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On Dressing Up and Loving Animals...

I had a crazy weekend.  My daughter is in dance, and we had her spring recitals.  Yes, recitalS.  It's apparently a pretty serious studio, and they do not one, not two, but four shows for their spring recital.  Thankfully they divide the little girl classes into two groups and each group only does two of the four recitals, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. 
And anyone who has a child in dance can tell you what this involves- for one 5 minute long number you have to spend about an hour doing hair and makeup and getting dressed.  When your daughter has the most ridiculously straight thin hair, this becomes even more of a challenge- thankfully I grew up with the same hair, and my mom is a beautician, so I had a few tricks up my sleeve.  In addition to all of this, my church choir sang for baccalaureate mass (two hours before the Sunday recital) and I had family in town to see the show.  And something else came up that added more anxiety to my already large pile, but more on that in a moment.  My point is, crazy weekend, glad it's over.  Glad I didn't forget to feed or water any of my animals in all the craziness.  Here is what Izzy looked like post hair and makeup.
 I barely had time, but I got all dressed up as well.  I mean, this is a serious dance recital, I felt it should be dressed up for.  Really, I should have had someone take a picture of my hair, it was pretty cute.  Imagine my irritation when I get to the recital and all the other parents are wearing jeans.

Some people feel uncomfortable when they are dressed up in the midst of a bunch of denim, but not me.  First of all, it's not outside the realm of normal for me.  I dress up whenever I have the time to.  I would wear a dress and do my hair and makeup every time I went to town if I had more time to do so.  I like dresses and makeup.

Are you surprised?  Many people are.  Just because I dig in the dirt and have a ridiculous number of chickens doesn't mean I don't enjoy being pretty.
That isn't the best picture of me dressed up (although I do love that dress), but I realized something when I was going through my iphoto pictures.  I even have the updated iphoto with faces, which lets you search by person via some basic facial recognition something or other.  Every picture of me I'm in my jammies holding a kid.  Because when we're dressed up I'm the one taking the pictures.  I had to jack the picture above from my friend Caitlin's facebook page.

What can I say, I'm a complex person.  I enjoy having the freedom to get dirty and stay dirty if I want to, but I also enjoy wearing pretty dresses and doing my hair.  No one should let themselves be defined by one aspect of their life or personality.

Now to that thing that added anxiety... I brought home a cat on Saturday, two hours before the recital.  We had gone to the best store in the world, Hastings Gift Garden and Floral.  This place is amazing- they have a quarter of a city block including a storefront, a small house, two greenhouses, one large shed, and several small shed and every inch, inside and outside, is filled with treasures.  They carry everything their name indicates and more- garden plants and supplies, garden art, pots, statues, benches, all sorts of random and beautiful decoration/gifty things, an entire section of antiques and other junk (because junk makes the most fun outdoor decor), clothes, jewelry... they have antique quilts and vintage clothes, they sell flower arrangements... I mean it's just the most amazingly ecclectic place.  Rarely do I see things there and say "oh, I've seen that at ____ (insert name of big box store)."  Beautiful, unique stuff, and it's run by this amazingly lovely, nice, creative woman.  I've been in there a lot this spring.

On my last few trips I made friends with this petite peach colored kitty.  Turns out she didn't belong to them, she had just showed up some time in April.  She had a collar (a pretty nasty looking one, but one nonetheless) and was friendly, but when no one came looking for her and she continued to hang around even though they didn't feed her, they decided she didn't have a home.  And the owner doesn't like cats (hey, no one's perfect!).  While I didn't understand their desire to get rid of her- I would think a place like that would benefit greatly from a cat who can obviously provide it's own meals, as it's bound to have a decent population of mice- when I mentioned that I would take her if they didn't find her home they were like "why don't you just take her now?"  She obviously needed some attention- I saw at least one flea on her, her ears were so infested with mites the hair was off of them, and she was getting skinny.  She needed a series of good meals at the least and probably a good worming.  So I brought her home.  Because I didn't want to take the risk of infesting my dogs with fleas (because once dogs bring fleas in the house they are really difficult to get rid of, which I unfortunately learned from experience) she went directly to the tub to get dipped... much to her irritation.  Because I only had dog flea shampoo and I know some dog flea stuff is fatal to cats I opted to soak her in peanut oil instead.  She got super annoyed (and rightly so) when I was trying to wash the stuff out, and I didn't get it all off, but I figured the oil would help deter any more fleas from hanging out.  Then I wrapped her in a towel and dripped her ears for ear mites with garlic oil.  Then I gave her a can of catfood mixed with a little dry food, both of which I still had on hand from my poor departed Smoke and Pepper.  She ate gladly (and she ate a lot!) and promptly disappeared under the patio.  I would have loved to hang out and watch her, but I had to start getting Izzy and myself ready for her first recital.

When we came home later that night she was hanging out on the porch, but when she saw me she ran.  Can't say I blame her after the bath.  But I soon coaxed her to come to me, and I spent most of the night watching and petting her.  I rubbed her down with a little dry shampoo to soak up some of the remaining peanut oil.  I finally had to get to bed around 1am, and I left her in the garage with a full bowl of food and a warm bed.  Since she didn't seem to keen on being shut in I left the door open.

So I was up super late.  Then my one worry about bringing in a new cat reared it's head the second the sun came up at 5 the next morning- I woke up thinking "the cat's gonna eat the baby chicks!"  And instead of getting up, dealing with it, and putting my mind at ease I tried to get back to sleep but couldn't.  I finally just got up, and the chicks were fine, but the cat was nowhere to be seen.  That anxiety and the exhaustion it inspired made me a fun person to be around all day Sunday (insert sarcasm).

And I haven't seen the cat since.  Oddly this isn't worrying me.  I was able to treat her for the fleas and ear mites and give her a good big meal.  She has obviously been taking care of herself up until now, so if she didn't want to hang around, who am I to force her?  I'll leave the food out in case she's just hiding out somewhere (it was a little crazier here this weekend than normal).  I only wish I had gotten the chance to worm her first.

But the point I was getting to is that everyone (my family and husband) acted like me bringing this cat home was a stupid thing to do.  Yes, I could have avoided the anxiety attack Sunday morning (although I probably would have found something else to worry on), but otherwise why would someone NOT help this cat.  She was a pretty friendly little thing who very obviously needed some help.  Yes, it's the easier thing to just walk away and hope someone else takes care of it, but I'm really not able to do that.  She needed something that I could easily provide, and I saw mutual benefit.  I give her a warm, loving home with the food and medical care she needed, and she kills the mice in my shed that have grown in population since Smoke's unfortunate end.

So here's hoping she shows back up.  Or that if she doesn't she finds somewhere to be well fed and happy.  And here's to all the animal lovers out there who CAN'T look the other way.

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