A Mixed Bag

19 Mar

I’ve got a mixed bag for you today – the first is because something happened a year ago today that I can’t ignore and the second is a lovely recognition which I have been far too slow to acknowledge.

So…first off: Happy first birthday to our kittens! After several visits from the neighboring tom cat up the road, it became pretty obvious to me that the cat who had adopted us in the fall of 2011 was getting rounder by the day. Our kids even noticed. “Wow, Purny is sure getting fat!” “Hmmm…,” I responded, not sharing my suspicions, “she sure is.”

Purny – short for Copernicus – was dumped near our house by her previous owners. We know because she had a collar when she first showed up, and she was terribly skinny. It was also fairly clear that she’d recently had kittens. So the people who had her decided they didn’t want her any more when they had her little kittens to adore.

She began hanging around our house and we bought her some food because clearly, she needed it. She started to let us pet her. Soon it was clear that she was there to stay. Then, six months later, three kittens joined the family.

Mama and babies.

Mama and babies.

They were, of course, adorable. For about 8 weeks we loved them and played with them and knew, in our hearts, that we couldn’t keep them all. We prepared the kids. We found two lovely homes for them. But still, when it came time to give them away, it broke our hearts – and not just the kid’s hearts.

The only thing that made it better was the smile on the wee girl’s face when we handed her her new kitten, which she had already named, “Carlos”…aka “Carwos” in her three-year-old way of speaking. Carlos has become one of their family – he is incredibly patient and friendly and his family is hoping for more little Carloses in the future!

We gave the other kitten, Cali, to some friends who have a wonderful conglomeration of animals at their house: an enormous, black, friendly dog, many cats (but they wanted more females), a couple of peacocks, several sheep and quite a few chickens. Cali was lonely for a few days, adjusting to her new circumstances, but then she became her master’s best little outdoor friend, jumping up on his work table, butting into everything, and earning her nickname, “Trouble”.
Trouble was, “Trouble” was too friendly. She crossed the street to visit some fishermen at the nearby public fishing access. They petted her and exclaimed over her, and the next thing “Trouble’s” owners knew, the fishermen stole her.
Life is full of good and bad stories, isn’t it? I have never seen my ten-year-old daughter cry as much as she did the day we told her.

BUT…we still have the third kitten, Zephyr, so named because a “zephyr” is a calm breeze, and he was the calmest of the kittens and is still a lovely, purry, friendly cat and we are so happy to have him in our family. Yes, he and his mama fight some…but they also will touch noses – something I haven’t been able to capture on film yet – and we’re convinced that is proof that they like each other.

OKAY…now for the second thing in this mixed bag:

I have been very kindly nominated for the “Liebster Award” – isn’t that lovely?!

So…I will try to obey all (most) of the rules of the nomination.

1) Add the award icon to your blog! Ok. Done.

liebster award

2) Link to your nominator to say thank you.
I was nominated by Deb Dundas over at Midway. Deb writes about a variety of things, including book reviews – which I always enjoy! The link to her blog is to a somewhat sad story about a guy she knew once who is now down on his luck. It’s a good story to make you appreciate what you have and to not be stupid about your choices in life.

3) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, give 11 random facts about yourself, & create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

Deb’s questions:
What’s your favorite book? How can I ever choose just one?! Ok. Fine. Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger.
Who’s your favorite author? Again, impossible to choose! Let’s just say H. A. Rey and leave it at that.
Skiing or snowboarding? Neither.
Cultural or “shake and bake” vacation? Totally cultural.
Favorite place? Orcas Island, Washington.
Air conditioning or au naturel? Air all the way.
City dweller, suburban, or rural? Rural…though city life has its appeal, too.
The most exotic place you’ve ever been swimming? I don’t swim, but I suppose Hawaii in the 8th grade. I got sun poisoning and spent the rest of the vacation covered up.
Who is your hero? Any old lady who is kind and patient and wrinkled.
Which musical instrument do you play (or wish you could)? Piano – badly.
The last live musical performance you saw? My middle school children’s band concert.

1. I love salads but I don’t like making them.
2. I collect cookbooks. Sometimes I use them.
3. I can’t tell a joke to save my life.
4. I lived in Germany for 2 years but I can’t speak German. I studied French for 2 years but I can’t speak French. I took one term of Russian and finally admitted that I’m not cut out to speak a foreign language.
5. I dislike wine. This didn’t go over too well in France.
6. I used to dress funky. Now I excel at the busy mom look. Not nearly so impressive.
7. I like attention. Hence the funky dress code of my pre-mom years.
8. I do not understand how anyone can possibly enjoy beets.
9. I cannot draw to save my life. If someone was like, “Draw a fabulous picture or die,” I’d say, “Ok, Jesus, here I come!” (See “Who is your hero?” above!)
10. I overdosed on Hazelnut Creamer right after college. A lot better than od-ing on a few other things I can think of, but to this day I can’t abide the stuff…but it is a bummer when my favorite café is out of French Vanilla.
11. I dislike Monopoly. There. I said it.

3. Choose 11 up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, go to their blog, and tell them about the award.
I don’t have 11. I decided instead to stick with Minnesota/near Minnesota bloggers that I haven’t mentioned before…

That left me with three.




And here are my 11 questions for my nominated bloggers to answer:
1. French Vanilla or Hazelnut?
2. Tennis shoes or heels?
3. Flying or driving?
4. Chocolate or Vanilla?
5. Small towns or large cities?
6. Summer or winter?
7. Movie or a book?
8. Soup and salad or meat and potatoes?
9. Music or silence?
10. SUV or bicycle?
11. Skiing or swimming?


5 Responses to “A Mixed Bag”

  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots March 19, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Learned a lot about you reading this post. That Leif Enger book is one of my favs also. Surprised?

    I follow all three of those bloggers whom you listed. Love them. Beth Ann lives in Iowa, though, which can count as a “Minnesota blogger” by reference of shared border.

    Enjoyed the kitten story, too, although the fisherman part was sad. My sister and her husband just lost their cat of 10 years and they are having a hard time.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 19, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      OH, shoot – I’m so glad you said that. I’ve fixed it now! I originally THOUGHT that she was in Iowa…but then something she said once made me think otherwise. Shows me that I need to research before I say/write stuff!

      Yes, that Enger book is marvelous, and no, I’m not surprised that you liked it too! I did not care for his second book near as much. Truly, Peace Like a River is fantastic. It’s the way I want to write. I love love love it.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 19, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Forgot to say that yes, I can imagine how sad your sister is. It’s amazing how pets become part of the family.

  2. debdundas March 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Hey, Gretchen – So glad to read your answers – and now I’ve learned a bit more about you. Which begs the answer … definitely French Vanilla!

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