Bernadette is home

The only photo I have so far. Sweet Bernadette.


What a wacky few days it’s been!

First, I was worried we would not be approved for Bernadette. In filling out the adoption application I had to note that we had indeed returned Blacki to the Kewanee Humane Society. I thought it might not matter why, just that we had done so. I felt like a failure then, and it still hurts, especially when Blacki’s photos keep popping up as Facebook memories.

I got nervous and called to see if all was well, and, thank God it was. Now, about that weather forecast….

I knew neither of us were going to be able to drive to the Geneseo location. We’d never been there and it was out in the country. Add a never-ending snow to the mix and you get the idea. So did my stomach. I was freaking out a bit. I had my kitten, but then again, I didn’t.

All I knew was, I wanted her here. Her *stuff* arrived: a new bed, litter boxes, litter (thanks again to my dearest friends, Dorothy and Tom!), toys, food and a cat carrier. The only thing missing was Bernadette.

I checked out available rides through the Henry County Transportation service. Yes! I set up an appointment for Friday, late afternoon. The hours they were open in Geneseo was 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

I kept a wary eye on the forecast. It just kept getting worse. On Thursday I learned that the place wasn’t going to open on Friday due to the weather so I called my ride and asked about that afternoon – could I set it up instead of waiting until next week? (Turns out the weekend would have been a bust, too.)

Yes! A ride came at the right time and we set out. The weather got worse the closer we got to Geneseo. We found our destination, I got out and went in to meet Bernadette for the first time.

When she came out, I fought back tears. She was everything I thought she would be – and more. She’s gentle, soft, beautiful. She purrs – a lot.

The storm grew worse and we headed home. Bernadette didn’t make a peep all the way home. I brought her inside, put her carrier on the foyer floor (Gary was in his man cave a few feet away) and opened the door to her pet taxi. Bernadette immediately headed for under my desk, darted into the kitchen, went under the table – then she disappeared. For two days.

Cue the freaking out again. Gary eventually asked if I made the whole thing up. What kitten? He saw no evidence of one, except for litter pan, toys, cat food and water. No kitten, no meows. Nothing.

I had to open her carrier and give her the run of a two-story house with a gazillion hidey-holes for a tiny Bernadette. I alternated between fear and heartache. I cried. I prayed. I worried.

On Saturday morning Gary announced he saw evidence of a used litter box. We heard a “meow”. And after searching two floors, under and around, Gary found her.

She was less than a foot away from his chair in the man cave. She was securely tucked under the freezer and we had a whale of time getting her out, but that didn’t happen until Saturday night.

I picked up our kitten, walked to the living room and held her close. She alternated between tucking her head under my arm and staring with wide eyes at all she’d been missing. She purred almost constantly. I felt her warmth, her softness and gazed into the most beautiful kitten eyes I’ve ever seen.

Eventually I had to let her down. She walked around a bit, sniffed at her new bed, then took off. We haven’t seen her since, and it’s Sunday afternoon.

We’ve blocked off her previous hiding place. I saw things moved around a bit back there and have a feeling she’s nearby. I ordered cat treats and am hoping I can lure her out again, soon.

For now, though, I will close my eyes and remember how it felt to hold our Bernadette. And when I get the chance, I will post pictures of the most beautiful kitten you’ve ever seen.

February 11, 2018


Here kitty, kitty, kitty



Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes!

We found out Tuesday that a sweet kitten currently named “Pomona” will be coming to live with us. We (especially I) can’t wait. No patience, remember?

Her goodies are on the way and should be delivered by FedEx tomorrow. Her carrier should be here Friday morning. We’re to pick her up and bring her home Friday afternoon.

We have a ride lined up, and we’re good to go. Except….

Have you heard the weather forecast? If you have, and you wouldn’t mind, we could use your prayers to hold off that heavy snowfall until after Sweetums gets here.

Surprised by her nickname? Gosh, I’ve given all our fur babies nicknames over the years. I’ve had a suggestion or two from a friend of mine – and yes, they were hilarious. I might even use them a time or two. Thanks, Anna.

We’ll have a new bed, toys, her favorite food and especially two loving humans waiting to welcome a very special kitty into our home.

I can’t wait to settle in with a good book, a cup of tea and a sleepy kitten.

Ah, such bliss.

February 7, 2018


Patience. But hurry!

Ah, Bernadette, hope to see you soon.


Well, we applied for a young cat currently named “Ponoma”. She’s a sweet-looking little thing, all orange-y and furry and such.

I want to name her Bernadette. Bernadette M. Washburn, “BMW”, so, of course her nickname could be “Beemer”. I like it.

I’ve got some stuff on hold in a cart on – I want to make sure I get her the litter and food she’s used to.

That is – if we are approved. It stands to reason the shelter will want to know all about us and I had to report we returned Blacki to the Kewanee shelter. I’m not sure it matters if our reasons were because of our health issues, but we’ll see.

I’ve imagined Bernadette living here, snuggling in her bed, pouncing on us, meowing in the middle of the night. We’ve had cats before and each one was different, as were our dogs. We’ve had pets our entire married life.

So, we wait. We applied late this last week. I’m not the most patient person in the world but I think I’m doing okay.

But, gee, I hope they hurry up and say yes.

February 3, 2018

Seriously, I need a kitten

This was Mittens, Gary’s mom’s cat. She liked Gary best.


How in the world does one justify taking on the care of a kitten when they’re in need of care themselves?

Gary used to take care of me; now, I take care of him. But you’ve heard all about that. I’m trying to understand my state of mind and wondering where my common sense went – if I ever had any.

