Wind and wondering…

The boring computer work of the day is over. Now I can get onto other, more fun things…

Like, how I’ve been wondering lately, ever since I got them, really, just what kind of ducks are these?

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I have narrowed it down to two options: Indian Runners or Khaki Campbells.

On a backyard chickens site I was reading a woman posted pictures of ducklings that look just like these. She had purchased them from the same chain store I had and was wondering what breed they were. Most people guessed Khaki Campbells. Later she reported they turned out to be Indian Runners. I would be happy with either one, as both have their strong suits.

Indian Runners stand very upright and have tiny wings so they can’t fly. This would be great…no duck chasing! And no wing clipping. They are good egg layers and are on the quiet side. Indian Runners are also very sweet-natured.

Khaki Campbells are beautiful ducks. When mature they have a lovely soft tan coat…do you say coat with ducks? Anyway, they are gorgeous and I have always loved them. Also, they are one of THE BEST egg layers…which is really what I’m after. Of course, with the khakis, I will have to clip wings. That’s ok, I’ve done it before. I used to help mom clip all the chicken wings when I was little. Of course, I wondered why they could still fly after she had clipped them. Now I know it’s because she did it wrong! I will do better.

Here’s a web photo of the khakis.

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I’ve always admired that emerald green of the drakes combined with that taupe.

Yesterday was art class day. The class is turning out to be an introduction to many forms of drawing. I would have preferred one focused on pencil drawing, but go with the flow, right? I’m just hoping some of what I’m learning will translate to fabric, as that is my main focus.

Here are a couple of yesterday’s efforts where we brushed with ink.

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Overall, it was a fun experiment, although I never feel like I know what I’m doing.

I have the same feeling working with cloth most days.

I did manage to get a border on this log cabin piece. Finding background cloths is so challenging for me. I’m not really sure why.

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I’m also feeling afraid to do any more stitching…I don’t want to mess it up. I love that messy moon, how it seems to ooze color splotches to the right. I want to accentuate that, but how? I sketched out some ideas. If I work up the nerve, I will try some.

Weather has been windy windy windy. Every day, wind! It is so windy and dry the state is experiencing serious wildfires for the second year in a row. The fires are west of here, but the past few nights the air has been filled with the smell of wood smoke and the sky is hazy. One night there were wildfires in the west and tornado warnings very close to the north. That’s Kansas for you.

Time for me to go. It’s duckie bath time!

 

Calgon, take me away…

My bathtub is back.

Ahhhhh…..

It only took four days for me to realize having the duckies inside was NOT going to work long term. It did get them past the worst of the cold, I think. And I am more confident now about keeping them warm when the temps dip down, as the forecast (if it can be believed) indicates will happen at least a couple of nights this week. I still have some things to take out to them in Chicky’s shed, but for now they are dry, fed, watered and very warm.

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As you can see, they’ve already grown. It’s quite amazing because every morning I could tell a difference in their size. In a day I had to go back to the larger water trough, as the smaller containers just weren’t working out. The large chick feeder also had to go. It was just too long and the duckies had the habit of going from food to water, food to water, food to water, so that the food was getting soaked and the water was, well, disgusting. I know the water will still be disgusting…ducks are messy…but I’m hoping keeping the food and water apart will slow them down a bit, give them a little of a journey so they exercise more (they are already tired of being cooped up in this tub and can you blame them?) and make less mess for me to clean up.

I know I can’t call them the duckies forever. I didn’t mean to name them. I didn’t want to name them. But, I ended up naming them, pretty much on the first day. Like most small things, anything can happen to them and I didn’t want to get attached by naming them, but, too late, it happened automatically.

When I thought of potential names, an old store that used to be here when I was a kid in the 70s popped into my mind. TG&Y it was called. Its nickname was “Turtles, Girdles and Yoyos” because you could get just about anything you were looking for there. I like the nickname and used it as an idea for naming the duckies. They are now: Myrtle, Gyrtle and Yoyo. (Turtle just wasn’t working for me.)

