Pressure’s up …

First, I must ask you to indulge me in a brief but heartfelt rant:

Sea surface temperature anomalies in November 2007 showing La Niña conditions. Blue=temperature below average; red=temperature above average

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.

Sweet sister. She’d persuaded mom to relent and let me find another kitty.

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.

7 thoughts on “Pressure’s up …

  1. So glad you’re feeling a bit better RA-wise and excellent news about Mouse! We lost Middle-Sized-Cat around the same time you lost PB – and he was just the same; SUPER affectionate. I still miss him, but fortunately Enormous Cat is now happy to share his affections between me and hubby (I get about 40% – or 100% with a can in my hand.) He’s not affectionate to the same level as MS Cat but having said that, at least I sleep better without a cat under the chin (or on the head … or under an arm …) Still miss him though. Sounds like Mouse could be another super-affectionate one though – I hope so. 🙂


  2. Congrats on the new cat-friend! My Stella (who is also 9 pounds) is currently snuggled up against me in bed. I don’t think I realized how much I needed her when I adopted her.


  3. We had a cat named Mouse once. She was wonderful. Your Mouse is gorgeous. I’ve always wanted a Maine Coon too. So glad you got to bring her home.


  4. Wooohooo a kitty friend for you! And hats off for adopting one that needed to be able to purr and bump and plop on you 🙂 Let’s just hope she stays closer to the female weight side…25 lbs. might be a bit heavy for a lap cat…lol. She is just beautiful and I know your two souls will bond in no time at all. Such a pretty kiit 🙂 Moomee and Mango approve.


  5. Wren: I agree. After the furnace of a summer we had in Dallas I was hopeful that we’d have at least a moderately cold winter. It’s been over 70 twice now in January! Congratulations on the new member of the family. She’s gorgeous!


  6. Mouse is gorgeous! So glad she’s in your life – she sounds like a wonderful companion.

    And, so glad you are feeling better. Weather can do such a number on us!


  7. Oh my heavens, I missed that Puss had passed. I had wondered why I hadn’t heard any mention of him in quite some time, and I didn’t quite want to ask in case there WAS a grief there.

    Our winter weather this season has been…absurd. There was one real nasty storm early in the season, and otherwise it’s been downright balmy. We’re not supposed to be getting 60 degree days in January, and yet we have been! The temperature swings have been pretty wild – we’ll have a couple days at 60, and at night it’ll be dropping down into the 20s, and then we’ll have a few days in the 40s before it soars back up to the 60s. It’s been hard on me and the roommate, as we’re both affected by barometric pressure changes (she has reflex sympathetic dystrophy, RSD, which is kind of like the nerves just screw up and register everything in the affected region as pain. Actually, we suspect I may have it, due to my unending pain and extreme tenderness in my feet.) These big temp swings might make sense if we were up in the mountains, but we’re not – the land around here is very flat and we’re just a few feet above sea level! Weird, weird weather, and yet more proof that we’ve had strong climate change.



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