A Tribute to Jinx, our cat

Two weeks ago we said goodbye to our precious kitty, Jinx.  It’s hard to put into words what a sad day that was for us. Jinx was our only pet and he adopted us back in July of 2005.  He started hanging around our house and lounging on our back deck for days on end that summer, till hubby finally agreed he could stay. We took him to the vet, checked to see if he’d been microchipped (he had not), and claimed him as ours. Much later on we would find out that Jinx’s first owner was a person who lived up the street. He’d come from a multi-cat home and apparently wanted to be the only feline, not part of a pack, so he found us. I was secretly thrilled to have a kitty again. All my life I’ve had cats, so at least for me he was a very welcome addition.  Here’s one of the first photos we ever took of Jinx:

July 2005

The vet estimated his age to be about 2 years when we got him. He was young, spry, and more than a little wild at times.   Hubby was somewhat reluctant to let him in the house (claiming he was allergic), but it didn’t take long before Jinx knew just which family member he needed to win over.

Aug 2005

In absolutely no time at all, “Daddy” became Jinx’s favorite human, and stayed that way all his life.  Yes, “Mommy” was okay, but Daddy was special to Jinx and pretty soon Jinx became special to Daddy as well.

Jinx loved to go hunting all his life. He had a lot of fun stalking birds, mice, and even an occasional squirrel. I think the word has gone around the birds in our neighborhood – “the threat is gone”.

Oct 2005

We live in a forest, and while we have neighbors on either side, there are nothing but trees across the street. Jinx had a very fun life as both an outside and an inside kitty.  Here he is, wandering through the woods near our house:

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On cold, wet days Jinx loved to “hug” the heat dish. We often expected his fur to singe, but it never happened.

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He grew into a big, pretty boy.  At his heaviest we weighed around 12 pounds. Here he is, having a drink of water on the bathroom counter – forget the bowl of water next to his food, nope, he preferred drinking out of his cup.

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A few years passed and Mommy & Daddy decided to buy a motor home.  It only took a couple trips for Jinx to morph into “Jinx the RV Cat”.  He adapted beautifully to RV life and wearing a harness/leash to go exploring outside:

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We took a three month long RV trip in the winter of 2014, going from Washington state to California, across the southern USA to Florida and all the way back.  The next photo shows Jinx and Daddy looking intently into the distance…

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We were in Florida, and they had spied an armadillo!!  Jinx desperately wanted to go investigate, but needless to say, that was not allowed.

Jinx was such an easily adaptable kitty!  When Mom and Dad bought a vacation place in Palm Springs, of course Jinx came along for several months a year.  This place was not “home” though, so Jinx didn’t get the run of the neighborhood. He enjoyed checking out his environment from high places and loved to walk the walls:

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The water of the pool didn’t scare Jinx. No, he never went swimming, but he constantly wanted to drink out of the pool which we couldn’t allow because it’s saltwater. Here’s a pic of Jinx and Mommy (his 2nd favorite human):

Jinx36

 

When Jinx was about 10, he began to lose weight. It was very gradual, and for a long time we thought he was stressed over a stray male cat in the neighborhood.  But the weight loss continued even after the stray male was long gone.  His appetite really dropped off and he became an incredibly picky eater. He also did a fair amount of regurgitating, which, contrary to popular belief is not normal for cats.  You can see by this next photo that he had definitely lost some weight:  (still cute and engaging as ever, though!! 🙂

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When he lay down, all his bones poked through.  It was so sad and so hard to see him literally wasting away.

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Jinx was diagnosed with presumed Inflammatory Bowel Disease in March of this year (2016). I say  presumed because there is no definitive test to rule it in or out.  He may also have had his IBD transform into bowel Lymphoma, which is common.  There are many, many cats – and dogs also – who suffer with and eventually die from this debilitating disease.  Unfortunately, veterinarians are not certain what causes this to happen, but it’s much like an auto-immune disease. There are plenty of theories out there…. too many carbohydrates in pet food from corn and wheat….. wheat gluten in the gravy of pet foods….. some of the “gums” like carrageenan gum in pet foods….. an allergy to a certain protein such as beef, chicken, or fish.  The vet prescribed a special pet food that Jinx flatly refused to eat after a few bites. He was also on steroids, probiotics, and antibiotics at times.  On his last vet visit, he was down to 5.5 pounds – such a huge difference from his once robust 12 pounds.

