Mid April Misc.

Monday, April 18, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mid april misc snow

Weather & Garden Update

It’s time for some mid April misc. thoughts. This morning we had snow, enough to coat the grass, but the rain later in the afternoon took care of that. With today’s high at 41 degrees and tomorrow at 43 degrees, we’re about 20 degrees below average for this time of year. Our daffodils at home are at least a week behind. The crocuses in the woodland garden did bloom, though the ones closest to the house were eaten by deer.

The gardening group started some spring clean-up at the shelter, and I cut back two bunches of tall grasses, mulched and caged the baby trees near the paw, and put down some plastic to kill the grass under some new beds. I have yet to do any garden clean up at home. You can see progress on my garden at the My Michigan Garden YouTube channel here.

mid april misc. crocus

50th Wedding Anniversary

On Friday for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary, I took breakfast over and Mom and I ate and looked through her wedding albums. It was a lovely morning. On Sunday, Easter, Bob and I went over for a delicious dinner. The rest of the weekend, we had a plumbing project in the laundry room that took up a good deal of time. Having a washer and dryer in your home really makes a difference.

Art

In my recent Plein Air magazine, there was an article entitled ‘Painting New Mexico’s High Desert’ by John Meister. Sometimes, I’ll read something that will just have me feel in my mind’s eye the description the author paints in words. This article contained such a description:

“Some people get why it’s called the Land of Enchantment the minute they step out of the airport; others spend years here before they realize it’s part of them. For the visitor, the history, sights, and cultural diversity provide a host of experiences. This is a place where stories are born. This is New Mexico.

Santa Fe, one of the top art markets in the country, sits a 50-minute drive north of the state’s largest airport in Albuquerque. The city’s warm adobe walls cast shadows and pitch light in every direction; bright floral gates and windows trimmed in color provide alluring subject matter for visiting plein air painters. At this elevation, the zenith of the sky is a deep ultramarine, and an outdoor painter doesn’t need much training to see this blue clearly reflected in the shaded areas below.

mid april misc. art

I’ve continued to work on some linocut printing. I’ve turned out a fox that was ok, and I’m using this bee to print on notecards for inclusion in my Little Bee Basket for the shelter’s upcoming auction May 5th, Cinco de Meow. My friend and previous boss Tina Slayton passed away. Though she’s been away from the shelter for some time, she helped me through a really rough period where I wasn’t sure if I could continue to work at the organization. She made things better for me, for the staff members, and for the animals. If there is a rainbow bridge where the animals wait, I know Tina’s Gracie will be there. But there will be so many other dogs and cats from the shelter that will be there too, to thank her for caring for them.

Misc. Thoughts

Monday, March 28, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

I’m not getting much done on any projects, but thought I’d share a few misc. thoughts as March comes to a close. I always do better with assignments and deadlines and without the Cornell class I’m just not getting in my art space as much. I did try this little linocut print (above). I know linocut printing is a skill and you have to keep working on it to develop it. I’m still in the process of two zines as well.

I expect the crocuses may be in bloom today or tomorrow, if they haven’t frozen solid. We had snow over the weekend, and temperatures 20 degrees below average for this time of year. The buds on the maples have popped, but that’s about all the action we’ve seen in Battle Creek. Two weeks from now it will be time to put up the oriole and hummingbird feeders.

Last night we watched the Academy Awards. Most of the winners were the movies I haven’t seen. The biggest item of the evening was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. I suppose that’s what this year’s show will be remembered for, anyway. As the Oscar pressure for viewing is off now, I’ve returned to watching gardening shows on BritBox. There were enough Hulu ads last night for shows that looked interesting, I may give a few of them a try, including Only Murders in the Building. It’s National Crochet Month and I didn’t make any special posts on it, but I did finish a shawl that I probably won’t wear and now I’m working on a mini blanket that I have no use for. I just need something to do with my hands while I watch tv.

April will bring daffodils and flowering trees and getting out in the garden. It will probably bring kittens at work, and baby geese by KCC. Hopefully, I’ll be more productive around the house and with some art time as well. I think once it gets a little warmer, or at least remains near normal temperatures for this time of year, everyone will feel a bit better.

