Category Archives: Isabella

The Day Has Come

The day has finally come; I have my laryngoscopy today. I’ve been waiting since January 10 for them to schedule this procedure, and it will determine if I can get the Inspire implant as a replacement for my CPAP to treat my sleep apnea. I have to be at Dartmouth by 7 am, so we need to leave my apartment no later than 5:45 am. My friend driving me will have to leave her place around 5:10 am. I feel bad about the imposition I am putting her in, but I don’t have a lot of options. My boss was supposed to take me, and I would not feel bad about him having to leave so early, but his daughters came down with COVID, so he’s quarantined with them and can’t take me.

On a different note: While Isabella seems to enjoy my new apartment (as do I), she has been doing this odd thing lately. She will sit in front of the glass of my entertainment center and stare at her reflection. I had this entertainment center at my old place, but she never took note of it. She will sit there for the longest time just staring at her reflection, though I don’t think she realizes that it is her. Occasionally, she walks around the entertainment center to see if she can find that other cat. Of course, she never does, but it’s always back right where it was when she looks again. She doesn’t do anything but stare into the glass. She has done this with the front windows a few times, but never in a mirror and never for as long as she sits looking at the glass in the entertainment center. She doesn’t seem upset but seems more curious than anything else. So, I have a question for those with cats: have any of your cats ever exhibited this type of behavior? 

She’s usually pretty smart, and things like this don’t fool her. Although she still occasionally chases her tail, she will get tired of it after a little while. Also, she sometimes accidentally sits on one of her mice when playing with them and gets very perplexed about where it has gone. Eventually, she moves and reveals the mouse and seems surprised when the mouse suddenly reappears. Occasionally, she gets lost under the quilt on my bed but usually finds her way out unaided. Sometimes, I have to assist her. Cats are infinitely entertaining, especially Isabella. With all of these strange behaviors, she eventually gets tired and curls up on a nice comfy blanket and goes to sleep, which she seems to do, like most cats, for about 18 hours a day.

PROCEDURE UPDATE: The laryngoscopy went fine, but I am not an good candidate for the Inspire therapy, so I’m not sure what the next step is.


Moment of Zen: A Cat’s Love

People who don’t like cats often complain that they are unloving or aloof. I’ve always had very loving cats. My first cat Calico used to lay beside me when I was sick. My previous cat, Victoria, would insist I take a nap with her every day when I’d get home, laying beside me with her front paws and head on my chest. Isabella may not be a cuddler, but she’s almost always nearby or laying on my hip or staring out the window wanting me to come inside (see the last pic). Cats show affection in their own way, and we love them for it.


The Stages of Annoyance

Disclaimer: This post is in total jest.

I love Isabella, and she seems to love me. However, it’s very hard not to interpret her expressions or even to laugh at some of them. She is probably more full of expressions than any cat I’ve ever had. When she knows I’m about to leave my apartment, usually because I’m getting out of the shower and that means I’m probably going somewhere, she looks up at me with total adoration. She purrs and “talks” to me. She also has that look when I come home. While many cats show annoyance when you come home after you’ve been away (my previous cat did that), Isabella can’t seem to get enough of me when I come home. Eventually, she’ll settle down and usually go to sleep. Most of her expressions, though, show when I have displeased her. If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know the stages of annoyance, even if it’s the way they move their ears or they way they bite or scratch you, which Isabella can be guilty of at times, but mostly, she really is a very loving cat.

Isabella’s Stages of Annoyance

Stage 1: Opens her eyes just enough to see what’s going on.

Stage 2: “What do you want? You woke me up, it had better be important.”

Stage 3: “Okay, okay, I’m awake now. If you don’t want anything, I’ll go back to sleep.”

Stage 4: The warning, “You may not live through the night for this insolence.”

Stage 5: The final stage is always more sleep.

And, yes, sometimes, she just act like a crazy creature. She gets that look in her eyes that says, “I’m crazy.” Sometimes, she even still chases her tail. While we’ll never know what our pets are thinking, the expressions they make can be quite fun to try and figure out what’s going through their little brains.


