Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh, Nothing and Everything

My mind has been a wash in words. To many letters and syllables floating endlessly around my silly brain. All full of meaning, all full of nothing. Silver ribbon-like sentences wrap around my ears and thread through my nose to exit again from my flapping mouth. Nonsense. Warped and fading like an old newspaper or curling indecipherable like negatives left in the sun, my words are singed and dying on paper and plastic. Or maybe they are swirling down the drain, the little black letters spinning in circles as they spiral their way down, down, down, to be lost in the pipes below my house. To the septic tank they go. Good riddance.

Emptiness spawns discontent, discontent breeds annoyance, and annoyance blooms to hate the status-quo. Something is just not right. Too many things to do every day. Some days the speed with which time eats my day is exponential. While the sun shines my days resemble a giant catapult where I sail over the top of the land seeing everything, but touching nothing. My life will not be a museum. I can not just be a passenger going though the motions.

I was taking a breather, sitting in the shade outside, reclined in the rocking chair with my dry summer feet propped on the wobbly wooden pick-nick bench. Looking out across the special golden light that falls just before the sun sets, I watched the kids riding their bikes in the dirt field. Boys on bikes.

They circled round and round, rode over bumps and breezed through the low flying swarms of gnats. Their halo of innocence shone brightly from their youthful bodies, their internal time machines set for endless days. Time moves slowly for them. Every day is like an eternity in their mind. Nothing ever happens fast enough.

The swarms of bugs flying in that perfect lighting sparkled and shimmered in the long fading rays. Cottonwood trees, yellowing with the season, cast their aura of mellow change. Slow time down, I say.

Stretched to thinly, my gossamer strings are breaking. One by one the taught threads begin to unravel and shred. They are snapping. Something has to give. What falls from the web won't be the heaviest burden. Often the anchors mean the most. Rather the lighter things fall first. As they drift through space, floating away effortlessly, there is a lightness on the web which is not commiserate with the size of the object that has been set free. Those things are easy to do without, they were not important to begin with. It is just deciding where to trim with surgical precision that makes Mrs. Spider realize what is most important and what keeps the web whole.

Mrs. Spider crawls back to the center of her web. She sits and thinks as darkness fully engulfs her world and she notices a half moon glowingly slowly yellow just over the horizon. It is harmoniously half dark and half light; however, for her the balance is still not exactly right. But her decisions have corrected some of the schism. Yin and Yang, black with white, hot to cold. There must be a happy gray in between the lines somewhere.

Coolness descends from a clear star-filled sky in disjointed sheets and tempers the malcontent. The malaise eases and a kind of momentary calm settles over the web. That is only until the golden orb we call the sun rises again and the frenzy begins anew. But maybe tomorrow just a little less feverishly...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Can You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk?

Here's Mr. D, our resident rooster looking wonderful since he has feathers covering his butt. He is actually starting to sprout tail feathers from beneath the "toupee" that is formed over his rear. If you care to see just how bad he looked in the past click here to see a rooster with a naked buttock. The progress here is substantial. There is a fully plumed tail in sight for Mr. D.

Mr. D can strut.
He thinks he is a bad-ass.
He is a bad-ass.
Bad is as bad does.

Last week, my Mom was watching Ella and they went into the chicken pen to get up close and personal with the foul. Mr. D took this opportunity to jump my little innocent baby Ella and he thrashed her a couple times just to prove no one is immune to his charms. Ella only suffered a few tiny scratches, but Mr. D's ego swelled. Damned rooster!

However, the wind of change is in the air. This is the nemesis. Jr Barred-Rock rooster thinks he is a bad ass, but at this point in the battle, he has nothing on Mr. D.

This hulking form of a teen-aged rooster has all the brawn and none of the brains to knock the old man off his roost. Also, he has yet to develop the last and most important, manly tool of a rooster. He is not a true cockerel yet. Something on his anatomy is just not big enough...

What needs to grow more you say?


And proving that size does matter, take a look at the weapons that adorn Mr. D's skinny chicken legs. And by the way, to a rooster, "skinny chicken legs" is not an insult.

Making sure to never look Mr. D right in the eye, Jr. Barred-Rock cowers in his corner pretending he is not there. He is practicing in the ways of the ninja, hiding in broad day light beneath the warlords watchful eye. Mr. D will break out a can of whoop-ass in 0.02 seconds if he sees signs of trouble brewing.

This S.O.B. is one proud rooster.
He has the spurs to back up it up.

For the moment.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This is me.

