Category Archives: pets

That’s What Neighbors Do

Well, the Trump supporting wife beater moved out of the house across the street taking his Trump sign with him.  They are renting the house to his wife’s son and daughter in law,  a young couple with a 2 or 3 year old girl, a cat, and a retriever-type dog.  I had high hopes for them until the young man hung a large Confederate flag from the front of house.

The other day another neighbor and I spotted the girl, the cat, and the dog running around  without any supervision.  The girl was happy as could be running into the other yards, with the dog doing its own exploration and the cat lying down in the middle of the street.  The neighbor grabbed the dog and the girl while I rang the doorbell to inform them that everyone was loose. The cat had already sauntered back to safety.  The mom was mortified and thanked us profusely. The little girl had just learned to open the gate to the back yard, and took advantage of her new skill.

A day or so later, the dad came over while I was in the front yard. He again thanked me and said they were so grateful we had noticed their daughter and animals, and offered to do any heavy yard work I might need done as a thank you. I told him that wasn’t necessary, as what we did was just what neighbors do. He seemed puzzled about that. He didn’t seem to understand that neighbors help without expectation of recompence .He also spoke with a southern twang, so he is evidently not from around here.

I suppose I could have asked him to take down the flag, but if he doesn’t  understand the concept of being neighborly, he might not have understood the request. I will just hope for other opportunities to show kindness.

What sort of flag would be a good response to the flag across the street? Tell about some of your more memorable neighbors. 

Here Kitty, Kitty!

I mentioned to YA that I have a trip to Maui in a few months.  She told me I should “swing over” to Lana’i while I’m there to visit the Cat Sanctuary.

Lana’i isn’t that easy to “swing over” to but if it were just me, I’d head on over.

If money/space were no object, how many pets would YOU have?

 

 

The Room on the Other Side of the Mirror

Our tortie kitten has some perceptual misconceptions regarding mirrors.  She is a determined little thing who loves to be with us, and who, if separated from us by a door or window, paws rapidly on whatever is in her way as though to scratch through it to get to us.  Sometimes we even open the barrier to let her through.  She does the same to mirrors, as though there is a room just beyond her reach. I notice this the most in the bathroom. She sits on the counter and paws and paws.

I suppose it is an easy mistake to make, since a mirror and window glass feel the same on her paws, and she can see things beyond both.

When have you wanted to be somewhere you couldn’t get to? 

 

Bonding over Books

This morning at the library, as I was picking up my held books, I overheard a budding friendship in the next aisle over. Two five-year olds had an extended conversation about what books they were getting, visiting their grandparents, puppies and like all good Minnesotans, the weather.

I met my best friend on April 16, 1983, in a small room 4 floors below the IDS Center. It was my first day at the soon-to-be-opened B. Dalton IDS. Since I was new to B. Dalton, there were several training modules that I had to read through and then take corresponding tests. Sara was transferring over from another store and needed to do some paperwork as well.  We talked while we worked, about books and pets and husbands and boyfriends – probably the weather as well.  Then we went to lunch across the street at Eddingtons where we discovered we also shared a deep love of bread and cheese.

We’ve been friends ever since, through weddings, divorces, parents’ deaths, kids, home purchases, health issues, money issues – you name it. I can only hope that the kids at the library this morning can continue a friendship that started with books!

Where did you meet your BFF?

Brush Your Britches

This past week everyone in our house was groomed and  brought up to snuff, starting with the cats. Our short-haired tabby looks about an inch smaller in diameter since we took the furminator to her on Saturday. The birds have scads of grey hair to line their nests now. Our long-haired tortie has really furry back legs that make her look like she is wearing fuzzy pants.  She gets a slicker brush.  “It’s time to brush your britches” we tell her.  She isn’t real impressed with the procedure.

Husband’s barber moved to a new and improved space with four barber chairs,  a coffee bar, and beer parlour.  The barber is a devout Catholic who named his new shop after St. Martin de Porres, an influential New World priest during the 1500’s and 1600’s in Peru who is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony.  Husband has curly hair and is fussy how his hair gets cut. He is happy with his barber. He had neither beer nor coffee during his hair cut.

My hair dresser of 30 years had a stroke a couple of months ago, so now I have to get used to a new hair dresser.  She is working out pretty well, but I must admit it takes a bit to get used to a new person messing with my hair, especially since my old hair dresser and I know each other so well and she knows the quirks of my hair and what works and what doesn’t. Change is hard, sometimes.

