I’m on a roll. Ok, I give up. American slang can be pretty confusing. A “roll?” – like a biscuit? – something you eat? And why would I be on it? Yeah, it’s confusing. But just “roll” with it. Eh? It’s why I illustrate my point.
Another non sequitur, poor Casi has a scratch across her nose courtesy of Lulu. I just noticed it. She’s the beta to Lulu’s alpha. But she’s tough. Someone is gonna complain about my use of unlinked pronouns. Which “she?” You just gotta “roll” with it. Ha!
Slow news day, so go for the easy subject. Shoot your cat. Well, my cat, and, no! I did not shoot my cats. And you should not shoot your cats either. I got some grab shots. Yeah, grab! I guess it’s ‘cause I grabbed my camera and shot them. …with the camera! – not a gun! Oh please, maybe I’m a bit punchy? Or would that be punchie? Yes, my daughter will complain again. No cats were harmed making…. They play. They tease. They destroy.
My lovable cat likes to get on my desk and stretch out fully, legs extended, and pushes off all the desktop contents. That would be my external hard drives! Yikes! Fortunately, no hard drives were injured either. Casi is smart. She can smell the black string after she bit on it. She traced it to two different drawers. And she did not understand the concept but did manage to pry the drawers open. She opened my corner kitchen lazy Susan cabinet. She got inside. The trick is getting back out. That is not so easy. She got stuck in there! Meanwhile, she likes string. And I like to get pics. So we had a session. Everyone got something. Humor? If you are here for the jokes, it’s not me. I’m a very serious kind of guy… Shoot! If Casi had destroyed my external hard drive I would not be in good humor at all. Gee, English can be so ambiguous.
There are questions that have no safe answer. Try, “Do I look fat in this dress, honey?” Try to answer, ‘Yes (you are),” or “No (you were, but not now).” Get my drift? I realize that there are a lot of people in my audience who are not attuned to American humor. In fact maybe I don’t have humor at all. Do you see the glass “half empty?” or “half full?”
I shot a moose once. (Yes, it’s obvious. I photographed it.) And someone in the audience asked me if I had really “shot” it. Seriously, he was very impressed (that I shot it)! No, dopey! I don’t shoot animals. I photograph, but I do not shoot. Actually, I shoot whatever is there. Get it? Well, try to understand that I am not working with a full deck and American slang humor can sail right over your head. Sorry.
As long as we are on the subject (vaguely) I was called out by my daughter. “Did you play with the puffer?” Caught! She immediately knew that the puffer was only puffed because I had provoked it. Smart cookie, that kid of mine. I deny that any fish were injured in the making of this photo. However, she contends that I have shortened its life by scaring it. Go figure!
With the very long preamble, I ask, “Do you like your photo portrait with direct or indirect gaze?” Subtle, but definitely different, it’s a matter of choice or taste. For me, I like a direct view straight on. But it’s definitely disconcerting to look straight away into someone’s eyes. It’s much more intimate. Hey! It’s a cat. Lulu’s my cat at the moment I don’t exactly ask her to look at me. I try to get her to look in my general direction and then get my camera into her face. She’s tolerant. She doesn’t get it. But she is occasionally in one place long enough for me to get a couple shots. The portrait is a success based on dead on focus on the eyes. After that composition and the rest are up to you. There are so many bad pics out there. Try harder. And it is affirmative, “a good fish photo has the eye looking toward you!” Mooses too!
The experiment lasted until evening. Then I tested the waters and Bidi left. She’s much happier. So much for my theory about being out in 100 degree weather with a fur coat – it hot! Right? I think that she might have come around. But hey!
Meanwhile, I’m back to Lulu and Casi. Suddenly they get along better. Imagine that. Neither cat disliked Bidi. But seemingly the inside cats are closer since Bidi left. Bidi is back outside and lurks by my door to await food. We’re all good around here. You can’t win ’em all. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.
