Bumpy Blue Day

Clicker Free image from Pixabay. My Expression.

Warning: Moan Ahead

On June 27th I mentioned in a text to my daughter that “I still have a sore throat.” Well, I STILL have a sore throat. It has waxed and waned, but persists in paining me, especially in the mornings. In fact when I got up this morning the node on the right side was so swollen I could hardly swallow, so I knew it was time to see a doctor.

This started the morning after I did a jigsaw puzzle from Value Village. The puzzle must have been stored and had a bit of mustiness in it, and I’m VERY sensitive to the faintest trace of must or mould. Though I couldn’t smell anything, I woke up the next morning with a really sore throat. In fact I could barely swallow. Drank a lot of chicken broth, took decongestants and the problem almost cleared up. However, a week later I began working with some fabrics someone had stored away, then donated to charity. I cut squares for a blanket top one day and that night already my throat was raw. If only I’d remember to wear my dust mask for any of these activities I could avoid this!

A seemingly unavoidable woe this summer is that I’m allergic to the bite of mites — mainly bird mites such as the cats bring home. Practically invisible, the bite of these pests produces in me a hive-like reaction that’s gotten so much worse over time. Mosquito bites give me dime-size red bumps, but some mite bites can swell up to about the diameter of a mandarin orange in my sensitive flesh. They itch like crazy for a few days, then slowly subside. A week later there’ll be a red scar about an inch in diameter. Our cats pick up mites from lying around where birds or infested stray cats sit, or when they catch a bird. I even got a few bites one day from refilling the bird feeder.

A few mornings back I brushed against a shrub in passing and later felt something on my face. I brushed off a small blossom or leaf, but it must have hosted a mite because an hour later the characteristic blister showed up on the right side of my cheek close to my ear. It’s grown into a huge hard bump, pink with a reddish center, and it’s blocking my ear canal and swelling the node in my neck underneath. This is why I could barely swallow when I woke up this morning. I’ve a smaller bite on my arm now too, which is really itchy and I showed the doctor all the healing ones on my legs. She has given me prednisone and told me to keep taking my antihistamine as well.

Now I have an over-the-phone visit with my Oncologist on Monday. Had a blood test Thursday in preparation, so I’m eager to hear what those results are. Also, I wonder what that doctor will say about all my swollen lymph nodes. How much is due to allergy and how much to the lymphocytic leukemia that’s starting to show up again this year?

We’re in a mini heat wave here in Sask. Not the 100-108 degree (38 to 42 Celsius) July weeks I recall from back in my teen years, but today it was 34 C (94-95 F) and that’s hot enough for us old fogys. Our cats are outside lying in any shady spot they can find — maybe collecting a few mites? 😦 Need to dose them with anti-parasitic stuff again.

I like to stay upbeat, but sometimes reality hits hard. My energy level is low lately. Forecast is for some cooler days ahead, like 28 C, which may not please seriously devoted heat lovers, but we’re looking forward to the slight drop. Hard to believe July is over half gone! Things outdoors, crops, etc, are looking great right now; the woods are filled with bird songs; harried parent birds are being trailed by open-mouthed offspring. Lovely time of year if it weren’t for bug bites!

Comfy Cat

Good morning everyone. It’s going to be a nice day here, with an unseasonably mild high of -9 C –16 F– if the forecast is right. And this is our FIRST DAY of the solar year, you might say: we had our shortest day yesterday so we can look forward to a few more minutes of daylight every day.

I seem to have a set amount of sleep time in my old age: more-or-less five hours. I went to bed early last night — about 11:30, that is — and woke up at 4:10 this morning. With a bit of a headache, so I decided to get up and feed the cats, have a cup of coffee, check the Ragtag Daily Prompt. Now I’m going through my Word Perfect Docs file and decided to post a few previously unpublished verses.

Here’s something that happens regularly at this office:

cat sprawls out
in the warm desk chair
writer’s coffee break

And if we want our chair back, we’ve found it’s most effective if we rustle the bag of cat treats.

No Encroaching Here!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is ENCROACH

To me this is such an old-fashioned sounding word, like something Chaucer or Shakespeare might have used. Like the branches of Burnham wood slowly encroaching on Macbeth’s castle. Anyone remember that scene?

According to my book of word meanings, encroach and crochet have a common root. To encroach on something is to try snagging the thing, or attempt to catch it with a hook, coming from the French word, encrochier : “to seize with a hook.” Even more interesting, the French borrowed the root word “croc” from the Norwegian krokr, meaning hook – the word that has streamed off into the English crook, someone who snatches things wrongfully.