Every night when we pretty much collapse after the end of a long day I feel the pang of loss – the loss of a furry friend curling up next to one of us, demanding attention, stealing food or getting into other kinds of mischief.

I was rapidly losing the ability to deal with most of that. I couldn’t just jump up and handle things with Blacki. I just couldn’t. The pain was too fierce, especially at that time of night. And there were the bathroom trips – outside, inside, outside, inside. It was too much.

But a cat? A cat I can handle. We’ve had lots of the little furry critters over the years. They all had their own personality. So do dogs. But they’re different, you know? They snuggle (some of them, anyway), purr, play, sleep on your head, bite your toes and jump up on counters and tables. They climb curtains and race around for no reason.

I have so much room in my heart for a kitten. Maybe I should let one find us, but I hope they hurry. Every night (and day) without one is one too many.

January 30, 2018


Calendars, scary times, vacation

Because sometimes only a frog will do.


A few years ago Vonnie was musing how she needed a separate calendar for various things. She and Tom had one doctor/specialist visit after another, and along with ordinary important dates, her calendar runneth over. Hence, she came up with a great idea.

She figured she needed a calendar for her and Tom’s appointments, another for birthdays and anniversaries, and a regular one for, well, regular stuff.

The idea was gold, but it wasn’t implemented like she hoped. Now I’m seeing the need for the same.

My work calendar gets more crowded by the day (pun intended). It’s the nature of the job; it’s going to keep changing and getting full. I get that.

The other calendar, for now, would be just for Gary. Though I have to say, his doctor visits are slowing down a bit. He’s had great news about his stomach scope – no cancer! We just found that out last week.

We’ve been to his regular doctor (finally!!!) and he was prescribed a nebulizer (that’s a story unto itself), and an inhaler of sorts. That, too, is another story.

Gary is feeling a tad better, though he still walks bent over and gets winded easily. It’s going to take a while, a long while, but we’re taking it one day at a time. (Again with the calendar talk!)

There was an incident at work, not the location here in town, but where I spend my time. It was a stunning display that I probably will never forget and it resulted in something I find incredibly sad. It’s had such an impact on me I just can’t stop thinking about it.

To top it off, we had a visitor at our home last night that ended up with me calling the police and making a report. The visitor was definitely “not okay”, and frankly, I was scared. Neither of us could have done much to defend ourselves if I’d let the person inside; in fact, I shouldn’t have opened the door after they called out their name.

My heart is heavy over what happened, and I can’t help wondering where they are now. This isn’t the first time the person had a breakdown but it is the first time I know for sure they know where I live. I keep the curtains shut and the door locked, and I keep my head on a swivel whenever I go out, which isn’t much.

You know what? I think I need a vacation. One of these days….

January 27, 2018

Tea (and prayer) time


Here it is, my beautiful tea set.
I prayed for Vonnie here.

I wanted to show you the gorgeous tea set I write about below but I’ll have to wait until I can upload it. Try to imagine it until it appears above. (I found it!)

When I was a kid, Diane and I played house – a lot. We didn’t have a two-parent household so I just “played” at what I gathered at school from classmates who, to me, had a normal home life.

I longed for a mom and dad for us. A dad who worked all day, came home and ate supper with us, then played with us until time for bed. Since that didn’t happen, I used our dolls as a family, then served meals with our plastic tea set.

We didn’t just play house. I loved dinosaurs, too, and played with those at Aunt Mary’s house in Kewanee.

I don’t know how many years ago it was but Vonnie and I were shopping in Peoria when we decided to visit Pier One. We loved that store and it usually took several trips around the inside in order to see everything.

I saw the tea set I wanted, but I gave it some time and looked at other things. I came back to the set and decided to buy it. At that time I didn’t drink tea; I just wanted to re-live my childhood.

Years later Vonnie needed a silent auction gift so I gave her the set. It’s such a beautiful color and we thought someone would grab it but it didn’t sell, so it came home with her. She kept it atop her refrigerator for a long time until one day, when she decided to have a yard sale. She mentioned she was selling it and I, of course, was broke.

I asked if she’d consider selling it to me and I think she forgot how she got it. When I told her, she insisted I take it home. Some time passed, but eventually I brought it home.

Lots of things remind me of her: Kohl’s ads, inspirational books, Philippians 4:6-7, Bible studies, Chevy Tahoes – and my tea set.

Memories. Gotta love ’em. Cherish yours and make as many good ones as you possibly can.

January 20, 2018

So that’s why my feet hurt

Ah, wearing the right pair of shoes makes all the difference!



Yesterday I had so much to do for Gary I met myself coming and going. A big part of being able to handle that much running around depends on the pain level in my legs and feet, and yesterday the discomfort was off the charts. I just chalked it up to too much walking and getting in and out of the car.

Well. The first inclination that something was amiss came when I almost tripped up the outside steps bringing in a load of stuff from the car. I thought, “Great. These shoes aren’t all that old and they’re already falling apart.”

Okay, I get it. I’m 65 and bound to make some missteps (pun intended) when it comes to everyday living but, hey, when I noticed I was wearing two different shoes I have to admit that took me aback.

The shoes are very similar. They’re black tie-ons but I still thought they were far enough away from each other that this could never have happened. But it did and boy did it feel funny walking all over Creation wearing them.

Makes me wonder if I’m the right person to be caring for my sweetheart. I haven’t told him yet – I mean, what if he fires me?

Nah, he wouldn’t do that.

January 19, 2018