Word and Image

Cat

I can do it again

Jen’s garden philosophy is “sparse” but “showy.” Her specimens cry out of a garden catalog unlike the chaos that reigned in my garden. Each flower occupies a center of attention while it blooms akin to Japanese zen. Same picture, four times, different flower, one handed – I had the beer in the other hand.

And once more (twice now), seven cats, three sets of twins and Elle. I made up for it with two shots of Elle. I like even numbers. It wasn’t roll call. Can you even tell them (twins) apart? Same photographed cat twice? I have seven dishes to feed them wet food. And there is a cat for each bowl. The twins eat isolated in the bedroom to prevent them cruising the other bowls. The vet observed Nutley was a little too plush/f’ass (fat ass). F’ass? Balme Covid, everybody – you know who (shhhh) – gained weight? (I’ll pay for that last statement.) No names, please!! I’ve been done in by most excellent cheesecake. And yes, it was contagious – the darn cheesecake, no matter how small the slice.


Spooked

We, that is I and the cats, were out on the deck. Some noise? A stampede. They all charged to the door. Ok! Colleen opened the door and in! they went. Hey! I herded cats! It’s something that we all learned together. I can round them up. Really!


Nice ‘n easy

Tolerant. They (cats) just pose nonplussed as I click away. No, they do not pose on demand. Even loud strange noises do not get them to look in my direction. In spite of it all, I plod onward. Elle hides at the bottom of the bed where the covers provide her a tunnel of safety. …like an infant who hides their eyes and presumes you cannot see them. Feather does not often – but, occasionally, will stalk a mouse. Nutley looks forlorn. Nope, he’s just planning his next misbehavior. Elle is not in mid-stalk. She’s backing up to sit down. Spice inhabits an Amazon box. Every cat has been in and out of that poor box for months. They don’t tire of it though it has nearly fallen apart. All of these shots occurred while I walked around the house with the camera in one single day. Yeah! Easy!


Deck time

I’m too far ahead. We are in July as I write and it’s November as I publish. Too many good images, too little time. I should have made a cat blog. Have I said that before? They (the cats) like to look out through the rail. What? I don’t know. Longing? The photo below is not a selfie. It’s my attempt to shoot a view of the flower that is on a plant 6ft tall overlooking the rail. It’s a reverse view (like a dive with a full twist in pike position…). Forget it. I got a bee! That was a bonus. I did not intend to see myself. That was an unforced error. My cats? They are still wondering what’s outside the rails. …not me.


Good – Bad

The upper right and left are examples (i.e. poor exposure, composition) of pics placed in a newsletter posted by “cat proud” weavers who can’t take proper pics of their beloved cat. I laughed at Colleen. She contends they are sound (cute) photos. I disagree, of course. There’s no excuse for accepting a bad photo.

iPhone or camera? Jules makes a cogent argument for using her iPhone nearly exclusively. It’s always at hand. She will concede a camera is better. But iPhone is right handy. Me? Obviously, I’m all about the camera. (She shot with my camera.) Ha!


Painterly

The word “painterly” comes to mind. Of course, it’s not a painting. “Still life, with cat.” Perhaps. Whatever. It evokes a powerful emotion deep within akin to Proust’s La Madeleine. Every day I capture good images of my cats. Technically passable and fun, the images are too many to ever hope to post. And they are my cats. Cat proud? Sure. And, then along comes a shot that evokes some universal connection.


Evolution

No, not the genetic debate. (Shhh… there really isn’t any debate.) …It’s the change occurring in my photography as a result of change in my cameras. It has caused my technique to evolve. Evolution is slow and the change that results is subtle until it isn’t. I found the DSLR viewfinder of my Nikon D610 to be restricting. I got (am now) used to a movable LCD screen that allowed me to get down to eye level with my cats. This translated to: getting down to eye level with the flowers in my garden. There are a lot of moving variables to consider: shutter, composition, focus…. I get it that iPhone users just want to click and forget. All around me, family has little or no interest and they are quite content to have iPhone as their primary camera. That little tiny lens… Yes, a screw driver is a hammer in a pinch. But, the converse is untrue.


The toddler or the cat

The day after our visit with our granddaughter these thoughts come to mind. The granddaughter is heavier. Both are squirmy. Both communicate – just differently. I can hold both. My cat is better at close quarter hugs – so far. The granddaughter is more expressive. In a pinch a cat will do if you don’t have a granddaughter to hug. We almost kidnapped that kid when we left for home. I should’ve! I’m hugging that cat right now. Bittersweet, but, I think she knows I love her. (pronoun? specific?!) Okay!! She’s melted my heart.


