Thursday, May 26, 2011


It's coming up on time to say goodbye to the original three kittens. They go next week to get fixed and have a second round of shots. Then after a couple of recovery days, they'll go over to PetSmart where I'm reasonably sure they'll be adopted by wonderful families who for whatever reason, decided they need companionship in the form of a cat. I'm sure most will get new names that suit their owners and my coffee table will go back to looking like it used to. Boring, but functional. Stella will probably think something's gone awry but like Domino, she'll adjust.

Speaking of Stella, we have a temporary house guest whose home was wrecked by a fallen tree. Stella has pretty much disowned me (except at meal times - of course) in favor of the new guy. She sits up on the bed with him and when I call her she just looks at me as if to say "Who are you again?" There's a word for that but I won't say it.

Stella and Walter, living it up on my futon.

The three of us went down to the fairgrounds today and there was a woman walking her dog there that I'd met a couple of years ago. A professional dog owner, she walks her dogs regularly without leashes. I let Stella off the leash too since it's all fenced in down there anyway and she immediately went to the creek. We've never been off leash at a creek before so you can imagine what came next.

Wallowing. Head-completely-under-muddy water, digging up sticks, sort of wallowing, followed by bounding through waist high grass and weeds and more wallowing. In between the two was a fair amount of beaming on Stella's part. I think her favorite thing is being off leash. When we finally got back to the car (and this was after fifteen minutes at most) she was completely soaked with mud and grass, cockleburs, and God knows what. Throw in some chiggers and a tick or two and you get the idea.

Our friends from the cemetery walk (and I've been meaning to say this for a few weeks now and just haven't thought of it) - were given a lecture about the leash laws a couple of times by a bored park policeman. The property is enclosed by a stone fence except for two very long driveways. Anyway, he caught up with them again recently during their early morning ritual whereupon he proceeded to write them four separate tickets at $75. apiece. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.

Yeah, I know, it's the law and it's a very effective law in most instances. I think there should be some flexibility though. Maybe a workshop that teaches police officers to use some rational discretion, some common-sense interpretation, particularly when it comes to that chaotic underworld of outlaw dog walkers.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


1. Whiskey Nick has a crush on Stella. She was lying on her side the other day and he squeezed his whole body into that little triangle between her front paws and her chest and went immediately to sleep. Not sure who had the biggest cartoon eyes. Me or her. I laid my hand on her hip and told her to stay, which she did. For the better part of three minutes. He did the same thing against her butt a little while later and she dealt with that pretty well until he rolled over and clutched her back leg with his front paws. You could almost see the shivers roll down her back. I wasn't able to get to the camera either time but it was pretty sweet.

2. I've probably said this before but it bears repeating. Rabbit is the new squirrel. There are two adult rabbits living behind our house. They're huge. I've refused to get too used to them being here though since (so far) I have a nice patch of Arugula growing back there and we're also a training ground for young hawks.

3. The cicada population dimmed considerably over the last few days (since it got cold) but not before Stella learned how to snatch those things out of the air in one fluid motion. That actually took a little training on my part too seeing as she's sailing around on a four foot leash like some sort of wild pony.

4. Proving once again that you get what you pay for, my $25. video camera no longer works or this kitten thing would be as fun for you folks as it is for me. Better actually, since you all could enjoy the show without the shredded curtains or the aroma.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Tastes like chicken

You might know that if it's really loud, looks like something from a science fiction novel and it sleeps in the ground for thirteen years her inclination would be to eat it. Right? I loved the look on her face the first time she picked it up and it started buzzing in her mouth. Three or four more times and she finally got the nerve to bite down a little. Then, all bets were off. It was officially a sport.

She snapped up the next seven without looking up or missing a single step. Then one of them landed right on her nose and she launched off bucking like a little pony. (Note to self: Get a camera phone) That was apparently her limit.

The cicadas were strangely quiet this morning. Their smashed bodies lined the streets as if overnight there had been some massive gun fight. It ended up being a good walk though, which is saying something when it's nearly four miles. Not all of our walks are that distance but Stella has taken to lying or sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk or street whenever the mood strikes her. I don't know if it's the humidity or her knees bothering her, only that it disappears magically if another dog or a squirrel happen to walk by. Little boys hanging out of car windows - that's a surefire cure too.

I say it was a good walk because it had all the elements of a good training walk rolled up into it and Stella, despite the breakfast buffet, let all of that stimulation roll right off. It was seven-thirty in the morning so we had: school buses, speeders, speeding school busses, school kids waiting on the speeding bus, man with stroller passing by on the sidewalk, big mean dog barking from across the busy street, charging Chihuahua, lady with a big yellow dog, lady with a garden hose, Bacon and Hombre running us up the fence, construction workers, and last but by no means least, the Great Southern Brood.

It was also a good walk because she is now asleep in the same room with four kittens, all of which are doing great, even the smallest of the bunch which I've suspected for a week would be blind in one eye - but isn't. The litter is eight weeks old today and the other two are 2-3 wks. They're pretty much having their way with Stella. Last night Domino was nuzzling one of her paw pads and finally bit it. She barely raised her head. Whiskey Nick pinned her tail on the ground and then ran out of the room. This morning after the walk her and Gypsy were trading bunny hops through my office. It's pretty easy to get high on kittens. Maybe on cicadas too.

Kong ball sharing. Who knew?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Fun House

Now six weeks in, we're going to the vet today for the first round of tests and shots. I expect it'll be something like... oh yeah, herding cats. Lately this troop has been venturing out of the guest room several times a day to explore the house, eat odd things off the floor and climb everything in sight, including the drapes. One of the brand new foster kittens has an eye infection and is much smaller than the other one. We're taking him (?) to the vet too. The other one, is doing much better and it turns out is also a calico. Since we're sticking with carnival names, some of you may be interested to know that carnival women are less likely to have nicknames than the men are. Therefore, instead of naming this kitten Easy, I think we'll go with Janet because she and my friend Janet share some of the same qualities, which I will not list here (out of fear of retribution; this is the same friend who used to threaten to knock me out and give me a tattoo). Plus she's a top-shelf cat lover.

So here we are, the whole gang.


Whiskey Nick


and the orphans, Janet & Lefty