New Year’s Collage

Well, today’s December 30th, and you know what that means: I’m typing this with a cat sitting on my hand, making it a pretty challenging task. No, that’s not really what 12/30/10 means, but I’m not so used to having a a) lightweight cat who b) gets all up in mah biznit. Sure, a hefty kitty who, from time to time, plants his tuchus on the warm, fun texture that is my laptop, but it’s not usually while I type a blog. Although, on occasion, he has left messages for us – one including the use of the word “jews,” which made us concerned that we had a former Nazi living inside our sweet little kitty.

But, I digress. What today REALLY means is that we turn our thoughts to the New Year (seriously, does it need to be capitalized? I can understand the holiday, New Year’s Eve, but…y’know what? This is my blog, I’m not capitalizing it…so, nyah)…new year, and all that it represents.

So, today, as we enjoyed a surprise lunch at our favorite local dive, I made a suggestion to Dave. While writing down one’s resolutions is all fine and good (and highly recommended if you intend to, in fact, KEEP said resolution), I had come up with a way to invest ourselves into the resolutions while hopefully ingraining them into our psyches more and actually making our selections matter. I suggested a collage.

Okay, okay. Collages may seem like art projects that we were assigned when the art teacher no longer had any viable lesson options and an over-abundance of magazines cluttering their art room. But, I’m a huge fan of collages. Collage art can be freakin’ awesome, and the concept of combining seemingly irrelevant images to represent a whole concept – simply put, cool.

I’m also aware that, while Dave and I have a good mind of what each other is resolving for 2011 (it’s gonna be a big year…*gulp* I hope), we’re holding our cards pretty close to our chests, in general. And, as I said, making them even 2-D, either by writing them down or, heck, creating a crazy collage (or even a simple one) is one step closer to making them breathe and obtain true life.

The unique thing about making a collage is that YOU know what you mean to represent by your choices in it, but perhaps not everyone would “get it.” This way, we can include whatever we want, regardless of any judgment people would place on it – because it’s hard to judge someone’s resolution when it’s unworded art. Eh? See? Clever. Ish.

The other reason that I came up with a collage is that if it comes out to be a neat art piece, there we go! I’d like to add more art to our walls, but making sure that it’s art that means something to us. We have a cluster of pictures with mismatched frames adorning the wall leading up our stairway that brings back memories every time we walk by it. It’d be nice to have something to look at that not only reminds us of our 2011 goals, but that we created together. The collage would also act as a bit of a nag — “Hey. How’s that ‘getting out to walk more’ going for you? I thought so. Get off your hiney.”

We hope your new year is all the good things and none of the sucky things that made 2010 what it was. Was it kind of a crappy year for anyone else? We’re happy about, y’know, getting married, acquiring 2 cats, etc, but c’mon. Kinda. Not. Great. Otherwise. Hate to complain, but feel free to use the comment section to vent — or to share any 2011 resolutions!

Our New Family Member

Will it be love at first sight…
…or fight? (And these aren’t our guys in this pic, BTW)

…and, no, we’re not pregnant. (After surviving a rough stomach bug, I’m glad to say that’s NOT why I’ve been throwing up! Heard that question enough, thankyouverymuch. ;-)) We’re picking up our new cat, Winston, from the Herkimer County Humane Society this afternoon! We would have announced it much more publicly, but a) we still had some family to inform about it and, even though it may not be a big deal to everyone, we felt they should be the “first to know” and b) we’re a little nervous about it.

Why would we be nervous? Well, our “already cat” Beardslee (aka Miracle Cat, Wonder Cat, Boo, Buddy, B-B, Boozers, and any other cutesy nickname you could possibly fathom) wasn’t even on our radar when we got him. We weren’t cat people. But, now that we’ve had him since May, we’ve found our lives completely altered — in a good way, mostly. He’s kind of our life. May sound sappy, may sound pathetic, but I’m not sure what we’d do without him. He’s taught us how to love each other better, to be parents. The fact that he overcame his major illnesses (he still has chronic issues, but nothing like what he had) has taught us resilience and perseverance. He’s an incredible cat.

But, so is Winston. We wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise. Our dear friends, B+B (well, mostly B) suggested that we go meet a cat that she’d fallen in love with at the humane society. Strangely enough, Dave and I had been on their Petfinder site “shopping” for a possible playmate (and life to make a little happier) for Boo, and the second she said the name “Winston”, I squealed and our eyes lit up. We had seen the little gray short-hair (due to allergies, he would HAVE to be a short-hair) on the website. I got an instant crush on the little guy — first, he was gray (which reminded me of my early childhood cat) and, secondly, his name seemed to fit perfectly with our Beardslee.