Spring is Here

Monday, March 21, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

We are past the vernal equinox, and spring is officially here. Mom’s crocuses are up, and perhaps after a warm start to the week ours will be up at home as well. Next weekend is supposed to be cold and snow again, but that’s pretty normal for this time of year. We almost always have a snow in April when the daffodils are in bloom, but we are getting to the end of that kind of weather. In less than a month the oriole and hummingbird feeders will be up. We are starting to hear more spring songs from the birds in the mornings, and Bob’s coworkers have heard the spring peepers. I will start working on the hardscaping on the garden soon and the gardener’s group at work is getting started.

I’ve been working on some zines, and as a side project I’ve been doing some linocut block printing. It’s not great so far, as you can see, but it’s a skill that takes practice for sure. I’m really enjoying it though. I put myself to sleep at night thinking about linocut designs.

This is my first real completed zine. I started out with one on declawing, but I have to adjust the margins to get it to print. I’m working on one on monarch butterflies now. I’ve also amassed my own nice little library of other people’s zine creations. Zines are a lot of fun.

February Review

Monday, February 28, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

My goodness, February is over and it is the start of meteorological spring. I don’t recall there ever being any other spring than the vernal equinox when I was younger, but this meteorological but started popping up a few years ago. Either that, or maybe I just never paid attention? When was the first time you heard the concept of meteorological spring? Anyhow, there’s still snow on the ground, Bob still had to scrape my car this morning (thank you, honey!), and I don’t suspect we will see crocus until around the vernal equinox or the actual real spring.

I’ve done some artist trading cards here and there, working mostly on a stamp series where I take a vintage unused postage stamp and draw it as the background before affixing it to the card. I’ve sent out ten of them in total. I’ve also been collecting some zines as inspiration for creating my own. That will be the next project, I think.

I finished the Cornell Botanical Illustration class. Here is my final drawing.

I sent out letters for InCoWriMo 2022, which was really just a chance to catch up with my pen pal letters I’m behind on. I suppose overall it has been a fairly creative month, and I’ve even wound up completely caught up at work which seems quite odd. March starts some Fridays off here and there and I would like to get a zine done and available. That’s provided WWIII doesn’t actually start or anything.

How was your February?

2022 Oscar Nominees

Thursday, February 24, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

For the past few years, I have tried to watch as many of the nominees for the Academy Awards in the categories of feature length documentary, short documentary, live-auction short film, and international film. The nominees were announced on February 4, 2022. I have been watching some over the last month, but not everything I watched made the list. I will need to get busy to see everything by March 27th. You can read more about the 94th Academy Awards here at their website. In the meanwhile, I will continue to update this list as I watch the films (and if more films become available for streaming), and I will let you know my thoughts.

Update – much to my great disappointment, my favorite categories will not be broadcast on the Academy Awards show this year. “The new plan will allow more time for comedy, film clips and musical numbers, Rubin explained. But the Academy head acknowledged that the move could prompt bruised feelings.” (Variety article) Honestly, aren’t the musical numbers mostly terrible? And unless it is Ricky Gervaise hosting, the comedy often falls quite short. Documentary short and live action short will both be done apart from the telecast. It may make sense for live action short, as so few of the films are available for viewing. Scroll to the very bottom to get my take on Best Picture Nominees.

Best Live-Action Short Film

Ala-Kachuu – Take And Run – not available for streaming
“Sezim wants to fulfil her dream of studying in the Kyrgyz capital when she gets kidnapped by a group of young men. There, she’s forced to marry a stranger. If she refuses the marriage, she is threatened with social stigmatization and exclusion.”

The Dress – YouTube limited time release
“In Tadeusz Lysiak’s Oscar-shortlisted film a maid working in a rundown motel in rural Poland longs for intimacy, but will the repeated visits of an intriguing truck driver change the loneliness of her situation?” Sukienka/The Dress is a Polish film, and not for children. It is also beyond bleak. There’s no happy ending in this film for sure. It’s powerful, but I rather wish I could remove it from my mind. Watch at your own discretion.

The Long Goodbye – available on YouTube
Did you love Riz Ahmed in The Sound of Metal? This short (12 minute) film goes from wedding preparations to horror. So much is packed into so few minutes. Ahmed is an actor and a rapper, and you will get a rap from him at the end. In a time when so much is placed on where one is from, or rather, where one’s ancestors are from, and people are killed for the color of their skin, this dystopian piece is unfortunately not terribly far from reality. It’s violent, so be aware of that, but it is worth the watch.

