Molasses Crinkles On The Range

Ok, they are actually in the oven, but ‘in the oven’ isn’t quite the same as ‘on the range’. Especially since I’m now residing in the middle of fields of winter wheat. This area is well known for wheat. Much of this product goes into crackers and baking mixes. But, I digress!

This cookie is one of those I make no matter what time of year it is. I shared the recipe link for these last week, it’s definitely a favorite cookie to make. I wasn’t going to do them again for awhile because they weren’t being eaten very quickly. Then, in perusing another blog, I remembered what I didn’t do this year. I almost always dip the bottoms of these cookies in chocolate. Many recipes suggest dipping half a cookie in white almond bark. After doing this, Little Bear asked why I only put in half of the cookie. He did say it made half easier to dip in milk, but it was curious. So, after some experimentation with drizzles and dipping, I began covering the bottom of the cookies and happiness reigned once more!

Since, I have some pretzels in the chip drawer and a lot of white and chocolate flavored almond bark, I decided to spend part of the weekend covering things in candy. I even had some icky coconut cookie roll tube things Little Bear got as a freebie in a store. They were in dire need of flavor help (The Craftsman liked them, the kid and I did not. Mostly because I cannot stand coconut unless it’s on my skin!). So, after much trial and mess, I filled the things with chocolate!

All in all, it was a lovely way to end 2018.

 

 

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Christmas past

I’ve been pretty tired lately. My right leg often feels like a block of wood and I feel like a total slacker. The Craftsman has trouble sleeping, gets up for work after a few hours, seems to hurt constantly, and is always busy with some project or his mom. For a couple of hours he’s in his recliner with C.O.L. (Cats on Lap), usually changing channels. Maxwell is so cold, he often cuddles himself almost under The Craftsman’s chin and is difficult to budge!

It’s been difficult to do anything. I get started and am distracted and then forget what I’m doing! I’m unhappy with how the iPad works with the blog (I don’t type it in, I craft it elsewhere and copy and paste. I can only add the bold italics properly if I write them in as I post!) I’m not entirely happy with where my life is. So, Friday evening I decided to make cookies again. (I’m good at making cookies)

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I used my new kitchen aid mixer that Little Bear suggested they get for me as a Christmas present. I’m not sure if it was easier, but it was interesting! I had lo laugh because after we’d had dinner, the kid actually helped me by setting up the machine and making up the dough. He remarked as it was mixing, “This is pretty.” (Meaning the mechanics of the new tool as it worked!) I then remembered a comment The Craftsman had made earlier and realized pretty must be a strong adjective. (Although, Little Bear can fill a four sentence paragraph with fifty dollar words in an eyeblink!) At dinner the guys were discussing Walter Matthau movies. It was determined I needed to watch ‘Hopscotch’ (I did and it was hilarious!). Then, in reference to ‘Grumpier Old Men’, which The Craftsman had watched the night before, this was said: “Sophia Loren is pretty.” I was stunned and responded by saying that was an understatement of understatements!

I thought to myself that anyone who thinks Sophia Loren is just pretty would never be able to see me as anything more than ordinary. However, in light of the youngest’s phrasing, it must be quite all right to use and possibly genetic…come to think of it, the kid looked at a silver salmon he caught in Alaska with adoration and used the same word then, too! 😳😳😳.

About Christmas, gifts were odd. I was given two pairs of earrings, one of a sort I’ve never worn (hoops with odd catches. Little Bear said they seemed like too much work, I laughed as I managed to put them on) and the other made of small stones that are magnetic. I can sure tell what of my jewelry isn’t silver now! The Craftsman also gave me a necklace. I rarely wear those, but the chain is one that attaches to the earrings (not real), has a rather short ribbon I can use instead (that is totally impossible to clasp), and the charm is an entombed part of a butterfly wing. Now, one of my favorite books (yeah, you’ve heard that before!) is ‘A Girl of the Limberlost’ and Elnora collects and sells butterflies. I saw a picture collage made of butterflies in one of mum’s doctor offices and was startled. Reading about them (I’m not sure he even knows I’ve read the book, much less own it) is totally different than seeing dead mounted spirits of the air. It’s oddly more disturbing than the antlers displayed around the house! Thankfully, I was also given an Amazon gift card which I will use to buy me at least one book! No, I did not get any books. As expected. I’m rereading old friends, so it’s all good!