This is me on a cold...

(Kindergarten's Revenge. Wyatt started school. I don't think any other explanation is necessary. Or I hope not.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who says there is no color in California autumn? You just have to know where to look...

The black oaks (Quercus kelloggii) are shedding their summer clothes again. They hide amongst the live oaks, sneaky-like all summer, and then pow! They suddenly change and you know they are there again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fate of Shmobie, Trouble in a Simple Life

This is Part II or the conclusion to Another Strange Day at the Compound.

If you don't feel like reading this I understand...I can't blame you. Don't feel bad. This story got way too long and turned into my personal nightmare to write up after I decided to do it. But I am following through with what I started. I won't torture anyone with anything like this again. So on that note:

My ghastly visions of a black and white and bloody cat torn to pieces plagued my dreams all night. A fitful, unsatisfying slumber was all I could achieve with the random thoughts of my strangely injured kitty filling all the corners of my sleeping mind.

At 11 p.m. I had carefully carried the softly growling Shmobie out to the office and placed him on a warm blanket atop the guest bed. He immediately settled himself into the endless circle that cats form with their bodies, head touching tail-nose touching feet, round and round they spiral into themselves. He was safe for the moment and quietly resting in his own infinity. That was all I could ask for.

But upon wakening in the morning, I immediately trotted out to check on Shmo and see if he was still alive. After those nightmare-like dreams I had to see for myself. Peeking in the door, I found him sitting with his head up, looking at me with one of those pained expressions cats can make.

I know he knew I was coming. If Shmo is forgotten in the office, under normal circumstances he greets me at the door in the morning. He's not psychic, it is just that the gravel approach to the door gives me away every time. Crunch, crunch, crunch my feet pad across the rocks making rustling sounds. There is no sneaking possible. But the important thing was that cat looked OK. He was not moving, but I could say he looked no worse than the night before.

Sighing in relief, my heart palpitations quieting to normal, I quickly formulated my plan. A brief internet search for veterinarians open on Saturday gave me the location of a practice I had never been to before, but I had to take my pet somewhere quickly I figured. They would be open at 8:30 so I got my kids ready and the cat prepared to transport to the clinic and be the first "people" seen.

With the cat in a giant plastic storage box and two kids strapped into car seats, I drove to the vet listening to Shmobie's cat yodeling in octaves that are not meant for human ears. We arrived at the clinic and I immediately noticed the newly paved parking lot with fresh, bright white lines marking the parking spaces. The clinic staff greeted us at the door as I carried the cumbersome see through box containing my cat to the entrance. We went inside the brown shingled, low-roofed building and filled out paperwork, then were shuffled into an exam room where Shmo could come out of his box.

The prisoner in black and white spots walked around the room sniffing as only a cat can and he spent a considerable amount of time looking closely at the seams formed by the door cracks. Escape would be preferable to the cold, stainless steel table in the center of the room. I knew that was what he was thinking. As he walked he limp on his left foreleg and hind leg.

Meanwhile, with both kids in the exam room, there was the added joy of a steady stream of questions like, "Is Shmobie going to be OK? Where is the vet? How long do we have to stay here? Are they going to keep Shmo? and so on..." Then the vet made his appearance and introduced himself.

After some cursory questions, the vet and his assistant begin their detailed inspection of Shmo. The veterinarian, a man about my age looked at Shmo's leg where the fur was missing, at his head where a bald spot was scalped, and finally took a look at his rear, while Shmo growled and hissed violently. There were miniature arrows with poison dart frog juice on the tips flying from Shmo's eyes as he glared at the pair of them.

Then the vet looked up and casually suggested that he work up a quote for a drain and stitches. He said he could not tell if the cat had any internal injuries or had bleeding organs so blood tests were needed before he could do surgery. But he recommended sewing the cat up under anesthesia and keeping him for over night care. I waited in the exam room with my gang of three. Impatience was rampant and the kids and cat were looking for any way out of the room, but finally the receptionist said it was ready.

I walked out leaving Shmo in the exam room and directed the kids to the play table in the waiting area so I could look at the bill in private. I picked up the freshly printed proposal and nearly choked up a furball. The bottom line read $807.00.

Immediately my hackles were raised and I was angry. How on earth could a surgery on a cat cost this much, but I did not pull out my machine gun and start firing. I wanted to be fair. But 800 dollars was outrageous. Extortion over a loved pet!! I love my cat but I also have some limits.

