Cabin on Palomar Mountain

mountain view

View from the deck. On a clear day the ocean is visible in the distance.

The other weekend we enjoyed a relaxing couple of days in a rented cabin on Palomar Mountain just outside of San Diego. We really didn’t do anything but hang out there until it was time to leave. Eli is the ultimate homebody and rather averse to transitions in general so even the suggestion of taking a walk to explore the neighborhood met with great disapproval. For us the path of least resistance was to take no path at all. (We did work in a short two block walk to the end of the road just before leaving.) It really was nice to have time to do nothing but sit, relax, make food, and watch the kids.

Mama and Eli

The desire to stay put was quite understandable when seen from his point of view.

After all there were birds to feed,

Scrub Jay eating peanuts.

a 1932 Ford driven by a goose parked out front,

1932 Ford

hollowed out trees to play in,

playing in the hollowed out tree

sisters to play with,

playing on the deck

books to read (about construction sites, of course),

Eli and Mama reading

much dirt in which to play out all sorts of construction site fantasies,

ELi and his construction equipment

and best of all his very own cat!

Eli and the cat

The cat was a stray whose owners had moved away and he had decided to find his way back to his old neighborhood. Not sure how long a journey that was for him but the owners of our rental were quite impressed and I guess it took the cat quite a while to complete the journey. For whatever reason I guess the original family is not interested in reclaiming him. Many were the discussions over the weekend about our adopting him. We are cat people through and through, Eli is asking often for a pet (or “rather 5 cats, and 5 dogs, and 5 cows…!”), and this particular cat was so friendly and gentle around small children. But in the end this is just not a good time for us to add a fur baby and the accompanying messes and expenses to the family. We were happy to hear at the end of our stay that the cabin owners had decided to officially adopting him.

Eli and the cat

“Rikana”, as Eli named the cat, was about as snuggly a cat as one could ever find. The appearance of a lap was an open invitation,

Rikana aka Rocky

and I don’t know how many times I fished him out of Zoe’s excersaucer. No photos of that as Zoe was always in it at the time and sweet cuddler status and all I still dove quickly to separate them with images of a cat-slashed baby face flashing before my eyes. Thankfully, Rikana wasn’t phased a bit by having handfuls of fur removed by a drooling, squealing baby and was still in full purr mode as I removed him from Zoe’s elated grasp. I can be such a killjoy. We did let him stay cuddled up with Eli on the couch at night until it was time for us to go to bed as well.

Eli sleeping with the cat

The one time the birds weren't mobbing the feeder.

The one time the birds weren’t mobbing the feeder.

For her part Zoe also very much enjoyed the weekend, but she seems to enjoy herself pretty much everywhere as long as she can get down and crawl about. She did take issue with the cabin’s soft carpeting for some reason, so most of her time out of arms or excersaucer consisted of us trying to keep her on the blanket on the deck.

Mam and Zoe

Zoe on the deck

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Goodbye Kiana

On Sunday we had to say good bye to Kiana, the last of the three cats that I had had for many years.  That morning I noticed her abdomen had become hard and round.  At the vet’s clinic they took an x-ray and found that it was her body cavity that was holding the fluid, putting tremendous pressure on her organs. The vet couldn’t say why without running about $700 of diagnostic tests, but she said that any of the possibilities were not very treatable in a cat almost 15 years old.

Eli received a visit from his Aunt Jacki so that both my husband and I could go to the clinic to say goodbye. I am so thankful we were able to do it together.

Kiana came to us via the city pound back when I lived in Northern California and was living with my brother. He was actually the one who picked her out, being beguiled by her beauty. I reluctantly left behind the sweet but ordinary orange tabby I’d been in favor of.

Initially she was a wild little thing who didn’t want to be petted, not because she was afraid (she feared NOTHING) but because she felt being stroked was beneath her. If I touched her she’d glare at me and immediately get to work washing the spot with which I’d come into contact. She was also very rough and I was constantly scratched up from her many ambushes. I’m afraid if I had known somebody with a farm she may have become a barn cat, but I didn’t and we had made a commitment to her when we took her, so she stayed.

Kiana loved gazing at the Christmas tree.

Then my brother took a trip to Japan and I was hit with the worse case of bronchitis ever. I was flat on my back on the couch for three days straight. Kiana changed overnight. She insisted on sitting for hours on my chest watching my face intently. I got better, of course, and our relationship was forever changed. Not only was she my cat, but I was HER person.

I wish I had pictures of her during her kittenhood. I’m sure I do somewhere, but that was before the days of digital photography and I have moved countless times since then. We knew she was going to be large because she had the longest tail… longer than the length of the rest of her body. She had a thing for shoes. We had a Bible Study once a week at our home and Kiana would go down the row of visitors’ shoes lined up in the vestibule pushing her little head deep inside each one, inhale audibly, then stand there quivering in ecstasy  for a moment before moving on to the next shoe. If she chose to do this during the prayer time it was all my brother and I could do to keep our composure!

She traveled with me by car when I moved back to Illinois, and as she was taking medication at the time I took her with me on a road trip to New York state to visit a friend. A few years later she would drive with my husband and I from Illinois to Southern California with the other two cats, camping along the way. (An adventure, to be sure, but I’m not sure I’d ever recommend camping with multiple cats to anyone.)

I met my husband while living in the Chicago suburbs. Kiana had always been a one woman cat, but the first day he came over to visit at my apartment she immediately came out and threw herself across his feet. I had already been pretty convinced that he was “the one”, but her reaction pretty much sealed the deal as far as I was concerned. At the time we were having some trouble with one of the other cats jockeying for dominance and therefore attacking her whenever she dared to use the facilities, so Kiana went to live with my future husband for those months before we married. She was VERY happy with the arrangement and I still got to see her daily.

The mind meld.

The last couple of years have been difficult ones for this sweet cat. When Eli was born I no longer had time to spend with her. As an infant Eli was very high-need and demanded to be held almost constantly. On the rare occasions that he wasn’t on me, I was so touched out that the last thing I wanted to do was cuddle. Then as Eli became mobile he decided that Kiana was AWESOME. The last year she has lived in the closet or had a screeching toddler running pell mell after her through the house. Amazingly she adjusted so much better than I ever would have hoped she would. It helped that my husband still spent quality time with her every morning before he went to work. She never acted jealous or aggressive toward Eli. Even though he tormented her, when he would fall asleep she would often creep over and kiss his ankle before cuddling up next to him for a brief while.

Lately she had been showing signs of kitty dementia. She would walk around at night yowling and nothing my husband would get up and do for her seemed to appease her. I admit I’ve gotten horribly frustrated with her, especially the week in October when my husband was  on a business trip. Eli wasn’t sleeping much at all as we were still figuring out about his reaction to the allergy medication and he was a bit distraught that Daddy was gone. To have him finally, blessedly, asleep only to have her start yowling and hurling herself against the bedroom door, waking him up again… poor Kiana spent most nights that week shut in a bathroom.

The night before she passed I was up during the middle of the night and came out to the living room where I was able to spend some time cuddling with her. I’m so glad I woke up and we had that time together. We miss you, Kiana.