Archive for the ‘Fur Kids’ Category

A Princess No More :(

Monday, June 25th, 2012

But then, I never truly was one , was I?

Still, when a huge part of my on-line life was suddenly stripped away ; when my contact with  people who are loving and supportive as well as creative ,imaginative,  playful  and encouraging abruptly disappeared, it left an aching hole in my heart!  These are people I may/may not have ever met in person, but I know their likes & dislikes, the names of their children and pets and what troubles them and pleases them.  They have unique personalities (some are chatty, others prefer to sit quietly and observe), and all of us have felt we were part of a very special, cohesive  group.  We Were!  We loved each other and cared about each other, understood when one of us was feeling lonely and ignored by RL (Real Life) loved ones or overwhelmed by RL problems!

When I was invited into GSOLFOT  (“Green Sock on Left Foot on Tuesday”. . . . . .it’s a long story!), there were “too many royal titles already granted”, so I adopted the title of  “GSOLFOT Contessa of Useful Bits, Bobs & Specks & Protector of the Roof Runners #%Z P.I., Office # 17″.  (Dashing my hopes of being a princess, but sounding rather lady-like.) Some members had much grander,more  elaborate titles and others had simpler ones, but we all had a wonderful time in our fantasy world (we adopted Neuschwanstein Castle as our ‘virtual clubhouse’!)  We shared miniatures we were creating , construction obstacles we encountered, workshops/studios we were attempting to carve out space for in our real homes,  and supported each other through serious illnesses, surgeries, chemo, loss of pets and deaths of spouses.  We also found time to see to the proper training of our pet dragons, made sure the various cats, raccoons & parrots (including my”Chunk”, aptly named after he took a good-sized bite out of a roving intruder) were well fed and cared for.  We had fun,  teased each other unmercifully, and were saddened when any one of us was sad.

There has been an ominous, troubling silence from the leader of this madcap Yahoo group (and owner of our web site “home”) for several months now, but none of us expected what we read when we turned on our computers this morning.  Just a tersely worded message saying “All over – all done.” No goodbye to those of us who thought we were her friends, no explanation – nothing. The web site is gone.  Suddenly, we are  adrift and alone, our titles stripped and the castle gate barred against us 🙁





Confessions of a Miniaturist (aka Organized Chaos)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Um . . . . . How and when did I manage to accumulate eight  X-Acto (craft) knives?  Oops, recount; I just opened another drawer – eleven X-Acto knives!  Yes, I have been involved in the wondrous world of scale miniatures (usually 1″ = 1′) since 1978, but. . . . .eleven knives?  Truth be told, I have a couple of project boxes downstairs (things to do while watching movies – cannot bear simply sitting idle and watching) and two. . .OK, three. . .workshop tool boxes here in my studio. I haven’t inventoried them in awhile, so it is likely that the count is actually higher – glurk!

I have a multitude of storage bins, several rolling drawer units and lots of under-counter cupboards, not to mention the closet, in the “studio” (my grandiose name for my workroom), but they seem to only somewhat contain the chaos. My discovery of the embarrassing knife collection was made during an in-depth search for one small nugget of copper ore to mount in a miniature (3″ x  1  5/8″) shadow box of rock & mineral specimens.  It is a very small piece of copper ore – 26 different specimens are going to be mounted in this limited space, each in its own compartment. I know it is tucked safely away somewhere ~ I even have a photo of it, taken when I catalogued my purchases after a WWW-T (Wonderful Workshop Weekend – Temple, TX).  Never did find it, but I definitely know I won’t need a new craft knife for at least two or three. . . . decades!  Now – does anyone know where I might have stored the #11 blades?  No?  Ah well, it was worth a try.

*****   “Inspector Cat” (aka Diva) knows where it is. She watches my every move in the studio, sometimes so closely that a bit of wood or a tiny paper flower petal destined for a new creation becomes glued to her whiskers, much to our shared consternation. She knows, but staying true to the Cat Code of Ethics, she will never tell.  Sigh – there’s never any pixie dust around when you need it!


Physical therapy – that’s a surprise!

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

 Before my follow-up appointment with the hand surgeon (today), I fussed and whimpered and fussed some more; the “brave Christy” simply went into hiding, leaving a complete coward in her place!  

 My last encounter with stitch removal was two years ago, when the male nurse (aka Attila the Hun!) removed all of the surgical wraps on both feet (including the ones which had adhered to the incision) briskly, efficiently and painfully.  He then proceeded to SCRUB the incisions with great zeal and particularly rough-textured gauze! I have a witness – I think the marks of my fingernails are probably still dimly visible on Tom’s left hand!  The actual stitch removal was done by a very sweet, empathetic nurse, but she still had to dig for stitches within a rather deep V-shaped  area on both  feet and somewhat overgrown by new skin. . . . every time it hurt too much for me to stay silent and stoic, I felt guilty for making her feel guilty about hurting me!  All of this, of course, was on my mind while Tom helped a very reluctant me to get dressed for The Appointment before he left for work.

