Nip it in the bud

“Nip it in the bud.”

The person most responsible for making this phrase famous has to be Barney Fife, Deputy to Sheriff Andy Griffith. His catch phrase has inspired at least one rap song and numerous comedy routines.

I was recently reminded of the wisdom of this saying when I took a moment to really look at the flower beds in my yard.

The cosmos plants were fading away and ready to be removed. I pulled out the dead plants, making sure the seeds stayed behind.

Then I found plants I didn’t want in the bed. These plants had also flowered and were starting to go to seed. I wasn’t going to allow the plants or seeds to stay in my yard, so I started pulling up the plants. They were much more difficult to remove. The roots were a lot bigger and deeper than those of the Cosmos.

I had noticed the plants when they were a smaller, but didn’t bother removing them. Now, instead of tiny, easily removable seedlings, I was dealing with sturdy plants that wanted to stay where they were. After a lot of struggle, I finally removed the plants from my beds. Some of the seeds have fallen in my yard, so I know the plants will return, but I will be sure to pull up any seedlings I spy next year. I do not want to wrestle with those plants again.

How many times have I ignored an issue in my life until it became a huge problem? How much easier is it to deal with a problem when it first appears rather than ignoring it until drastic measures are required? How much pain and trouble could be avoided by choosing another path?

It’s time to re-examine my life so I can weed out any problems and nip them in the bud.

Posted in Barney_Fife, garden, humor, life, nip_it_in_the_bud | Leave a comment

How to amuse a cat

There are shelves on our back porch. We use them to store . . . cats. Our cats love to run and climb and nap on the shelves.

Since TK is much younger and more active than the other cats, we got a special set of shelves with toys for him.

He helped assemble them . . .

tested them for sturdiness. . .

sat in them for a while . . .

and then decided to play with the empty kitty litter bags.

Next time we’ll just give him a pile of bags.

How do you amuse a cat? Buy an expensive toy so they can play with the trash.

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UFOs and USOs

Most quilters have at least one UFO (UnFinished Object) in their lives – a project that for whatever reason has not yet been completed.

While focusing on clearing out the things in my house that no longer belong, I’ve also found another category: USOs – UnStarted Objects. Everything is there – pattern, fabric, thread . . ., but the project has never progressed beyond its original form.

As I pondered how this happened, I soon realized there are many other USOs in my life — books unread, recipes untried, goals unmet.

Why?

In some cases, I put the projects away and forgot about them because I no longer saw them. Those need to be revisited to see if I’m even interested anymore, or if it’s time to send them on their way to a new owner.

In other instances, I started the book, mapped out a strategy or gathered necessary ingredients and reached a point where I felt “stuck”. I have found that taking a break can be beneficial when I reach that point. I can rethink why I started and see whether or not I want to invest more time and energy in it. If I do, I can get back on track. If not, it’s time to let someone else have a go.

It seems that my projects have a shelf life. Just as I disposed of the apple sauce that made its way to the back of the pantry (“Best used by 2007”!), there are objects in my life that are out of date and no longer belong.

I can continue trying to fit far too much stuff into my life, which will result in frustration and stagnation, or I can make room for my roots to spread so I can grow into the person God intended.

I think it’s time to grow.

Posted in focus, goals, life, quilting, UFOs | Leave a comment

Double the fun

Several weeks ago while QB was taking me for a walk, I stopped to look at the horsemint in the flower bed. When I looked up, QB was gazing intently at a spot on the other side of the fence. We had to investigate, of course.

As we approached, I saw a small gray and white cat who was looking at us while alternating between meowing and hissing. It seemed to want to get to know us, but was too frightened to come over. QB and I showed the cat to Craig and he issued an invitation to visit us if it was hungry.

A couple of days later I was taking out stuff to the recycling bin when I heard a now familiar combination of meowing and hissing. Our new little buddy was ready for breakfast.

A can of cat food was consumed in record time.

After several days, we knew we had a new cat. Since I hadn’t checked to see if it was male or female, I called it TK (The Kat). We later learned he was a male, so TK now stands for, among other things, Tom Kat.

TK visited the vet to make sure he was healthy. Everything checked out and he moved in with us. He explored every nook and cranny of the house. I found him here one afternoon.

He got a little more comfortable with his surroundings . . .

and finally settled in, knowing that he’d found a safe new home. . .

thanks to QB.

Posted in cats, garden, life | 1 Comment

Walking the . . . cat?!

Several of our older cats have died in the past few years and we have been carefully considering whether or not to adopt another cat, or perhaps even a dog, so I would have someone to walk with me.

Most mornings I take a walk before I go to work. Bentley used to go with me, but his poor health prevents that now. I bought a rolling carrier in hopes that he could accompany me again, but he very carefully and vocally explained his extreme opposition, and I continued to walk alone.

A few months ago a friend asked if I could provide a home for a cat whose owner could no longer keep her. We talked it over and agreed to have her join us.

Since the cat didn’t respond to the name she had when she arrived, I tried a variety of new ones. She likes to be called QB – short for Queen Bee – and Queen of the Boxes.

It took a while for Bentley to adjust to her presence (they still hiss at each other on occasion), but Morgan welcomed her.

When I went for my walks, I noticed that QB wanted to go outside with me, so one afternoon I let her try out Bentley’s rolling carrier. She loved it! She’s much larger than Bentley, so there wasn’t a lot of room for her, but she enjoyed being outside and hopped in the carrier whenever I rolled it out for her.

Our neighbor noticed us walking one day and said he had a stroller that his dog refused to use (sound familiar?) and offered it to us. It is the perfect size for QB. She sits up and surveys her Queendom as we stroll around.

Ever since that day, QB waits for me to get home from work so she can go for her afternoon walk. She reminds me it’s time to take “her” walk with escalating insistence: meowing, then tapping on the door knob (oh, for opposable thumbs!), and finally, jumping into the window and rattling the vertical blinds until she is certain I know it’s time to go . . . Now!

When I roll out the stroller, she hops in and waits for me to zip up the screen so she can safely travel.

Now QB has a forever home and I have a walking companion.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go — It’s time to walk the cat!

Posted in animal_companion, cat, life, pet_stroller, walking | Leave a comment