Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Many cats ago...

More than 20 years ago, when I moved into the first Shady Rest, I brought with me from Greenwood a little black cat named RoyGBiv. A few years later, RoyGBiv got cancer and had to be put down. By that time, I had a big orange tabby named Bosco, a little Himalayan/Abyssinian named Betaille, and a gorgeous Russian blue named Sam. A lot of cats.

Mark Smythe was there when I put RoyGBiv down, and he helped me bury her in the back yard. After the burial, Mark drove back to Tacoma where he was in law school. He called me to report that when he arrived at his apartment building, he found a little back cat that looked much like RoyGBiv in the back alley, being menaced by some kids. Did I want the cat?

My answer was no. Sam's best friend, a little neglected neighborhood tabby named Socks, had already moved in and was in RoyGBiv's bed!

So Mark kept the black cat. He named her Melilot. She often stayed at the Shady Rest at Christmas when Mark would go back East to visit family. She liked going outdoors with our cats. One afternoon, when we got home from work, Melilot rushed up to
the porch to be let in and Zorg picked her up. Melilot didn't like that, and she batted him in the face with her little paws. She was declawed, so Zorg just laughed at her.

She leaned over and bit him on the nose.

Melilot lived most of her life in Mark's apartment in a urban part of Tacoma. She didn't get to go out much — but that might be why she lived to a very old age.

Two months ago, Mark called to say Melilot had been diagnosed with a fast-growing cancer of the jaw. Mark discovered some herbal remedies and managed to give Melilot another 10 weeks of life. He called today to say that she died last night.

Melilot, shown here on the mantelpiece at the Shady Rest, was a professional cat. She will be remembered.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I've worn glasses since I was a tiny child. I think I'm better adjusted to my hard-to-correct eyesight that just about any of my friends with comparable myopia. I enjoyed wandering around the halls in high school without glasses because it taught me to recognize people by the way they stand, or move, rather than by facial characteristics. I often remove my glasses to think in a big-picture way.

I love wearing glasses!

But last night I had an experience with my eyes that was weird. I'd had only about five hours of sleep the night before, and had headed down to Olympia at six a.m. for a three-hour meeting that turned into a nine-hour work session. Then we'd driven back. I'd taken off my glasses, taken a bath, and then gone to check my email before bed.

It was one big blur. I switched to my computer glasses. I moved the computer monitor around. Nothing helped. It was as if I had been given drops at the eye doctor's office.

I tried a few things and decided it was just my right eye that was malfunctioning. There could be only two explanations: One, this was a reaction to being exhausted. Two, something was wrong with my eye and would need to be repaired.

I have annual eye exams, have never had any serious eye problems, and had certain not had any injury to the eye. There was no pain or irritation, and the eye looked, to the outside observer, just fine.

So I voted for "reaction to being exhausted," and went to bed.

Fortunately, I was right. I got up this morning and my vision was back to normal — which is to say, mostly correctable by the progressive-lens trifocals I wear.

Whew. Losing your vision is frightening. And, yes, I am going to have my eyes checked.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My life with things

My mom's Oreck vacuum is schedule to depart the premises at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Yes, it's still all about things over here.

I got started cleaning the garage today and look forward resuming that tomorrow afternoon, the morning being devoted to going down to Seattle Center and training the volunteer greeters in advance of the Northwest Folklife Festival.

This week I was at last able to focus on work and catch up on most of it. I'm assisting three non-profits in collecting and writing client profiles, and working with two companies on articles and blog posts. There are two new projects on the horizon, one with an existing client and the other with a completely new one.

The website project in Olympia is just a few hours away from completion, but those hours involve meetings to Olympia, scheduled in the next two weeks.

The highlight of the week was the Campfire fundraising breakfast. Sherman Alexie spoke. If you have the chance to hear him in person, do it!

One unusual aspect of this week was that I went downtown three times in two days and had to wear business-type clothing. It wasn't too bad, but it was odd to come home and have to change in order to garden and do chores.

Monday, May 10, 2010


We got up at 4:30 this morning and took my mom to the airport where she flew first class back to Florida. She called me from the plane before they took off and sounded like she was having a wonderful time.

From the airport we went to West Seattle and picked up our share of the tables and leftovers from yesterday's Foolscap yard sale. When we got home, we switched to the other car, drove up to Sky, and bought stuff for the garden. Then it was over to Mae's to have breakfast with a friend of Tom's from the Bay Area who was in town for an English dance weekend. Then back home where we unloaded the plants from one car, a table from the other, and I took off for the storage locker to get more junk to leave at Goodwill along with the yard sale dregs. (We're talking a lot of junk — it filled my Honda Fit to the ceiling and filled two of the big wheeled carts at Goodwill.)

From there, it was over to the Naked Lady brunch and clothing exchange in Greenwood. (I left several bags of dresses and tops and got a gray Banana Republic cashmere cardigan.) Then back to the house were I went upstairs and...collapsed.

No idea how long I would have napped if I hadn't been woken up by phone calls every 15 minutes. The last was from the local teenager who mows the lawn; he was on his way over, and it seemed unlikely that I'd be able to sleep through that.

Tom was off in West Seattle picking up the top of our table from the yard sale location.

I got up and started doing laundry and sorting through stuff from my mom's move: about 100 towels, some — burnt orange — that I remember from the 1970s. As soon as Tom arrived and unloaded the table, I filled the car up with more bags to take to Goodwill.

He pointed out that I still needed to get some plants in to the garden. So I started gardening at 7 and finished at 9, interrupted only by the guy who came to buy the patio chaise I had advertised on Craig's List.

Still selling a nice Oreck vacuum — an upright that doesn't work for us because we don't have any carpets.

Anyone interested?

Friday, May 07, 2010

We're tired

OK. We sold my mom's antique furniture, ran her yard sale, signed papers on her condo sale, cleaned the condo, and moved furniture and tools to storage. My mom moved in to our guest room Thursday, and today we sold her car. Sunday she flies back to Florida — which will now be her year-round home.

The friends, neighbors, and real estate agent who helped us out were great. The escrow people were unimpressive. Two sets of movers were involved, and one set (Adam's) was worth recommending.

Considering that nothing really serious was going on (no one was sick or anything), I was astonished at how much time and energy this whole project consumed.