How would you define your relationship with your barber or hair dresser. How have your animals taken to being groomed?

A Special Gift

Today’s post comes to us from Steve.

Robert was a painter whose wife, Donna, was his agent. Donna contacted me when I was editing a regional outdoors magazine. Robert hoped my magazine would publish a painting that he would create to my specifications. Although Robert had never painted wildlife before, the February, 1978, issue of Fins and Feathers featured a bobcat painted by Robert.

I later asked Robert to paint the cover for my first book, Modern Pheasant Hunting, which was just about to be published. Because Robert didn’t know what pheasants looked like, I invited him and his family for dinner so I could give him a pheasant taxidermy mount to use as a model. That dinner happened in September of 1979. My wife and I were in our third year of living in a pink bungalow in Saint Paul. Our daughter, a chatty toddler, had just turned two.

Robert and Donna were then living in a dinky rental home in South Minneapolis. Although Donna was ferociously romantic about Christmas, their home didn’t offer enough room to put up a scrawny Christmas tree. Robert, a freelance painter, had a meager and erratic income. He and Donna had not felt secure enough to take on a home mortgage.

In some ways, our dinner was “typical,” typical for how we entertained in those days. We served wine—not a “good” wine, for that would have been beyond our means, but a frisky dry white from Napa. I cooked the pheasant casserole that had become one of my signature dishes when guests dined with us. My wife prepared a side dish of wild rice with mushrooms and sliced almonds sautéed in butter.

Because we dined on a crisp night in September, we set a fire in the big fireplace. The old bungalow glowed and filled with the fragrance of burning oak. Robert described his experiences as a combat artist in Vietnam. I probably talked too much about pheasants. Brandy and Brinka, our dogs at the time, wriggled in next to us when we sat on the soft carpets before the fire.

Our dinner happened on a Friday evening. On Monday morning, quite unexpectedly, Robert appeared at my office with an object wrapped in paper. He thrust it in my hands, mumbled something and disappeared.

The gift—for that is what it was—was a watercolor Robert had made of my taxidermy rooster. Robert had painted it in one long, passionate session over the weekend. The painting included squiggly lines on the lower right side where Robert had cleaned his brush when going from one color to another.

On the lower left side Robert had written a message, a note to our daughter. He described the magic meal we shared when she was very young. Robert said he and Donna would never forget that special evening.

 

I later learned more about that. Robert and Donna were bowled over by the feel of our shared evening. It all blended together—the wine, the talk, the food, the charm of a 75-year-old bungalow, the dancing fire. By the time Robert and Donna got home they had decided to buy a home.

We had dreams, or at least the adults present that evening did. The dreams did not fare well, although Robert and Donna did buy an old Victorian home in South Minneapolis. My wife was going to get her PhD and teach English, but she never did. Robert anticipated a satisfying career as an artist, although that never happened as he pictured it. While I was thrilled by my work as an editor, that dream died in a long, sorry struggle. Worse, both marriages eventually failed. I don’t know what became of Robert and Donna’s children. I don’t know what will happen to the little girl to whom the painting was dedicated, although a splendid outcome is still entirely possible for her.

That’s how it goes. I could dwell on the ways our dreams unraveled, but I don’t. I remember a lovely aromatic evening when everything seemed possible. This is easy to remember because Robert’s pheasant and its heartfelt message are on my wall, and I smile to see them every day.

Do you remember a special gift?

 

Pack Rat Cat

We have a large throw rug in our entry way  that is soon to be replaced.  The rubber backing has disintegrated and it crumples up easily.  I shook out the throw rug on Saturday and was surprised to find a number of things that had gone missing  under the rug crumples.  I found the stylus for Husband’s cell phone, several twist ties for bread bags that had disappeared from the counter, and a couple of pens.  How did they get there?

Millie, our Tortie cat, loves to knock things off of tables and counters and bat them on the laminate floor.  They spin so wonderfully, and if you bat them to the throw rugs you can hide them under the rugs and then stick your paws under the rugs and fish them out again.  Since Mom and Dad are tired of smoothing out the throw rug,  treasures can stay there for quite a while.

We have a jar of twist ties in the kitchen that I used to keep on the counter. Millie loved to fish them out of the jar and bat them all over the house. Now they are in the cupboard.  Once, in the middle of the night, I heard her sliding something in the hall, and found her trying to put Husband’s glasses under the rug.  What a great kitty game! She is never bored.

What games do your animals play? What games did you like as a child?