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Cats and Crochet

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Otis and Scratchy

Scratchy will be 11 in May, and Otis is eight months old.  I got a few pictures of them hanging out together – peacefully – this afternoon.  About four or five times a day Otis decides he needs to play, so he attacks Scratchy and they wrestle around from room to room, on and under furniture, grappling and separating, sometimes sitting, still but ready to pounce, tails lashing, eyes locked.  Otis enjoys this more than Scratchy does.  In fact, at times, Scratchy just seems so over the whole "babysitting the new kitten" thing.  He will be quietly walking across the room, minding his own cat business, when he's tackled from the side by our mini panther.  Or from above, as Otis leaps off a chair or table.  And other times, when Otis approaches head-on, Scratchy will just raise a weary paw and cuff Otis upside the head and roll him over.  I'm always rather impressed with that because until now Scratchy had been the lazy one.  I didn't know he'd have fighting skills.  But he does.  

Skills…and love.  Other times when they are locked together in simulated mortal combat, Scratchy will pause from holding half of Otis' face to rapidly lick the top of Otis' head.  And Otis will hold still for this.  Then, after this brief moment of loving care, they resume the biting and grabbing and rolling around.  Weird creatures.

Otis adores Scratchy.  We watch the two of them walking across the floor at times and Otis presses himself against Scratchy's side so they move as one.  He nudges his head under Scratchy's chin as he purrs snuggles.  Then he tries to eat Scratchy's food right out from under him.

Before we had Otis, Scratchy had his own ways of urging us to get up and feed him if one of us didn't spring out of bed when the first alarm went off.  He would chew on stuff.  Plastic stuff.  Crinkly stuff.  His favorite device in our bedroom is the thick paper tag on an extension cord on my side of the bed.  (Of course, I could just remove the tag, but it never occurs to me until, say, now.) Anyway, He would chew and chew until I finally threw myself out of bed and either booted him out of the room or gave in and fed him.  

But that hasn't been happening lately.  Instead, around oh, 4:59 or 4:19 or 3:20(!!!) in the morning I will feel a gentle little paw patting me on the face.  My cheek.  My nose.  My cheek again.  I will feel the faint tickle of whiskers against my face.  Pat, pat, pat pat.  I will hear very loud purring, relentless and adoring.  And I will feel a cold little nose bump against me.  Worst case, I will get a whiff of cat breath, but that doesn't always happen.  Just the other stuff.  And mostly the little paw patting my face – "wake up, Jayne! wake up!" – and the purring.  Then a seemingly boneless warm, silky mass will throw itself against my head.  Or under my chin.  Or against my face.  

Gentle, soft, loving, relentless.  Otis.

The other morning, after being battered about like this, I checked the time – around 3:30 – and though I was not planning to feed anyone, I did have to pee.  I got out of bed and Otis raced out of the bedroom to where Scratchy was sitting at the top of the stairs waiting.  Like he'd sent Otis in to do his old job.  Another time Scratchy didn't even bother coming upstairs.  He sat at the bottom of the stairs instead, perhaps giving Otis a bit more responsibility – not just to get me out of bed, out of the room, but to see if I could be persuaded to come downstairs to where the cat food is.

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My hands (I had the surgery on my left hand on January 29th and that went just as well as the right hand) are doing very well.  The incisions have healed nicely and the right hand one is barely noticeable. They are both still rather tender to the touch, and as I type, I feel a sort of thickness on the heel of each hand where they rest against the laptop keyboard.  BUT.  The horrible numbness/tingling/other weird Carpal Tunnel sensations are gone.  Gone!  I don't even remember what the feeling was like.  Kind of like giving birth, maybe – there is no real memory of pain, just knowledge that there WAS pain.  

I have, however, developed a frozen right shoulder.  I haven't been able to raise my right arm above shoulder height, and moving it in certain ways sends sharp, stabbing pains down my arm.  Apparently this isn't uncommon in women between 40-60, and it also can occur if a person has had their arm immobilized for a period of time, and I guess because I wasn't using my right hand for a while, the freezing started.  So I've started physical therapy and after just two sessions I feel things are loosening up, so I'm pretty optimistic. 

Anyway, because my hands are doing so well, I've been gradually doing more and more crocheting.  I've got some big projects going on – several blankets.  And I've also got a LOT of yarn.  

I read an article recently – 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose – and question #7 is "If you knew you were going to die one year from today, what would you do and how would you want to be remembered?"  My thoughts in response to the question ran off in several directions, and I ended up thinking about all the stuff in the house, and how do I get rid of it, and yeah, maybe I should have Marie Kondo'd the house while I've been home for my hand surgeries, but I didn't, so I'm still just as overwhelmed with stuff as I was in December.  So I took that "one year from today" time frame and decided to focus on working my way through all the yarn I have.  I have lots of works in progress.  Crochet projects, sewing projects, jewelry-making ideas….lots to do.  So the goal is to work my way through the works in progress AND clear out my surplus of yarn and fabric and wire and beads.  Right now I'm in a joyful crocheting mood, so in between working rows on this blanket or that one, I'm making smaller projects.  So far I've used a bunch of cotton yarn to make a couple of bags and a couple of little bowls.  

Bag #1:

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Otis likes to be involved in anything anyone is doing at any time ever.  Always.  Unless he's sleeping.

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Bag #2:

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Let me try again…

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And then the bowls:

First the yellow one, which I did while Julia was at a guitar ensemble rehearsal:

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Otis is clearly suspicious of it.

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And then this blue one with a couple of thin ribbons woven through the crocheted stitches:


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Otis is not interested in the blue bowl whatsoever.

Anyway, those are my recent little projects, and I find them very satisfying.  I use the bags for grocery shopping, and next time I make some bags I'll go smaller, as they stretch quite a bit when filled.  

For a change, my current little project is a shawl.  It's not as little as bags and bowls, but it's satisfying because I'm cranking through skeins of yarn.  I'll show it to you when I've got a little more done and it really looks like a shawl.  

That's it for now.  What's going on with you?

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