serious then silly

We said goodbye this week to our old cat Oscar.  He was a loner, a noble old guy, pushing twenty years old.  In fact, he was the first feral cat I ever met, over fifteen years ago, before I even knew what a feral cat was.  As a twenty year old college student, I would crawl in the bushes with canned cat food, trying to convince him that we should be friends.  Never mind what the neighbors thought.  Eventually, it was Jonny whom he decided to trust, allowing him to pet him.  Over the years he has mostly kept his distance, coming to the house to eat and then heading back to his favorite haunts.  A few months ago I told Jonny that I was afraid that Oscar wouldn’t survive the winter, judging by his stiff walk and general slowness.  And then this week, he must have dragged himself onto the porch, because when we found him his back legs weren’t working anymore.  We made him comfortable and kept vigil over him, waiting, trying to give him time, but eventually we realized that the kindest thing was to carry him to the vet.  When you say goodbye to a pet who has been with you for so long, in a way it’s like saying goodbye to a part of your youth.  Deep breath.

Last week one of you recommended Soul Gardening Journal to me, describing it as small, artsy, and encouraging (thanks, Sarah!)  I signed up immediately and was thrilled to receive the latest issue only days later.  This little journal written by mothers has been my nursing companion these past couple of days.  Yes, I needed this.  Truly.  (and here is  Soul Gardening on Facebook in case you want to follow them there.)

And this may seem minor, but Jonny patched a rotten area in our living room floor this week.  It feels good not to have rotting floors anymore, although it feels silly to write about it.  I’m just grateful that one more source of draft is patched.  I hate it when it feels like a breeze is blowing past me while I sit on my living room couch with all the doors and windows closed.

Speaking of silly:  My sister and I were talking on the phone the other night, discussing the photos from her recent birth.  I can’t remember what aspect of the photos we were discussing, but I brought up the important point that she looked gorgeous, and her hair was particularly beautiful.  I went so far as to say that if I ever get around to going to the salon again, I might print up a photo of her to show my stylist.  “Make me look like my sister, please!”  But then, her hair is longer than mine, and while her hair has gotten thicker with pregnancy, I can look forward to losing most of the hair at my temples in about two months.  It’s going to be great.  I confessed to Abby that I haven’t had a haircut in nearly a year, that I didn’t even get it cut after I burned off a full inch on one side with a malfunctioning curling iron about four months ago.  “What??!!” I never wrote that story down, and evidently I didn’t tell her either.

So, I was about seven months pregnant and feeling pretty lousy.  In an effort to cheer myself one day, I got dressed in something semi-cute and put on some make up.  I’m not a big make up wearer, but a little really can go a long way.  I had just purchased a new curling iron and decided I would turn the ends of my stick straight hair under.  I noticed it dripping a little water when I plugged it in, but didn’t think much of it, must have been drips from the sink.  I waited for it to heat and then picked it up, opening its crocodile mouth and clamping down on the hair on one side of my head.  My hair is thin, so it was basically all the hair on that side.  In a matter of what must have been half a second or less, the air became thick with the scent of burning hair as mine melted to the barrel of the curling iron.  The ends that were left behind were frayed and deep orange.  I won’t pretend that I didn’t cry.  I did.  I contemplated a lawsuit (not really.)  I felt very, very sorry for myself.  “Why meeeeeeeee?”  (a bit dramatic, maybe?) I couldn’t imagine why a brand new curling iron would do such an awful thing, until Jonny told me, “Oh…yeah.  Silas put it in the bathtub last night.”  Through tears I exclaimed, “And you didn’t think you should mention it to me?”  Poor, poor pregnant Ginny with fried hair.  If I could just reach back and whisper to her that she would forget to care about her hair within twenty four hours of the incident.  Fast forward about four months and I still haven’t done anything about my hair.  My friends have told me that you can hardly notice.  It’s true that the burnt orange ends broke off after a couple of washings and my hair is long enough now that I typically just pull it back anyway.  But, I think it’s probably time for a haircut.  First I have to print that photo of my sister….


  1. Haha oh Ginny! That is too funny. I always hate haircuts because I imagine them to be life (hair) changers and I’ll emerge with the most glorious, low-maintenance hair. So far, this hasn’t happened. Maybe I need a picture of your sister, too! 🙂

    I’m so sorry about Oscar. 20 years is a long time!

  2. You get “Soul Gardening?” I’m so excited to see it in your post. A good friend helped get it rolling; it’s amazing to see it spread. I always love getting mine in the mail.

  3. You really should get a haircut. Just because it will make you feel good. I’m so sorry about your hair…. it’s sort of silly but so sad too. My oldest daughter was 3 when I was pregnant with my third. I had trimmed her hair and left the scissors on the shelf in the bathroom. (dumb, I know) When I went to pick out books for bedtime, she went in and trimmed the rest. Scissors across wet hair, the middle of the back of her head. I sobbed. Then she cried, because I was crying. It was ridiculous.
    Now that I remember that, it’s kind of funny. She has been my short hair kid since two-ish years ago…. she’s 15 and it isn’t popular to have short hair, but she can pull it off. She just cut it into a pixie last week. I guess she’s always known what she wanted. Even if mama mourned those sweet milk chocolate curls…..