The mystical, “magical gauze strip with important healing qualities”  hadn’t been removed when my neighbor (aka Ace Nurse) or I did my own dressing changes, mostly because it was obviously well adhered to the surgical site by the rather important red fluid that flows through my body!  I was fussing because I had mental images of the surgeon (or nurse) calmly ripping the “magic strip” off.  In point of fact, it was the nurse who did the deed, and then proceeded to dig around and remove twelve stitches before leaving me to my surgeon’s tender mercy.  OK – I  survived that, the  incisions looked good and I was sent off to physical therapy to be fitted with a ‘figure-eight’ brace and given a sheet of exercises to be done five-times daily.   (According to the surgeon, “We had to remove a lot of extraneous bone.”) and released to return to the therapist’s clinic on Nov.10th. 

Excuse me? (1) The center of said figure  8 brace rests across all three incisions, with no padding between brace and skin! 2) I can perform the range-of-motion exercises much better without this infernal appliance constantly shifting and 3)  “OK, Chris. . . .give it time. Calm down, do the exercises, breathe deeply  & give it time. . . . well, I’m trying, but. . . .!

Off with her head (erm, hand)!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

O.K., confession time. With the guys off at work all day and “The Hand” sending out post-surgical messages I cannot repeat in polite (or even semi-polite) society , my “plan” was to escape boredom and pain by napping as much as possible.   However,  my self-appointed ‘nurse cats’  have decided  it would be a good idea (and very helpful, of course) to keep the injured hand warm if I  happen to doze off!  This ‘good deed’ consists of either Diva or Cassidy draping their considerable weight over the elevated hand , centering themselves over the bandage, and falling into a deep, virtuous sleep! 

I’ve started fiddling around with the bandage. Hey! The surgeon did say we could move to a smaller bandage after 3 days!  I’ve  re-wrapped the Ace bandage several times and in several unorthodox ways , as well as cutting away a few parts of the ‘cotton batting’ which had become rather frayed and disreputable. None of this activity has produced much in the way of comfort or improvement 🙁   The biggest problem is that some subconscious portion of my brain has decided that the main discomfort is a result of having the ring finger firmly bound to the little finger by layers I’ve been way-too- chicken to delve into. (Actually, I had worked my way down to three layers of ‘cotton batting’, all of which are firmly attached to me by post-operative bleeding. Nope – no way am I fooling around with that!   By the time Tom arrived home from work, I had latched onto a much better plan; catch my delightful neighbor/Ace Nurse at home, if I could, and have her redo this whole mess, hopefully leaving only the ring finger bandaged!

I’m thrilled to report that the Ace bandage is now banished, best neighbor/nurse freed me from the layers of felt/batting/whatever and released the trapped little finger!  There’s a strip of “magical gauze with mystical healing  & anti-bacterial properties”  (that’s an extremely loose quote from Nurse Kathy) that she left in place directly over the incisions . . . . .I was rather relieved, as said strip seems to be firmly attached to me by the aforementioned bleeding!  Still, with a fresh gauze wrap and bright pink cohesive tape wrap, I’m feeling freer and somewhat stylish. LOL!

And then there were three. . . . .

Friday, October 20th, 2006


Good-bye, “Little Bit” . . .”Fossil” . . .”Old Lady”. . .  unlike any of our other cats, you seemed to collect names as you aged!  You aged quite well, too; since I was lax about dating photographs, we’re guessing you were with us for 18-20 years!You possessed a sweet temperment, a couple of really objectionable habits, a cuddly nature . . . .and you became very much a part of the fabric of our lives! Wait for me at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, Little Bit – I will look for you there 🙂

 We’ll miss you 🙁





Diva Devil, bad luck and wildlife

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

We named our youngest “Fur Kid” Diva, because of the incredibly loud voice she used to announce that she was lost and frightened outside of my former office in Leon Valley. (She employed the same volume to state her distaste for the cat carrier I placed her in until I could bring her home – she “almost” got on everyone’s nerves enough to get me out of work early that day!)

As she has grown in size and agility, she has also exibited uncanny (uncatly?) abilities in “breaking and entering” (opening closed doors), “aerial maneuvers” (leaping amazingly high and changing direction while in flight) and “criminal activity” (locating the most important object in a given room and creatively attacking it!) These antics have led to my nickname for this adorable fur-ball: “Diva Devil”!

This morning, while I was trying to catch up on several projects in My Tower (my dream workroom finally realized!), Diva Devil chose to display both endearing and dangerous traits; she decided to play Cuddle Cat, directly behind my left heel, in total silence and without actually making contact with my foot. . . the latter would have alerted me to her presence! Instead, when I pivoted on my left foot and she halted the foot motion with her body, I did a crash-and-burn!! Lots of years of rheumatoid arthritis have taught me that a) the knees are going to take a beating in any fall and b) protect the hands – don’t use them to stop a fall. Well… I tried to protect my hands, but my left thumb encounted the leg of my work-stool! I didn’t flatten Diva during the fall – my knees have withstood worse impact with hard surfaces – but I seem to have broken (again?) my left thumb!!