Looking over the bill I immediately saw things that could be eliminated from the procedure. I am not a vet, but have played one on TV. I have enough common sense to determine that the cat did not need 100 dollars in vaccine updates to have surgery. And there were a series of blood tests that were really not necessary either.

What was really going on here?

On a whim I decided to call over to my "normal" vet to see if they were in the office. Sometimes there are staff there for patients who are in the hospital for the weekend.

I listened to the ringing on the other end of the line, three, four, five rings, no answer. But then "Hello, -----veterinary Hospital." And voila, there was a friendly voice on the other end of my cell phone. Unbelievable.

I excused my self from the vet clinic office and walked out the front door to talk. "Hi," I said, "I have a cat with an injury and am wondering if you can give me a quote for some procedures that he may need. I did not realize you were open today.... Can we go over some costs? Yes, thanks. How much do you charge for anesthesia? Oh, that's half of what this clinic is charging." We proceeded to go through the flaming invoice I held and determined their clinic would charge roughly 400 for the same procedure and I stated, "I am bringing my cat to you, OK?"

Walking back into the over priced vet practice, with a look of disgust on my face I addressed the administrative staff immediately. "This quote is too high. I'm taking my cat elsewhere," I told the petite gal dressed in cute pink scrubs.

She blinked her long eye lashes a couple times while staring at me and then said in a whisper, "I don't blame you. They charge a lot here. I would too."

Then, as if on cue, the vet breezed back into the reception area wearing dollar signs on his glasses. The color green was in his sights, or so he thought.

"I'm taking my cat now," I told him with certainty. "You're quote is too high for me. I can't spend that kind of money." My eyebrows were raised while I looked him in the eye. My six foot height did not make it difficult to seem intimidating.

Then the veterinarian backed up a few feet and told me, "Well maybe your cat will be OK if you just flush his wound with a Betadine solution... Uhhhh, or if you just give him antibiotics he might make it. There is a chance he could survive without the drain. It is possible he could make it with medicine alone." I was amazed that this stammering vet was attempting to save a sale, or so it seemed.

"Well, thank you. That's all," I told him as I payed my 50 dollars for his expert analysis of my cat with a hole in his buttock.

Then with Shmobie in his box, covered with a sheet and two kids squawking like baby chicks at my side, I fluffed up as only a mother hen can and took my brood away from the blood sucking leach who was passing himself as a veterinarian.

So there were were again. The three of us, my two kids and I, were driving down the main street in town, but this time with a fourth member in our posse. The temperatures were rising fast and the day promised to be scorching. Shmobie was again screaming at us about his predicament. My ears were slowly starting to drip blood with every painful meow.

Shmobie was trapped in a plastic see through storage box wrapped with a sheet for a lid. The sides of the sheet were tucked tightly under the box and his weight alone was keeping it secure. His concept of motion was limited to where he can go with his own four feet. The current situation left him slightly disgruntled and he was pushing with his head against the sheet trying to burrow his way out of the box like a rodent.

Under duress, we drove for 10 minutes to reach my normal vet office and went through the unloading process all over again. I wish I had known they were open in the first place. The office staff admitted Shmo and told me that Dr. Laurie would look at him in between patients since they were overbooked. I reluctantly left my cat, feeling a dreadful sinking in my belly and a sense of worry with this disconnect from my friend. Things were just not going our way and it did not seem like they would get any better. But I had no other options at that point. I had to leave him and wait.

The office assistant told me, "Dr. will give you a call after she has looked at your cat. We won't do anything without your permission." And on those assurances we walked out leaving Shmo and hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

"Ella. Wyatt. Let's go to the store while we wait to see what the Dr. says about Shmo. OK? Load up." And down the block we drove to assault the market.

"How about some pop sickles kids?" I asked as we went down the frozen food isle. We grabbed two boxes of pops and joyful smiles erupted on cherub faces. We filled the grocery cart with the staples like milk, bread, and apples; and I contained my children from pulling stuff off the shelves and pensively thought about my cat.

Then the phone rang once and was silent. Damn. Looking at the screen I saw the number from the clinic on the digital readout. Drat. Why did it only ring once? I missed the vet's call. Now what?

"Beep." The phone chirped at me again. It was a voice mail! Hallelujah!

I dialed into the messages and punched my code in as fast as my giant fingers could manage with the tiny numbers on the keypad. The factual voice of my vet began, "Hi Julia. I looked at your cat and he has an abscess. I don't think that hole has anything to do with him getting into a scrape with a car. We can give him some antibiotics and he will be fine. If I put a drain in him, as suggested by the other vet, the size of it would be as big as the hole that is already there. Shmo is ready for you to pick up when you can get back to the clinic. He will be fine in about a week with the medication."

