I watched The Pirates of Penzance with my parents last weekend. I had forgotten how much we loved that movie! It pervaded our family life for most of my eighth year. (I explained it to Lucy like this: It was my Trolls movie.) I spent much of 1984 in a bonnet in front of my mirror attempting the coloratura in Poor Wandering One and wishing to be Linda Ronstadt who played…Mabel.
Speaking of Mabel, our Mabel and Dipper have been enjoying their new cat tree.
They like to play.
And do battle on it.
It makes me happy to watch them.
Speaking of happy, I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier and it’s great, as you’d expect. (She is sponsored by my favorite tea! And speaking of my favorite tea, I have a new favorite flavor.) Her regular podcast episodes are around half an hour, which is perfect for the school drop off and pick up commute. Plus, she has these A Little Happier segments that last just a few minutes. I am most certainly happier for having found it.
Speaking of podcasts, Missing Richard Simmons is riveting, whether you love Richard Simmons or not. But who doesn’t? No one. That’s the answer.
I need to stand that cat on a glass table or something and take a picture from underneath so you can truly understand the incredible oddness of Dipper’s paws. First off, obviously, he has thumbs. He has two claws on each thumb – one at the top and one that juts out the side. This gives him a total of six claws on each of his front feet, which are enormous, by the way. They are truly a wonder. And while his thumb isn’t as strong as a human thumb, he is able to grip with it and I find myself daydreaming about all the things we could teach him to do given the fact that he has thumbs. And while we’re talking about oddly gifted and strange cats, let me tell you about Mabel. She loves to climb and has scaled to heights in our house no cat has ever reached and if you know me at all you know we’ve had a shit ton of cats which means I know what I’m talking about when I tell you Mabel is an exceptional climber. She is mesmerized by all the things high up, like the ceiling fans, particularly the pull strings. She sits beneath them and gazes up so often and with such intensity that now and then we have to pick her up and hoist her above us so she can bat them around. I wonder if she believes we put them there especially for her and if so, does she think one day she’ll grow big enough to reach them on her own? Does she think that perhaps we used to have giant cats that played with them?
These are the things I am thinking about when I’m trying not to think about the news. I’ve also been cross-stitching.
Jack and I planted some sunflower seeds. We thought it’d be fun to have a sunflower or two in the house this winter. We’d planted seeds from the same packet last spring and they grew to be about 12 feet tall outside. I’m not sure how these will do in the house, but they’re off to a great start.
It’s been pretty gloomy this past week. Planting some bright, yellow flowers seemed like a nice antidote. And it made me think of a sign I saw from the Women’s March that read: They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. (Here’s an interesting article about the source of that ditty.)
Our Mabel cat has discovered our resident Peeping Tom. Her name is Lizzie.
My mom is the only one to ever touch Lizzie and that happened at the vet after we had captured her to have her fixed. She won’t get close to us, except when we’re in the house. She loves to watch us through the window. She is endlessly interested, but completely terrified by us. I’m not sure what this says about us.
The girls have been on Christmas break from school all week and it has been wonderful. We’ve had plenty of time for making cookies, watching Christmas shows, playing games and just being together. I love the pace of life on break. The kids have been playing together – all of them, even Julia, which is glorious for the younger kids as they have missed her so much lately. As the world opens up to her, she’s spending more time in it. She is growing up. Lucy had told me that even Julia’s bedroom feels far away from the rest of the house and I knew just what she meant.
Julia invited them to have a sleepover in her room the night before last. We blew up the air mattress and they all piled into the Big Kid Room and felt very special. They don’t remember sharing a room with her so much anymore. I sat in there with them to ask our three questions (What do you need help with? What are you thankful for? What made you say “wow” today? An idea inspired by this post at Left Brain Buddha.) and do a Dr. Puff Meditation (Oh, how we love Dr. Puff.). As the giggles faded and their breathing got deep, I realized that the time these kids have under the same roof like this is slipping away fast. Julia is twelve and a half. They have less than six years before the big sister goes off to college. (Oh, please, please let her go to college.) I just feel so grateful for this Christmas break.
I am also thankful for our Mabel and Dipper.
The last thing I thought we needed were more cats.
This morning I dropped a dragon and a butterfly off at elementary school with a bunch of these cupcakes.
(You may notice the icing is swirled with candy corn colors!)
Then I took my Ravenclaw to Hogwarts. Spiderman and I will be going trick or treating with them after school and before the last football game of the regular season.
We’ve also reached the end of the competitive marching band season. Tomorrow are the state marching band finals. The kids haven’t gone to most of Julia’s competitions because a) it’s expensive, b) they last all day, and c) you are required to be relatively still and quiet while the bands are performing (and we cannot do either of those things). Last weekend’s competition was close to home, so all the kids came along to see their sister perform. We made signs and I wanted to get a picture since they were so excited.
My usual method for photographing the kids is to just take a buttload of pictures. There’s usually at least one that looks alright. The great thing about this method is I also get some fun outtakes. Like the look on Bee’s face in these.
I love it.
Oh, and there’s someone you should meet. This is Dipper.
I know. Another one!?!?
Lucy and I spotted him on the way home from dance class last Saturday. He was very malnourished. You could see the bones in his spine, he was so skinny. He looked pretty rough around the neck – I’m not sure what happened to him there, but he was missing fur all around it. I was a bit worried the first day or two he was with us. His tummy was painfully bloated, he didn’t walk so well, and he didn’t do much more than sleep. But now, his belly is normal and he is happy and playful. He’s very tiny and adorable and loved so very much by all of us. Picasso has been mothering him and Mabel loves having a playmate.
Speaking of Mabel, here she is at the very moment of this writing.
I rolled up to school drop off with my van looking like this.
We call it our one-eyed, one-horned driving purple poopmobile! It happens each fall that the birds start eating berries and hitting the van with purple bombs. I will wash it today and it will look like that again tomorrow, but people don’t know that and it mostly looks like I just don’t care! This is what happens when you park under a shady tree. I should clean out my garage and park there instead. It’s on my to-do list after clearing the stairway into the attic. I don’t really want to do either of those things. They are things that would make my life easier once I do them, but not so much easier that I’m all that motivated to get on it. There are so many other things I could do!
We have a six year old in the house again.
She’s still young enough to get away with running around in nothing but her underwear. The best thing she got for her a birthday? A hungry kitten she and her sister found. The kitten doesn’t belong to any of the neighbors and it’s beginning to look like she belongs to us.
Phoebe named her Mabel.
She’s adorable and I can’t even try to pretend that I don’t already love her to pieces.
Julia participated in her first marching band competition over the weekend. When we shared with people that Julia was joining the marching band, more than five people said, “Oh, they win everything.” And they do. They did! Someone incredible made an awesome recap video.
Yes, that’s Julia licking the Best Percussion trophy at the 1:04 mark. She said it tasted like victory.
I made her cupcakes because she is the greatest mom ever.
Guacamole is 4 years old. (It is not her birthday.) That’s 32 in cat years. I looked it up. I had guessed she was around 18 because I took this picture of her today and thought it looked very Senior Picture-esque with her little crossed paws and faraway eyes.
I’m pretty sure I posed exactly like that for one of mine.