Re: wildlife – I have watched the back-yard feeding stations today, while catching up on e-mail. It’s a great show, and today has been especially entertaining; sparrows, finches, “my” flock of 25+ red-wing blackbirds, 3 squirrels, 2 blue jays, multiple Inca doves and white wing doves, chickadees, 8 or 9 cardinals and grackles!!! Two grackles joined the party, and no one seemed perturbed. This – the opportunity to watch the activity and antics in my yard during an average day – may be the Best part of retirement!!

Someday, I'll Laugh – – –

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Someday, I will laugh about this morning’s misadventure. “Someday” isn’t here yet, by a long shot!

The morning started in deceptively innoccuous fashion: the alarm went off, and we both stumbled out of bed to greet the (pre) dawn gloom. Tom’s focus was on getting ready for work, while my focus was on ignoring the “weather report” from multiple joints until my meds had an opportunity to lower the reports’ volume somewhat.

Then, IT HAPPENED! In rather bleary-eyed fashion, I gazed into my sink. “Wake UP, brain! Something is wrong here! But what????” It took a groggy moment to identify what . . . . . . there, in the center of the sink, was the container my dentures reside in at night. With its’ lid next to it, instead of on it. With only my upper plate residing in it!!!!! The cats seem to enjoy knocking the container off the soap ledge, but one of them had upped the stakes of the game by Stealing My Lower Plate!!!!!

I did have a vague thought that I should try and control the worry (panic), concern (fear) and frustration (more four-letter words) until Tom was headed off to work. However, that left me with a huge problem: as we proceeded to look under, around and behind every piece of furniture in the house (making Tom later by the minute), I realized that continuing the search solo was going to be a nightmare! There’s a storm moving in, and my joints have been announcing that weather report loud and clear. No amount of medication was going to allow me to continue performing deep knee bends to search under tables and chairs, and no amount of padding was going to allow me to continue kneeling on damaged knees to look under sofas, beds, refrigerators and such!

What was I going to eat? How long would it take to replace? How was I going to do the errands on my to-do list? Waaaaaaahhhhhhh!!! I was even trying to watch all four cats, to see if one of them was ‘guarding a treasure’ – – lots of false leads and usless searches resulted from that exercise.

Finally, after about 25 minutes of this turmoil (and realizing completely how ludicrous this all was!), I remembered that neither of us had checked between sofa cushions – the favorite place for at lease one of our fur-kids to store treasures. Bingo!

Tom got dressed for work in record time, and I sat here trying very, very hard to turn this into a Good Laugh. Well, not yet – – – maybe later – – -like, two or three years from now? Sigh!!!

Dogs have masters-Cats have staff!

Friday, December 2nd, 2005
    As “MommaCat”, I suppose it is fitting that my first entry in this blog is cat-oriented. (For those who have never been owned, bullied and loved by a cat, you can probably stop reading right here – – – you won’t understand.)

    The time period from 3:25 through 6 this morning was (in this order) irritating, horrible, gut-wrenching, euphoric and exhausting . . . . . . . . all accomplished by one endearing and exasperating Very Large Cat. Yep – Sundance, the 20 lb. domestic/Maine Coon mix autocrat of the Blackburn household.

    I awoke at 3:25am, rather ‘pinned-in’ by the sheets and blanket because Sundance had chosen to curl up tight against my side. I nudged him with a knee. . . . . nudged harder, then harder still. Any self-respecting cat would have realized he was about to fall off the bed! As far as I could tell in the darkened room, he didn’t even twitch an ear. I poked him fairly hard a couple of times; cuddles are great but I really needed my sleep. Then. . . . .I realized that he was not responding to any of my signals at all. The pushing and poking did not even produce a twitch of his skin!

    Thus began the roller-coaster of emotions. “Think like an adult, Christy!” He has died, but look at the bright side; he obviously wasn’t in any pain at the end, the cancer surgery which made him our $1000. cat gave us almost a year more of enjoying his antics and personality. . . but now what??? I couldn’t awaken Tom with this news at 3:30am. We would do what was necessary when the alarm went off at 6 am. But. . . I can’t go back to sleep, here, with him pressing against my side! I managed to wriggle out of bed, around the very immobile, much-loved “fur kid”, and retreated to the sofa in our family room.

    First, Little Bit (aka Fossil – she’s ancient!) came to investigate my odd choice of location, then Diva (our baby Fur Kid) arrived to demand an explanation. A few minutes later (just when I was feeling extremely emotional), Cassidy (Sundance’s sister) came in to cuddle with me. That made me feel better, yet much worse! I must have finally dozed off near 5am, because I was startled awake by a large cat landing on my chest. . . . . .”Good Cassidy. Yes, I know you know something is wrong. Gee, you’re almost as heavy as. . . . wait a minute, Cassidy isn’t this heavy. . . . .SUNDANCE!?!!??

    After petting said cat until he was sick of it; explaining the series of events to Tom when the alarm clock woke him up at 6am and sending him off to work with a kiss. . . . . this exhausted cat minion went back to sleep for two more hours!!