Feline Friends

Cats tend to have a bad reputation. Some people assume they’re snobby, unfriendly, completely uninterested in their human owners, and prone to scratching or biting. But anyone who loves or owns cats knows that this couldn’t be further from the truth. While there has been significantly more research done on dogs than cats because they are harder to study, scientists are finally starting to change that. I am so thankful for my Isabella. She has saved my life.

I adopted Isabella at a when I was extremely depressed and lonely. I had moved 1,200 miles away from my family, and I had recently lost a very dear friend. There were days when I did a lot of crying, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on in this life. My two cats had stayed in Alabama with my aunt because at first I could not have pets in my apartment, and even when I talked my landlords into letting me have a cat, my aunt did not want to give up my cats. The loneliness and depression had almost become more than I could stand, and I knew I needed a companion up here.

Isabella has made the perfect companion nearly from day one. She took some time adjusting to my apartment, but eventually, she became the loving cat she is now. She’s never been one to cuddle, but she will lay on my hip if I’m laying on my side. She also just like to sit next to me.and just be near. She also seems to be able to sense when my blood sugar drops too low, especially if I’m sleeping, and she will wake me up so that I can get my blood sugar back to safe levels. In more ways than one, she has literally saved my life. I am ever so thankful for her constant companionship.


Cat People 🐈‍⬛

There are basically four types of people in this world: cat people, dog people, those who like cats and dogs, and those who don’t like pets. I fall squarely in the cat people category. I do not like dogs. Sometimes, I can tolerate them, but they still make me nervous. I have been afraid of dogs most of my life. I was traumatized by one as a child, and I’ve never been able to get over it. I don’t like dogs. I don’t like the way they smell. I hate to hear them bark. I can’t stand for one to lick me or slobber all over me. I absolutely despise when I tell someone I don’t like dogs and have been afraid of them since I was a child and they to respond, “Oh, but you’ll like my dog. He’s so sweet and lovable.” No, I am not going to like your dog. I may tolerate him, but I’ll never be comfortable around him. I just wish people could understand that and not get offended. I had a boss once that found it hilarious that her dozen little dogs would jump all over me, and she was convinced that her dogs were the exception to my feelings about dogs. They were not, and it was absolute torture every time I had to go to her house. So, as the sign below says, “NO DOGS, NO NOT EVEN LITTLE ONES.”

Cats are a different story. I love cats.I don’t think they smell at all, and if you take care of their litter box (or have an automatic one like I do) it won’t smell. The noises cats make are nowhere near as annoying, and a cat’s purr has been found to have a calming effect on humans. Most won’t lick you or slobber on you. Sometimes, they cuddle with you, and sometimes, they just do their own thing. For someone who enjoys their solitude, a cat can be a perfect companion because they often like their solitude as well. Isabella is not one to cuddle, but my previous cat Victoria was. Sometimes, I wish Isabella cuddled more, but cats always have their own personalities, occasionally multiple ones in the course of five minutes. One pet or scratch too many and you’ll know it. For me, that’s all part of their charm, and once you know a cat, then you can see when their mood has changed.


Five Years Ago

Five years ago today, I drove to East Montpelier, Vermont, to the Central Vermont Humane Society to adopt a kitten. They had about half of a dozen kittens, but only one was female. I happen to prefer female cats. In my opinion, they are easier and make better companions. I have never owned a male cat. 

Five years ago, I was in a bad place mentally. I was very lonely after moving to Vermont. The apartment I had rented initially did not allow pets, and I missed my two cats, Edith and Lucy, that are still in Alabama with my aunt. I had planned to find an apartment that allowed cats once I moved up here and bring my cats back with me when I went home the next time. However, my aunt said my two cats had gotten used to living with her (it’s the only place they’d lived beside the Montgomery Humane Society), so she wanted to keep them with her. I kept my apartment for the time being, but I informed my landlords that I would be moving out as soon as I found an apartment that would take cats because I really wanted a cat companion. My landlords said that they would allow me to have a cat if I paid a pet deposit. I knew they had problems renting the other apartments in my building, so I’m sure they did not want to lose a tenant.

