Tag Archives: cute kittens

Chiseling Away at Writing Time

DSCN1814For the past month, I’ve had edits waiting on my next book, Fall or Fly, about foster care and adoption in Coalfields Appalachia. And I’ve been thinking about the very astute notes from the editor and her associate reader and how they can be incorporated. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to sinking my fingers into it.

But I’m also passionately involved in Appalachian Feline Friends, a new effort coalescing individual rescuers into a formalized organization that will be more effective. And a lot of time has, of course, been spent by all of us on that. So to get a clear run at some of the edits without being surrounded by cat-work, Jack and I planned a long weekend at The Cabin.

Thursday evening there would be an event on, and Friday we would head out. Then Jack would continue on his way Sunday to the airport and head to Scotland, while I went back and did my college job and got help running the bookstore.

And God said “HA!”

Jack went down sick Thursday, a woman walked in crying with a kitten she’d found on the Greenbelt mid-event, we received five pre-arranged “adorably sweet” kittens who were not at all socialized and promptly climbed a bookshelf while emptying its contents on the floor, the author giving the talk got lost and was an hour late, etc. Fine. Maybe I could still go Friday? Nope. Friday morning Jack was not fine, so I gave up on the cabin idea until Saturday and handled stuff. Not exactly like a pro, but like a spastic woman feeling slightly sorry for herself, surrounded by kittens spewing venomous hisses and other effluvium.

And this morning Jack got up and said, “I feel well again, go to the cabin and I’ll take care of the stuff that got left and meet you there Sunday and since we’re closed Mondays, why don’t you take Monday off from the college and recover your lost writing day?”

Writing husbands are even better than cat husbands. They get it.

My friend Jane Yolen has written many advice pieces over the years urging writers to protect our writing time. She says it gets pecked to death by the many ducks of life if we’re not careful. Or in our case, nibbled away by rescue kittens. And also to value the things that distract us, because that’s where we get our writing fodder from. Sick husband care is a no-brainer game-changer, but being married to a guy who helps me protect the time is nice.

And when I get back Monday night, I’ll restock the bookshelves the feral babies have knocked down, and over the next two weeks our five fine and socialized babies will re-teach the new kids that life is not as scary or deadly as early experiences would have them believe, and they will become sweet and adoptable. It all works out.

See you Tuesday.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, reading, Scotland, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, writing

WHEN IRIS EYES ARE SMILING

December folder 047We all know that cats taken to the shelter have a 1 in 8 chance of getting out again, but let’s not forget there are people who want to adopt them. (And get them spayed so their kittens don’t go back to the shelter later.)

In the spring, when so many cats flood in with little time to assess their medical needs, eye infections run rampant. Mostly these are a nuisance that will run its course, but in a shelter, every day counts. Eye discharge can cause a cat to miss his chance. Who wants to adopt ol’ Crusty Eyes (who looks sicker than he really is) when there’s a cute fluffball in the next cage? Except Fluffball has about 36 hours before she too has green gunk streaming from her baby blues.

Enter a chance to make a difference. There’s this medication called Terramycin, comes in a tube like toothpaste (only much smaller and considerably more expensive). It’s a wonder drug for eye infection. It would make everybody a lot more comfortable while they wait. And prettier, cuter and more adoptable.

The Administrator said if I could keep them supplied with Terramycin, then their staffer Beverly (a sweet girl who cares about the animals) and a couple of trained part-timers and rescuers legally allowed to be in the shelter (up on shots and all that sort of thing) would be happy to put Terramycin on the eyes of any kitties with crusties.

eye kittenPut simply, for about $300 per year, we can up adoptions. Not to mention make the babies and senior citizens more comfortable; they are the most likely to get lasting eye infections from other cats who just shake it off in a day or two.

If you can afford it, give Powell Valley Animal Hospital some money for the SHELTER TERRAMYCIN FUND. We guarantee all Terramycin bought with this fund will be used on shelter kitties only. PVAH is giving us a discount. Just put what you can in there. This is a one-time request for 2016, we hope. We will let you know how it went and ask again in 2017. Also, please note the following:

  • Don’t donate if it causes hardship to your family. We’re not wanting to take food off your table. If you’ve got a bit left over, great.
  • Don’t take away from other activities on behalf of animal rescue to donate. If you’re already working in rescue, formally or informally, please don’t take from that or harm yourself to try and stretch to this. We’re looking for people who can slip us a $20 without breaking stride. Thank you for all you already do, and God Bless.
  • All donations will be anonymous to PVAH, no thank yous sent, so please know HOW MUCH we appreciate this help.