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Naughty Cat Nips

So Tumpty tried hiding upside down, behind a pot plant, under a large cardboard box, with his eyes tightly closed.” Polly Dunbar

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Moses was in trouble. Absolutely NOT on Santa’s nice list. He’d been bothering Maxwell and I was not happy. Maxwell T. Silverstone is getting better, the grey kitty is finally filling out a bit, and he sleeps a lot. However, Moses isn’t impressed that Maxwell is getting ‘treats’ and opted to spend some time growling and harassing Max as only a cat can. Maxwell was trying to get away and the two legger mom in me was annoyed beyond belief. So, as I investigated and tried to corral Moses, he hid.

Yup, I broke down in laughter. Kids, fur or otherwise, can be so silly sometimes! After I snapped the picture, I did smack his nose as best I could and looked to see if Maxwell was ok. I also mentioned that next time, he should find a better hiding spot.

A Christmas Questionnaire!

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1. Do you have something that goes in your stocking every year? My stocking is pretty sparse anymore. For the others, I try to make sure there is an orange. Lately, it a chocolate one instead of fruit!

2. Do you wake up early to open gifts or just not care and sleep in? In our family, the stocking is the first thing anyone can open, whether or not anyone else is up. I used to allow Santa presents to be opened, too. Those, however, stopped being purchased when I went to Alaska. Little and fun presents help keep people occupied while breakfast is cooking, which will wake sleeping sorts!

3. Of you don’t have kids or family near you, do you still decorate and celebrate by yourself? I think I’d decorate anyway. I didn’t at mom’s, there was too much stuff to get around! And to get to her Christmas decorations more stuff would need moved….daunting. I love decorating for everything!

 

4. Does it snow for Christmas where you are? It does, usually, in Alaska. Here in Oregon, it snows sometimes. I miss snow.

5. What’s your all time favorite present to give? Books. This year the only ones are audiobooks and none are for me. I admit, I tend to buy 95% of my own gifts and I try to get myself at least one book. This year I got me shoes that barely hurt my feet..I’m already wearing them! I also got hair clips for my stocking because I left most of mine in Alaska.

6. Do you do Friendsmas? If so, how? I’m pretty sure I’ve not heard of this before. So, nope.

7. If you have one, do you think your pet knows or cares about Christmas? Of course they care! They know when things are discombobulated and can’t wait for it to get back to normal. Often presents for the pets or birds outside are a part of the people gifts. Moses does like paper and boxes.

8. Is there something special you eat just for Christmas? No. If I enjoy it, why keep it to one day? I do make a certain cookie only in cooler months. But, that’s cuz they have melted chocolate mints on them and take forever to set up. Mum liked eggnog. 🤢

9. Are you traveling this year? Tell details! Another no. Unless you count across the state line to the nearest movie theatre on Christmas Eve afternoon! I think the last time I left the house was last Tuesday when I mailed the box to Strider. I don’t get out much.

Julie asked on her blog for anyone to answer these questions. I’m also supposed to ask my own and have others answer. I’m not good at passing, so I’ll just add a few more Christmas things and call it Merry!

I was never around a person who liked putting up outside Christmas lights. The Craftsman does! The house and grounds are very festive this year. It actually is more than the inside of the house! I’m not quite up to speed on Christmas cards yet. However, I was smart and got season’s greetings cards with snowmen and snowman ⛄️ paper for letters. Not as cute as kittens, but more practical. I’m glad I got presents purchased, I found out on Sunday that The Craftsman didn’t purchase gifts yet. (Just lights.) I told him not to spend anything more, except for candy, I had it covered. I’m baking a few more cookies, I need more of the chocolate sort. Soft molasses crinkles are good to mail, but not a favorite overall. (Little Bear did say they were good in milk!) So, spice spritz cookies and more of a chocolate chip variety. I think that’s all for Christmas. Another odd thing, I like Christmas music, but often don’t listen to anything! Crazy, but true. Right now, I’m listening to Little Bear on the computer, the cat’s meowing, and raindrops on the window. It appears we are going to have a wet Christmas! (I did have things highlighted and italicized, but the iPad to WordPress looks odd!)

