Spring Break

Last week was our schools’ spring break and I had planned to do lots of writing and revising on the novel I wrote last November as part of my Camp NaNoWriMo project and also to do a lot of quilting.

But it turns out that I did almost no writing and very little quilting. Instead I caught up on various projects around the house that there never seems to be time for. Also, Orkin came  out last Wednesday to remove all the old insulation in my attic, clean up the rat droppings, and blow in new insulation. They did a fabulous job and they also said that my friend, Paul, had effectively screened the roof vents and removed sufficient vegetation. I’ve been declared rat free and I’m very happy to report that no rats were trapped. I suspect they were using the attic at night and that they were out foraging for food during the day and so when the screening was put in place they were outside.

I have a friend who says that rats are exceptionally smart and I’m hoping they realized that my attic was no longer a safe space. So the rats have gone elsewhere and my home is now rat free. I call that a win-win.

School is now back in session and there is a big push by students to reach their goals before the school year ends. The calendar says it’s spring, but our weather has been pretty wet and cold. However, next week is supposed to be nicer so we’ll see.

Principles Hit Reality

I haven’t written in way too long. Truth is, I haven’t felt much like writing and I need to get back to it. Right now I’m dealing with rats in my attic. It’s not been fun and I’m very grateful both to my Orkin man and to my dear friend Paul who’re working to help me. For those of my readers who may not know, I’m vegan. Several years ago, when I had mice in my kitchen, I live trapped them (either 50 mice or the same mouse 50 times) and released them in open fields.

But I am not able to get into my attic in the first place and somehow, rats seem to me to be a lot worse and a lot scarier. I’m told that it isn’t realistic to live trap them, so now my vegan principles hit the reality of having to get rid of the rats before I have an even bigger problem. 

I’m not happy about it and so far, no rats have been trapped, which I find oddly comforting, but I can’t be sure they are truly gone. I know rats are smart, so maybe the work we’ve done so far has led them to move somewhere else. After all, there’s no food in my attic and all they have there is some shelter from the weather.

Paul has put wire mesh along the roof vent, which was their access point, so that they can’t come in to the actual attic. He also cut all the trees that gave roof access, and I’m hoping that has done the trick. Eventually, once the attic is deemed to be free of rats, I’ll have to have all the insulation replaced, so this is a big deal and an expensive one. However, it’s also a pretty common one on the island. We’re a rural community with lots of farms and I know my neighbors are also dealing with the rat issue. They raise chickens.

Anyway, I’m still hoping that the rats will just move on, but maybe I’m a fool. I do have an obligation to both myself and my fur friends to keep our home safe, so I’m trying to do that in the most reasonable way possible, but it does go against the grain for someone who saves spiders and slugs.

White Christmas

I woke up to a lovely white Christmas! It was only the seventh time in 150 years that Seattle has had a white Christmas so it was a real treat. And it kept snowing until mid-morning, so I even got to shower in the snow, something that I really enjoy. I’ve had a lovely day, working my jigsaw puzzle, listening to an audio book, and watching my favorite holiday movies.


November Approaches

Are you doing or thinking about participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? I’m planning on doing it yet again. So far, I’ve written and published eight novels thanks to NaNoWriMo. My eighth has just been published.


I’m trying to come up with a plot for another novel to write in fourteen days. Time is not my friend, at the moment, but so far, I have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a number of ideas for various scenes. I also have a title.

My other eight novels were all part of a series, but now I’m attempting to branch out and start something new. I’ve begun making a map of a new fantasy world. I’m also using an absolutely fantastic workbook from NaNoWriMo called Ready, Set, Novel! It has fantastic creative ideas for jumpstarting ideas and planning and plotting a novel. I’m using it to figure out my world, and to learn about my characters in much greater depth. I still have a tremendous amount of work to do, but I’ve figured out a lot. I especially liked the section near the beginning which encourages using the What If plan, thinking of outrageous ideas, not limiting my imagination. That helped me a lot.

Next up will be more characters and then family trees, followed by scenes which will hopefully become a plot. I’ll let you know how it all goes. I love NaNoWriMo!! I never would have written even one novel. And now, I’m trying to figure out my ninth! November is my favorite month because of NaNoWriMo.

Kitten Nighttime Antics

I should know better, but somehow, last night after I opened the treat drawer in my kitchen to get out more greenies, I neglected to close it (at least that’s what I hope happened because if Ghost and Emmett have learned how to open drawers I’m in big trouble!). The result of my inattention was that I woke up this morning to find several storage bags chewed open and my entire backup supply of Little Pink Socks scattered around my home.