It often find myself looking at the background of the photo.In that case you will see my computer screen. I go to Amazon and read the NY Times. And the article is about mean things said by supporters at Trump’s rallies. Cats are curious and like to get in my business. And I tolerate a lot. How else could you get such a photo op?
No diving again. I was almost there and got the word that the waves were too high. Darn! I headed home. What to do? Ah! Cats. I have lots, too many, pictures. Only a few select can be posted. Picture fatigue. Funny, some folks don’t mind my prose. And then David complained the other day about my not giving him sentences. It was messaging. You don’t use sentences? I’m old. The protocol and communication via email and social media are lost to me. Fine! He was asking if Freeport was worth a visit. He never said that. It’s an outlet center. Shopping. LL Bean. That store is open 24/7. Really! Oops, no sentence again. Drat. Darn. He’s on his bike trip to Nova Scotia. There is no margin to carry extra weight. “Don’t go,” I advised. He messaged back later, “It’s a nice town.” Following advice seems to run in my family.
Anyway, I got a lot of cat pics after I brought Bidi in. It’s suddenly quiet. And then only Lulu and Casi appeared when I made noises to draw out any cat’s curiosity. Bidi was hiding. Ah! She’s got Casi’s old spot. And suddenly Casi and Lulu get along. Imagine that! No, no, no, fish not cats, I’m a fish person. I shoot fish. Repeat and repeat again, I shoot fish. Oh my! Those are pinned back ears. Lulu has been admonished enough that she checks with me before she is about to eat Casi. … no cats were harmed in the making of this photo.
Why can’t I learn? Enough is enough. Back to my regularly scheduled posting. The answer to the answer of the first question is that I like to poke the bear. “Don’t poke the bear.” I have my indoor cats. And then there are outdoor cats. For a while now Bidi has hung around my door. She has been right there when I opened the door. She is under the hedge and waits for me to come home. She’s a regular and eats just like Lulu and Casi. Those two are in A/C comfort.
You can see where this is headed. Yup, I scooped up Bidi and put her down inside the door. Lulu to her credit was not fur flying hissing up a fit. I think she may remember Bidi from when they were outside together. Sniff…Casi was timid but curious.
Both watched Bidi explore and mewl. She was a while getting used to being inside. About an hour, no noise, no yowling, no blood, no fur, gee! Am I glutton? Well, this way it’s easier. And Bidi will eat as she pleases instead of waiting in the heat for me to show up. I’m really doing everyone a favor, right?
You have three kids. Which one is your favorite? Trick question! But there is always a soft spot for your first. And then there is the consideration of who photographs the best. Sometimes graphics triumph. But, I’m not taking sides here….
Thank you to all the kind readers of my blog. Many friends comment from time to time. They read my posts. They don’t comment in the comment area. So it is pleasant to find that at least there is some audience for my meandering adventures and poor prose. Miss Digman my 7th grade sentence diagramming teacher would be horrified at my sentence structure…. Thank you cousin Vicki. You are the latest to boost my ego with your kind email.
Ain’t it always the case? You hear pet owners just gush on and on. I have two cats now. They adopted me. Let me tell you, there is a God. I did not know I needed them. But they came in the door, one a few months back, and, the other in recent weeks. I’m old so my time sense is foggy as to exact dates. Does it matter to my story? Hey, it’s my story, right? Lulu the grey with green eyes and Casi the orange eyed cat are like your kids. Different personalities with different temperament forced to coexist with a nutty human who likes the entertainment they give. In return I feed them and clean up after them.
Recently, yes, that’s blood in the window. A couple drops here and more scattered around my desk. Who’s bleeding? Damn! I think it was me! I have scratch marks all over now. I draw the line at unmentionable parts of my anatomy but there have been some close calls. No I do not consider myself deviant or perverted. But the cats have free reign. And sometimes teeth and claw meet, well…parts. Everything is sharp and I get skin break and blood loss. In this case more blood was lost than I realized. The fact that the cats have an armed truce does not help. But from my examination, neither have any wounds, just me. So it’s my blood. No, I’m not running any DNA testing. And I’m not gonna be tasting it. My blood, my story, and I’m sticking to it.