Blessings to you all this season as you celebrate whatever and however! May your stockings bulge with good things and not scary looking legs, your plates be filled and your scale broken, and your hearts overflowing with beautiful thoughts and love…and may you give and get kisses, because kisses are wonderful to share. Chocolate or not!

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From the Range—

I am done baking. Well, except for Christmas dinner and those cookies in the fridge setting up and…. I have other chores to do, too, but I’ll get to those soon. I’m tired and ache, but the holidays must go on! I did get some help with a few things here and there, so am very thankful for that. Especially with the taping. I am terrible at wrapping presents. (I wrap something and then The Craftsman does…his look like Better Homes and Gardens. Mine? Those look like Calvin and Hobbes wrapped them!) Anyway, Little Bear helped me with one gift (it was his, but he didn’t know it!) and then helped me secure the second box to Strider. I’m a little nervous about that one. It has four pounds of Tillamook cheddar on one end and the other end has a Groot chia pet (so one side is decidedly heavier!). I’m not marking it fragile. That seems to mean ‘mangle at will’.

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Anyway, I wanted to share some of my baking. These blueberry muffins were splendid! I did use a recipe from the website from Inspired Taste, but I also tweaked it adding a streusel topping from A Taste of Home (minus the pecans) and I opted to squeeze in orange juice instead of using vanilla extract. (NOTE: the orange juice made a bit of a mess and I’m not exactly sure how to ‘clean’ the African Violet….) Even Little Bear liked them!

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These cookies are my favorite cookie. I first had them at a potluck. I asked for the recipe and was told it was a family secret. Well, guess what I did? Yup, I looked it up via google and found it! (NOTHING is sacred from google! oh dear, should I worry…..) I will share that super yummy recipe in a link for Allrecipes.com. They are terribly fiddly to make and are not one I bake in warm months. Only cuz the darn things take forever to set up!

This last cookie, I don’t have pictures of. They are in the addition chilling. I need to go and break them apart when I finish this post! (Also the laundry needs folded and a few more stocking stuffers for the MiL need wrapped) Anyway, I make these all the time. They have been a favorite cookie since my 24 year old was in HS, eons back. Plain ones are great to dip in chocolate (I used to use my chocolate fountain for all kinds of gatherings!) and the variation with the spices (tip #3) is just plain perfect in a flower shape with a chocolate chip dropped in the center! I was looking thru my recipes and realised I get quite a few from Land O Lakes. Must be the Minnesota roots in me! (I was born there)

I’m not sure if it is my laptop or the pouring rain, but things are very slow here in Oregon. I hope these links work!!! We are expected to get some snow later this week. I’m not holding my breath. 

One of the funniest things I made this last week were…I actually don’t know what to call them. They are meat wrapped up in a tortilla shell. I fry up ground burger, mix it with a cream based soup, smear about a third of a cup inside a tortilla and roll it up. I sprinkle it with cheese and bake for about 20 min at 350 or thereabouts. YUMMY! If you look at the first photo you will notice there are 13. When I was rolling them, I used a whole package and then 3  from a  new package and got totally confused. Yup, I got one more in the first package than I should have!!! (the one on the edge was from a package with only one left..It was smaller and I ate that one!)

OH! I forgot, I need to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast (with sausage and eggs!). Those are fairly simple, though. I may actually use a cake recipe that is terribly good and much easier! I shared it on FB after making it once I returned to Oregon. Gooey and sticky and potentially lethal!

By the time most of you read this, I’ll have one more sleep til Christmas. If I get sleep!!! I slept for HOURS on Sunday and even missed church. I woke up feeling great, but after a few hours I was sore and tired again. On the positive side, I haven’t had a nap yet today!!! (which is logical since I didn’t get up til noon…) Please enjoy this song from one of my very FAVORITE Christmas movies!! (minus the ads)

 

Solstice Weekend

Two years ago, when I went north to be with mom, this area of Oregon got a lot of snow. (Above photos are from Dec 2016 in OR and in AK) We got quite a bit in Alaska, too. Last year, I was out in snow during the Winter Solstice. This year? It is windy and cloudy and a bit foggy in spots. Today, I went outside to take photos of the latest Christmas light display The Craftsman put up (Little Bear moderately helped) and toss some food scraps into the mulching bin. I need to force myself to leave the house, but I can’t find a reason! Too chilly for yard work and walking is painful.