C’mon. You see it, don’t you? Beardslee. Winston. British, right? Bordering on butlers? (Only, as we all know, Dave and I are the ones doing the butlering.) We love how classic they sound. Some day, we’ll have a Roosevelt in there some place, too. (I know, not British, but seems to fit. And, no, we’re not planning on getting anymore animals for a long time — maybe not until we have a farm! *sigh* It’s okay to dream.)

So, the next day after visiting with B+B, we found ourselves meeting him. Of course, he’s a sweet guy. When I held him, I noticed that he was so light compared to Beardslee! Very lovable. He took to me immediately, and seems to just need some attention to make him happy. We’re not sure if he’s ever been a house cat (he was picked up as a stray on Main Street in Herkimer), but there’s a cat that looks almost exactly like him who’s taken up residence in our garage, but who’s incredibly skiddish (as if he’s never been near humans). Winston, however, was just. So. Darn. Friendly! I may just have the cuddly lap cat I’ve-always-wanted-but-never-knew-I-wanted.

Sounds great, right? This is where the nerves and worrying came in. Win’s been around lots of other cats – cats with lots of sneezing and coughing and fleas and other disgusting stuff. Would he bring in a respiratory illness? Beardslee’s HIGHLY susceptible to getting sick again. *sweat drops*

Then, there’s the socialization fear, the biggest fear. Will they get along? They’re both male. They’re both fixed. (So, there are two issues knocked out instantly. Girl + boy would not be good.) They’re around the same age — give or take 6 months. Beardslee’s bigger. I know Winston will gain weight (how could he NOT?! I’m a FABulous cook! ;-)), but the size thing will help the issue of dominance to be decided nearly immediately. Plus, Beardslee’s used to HIS space, HIS people, and only the occasional chat out the window with his neighborhood buddies. Luckily, Winston is great with other cats. Oooohhhh I just don’t know how it’ll go!

They’ll each have their own issues acclimating to life at the McCoy-Dellecese homestead. Luckily, I have this week off for the holidays, so I get to play Mommy/psychiatrist/doctor/nurse/housekeeper/chef to both guys. Spoiled. It’s a good thing since I’m kind of the practical parent, in the sense that I don’t get nervous or anxious about administering medicines, clipping nails, etc. If they get upset or have a fight, I’ll be less likely to get upset – and jump to the conclusion that “it just won’t work.” And, thanks to B+B (and their own vast experience acclimating kitties), we’ve got some great advice and tricks to help the process run smoothly. Love them!

So, how are we going to do it? Well, Winston will have his own room. He’s got an appointment with our vet immediately after we pick him up, so just in case he DOES have a respiratory issue, at least he’ll be relatively confined for medication (and for proper flea removal and cleaning). I’ve cozied our spare bedroom for him, along with some fresh toys, food/water, a brand new potty (he has his own carrier, too, which will have pheromones to calm him — can you believe they make stuff like that?!). A tip that B gave us was to feed both of them on opposite sides of the door so that the positivity of eating will mix with the smell of each other (on each side of the door). I’m also going to rub a cloth on either guy and put it near them while they sleep or just have them smell it to get used to it. Oh, and LOTS of playtime with each boy will be a must. Mind you, this is even if Winston will want to come out of his carrier. 🙂

Their first meeting will be on their terms. If Beardslee wants to meet Winston, okay. If he ignores the “weird sounds and smells coming from the guest room”, then fine. But, we know Beardslee. He was curious about what I was doing to the point of sitting in the empty cat pan, watching me curiously. He’s known something’s been up for weeks – we talk to him about it and, strangely, he seems to understand. At the same time, he’s had a bout of depression lately (have you ever seen a sad cat? Seriously. Slanty, almost-closed eyes. Head drooped. So pathetic and sad.), so I’m hoping that a new friend gets him out of it — eventually.

Oh, and for the record — Winston got a blue collar. We thought it went well with Beardslee’s red one. Priorities, y’know. Besides collars, we’ve got so much love to give, we just had to give this a shot. Aside from the nerves, I’m truly excited and happy to welcome a new buddy into the house. I’ll be posting an update and pictures this week!