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Now that MG&Y are back in the shed, we will see each other less. To make up for the time away and to keep them used to me (hopefully) I decided to spend a little time every day reading to them. I’m not much of a talker, but I can read. Today they got to hear about crushing grapes at Cecelia’s place. They settled right down, snuggling into their grass and pine chips for story time. Yoyo (the one with the yellow band around its neck who I suspect may be a drake/boy) even fell asleep.

While in the shed I noticed the Asian lady bugs that wintered over there were up and swarming, trying to find their way out.

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I could have opened the window for them, but why deny MG&Y the fun? They love pecking at bugs. Maybe they will even eat a few.

On the sewing front, I had some fun with In Nature this weekend. I started adding lace…and couldn’t stop.

While playing with lace I was reminded of another time when I got to play with lace. I stopped by the home of a wedding dress maker I knew, back many moons ago when I was a 20-something and worked at Hancock Fabrics in Texas. This lady would come in and buy yards and yards of brilliant white satin for the gowns she made for new brides.

This night when I stopped by her house – it was so long ago I don’t remember why or even what her name was…Anne, I think – she was working on a dress and, so she said, wasn’t getting anywhere and what did I think. I looked at the lace pieces she had scattered about and began placing them in a dramatic yet orderly fashion. There was a lot of lace as it was a huge train she was attempting to decorate. When I was finished with my masterpiece, Anne said that looks great and thanks that really helped. I’m sure she was just being polite and had her own vision firmly in place, but it really was a lot of fun.

I really loved all these pieces surrounding the center square…and left them for a day or so just to enjoy them.

I was surprised how nicely the purple worked.

In the end, I decided to go with this one, although it’s not stitched on yet.

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We’ll see. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

P.S. H knows now. Nothing I do really surprises him any more.

What the tea did…

Here are the bits I tea-soaked yesterday…

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I put samples of the originals next to the tea-dyed ones. Pretty dramatic change on the blues…not so much on the yellow and white piece. Hardly anything at all on the tatted flowers. You never know…

I’ve been trying out some ideas on In Nature…

Last night I got it basted to the larger cloths, both of which were also tea-dyed yesterday. I actually stitched on the wrong side of the white one…shhhhh…don’t tell anybody.

I really like that green silk. Is it obvious?

My ipad has a nice drawing feature. I know, it’s taking me forever to learn how to use that thing.

Idea one:

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Idea two:

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What do you think?

Ok, I’m trying to write the rest of this surreptitiously. I’ve got the screen shrunk down to a small square because…H still doesn’t know. He’s busy getting ready for an event he’s working tonight. So, I’m typing bits here and there when he’s out of the room. It’s not that I’m trying to keep the ducklings a secret at this point. I’m more interested in seeing how long it takes before he notices.

I’ve officially kept them alive for two days now. It’s also clear to me that they’ve already grown.

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This is bath time. They love it, of course…like a duck to water and all that…I throw in bits of grass for them to nibble on. The water was a little deeper today so they could actually do a half swim scoot through it. It’s really impressive how fast they can move.

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The plate is there so they can get out of the water and rest if they want to. Ducklings can get tired quickly…they can also drown. So, bath time is supervised closely.

While the duckies are having a bath, I’m busy cleaning their tub, which is in my bathtub. Still not real thrilled about that one, but it has to do for now.

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How do you like that fancy watering system? It actually works great. Until they have a bigger space and I can use the gallon size one I bought, these will be fine. You have to be careful not to cut the hole too large, otherwise they will climb in. A couple of them have already tried.

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I did just have the small container, but I added two more. One is on the end towards you in this picture. Now that they have 3 watering holes the entire tub is now soaking wet, instead of just one corner. Oh goody. That means more to clean up. Keeping them supplied with water is very important, but I am now rethinking that 3rd container.

I also realized today I did jump the gun on getting these guys. If H gets offered the job we will be traveling to check things out and likely gone for several days. If our friend has time to keep an eye on things for us like he did last time, all will be well. If not, we will have to rely on family, which would be both fine and also a worst-case scenario. Maybe the duckies will be going with us. I’m only half kidding. Either way, if he doesn’t find out on his own, H will have to be let in on the secret soon…

On the plus side, I highly recommend the experience of owning ducks and/or chickens. Watching them, I can literally feel my blood pressure going down. It is so relaxing. Today I asked them Are you having fun? They all stood up straight, flapped their tiny wings, peeped at the top of their tiny lungs and ran around the tub like lunatics.