I haven’t been dizzy in days, but oh my does my leg ache. It feels like a length of wood. I’m rather glad I’m not climbing up and down the stairs to the basement at my northern house. Being flat is less painful, but rather limiting in getting things done. I did spend quite a bit of time baking on Thursday (I made several batches of cookies. Not entirely sure exactly how many total, but a lot. I won’t bake cookies that make less than 4 dozen in a batch. Seems like a waste of time!) and stood all day. Friday I baked blueberry muffins (which I’ll post the recipe for as it is really easy and delicious). I’ve also been cleaning and making dinners.

Things I need to do and haven’t? Almost anything to do with mom. This was her favorite holiday and the other night I was almost in tears, in bed, as I thought about how much there is to do in Alaska, how I am not sure how I am going to be able to pay for the place to keep it for even a few more months, how selfish mom was at getting what she wanted, and how I wish I could have something I’d like. This Christmas Eve she will have been gone 3 months……

In one of my very favorite books (I know, you have heard me say that before!!), there is a line about how after having a luxury, it is hard to go back to the simple things. (the book is Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates and Hans has just sold his iron skates and is putting on his wooden ones) As horrible and hard as Alaska was, there is much to be missed. Freedom being the foremost thing. It seems logical that I’ll have nothing left after paying all the bills to keep the house as long as possible. Thankfully, the memories and pictures will still exist.

I did drive my ‘new’ Ford a few blocks around town the other day. I’m pretty sure the back seat will be a great deal more comfortable than the Explorer’s. (we plan to see Aquaman on Monday afternoon and will probably eat out before the Christmas Eve service, since the guys both have gift certificates for a local restaurant. I hope we take it, but if there is snow, we might end up with the Explorer….this Escape doesn’t have winter tires yet.) Even my Escort back seat is more comfortable than the Explorer’s! (NOTE: I always sit in the back seat when we go anywhere as a family. I’m the shortest.)

Things around here are so hard to get used to. I keep forgetting that Little Bear is now 24 and I shouldn’t boss him around. He is handy to have in the house and he does do quite a bit. (and makes me laugh. The Craftsman left to go up to his mom’s to clean in the basement. Little Bear does lots of projects up there and when he found out what his dad was doing, he was flabbergasted. ‘What? It’s perfectly organized. I know where all my things are!’ His dad said he’d be sure not to ‘touch’ those things. I laughed.) I tend to forget how grown up he got while I was away. I often think about when he was little. One of my FB friends has a 6 year old who needs his tonsils out. Their insurance now requests a sleep study to prove it is necessary. I mentioned to Little Bear how glad I was we didn’t need that sort of thing when he had his out. I wondered if he remembered and he then told me some of the things he’ll never forget from that time. He was four!!!! (he did say it was pretty traumatic. I know it was for me!) On the positive side, his earaches ended, he stopped wetting the bed, and he didn’t get any more sore throats unless there was something going around.

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I mailed off Strider’s Christmas box on Wednesday and it was already in his possession! I was startled and very glad. I did forget to mail him the Tillamook cheese in the fridge, so will send another box after Christmas. He said he already opened up one gift, because the paper came off when he pulled it from the box. I knew the wrapping was compromised, but I thought the back was still fairly intact. Yup, it was. I was told it wasn’t his fault the back of the gift had holiday paper and the front was completely exposed. (Kids!!!!) He also said it didn’t count as his Christmas Eve present! (we always open one gift on Christmas Eve and the socks before anyone gets up and the rest after we eat cinnamon rolls. Gotta love tradition!)

Happy Winter Solstice to you!

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Getting Well Cat Nips

“Animals are unpredictable things so our whole life is unpredictable. It’s a long tale of little triumphs and disasters and you’ve got to really like it to stick it.” James Herriot

Maxwell T. Silverstone went back to the vet Monday the 17th. I was incredibly worried. I knew, as an older cat, sedation and meds would take a bit to kick. But, he went from devouring wet cat food to licking the offering a bit and ignoring it! By Sunday, I’d tried everything from raw deer burger (a favorite), to tuna fish. When he was trimmed, his weight was a whopping 7 pounds (he’s a very small cat, always has been!), but he was looking a lot thinner.