For those of you who may not know, the Little Pink Sock is a trademark of Mutts Comics and their catnip filled little pink socks are about the best cat toy I’ve found. So at the last sale, I stocked up, but I thought I’d hidden the spares away so I could bring out them out one at a time. I now have a house seemingly filled with Little Pink Socks, but I’m thinking that’s a good thing. My cats carry them everywhere, and right now there are older pink socks outside in several of the catios and tunnels.

One thing is certain. Life with kittens is never dull!


Solar Eclipse

Today I witnessed the solar eclipse which had a path of totality across the United States. I did not travel to that path, but in the Seattle area we still got a 92% eclipse. It has been an incredible experience and I managed to take a few photos using a pinhole in a piece of heavy paper which projected the image onto my house or another darker piece of paper. 

It was a bit tricky to hold the pinhole paper with one hand and the camera with the other, but I was pleased with my efforts.


Above is the photo I got at the point of the greatest eclipse. I tutored a student this morning, and we felt the effects of the eclipse as the sunlight dimmed. It was truly amazing.

I also noticed that my fur friends were definitely noticing the dimming of the sunlight. Emmett and Ghost, my kittens, started running around outside as if it was late afternoon.


At the point of greatest eclipse I saw Emmett (on the right) staring at the sun. Ghost also was staring towards the sun until he heard me come out. Hopefully they had enough sense not to get their eyes damaged.

My dogs just paced and paced and went outside and then back inside, back and forth, in and out, as they seemed to be wondering what was going on. Of course, my behavior might have been influencing them.

I got two final photos as the eclipse was ending. The last one I actually took inside, from the sunlight streaming through the skylight and I think it came out really well. Should I ever get a chance to do this again, I’ll remember that!



Cat Helpers

I am a quilter and I donate many of my quilts to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. At the moment I’m working on three more quilts and as usual, I get a lot of help. Quilting with kittens is always exciting. Yesterday I cut the flannel for the three backs, but I was too tired to sew the pieces together. I left the flannel on my large ironing table, planning to sew the three backs today.

When I got up this morning I discovered that Emmett and Ghost had been busy, very helpfully rearranging things for me.


It is so wonderful to have such admirable help. I have now sewed the pieces together and the three backs are currently being washed. The flannel needs to be washed not because of the kittens but because flannel shrinks at a different rate and so can’t be quilted with the front until it has been washed. My three tops are nearly done as well and soon, thanks to my helpful assistants, I will have three more quilts ready to wing their way to brighten the days of patients at Children’s.

Cat Playground

Friday saw the completion of an eight month project to build four catios with connecting tunnels for my four cats. I estimate that I’ve added about 300 square feet in floor space and nearly 100 feet of tunnels. All of my cats are really enjoying the entire safe outdoor experience and I enjoy not only watching them play but also the added color in my yard. Here are several photos of the project.





Catio Constructions

The final catio in my cat paradise is under construction. My four cats are already enjoying three catios, one very large (8’x 10′ x 9.5′) and two smaller (4′ x 4′) catios all connected by tunnels, one of which is 70′ long and runs around the north end of my home from front to back.

The final piece of the construction is now underway, a fourth catio (6′ x 6′ x 9.5′) which will be connected to the third catio. It will match the design of the first large catio, giving symmetry to the project. I will have two catios in the back and two in the front, so my cats will always be able to find sunny, comfy, outdoor spots where they can sleep or run safely.

And my sweet calico cat, Calliope, is taking the construction in stride. There is an advantage to being mostly deaf as she is happily sleeping in the sun in her favorite spot as the panels are raised on the neighboring platform. The catio will be finished on Friday, and the final building will be filmed by a company from California, so I’m sure it will be a hectic day. But after that, my cats will have lots of room to roam and play, both inside and out.


Morning Shower

My life has really changed with the addition of catios (safe outdoor enclosures for my four cats), and one of the most obvious changes has been instigated by my sweet Foxy, an 8 year old black female. She has decided that she wants to spend most of her time outside, but she also wants to snuggle with me and get lots of pets. 

To this end, she makes sure that I stop by the big catio (the one with a people door and a chair for me) first thing each morning as I go to and from my outdoor shower. She meows a greeting that I simply can’t resist. So I stop both before and after my shower for some quality time with her. It makes for a lovely start to my day and I hope also to hers. I suspect that I won’t be able to continue this when the weather turns (it would be definitely nippy to be outside, especially wet, in the winter), but for now, it’s quite wonderful.