Sunday, December 13, 2009


Dixie has had some new experiences this weekend. The first was when Mom lit a log in the fireplace yesterday. I had been concerned that she would burn a paw investigating, but she seemed to know better. She sat entranced, watching the flame, and then realized that it was giving off warmth. She curled up on the hearth and took a long nap for as long as the fire held out.

Sunday morning brought another new entertainment. Mom had purchased some yarn last weekend and needed to wind it into balls. Out came a weird contraption, the umbrella swift, that holds a skein of yarn so that it is possible to wind a ball without too many snarls along the way. She watched in fascination while 4 skeins were hung and 4 balls were wound.

She could not understand why Mom wouldn't let her have one of the balls of yarn to play with. So what if it was pricey baby alpaca? It would have been so much fun to unravel throughout the house. Isn't kitty entertainment of paramount importance in the scheme of things?

It was with some disgust that she watched the 4 balls of yarn disappear into Mom's knitting bag. I may have to lock the knitting bag in a closet when I go out for groceries in a little while.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

An Afternoon of R and R

Today was a day to play. I've not felt much like playing lately. I've been tired, suffering from allergies and a bit on edge. I have not been inclined to go into Austin or San Marcos for Christmas shopping, primarily because I don't feel up to dealing with crowds and traffic. I was beginning to get a little stir crazy.

I had initially intended to go to a book signing in downtown Bastrop on Wednesday night, but the wet, cold weather had persuaded me to keep inside that night and instead attend the second book signing to be held in McDade this afternoon.

I figured as long as I was headed to McDade, I would start off in Elgin. The Elgin Antique Mall always has a month long sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas that I make a point to attend every year. I timed my arrival in Elgin for lunch time and ate a great plate of enchilades verdes at La Morelia, which is handily next door to the Antique Mall. Pleasantly full, I then spent the next 90 minutes leisurely prowling through one of my favorite places. I managed to talk myself out of the piece of furniture I had spotted a couple of weeks ago, but picked up a rare book of Mary Hardin-Baylor related material for a ridiculously low price and a vintage children's book of dog stories.

Speaking of dogs, as I entered the Antique Mall, a lady seated at the front of the store was holding a precious 7 week old rat terrier puppy. I don't think there is anything in the world that is cuter than a rat terrier puppy. It took all the control I had not to grab her and run.

I headed out for McDade, hoping to get an early spot in line for the book signing, and I drove up at exactly 3PM, when the event was to start. The book is a new history of the volatile history of McDade called Silent Night, Deadly Night and deals primarily with the infamous Christmas hangings of 1883. I have communicated with the author via email for a couple of years now (we Bastrop historians have a way of finding each other) and had met her when she gave a presentation to the Bastrop County Historical Society a couple of months ago. We had a brief opportunity to visit before she got involved with the steady stream of locals who were arriving to purchase the book. It was a nice crowd that assembled and I actually knew a few of the attendees, including a distant Mobley cousin who always greets me with a big hug when we run into each other.

I took the opportunity to take a few pictures as I left, including the water tower that is a fixture in an old photo of my Mobley great-great grandparents circa 1910.

Joseph & Mary Caroline Mobley
with the McDade water tower in the background

I had succeeded in getting in and out of the book signing quickly, so I decided I would follow up on a bit of information I had picked up last weekend at the Harvest Art fest. In conversation with one of the vendors, I had learned there was a new yarn shop in Paige and I was aching to check it out. So there being no time like the present, I headed on toward Paige.

I was astounded to discover that Yarnorama is no ordinary yarn shop but rather one of the special ones. I entered the store to find a half-dozen women busy with spinning wheels and in animated conversation. Just past them was a fabulous array of yarn, books, tools and knitted shawls, scarves and sweaters. The money I saved at the Antique Mall got spent in a hurry. I was invited to join their regular spinning sessions and as soon as I get my spinning wheel back in working order, I may just take them up on the invitation. This is the kind of yarn shop I always wanted to have myself. I even got to pet the angora rabbit that was supervising the place.

I really enjoyed my afternoon of wandering around Bastrop County. I got to eat my favorite food, spend time prowling an antique store, visit with some old friends and some new friends, take some pictures, explore a new yarn store with a great atmosphere, pet a puppy nose and scratch some rabbit ears and all on a beautiful, crisp Texas day.

Who needs Christmas shopping at a mall?


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Boo Goes For a Ride

For the length of the time that Boo and Scout have lived with me, there has been a cat condo/tower in the corner of the living room, reaching up to within a foot or two of the ceiling. When they were kittens, they would zoom up to the top and down to the floor in a blur of motion but now that they are grown it generally serves one purpose. I keep their dry food in one of the cubicles that is high enough to be out of reach of dog moochers.

The bottom of the tower had gotten into an unsightly mess, partly from food jibbles and partly due to a certain little boy dog I could mention who passes by every so often and expresses his opinion of cats against one of the legs. I decided a few weeks ago that I would dismantle the thing and figure out some other place to put their feeding station.

When I gave it a good look this past weekend, I came to the conclusion that there was still some life in it, but I wanted it in a less conspicuous place. So I cleaned it up with the vacuum cleaner and some carpet shampoo and decided to move it into a corner in the bedroom.

Scout and Dixie were a little disturbed at the whole process and went to the far reaches of the house until it was over, but not Boo. While I worked on the thing, he sat in the uppermost tray studying me. When it came time to move it, I suggested he get down. He blinked at me and continued to sit.

Ok, buster, I said, suit yourself. The thing is a clumsy assortment of poles and platforms and the only way I could move it was to grab a couple of corners and begin to awkwardly bounce it along the floor. I figured Boo would bolt, but I was wrong.

As I proceeded to bounce the thing across the living room floor and then down the hall, he continued to sit in the top tray, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. The little squirt was enjoying the ride and it had the added excitement of putting him close to light fixtures and pictures on the wall that he normally couldn't examine.

Down the hall we went and then we came to the door into the bedroom. The top tray had about 2 inches of clearance and the assorted platforms had to be moved one at a time, first this way and then that way, as I proceeded to wiggle the whole thing into the bedroom. There was no room for a 12-pound cat at the top, but he refused to move. He just flattened himself into the tray and hung on. I swear I heard some cat giggling as I struggled to get all the odd angles through that door.

We finally made it and he was still in the top tray and observing with interest the approaching ceiling fan. He toyed briefly with the idea of jumping up on top of the blades, but fortunately decided against it. We bounced on into the new location.

I think Boo has decided this is where the cat tower should have been all along. He had virtually ignored it for months, except at meal times. Now I keep looking over in the corner of the bedroom and find him back up in that topmost tray, blinking at me across the room and looking like he thinks he is the potentate surveying his kingdom.

I'm so glad to have a purpose in life. If nothing else, I entertain cats.