After a few weeks Lulu has at least tolerated Casi being in the house. Casi creeps about near the walls very slowly so she makes herself a nonthreatening target for Lulu. Life goes on. Mostly they tolerate one another. When I return from work they are both near the door and appear uninjured. Every once in a while one or the other will go full tooth and claw and that’s when I get damaged. My fault. (And please ignore the mess. This is not about housekeeping. That couch is my dive gear deposit center.)
Stalking is allowed. Lulu hunts. Casi watches. She often turns her back to taunt Lulu. Lulu knows enough to not attempt to eat Casi in my presence. And Casi is more affectionate because she often nestles in my lap for protection. Hey, it works. Sleeping arrangements have been made. I get the middle of the king bed. Lulu sleeps over the down comforter on top of my legs. I always wake with the dream of being trapped in quicksand and can’t get out. Casi is afraid but recently has taken to sleeping under the covers right up against me. She is not there at the start of the night. Lulu is guarding me. Casi sneaks in later and I find her next to my head or hip in the morning. It seems to be a habit now. During the day, it’s fine to be apart. But at night everyone has staked out their spot on the bed.
Playtime is more interesting. Everyone likes string. They chase and claw and bite at bits of string I have around. I have taken to hiding a piece. Otherwise it will be hidden someplace and be lost as a source of fun. Out of sight, out of mind? No! Casi can smell it. She pried it out from under a brochure. It was easy to shove all the papers on the floor. And that string was missing for a day or two. Then I stuck it under a book. Heavy and not so easy to move, Casi sniffed it and started to push that book. Ok! A drawer, out of sight and really, out of mind! No! She sniffed it out. She went to the very drawer and puzzled at it. Up, upright, upside down…and she even opened the drawer. She does not get the meaning of drawer handles but managed to open the drawer a couple times. It surprised her. And her paws promptly shut the drawer. Before she could get the string I tied it up on the window handle. So far she hasn’t noticed it.
Child proofing means outlet covers. Cat proofing means all things that break off the flat surfaces. My computer hard drives are all fair game. So far they step around all my cameras. No accidents yet, but my place is a disaster waiting to happen. Remember, I mentioned that my cleaning skills were minimal. If the dust lay in an even pattern, leave it. Now there are paw prints all over and the dirty paw prints in my tub are a sure sign that I need to do something. A vacuum cleaner! Yup. It’s a major purchase. Did it. I recommend it to anyone who wants to clean up after a cat.
Did anyone happen to notice that all the plugs do not fit the wall receptacles? Really, I don’t exaggerate. The large three prong plugs were mandated by the king. No shit! And then no one told anyone that all the wall outlets have a different plug receptacle. No shit! Everything you own has to have its own adapter. It’s good to be king. And I have 100v and 220v outlets that look the same. It must have driven the previous occupant mad. He wrote the voltage in magic marker on each outlet. Thanks.
Hiding is a cat thing too. Lulu hides in the downstairs maid’s room under one of the beds. She doesn’t think I know the spot. And I don’t let on I know. We are both happy that way. At least I know her spot. Casi uses the upstairs dresser. There is no back. She can get behind and into the cabinet and hide to her heart’s content. Lulu would too. But I found her spot early on and she never goes there anymore. Privacy! Everyone, even pets, needs it. But the refrigerator? Yup. Casi jumped behind the refrigerator. There’s no space! Well, she managed. Now what, stupid? How are you getting out of this? The cabinet next to the fridge has no kick board. So she got into that space along with all the mouse droppings and the dead insects. The kick board in front opens (fortunately) and I was able to free her without wrestling the fridge. I don’t think I would have found her except I heard cat mewling and looked around the fridge.