I know that Jinx had a very happy life – here in Washington where he could explore the great outdoors at will, in California where he enjoyed basking in the sun, and on the RV trips where he’d go out on his leash every day.  He loved cuddling with his Dad and sitting next to Mom on the top of the couch. He loved visiting all the neighbors (and their indoor kitties) on a regular basis, and was known and loved by all.  It will be quite a while before we can think of our special boy and not be sad…. and someday, I hope we’ll be able to open our hearts to another kitty who will love us back with everything they’ve got – just like Jinx did. We miss you, precious boy.

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Jinx the Cat  2003-2016  RIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

The twins’ 4th birthday!

This past weekend, we made a trip across the state (literally) to spend some time with the precious grand twins. Hard to believe those two have turned FOUR already!  They are cute, smart, loving, lively, articulate, and oh-so-huggable! I think this is such a special age because they are still at the point where it’s really exciting for them to have grandparents come visit. Actually, I hope that never changes, but…. in all likelihood, it will.  So for now, I’m cherishing the fun times we have together.  This year was not a kids party, it was just all the grandparents getting together to wish the twins a happy day – and shower them with love, attention, and gifts, of course. Unfortunately, little Jake was running a fever that day and not feeling well at all.  He wasn’t as perky as usual, so if he looks a little tired, he was. I didn’t take many photos as I forgot my camera, and I’m not thrilled with the quality of pics that my phone takes.  Here are a few.

Happy BIrthday to Jake and Katelyn!!

Happy Birthday to Jake and Katelyn!!

 

Blow out those candles!

Blow out those candles!

 

"Is it your birthday today, Katie?"

“Is it your birthday today, Katie?”

 

Grammie Suz and Katelyn!

Grammie Suz and Katelyn!

 

We had a lovely visit with the twins, their parents, the other grandparents, as well as my brother, “Uncle Brian”.

On another note, our cat Jinx has been dealing with some health issues lately. He was recently diagnosed with IBD, “Inflammatory Bowel Disease”.  He was prescribed an antibiotic pill and a steroid liquid. First, let me say that I think he’s doing better.  We’ll know for sure next week when he goes in for a weight check – we hope he will have gained up from his meager 7 pounds.  Giving him the pill has been a total nightmare. We have tried nearly every method to get him to take the pills – from pill pockets, to hiding it in food, wrapping it in cheese, and just prying his mouth open and shoving it in.  Sometimes we are successful, but much of the time – not so much.  The liquid seems to go in easier and the steroid seems to have helped the inflammation in his gut.  One thing we are supposed to do is put him on a “hypoallergenic” diet. He will eat the special dry food, but NO WAY will he consume the prescription canned food. Today I got out my meat grinder attachment and ground him some cooked chicken thighs. He seems to really like it. I may be making more cat food in the future!

catfood

I made enough to freeze six zip-lock bags for future use. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to grind the chicken… I’ve had this attachment for literally years, and this was the first time I tried it!  Here’s hoping our Mr Jinx is up a few ounces – or even a pound – on his next vet visit.  🙂

* For all of you cat food purists out there – this ground chicken is just a supplement to his regular food. I realize it is NOT a complete food, with all nutrients necessary for cat health.  Someday I may buy the powdered nutrients that one adds to meat, to make homemade food into a complete cat food.

 

January Jumble

rainToday was one of those rare wet days here in the California desert. Silly me, I got out my camera and took a few still pics as well as a video of RAIN. WHY? Maybe I was missing the normally very soggy Seattle weather? Anyway, it was strangely comforting to have a cloudy, damp day here at our “Desert Oasis”.

We’ve been here for about three weeks, for the first time living the “snowbird” lifestyle.  Hubby has been golfing, fixing this and that around the house, and I’ve been reading, shopping (a little), and cooking.  All good things 🙂  So here’s a synopsis of some of the stuff we have been up to of late…..   (Please remember to click on the photos to enlarge them)

lamb1

This, my friends, is my VERY FIRST attempt at a “rack of lamb”.  I was so crazy proud of it, I had to take a photo. Used to be, I wouldn’t touch a bite of lamb, and then one day… we were invited to dinner at friends Phil and Phyllis’ home.  Wouldn’t you know it, they were serving the dreaded lamb.  I LOVED IT!!!  I’m now what you might call a “lamb-fan”! HA!  Anyway, we bought this little beauty at Costco and I used my new “SkinnyTaste” cookbook to season it. Then hubby took over the cooking on the BBQ.. and yes, it was SO good.  Here’s a pic (sort of) of the recipe from my new book:

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I even made the mint-yogurt sauce to go with it.  Simply delicious.  So, if you are a bit “lamb wary” as I was, give it a try! It’s not the gamey icky tasting stuff your mother used to make for Sunday dinner anymore!  Ours was labeled as “bred, born, and raised in Australia”.  Thanks Costco!  Oh, by the way, my mother (RIP mom) used to try and fool me into thinking lamb was beef.  I never fell for it.

lamb3

Last week my dear hubby spent two days re-staining the concrete around the pool.  He did the paths first and then the raised edges encircling the spa and walls of the pool.  I love the darker color we chose. The sunshine is so strong here most of the year, it was not a surprise the color had faded quite a bit in the past 2+ years.