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On Monday he seemed more himself, he was grooming a smidge and appeared more alert. But, he still disdained food. So, we dropped him off at the clinic. A couple of hours later, we were called to pick him up. He’d been given some more fluids and a jar of Gerber turkey baby food! (The vet’s big guns for picky eaters!) It was a good thing we brought him in, Maxwell was now 5 pounds. We were also given a prescription of a paste to put in his ear. (The script was for Mr.T. Maxwell, but it was really for Maxwell T. Silverstone. His name is often changed!) It was an appetite encourager. (I guess an ear is a bit safer than the mouth! He still doesn’t  like it.) Whatever the stuff is, it’s working. He’s very hungry. We need to be careful and not give him too much at once, cuz he’ll eat it up! Thankfully, he’s got normal cat eating habits and will scarf and snack intermittently.

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Hes still cold, preferring to sleep in a box lined with a heating pad. He’s even sleeping under blankets now, near Moses. Although, Moses does continue to steal them. I’m just thankful our 18 year old spy cat is on the mend. He’s really a sweetheart.

Crumpling

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In one of my favorite books by Tamara Pierce, the main character is starting her first ‘moon cycle’. She tells her maid that she hates it when her body does things without her knowledge. I’m so there. Many of my readers know I am a person with diabetes as well as MS, it’s normal. Usually.

This weekend I’ve been not feeling good. For quite a while I’ve had blurry vision, but I thought it was from my glasses and their fancy bifocal lenses. My right leg aches often, which isn’t anything out of the ordinary. My left leg in the inside hip area hurts like the dickens if I move it wrong, that’s been in the last couple of months. But, this weekend I’ve been dizzy and disoriented and figured maybe it’s the flu. I’m not so sure now.

On the national MS website, the first 8 symptoms are where I am right now. (Thankfully, 9 is skipped! My interest in sexuality is still high, even if the actuality is extremely low.) At any rate, I’m even more frustrated my previous doctor won’t see me. I’ll call my primary tomorrow, but I’m betting I won’t get an appointment with one til next year. Thankfully, the first is just weeks away! I just don’t want to drive and lose where I am. Again. 🙄 Low glucose is one thing, vertigo is more scary.

I’m very glad I’m not taking care of mom, yet I wonder…..I’ve not had an MS flare up since 2014. This is the first one ve experienced with being dizzy. Could it be related to taking care about of mom and ignoring myself? Is it all in my head? A flare up often goes away in weeks or months. Should I leave it alone? Silly, huh!?!

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep cooking and hope for the best.

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“Stuff” that Happened

Little Bear suggested the title. It is apt. (he also told me to use the italics) He also told me we need to watch the movie ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ before watching the new ‘Mary Poppins’. (he said the former movie was like ‘Ground Hog Day’ meets ‘War of the Worlds’….yikes!) I did get to finally watch ‘The Last Jedi’ and was terribly amused. Full of cute aliens, but why in the Federation did those two kids (Rose and Fin) wander off on a jaunt across the galaxy in the middle of a desperate situation with no escape likely? Yes, I know why, but it was highly improbable even for a space fantasy!!!! (And ‘Star Wars’ is NOT science fiction and never has been.) I honestly didn’t realise who Poe was til the movie was almost over. His character definitely deteriorated after the first episode he was in. Little Bear remarked the only person who was left alive from the original cast at the end of this episode, had actually died. (YIKES!)  At least the movie was entertaining.

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Maxwell is appearing to feel better. I’ve been pretty concerned, he isn’t interested in the wet food he used to devour or inhale. Today he’s finally curled up in a mostly hairless ball sleeping. Since he was trimmed, he has been sitting up sleeping. Like he’s afraid to relax. Poor baby. I keep thinking I need to go shopping in a thrift store for a preemie button up sweater for him. (he’d be so mortified! Named after spies and buttoned into a preemie sweater!! Perhaps I could find one in gray.) One of my FB friends sent me an Etsy link for a cat sweater made of angora. (is it proper to make a sweater for a feline from goat fur???)

