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3 + 4 Weeks: Distractions for a Long Month

I cannot pretend to be upbeat and positive. I want to be. I was at the beginning of the month but events–both national and local–have left me feeling sad and often scared. While I’m writing this post, I’m listening to a podcast that a relative (by marriage) publicly shared on Facebook.

Yes, I should know better. For months now I’ve read this relative’s public posts with the sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be long before this relative embraced all the most ludicrous and bizarre conspiracy theories shared by the mob that stormed the Capitol. Well, this relative’s slide into the abyss of disinformation is complete. And that makes me sad … and a bit scared because there are obviously plenty of other people who believe as this relative does and a lot of them are willing, perhaps even eager, to use violence.

So … kind of hard to feel upbeat and positive, but I need to get up every morning. My cats and my husband depend on me to do so. They are my welcomed distractions.

Here’s one distraction who probably doesn’t need an introduction. Things are going well with Raji albeit slow. My goal is still to get him into a pet carrier, but he’s fast and has great reflexes. We’ve tried feeding him inside a carrier, in the hope that he’ll relax and not notice us slowly coming up behind him. Eh, he doesn’t relax. Usually he keeps a back foot or two outside the carrier so he can quickly back out and get away. The least sense of movement from either of us and he’s off! So we recently purchased a pet carrier built for two.

The trick with this carrier is not in getting him all the way into it–he will do that when he’s eating–but in getting the “door” zipped up before he can escape.

Meanwhile, we continue with our before-meal-petting routines.

Can you see his sharp little claws in the last photo? Right now that’s the main reason I want to get him back to the vet: nail trim! Besides being such a cutie-patootie, he is still allowing me to pick him up, but only when I’m sitting on the floor and I follow this procedure:

  • put gentle pressure on his back until he’s prone
  • firmly place my hands on either side of his rib cage and under his shoulders
  • slowly lift up, making sure his back is to me at all times
  • hold for one, two, maybe three seconds
  • slowly lower down to the floor
  • loosen “grip” on his sides so that my hands caress him as he launches away from me.

It’s fun, and it gives me hope. For the most part, we do have fun with Raji. Recently we’ve allowed our other kitties to be around during his supervised visits to the house interior. No fights so far. Nothing worse than Junior hissing and Raji running back for the garage. He’s curious about the other cats, but leaves them alone if they get hissy (thank goodness!).

It’s been cold here and we’ve been too busy for Greg and me to go on a nature walk. So, here’s a few of the plants I’ve been tending the last several months. I am quite impressed by these lovelies. I do shelter them on nights when the temps are below or near freezing, but it still impresses me how resilient they are.

This bromeliad was gift from a coworker. I’ve had it for over a year now, and it’s already bloomed once. I’m thrilled to see that it plans to bloom again.

I purchased this Red Penta a couple of months ago, shortly before our temps turned wintry. Butterflies and perhaps hummingbirds are attracted to the red flowers.

This here is a white-flowered butterfly bush. What you are seeing are new leaves interspersed with old. I find it so fascinating that this bush is continually pushing out new leaves. The white blossoms won’t appear until spring.

I feel a lot pride in this Scarlet Salvia. My husband bought it a couple of years ago and then complained that “it never bloomed.” I guess it’s one thing to tend to trees and large bushes, but a potted plant is something else. By the time I took an interest, it was already quite “leggy.” The soil was bone-dry. I started to water it. It is a water hog. It requires twice as much water as all the other plants. After a month or two, red shoots started to appear and before too long we had blossoms. And it has not stopped blooming since! It’s a miracle! In spring, I plan to prune it back, once it has access to plenty of warmth and sunshine to spur new growth.

I am grateful for these distractions: my cats, my husbands, and my plants. I’m also grateful for all of you who bring light and love into my life.

Stay well, safe, and as happy as you can be.

Categories: Cats Nature

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

31 replies

  1. I loved your story about the salvia, Marie. This past summer, I rescued a potted lavender salvia, on it’s last leg. I planned to buy it, but since it was so far gone, the woman at the nursey said I could have it. I watered it and fed it Miracle Gro. I even talked to it. LOL! It turned out to be one of our favorite plants. The hummingbirds loved it and so did the butterflies. I wanted to buy the scarlet, but I was too late in the season. The nursery had sold out. This spring, I plan to be first in line. As for listening to things on Facebook…don’t do it! LOL! I’m doing everything in my power to have peace in my life in 2021, so I’m tuning out the noise and focusing on my family, friends, goals and writing. Too many distractions sucked me dry in 2020. Raji looks nice and cozy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I’d love a lavender salvia. I think they are hardy plants (they must be given the neglect our scarlet salvia suffered ;)). Yes, I’m spending less time on social media. I like sharing blog posts but I can do that without actually being on Twitter or FB, if you know what I mean πŸ˜‰

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      1. The lavender was beautiful, but I plan to get scarlet in the spring since the hummies will enjoy it more. Yeah, I’m about ready to bag FB and Twitter. Both are sapping my energy. I enjoy Instagram so much more. All of the beautiful photos and no trash talk is a nice change. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the weekend!

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        1. I enjoy IG too. I love looking at photos! You’re right about hummers being attracted to red. We used to have impatiens bordering our deck and they loved those but we had to replant them every year. Fingers crossed with the Scarlet Salvia and Red Penta, we can attract hummers every year πŸ™‚

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  2. Your salvia is beautiful! Love the red! Your photos, as usual, are beautiful!
    Here’s hoping Raji will get in that carrier.
    I avoid posts on Facebook because they interfere with my peace, as Jill mentioned. So tired of the shrieking.