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A little bit of horticulture now.  Above is our Pink Powderpuff plant.  We have never been here in January, so this is the first year I have been able to personally witness the beauty of this thing in bloom.  Here is a close up of one of the “powder puffs”:

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I don’t have a fancy SLR camera, so I really struggled to get a clear shot of the bloom. If you click on the pic, it will enlarge and hopefully you can see that each of the little red bits has a teeny tiny black dot on the end.  Uniquely beautiful, in my humble opinion.

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The above picture shows the three stages… far left – it’s still a bud in red.  Top right – in full bloom.  At the bottom, fading away.  Note how the white prongs still remain, after the red ones wither.  Such a shame that the blooms only last about two days.

lamb7You may need to click on the above photo to see properly, but I just had to zoom in on the Goodyear Blimp as it flew by late Sunday afternoon.  The PGA had just finished playing “The Humana” golf tournament at a course not far from here.  Looks like the blimp was making a beeline towards Phoenix — maybe for the Phoenix open next weekend… or maybe for the Super Bowl – also being played in the greater Phoenix area next weekend.  Okay, I simply cannot help myself —–   My team is in the Superbowl again this year!! GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Seahawks-Logo

Okay, where was I???  Oh yes….

lamb8

If you are not a cat lover, please feel free to skip over the next three pics.  Here is our beloved old man kitty, Jinx the cat, lounging beside the spa/hot tub.  Sometimes we let him outside without his walking “jacket” and leash, and Sunday was one of those days.  The time of day was after 4 pm, so the pump was off, and the spillway, still.

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At age 11, he is still a cute kitty, just waaaaaaay too thin and we can’t seem to fix that.

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For the first time ever, Jinx ventured across the top of the spillway… drinking sips of the salt water along the way. We have tried to convince him that salt water is not very tasty, but he always takes a tiny sample.

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I happened to be near the hummingbird feeder when one stopped by for a snack.  Shortly after arriving here, I filled up the old hummingbird feeder and again, it was literally SWARMED by bees.  I wanted to continue feeding the birds, but NOT the bees.  So I went onto Amazon and found this great little feeder, which claimed to keep the bees away, while still making the nectar accessible for the birds.  Shockingly, it works!  If you too have this problem, look into the Hummzinger Ultra bird feeder!  It’s mahvelous, simply mahvelous!

sprouts

What do we have here???  Ahhhh all you 70’s hippies will know what it is!  I’m once again growing my own sprouts!  I love alfalfa sprouts (and lentil sprouts too) on sandwiches and in salads, and I can’t seem to find them at the store anymore.  Problem solved.  Grow your own.  I got the organic alfalfa seed off Ebay.  It’s fun, easy, nutritious, and cheap!

Suz

Thought I’d throw in a recent selfie – clearly taken on a sunny day 🙂

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I know, I know…. I always seem to throw in a sunset photo.  I can’t help it. I never, EVER get tired of admiring God’s handiwork. I took this about a week ago.

I’ll leave you with my little one-minute “rain” video.  Till next time……………………….  GO SEAHAWKS!!!

By the way, the little white bowl on the table is NOT, I repeat NOT an ashtray! I burn little “cone” vanilla incense in there that I get from the Dollar Tree 🙂  The little hula girl on the table is also a Dollar Tree find, courtesy of my neighbors, Paul & Brian. Since she’s solar powered, I was surprised she was still hula-ing in the rain!

Autumnal hodgepodge

October 09 042You knew we lived in the midst of a forest.  You knew that there are mostly evergreen trees in the forest up here.  But did you know that some evergreen trees lose bits and pieces of their needles/branches?  Here’s a snap of a nearby Cedar tree… each fall, all the cedar trees have sections that turn a rust color and eventually drop off – normally during the wind and rain storms that come in November.   There.  An autumnal bit of etcetera.