It was great.

I’ll tell H soon. He wouldn’t want to miss this.

 

 

 

 

 

Look what I did…

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I didn’t mean for it to happen.

I didn’t plan for it to happen.

It just happened

Seriously, it was an innocent trip to Orscheln (pronounced Orsh-lin here because no one knows how to say Orscheln. They simply call it Tractor Supply in Oklahoma!)…Orscheln, the only store in town that just happens to have a giant sign outside that says:

Chick Days!

Upon entering the store, I made a beeline for the seed displays. That is, after all, why I went there…for seeds, yes, for seeds. Really. I probably ignored the peeping sounds coming from the opposite corner of the store, which seemed to bounce off the rafters and fill up every space…for a good 7, well, maybe 5 minutes. Anyway, as long as it takes to pick out half a dozen seed packets.

Finally, I gave up. It wouldn’t hurt to look.

And, I did look…longingly at the chicks…more longingly at the only five ducklings they had, whose breed was simply the mystery of “Hatchery Choice.”

I looked, I left, I went to the cashier, paid for my seeds intending to get in my car and drive away…but started asking questions about the ducklings.

What kind are those? When will you get more? etc…

“I don’t know if we’re going to get any more ducklings in,” the nice lady at the register told me honestly. “We ordered 600…and we got 15. They got here this morning, and ten of them already sold.”

That’s all it took. The thought of going another year without ducklings, of losing my chance to try my hand at duck management… duck mommyhood…whatever…was more than I could bear.

I turned tail and headed back to the chirping section, wrangled three fuzzy brown quackers into a chick box, grabbed feed, watering tray, etc…and brought them home.

H doesn’t even know yet.

I managed to move them into my bathroom last night after he fell asleep. They were out in Chick’s shed (he’s been kicked out, poor thing, but it’s warmer…) but it was way too cold last night for ducklings. I kept checking the temperature, but it would not do. My bathroom is cold, too, although really the nicest place in the house…H says it looks like a hotel, but I think it’s better than that. I really didn’t want ducklings in my bathtub…although wouldn’t it be fun to see them every time I went in there…and wouldn’t they get to know me faster and, perhaps even bond a bit… but, needs must. I snagged a reliable space heater, cranked the house heat to 75, and put the electric blanket underneath their box on High. It worked. They lived through the night.

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It’s not that I’m hiding them from H. I had an upset stomach last night which was a perfectly legitimate – if not totally forthcoming – excuse for me to keep the space heater going all night in my cold, cold bathroom…just in case I had to dash in there, I wanted it to be warm. Well, I did.

By morning it was obviously too warm, so temperatures were lowered and all is well. They’ve even had a bath and played in a tub of water.

I am the first to admit the decision was hasty, and that I had not done my homework when setting up my duckling’s home. I did do a bit of speed reading on a getting started with ducks post on a backyard chickens site. I had to do a fair amount to get them settled and later realized this watering tray was WAY too big for right now, so that’s been changed, too.

H still doesn’t know. I’m guessing I will have to confess when he gets home. Actually, now I’m curious to know how long it will take before he notices something is different

In my own defense, he promised me ducks AND chickens AND a chicken coop last year…and none of it came to fruition. So, I was perfectly justified in taking matters into my own hands. Right?

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Anyway, in other news…I made H homemade scones last night, so if he fusses about the ducks…after all we may be moving…soon…I’m trying not to think about that part…I’ll just remind him how delicious those English cheddar cheese and date scones were…and wouldn’t he like some more? There are leftovers, sweetie. We even have more bacon…

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Also, I scrubbed his toilet and shower this morning. I’ve earned brownie points.

I’ve never made scones before. Or, if I have, it’s been too long ago and I’ve forgotten. Of course, if they’d been this good, I would never have forgotten. I paid $3.50…or some other outrageous fee…for a raspberry scone at an Oklahoma tea shop last weekend and these were hands down waaaaayyyy better. Thanks for the recipe, Cecelia!