Have you had experience with multiple cats? Any kind advice? Do tell!

Etsy – What Can I Do?!

It all started with one sentence from one of my best friends from way back. She recently sent me a response email, and one sentence has now got me stumped. (Bless her, she didn’t mean to do it! She’s a pretty avid reader of this blog and is as sincere and kind as they come.) The simple sentence was: “I am excited to read about your ideas for an Etsy shop 8^D” First of all, I just have to say that I love how she makes smiley faces. Secondly, ever since I wrote in my last post, I’ve been looking into the world of Etsy even further. I was already very familiar with the site and what you can do with it, but now that I’m looking into leaping into the world of online selling, I’m frozen. WHAT CAN I DO WELL ENOUGH FOR SOMEONE TO WANT TO BUY FROM ME?!?!?!

I know that I shouldn’t do it unless it’s a passion of mine; that’s pretty much a given. Lately, I’ve been out-of-touch with my passions and am even at a loss to recognize what lights that fire inside me — I think the frustration comes from the lack of normalcy and order at work, but that’s another story altogether. All that matters is that I’m having a hard time of it.

So, I ask my readers (even those of you who are normally silent) to comment on this post. YOU know me. You know what I’m good at, generally. What would YOU buy from me? (And I truly appreciate any thoughts you have — heck, I put the word out on my FB page and ended up with the name of this blog, so I’ll definitely listen!)

In case you didn’t know, here are some things that I’m particular about, and possibly even enjoy doing:

– Drawing
– Painting (not great, but not bad)
– Writing/Editing
– Cooking/Baking
– Eye for Design
– Singing/Acting

I’m open to lots of things, be it antiquing or thrift shopping to find supplies, trying to make things I’ve never made before (only to perfect it before selling — I have a “thing” about quality control), etc. Here are some considerations that have come my way thus far:

– Dave has suggested that I offer personalized pet paintings. We have a slightly abstract painting of Beardslee in the office that he’s uber proud about. I’ve seen what others are offering and, if I continued with “abstract”, it might be doable — but there are some INCREDIBLE offerings already out there!
– Candle- or soap-making. The issue here is that I’d rather the undertaking not engulf our entire tiny house, and these projects seem incredibly messy (and costly to start up). A thought, though.
– Start visiting Salvation Army, Goodwill, and local antique shops to create “country nouveau” housewares. How much does one spend before making a profit? (Not that I’m impatient.) And, again, this’ll take up some spaaaaace.
– Get painting. Anything. Everything. Find out what I can do (especially as far as mixed media and decor-wise) and go from there.
– Making jams/jellies (most likely organic). One scary word: botulism? Eep!

Any ideas? Or, should I just hang up my Etsy-trying hat for now until I can find a better niche? Any guidance or suggestions are welcome, especially if they’re said kindly. 😉 Thanks for getting me off my butt, Sarah!

‘Tis the Season…

…for crazy schedules, but that mostly include wonderful meetings with friends and other loved ones, so the craziness doesn’t knock you out TOO badly.

…for letting your blog posts dwindle to one a month. Oops. My bad. Promise, no more.

…for festive decorations…which the cat enjoys playfully batting around, and when they fall and shatter you simply can’t get upset.

…for watching “Charlie Brown” and Jimmy Stewart and Cary grant — or for kitty footprints in the snow.

…for going to indoor farmers’ markets and signing up for the Foodshed Buying Club.

…for considering whether you should take a second job while you still can — before children pop into the immediate life plan — or at least opening an Etsy shop.

…for thinking about the next holiday season, and how you insist it will be simpler and, in our case, as close to a Dickens novel as possible. Literally. 

…for playing with the idea of getting a buddy for Beardslee.

…for planning several house projects over the impending Christmas holiday, knowing full well that we’ll be lucky if one actually gets completed. Better than not planning at all, I suppose.

…for making truly grandiose plans for 2011 and feeling strangely wonderful about them, rather than skeptical and pessimistic (not usually a maker of resolutions).

…for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on the library project at school.

…for the infamous “Candlelight Evening” (and, now, Ommegang festival) which have become die hard traditions for Dave and I.

…for feeling growing excitement over giving your loved ones hard-thought gifts and to just see their faces and enjoy memories together again.

I hope that your holiday season is a wonderful one and that you can take the peace that only comes this time of year into your heart to enjoy! Be looking for my next posts, a few of which were hinted about above.