Hey, it’s great living in a forest!  You get to see lots of wildlife… like these very tame and laid back deer, lounging in our next door neighbor’s back yard a few days back.  Some days I think the deer are cute.  Some days I’d like to make them all into deer jerky.  lounging deer

This happy little photo is of the mommy deer and twins that have spent the entire summer going from home to home, devouring every edible flower, tree, and plant  in the vicinity.  They look so content, don’t they?

Last week, on one of our truly glorious autumn days, we took a drive with our neighbors Irv & Elaine over to Anacortes, WA.  They took us to the top of a large hill where Cap Sante Park is located.  We’d never been there – and on a nice day (like we had) the view is stunning.  Here is a photo of our good friends with Fidalgo Bay in the background.  October 09 006

Irv and Elaine are now back in Florida, where they live most of the year.  You may remember we went to see them last March and had a fantastic visit!   Today we woke to 32 degrees and saw that it’s in the 70’s in Florida.  I’m going to try not to think too hard about that.

Here are a couple of shots of our cat, Jinx.  He wanted to show off his Halloween “Beastie Bands” collar so I told him, “just turn your head the other way so we can see it, Jinx”.  And he did.   By the way, in my humble opinion, “Beastie Bands” are simply the nicest (but definitely NOT the most expensive) cat collars.  Jinx likes to change his neckwear as the seasons change 🙂  October 09 034

October 09 035

I absolutely love Autumn.  It means I can start making more homemade soups and stews, roasts in the oven, and baked goods.  So far, I’ve made a pot of chili and an apple crisp.  I’m thinking tonight might be a great night for my homemade potato soup.  Lots of evenings in the fall and winter, we’ll make our dinner on soup and bread.  I still am intimidated at the thought of making my own bread… not so much in the technique exactly, but in the time it takes.  Ok, I’ll admit it, the technique scares me a bit also.   At any rate, I love to buy (at Costco in a pack of six) the small sourdough baguettes that are not completely baked.  They need about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven to finish them off to perfection.  This time of year I keep them in the freezer to go along with the soups and stews.

Here is a snap shot of an open-faced sandwich I made for lunch a few days ago.  I got the idea out of my favorite “Everyday Food” magazine – I think it was in an issue about 5 years ago.  October 09 001

They are cheese, apple, and bacon on a nice whole grain brown bread.  I cooked the bacon first, then assembled the sandwiches and baked them in the oven at 350 for approx 12-14 minutes.  Long enough for the bread to get sort of crispy and the cheese to melt.  I used extra sharp cheddar and golden delicious apples.  You could use any cheese that you like and even change the fruit to thinly sliced pears.  Yep, that would be soooo good too!

On the subject of food, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of The Pioneer Woman and her website, and all the great food she makes.  Well, she’s started another website, the Tasty Kitchen– described as: “Favorite Recipes from Real Kitchens Everywhere!”  – where anyone can submit recipes that are tried and true family favorites.  It’s a great website and if you enjoy cooking like I do, you may discover a great recipe or two there!

The final subject for todays “Autumnal hodgepodge” is painting. An eight-letter word that describes perseverance and determination.  We moved in to our new home (yes, it was actually new when we moved in) in 2003.  The builder, bless his heart, painted (with a spray gun I am sure) every wall and ceiling in this house the famous off-white color.  Five years ago we ventured into the world of color and painted the guest room a sort of ‘whole-grain-mustard’ gold.  Sounds horrible doesn’t it?  Well, it looks okay and goes well with the “African” theme we sort of have in there.  It took two coats of color to cover the off-white walls.  Fast forward to 2009.  Finally, hubby and I agree that we absolutely must update the walls in our “great room” – which encompasses the living room, dining room, and kitchen.  I kid you not, we made FIVE trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s before deciding upon the two colors.  The painting has been in process for much of this past week.  It is not yet done.  But here are a few shots of the prep and beginning of the debacle!

Taping in the kitchen

Taping in the kitchen

The big wall in living room area

The big wall in living room area

Let the painting and 'cutting in' begin~

Let the painting and 'cutting in' begin~

Obviously, I’ll post some “after” pictures once we are done.  Having the house in total chaos is a yucky feeling, but it was definitely a must.  All I’ll say is we are very happy with the outcome — so far!

Family visit

Wow, my life has sure been busy lately.  Seems like forever since I added a post to my blog.  Hopefully that trend is changing!  As I sit here at my desk, merrily typing away, I can see… yes once again… snowflakes fly past my window.  I hate to admit it, but it’s depressing.  Welcoming snow in March is oh-so-very-hard-to-do.  Especially when a person must  drive in it…. All I can say is I hope it ends soon, and I hope the prediction of up to 5 inches is incorrect.  What the heck – in a week and a bit, dear hubby and I will be trekking to the land of warmth and sunshine ~ Florida.  I simply cannot wait to feel the sun on my face.  But enough about that for now.  