Shaken not stirred

Afterward, I took immediate comfort in hugging my cat. It was that bad. I could not verbalize what I had just watched. I couldn’t’ speak/tell Colleen – who did not watch. It was like watching a train wreck. Takeaway – an autocratic bully unfit to be president – a loser who demonstrated more than ever how unfit he is – what kind of shit was that? I am not proud to have seen the “Office of the Presidency” treated with so little respect. But, then again, we knew – know – even he knows – he was always a PRETENDER! They gave the “RUMP” the wrong mood altering drug. With each new lie, revelation, and stupid act, I take comfort that this clown is nearly done. Clown? No, orange buffoon! He would give a clown a bad name. Say it like it is: This emperor has no clothes.


Wary

We all have our favorite’s. I belong to Feather. As a result, Colleen thinks I favor her most, like a favorite child we all secretly have. Ha!

I once operated upon a “confused” man with a brain tumor who had seven daughters. Before the surgery I asked him which daughter was his favorite. They all leaned in closely as he said, “Jennifer.”

“Humpf!” the oldest said, “He hasn’t got a daughter named Jennifer.”

Feather jumps on my lap for love and hugs. I oblige. But when I hug her she gets wary. Close is too close. For all of my most excellent cat portraits, the look of “wary” is rather unique. You know the look and its meaning without a word being spoken. How’s that for communicating? If asked to illustrate “wary” this would be the picture.


Empty nest

Sad! We had a sparrow nesting outside our window. The cats saw it. We kept the shade drawn after that. And one day… the nest was empty. Crows are in the neighborhood. I have seen them chased aggressively by red winged blackbirds. Evidently, they found mother sparrow and took her four eggs. Not even a shell was left. I don’t suppose mom will start over again. I am indeed sad. We were all anticipating the arrival of the new babies. Nope. We’re all sad around here.


IMG_0771

I did a search on the hard drive for a picture. These images all carried the number “IMG_0771.” The image number(s) recycles. It is the nature of digital cameras. Fish in the Red Sea. Cat in Delaware.

I was surprised by the images that had the same number spanning many years. The image of Jules, around 2007, and Colleen 2014. Jules – Maine or Vermont. Colleen NYC.

I was blown away by the mask and the drawn face. It was a bit of shock. I have no recollection of that joke, date and place, unknown. And then, there’s a cerebellar tumor, Jeddah circa 2013? As I recall we successfully removed that tumor and it’s recurrence. IMG_0771, this image, has been an interesting historical journey touching significant things in my life.


Flowers… and a cat

Some of the flowers lend themselves to closeups. It’s like cats… too numerous to count. Every day is a new opportunity. Take it.


Coming going

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I don’t often have cooperation from my cats. This one time they stayed put till I got around to the front of the window. Elle, Ray, and Nutley are an unlikely trio to sit in the window together. Just trust me on this point. And, to find her in the middle is actually quite brave of her. I feel like thanking them for posing. Crazy! Yes!

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Pet portrait

I could never be a pet photographer. Sure, I get great cat pics. There’s no pressure on me. If I get a good shot, I got one. Otherwise, send me on a mission for money… I have three sets of twins and one orphan. Right! I can’t tell them apart. Oh sure, there are some markings that tip you off. But on average I can tell which set of twins are which and not much more in a single glance. Seven cats. I ran around for a few minutes trying to photograph each in turn. If I showed you the same cat twice… Every once in a while, I set myself to see if I can get a shot of all seven within a single shoot. Ha ha!

One more comment: there are seven cats and eight pictures but nine cats in all the pictures. Need a pet portrait? ..willing to work for food.


Outside

Elle is our indoor cat. No outdoors. She had something happen before she came to Colleen. Who knows? But to get her out, it has to be perfect. She has to feel safe. Skittish? Always. But she has the urge of cow in her and wants to munch something green. Once in a while the urge overcomes her trepidation.


Special

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Well, this post was planned about two months ago. Somehow the text to go with the photo was separated (lost). The picture is one of the white twins. Patch or Willow? Colleen would know. Me? I just guess. Patch. Special? They are all special kitties. And Patch? He doesn’t talk, never complains, and just gets along with everyone. Yeah, he’s pretty special. Or, it’s special that I got this picture of Patch. He never looks at me. It’s special when I get a good look into his eyes.