Relief! Gratitude? Exasperation. All kinds of thoughts flooded my mind while walking through the produce aisle, herding my kids from impending disaster. Wyatt could bring an entire pile of apples down on his head so I was wearing my multi-tasking cape of mommy avenger.

But my cat was going to be OK without surgery and a huge bill. We hustled back to the clinic and collected my cat for a short journey home. His screaming about travel did not bother me half so much since I was ecstatic that we only paid 73 additional dollars for his antibiotics and pain killer.

What made me so upset about this entire episode was the underhanded audacity of the 1st veterinarian. Playing upon owners emotions and suckering them into procedures that are not necessary, I am sure he makes a living extorting money from his patients owners by pulling at their heart strings. Ordinary soft-hearted, easily swayed pet owners could easily be persuaded to spend outrageous amounts of money on their pets. Luckily, I have financial limits for my pets, even though they are an important part of our family, and my disgust at seeing a bill for over 800 dollars almost sent me into a conniption fit in the veterinarian-scoundrel's office. Compound that with his staff member's comments that "he charges too much" and my vet's analysis of NO SURGERY and I felt like driving back to that guy's office to tell him how awful he really was.

But in the end Shmo spent five days on lock down taking his medicine like a good boy and has returned to the land of the living. My personal analysis of his strange injuries could be attributed to: 1. abscess forming on his rear. 2. he got clipped by a car. 3. being clipped by car ruptured the abscess that was on the way to bursting already. So seemingly related events were not truly cause and effect in the way that makes sense. But isn't that how many things are if you look close enough?

"I am fine. Please, don't look at my butt!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures in Camping: We Survived, Barely

Can you fathom that it takes this much crap to spend ONE night out of doors with a family of four.

Well it does.

We were supposed to go to the redwood forest with tall, tall trees that smell amazing, but somehow someone booked the wrong dates at the County park. When we drove up to the kiosk to enter our fantasy destination we were shown this error in our MY reading skills:

(I booked our reservations for August because I am a DUMB ASS. Good thing it was only a 15 minute drive from home.)

Devastated by the error I had made, I was grief-stricken and close to sobbing tears, but my husband Mike made a quick phone call to our friends who have 100 acres of hilltop land between the redwoods and our house. We arranged to camp at their place instead. I mean, how can we not camp when it takes longer to pack the car then it takes to drive to the camp site? We had to do something!

This is the entrance to our wilderness expedition into the oak woodland.

The black oaks were showing various color changes from orange to yellow, gracing our trip with shades of fall.

Here is the view from the top of the ridge where we camped.

Imagine The Sound of Music playing loudly in the background and Julie Andrews singing angel-like as our little family traipsed merrily across the dry grasses on hilltops, hoping that the vegetation did not spontaneously burst into flames during our camping experience.

With a bright pink shirt I was hopeful that I would be visible under any circumstance and not mistaken for a deer and get accidentally shot by hunters.

Then after eating dinner by the fading rays of the sun, we stoked up the campfire for the obligatory smores eating. Ella had to be cut off rather quickly from the fun since she inhaled something like 10 marshmallows almost instantly.

The marshmallows were roasted to perfection. Well, at least perfection in my mind. I can skip the chocolate and just eat toasted sugar for dessert.

Then we slept.

And awoke to find THIS!

Hmmmm. Does anybody know who was prowling around our campsite during the night?

That is the heel of my size 12 foot next to a feline print, softly embedded in the loose dirt. This is the hind foot print of a large yellow cat that came sniffing about the edge of the camp ground. (The top print is a front foot. They are smaller.)

And a set of tracks showing both front and back. I am sure you know who our guest was by now. Yes, it was a mountain lion, possibly a small female, but more likely a juvenile. Since normally mountain lions avoid the smell of people and human camp sites, I would place a bet this was a recently "fledged" juvenile just checking things out for himself.

And here is where you all are supposed to faint in terror.

At 3:00 am, Ella had to climb into the sleeping bag with me and share my spacious cot. So if the jr. mountain lion was really hungry and it was somewhere after 3 am when it came to see us, it would have been in for a real treat. A two for one special. Call me crazy, but I'd camp here again and not think twice about it, just inside the tent. I am not stupid after all. There is safety in numbers.