Last week I made it over the mountains (between storms, thankfully) to visit my Dad, Brother, dear Son #2 and dear daughter-in-law (aka: DIL!).  It’s a four hour drive, but so totally worth it.  My brother helped me figure out some important stuff about our taxes; I got to hang out with Dad and cook him a few tasty dinners; I got to meet my new grand-puppy, LUCY; I got to spend the evenings with DS and DDIL; I got to spend most of one day doing some “retail therapy” with DDIL — OH what fun that was!  Only moms who never had daughters (and women who didn’t have a sister – like me) can understand what a special treat it is to have a very special female family member to go shopping with.  We sort of celebrated a late Christmas as well, since nobody was going anywhere last December (due to very nasty weather).  Now for some photos!!

little Lucy.  Who can resist a beagle puppy? SO CUTE!

little Lucy. Who can resist a beagle puppy? SO CUTE!

 

Lucy joins big brother Buckley, shown here with dear DIL

Lucy joins big brother Buckley, shown here with dear DIL

me, li'l Lu, and Mr. Bojangles

me, li'l Lu, and Mr. Bojangles

 Believe it or not, they are now a Three-Beagle-Family!  I love beagles (yup, even I owned one once) but for now, it’s great that I can just visit the happy doggie trio!  🙂

Here’s a picture of my Dad.  He is now 94 years old, and we are SO BLESSED to still have him.  He lives at home, although my brother now lives with him.  Dad still has all his wits and brains, and LOVES to talk politics!   I love this guy – and always have.  He is “multi-tasking” in this picture… listening to his favorite TV show (typically something on the Fox News channel) with his headphones, and reading the paper!

gramps-at-94

As mentioned, my dad and brother live together.  My brother is a CAT-lover (so am I!).  Here is a snapshot of one of my brother’s four fantastic cats!   They are all SO MUCH FUN.  Just glad I don’t have all that fur to deal with!  I think one cat will have to do for us for now. 

This is "Red".  What a happy cat!

This is "Red". What a happy cat!

Since we “sort of celebrated” Christmas… I want to share with you my gift.  Something I really wanted but never dreamed I’d get!  A panini grill!!  WOOHOO!  I had to try it out this week, and the next pictures will show my first (but hardly my last) attempt at making yummy sandwiches. 

New panini grill with first sandwich on board.

New panini grill with first sandwich on board.

Ham & Provolone with pineapple.  YUMMY!

Ham & Provolone with pineapple. YUMMY!

Showers of blessings

hornofplenty1Thanksgiving.  I love this time of year.  I’ve always loved Thanksgiving as long as I can remember.  It has always meant plenty of food (really *good* food like my Mom used to make), family get togethers, and football.  Pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, turkey gravy with lots of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and homemade pickles.  Often it has been easy to forget the many, many reasons to be truly thankful.  This year, I think just maybe, we are all a bit more focused on the THANKFUL part of Thanksgiving.  I for one, have so much to be grateful and thankful for – too many to list, but I would like to mention a few of my blessings. 

  • My wonderful husband – my greatest earthly blessing for sure
  • Two precious sons and one precious daughter in law
  • My good health and the general good health of my family
  • The world’s greatest Dad, who at age 94 is still a vibrant part of our family
  • My home, snug and dry all winter long
  • A rewarding (in many ways) job
  • Enough resources for all that I really need
  • My delightful cat, Jinx
  • A neighborhood of wonderful, caring people
  • Eyesight good enough to read and stitch

For all these things (and so much more) I give thanks to God – from whom all blessings flow.

This week I have spent quite a bit of pleasant, quiet time finishing up a cross stitch bib that I am giving to one of my co-workers next week at her baby shower.  It looked like a small design to me, and I thought I’d “fly right through it”, but alas, no stitching is as quick as it may seem!  Here is a picture of the finished product!  Bib for baby Evan

This afternoon, “Daddy” captured this picture of “Mommy” toting Jinx the cat around like a bag of beans!  (He LOVES it!!)

Jinx and his mommy

Jinx and his mommy

I also just finished reading a book called “Dewey” about the library cat in Spencer, Iowa.  Being a cat lover, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!  Well, until the ending….  we all know how those books have to end.  Anyway! 

This year, Thanksgiving will be spent with our neighborhood, all bringing food, sharing together, communing together…  I’m soooo thankful I am off work that day!!  Another blessing!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!!