Remember Yogi (Berra)? He said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Nikon D70. The price was expensive but reasonable. Heretofore, digital SLR cameras cost upwards of $10k. Yikes! I got home from work and opened the box. Yes, I work late, really! And, I took pictures of the living room and kitchen. … and the family dog. I tried the built-in flash. The cow was a porcelain replica of large cows painted and distributed around public spaces in NYC. The ivory figure was a gift. It was used by women to point at areas of their body which were ailing. Modesty must be served. That figure was lost to me in the divorce. But, I can visit it.
How things changed! I timed the D70 purchase to use it for David’s graduation. It turns out that I never shot another frame of film from that point. Clean break! Complete. It was so abrupt. Done.
Quintessential Maine, Somesville bridge. It’s not my best effort, but this was a long time ago and before I knew better. The first balloon festival (for me) had the searing memory of Lisa dipping her poison ivy covered arms in a bucket of ice at a soda vendor; no, not pictured here. How about a field of wildflowers they planted just for my camera? My dog Nellie, I loved that dog! One more summer image, fishing, the water was about 18 inches deep. But, you get the idea. Idyllic, childhood. It was a different time. Good. Better, that’s harder to say.
The saying goes: black cat in a room at midnight. Shooting (photographically) a black dog is near impossible – for me. Reggie defied many attempts to get a proper picture over the many years he lived. He was a sweet dog. And, I miss him. And, I don’t (miss him) because he was impossible to photograph. He would often appear as a black shapeless blob in my photos. And then once in a while – well, he was a sweet dog. Nuts! He loved to chase 18 wheel tractor trailer trucks. But sweet! Have I said that? Yeah, I loved that dog. A lot. Really!
I only had one black dog. Ha ha. I only had two dogs in total. But Nellie was white. The trouble with black dogs is that they don’t photograph well. Camera meters don’t like to calculate the exposure for a black dog. Oh, sure I had pictures of Reggie. But mostly there was a black lump sitting there next to my kids. He was not photogenic at all. This is one of the rare times the light was good to him. It’s one of my favorite shot of him. I’m way better (photographer) but I’m still wary of a black dog. No, (ha ha) we don’t have a black cat.
My cats like to curl up and sleep in our game boxes. Geez, the boxes are small. They don’t really fit. Why? It’s a puzzle to me. Ha ha, a game maybe. Anyway, I don’t have a ready image of the cats at hand. They also sleep in our baskets. Any available basket is fair game. I came across this slide of Nellie. She’s curled up in a Christmas box. Content. Oh! The top is why I thought of the title for this post. Contrived. Which? I miss that dog! But then there are seven crazy cats in my life now.
It’s a game. What if there were a fire? Which cat (kid) would you save if you could (had) only grab one? It’s a dilemma! It’s a conundrum. A cat, a mouse, and a fox need to cross the river but you may only take them one a time in a rowboat… Cats don’t come when you call them. Ha! Try it! It doesn’t work that way. Well, they show up for “wet” food in the morning. Then each has his/her own eating spot. I caught/crated them that way when we went to the vet. Sure, make sure the fire occurs when it’s feeding time… otherwise it is no easy task to corral a cat. Which one? Well, we debated. There are five (cats). The closest, the favorite, the one you can catch at that moment? Yeah, yeah, you love them all equally! But secretly? We’re still working out the details. Meanwhile, it has rained the past couple days. I mean, deluge!
And while we’re talking water… you are in a tunnel (say Brooklyn Battery in NYC more than a mile long). It collapses and the water is rushing toward your car. Save yourself. No, you cannot bring a scuba tank. And you cannot breathe underwater and swim for a mile without oxygen/breathing. How do you get out (alive)? I would drive and sit in traffic for countless hours and ponder this riddle/problem. I found a workable solution. It’s elegant. It’s practical. It took me countless hours. So, you don’t get the solution for free. It costs pennies. And you don’t need a scuba tank.
It reminds me of American Gothic. Sorry, it’s not too similar. But…it fits for me. They pose. I shoot. Everyone is happy. These days happy is good.
Cute! Now I know what it’s like to be “cat proud.” In lieu of speaking of your kids, it’s an obvious option. Pets can calm you. Therapy! I’m in need of sedation. This pair of characters are at least friendly enough. Lulu and Cassie were never buddies. “Friends” are better.
It becomes felt when you lie on it exerting heat, pressure, and rubbing. Willow was just visiting and rolling in the fleece. Plan? Washing and processing to make spun yarn. After that we will turn it over to a weaver. No felt please. Go back. Can you tell the difference between Willow and Patch? …not me.