Lulu couldn’t resist. She had to try. She jumped behind and I heard the same mewling later. But that darn cat jumped out from behind as I began to look. Damn! She scared me. But then one day, she decided to hide there. For an entire afternoon I searched. And I even looked under her bed. She hid out of sight and did not appear until late afternoon. That was no fair. She had me worried. Not a peep, not a sound, just sat under the dirty dusty cabinet all afternoon right around the corner and just out of sight of my flashlight. Now? I stacked some boxes of chips high against the fridge. So far no one has gone back there again. (Shhhh… don’t tell the kids where the junk food is.)
So that’s cat tails. They are definitely a great distraction. My nurses are horrified. Dust, dirt, feeding, cleaning, bathing….how do you bathe them? I don’t. They wash themselves by licking themselves. Ewwww! Even worse. Cats never come when you call but are always lurking close by. They know where I am. That works for them. And every once in a while they ask for and give affection. Everyone wins. Go ahead. Ask me which is my favorite? Ha!
The more the merrier…?
I should listen to advice and leave well enough alone. I’ve been doing quite alright. I have a pretty staid life… if you can call being a fireman waiting for a fire, staid. I’m on call to the ER and anything can happen. It often does. And occasionally, I am reminded not to wish for what I am careful about…. Right! Lulu the cat wandered in one day. I felt a little guilty. She seemed so tame and I suspected that she had escaped someone’s house. So far no one has come looking. Lulu came fixed. I immediately noticed the stitch from the operation. We had our trial and error; the introductory period was rocky. I’m not a cat person except by default. Lulu was the on who had adopted me. Several days ago another cat came around. She arrived with the usual crew to eat. They have names – the ones who are regular. Bidi – dumb as a stone – always waits outside my door. She meows and lets me know she’s hungry. Lily – lurks – and has terrorized Lulu in the past. They are not friends from the last rodeo. Two or three males show up infrequently. They do not have names. They give the picture of old and grizzled. Then a new cat showed. There are three groups as near as I can tell. Black and white; orange and white; and grey and white – the groups are distinctly colored and do not seem to mix. The new one was female young and quite eager to get into my business. I saw her once and then not again for a few days. But she came around again and this time I brought her inside my villa. Mistake! Lulu was immediately hissing and yowling. Her hair stood on end. She was pissed! Scary really.
I did it for her to have company when I was working for long hours. I imagined she’d be bored alone. I have already been advised that this is a bad idea. Cats are territorial. But? They are out in the compound and wild and get along, don’t they? I guess not. So feed six have two. I got two in now. So far it’s a standoff. I’ve lost blood. They have sharp claws. The new cat is timid to a degree. She’s indicated that she’s staying. And?! She’s also been fixed. What is it with females and me? All fixed. Good. Easy. No new cats later to worry over. Was she also a house cat – escaped? Name? Ah! Lulu got her name from my ‘net search for Arabic names. It means pearl. Lil had her name for a day. I wanted another “L” name. The single syllable name did not cut it. Besides, it was the name of someone’s awful cousin. Okay! Creamsicle?! She’s orange and white; uh uh, nope, nada, thumbs down on that suggestion. It’s a name not a product I sought. Voila! Casi – it has the letters of creamsicle and has two syllables. It works. She’s a very sweet docile cat. I wish could recall the same memory for some of my old girl friends.
Meanwhile the fur flies. Lulu has barely made friends. Territorial, oh my, if they don’t make peace soon, someone’s gotta go. I’ve been scratched and bled – all in the name of perceived loneliness and friendship. I hope it’s all worth it. For now, separate places, separate food dishes, separate water and I try not to favor one or the other.
Casi hides out where she has some tactical advantage. She’s younger. But I think in time she will be bigger than Lulu. Hopefully she doesn’t get the same habits. There are good and bad. What have I done? “Poked the bear.” When everything else had settled down to just about alright, I went ahead and poked the bear! Two female cats – I’ll be sure to let you know if they get along.
I am stuck. The blog has begun to dictate to me. I take photos underwater and compose snappy posts. Lately I am taking photos or not based on whether they are blog worthy. So, here is my confesstion and a start of a new day.