  4. Oh dear… “Poor, poor pregnant Ginny with fried hair.” You made me laugh so that I forgot that just a moment ago I was shedding tears for Oscar and Taddy Orangey-o (our big old boy who left us last month…)

    Did you cry over haircuts when you were little? I somehow have a feeling that maybe yes, just like I did…
    Now Jason or my mom cuts my hair, once every year or so, and it’s always good enough (and I cut my bangs myself every couple months, crooked or not…)

    And you made me smile with the little worn patchwork trivet sticking out 🙂


  5. Ginny your photos of the everyday domestic interior (mostly- outside too less so in midwinter!) are beautiful as usual. And that yarn keeps changing colour- coral, orangey, pinky- impossible to capture and different in changing light I guess…
    As a suggestion if you don’t mind, I wonder if you might consider writing a post some time on the subject of yarn and pilling (bobbling)? I feel like it’s an unmentioned area and as a relatively new knitter I can never find it talked about. You have a lot of experience now with knitting and the items getting real wear from children and I am just realising that some things wear very badly in terms of pilling? I can’t be alone in finding this a worry..?!? I don’t want to spend lots on beautiful yarn that looks a bit shabby after a months wear but I LIKE SOFT non itchy yarn! (stamps foot!) 😉
    Anyway- a taboo subject perhaps.
    Enjoy your day-

  6. So sorry to hear about your beloved Oscar big hugs Emma

  7. The power of a good haircut is amazing!

  8. Life went crazy for me for about a year now, so it’s been a long time since I’ve popped over here to Small Things. I’d forgotten how your photos add magic to each post! It’s nice to be back.

  9. Job is one beautiful baby! So sorry about your kitty, it’s so hard to see old friends pass. You enjoyed each others company for a long time…..About the hair……I love your truthfulness. So refreshing. I always wait to get something done to mine when there is an emergency at hand (funeral etc.) The worst was my Dads funeral. I wanted to look decent in front of all the ” from away” relatives and so went to have my hair colored before the services. In my grief I wasn’t paying too much attention until photos of the day came back from said relatives a couple months later and I discovered that in the sunlight my hair was ORANGE. Haven’t colored my hair since and it’s been 7 years.

  10. Hi Ginny: So hard to say goodbye to old and steadfast furry friends. Understand your feelings and can’t say more than everyone else has said.

    PS: Job looks like the perfect little Gerber Baby picture. Precious baby boy.

  11. I’m so sorry about your cat, but I’m glad you were able to be there for him. For so long. And the curling iron story is a classic ;-).

  12. I am so sorry about Oscar the kitty….I always enjoyed the photos where he was included.

    The curling iron story… handled it better than I would have!!! Forget the curling iron and just buy some big hot rollers 🙂

    • We actually have several black cats! The ones that show up in photos are Winifred and Silas (not to be confused with our son by the same name 🙂 ) Oscar didn’t hang out with us very much, being semi feral. He liked to hide out in the bushes. Just don’t want to be super confusing because the other cats will no doubt show up in future photos!

  13. It could have been worse it could have been the girls burning eachother’s hair. I think my sister and I did that when we were little …..oops. I have never trusted a curling iron again.

  14. oh my gosh! that is crazy about the curling iron. i had no idea they could/would do that! eeeep!

    so sorry about your kitty.

  15. It’s kind of comforting to hear yours and the other commentors hair disaster stories. Misery loves company. I usually let my hair go and then panic right before a social event. Ack! The wedding (funeral, baptism, graduation) is this weekend! I’ve got to get into the salon! Being under the influence of panic (or depression) is not a good time to make hair decisions, I’ve found out.

  16. I love Soul Gardening. I love their commitment to keeping the written word going. It’s a beautiful little book isn’t?

  17. I can so relate to this story! First off, I have some serious “I need to do something about my hair” right around 7 months of pregnancy. Every time. During my first pregnancy I made the unfortunate decision to get bangs, and since then I’ve tried to cut myself off of major hair decisions in the third trimester. Decisions about my hair just can’t be trusted at that stage. I would have cried too!

    I’m sorry about your cat. I never really thought about it in relation to seeing something from your youth die, and thought that was quite profound. I can totally see us falling apart as a family if/when our Lena dies. We got her when our 3rd child was 6 months old, just when our family started getting into the craziest of stages, and she has been there with us through it all. She’s only about 6 now, so we still have many years ahead. I still dread that day, though.