Well, I have other things to do, so I can’t stay on here for long. I have a duck tub to clean out and ready for tomorrow, along with some more indoor water adjustments to do…ducks drink a lot of water! I am currently tea dyeing some miscellaneous laces, tattings and fabrics and must tend to them. Also, I really need to get some seedlings started…time is flying.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s already…

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Cats and cloth…

Today is mostly about cats…again.

Perhaps it’s that there is a lot to say about them, and perhaps this is indicative of the fact that they take up such a large space in my world.

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This is a rare cuddly moment with Matty. She loves to cuddle, especially first thing in the morning. But now that she is nearly grown up, she is often out the door and more interested in exploring the world outside than snuggling. I am actually ok with that because I have four others waiting for attention. Some days Olive won’t go outside until she’s had some petting. She seems to think when she jumps on a particular kitchen chair that means she will instantly be petted…and usually it does. She’s hard to disappoint. She lands there and looks at me expectantly. I’m here! Ready for petting!

Chicky won’t eat until he’s had a good head scratch. He’s always been like that, probably because when he first came to us he was completely wild (like Olive) and I began petting him while he was distracted by food. It worked. And, anyway, it is adorable and sweet.

Buggar, like Matty, loves the morning petting, which basically involves me holding her on my left shoulder (ugh! she’s heavy!), petting her incessantly for 15 to 20 minutes (I’m not kidding), allowing her to drool all over me- yuck!, coating me in cat hair and then bounding off of me (using claws!) with absolutely no notice, often scratching me or snagging my clothes in the process. After 7 years of this I’ve begun telling her NO…I’m not holding.

This morning, in a rare moment of being only cat as the others were outside, Weanie spotted my empty lap, giggled and came right over. I actually don’t pet Weanie for extended periods of time very often as, in this regard, too, she is high maintenance. She won’t sit still and tends to wiggle and hoist her girth around  – maybe searching for the right spot to be massaged? I don’t know, but it’s really annoying. But, knowing she’s had a rough go of it lately, I humored her and let her coat my new blue velvet jogging suit with a great deal of her plush, although shedding, cat hair. (It’s spring, so they’re all shedding…ugh.) Perhaps I sound unkind, and I’m sure they think that of me, but these are some of the most spoiled cat beasties you will ever meet. Don’t forget, their Dada is around in the evenings for petting, too. They do get plenty of hands-on attention, even if it is just snippets here and there.

However, this morning I loved on Weanie for a good 10 minutes, even holding her in my arms for half of that, until she tried to do her thing and start flipping onto her back to allow me a better angle. (Keep in mind she weighs at least 20 lbs.) I quietly told her no, that’s enough, and set her down beside me and continued to pet her off and on. But these cats are pushy. And a bit of petting is never enough. Finally, I had to make her get down. At which point she nastily wahed! at me. And I was reminded how cats are, by nature, ungrateful.

As if that wasn’t enough drama and I hadn’t been clear enough that I wasn’t petting, five minutes later she started all over again, noticing my empty lap (translation: you’re available for petting) and making a beeline for it. I told her no, go get in your place, and pointed to her bed (their places all have fresh blankies that I keep washed for them on a regular basis – hmph!) on the back of the couch. She went there and last I looked she had her back – and her big rump – defiantly pointed in my direction.

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This was taken yesterday when we were all enjoying the spring green and cool temps together under the flowering bush. H says Buggar has RBF…resting bitch face. And, she does. Although in this photo I think she was mainly squinting as she looked up, but that’s basically it, the RBF. When I wouldn’t pet/hold her for a droolfest this morning, but tried to make it up to her with a little petting, she actually whipped around and hissed/snarled at me. Yep, that’s the thanks I get. And that’s a good shot of Weanie’s backside, the one that was on view just a few minutes ago. Just imagine all that packed into a tight objectionable ball.