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    1. I have never been so grateful as now to have given up Facebook in March 2019. I had almost 1500 friends and was exhausted from putting out fires. I thought I would try it for three months and never went back.

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      1. It’s so so tempting to give it up. I’ve deactivated my account a couple of times but FB is still the only place where I can find the family and friends I want to stay close to. So I keep coming back but spend as little time on it as possible … which really isn’t hard to do πŸ˜‰

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  3. I like your phrase “slide into the abyss of disinformation.” Ain’t it the truth? I don’t do FB but I hear a lot about what goes on there. It’s depressing.

    On a cheerier note, I like your Red Penta. I’ve never tried to grow them but perhaps I should give it a go when the weather gets summery. Such a pretty bloom.

    Love that you have a written procedure for engaging with your outdoor kitty. Makes sense that you must do what he wants!

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    1. Thanks, Ally, I spend as little time on FB as I can. Just pop on to check in on my close friends and family and then pop on. I approach FB like I approach a hot stove πŸ˜‰ The Red Penta is my first one. It was blooming when I bought it (gives me a leg up), and I’m happy to see another stalk starting to bloom. You should give them a try πŸ™‚

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  4. I have relatives (by marriage) like yours. One sister called the other evening in tears about the other sister who believes ALL the looney conspiracy theories. It is disheartening. And just in this moment the tide is in and it’s pouring rain here so my walk will have to wait.

    Most of our country is appalled by the actions. Most. I will try to be satisfied that most is enough for the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most might be enough for now, but I would like to see Trump and the other insurrectionists in Congress banned from ever holding federal office. They need to be held accountable. I know some believe that the pursuit of impeachment this second time was only for revenge, but I don’t believe that. It was actually the third option: Option 1 was for Trump to publicly apologize and hold himself and his word accountable for what happened on Jan. 6. He refused to do anything but offer a tepid plea for no more violence. Option 2 was the 25th Amendment which Pence refused to invoke (I”m not sure if the 25th would have been the most effective way to respond to the insurrection). Option 3 was impeachment, if all else fails, which it has. The point is not revenge but to hold accountable a dangerous and seditious individual. There’s still the 14th Amendment. Whatever happens, Trump and his family should be banned from federal office. Okay, I hope your weather is better today and I’ll step down from my soap box πŸ˜‰

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  5. I echo so much of what you wrote about. The sadness, the deep sadness at all that has been going on in our country…. And add to that the pandemic….
    And I recently adopted an 11 year old kitty whose owner died (and the owner’s daughter cannot take her) and she (Squeaky….a name that I can’t say without a giggle) has turned my life upside down. She’s terrified, grieving. I’m also grieving my two 17 year old kitties who died within the last 6 months. Since we’re both grieving, I thought it might be a good match. We’ll see….. And I desperately need to take her to the vet… Those sharp claws are no joke! Ouch!
    Life is all over the place… As are my emotions. But, isn’t that what life is? Quite a roller coaster ride… Best we buckle up as the ride continues.

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  6. I’m so sorry about your relative. I have/had a few FB acquaintances who are definitely cultists. It is scary to think that people support not only the crazy one who has been president, but also are ok with sedition and insurrection.

    Meanwhile, yes, cats and husbands (something you haven’t told us about?) 😏–and your beautiful flowers. I admire people who can know plant names and how to care for them. Rajii is adorable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Merril, I had to look up the plant names before I posted πŸ˜‰ Husbands? Hmmm … I need to reread my post … lol. I got just the one husband πŸ˜‰ Regarding my relative, FB appears to be taking her offline occasionally, presumably because of her posts. I find that entertaining in a weird sort of way πŸ˜‰

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  7. Crazy times. I’m still hanging around on FB, but Twitter has just gotten to be too much for me, so I deactivated my account. I’d probably deactivate FB too if it wasn’t the only way I keep in touch with some folks I care about.

    Thanks for the breath of fresh (plant) air!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Phillip! With Twitter, I’m trying to more spend time sharing stuff I like and less time reading tweets. It’s real easy for me to go down a rabbit hole with Twitter. I’d love to deactivate FB (and I have in the past) but I have too many friends and family who only use FB, so I just try to keep my presence to a minimum. Glad you enjoyed my photos πŸ™‚

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  8. It’s so great that the feline meet-and-greets are going well. I’m guessing one day it will be like they’ve always been together. So funny about the salvia; I’ve never heard of them needing so much water. Love to see all your plants! 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cheryl! Yeah, the salvia is a pretty interesting plant. Unfortunately it had gotten quite twiggy before I decided to save it. Maybe that’s why it seems to need so much water. I wish I understood plants better … oh, in a couple of months, I’ll have more time to learn πŸ™‚

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  9. Cats and plants (and sometimes husbands haha) are some of the blessings of our lives right now. There is so much violence poised around us, so much anger everywhere, and distrust. But my kitties don’t know this. Neither does Raji. He’s so cute, and I love his new carrier. Your care for him will pay off, just like your care for the salvia. Did you mention how Raji got his name? I can’t remember that. I have so much anxiety right now. Is that how you feel or depressed? I guess I am both, but the anxiety takes such a toll on my body. The art journal is helping, but I don’t get enough time for it. It will be wonderful for you when you retire.

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    1. Oh, I’m very anxious for the most part. Being away from work helps. I don’t find workplace drama to be anxiety-reducing distractions, so I am really looking forward to retirement. Our neighbors across from us named Raji. They said it means “hope.” He used to sleep under their lemon tree so they miss seeing him around, but they’re happy we’ve taken him in. I text them photos every so often πŸ˜‰

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