The Craftsman’s boss decided I needed an Escape. (The Ford, not a vacation.) So the transaction was completed and we brought it home on Friday. It is blue with a sunroof and is about the same year as one I owned ages past. It has leather seats and many bells and whistles. (I have never actually chosen my own vehicle. I usually am asked to look over something appropriate and it is purchased. I did choose and buy a 10 speed when I was in college. It was later stolen!)  After my dad died, I was called in Alaska and Little Bear (he was pretty young) gleefully told me that dad got me a ‘new’ car. He wasn’t supposed to let the cat out of the bag, but alas. Small boys are not good secret holders and cats like bags as long as they are open. That was my white Ford Escort I’ve been driving ever since. When I got back from Alaska after those couple of weeks, my new to me Ford was detailed inside and out and perfect. This ‘new’ car hasn’t been detailed, but is fairly clean. I was hoping to drive it on Saturday, but forgot The Craftsman doesn’t like anyone else to drive when he’s in the car. (We were doing errands) Little Bear drove it home from the shop and it is now sitting in a row of Fords in the parking area of our house. I will make sure I get out with it next week.

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OMGracious!!!! I just had Little Bear count all the Fords we own. It is almost the 12 Days of Christmas in cars! The odd ones: a 72 Hiboy (whatever that is!), the F600 flatbed, the 45 Burma Jeep, my dad’s 56 Mercury, and Grandma’s Taurus. The regular vehicles are 5 Escorts (2 are part rigs), 2 Broncos, 2 Explorers (one is for parts), 2 F250’s, 1 purple Ranger (it is soooo cute!), and then the 2002 Blue Escape. That is a LOT of Fords…..

I also got The Craftsman to look at beds on Saturday for a bit. I was hurting a great deal, so I didn’t do more than hold his jacket and hat as he reclined. (I was honestly afraid if I was down, I’d not be able to get up!) The one he likes the best is a little under 2 grand. He and Little Bear think the sale of my escort will cover a portion of that. (I’m entirely skeptical he’ll actually sell something.) I did learn, however, that mattresses are political. The company that sells the one he’s interested in is one of the bigger brands. Those brands do not go ‘on sale’ unless the manufacturer determines it. Apparently, a while back, mattress stores would have price wars to outsell each other and the manufacturer would lose out. Finally, this manufacturer put down (oooo, pun!) a blanket ruling and said it was their way or not at all. So, as prospective customers, we’ll wait til it is put on sale and keep an eye on the store signs!

I’ve been doing a spot of baking this last week. Two batches of snickerdoodles cuz the oatmeal chocolate chip butterscotch chip ones were about gone and brownies for a church luncheon. Brownies with a mint ‘frosting’ layer with chocolate melted on top. I might add sprinkles for fluff (I was annoyed I haven’t any holiday sprinkles when mum’s cupboard is FULL of them!!). We have lost a large limb off one of the locust trees in a wind storm and The Craftsman put up MORE Christmas lights, so in spite of the un Christmas like weather, it is looking bright and cheery out there.

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Trimmed Cat Nips

If you decide to become a veterinary surgeon you will never grow rich but you will have a life of endless interest and variety.” James Herriot

Mr. Maxwell T. Silverstone came back from his vet visit shorn and chilled and unhappy. In fact, the other two cats are also not impressed with this bizarre creature who came home in the box Max left in. If you look at the first sleeping cats photo, you can see a bit of the matting in Maxwell’s fur, I was told it had only started in the last couple of months and I wanted to get it taken care of now. He’s a short hair and could not groom himself at all!

The vet tech said this sort of thing is common in older felines. I’m so thankful they could take care of him! He now gets chilled and is as soft as suede. It was kind of them to leave the interesting foot and tail and head bits, but very odd. I didn’t realise how very thin Max was til they took off his fur! You can really see his markings, though.

It was expensive, but now he’s up to date on shots and even got his sharp nails trimmed. I didn’t ask for it, they didn’t charge me, but I bet it is cuz without fur, they didn’t want him to scratch himself. I was also told he’d be more comfortable now. He may freeze and catch cold, but he’ll be comfortable while doing it!

Hoping his fur grows back quickly. I purchased a small brush, we have one called a furminator (cool contraption, but sharp!), to help get him used to being brushed. For an 18  year old dapper feline, he looks a tad forlorn now!