Here’s how: If you don’t live in the area, you can call them to use your card at 276-524-1214, or mail a check to Powell Valley Animal Hospital, 4501 Aerial Way, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. Donations are accepted all year long, but unless we get really stuck this summer, we won’t ask again. We APPRECIATE your help in reducing the number of cats who don’t get adopted from the shelter. And in making all of them that wee bit more comfortable as they wait.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Jessie Lea, Den Mom

jessie leaHi, I’m Jessie Lea, and I’m temping at the bookstore. It’s a grant-funded position, I believe, because they keep telling me I’ll be moving on when the last of the kittens have been adopted.

Excuse me, won’t be a moment–

JACK AND MAC! GET DOWN FROM THERE THIS INSTANT!!!

Sorry, as I was saying, I came here about two weeks ago, and they put me in what they call the mystery room, and wouldn’t you know there were three motherless tykes in there, poor souls, all confused and nervous. Never been in a house before, dry food a mystery to them. Well, I’d just had a little procedure following my own kittens, and perhaps I was feeling a wee bit nostalgic because I just set right in. They needed a good seeing too – washing behind the ears, teaching paw maintenance, the works. I soon had them shipshape but no sooner were we on an even keel than the door opened and here came the cat carrier again!

All I heard from inside the carrier was hissing and spitting, so I stuck my head inside and the fuzzy wee lad struck at me! Really, these foster children. They just need a bit of loving-kindness and a reassuring lick. So I talked him and his brother out of the carrier, showed them ’round the place, introduced them to the others here.

Oh, excuse me–

IS THAT ANY WAY TO TALK TO YOUR BROTHER?! I DON’T CARE WHO STARTED IT! APOLOGIZE AT ONCE.

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, the new arrivals. Soon they were all using the playground nicely, taking turns on the catnip slide and having a nice game of jingle ball soccer. And then the door opened AGAIN!

This time, to my joy, a lovely wee girl was in the mix. Three kittens; two didn’t actually stay long; some adoptions are faster than others, but when Rita’s brother Dexter left, she stayed here. I played jacks with her to keep her mind off things. And just this morning we’ve gotten another little fellow, Giacomo. (Really, who comes up with these names?) He was hissing and spitting at the back of the crate, so I just climbed in and sat with him awhile until he calmed down. Now he’s having a game of chase on the jungle gym with Fforde – oh dear….

jessie 6YES YOU DID PUSH HIM. I WATCHED YOU. DON’T MAKE ME PUT YOU IN TIME OUT.

Of course, some kittens take longer to learn manners than others. Take the Feral Brothers; they really were raised in a barn. So of course the litter box was a new thing, but I’m pleased to say they’ve made all their box targets today.

Yes, it’s cozy here in our little corner of the bookstore, the six – er seven – no six, one was adopted, that’s right – kittens and me. In the mornings I help them with their wet food etiquette, and about lunchtime we have a plate of crunchies. Mid-afternoon I read them a story before their naps, and then after supper we have some extra playtime so they tire out before bed. It’s all quite simple to manage and I’m sure the nice people who run the shop could do it themselves, but I understand the lady’s husband is about to leave for Scotland, so I’m just staying on a bit longer before my own adoption comes through. I don’t think she could do without me.jessie resting

Now, the kittens are all down for their naps and I’m just going to have ten minutes of me time. Let me just put the kettle on; would you care for some catnip tea?

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Filed under animal rescue, bookstore management, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, Scotland, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch

A Shopsitter’s Christmas

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Henry

As I’m spending Christmas in a bookstore this year, I thought I might share a few of my favorite Christmas tales with all of you. What’s more festive that curling up in front of a roaring Fireplace for your Home, popping open a box of wine, and diving in to a jolly holiday classic? Nothing as far as I know. While there are dozens, I’ve selected a few that have special meaning for me. Here goes.

The Cat Who Came for Christmas, by Cleveland Amory. My grandmother introduced me to this wonderful memoir many years ago. A self-described curmudgeon finds an abandoned cat on Christmas eve. Heartwarming human/feline bonding ensues. Especially poignant for me this year, because I’ve found my very own Christmas kitty. See photo.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. The quintessential Christmas classic. A story of faith, forgiveness, and redemption. All the biggies. Ebenezer Scrooge mends his evil ways with the help of three Christmas spirits. Little ghoul that I am, I probably liked this story most because of the ghosties.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, by Agatha Christie. For those that might enjoy a little murder with their mistletoe. The eccentric Belgium detective finds himself spending Christmas at a country estate, where one of the guest proves to be a cold blooded killer. It’s festive. Honest. 

The Christmas Day Kitten, by James Herriot. Another kitty arriving just in time for the holidays. I have a vague, but persistent notion that this one made me cry. You’ve been warned.

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story, by Lemony Snicket. While my own Jewish heritage provided me little more than the ability to kvetch in Yiddish, I do love a good latke. This story is about a potato latke that, well, can’t stop screaming, but it’s also about being true to yourself and your beliefs. A good message for whatever holiday you celebrate.