On My Mind – not available for streaming
“A desperate and loving husband wants to sing and record a karaoke version of the song his wife loves the most, and which symbolizes their bond the best. It leads to heartbreak, sorrow and regret.”

Please Hold – HBO starting March 17
Mateo (20s, Latino) is arrested by a police drone without explanation. Finding himself locked in a fully automated jail with no means of recourse, Mateo realizes he’s fallen through some kind of crack in the system.”

Best Documentary Feature

Ascensionavailable on Paramount +
Exploring the pursuit of the Chinese Dream in modern society. Presenting a contemporary vision of China that prioritizes productivity and innovation above all.” My goodness, this is a mesmerizing film! It takes you into countless Chinese factories and in their service industry to see how the workers live and face their lives in an emerging world. I loved this film, and highly suggest you check it out!

Attica – available on Hulu
During the summer of 1971, tensions between inmates and guards at the Attica Correctional Facility are at an all-time high. On the morning of Sept. 9, it all comes to a head as Attica becomes the stage for one of the largest U.S. prison riots ever.” Honestly, I watched most of this documentary, but had a hard time keeping my focus. I will give it another try and get back with you.

Flee (Denmark) – Hulu
“Recounted mostly through animation to protect his identity, Amin opens up about his past as a child refugee from Afghanistan. He looks back over his life as he grapples with a secret he’s kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he’s built for himself and his future husband.” This film is a triple-threat, nominated for Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Animated Feature.
Your first responsibility is to select SUB or DUB. That’s right, like many anime films, you can choose if you want subtitles or for it to be dubbed into English. Folks, I’ll be honest here. I had a bad headache and I’m not a huge fan of listening to the Danish language, so I went with the DUB version. It was also a treat for me, because the main character is voiced by Riz Ahmed, who is also one of the executive producers.

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – available on Hulu
Over the course of six weeks during the summer of 1969, thousands of people attend the Harlem Cultural Festival to celebrate Black history, culture, music, and fashion.” If you like history and you like good music, you won’t want to miss this great film. It is amazing to me that Woodstock has gotten such a lasting legacy and so much coverage, and the Harlem Cultural Festival missed out.

Writing With Fire – not available for streaming
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Chief reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, redefining what it means to be powerful.”

Best Documentary Short Subject

Audible – Netflix
“Shaken by a friend’s suicide, a deaf high school football player copes with family and relationships while anticipating his final homecoming game.” This film, currently available on Netflix, was worth watching. Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting much as I’m not a crazed football fan, but connecting with the players as they worked through their loss was especially touching. I was left wondering what life would be like for them after high school.

Lead Me Home – Netflix
“Fighting just to survive, California’s homeless population suffers as housing costs soar, pushing more of the disadvantaged onto the streets.” I loved this film. Homelessness continues to be an issue in major cities across the nation, and thoughts are often divided on what to do about it. The United States seems to have lost its will to provide care for the least among us. We are one of the only first-world nations without a robust public housing program. Section 8 housing vouchers are difficult to get, there are not enough apartments, and removing individuals away from their support networks can cause greater problems. I could talk all day on public housing and the housing crisis in America. Watch this film!

The Queen Of Basketball – New York Times (available on YouTube)
“Lusia “Lucy” Harris Stewart is a pioneer in women’s basketball, leading a rural Mississippi college to three national titles, scoring the first basket in women’s Olympic history in 1976, being the first and only woman to be drafted into the NBA.” If you want a delightful film that will make you happy to watch, this is it. You’ll fall in love with Lucy Harris Stewart. Again, you might not care much about basketball, but this film is well worth watching.

Three Songs For Benazir – Netflix
The story of Shaista, a young man who — newly married to Benazir and living in a camp for displaced persons in Kabul — struggles to balance his dreams of joining the Afghan National Army with the responsibilities of starting a family.” If you want to get a good view on what life is like in a camp for displaced persons in Kabul, this will help. There’s not much hope at all for a better life, and yet they still want to live. Your family and friends can help to hold you back from achieving more than what you are as well, and addiction is everywhere. Still, Shaista loves his wife and she seems to still love him. You find yourself hoping for a better life for them and their children. A short film, worth watching.