Now, Olive, who has the sweetest disposition of all the cats, has become our snake catcher. It started this winter. Now that spring is upon us, it seems there has been a hatch of garter snakes. I found one playing  ‘possum that she’d caught (she loses interest when they don’t wiggle about – a great defensive mechanism! Except of course for that dead one this winter that she kept carrying around – blegh.) I took a stick and hoisted it up on some brush away from Olive’s notice. The next few days we kept seeing it in the yard – H recognized it because it had a tooth mark – and we kept chucking it out, hopefully to safety. It kept coming back.

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Ewwww…

We thought maybe it had a death wish, coming into a yard with so many cats. But later, when Olive found another snake…this one about the size of a large earth worm, we realized the original one was Mama snake…trying to get back to her babies.

Here’s Olive with the baby snake. She also lost interest in this one when it went limp and wouldn’t respond.

I have more Olive stories I will save for a later date, but her garter snake adventures made it onto the word cloth last night. I had a lot of words I was considering for placement on the cloth, but they all centered around the garden…

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It seemed appropriate. And, there were these lovely stitchings from the other day…

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It’s cold again today, and I will have to cover my lettuce starts again. But subsequent days are meant to be warmer, and I am so looking forward to that.

In a few minutes I am off to the thrift store for another look around. It’s not that I need anything, but that I might find something that wants rescuing. You know how that is.

 

Cool days…I love them…

It’s cool and damp today, as was last night.

I love weather like this. I always have. I think I was made for living in the UK…or Oregon.

But, here I am, in Kansas. I do love the natural environment here, and have lots of wonderful memories of my time on a farm not too far from here. Before I leave here I’m going back to the farm to see if the current residents will let me take pictures. Last time I was there…maybe 8 years ago? No one was home and I drove up the longish drive just to see things. Everything seemed different, the way things do when you were around them when you were young and haven’t seen them since. Everything had shrunk.

I was very impressed with the neighbor’s front yard, though. When I was about 15, a large family moved in there and the parents planted trees everywhere. Now those tiny saplings are a tall, mature, beautiful forest. Maybe if I time my visit right they will be leafed out.

I had been lamenting the fact of not having a good enough camera. My cell phone takes ok photos, but they could be better.

This morning when I woke up I threw on pants, a long shirt, made tea and headed outdoors. Cool and damp…I couldn’t resist. I took the ipad, too. The one I’ve been using for months…and took this:

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Now, doesn’t that look like you could just reach right through the computer screen, snap off a fresh lettuce leaf and chomp on it? I know! I’ve had this ability to take much better photos all this time…harrumph!

I’m currently making crostini…or trying to. It doesn’t want to brown, but I have to go check on it. In the meantime…look what I have to do to keep the cats out of my new vegetable beds…

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The crostini is still not brown…dripping with oil, crunchy, but still not brown…and, yes, Olive would be right in the middle of that soil…doing you-know-what…if those sticks weren’t there. Still, they get as close as they can.

If I leave here, the garden will be my biggest disappointment. I have so many plans for it.

However, the stitching will continue, no matter where I am. Here’s the latest on In Nature. I practiced a few faces before stitching one on. It was the only drawing I did all week…and my next class is today. I will have nothing to show Mr. DeBeverly.

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I’ve been wanting to do a critter for a while now. Jude is so talented and her beasts are such an inspiration. But my critters will always look like my critters…and I am ok with that. This piece has been a lot of fun…and I’m not finished yet.

Today is the last day for stitching any more February words on the word cloth. And I have several I’d like to do. I will probably start on this instead of drawing. What a bad student I am this week.

Speaking of other places, I like a lot about Oklahoma. I love the wild green cedars dotted across the rolling burnt red landscape. It is truly beautiful.

Norman, which is a good-sized college town, also has better food than we do. My favorite store discovered on our weekend trip was Sprouts where we found these white rose potatoes:

They were so creamy and delicious, simply sliced and baked with a red onion and oil. Half the bag is already gone. I ate last night’s leftovers for breakfast.

The crostini has now been in the oven forever. Last time I checked it still wasn’t browning. I’m going to take it out anyway…I’m tired of waiting. And then I’m going to take a grapefruit outside and eat it and enjoy the cool and damp…and perhaps I’ll ponder some more about the near future. H told me last night we will know if we are moving sometime in the next 10 days.