Better

Sometimes I unintentionally post something. What was I thinking? It’s trash. Replacement? Action shot – Elle in motion, well, just about. She was poised to leap. It’s not easy getting motion. One of the sisters – I cannot always tell who is who – posed at my current favorite spot. More cats, I’m cat proud. There’s always someone about to keep me entertained. The trick is to have a camera at hand. I have enough cameras to keep one near at hand wherever I am in the house. Lucky!


Deck time

They gather. They line up in the window. Time to go out. My cats love the deck. Sorry, they are not outdoor cats. No escape. Yup, it’s like a prison camp. Indoors. It’s too pitiful to speak of. If I let them out onto the deck, Colleen is overwhelmed with fear a cat might be eaten by a bear. Ok ok, she’s had that happen. Me? I’m fat, dumb and happy. You pick – two out of three. So, I take pity. I let them out. No one has tried a second story jump. And our front balcony has no stair access. Good for us all. I hate chasing down our escaped cats in the big outdoors.


MOM

Cat in front of a dresser. It’s a graphic photo. Interesting. Museum of Modern Art quality. For me it was striking. Elle was kind enough to pose for me. Sure. Right?! But I got this picture. No post process. Out of the box. I think it’s worthy. Some of the no talent stuff we have seen, I’m equal to their talent on some days. Bored? Did they… or was I? Obtuse? … you wanna copy?


Box

I’ve been wondering how to post this story. Which image would illustrate? I have every cat multiple times nesting in this box. It came to our house and has stayed in the middle of everything out in the open and without any charm whatsoever. So, why? The cats all love it. I can’t bring myself to trash the silly box. It’s home. I can say they (cats) are not deprived. There are ample places to rest and lounge. My furniture and rugs have been scratching posts. Shudder, you don’t want to go there… Here’s Elle. She is the timidest of our cats. The others pick on her. There are frequent bouts of hissing – cat misunderstanding. Elle gets box time too. The others seem to respect the box as a neutral zone. Nonetheless with this background, Elle seemed to claim her spot rather emphatically on this occasion. If you are not laughing by now…


Nut

Nutley bangs on the bathroom cabinet door, bounces it open, and explores inside. It’s an interesting talent. I can hear him but don’t have a photo. Spice has decided to use the shower. She sat on the bench and stretched out. Yeah, go figure. Why? If I knew I would be happy to tell you. Meanwhile, we are constantly amused by the antics of our imaginative cats. Some things you just can’t make up.


Cats in my window…

… cats on my deck. I have two cats (sisters) who just like being out on the deck. There is Elle who is very tentative and mostly afraid. So, she is mostly in. The boys? Why is it always boys? (Colleen’s on the floor laughing – at me.) They are otherwise escape artists who lead us on a merry chase every time I take pity and let them out on the deck. Yes, they double as cows while munching on the greens. My solution? Harness or collar. One way or the other they are restrained. No one goes over the fence. I’m too tired of chasing them down. They could go if they want but then Colleen would never let me come home either.

The alternative is the window. The screen lets the noise and smells of outdoors in without the need for vigilance. Note: no cats were harmed in the making of this post.

… jump ahead – it’s July – looking back, and I must be (have been)  bored. It’s the third post about cat tricks in a short period. I’m in a rut. Alternatives?


Seeing into the past, now

Since I post about once a day but I have way too many more thoughts and pictures… I tend to get ahead in composing posts. I remain about two months ahead. It’s May and this will publish in July. Pictures? I cheat by posting multiples in my daily. Too many pictures, too many thoughts…

I wonder how things will have changed and when next I read this I will know my muddled thoughts on this day about two months ago. Yeah, it’s convoluted.

Last year I shot about 88 thousand images. To date I have about 8,800. We’re not having a banner year for subjects. I shoot empty grocery shelves, baskets, food, and of course the cats. There are icky shots. My cat Feather has allergies that persist from kitten age. I treat it. But it remains a constant problem. Food doesn’t look too appetizing next to a cat with allergies. It’s a fine juxtaposition on such a fine day.

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The news dominates our thoughts and dictates our movement. And there’s plenty misleading in the headlines. For instance, the restaurant did not open in defiance of the shutdown order. It had just “opened” as in newly launched. It’s a whole ‘nother side to the pandemic and a testament to “bad (extremely) bad timing.

David once asked, when he was about 3 years old, “When is tomorrow?” Think about it, and, it’s always today…. It’s a simple abstract that stopped me in my tracks and I continue to laugh at how simply he befuddled me.