When We Were Bullies – not yet streaming online but available on HBO March 30
“A coincidence leads filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt to track down his fifth-grade class and fifth-grade teacher to examine their memory of and complicity in a bullying incident 50 years ago.”

Best International Feature Film

Drive My Car (Japan) – HBO Max
An aging, widowed actor seeks a chauffeur. The actor turns to his go-to mechanic, who ends up recommending a 20-year-old girl.” This one is a bit of a slow-starter. It’s done in many languages including Korean sign language, but it’s all subtitled into English. As a foreign film, it’s not what you expect, but what you get is worth it in the end. Beautifully shot in Hiroshima, you can’t help but be drawn into the characters and their tragedies. It’s another long film, perhaps broken up into a few days, but worth the watch.

Flee (Denmark) – for rent or purchase through Amazon Prime Video
“Recounted mostly through animation to protect his identity, Amin opens up about his past as a child refugee from Afghanistan. He looks back over his life as he grapples with a secret he’s kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he’s built for himself and his future husband.” This film is a triple-threat, nominated for Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Animated Feature. Your first responsibility is to select SUB or DUB. That’s right, like many anime films, you can choose if you want subtitles or for it to be dubbed into English. Folks, I’ll be honest here. I had a bad headache and I’m not a huge fan of listening to the Danish language, so I went with the DUB version. It was also a treat for me, because the main character is voiced by Riz Ahmed, who is also one of the executive producers.

The Hand Of God (Italy) – available for streaming on Netflix
In 1980s Naples, Italy, an awkward Italian teen struggling to find his place experiences heartbreak and liberation after he’s inadvertently saved from a freak accident by football legend Diego Maradona.” The thing I love about foreign films is that they just don’t follow the American film trope. At all. I never know where a foreign film is going until it’s all over, and then I wonder what I saw. This family will stay with you, as will the scenery.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan) – available for rent or purchase from Amazon
An aspiring singer living with his grandmother in the capital of Bhutan dreams of getting a visa to relocate to Australia.

The Worst Person In The World (Norway) – not currently available for streaming
A young woman battles indecisiveness as she traverses the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path.

Best Picture

This category is a little harder for me. I do not go to the theater to see films. I wait for it to come on streaming, and then I have to somehow remember where it is and that I wanted to see it in the first place in order to catch it. Of last year’s nominees, I’ve still only seen The Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Anyhow, this year there are ten nominees. Again, I’ll update this as I watch.

BELFAST – Amazon Prime

It’s no surprise I loved Belfast. I’ve always had an interest in the troubles in Northern Ireland. As an American who was raised Episcopal but doesn’t practice anything these days, the idea that one would turn to violence over religion is absurd. I mean, I know that the troubles are about more than that, but come on. When I was young and went to visit my friend Elizabeth Sheldon outside of London on an air force base, there were IRA bombings happening in England. I believe there was one that took place while I was there, as I remember one night we came home from some outing and had to stop and show ID. And Derry Girls…don’t get me started. That might be my favorite TV show ever! Belfast is in black and white and has lovely cinematography. It shows a snippet of family life of a protestant family that doesn’t really see the difference in religions, either. It’s got a fantastic cast and is just beautiful in every way. I’m pulling for this one to sweep the awards.

CODA

Apple TV +

DON’T LOOK UP – Netflix

The premise of this didn’t sound too interesting to me, and honestly I don’t really care for Jennifer Lawrence, but I gave this movie a try and I’m glad I did. The plot has a great division in the country that somewhat closely matches the division between trumpers and everyone else, with an impending doom in sight. In the movie, because of the party in charge of the country at the time, survival of the planet is all but a guaranteed failure. It’s funny and cautionary as who you vote for really does make a difference when it comes to life and death and how policy can create changes that have a ripple effect far beyond one’s expectations. It’s well worth a watch.

DRIVE MY CAR – HBO Max

This film is also up for best international film feature. It has subtitles, and I know not everyone enjoys that. I’ve reached the age where, if I want to catch every word of dialogue, I need to have the subtitles on for everything anyway. This one is a bit of a slow-starter. It’s done in many languages including Korean sign language, but it’s all subtitled into English. As a foreign film, it’s not what you expect, but what you get is worth it in the end. Beautifully shot in Hiroshima, you can’t help but be drawn into the characters and their tragedies. It’s another long film, perhaps broken up into a few days, but worth the watch.

DUNE

Available to purchase or rent from Amazon Prime

KING RICHARD

Available to purchase or rent from Amazon Prime

LICORICE PIZZA – Rent or Purchase from Amazon Prime

This is a fun movie, set in the 1970s. The main character, Gary Valentine, is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son Copper. Sisters from the band Haim are also in it. Though I enjoyed it, I’m not sure what to make of it. Is it the modern day Stand By Me or Empire Records?  Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn both play small roles in it and are unlikeable. I guess Sean Penn is unlikeable anyway, unless you can forgive his violence against women. The film is Los Angeles at it’s best, the idyllic never-ending summer of your youth. Roger Ebert suggests it’s the best movie of the year. I’d like to know what you think.

NIGHTMARE ALLEY – HBO Max and Hulu

I watched this one on HBO Max. You thought Power of the Dog was long? This tops it, at a full 2.5 hours. You all know I love a good carnival show. There’s not enough of the carnival in this one for me. Maybe I need to write my own carnival movie? I should see if I can dig up the 1947 version of this movie, for it is a remake and based on a book. If you like that film noir setting, and I most certainly do, you’ll like the cinematography. It’s violent, and the characters are disgusting and unlikeable. Still, I could see myself watching it again for the costumes and sets alone.

THE POWER OF THE DOG – Netflix

Well, this is an interesting film, and it leaves me with some unanswered questions at the end. And I mean, at the end of a more than two-hour movie. If you can’t stand a horse-beating scene, you’ll probably want to skip this one; the scene is short but uncomfortable, though not gory or bloody. I’m still wondering what I watched, really. I think it will stay with me though, so maybe that is worth the watch. At the end, I can’t think of anyone I’d recommend it to except for folks who watch films specifically for the Oscars. If that’s you, and it is me, have at it.

WEST SIDE STORY

Available on HBO Max and Disney + starting March 2

Which of the 2022 Oscar Nominees did you watch? Who are you hoping will win? Let me know in the comments!

January Review

Wednesday, February 2, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

As January reaches an end and we look into a February starting with a huge predicted snow storm, it is hard to feel that spring will ever come. I look back through google photos and instagram to see previous February to see signs of spring. There’s not much there. However, we do have Twin Peaks Day, so we have that going for us. Wednesday marks the halfway point between winter and spring.

I’ve continued on with some ATCs. They are a nice break from the Cornell illustration class, which is quite challenging. I just finished an Our Lady of Guadalupe, which didn’t turn out so great, and I am working on a Saint Gertrude, the patron saint of cats. How does one get the eyes of a saint so they don’t look like they are possessed? Or like they are watching the water in a toilet bowl rise to where it might spill all over from a blockage of giant proportions? Saint Gertrude is the patron saint of cats, and her day is also Saint Patrick’s Day. Cats or snakes? It’s easy to choose.

February might bring the return of the robins. That is a fairly normal occurrence. I expect the month may pass quickly, as they often seem to do the older I get. It’s also InCoWriMo, and hopefully I will get a good deal of letters out. As always, I’ll have Valentine’s Day gifts for the staff members, and will send little items out for Twin Peaks Day. Hope your month is off to a great start!

Artist Trading Cards

Thursday, January 20, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

While I am taking an online class from Cornell on botanic illustration, I’ve also stumbled across Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs. They are 2.5 x 3.5 and can be mixed media, painted, drawn, or whatever you like. There are groups where people trade them. You post yours, and others ask to trade, and then you exchange them through the mail. You collect them, these tiny pieces of art from all over, and store them like baseball cards or something.

Anyhow, in some spare time (a few minutes every couple days), I’ve been putting some together. Next up I am working on a small series of painted ATCs for Twin Peaks Day February 24th.

I’ve been sleeping terribly. Not falling asleep until after 2:30, and having terrible nightmares when I am sleeping. I’ve had excruciating headaches this week, too. No days with highs above 27 in the ten day forecast. It’s a desperate feeling. I know it’s only January, and we have a long, long way to go until spring.

I’m a bit behind in my letters, but I have nothing to say. Nothing that isn’t complaining about the weather, anyhow.

January 2022 Update

Monday, January 10, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
January 2022 update

I haven’t been able to do several things since October, updating catobear.com being one of them. Today I woke up feeling a little better, more able to think of what I need to do and plan for in coming months. Don’t know if it is just a fluke or an actual change. When I look and realize I’m the only one looking at this, I suppose it doesn’t matter much anyway. I have been pulling together my 2022 bullet journal, photo above. I always like a new journal when it’s compact and clean and full of possibilities.

January 2022 update

I cleaned up my art space, as I am starting a botanic illustration course online through Cornell this Wednesday. I have a real fear that I won’t be able to keep up. I haven’t really painted or done much artistically since October. Perhaps you’re thinking the desk is still a mess, but everything I need is within easy access.

I have managed to keep some YouTube videos going up on my channel. Do check it out if you like postcards, vintage calling cards, old Christmas cards, etc.

Anyhow, that’s where we are. Miles away from spring. Treading water, but no longer going under. At least for now.

National Postcard Week 2021

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
national postcard week 2021

It’s National Postcard Week 2021 and I didn’t get my crap together. I had selected a great vintage card and was going to photoshop Maxy’s head on, but I didn’t get it done in time to have the cards professionally printed. So this year I’ll be sending fewer cards, with an uglier, more personal touch.

national postcard week 2021

I’m not counting these as paintings, because I’m doing them in about 15 minutes each. And they aren’t turning out great. Some of it is I’m trying to paint new things. Some of it is that the postcard paper is really crap. The images are inspired by various card sets…flowers and different tarot cards. Mom and Kirsten did such an amazing job on their tarot cards for the Trail of Terror, I thought some fun small cards would be good inspiration.

national postcard week 2021

I’m going to have to practice the cat cards more if the shelter is going to do a pet portrait thing in June and I volunteer to paint. I mean, the middle one above looks like some kind of demon. Of course, I wouldn’t use postcard paper and probably not acrylic either. It’s easier to fudge gouache and blend it better I think.

Bob was so romantic. He found this vintage postcard of the dining hall at Brook Lodge and sent it to me for National Postcard Week 2021. The card is from the 1960s. We ate dinner here on Memorial Weekend many years ago, and Bob proposed to me by the water surrounded by forget-me-nots.

It has turned cold again. We had a fire last night and will hopefully have a few more over the next few days. I did get the radishes, arugula, carrots and beets planted last weekend. Bob and I planted 30 trees at the shelter over the past two weekends as well. We still have a few weeks before greenhouse day, so hopefully the warmer weather will catch up. Really looking forward to having the martini event behind me.

Signs of Spring

Friday, April 9, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
signs of spring carnival

Signs of Spring are everywhere to be seen now. The maple trees are fuzzy puffballs, the forsythia, daffodils, and crabapple trees are in bloom, and the carnival has arrived in town! Probably the carnival isn’t the best thing for our huge local spike in COVID, but it did brighten my soul a bit driving past it. We’ve had some rain and everything is really greening up.

signs of spring carnival

It’s hard not to get excited about planting. I ordered some tree seedlings from the Calhoun Conservation District to do some planting around the shelter. Still too early for vegetables, but by the end of the month the trees can go in the ground. I am tracking the progress of the hummingbirds on the Journey North website as well. There’s so much excitement in the air, it’s hard to keep one’s thoughts tethered to work and responsibilities.

signs of spring carnival

We’re in a bit of a pickle at work, with not enough staff. I’m working this Saturday, but may get in a situation where using my vacation time is difficult. Kitten season has started as well and we have several mom cats with kittens. They aren’t well socialized, so we will be working on that. I feel like I need a whole extra day to catch up on sleep again. Meanwhile, the stacks of letters keep growing and I can’t catch up on anything else. I am scheduled for my vaccine on Tuesday, the Johnson and Johnson, in Albion. I also have to get a crown towards the end of the month. April is moving so fast, as this time of year often does. I can’t even think about the martini event without feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach. Better to concentrate on painting, the recorder, and upcoming gardening and hope for the best. What signs of spring are you sighting in your area?