So, five years ago, I began looking around at the local animal shelters for kittens. CVHS had a group of kittens in, so on the morning of Saturday, June 18, 2016, I went to CVHS to adopt a kitten. I had filled out all of the paperwork ahead of time, so they took me into the kitten room when I got there. The female kitten (Bridget—what a horrible name!) was solid black and hiding under a chair. I picked her up, and I knew right away, this was my new kitten. I knew that black cats are often left at shelters because people see them as bad luck, which made her especially endearing.

Five years ago, I took the tiny black furball home, and she immediately hid under the bed. It took her a little while to come out, but once she did, she let me know she was there, as you can see her mid-meow in the picture above. She has never had a strong meow unless her food bowl is mostly empty. She acclimated very well and became my little companion. She has never been one to cuddle up next to me as some cats have, though she will lay on my hip and occasionally in my lap. She absolutely hates to be picked up and lays limply in my arms with her head turned away from me if I do pick her up.

For five years, she has grown into a creature of habit. She is rarely more than a few feet away from me, though that has changed a little since I have been home so much during the pandemic. She will go and sleep in another room during the day, occasionally coming out to check on me. When the pandemic first started, I set up my home office in the spare bedroom, and as I worked, she spent her days sleeping on the futon behind me. When it got too hot to work in that room, and I had to put the air conditioner in the bedroom, I moved in there, and she began to sleep on the bed behind me. Recently, I have been working from the couch, but she seems to prefer the other rooms for her sleeping, so she mostly leaves me alone during the day.

For five years, she has been my constant companion. She loves me and cares for me in her own way. She likes to watch over me. When she thinks I am staying up too late, she comes to tell me to go to sleep. She will try to get between my iPad and me, or she will lay on my hip to make sure I stay still. Once I turn out the lights, she settles down either on the other side of the bed or at the foot of the bed and goes to sleep. Most days (if she hasn’t played too hard during the night), she thinks I should be awake at the same time she is around 6 am. Once I get up, she follows me around until I sit to eat breakfast, then she goes back to bed to sleep some more. 

Five years ago, I was in a dark place mentally, but she has helped drag me out of that darkness. She may be a little black creature, but she has brought so much light into my life. I don’t know what I would do without her.


A Few Things: 💉 🐾 🦷 🌨

💉

Today’s the day. I’m getting my second COVID-19 vaccine. I’ve been told that the second shot is the one more likely to cause side effects, but so far, with the Pfizer vaccine which I’m getting, I’ve just heard that it made people sleepy. The Moderna vaccine seems to have a few more side effects. My dentist and his office took the Moderna and he said they all felt like they had a bad cold for a day or two, but only after the second shot. Then, they were fine.

🐾

I could handle a few days of being sleepy, if Isabella will let me sleep. When she decides it is time for me to get up, she’s pretty damn insistent that I get out of bed. There’s no such thing as sleeping late with this cat, and it’s not like she wants to be fed. She has a feeder and a water fountain, so she never runs out of either. Normally, she just wants one of two things: my warm spot in the bed or attention. She can be a bit of an attention whore at times.

🦷

I’ll be working this morning, but I’m taking off this afternoon and I have tomorrow off for my regular “use it or lose it” vacation day Fridays. Even though I have tomorrow off, I’ll be up and ready early as I have an 8 am dental cleaning appointment. I really hope that I can convince my dentist to either talk to the oral surgeon to let them know the urgency of taking out this tooth or refer me to someone else who can get me in sooner. We’ll see.