It’s a soft sided basket a bit too small for Patch’s wide body eighteen pound frame. He’s a big boy even though there’s a lot of fur too. He loves his basket and sleeps there for hours at a time. He’s laid back. Shares. Someone else comes along and sleeps in his spot, Patch is cool. He’s got good taste. We can’t seem to find another like it. Go figure.
Who knew? Who’d have guessed? Fish, cats… It’s not a year since…it’s been quite a year. But back in February 2016, Lulu came into my life. This year it’s Spice/Feather. Cats! I don’t like cats.
I like dogs. I loved Nellie. Just about the time when I really needed a friend, Lulu came in. And when I had to leave Lulu behind, Spice and Feather have entered. I miss Nellie. Who wouldn’t? And there are still Elle, Willow, and Patch. Characters, one and all.
By now you know about new kitties in the house. They are sisters and pretty much identical. Side by side I can tell them apart. Pick one up alone and it’s not so easy. One feature that is striking is their long tails. Beautiful.
Now to recognize them and use the right names. Do they know their names? Who knows? They are both characters. Fun! So face on look at the vertical stripes on their face. Different. Good. That’s a start. Famous sisters? Thelma and Louise were out. You know what happened to them. And so forth… They are cats… Spice and Feather. I hope Feather remains light. She’s the heavier sister to start. I know I will rename her “Weight.”
Imagine (nightmare) turning your pet loose on the tarmac of the Jeddah airport. At the terminal you are taken by bus and walk the tarmac upstairs to board. I can tell you the process. I know the steps. And at the very last, just before the accept your precious pet, there will be one last paper to file or fill or a stamp you failed to attain. Imagine all of that and trying to get you and your tech out of the country? I was warned and luckily did not try it. Thank goodness!
Here’s what I know. US Customs will accept your pet without quarantine if certain steps are followed. There are forms to be obtained. And there are state forms needed. There is a website and for $15 you can get the forms. Or you can get them direct but you might miss a form. You need a health certificate from a Saudi vet. The pet needs a chip. A rabies vaccine must be administered at least 30 days in advance. The airline requires specific travel crates. The Department of Agriculture must examine and approve the export one week before the flight. You must visit airline cargo one day in advance of travel and be approved. You go to the airport early on the day of the flight and check your pet at the check-in counter. Good luck! There are simply too many moving parts. Anyone, anywhere along the line can foul up the whole process. I’m glad I gave up. I just imagined opening the travel crates on the tarmac and that was enough.
Traumatic!? You bet. I released Casi and Lulu on Thursday afternoon. My flight was at 6AM Friday. I was not about to chase two cats at 2AM before I left for the airport. I nudged Casi at the door and off she went. I never saw her again. She seemed a bit surprised but more than willing to brave the heat of Jeddah. Lulu left me shaking. She was not going. She did not understand. And she fought me tooth and claw. It was one of the saddest things I ever did. I caught her up in a big towel and got her out the door. That evening she peered at me from the bushes but would not come near. The hardest thing was not being able to explain that I was leaving. At least she’s safe in the compound. I hope.
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….
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.
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!
Cats. I wrote about the bunch I have befriended. They are an independent lot. They come around when I whistle. I feed them. Lulu has adopted me. She moved in a couple days ago. And though I open the door, she stays. About the last thing I expected was to be chosen by a cat. Trust me. It’s a surprise to me too. To be sure, they choose you. Badi is friendly and loves to be petted. He comes to the door but won’t come in. Lily and Butch still swipe at me when I feed them. Lulu walked through the door and then proceeded to explore. Her tail was high in the air and trembling. Apparently she approved of my incredibly messy villa. She made no move to leave. She and I learned about kitty litter together. I will say that cats are smart. She got the concept immediately. Dogs do not. We are going slow.
Lulu had her first overnight. She’s been here a day. Eat, sleep, explore, and play. So far so good. I was never too good with diapers. So me and kitty litter are having issues. First of all they don’t sell much cat food. The grocery in Delaware had a whole aisle devoted to pet food. In Jeddah there is a small section and few choices. And there is no litter box. And, whoever heard of clumping! I’m not sure what I got into here. But I belong to Lulu now. Let’s see where it goes. Fetch, roll over?
Snapshots, photos, and others – my categories of images. Images is now the term because it is no longer film. Digital reigns. No more film, long live film. I mostly take snaps with my iPhone. Photos are for my Nikon. Others are more photojournalism. And the lines blur because I don’t consider much; the quality is pretty good. I just press the button. So here’s one crazy cat. He likes water. Cats don’t like water? But Willow comes running whenever the faucet runs. He can do a standing jump to the ledge from about 40 inches. I’m impressed. You should be too. That’s a lot of height for a cat to jump. And then he perches hunched over the sink and tries not to fall in. He licks the drips. I cheated. I wanted an image. So I turned the water on low. Voila!