In the meantime, look what’s happening outside:

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They like the cool, damp, too.

Crostini update: slightly golden brown, sprinkled with Fleur de Sel…and cooling.

 

Cat calamities and other nonsense…

This little number has been progressing nicely…

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She did, indeed, go with me to Oklahoma this weekend. I stitched on her whenever time was available. We stayed fairly busy, even though we had little planned.

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H went to the Laker’s Game in Oklahoma City with family Friday night…I opted out and instead went to the Air BnB room (a condo) to get us settled. I had about two blissful hours where all I did was lie on the couch and read a new (to me) blog I am following, The Kitchens Garden. I have gone back to when the author first began the blog, back in July 2011. I am enjoying it immensely. Having already read through Hazel’s blog, I was looking for new blog material. I have a lot of interest in farming/permaculture, so the garden blog is really appealing.

I’m hoping to get outside today and do a little gardening, myself. Although I have sewing I want to do as well. It is always a push-pull kind of feeling, trying to decide what to do with my day. I also need to work on getting a place ready for chicks and ducklings! I have decided (more or less) to just go for it: whether we stay in this house or not, whether we move or not…bah! Just do it! The only sad bit is I will probably have to kick Chicky out of his shed. He does love it in there, but it’s really the only place I have to safely keep the chicks.

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We arrived home Sunday evening to…cat calamity. Weanie and Olive had somehow (I know exactly how!) managed to trap themselves in our home office, which also serves as H’s bedroom. (I have my bedroom, he has his…not every couple can or wants to share a bed! Anyway, it works for us for various reasons.) Besides being thoroughly traumatized by the event, (she was howling under the bed) Weanie had the horrible experience of actually being trapped WITHOUT FOOD in the same room with the dreaded little girl…Olive. Horror of horrors!

And, what you might think would happen, happened. I don’t know how long they were cooped up, but it was enough time for each of them to poo…yuck! Olive discreetly and respectfully tucked her butt into a corner to do her business while WEANIE chose to poo right in the middle of…did you guess it? No, well, right in the middle of her Dada’s BED! Double yuck. She used his comfy blanket to go on AND to use for covering up. Blegh.

In her efforts to avoid said disgusting younger kitty, Weanie had also managed to knock all the photos off H’s display shelf – including his new Two Hearts piece…hmph!… a racy photo of yours truly, and a group shot taken of H with famous rapper Nelly! How disrespectful!

Frazzled and nerve-wracked from her ordeal, Weanie darted outside once she was done wailing under the furniture where she proceeded to gorge herself on the cat food H had just put in the outside food bowls. After few minutes of shoving food into her pie hole faster than she could chew it, she promptly did an about-face and puked…right on our welcome mat.

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In case it’s not clear by now, Weanie is high-maintenance and high-drama. I could tell she was thoroughly ashamed of herself. (The girls – even the little ones – are so good in the house and never disgrace themselves, or us, in this fashion.) This on top of the fact something else has been bothering Weanie lately, so she’s having a rough go of it. I have noticed today she is studiously avoiding the home office – refusing even to look at it or really acknowledge its existence – which is so fascinating as up until the point of being trapped in it, the office/bedroom was her favorite haunt…day and night. She is currently curled up in a tight ball on the couch with her back to EVERYONE.

It really wasn’t the kitties’ fault they got trapped. I should have thought of that possibility. I made the decision not to sequester the little girls to their space upstairs, as I was worried they would go stir-crazy. They have been behaving well enough I thought I could leave both upstairs and down for them to enjoy. The office/bedroom is, also, H’s domain. Before we left I almost said…hey don’t you want to close off the office so they can’t get in there? But, the truth is, I have grown tired of making helpful suggestions only to have them totally ignored.

Things like…hey, if we clean the garage out a little more we could squeeze the car in there and it won’t get any hail damage…Nah…it’ll be ok…or hey, maybe you should wash that apple before you eat it, after all, they are the most heavily sprayed of the fruits…Nah, I never wash my fruit before eating it, hahaha…

You get the drift.

The latter comment was made last night at dinner. I told H that was the exact attitude that got his bed pooped on. And then I laughed. hahaha…

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