This Solstice Morning

The berries on the holly and the last of the summer’s wild cherries are glittering like candied fruit in the pale, thin sunlight this morning. It’s so cold that the frost is still covering everything, like the world has been dusted with powdered sugar, even though sunrise was hours ago. It is a beautiful Solstice morning, and while the afternoon will bring yet another vet appointment (Púca’s eye isn’t healing as well as it should be, even after a second round of treatment), in and around it, there will be soup and fresh bread for dinner, candles lit against the darkness, and stories enjoyed against the longest night.

Bodach is informing me that there will also be endless hours of throwing his favorite bone to chase, starting right now, so I guess I should go obey my furry overlord.


A pair of black kittens are sleeping on a beige two-tiered cat tree, one on each tier.  The wall behind is painted in terra-cotta and ginger.

No, not that kind. We’re not giving away one of the Goblin Boys. We were, however, cleared to release Bodach back into GenPop (aka, the rest of the house) with no restrictions. He had his follow-up x-rays yesterday morning to see if his pneumonia had resolved, and since his lungs looked nice and clear, his Dr. said he was free to come out of isolation.

Oisín and Púca were beside themselves with glee, and everyone is happy to get back to normal again. Y’all, I got to sleep on a REAL BED again! It was glorious, though I kept getting woken up by the rotating cast of cats needing reassurance that Mom was still where she was supposed to be and everything was okay now, but that’s fine. My neck is never going to recover from the last couple of weeks, but I’d rather extra back and neck pain than the alternative if Pinkie (Bodach’s primary nickname) got worse.

Now we just have a week of eye meds for Púca, who injured his eyelid while playing too rough the other day (because of course he did), and at least a month of lysine gel for all three of them to help deal with the cold that poor Oisín couldn’t shake off, but those are reasonably easy and don’t require further isolation. (We’re basically assuming that it’s endemic to the clowder at this point, and just treating all of them.)

Today’s rough outline is to reclaim the house and studio from the disaster everything turned into over the last few weeks of chaos, get the groceries done, and start working on getting the process for selling the Albatross House back on track. If I have enough brain cells left afterward, I’ve got a few sheets of paper prepped and some sketches that have been waiting to get started that I’d like to get to work on.

Somewhere in all of this, I have a story to finish, ffs, and some thoughts on the AI art kerfuffle, the increasing devaluing of artists in society, and some problems with the way that the phrase “Support your local artists” has been twisted over the years. First, though, I need to go pick up the groceries.

Carving Out Sentences One Word At A Time

A young black cat with a white patch loafs on top of a low bookcase, looking slightly to the right of the camera with a mildly suspicious expression. Behind him is a window with a purple tied-back curtain looking out on bare trees.
Bodach has suspicions about the roadwork going on outside the window behind Mom.

Bodach’s feeling a bit better, and since we moved him to the antechamber from the office, I get to not only sleep on a slightly more comfortable couch, but have easy access to the studio. (The antechamber was originally a bedroom, but when a previous owner of the house converted the carport into additional rooms, the room became a weird almost walk-through closet/office to get to the new master bedroom, which is what I use for my studio. The room we use for Himself’s computer room is one of the other bedrooms.) It’s nice to give him more room to move around in, and it lets me work while I’m keeping an eye on him.

Writing is still slow going, but it’s least happening, and so I’m finally getting to claw my way through Rattlesack Jack’s story.

A taste of what’s to come…

* * * * * * * * *

“Up along the New England coast, there is a marsh. Folks who live near it will tell you to stay out of the marsh and to avoid the road that cuts across it like a scar between sunset and sunrise. Most won’t say much more than that it’s dangerous, and leave it at that, but if pressed, there are some who will tell you it’s because of old Rattlesack Jack.

Some say Jack’s a ghost, the spirit of some farmer who died badly out in the marsh. Some say his is a stolen story, reskinned over an older Indigenous tale, or historical recollection twisted out of recognition (not uncommon in New England, sadly). Others say he’s an urban legend told to scare off tourists. Others still say that he’s something someone brought with them from the Old Country that stayed behind when they fled English transportation and hid in the marsh before making their way back home to Ireland.” ~excerpt from the tale of Rattlesack Jack

I’m Too Old For This Shit

I strongly advise against sleeping on cots when one is 46 years with a bad disc.

So, yeah, what should have been a routine neutering procedure for Bodach turned into a nightmare pretty quickly. The procedure itself went perfectly fine, but then the little dipshit failed at Water Drinking 101 at home a few hours later, and aspirated a little bit of water into his lungs, which warranted a trip to the ER. Not sure exactly how he managed it, but the 2 main theories are related to med side effect (the ketamine was causing him to have some sporadic involuntary spasms for a bit) or failure to figure out how to cone of shame. Either way, he’s got some pneumonia going on, on top of everything else, and is in the office. Sadly, he’s both very much a Mama’s Boy and extremely not okay with being alone, so I’m sleeping in the office on a camp cot until we can manage a better solution, or he gets better at being by himself for a couple of hours. My back is deeply unhappy about this.

I would really like my cats to stop this run of medical issues. Tuesday’s vet bills were about as much as my entire monthly income, and I ran out of spoons weeks ago. This was supposed to be the straightforward one, not another life-threatening drama and segregated household situation. It’s a good thing they’re cute.

I would really like to have 5 minutes and a few firing brain cells to use for getting some work writing done. There’s a boggart named Rattlesack Jack that is demanding his story be told, and he’s getting really pushy about it.

There’s Someone In My Mug

Got up late this morning, because I was entirely covered in cats and didn’t want to disturb them. It’s rare for them to all curl up and sleep in a pile, since one of the usually ends up deciding that pile time is play time, and I was enjoying it while it lasted, even if it was on my legs. Stumbled out into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, started the kettle, and picked up my pumpkin mug with the intent to use it as a bowl for my oatmeal.

Someone was already using it. Inside, hanging on one side, was a very small hunting spider.

It’s gonna be one of Those Days, huh?

After apologizing, I unceremoniously dumped the spider out and rewashed the mug. I do not need extra protein in my breakfast, thank you.

Kittens are now beating each other up on the kitchen scratching tree. Bodach’s about to be unhappy with me as it’s time for his eye meds. He’ll get over it, good-natured beastie that he is, but in the meantime, he’s going to be Very Mad At me.

After that, the day’s schedule includes seeing about a vehicle inspection (and praying it passes), getting a painting photographed and listed, working on the newest Foxenwood painting, and making a pot of haluski for dinner. It’s a good day for comfort food.