🌨

Other than that, I have no plans for this weekend. We are expecting rain all day today, and snow most of tomorrow. The last forecast I saw said we could expect 3-6” of snow, but the weatherman said that the ground is warm enough that it is unlikely to stick. It is expected to be a heavy wet snow. I hope it’s not too bad when I get up early tomorrow morning. I was really hoping I was done with cleaning snow from my car.


Moment of Zen: A Warm Spot

This is really Isabella’s moment of zen and not mine. Nearly every morning when I get out of bed, Isabella immediately curls up in the warm spot I just vacated. Usually, she stays there for most of the morning before venturing out of the bedroom around lunchtime.


little tree

[little tree]
by e e cummings – 1894-1962

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see        i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid

look        the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold.
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

Edward Estlin Cummings (often styled e e cummings) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School. He received his BA in 1915 and his MA in 1916, both from Harvard University. In his work, Cummings experimented radically with form, punctuation, spelling, and syntax, abandoning traditional techniques and structures to create a new, highly idiosyncratic means of poetic expression. Later in his career, he was often criticized for settling into his signature style and not pressing his work toward further evolution. Nevertheless, he attained great popularity, especially among young readers, for the simplicity of his language, his playful mode and his attention to subjects such as war and sex.

The poet and critic Randall Jarrell once noted that Cummings is “one of the most individual poets who ever lived—and, though it sometimes seems so, it is not just his vices and exaggerations, the defects of his qualities, that make a writer popular. But, primarily, Mr. Cummings’s poems are loved because they are full of sentimentally, of sex, of more or less improper jokes, of elementary lyric insistence.”

My Beautiful and Sweet Isabella


Oddities of Amazon

Isabella looks at me with the same disdain and horror when I pick her up.

Usually, when I order stuff from Amazon.com, I get what I order. I rarely have problems. When I have had problems, it’s because I read the description wrong and inadvertently bought the wrong thing. Usually, this has to do with the size of whatever I ordered. However, I recently ordered a corner shield with adhesive to go on my door frames to stop Isabella from scratching. She was scratching off the paint, and I needed to do something before she caused too much damage. I measured, and the ones I found were the perfect size (3/4 inches wide and 48 inches long), and they came in a pack of five. When I got the notice that they had arrived, I went outside and got them. The box was 5.5 feet long and 5 inches by 5 inches. It was a much larger box than I had anticipated, but Amazon often sends things in inordinately large boxes. I got the box inside and opened it up, and it contained only one corner shield.

I went back to my order and checked to make sure that I had ordered the correct thing, and I had. Amazon just shipped on corner shield. Four were missing. So, I had to contact Amazon, not one of my favorite things to have to do. The good thing is that Amazon is replacing the whole order. Chatting with Amazon is always an interesting experience. I used to chat feature and did not call because I have a hard time understanding their operators, and with my southern accent, they have a hard time understanding me. It’s easier just to type what I need. “Lester” was very helpful, and he put in an order for a replacement. He told me I would get a return shipping label, but I should ignore it. Then he wrote, “Before I let you go, is there anything else I can help you with?” I immediately started to type, “No, thank you for your help, Lester.” However, before I could even get the “No” typed, he cut off the chat. It was a weird exchange, but he put through the request to send a replacement. 

The complete set of five corner shields should arrive on November 25. I hope they do as Isabella is soon going to find out that she cannot scratch the wall anymore, and she will likely move to another door frame. Before anyone suggests that I buy her a scratching post, she has several different scratching toys. She won’t touch any of them. The only plaything I have ever bought her that she will play with are those little toy mice (she prefers live ones, but now that I live in a newer apartment, there aren’t any). She will only play with toy mice as long as they have no catnip in them. She seems to dislike catnip. She did have one other toy that she liked. It was one of those sticks with a string on it, and at the end of the string, there were feathers with a bell attached. The bell was very faint, but no matter where she was or how far under the bed she was hiding, if I jangled that little bell, she’d come running. Sadly, a few months ago, I stepped on it and broke it. I have not been able to find a replacement.

“Do not disturb me.”
“What’s out there?”