Maya the cat

Howdy! Gosh, been a while, hasn’t it?

My semester is wrapping up and I am buzzing with excitement. I haven’t gotten to have casual fun since last April. That is over twelve months ago! I jumped into an archaeological project over the summer, then hopped right into a visiting lectureship in the fall and have barely been able to breathe. I’ll save all that for my other blog though. Summer is coming, and with it, I foresee many crafty posts in the relatively near future!

Anywho, Maya is my oldest cat – she’s getting to be quite the old lady round here (she is 12); sometimes, she gets constipated. I don’t know why, it’s just who she is. Once, she even had a kitty enema. True story. Back in March, she was super duper straining and we almost took her to the ER vet late one night because she was also crying out which was unusual for her. While Boy was on the phone with them, she happened to finally pass the giganto turd, so we avoided the emergency. She already had a vet scheduled for the following week, and so the doc checked her out, recognized she was dehydrated, gave her some fluids, and we went on our merry way.

But then, I noticed she had this little flappy lump on her belly, near where I imagined her intestines to be so I got pretty worried. Boy tried to make me wait it out – he assumed it was in her intestines and it would pass – but from what little I know of anatomy, it seemed like a hernia to me. So, I took her in again and the doc concurred. This appointment, I hated. Boy was down and out with the flu and I always make him come with me, the reasons being two-fold: 1) he asks me a lot of questions after the visit that I can’t always answer since I didn’t think to ask and 2) moral support. Who likes to see their little ones stressed out and hear bad news, eh? But, not only did I hate the visit since I was alone, but also because the doc urged me to schedule her surgery for the next morning. The same day I was leaving for a week-long dig four hours south.

And, Boy was still sick, so I dropped her off that morning. Waited to pick her up that afternoon, then couldn’t get myself to leave my sneezing Sasha (oh yeah, that was a thing, too), my sick husband, and my just-had-major-surgery Maya. Only, it wasn’t a hernia either! It was a dark mass! So, the doc did exploratory surgery, determined it was likely a lymph node, which was also attached to one of her mammary glands, so for the sake of future issues, he also gave her a kitty mastectomy – surprise! And here I was, ditching my entire sick family for a week into archaeological happiness.

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Boy took care of her while I was gone and kept me posted on her progress. It sounded terrible. He assures me it was better that I was gone because since I am her person, and I would be unable to help her, my guilt and worry would have been worse than it was already. At first, she had to wear a little shirt. She hated it.

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When she started feeling a little more energetic, she did everything she could to get the shirt off, so Boy stuck her in a hood that flopped up and down, depending on how she rubbed her face into things (as you can see by the lack of base boards, we *still* haven’t completed our house remodeling). Boy had to take her in to get the drainage and stitches removed, and get her some more pain meds. Doc said everything was progressing nicely.

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The shirt came off and she was super duper happy but then she started licking her wound like crazy so the hood remained. We even had to get her some medicated cream to soothe her skin. That’s when I got home. She hated me. Well, of course hate is a strong word, but she really didn’t like me. She was comforted by Sasha though. Boy even said that while I was away, she would cry a lot until he let Sasha in the same room. The doc suggested keeping them apart, and keeping Maya from jumping – ha! Keep a cat from jumping?! – so we had set up the craft room with some deterrents from jumping on tall areas and we moved in one of the litter boxes and her food and water. But she was so sad, Boy said, that when he let Sasha in, they would curl up and Maya would finally get some rest.

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Slowly, as her little peach fuzz furr grew back, she started licking less and less, and finally became the Maya she was. I mean, she even just looked plain goofy sometimes.

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The doc sent her tissues away for a biopsy and it took a while to get the results because that person ended up sending them on to yet another specialist just to be sure. The lymph node specialist declared it all benign. Some type of lymphatic hypoplasia, that could be a pre-cancerous situation, but unlikely. More likely, it was just a funky lymph node that went a little bit crazy and couldn’t stop itself. Anything with the cancer word, though, is scary, so I fully approve of the doc taking extra precautions and removing the mammary gland too. Essentially, she has a clean bill of health! And sure enough, she acts like it – refusing to let me have a moment’s peace without her.

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Winter floral arrangement

I attended another floral workshop this week for a winter outdoor arrangement. Our pots were already filled with dirt, and our greenery kit awaited us. We got to pick out two packets of adornment (everything from a natural look to full-on glitter, from sticks and pinecones to feathery balls and christmas faire). I went non-traditional in that I was the only person to select something glitter-free and purple (a type of dyed holly maybe?) rather than glittery golds, reds, whites, or blues, though I did add some bronze-y glittered pinecones. I thought it would look rather popping with my red house.

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The shopkeeps ran through a demo that made it look as easy as slicing butter. When it was my turn to begin, I looked at my sorted pile of greenery (from biggest and sturdiest to smallest and floppiest); I felt rather uncertain with what to do with it. I reminded myself that this happened to me last time, and at the end of that venture, I had what I felt was a pretty awesome arrangement so I kept making fresh stem cuts, kept scraping off the last few inches of each branch, and pushed them into my pot, waiting for the tide to turn into pleasant surprise. The shopkeeps came around every once in a while with tips and encouragement as we dined on snacks, drank wines, and pretended we knew what we were doing.

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To me, floral arrangements seem to be like tubing behind a boat. When you stay in the wake, it is pretty boring, so you fight and fight to pop out outside of the wake, and sometimes you are so tired you aren’t sure you can make it (my memories of this come from when I was a kid – I wonder how easily this actually might be now as an adult!). And then you do, and it’s rough waters, and you aren’t sure why you like spray in your face and bouncing around like a die in Yatzi any more than a relaxing ride behind a boat. So you pop back over to where calmer waters await and have a sense of happiness that you overcame that trial, and you are content.

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For me, this runs parallel to my two experiences of making a floral pot. Pushing things into dirt seems easy enough, then it becomes a jungle mess that you can’t appreciate so you keep plodding through wondering why you are even making the attempt, and eventually it begins to come together, and then you spruce it up, and voila! You have a beautiful arrangement. How did that happen?

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I’ve decided that I enjoy these workshops and will likely keep attending. I kind of wish there was one a month, though I obviously would not always have time for that. It was a nice little creative getaway for me, since I haven’t been able to do anything imaginative for quite some time now. Looking forward to next summer, I tell you what!

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Troweling around: archaeology trowel holster

As an archaeologist, I own a trowel. They begin as mortar trowels, but we sharpen them to cut through dirt. Ergo, you need an archaeology trowel holster. The ones you can buy are bulky and have a small amount of weight to them. I wanted something different. Enter Boy and his leather. I used a white pencil to trace around the trowel blade, some leather scissors to chop it up, a leather needle and sinew to sew along the sides, and a leather tong to make sure the holster stayed put once in my pack.

archaeology trowel holster: trowel_holster_1

archaeology trowel holster: trowel_holster

I am pleased with the results! I just got my pack last week and am currently in the field (for a total of eight plus if you can believe it!). So far, things seem to be working ok and I needn’t be concerned of my trowel damaging any other goods or the pack itself. Bravo me! Time will tell if the continued use will wear out the sinew. Fingers crossed!