A morning moment at the campfire after my close shave with teeth and claws. My son is still addicted to his thumb. Some day I am going to coat his fifth digit in hot pepper sauce. Wyatt promised when he turned 5 he would stop sucking his thumb, but said, "Mom, I can't stop it. I just can't do it."

Below is a picture of comforts from home for Ella with her blanket and not so comforting experimentation with a new tool of destruction for Wyatt at the campground.

What camping trip is complete without a boy and an ax?

Eat your mush boy! We've got some hikin' to do!!!!

And to prove I don't accidentally blunder into poison oak here is a picture of a little beauty for the Olde Dame herself... but I don't get poison oak anyway so there!

While hiking I saw lichens that I really liked... That's a fungus and an algae teamed up in a symbiotic relationship for their mutual benefit.

The oaks were loaded with little presents for the fall season. These acorns represent new oaken lives just waiting to happen, or not....since most get eaten before they have a chance to germinate and start new trees. The deer ravage the ground beneath the trees once the acorns start to drop.

I think the acorns are like a promise that life will renew it self, someway, somehow, regardless of what we humans do.

Then before we went back to our house, the kids got a turn on the tire swing and screamed instantly to get off because it was too scary. Yes, that is a look of panic on Wyatt's face and Ella was yelling frantically at this point. Since they had been begging us for upward of an hour to ride it and we finally obliged them, they had to endure a couple swings that were unsolicited. Payback is hell.

So another adventure is complete. Now I have to redeem myself and prove I can make reservations for our next trip to the forest. October, that is month 10 I believe...

And I promise Shmo's story finale is next. It's half written already. Yes, Pooba you will have your answers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Camping Part I - A Study in Leaves and Colors

We made it back. There are more stories and explanations involved. But I have to travel this week on business and am short time for blogging. Boo hoo for me!

But I did a study on leaves and colors while camping and was kind of obsessed with the dark red Madrone leaves and peeling bark in contrast to the black oak leaves which were still green.

How many ways can you take a picture of leaves?

Too many ways...

And yet another... Are you bored yet?

P.S. Shmobie is OK, but there is quite story behind it. Get it, I made a pun. That situation will be explained in full when I return from travel too. When my work gets in the way of blogging, I know the economy is getting better. I just sincerely hope this means jobs prospects will improve for those who need it most.

Bye for now!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gone Camping

Have a great weekend everybody!

We will see if we can survive and overnight... in the woods.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another Strange Day at the Compound

An unrelenting, energy stealing, dry wind continues to dwindle my reserves and throw me into a torpor during the daylight hours. Today topped out at 107 at our house in the shade. My car thermometer read 110, but it has been known to lie.

Last night, after 10:00, as I sat mindlessly on the couch watching something unmemorable on the TV, I remembered just how much of television programming is virtually unwatchable. Between the strange MTV movie with a boy cutting off his possessed hand and John and Kate Plus 8, I found something to watch that had no lasting impression upon me other than the fact that I can not remember it.

Meanwhile, my black and white Shmobie cat came and lay down on the pillow above my head, letting his body become one with the furniture. He likes to sit down and rest next to me in the evenings and submits himself to some occasional fur petting.

My mind strayed to the wicked dry heat that cooked images into my brain while taking my kids out to get a smoothy in the late afternoon. We clambered into the truck, blasted the air conditioner on max, and I complained to the kids about the weather. Predictable, typical, unavoidable. Bumping down our single lane country road I was reminded just how bad the asphalt patch job on the pavement was. Sub-grade for sure since the truck leaps at the beginning and end of each black length of road resurfacing. So much for quality County work.

We bounced our way into town and pulled up at the light near Jack in the Box and I immediately noticed the median was on fire. The whispers of gray smoke simmering from the short red and blue flames on the tan bark were remarkable. I was stupefied as I pulled up next to the small blaze burining just outside my window. The landscaping was on f-ing fire.

With a touch of laughter in my voice I said, "Hey kids, look at that! The wood chips are on fire! That's how hot it is today." They rubber necked from their car seats but did not really know what to say, but I can't blame them. The thought of fruity drinks obviously froze their minds.

I am sure some careless, dumb ass, idiot tossed a cigarette butt out their car window. Ha ha. Real funny Einstein. Brilliance in the heat. Genius's are on the lurch. Beware California.

Pulling through the drive through I settled on mango flavored smoothies for the kids and a peach sweet tea for me. The thought of exiting my vehicle was akin to jumping off Niagra Falls, but then again that may have been a preferred alternative to the insane heat outside.

