It is almost 2:00 and I am just sitting down now in front of my SAD light. It is so dark today. And rainy. It is just the smallest hair past summer so I won’t complain about the rain. But the dark. Those long, long months of dark are exhausting. Every single person here has such low Vitamin D that our health plan no longer pays for testing. We are all low. We have to supplement. That helps with the Vitamin D but not the lack of light. So, the SAD light.

This morning I saw my employment counsellor and she was so lovely. She just does the intake and has passed my file to a different person who works especially with women who have depression, anxiety and a history of abuse. This employment agency is beyond amazing. They will help me with each and every step of the process to find meaningful employment. Tomorrow I am taking a course on Disability and Stress Management.

Oi. I wrote that four five hours and obviously got distracted. Here’s a question for those of you that lived in the days before everyone owned a dryer. We dry clothes, towels and bed linens outside in the spring and fall. In the fall and winter we have two excellent drying racks for clothes and towels inside. At this point we do not have a drying rack that is big enough for bed linens. How did people dry bed sheets before dryers? We do have a dryer but my husband and I are always looking for a way to reduce our energy consumption and lower our hydro bill. We have an app that shows we already use considerably less energy than anyone in our neighbourhood but not using the dryer would be one more thing.

This is Harriet. She was my first cat and I miss her still even though she died more than 15 years ago. The night before I got her I woke up and had this thought.

I need to get a cat.

I had never had a cat of my own before so it was a weird thought. To add to the weird thought I knew the cat needed to be a calico. The next afternoon I went to the SPCA. I told the people at the desk that I was here to look at the cats and they pointed me to the cat rooms. I opened the door and walked in. Sitting directly in front of the door was a calico cat. I picked her up, she put her head on my shoulder and started to purr. I walked out the door and paid for her and the rest became Harriet history. She was a beautiful and loving cat. My daughter was just a toddler at the time and Harriet would let my daughter dress her in dresses and carry her around the house. My son who was not yet in kindergarten would chase her around. I would tell him not to chase her but Harriet never minded. When she got tired she had a place in the laundry room so she could escape and nap. Harriet came when she was called and talked to you like she was a person. And she loved smoked oysters! Sometimes I would try to be sneaky and open a can but if she didn’t hear she would smell and come running. Sadly, she got sick one day. She had always had bladder issues so the vet thought she went into kidney failure. She had not been well and when I came home from work she came running like she always did but collapsed on the floor. It was one of the saddest moments of my life. She had so much love to give but only lived to 6 years old. Norbert makes me laugh but Harriet gave me love

33 thoughts on “

  1. Hi Birdie – I have not been feeling physically well and your posts have made me laugh and cry. Reading about Harriett made me cry. I am sorry about your job but it seems you did the best thing to take care of yourself. I am proud of you. I wish you well on finding employment that will be better for you. I’ve loved your other posts but did not feel well enough to write. Xo Joanne

  2. I have had cats who have permanent homes in my heart too. I miss them still. Despite loving Jazz the psycho cat.
    I am so very glad to hear that you are getting support in finding a job which is right for you. I am trying to remember what we did with bed linen when I was growing up. From memory it stayed on the line until it was almost dry (which could take days) and was then brought in and hung (folded) over a drying rack.

  3. Cats hold a special place in our hearts, each with their own unique personalities. We had a cat named Boots who came when he was called and was more like a dog than a cat. He also died from kidney failure at a young age. I understand. -Jenn

  4. Harriet sounds like she was a most wonderful cat. When I was a kid, my Mom dried all the laundry outside on the line every season of the year. I don’t ever remember her drying anything inside on racks — we didn’t have the room for that, anyway. Of course, in the winter, all the laundry would come in frozen stiff but it thawed and was fine.

  5. I’m finding myself going as the days shorten and get colder too. It’s supposed to snow this week. WTF! I know it will melt but still.

    I love calico cats. I used to have one called Maggie. She was so sweet.

    • I think calico cats are especially sweet. I have had others tell me different but I have only ever met one that wasn’t nice. And NO to snow. Just no.

  6. Oh, look at her beautiful self! Sorry she died so young. We’ve had cats our whole lives, him and I, even before we were married. Each of our children was gifted with a kitten too. In our home the magic age for cats is 14. None of them have lived past the age of 14. Same with the dogs. Both dogs went to that rainbow bridge at 14. Good luck with the job search. Whoever hires you is one lucky company. And I always use the clothes dryer.
    My carbon foot print is all over the place 😦

    • Wasn’t she beautiful? I also had a cat named Angus who was all white and knew that he was a good looking cat. He used to hop up on the bathroom counter and look at himself. I am not kidding. He had a look on his face that said, “Damn, you are a goooooood looking cat”.

  7. Drying sheets and bedding, my Mom always hung them out on the line. In the winter she would hang laundry out, then when we got home from school we were sent out with sticks to beat the ice out of the clothes, which were left again for a day, and then brought in where they finished drying. It was great fun, beating the laundry with sticks!

    I am very lucky that depression has not been one of my challenges! I do find that getting out of doors does elevate my mood, it makes a real difference… I think of it as blowing the stink off, I don’t know why 🙂 When I feel a little blue, different I think than depression, I get busy, conquering something in the physical world seems to help.

    Harriet was a beautiful cat, with a beautiful name!

    • I have heard about frozen bedding but have never had the fun of seeing it. Because it rains all the time here our laundry just gets more wet. Dripping and soaked.

  8. I imagine people might have hung their laundered bed linens from the ceiling somehow, or maybe draped it over chairs, the way children drape blankets to make tents.

  9. Dear Birdie, lots and lots of luck with finding the job that works best for you. As to drying the bedding, I was raised out in the country and mom had a line from the garage to the house. She hung our clothes and bedding on that clothes line.

    Harriet sounds like a lovely cat. She was truly a blessing in your life. So many cats have blessed my life, each in his or her own way. And they have left behind memories that comfort me. I hope the memories of your time with Harriet comfort you. Peace.

  10. I have to take vitamin-D supplements also. I have to stay out of the sun because of my Lupus. When I was young my mother would string up a few lines in the basement or garage and we would hang sheets, towels, you name it and then turn on a rotating fan to dry them.It would take a few hours but they would get dry.
    Harriet sounds just like my Sweetie Pie. She was a beautiful calico mama cat that loved to come around when I was outside. She was the neighborhood cat that everyone fed and everyone would chip in a few dollars for her shots and vet bills. Nobody really owned her, she owned us. I would always bring her indoors during the cold nights in winter and she never messed or went anywhere in the house she was not invited to go to. She died two years ago because she was older than God. She lived up to her name her whole life. David said when she came up to me on my first day that I moved here, he said Sweetie never came to anyone, ever. I was also the first to initiate the shots and vet visits for her in order to keep her well. I miss her coming up to me and talking for hours on the front porch steps. She was a great cat.

    • Oh, I love this calico cat story. You know i absolutely adore Norbert and I can’t imagine life without him. But, he is a bit of a grump. I just tried to call him and he would have none of it. When I had Harriet and was crying or sad she always came to sit with me. She was one in a million.

  11. My gosh, Harriet sounds like a sweetie! And I wonder if being a calico adds to it. We adopted our first calico ever in January and she is the most amazing little thing. She comes when we call her, talks up a storm and even plays fetch. She is affectionate and gentle and simply adorable. She has brought so much energy and joy into our home.

    I barely, if ever, use a dryer. We have a rack and two clothes lines in our storage area and that’s where out laundry dries. We run a de-humidifier 24/7, which makes the drying process even faster.

      • Yes, I think so. Plus, our dehumidifier doesn’t run non-stop. It shuts off when the humidity reaches a certain level. Either way, dryers use an obscene amount of energy, so we really limit the use of our own. We only use it when it’s absolutely necessary.

  12. Well crap that made me cry. I’m without any cats right now and it’s strange. I can’t remember when the last time I didn’t have a cat was. I had one just about the whole time I was growing up and pretty much all the time after that. I’ve had many wonderful amazing cats and I am kind of sad that I don’t have one right now to cuddle.

      • Hodr in the Norse god of dark and cold/winter. Technically it’s Höðr. Hodr is black and we thought male and I thought it fit him. Turns out she is a she, but we kept the name because we like it.

      • Like Mary Moon’s cat, Maurice. I think if Norbert turned out to be a girl it would be the funniest thing ever. All of a sudden, everything would make sense. He is such a feminine and girly cat.

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