  18. So sorry about your kitty. He was blessed to be so well cared for. Your curling iron story is great! Curling irons and I have never really gotten along, my hair being fine and now thinning. 🙂 Your willingness to share only endears me more to your blog and your humble heart. Also, thank you for sharing the link to your friend Lori’s blog (from the arrow KAL post). She is wonderful and I’m having a grand time reading about her adventures and enjoying her gorgeous photography! 🙂

  19. Icut my fringe when it starts to get on my nerves and my husband cuts straight across the back of my long hair if it needs it. I have my hair length cut when it starts tangling around me at night – that is my cue lol!
    I am so sorry to hear about your cat. It is never easy when we lose one of our furry family members and sometimes when they are so old we feel they may live for ever. I hope the children are not too sad. xxx

  20. Why is it mamas never can make time for their own selves? I guess the nature of being mama. I’m guilty myself. We SHOULD make a little time to take care of us. That’s why I don’t exercise, too.

    Love that baby Job pic. Oh my, he’s a cutie.

  21. I just had a haircut last week for the first time since September. My hair is fine and wavy, not stick-straight, but it gets so tangled and scroungy (is that a word?) when it’s too long. I get tons of split ends and it looks really fuzzy.

  22. Sorry for your loss…20 years is a long life for a feral kitty.

    I have stick straight hair too. I have mostly given up on curling irons and the like. Curls never stay or look right anyways! But I can imagine how you felt when it melted your hair. And having pregnancy hormones surely must have made it seem worse at the time. I generally go a long time between hair cuts too…a year or more is not uncommon for me. Sometimes though you just know it’s time for a new style or a trim. 🙂

  23. I’m a little choked up reading about your dear Oscar. What a touching story! I’m so happy that your family made him feel loved and cared for right up to the very end. We have a kitty friend that has been with us for almost 19 years, and her kidneys are failing. I’m not looking forward to the day we have to say good-bye. On the other hand, my daughter is outside as I type this trying to lure a stray cat into her arms.

    I simply love the color you chose for your mystery shawl.

  24. Anything being repaired in an old house is cause for excitement. We live in a 100+ yr old farm house and have for 7 yrs. now. Most of the time I think it was the most stupid thing we’ve ever done! LOL

    • Sharron, I can relate. We live in a house built in the 30’s – well, the original part was built then and a mish-mash of rooms added on over the years – and I often think it was the worst financial decision we made (although we’ve never been known for our financial savvy anyway). We bought it for the land, which has been great for the kids, but a fixer gobbles up so much money! My husband is not handy, so we’ve had to pay others for our major repairs. People do say our house has a lot of character (what kind, I don’t want to ask).

      • Same here! My husband is not handy either. He is learning some things thanks to some friends, but not near enough! LOL And no financial savvy either! We may be living mirror lives. 🙂

  25. I’m so sorry about Oscar, his story with your family is truly beautiful. Love in action. Inspiring.

  26. so sorry to hear about Oscar….what a loving life you gave him.

    I’m so anxious to start the shawl….yours is coming along nicely…’s the day. I can feel it. My yarn WILL come today. (fingers crossed)

  27. Ginny, if you haven’t ever read Kathleen Norris’s THE QUOTIDIAN MYSTERIES, you should! It’s so, so good. It’s short, and perfect nursing reading. 🙂
    I looked up the Soul Gardening magazine and it reminded me of Norris’s little book. Thanks for the recommendation on the magazine!

  28. Gwendolyn says:

    Ginny, on the directions for 1A, sometimes it doesn’t mention you have to slip the marker. I just wanted to make sure I should be doing that. Also, do you use a real tight fitting marker? I was using a lose one and I somehow wasn’t coming up with the correct count. I started again and I’ve just got to your first picture of the mystery knit. Your project looks lovely. Your stitches are perfect!

    I’m sorry about your cat. My married daughter has our 18 year old cat with her in Minnesota and I keep reminding her Patches won’t be around forever.

    • Hi Gwendolyn! Yes, always slip the marker when you come to it. I actually added a second marker to remind me to knit those last three stitches on the purl rows as well. These are the markers I use: They are loose enough to slide but not too big. It took me a little while to get the hang of 1A. I ended up writing out the eight rows that are repeated and then numbering all the rows next to them so that I wouldn’t get messed up with the repeats. Between having it all written down and using my row counter, hopefully I won’t mess up anymore!

  29. So sorry about your cat!
    It’s fun to see the progress on your shawl- I’m doing clue A as well.
    I loved your hair when you cut it short awhile ago- so cute 🙂 I’d like mine to be shorter (it’s about to my shoulders) but the 7 inches I had taken off recently was all my husband can handle. And having dealt, once again, with that after pregnancy hair loss it’s now growing back- so I have lovely spiky new hairs all along my front hair line.

  30. It’s been at least a year if not longer for my last haircut as well.

  31. Haha. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who severely slacks in the haircut department. It seems like such a chore to me. Actually, it’s the getting there part that is a chore. I generally close my eyes and almost fall asleep once I get there and get in the chair. I love your photos. So cozy.

  32. Ha! Thank you for making me laugh this morning. Just last week I finally went in for that haircut I’ve been contemplating for months. It didn’t turn out how I wanted and I was playing with it a few days later trying to make it look acceptable. Now I have a cute little curling iron-induced burn mark smack dab in the middle of my forehead to go along with the eh hair. Really cute…

    So so sorry about Oscar.

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