With frosty drinks in hand and happy kids sucking down something in between real fruit and sugar syrup, we merged back on the main road only to see an orange fire truck and four fully suited California Department of Fire employees putting out a blaze I could have stamped out with my foot. This was the miracle of our tax dollars at work.

Then merging into traffic I was simultaneously startled and impressed with the huge gray and black plumes that were erupting from the hills across the valley. With my eyebrows raised to my hairline I asked my little side kicks, "When did that happen, Kids???"

"What's that mom?" Wyatt wondered out loud from the back seat.

"What do you think that is, Wyatt?" I asked back. I figured I aught to see just how much my kindergartner knows. We've had quite a few fires in our area during his short five years of life. Last summer, helicopters were flying over our house for two weeks continuously with 500 gallon bags of water threatening to pull them to the ground.

Piping back like an eager bird Wyatt responded, "THAT'S a fire mom!"

"Yep! Right oh-son-of-mine! Well done." He's getting to be a smart but pesky little guy.

To be proud of your offspring is an inherent flaw I think all parents can not help; and to fall into the trap of of thinking your own child is bright and special is equally difficult to avoid. It try to maintain some level of impartiality with my kids. I was not surprised by Wyatt's conclusion, just assured that he has been paying attention to what happens in our little universe. And my attention thoroughly removed from the bright colors and erratic movements on the television screen allowed me to watch it and absorb nothing.

During my trip to the land where the brain ceases to function, my vision had returned to me and I noticed that Shmobie cat had some blood spots around where he was sitting on my couch. Bright red circles about one inch in diameter were imprinted on the green quilted blanket on which he was resting. Let the inspection begin I thought to myself. Fun times ahead, right?

I had a brief vision of wrapping Shmo in a towel to avoid a potential clawing, but decided that may be a hasty decision and not quite necessary at this moment. After all, I survived being spurred by a mad rooster not too long ago. And this was a tame house cat.

He had been acting more sluggish than normal so a close inspection of the largest member of our feline family commenced. Normally, weighing in at 18lbs there is a lot of cat to investigate. I picked him up and noticed right away that there were black marks on the tips of his white fur and he was covered in a layer of dust. No good with signs like this. More assessments of the leggy beast revealed a bald spot on his head and leg where fur was gone. Conclusion: This cat has been hit by a car. Which of his nine lives had been cashed in this time?

But the blood. I could not find the source of the blood. Maybe he coughed it up, but there was no sign of blood in his mouth. Mysterious blood. Strange.

After being handled Shmobie wandered into my room to hide under the bed. All he managed to scoot beneath the cream colored bed skirt was his head. The rest of his unnaturally long body and monkey-like tail were plainly visible. He was too sore scuttle under the bed; that means trouble.

"Shmo. I can still see you, " I told him after following him into my room. Windows wide open to the night were still not helping alleviate the heat of the day. I picked up my cat and put him on my bed so he could rest where no one would accidentally step on him. That would add insult to injury for my obviously distressed friend. All I can think is that my poor cat is feeling awful and almost died today. He appeared fine this morning and had all his fur.

"Well, rest my furry friend," I told him as I was turning to leave the room. Then he lifted his body to rearrange his lanky frame and there it was again. A round blood colored circle imprinted on my white sheets. The slow-to-warm florescent bulb in my head finally heated to full brightness, and I new where to look. The rear end. Nothing like claws, teeth and the back end of a cat to make you think twice about being their friend.

So putting a towel over the most deadly part of Shmobie, I pinned his head and upper body to the bed and peeked at the place below his tail. Pulling back the longer black fur that helps protect his buttock, I could see an open wound of the like I had never seen on any animal before. There was a hole approximately one inch in diameter that went into his rear between his cat butt and penis. And upon further looking, it was at least a fingers length deep.

Recoiling in terror, disgust and remorse I thought the worst. My cat is going to be dead. How is this cat going to pee?? He must have tore open when he got hit by a car.

Not knowing cat internal anatomy, I regrouped and thought about the situation. Maybe it's not as bad as it looks. The damn cat is still walking and climbing the furniture, albeit slowly.

Logic taking over, I decided what to do. Tomorrow. I will face this tomorrow. A hot, dry wind blowing through the screen of my sliding glass door was sucking the last bit of strength from my already fatigued body. My only question was, "What vet is open on Saturday?"

Part II to come. (BTW-I wrote this last weekend. I am not good at dates...)

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...