Thursday, February 29, 2024
Daily FeatureessaySundaythe artist's life

A Big Project Completed

five cats on cabinet
Look at that refrigerator!

One more big project done and a little more time back for me. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

I’ve mentioned working with my local library, both as a business and also photographing events and performances, usually as a volunteer, as my donation to the place. A big part of that photography has been to document these decades in the history of the 120 years the historic building has been serving the public. I have a lifelong personal history with the place that actually extends back through two generations of my family too. I’ve been working on consolidating all the photos I’ve taken of the library since 2000 or so, and organizing them for their archives. I had been working on this over the past month whenever I had some time because I didn’t want to spend hours at the computer. Really, it’s been a joy, a trip down memory lane in terms of watching my beloved library and music hall be revived and restored and remembering all those days and events, and the photos I’d taken. No less than that was watching my own photography skills improve with the practice of regularly photographing in a wide variety of conditions and subjects, as well as improvements in my equipment. But it was taking so long, and thereby taking so much of my extra time, encroaching into blogging time and even some of my creative time, I decided to take last week to finally finish it off. That really took all week and even over the weekend into Monday, but what was I thinking? About 9GB of photos back to 2001, and those were just the ones I chose to include on the external hard drive, not all the thousands I’d taken in addition just to get the good ones. But now it’s all finished and I have this extra time back.

In 2016 I wrote up my history with the place and included a selection of my favorite photos in the biannual newsletter I design for them. You can read that on my writing website in “Love Your Library, I Love Mine”.

I knew I’d have a busy week last week and prepared a post for each day, prescheduling them. Tuesday and Wednesday posted as planned, Thursday and Friday did not. I shared them manually when I discovered it. Sigh. It’s so nice when it works and I can consolidate my writing time, and know that my posts will automatically show up during a time of day I’m typically busy in my studio and don’t want to take a break and go to the computer. I’m going to troubleshoot and hope it works because it helps me keep my daily posting schedule, especially when unexpected things come up in an already busy time.

I went for my January car inspection Wednesday, the first time I could get an appointment, which took a large chunk from the day. My car did not pass without body and frame work. I bought the car last year hoping it would get me through a year without problems, and it has done that. I anticipated some body and frame work, but I’m not sure if I want to put any money into it since I’ll need an SUV or minivan again to do vendor events, whenever that happens this year. On the other hand, I’m not quite ready to buy another car. So for now, knowing our DMV is being lenient because of covid, just being careful. I don’t go out that often anyway and hopefully a good deal will come up. Until vendor events come up, like our farmer’s market here in town later this year, I’m going to be working on more online sales.

outhosue in snowy woods
The rest room is out of order. (Unless it was actually a chicken coop.

On Friday Sienna turned out to have her occasional idiopathic cystitis, and as always I worked on treating her symptoms and calming her in various ways since no infection or physical issue had ever turned up, and that was what my veterinarian had advised unless she actually blocked or it persisted more than two days. Most of the time she’s just Sienna, but I can tell the pain flares up now and then through the day, and sometimes she’s in the box for a time. She tends to be fearful and the condition makes her defensive, and sometimes, as this week, a few of the other cats react to it. Giuseppe, then his brothers, and even Hamlet and Basil ended up chasing her around as if it was non-recognition aggression, so I had to isolate her several times to break the reaction cycle and calm things down. Saturday was difficult, but turned out okay. Her timid behavior continues though she still keeps the same daily habits and schedule and urinary habits, so I got her a calming collar which has helped with this in the past. Here she is from last May with a calming collar.

What’s for lunch?

I got a new refrigerator on Saturday thanks to my electric service provider. It’s one of the benefits of being in their assistance program that caps monthly payments to match income and defers over time the balance that builds up. I’m so grateful for this because the old refrigerator hasn’t been working right for over two years. I’ve had someone to repair it and they replaced the fan, but not the seal telling me it didn’t need one. It looked to me like the seal was the problem in the first place and I had that checked again and found the new seal and installation, which I couldn’t do myself on this refrigerator, would be a few hundred dollars, just because of this particular model. Add that to what I’d already paid and it’s almost the cost of a new small fridge or a higher quality used one. So while I’ve been looking around and trying to decide how I’d get one here, nearly every day I’ve been clearing the openings from the freezer to the fridge of ice to keep the cold air flowing into the refrigerator using hot water and patience, and occasionally emptying it out and unplugging it to thaw it completely. But I’ve lost food to it spoiling when the temperature rose no matter what I did.

This photo of the four of them and Mariposa would be distinctly different with the black refrigerator. Now you can actually see them all without a lot of adjustments!

five cats on cabinet
They look great in front of the refrigerator.

Preparing the way for the new fridge and getting the old one out was a real trick in this little house. Clearing everything out of the way was just about impossible, even putting some things outside including my food because it was cold out there. I used the insulated boxes I’d been saving to make cat shelters. I ended up moving things out of the way in the house as they moved through from the front door. The refrigerator is nice, it’s bigger, it’s white and that’s the best thing, aside from it working reliably. It’s like there’s a light on in that corner after the black one, and that’s not just a preference. The room looks bigger again, and the reflected light makes it even brighter. I still have to replace the cabinet next to it with something smaller but I’ll get shelves soon. For now the reliable old navy blue cat tree, which had been in the corner next to that fridge from the day I moved in here, is out on the deck. I know the ruckus caused by the moves and changes and strangers in the house didn’t help Sienna, and was probably also what set off the boys chasing her. Below, Mewsette had a good scratch on her favorite cat tree when we went out on the deck this morning, and checks on the cubby where she liked to nap.

But after I was done with that, about 5:00, I got a small whiff of something that was like warm wood, like when you go in the attic in the summer, or maybe when you saw or drill pine when the blade is a little dull, so I immediately thought fire! I checked everything and outdoors, no hot spots, isolated to the front door and my desk area. I messaged my friend Deana, who is an EMT, and she sent her husband, a computer tech and volunteer fireman, over with his thermal camera. He smelled it too. We went all over the house, but there were no shapes or signatures that looked like an active blaze, or anything anywhere near hot enough. But I wasn’t going to go to sleep and have it turn into one so I stayed up until 6 a.m. Sunday working at my computer. The scent was minimal by then, and I got a little sleep.

Sunday I finally finished getting photos on the disk about 5:00 p.m., went grocery shopping, practically fell out of my chair later while asleep at my computer, and went to bed. Now that I’ve finally handed it over I feel a great sense of relief and accomplishment, and I am truly glad this huge project is finished. I had so many plans for new artwork and it’s been one of the things that’s hindered me to now. Looking forward to getting back to art and merchandise.

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painting of tortoiseshell cat on flowered blanket
Draw Me Like One of Your French Cats, watercolor and pastel pencil, 8 x 10 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I just couldn’t resist. when Sienna decided to help me make the bed by showing me her belly and looking coy. Especially on that woven throw with its all-over pattern of fruits and leaves, I just had to draw her! Well, paint her, but “draw” is what she actually said in the movie, so I’ll go with that. Read more and purchase.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

4 thoughts on “A Big Project Completed

  • the “smell” may have been from the old fridge frying out…when mine went; the smell lingered for a few
    days and because it fried during winter; I couldn’t open any windows to air out the place

    guyz….hope de new fridge iz filled with plentee oh tastee treetz for catz 🙂 ♥♥

    • The fridge was just freezing over, but the fan and motor were okay. The new fridge came in with a bunch of interesting chemical smells, and it might have been from the new one. Also, the pump in the fountain quit working between when I unplugged it to move it to when I plugged it back in. But it’s definitely a wood smell. It’s still there, just faintly, around the door, even though I’ve been in and out repeatedly.

  • Hooray for getting that all done. Our mancat Brian has full time idiopathic cystitis.

    • Our Namir had idiopathic cystitis too, and he had a heart murmur and eventually developed HCM, and also congestive heart failure likely from the cystitis. It was an exciting balance of observations and treatments. Namir was really easy to handle, though. Sienna is easily frightened, even by me, and even moreso when this flares up, and that can make it worse. Living with this many cats is a real stresser for her, and why I still consider her a foster. I’m hoping that I can get her a new workup this year so we know more, and maybe we can find an understanding home with fewer cats.


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