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Some sad news. A little over a week ago we had to say goodbye to Dickens. He was much improved after his diabetes diagnosis ten days earlier, but still not back to his old self. Then on Thursday (March 26th) he had another episode like the one that sent us to the vet before. He was not all there, wandered the house in right-turning circles until he would bump into something. He wouldn’t stop wandering. Thursday night the only way we could get him to settle down was to hold him and pet him. Then he would relax and fall asleep for an hour or two. James and I took turns holding him all night Thursday.

Friday morning he was no better. We got him to the vet as soon as they opened. His blood sugar and blood pressure were just fine. The vet was stumped. We brought him home. Dickens kept wandering the house in circles, getting stuck behind doors, under bookcases and behind the refrigerator.

James called the vet and asked for more suggestions. We ended up having an ultrasound done of his heart in case there was a blood clot. His heart turned out to be fine, but in the process of the examination, they found a tumor on his bladder. Given Dickens was not improving and was not all there, the vet suggested there were likely more tumors in other places. They could do more tests.

We saw no reason to put Dickens through more tests that would only confirm there was nothing we could do to help him be well again. So we decided to euthanize him. We were not allowed inside the clinic. They took him inside, put a long IV tube in his leg, then brought him out to us. We wrapped him up in a towel and held him and petted him and said our goodbyes. The vet injected the chemicals into the IV tube. Dickens died quickly and quietly.

They let us bring him home. Waldo got to see him. We wrapped Dickens up and buried him in the garden with one of his favorite toys. This summer he will have beans and flowers growing over him while we decide whether we want to put in something more permanent.

We are very sad and miss him greatly. We see him around the house. Waldo misses his playmate, but as a result, he is interested in playing with us now. He will instigate games of chase that we are all enjoying. Waldo has always been very jealous and would bully Dickens when he thought Dickens was getting more attention so he is not minding very much being an only cat. Of course both James and I are home all the time because of the stay at home order. When the day comes and we both go back to work, there will be an adjustment, I think.

As we adjust to a new household dynamic, spring has definitely arrived weeks earlier than normal. The trees are budding, the scilla, tulips, and daffodils are sending up their leaves and will soon have blooms. The rhubarb is coming up. The perennial onions are green and ready to harvest. The Dashwoods have gotten to be out all day, roaming the garden, scratching, eating weed seeds, turning the soil, fertilizing.

I started some seeds indoors Equinox weekend, marigolds, purple cabbage, kale, and ground cherries. Everything is up and growing strong expect for the ground cherries. I didn’t put a heating pad under the sprouting tray so I am guessing that is why the ground cherries have not sprouted yet. They are warm soil plants in the same family as tomatoes. Hopefully they will be up soon, if not, that’s ok.

On Saturday (4th) I had a birthday! The original plan of going out to a museum or the ballet and dinner of course did not happen. But that did not keep me from having a fantastic day! I got cards, and phone calls and texts and Facebook messages. I had a great Zwift workout and long ride (indoors on the bike trainer). James made brunch to rival our favorite breakfast at our favorite cafe. And he made a cake of my favorite things: chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas. The day was sunny and warmish so we put on light jackets and went for a walk. This is something that rarely happens on my birthday, it’s usually cold, windy, and sometimes snowing. We worked on a jigsaw puzzle, watched a Monty Don garden show, listened to an audiobook of Octavia Butler’s Kindred while James crocheted and I knitted. We are both healthy. A very good day.

Today I attended my first online writing class. Emergence Magazine, a nature writing magazine, is doing a free online nature writing course. There were over 300 people in zoom class from all over the world. We broke out into small groups of 8-10 to share what we had written for the writing prompt homework we had been given before class. It was as awkward and any in-person writing class I have ever been in. But also, there was a kindness and generosity in my little group too. We are all sheltering at home and it was really nice to meet new people. The writing prompt was wide open and so we were all surprised and delighted that we all ended up writing about trees. We are hoping we will all get to be in the same group for the next meeting in two weeks so we can get to know each other better.

These are challenging times and I hope everyone is managing. Stay home, stay safe, and take care.