I’m not a comic. And it started as a blog to tell the story behind the photos I take and have taken. And to all who read and follow thank you. I have appreciated all of you who follow. I have been lacking in expressing my thanks and only a few of you today will know that. All the followers do not read on any given day. But to you all, thank you for reading and following. I do not believe that this includes my kids or wife at the moment.
Funny. Lots of stories about them and … Suffice to say I was warned about embarrassing my daughter. I will recall to you that she sent a plaintive email telling me her students had stalked her online by searching her first and last name. The great “Google” put her name and mine together and voila! She was there for all her students to see. So now she is referred by a nickname only.
Gmail reads my stuff too. I was asked about forgetting to add an attachment. I had referred to something using the word. And before I sent, they asked! Is the government breathing on the other end of my ‘net connection?
An electric car now drives by computer and sensors without a driver. It’s safe. It had one fatality and everyone has called for the death of the driverless car. Let’s say that human error has resulted in way more death. Shall we remove humans and be safer? Ah! The rub!?
So never in my life, and it has been a long and opinionated one, did I ever imagine being a cat person. Nope, never, don’t like ‘em, don’t want ‘em. They are not affectionate and don’t come when you call. No tricks. No particular entertainment value. And no one says, “What a pretty cat!” when you walk it. I guess it’s ‘cause you don’t have to walk it. Ah! Litterboxes are so much fun!
So to post now and again about Lulu has to the delight a number of people who have known my dog – Reggie – and then – Nellie, two Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Royalty. Dogs of kings and queens. Lulu – pearl in Arabic – a mutt of no known family – feral living in my compound behind closed walls, adopted me. Yes, she came inside one day, escaped once or twice, was set free a couple more times, but has now settled in as the ruler of my villa. She has been in all the bedrooms and has dusted. That is to say she has raised all the dust and moved it into the room. I might have to dust the rooms after studiously ignoring the fine layer of evenly distributed dust since I moved in.
She squeaks, so her middle name is “Squeaky.” Otherwise she never speaks. She alternates swatting and swiping, with purring and sleeping. She has explored up and down. I am not cat proofed – until now! She loves wire and string. She is not allowed to eat my phone charger. She especially loves the end of my iPhone charger wire. You know, the lightning connector. Yeah, now my wires are all tucked away.
Lately she has taken to sleeping in my desk chair. She climbs on my desk (very messy and you don’t get to see…). There is barely an open square inch. She does not step on my keyboard. And she plops down and gazes out the window at the compound below. My window is the only open one in the whole compound. At night all the curtains are drawn shut and not bit of light escapes. Come to think of it, they stay closed during the day too. I am now owned by my cat. She adopted me, she came in, and now she runs the place. Yeah, “What me?” owner and cat.
Really? This is one crazy cat. He waits by the sink. Turn on the water. He can’t speak but he has trained me. He can leap from the floor to counter height in a single leap. Hey, if you can do that, the least I can do is turn on the water. Of course, the price is that I take a picture of the cat looking silly. Kids. If mine saw me taking embarrassing pics of them… poof, I’m out of the family. White cat, white sink, cool.
I thought cats hated water. I thought they hated to be wet. I thought they hated baths. And mostly I think they do – not like water. And there’s always the exception. His name is Willow. He’s fat. You would need side by side comparison. But trust me, he’s fat. Well, relative to Lulu, he is. Funny! I was never ever a cat person. The felines are not friendly and don’t do as you please. They don’t roll over and they never fetch. Cats train humans to do their bidding. How? It’s like being subservient to your spouse. You live longer. So. Willow stands by the sink. He jumps to the counter from a standing position. That would be like me leaping a nine foot wall in a single bound. Nope, not me, not on a good day and never ever on a bad day. Then he waits. Lurks. Just sits patiently until I notice him. Then he gets all excited. I let the water trickle and he might jump into the sink or not. He will let the water run over his cheeks. And he will lap at it. This goes on for several minutes. Then he’s done. Meanwhile I watch. He gets soaked. He soaks the counter and the floor. He splashes and frolics. I get to clean up. It’s kind of like cleaning up after my kids. Oh joy!