Not a comprehensive list, but a fun exercise nonetheless. I must now go finish putting coal in the kitten’s stockings. They’ve been naughty, as all proper kittens are wont to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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K.U.T.E (Kittens United Terrorizing Everyone)

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Scarlett, Ready to Address her Subjects

Shopsitter Jenny here. I may not have much time, so listen closely. I’ve been taken hostage by a group known only to me as K.U.T.E. I don’t know exactly what they want, but I seem to be completely in their thrall. I’ve been given the tasks of meal preparation, litter box clean up, and cuddling. The strange part is, I don’t mind at all. I’m HAPPY to do it. The hold they have over me is almost…supernatural. All one of them has to do is wave a tiny paw, or sneeze a mini achoo, and I’m ready to do their bidding. I would have written for help sooner, but the one they call Scarlett was sitting on the computer all morning looking at me with big dewy eyes. I was powerless to move her. Fortunately, they seem to nap en masse, so I am now able to send out my plea. Come. Get. A. Kitten. Save me from the overwhelming power of K.U.T.E. I fear that one (or more!) of them will convince me to bring them home to New York, and then, not only will K.U.T.E have the opportunity to spread its devastating culture of kitten kisses, but my mother will kill me!

A quick run down of the players…

Scarlett. Sister to Rhett. Cuteness exceeds tolerable levels with this one. Seems to be a bit of a ringleader.

Rhett. Scarlett’s brother. Rhett’s metaphorical tee-shirt reads, I’d Rather be Lounging.

Henry Dashwood. Dash for short. Exceptionally handsome chap. A little shy, but snuggly and playful when he warms up. Adorable kitten antics, or up to something? You decide.

Hadley. Little, but mighty, with a deceptively sweet face…Oh geez! Here she comes! She’s climbing up my pant leg! SHE’S GOING FOR MY NECK!

She’s…kissing my cheek.

What’s that you say Hadley? You want your prawns peeled and served with caviar? Why certainly. Let me take care of that for you.

 

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Filed under animal rescue, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, shopsitting, Uncategorized

Hedley and Hemingway Explain Things Clearly

DSCN1468Hi – I’m Hemingway and this is my sister Hedley–

I can speak for myself!

An’ we’re waitin’ ta get adopted from the Little Bookstore.

Tell ’em it’s in Big Stone Gap!

They know that, Hed. Anyway, me ‘n Hedley–

Hedley an’ I

No, you’re Hedley, an’ I’m–

(clamps paw over mouth) OK folks, lemme ‘splain this. Hemingway and I need a home, see. We need one pretty soon, ’cause there’s five of us foster cats here at the bookstore an’ there’s five more waitin’ up at the vet’s for a space to open. An’ Wendy and Jack are leavin’ the country in December, so we gotta get everybody where they’re going. So, come visit and see how adorable we are!

Hdlymcntmll– (bats paw away) Hedley, you can’t tell everybody we’re adorable like that! You gotta be humble! Who’s gonna adopt us if we’re not humble?

Humble? Be serious! We’re the cutest cats here! An’ the youngest an’ the fastest!

(sighs) Anyway, folks, come visit us. We might wanna be adopted together (glances at sister, whispers) although that’s not really essential

Wha’d you say?

That we have to be adopted together. An’ that we both like to be cuddled, an’ that we don’t eat wet food, an’ we’ve had our wormer an’ our flea baths.

(shudders) Baths. That wasn’t fun. But yes, we have. An’ we LOVE to climb in your lap, an’ we like to sleep in your arms an’ be carried around like babies.

Speak for yourself; I ain’t a baby.

(pinching him) Play along, eejit; I’m tryin’ ta get us ‘dopted here.

(rubs bruise) SO as I was sayin’ folks, we wanna be adopted together….

Why are you looking at me like that?
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Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Hunger Games, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch, YA fiction

Never Underestimate the Healing Powers of a Primal Raspberry

raspberry catOK team, it’s like this: the former Governor of Virginia and his wife were between them found guilty of 20 out of 28 possible corruption charges; I quit teaching an enjoyable subject because of in-house shenanigans; two of our foster cats died; and the other little furry beasts gave me poison ivy on my face.

In shorter terms: this week sucked.

Jack and I are off to emcee the Sycamore Shoals Celtic Festival today, and I’ll be able to write a relaxing blog about that tomorrow. Meanwhile, let’s just all take a collective deep breath and emit a nice primal raspberry. Primal raspberries are deeply underrated in adult society. They’re healing. Go on, try it.

PBBHHHHHHHTTTTTT – take that, universe! I’m still a happy person, I still get to spend the weekend enjoying all things Celtic, and we still adopted two fur babies to lovely forever homes.

PHHHBBBBTBTTTTTTBTTTT! And DOUBLE PHBBBBTTTTTTTTT!!!!

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized