First, I must ask you to indulge me in a brief but heartfelt rant:
Our weather, which was so wonderfully and painfully wet and stormy just last week, has reverted back to ridiculously mild. There’s another gigantic high pressure area plopped on top of us, keeping anything that even hints of rain diverted northward. It’s all caused by La Nina, the powerful and infrequent cool current out in the Pacific that, like it’s “brother,” the warmer current called El Nino, affects global weather in strange ways.
Right now, here, La Nina is making what should be the depths of winter look and feel like mid-spring. I should be pleased—most normal Californians love this weather, after all. It’s why they live here. I’m an aberration. See, after the interminably long summer, I was really looking forward to winter. I wanted the change. The opportunity to wear different clothes. This winter, which actually began, unofficially, in November, has brought real rain (by which I mean more than a moist drizzle) twice. Yes, you read that right. Two times. The first, in early November, was a brief but satisfying soaker. The second rain was last week’s chain of storms. The change in barometric pressure from high to low brought the storms in and made my rheuma-dragon cranky and restless, but it was so nice to see and hear, taste and smell the rain and wind. It felt like an old friend had come to visit.
La Nina closed the storm door up tight again, though. On the valley floor they’re socked in with pea-soup fog each night and morning, but we’re not even getting that here in the foothills. The days are stuck, again, in the mid-to-high 60s, mostly sunny, and clear. Blah. Boring. Dull.
I know. I’m crazy to perceive gorgeous weather like this as distressing. But dang, I miss winter. It’s a very short season in California anyway. I’d like to see at least a little of it.
All right. Enough carping.
RA-wise, I’m back to my personal normal: Mildish aches in my hands and wrists, punctuated by sudden, unexpected twinges as I use them. The @!#*!! bursitis is also active, causing my hips to ache dully and constantly. Both conditions are completely bearable and completely annoying. But if I keep my mind focused on other things, I can mostly ignore them. Blessings come in strange packages sometimes.
The big news concerns my new cat-friend, Mouse. She’s an eight-month old Maine Coon with long, fluffy fur that’s mouse gray and white in a tuxedo pattern. I adopted her last weekend from a cat-rescue organization in my aunt and uncle’s town down in the valley.
My old buddy PIB (Puss In Boots), when he died last October at 14 years old, left me grieving and with a big empty spot in my heart. He was, truly, a dear friend. I’ve missed him deeply, particularly at night, when he’d snuggle up close and purr me to sleep. And if I sat down for more than five minutes during the day, PIB would appear out of nowhere and ask to be lifted onto my lap for a stroke, a long purr, and a nap. That sweet ol’ tuxedo cat was the very embodiment of the phrase “companion animal.”
On Christmas Day, I opened a card from Mom. In it she’d written that her Christmas gift to me was another kitty, if I wanted one. I was touched and surprised, as she’d been clear after PIB died that her two remaining cats were more than enough for one house. It had saddened me. Kitty-Kitty and Emma are nice cats, but neither of them is cuddly like PIB was, and they’ve both bonded with her. I glanced over at my sister, who was home for the holiday from New Mexico. She grinned and winked at me.
Mouse weighs nine pounds. I’ve long had a wish for a Maine Coon cat, as the breed is characteristically very affectionate, calm and, yes, big. It takes three to five years for a Coonie to reach her full growth, and females average about 14 pounds. The males can weigh up to 25. As I write this she’s still a bit shy, getting used to her new home and her new cat companions. But when I coax her close to pet her, she bumps her head into my hand and her purr-motor starts. She snuggles and snorgles and rumbles.
The best news is that mom likes her, too. It’s gonna be all right.