We got a little demonstration of encroachment yesterday afternoon. I’ve been feeding a stray cat that somehow landed on this property at some point in spring and likely found a safe place to stay in one of the farm buildings next door. He’s very timid – in fact that’s what I’ve named him. Since he doesn’t belong to the neighbours, they don’t include him when they put out food for their several tame farm cats. So, since I have a soft heart for cats, I’ve been feeding him all fall.

Yesterday one of the neighbour’s cats, a pretty calico, wandered over to our yard and happened to be near the garage when I set out a bowl of food for Timid. The calico took a notion that she could encroach on his food dish. He didn’t attack her, but expressed his displeasure quite sternly. No encroaching of any kind tolerated here!

Image by ArtTower — Pixabay

Had she reached out a claw and snagged some of his food, the calico would have been encroaching in the true sense of the word. Doesn’t work very well with dry cat food, though.

We’ve enjoyed a long mild fall with almost no snow, in fact last week was delightfully mild for this time of year. It has worked so far to feed the stray. But a cold wind is blowing from the northwest today and the temp is dropping steadily, so I suppose we won’t see so much of Timid once winter really settles in. Hopefully the mice around wherever he shelters are well fattened.

Gr-Gr-Uncle’s Sad Fate

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was WIDOWMAKER. I’ve never heard of this word, though I grasped the idea soon enough. Still, what might I might write in response to this prompt?

About ten minutes later our cat, Angus, came around the corner of the house with a mouse in his jaws. He rushed up the steps, intending to bring his prize inside, but that’s not allowed. The creature’s tail hung limp and lifeless, but you never know. They can fake it until the chance comes to dash under some furniture.

Anyway, my mind went back to the prompt and I thought, “Okay, here’s a tale…”

Widow-Makers

“”Quiet, children! Did you hear that sound?” Our mother trembled. Most of us froze, ears alert to the faint sound coming down through our tree stump.

Some of our siblings were still tumbling around, pulling each others’ tails. “Stop squeaking,” she hissed, reaching over to box their ears. “Everyone listen.”

The plucking, rasping sound was louder now and we all trembled a bit, wondering what it could be. She started shoving us into the corner farthest away from the door, whispering, “Don’t any of you dare squeak, or put so much as a whisker out the door.”

We all huddled in the corner until the sound stopped. Still Mother wouldn’t let us move around for a long time after.

“Mother, what was that sound,” one of our sisters finally asked.

“That, little ones, is the sound of THE CAT, a furious beast, sharpening its claws on a tree nearby. We must be silent whenever it’s near because if it hears any rustling, that monster will be over here in a flash, reaching in to snag whoever it can.”

By now we were all trembling. We’d heard many fur-raising tales about “THE CAT.”

Mother’s whiskers twitched wildly as she described the beast. “Its claws are viciously barbed. We call them widow-makers. Few mice ever escape those clutches. THE CAT has massacred dozens of our relatives.” She began wringing her hands “I do hope your father and brothers are safe. Snitching grain from the harvest field won’t be worth it if they lose their lives doing it.”

After awhile Father and our brothers came back and we could all relax. They told us all how they’d seen THE CAT and had hidden in another stump until the beast had moved on. Our brothers described THE CAT for us: a big furry monster with fiery golden eyes, HUGE paws and a long tail that it whipped around constantly. Oh, we were glad they hadn’t fallen prey to a beast like that!

But the sad news went round that evening when we mice gathered among the trees to visit our clan. We’d lost our great-great-uncle to THE CAT. Our great-great aunt is years younger than gr-gr-uncle and has perfect hearing; she shuddered as told us how she’d squealed a warning to him, but gr-gr-uncle hadn’t understood it. He’d poked his head out to see what was making that noise and spotted the cat. He’s kind of slow in his old age and didn’t duck back inside soon enough. THE CAT spied him and dived toward their hole, reaching in to snag gr-gr-uncle with its vicious barbs and carry him away in its jaws.

The mouse clan offered many sympathies to great-great-aunt, another widow in the daily battle for mouse survival. We’re all twice as cautious now. None of us want to be caught by those widow-maker claws.

Remembering Tuffy

We have another beautiful day ahead of us. Our two older cats have been out exploring and just came in for breakfast.

A month since he left us, I’m remembering our little Tuffy on this beautiful spring morning that he would have loved.

such a small creature
such a big hole left
to catch all the rain