Sunday, August 21, 2022

The Story of Little Toad

Our town has a Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) program that encourages people to capture "community," or free roaming unowned cats. The cats are then taken to the local shelter and neutered or spayed, then released back to where they have been living. The hope is that this program will eventually and humanely reduce the population of feral cats. 

Cats are apparently marked after the process by having their ears tipped, so they can be easily identified from a distance as already neutered. 

I know that this program has been in place for many years--sometimes with government funding and sometimes through the goodness of private citizens. 

One little guy who was the recipient of this free service was a young gray and white cat. He was so friendly and sociable that folks wanted to have him taken in by one of the many no-kill shelters here and offered for adoption, but at the time there just wasn't any room for any more cats. So he was released back into "the wild"--his neighborhood near the downtown plaza. 

Then fate took a hand. One evening, the director of one of the most successful shelters was dining out with friends at the Little Toad Creek Brewery downtown when the gray and  white cat came up and "spoke" to them. They knew he was asking for a home so they took him along, named him Little Toad, and featured him as the Action Programs for Animals Pet of the Week. 

I saw his story on Facebook in mid-July and couldn't believe that he was not adopted immediately. Two weeks later, he joined our family. He made himself at home immediately. He wasn't bothered by the cats or the dogs. He isn't at all shy and greets visitors at the door and shows them to a comfy chair, just like a little maitre d'. 

Little Toad at the shelter, waiting...

Home at last; best friends with Minky (whose shelter name was Butch Cassidy)

Everyone gets along. L to R: Little Toad, Henry (shelter name Jupiter), and Minky

Monday, July 4, 2022

Hats for the Homeless Shelters

I've been knitting these hats in odd moments--while watching the [mostly terrible] news, listening to Congressional hearings, or during the scary bits in Killing Eve that I don't want to see. Almost all of my backlog of acrylic yarn has been used up now. The hats will go to our public library in November, to be distributed among the homeless shelters in town.


Friday, February 18, 2022

More Socks

 One last pair of gift socks. I think I have reached the saturation point with family members. Our sock drawers are bulging!

Those of you with keen eyes will spot the color mistake I made while knitting and watching TV at the same time.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Late Gift for Christmas

 Handknit from Knit Picks Static yarn, Rooster colorway

39 Hats for the Homeless Shelter

I knit these over the summer.


Socks Knit for Christmas


Friday, December 3, 2021

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

I donated my well-loved and well-used Ashford spinning wheel to the thrift shop today. I seemed to have lost the knack for spinning and my kids--although they had fond memories of this wheel--had no place for it. Besides, it really needed a home where it would be used for spinning, and not just for display. 

My favorite local thrift/charity shop, Rock of Ages, agreed to take the wheel, all my spinning tools, and three large bags of wool, silk, angora, llama, and alpaca fibers. I hope that someone will buy it all and will use the wheel for many years. It would be a wonderful Christmas gift for the right person.

I ordered the wheel in 1975 from the Ashford Company in New Zealand. It came as a kit which I put together myself. It was a great learning experience and I was always glad that I knew every part of my wheel, its name and function and how everything went together. I kept the directions all these many years. 

Here I am, back in the day, spinning with a group in a park in Sumner, Washington. At that time, I was an early member of The Moonspinners, a spinning guild that met in the evenings. I also co-owned (with my friend, Marj) a spinning and weaving shop in Sumner called The Country Weaver.

This shawl was my last big project--hand spun, hand dyed, and knit of soft wool. You can follow the whole process in this post, From Sheep to Shawl. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Thank You For Your Kindness

As I was lacing up my sneakers for my morning walk today, I realized that the very people who had helped me so much had last seen me in severe pain, but had never heard the rest of the story--the story that they had set in motion through an act of kindness. This post is a thank you to them and a reminder to us all that what might seem like a small kindness can change someone else's life.

Back in 2007 when I was 62 and still working, I was in so much foot and knee pain that walking was becoming more and more difficult. I had even cancelled out on our proposed 25th anniversary trip to Italy the year before--we had a family trip to Yellowstone instead, where I was wheeled around in a rented wheelchair by my cheerful son, Ben, who made wheelchairing fun. 

I had come to believe that joint pain was a part of growing older. As I limped through each day, I was resigned but sad to be missing out on so much.

One day, while walking down the hall at the school where I was librarian, I was hit with such severe knee pain that I grabbed at the wall for support. I hadn't realized that one of my fellow teachers was walking behind me and saw my agony. Di, an occupational therapist, took me by the elbow, saying "You are going to the principal's office with me, NOW."

It turned out that the principal had a wonderful orthopedic surgeon. She handed me the phone number and these two good samaritans stood over me while I phoned and made an appointment. I will thank both of these women to the end of my days!

Within a week, I got a shot in my knee that gave instant relief that lasted several months. I met with my own doctor and we mapped out a plan to deal with my bad joints starting with the ground up. I had foot surgery as soon as it could be scheduled, which meant that I had to retire before the end of the year as originally planned. 

Once I had healed, we moved cross country to New Mexico. I had my right knee replaced in April 2008 and the left one replaced on November 8th of the same year. 

People talk about life-changing events, and now I know just what they mean. Because of the kindness of two women (and the expertise of medical specialists) I can walk without pain. I'm 76 now and, since those surgeries, have been to France and Iceland. I've hiked in many amazing places around New Mexico and the Southwest. I walk six days a week through pecan orchards and along irrigation canals with my friend Florence, who is five years older than me and who inspires me every day. 

Thank you to the friends who saw me in pain and found a way to help. You made such a difference in my life.