a few months after my cat’s death, we added my daughter’s cat, who is mild-mannered, sweet, but nonetheless my daughter’s cat.

I wanted a cat of my own. After all, I am the cat person in the house. So I talked to my husband, and he said no, which meant I could get a cat.

I wanted a cat that would be devoted to me. And adoption experts told me my best shot at that would be a male kitten. So I started looking.

About six weeks ago I found him. He’s not anything like I expected he would look. He is an orange mackerel tabby with a pink nose and paw pads.

He is extremely high energy, and loves to play. He learned very quickly that the younger cat loves to play with him, and the older cat wants nothing to do with him.

He discovered the world of cat toys that crinkle, jingle and smell nice. He discovered that if he brings back a toy thrown for him to chase, it will be thrown again.

He discovered gravity, after walking on the outside of the railings on the balcony, and losing his balance. Luckily the tree broke his fall and he was not injured.

He discovered that jumping onto a human’s back and clinging with claws is generally not well received.

He discovered that he can hang by his front paws on a window to get a better look at the outside.

He discovered that the older cats eat twice a day and he joins them for a few bites to be social (he has his own feeding station with kitten food).

He discovered that when I am sitting, he can take a kitten nap on me.

He discovered that sitting in a box next to my computer means he can be by me if he can’t be on me.

And he discovered that if he greets me as soon as I walk in the door, he will get an extra cuddle.

This kitten is exactly what I was looking for.img_3111

The Failed Garden

Photo by serenejournalIt’s a running joke in my house, those four square raised boxes in the backyard, filled with dirt.

Every winter I plan. Every spring I plant. And every summer I watch the garden fail.

Except for the plants I can’t stand (rosemary, basil), which I plant to keep bugs off the stuff I want.

This year was worse than most.

My squash failed. Of course. I’m the only person in the world who cannot grow zucchini.

But also my lettuce never came up. My tomatoes withered under the onslaught of near constant rain. The peas withered with the same cause.

Grand total coming out of the garden this year: a handful of green beans and a dozen tiny cherry tomatoes.

That’s a spectacular failure, even for me.

I’m so used to failure in this area that it really doesn’t phase me. There are other hobbies I could have that would be much more expensive to suck at.

I do take comfort in a conversation I had with my next door neighbor, though, who is a master gardener. He said, “I’ve never seen a summer like this. I got maybe six tomatoes, and everything else failed. Except the jalapenos.”

So now that cooler weather is approaching, I will replant with spring veggies. I should be able to get another crop of lettuce, radishes, carrots and peas in. It’s the first time I’ve done a fall garden. We’ll see how it goes.

Photo by serenejournal

High School

Photo by John PickenWell, today is my daughter’s first day of high school. She is off on the bus, having a 10 minute ride for the first time since first grade. She’s well ahead of where she needs to be…she’s already completed her high school language requirements, as well as Algebra and Geometry.

She is going to the school I taught at last year. As much as I wanted to be there for her, I couldn’t do that to myself. She understands.

It’s a plus and a minus, her attending that school. I understand the schedules, the processes and how lunch works. She has been happy in that knowledge.

I know the teachers (plus). I know the building (plus). I know the administration (minus). I know the student attitude (minus).

I am hoping that she will be isolated from the general attitudes of the school and lack of discipline…she will not be in typical freshman classes, and she will be with the kids who understand how to work.

But I still worry. I worry about who her friends will be. I worry about her getting caught in the middle of something (after all, there was a bomb threat in my classroom last year). I worry about her being challenged enough.

And I worry that my little girl has disappeared.

Photo by John Picken