Archive for the 'cats' Category

Quiet time with cats

I’m still here, slowing down to take time to walk around the neighborhood, observing how the neighbors’ flowers are growing. I’ve been enjoying observing the figs as they slowly ripen on the branches – a wonderful change from last year. And, like many people, I’ve taken up bird watching because I’m curious about which bird is making noises (mostly blue jays this season). On a road trip, I saw a blue heron and an egret flying. Marvelous!

I did get to see some family after over a year of waiting. But mostly, I’m enjoying quiet time with cats.

And loud times with cats:

  • A bird is outside: outrage! Cue angry paws against the window pane.
  • The food has not arrived yet: oh woe! Oh woe for me, your starving baby….
  • The other cat is using the box. Cue soft thumps of bodies throughout the house.
  • You startled me. Explosion of cats in different directions.

It’s entertaining, if distracting.

The day job is busy (thank goodness). Slow progress is being made on the vest and the cross-stitch, when I’m not fishing for cats with the feather on a string.

It’s mostly cats here. And worry about the world, which is a bit overwhelming. But it’s mostly cats, who would love fresh tuna (not on their diet) or a real mouse (please no).

I haven’t been on Rav for a long time, because it’s fractious on my computer. But I may have to go on to check on some of the knitters whose blogs have gone into the aether. I’m going to be sporadic in posting because (gestures at the world). I’m sure you understand (nods in 2021, and hope everyone is staying safe).

Small creative pursuits

It’s been quiet, creative-wise, around here. Due to lack of workspace and cat interventions, I’ve had to put aside some of my bigger projects (sewing machine repair so I can make a muslin, some of my painting), and focus on small things when I have time. While the cats sleep, I’ve found free time and space for:

  • Knitting washcloths
  • Stitching beads onto my counted cross-stitch kit
  • Working on the front of the Artisan’s Vest

And of course there’s reading. Current poetry book: Whereas: Poems by Layli Long Soldier. Long Soldier’s poetry is fascinating, and very different. I think I’ve reread “Steady Summer” multiple times. Link to the publisher’s page:

Here’s a taste from “Steady Summer”:

"... through half-propped 
windows I swallow
grass scent the solstice
makes a mind
wide makes it
oceanic blue ..." 

Some of the poems are hard to parse, more visual than lyrical. Other poems require me to look things up in history books, because I’m not familiar with Oglala Lakota background, environment (anything, really… and it’s my job to educate myself, since public school did not).

There have been brief travels, now that family are vaccinated, for quick visits. Seeing other environments has helped a little. And I went, fully masked, to see the Philadelphia Flower Show, which was outdoors (and kind of amazing). I’m trying to weigh what I’m comfortable with against what seems to be safe. It’s complicated…. I’ve also been limiting my time online (when not for work) and my time on Rav because I didn’t enjoy the headaches from the interface. Not sure if I will ditch my Rav account (I was one of the second wave of beta testers when the site went live). I think it depends on how weird that site gets.

So what are you reading or creating in your free time?

Not a creature was stirring

… not even a mouse.

So wrong. After observing lots of enthusiastic hunting by my furry assistants, I’m baiting the catch and release trap again. Raphael will be sad when his interactive toys are gone. Last night’s toy sat meekly in the trap with an expression that said “choices were made, and I regret all of them. Do you have any more peanut butter?”.

Advent Calendar – Day 25

Photo of an orange cat with stripes and big paws. He is looking directly at the viewer with big amber eyes. He is sitting on a table in front of a window with a paper shade.
I’ve been a good boy, and Santa should bring me a box of tissues to destroy. And cheese. Have you heard the gospel of cheese?

It’s little Christmas Eve. Time for rice pudding and more of the Lucia bread. Raphael votes for cheese (sheep or goat cheese would be the best).

Advent Calendar – Day 22

I know it looks like I’ve done the Advent calendar wrong, because I started in November (with the first Sunday in Advent). But this was one of those vagaries of American Advent calendars (25 days only beginning with December) and some of the European ones we got (it was an extra surprise when there were only 3 Sundays prior to Christmas on the December calendar, so there’d be extra days of chocolate…. or pictures). I’d rather have more pleasant surprises this year.

Photo of an orange cat with olive-amber eyes and en extreme closeup of his right front paw gesturing at the camera. Lots of toe floof.
This is a view I often see from my work computer. Look: toe beans!

He may THINK he’s saintly

Photo 1: an orange cat sitting on a floral bedcover. Photo 2: an orange cat standing underneath a table lamp with a stained glass shade. Photo 3: an orange cat asleep on a sofa, with a round pillow standing up behind his head like a halo.

Raphael’s life with us has spanned grief over the loss of an elder cat to joy at new jobs to everyone staying home all the time while a pandemic makes everything topsy-turvy.

He may think it’s been boring, but it’s been anything but. He now has actual hours where he sleeps like a big cat (and grows like a panther), so I can get some work and knitting done. He wants to smell everything new that comes into the house (including candied ginger and candy corn).

I sent photos to the neighbors, and their toddler thinks he is HIS cat. So precious.

I still miss Leia, but it’s getting easier.

At home with cats

We had an outdoor visit with one friend (who dangled a string outside on the porch, to Raphael’s delight). But mostly we’re staying home except for things that must get done:

  • Going to get provisions (food market or pharmacy)
  • Mailing letters/packages to family
  • Evening walks when most people are indoors

Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are out and about. This limits outdoor time, although I’m considering a brisk afternoon walk to return a library book (and look at neighbor’s gardens). This indoor time gives me opportunities to snap photos of Raphael. So here’s my beautiful model in the morning light.

Orange cat looking to the right. Radiator and window with sunlight in the background. Purple walls, white window frame, green leaves outside.
If you look closely, there are two cat faces….

When kittens turn into cats

We’re at that point where he goes from cat to kitten to cat again.

Anyone know how to mark when a kitten becomes a cat? He’s one year old, and full of opinions, but still seems to be growing. This week, his fur got longer. The other cat is vaguely resentful that he breathes her air.

Kittens get bigger

One of my Dad’s argument against getting a kitten was that the kitten wouldn’t be small for long. As a child, I thought that having a kitten grow up was the point. I may have secretly hoped to adopt a tiger by mistake, so I could have protection from the angry dog at a house I walked past on the way to grammar school.

Raphael turned 10 months old this May the Fourth. He is busy ensuring that his big sister doesn’t get too much peace and quiet. Sometimes they both curl up on different surfaces for a long drowse. With the world being a little weird these days, I’m glad he’s in my life.

  • Even if I wear a mask to drop him off at the vet’s like it’s a clandestine exchange.
  • Even if he’s a pain sometimes (wires… those on the VCR are wonderful and worth pawing and pulling).

When I’m not working, conjugating verbs for class, swearing at the sewing machine or trying to knit, I’m busy playing with the kitten. Because they do get bigger, and now’s the time to teach him how to play with humans with his stabby claws sheathed.


It’s been about 2 weeks since Leia left us, after rapidly losing weight, etc. She had aged to a point where it seemed unkind to force her to stay with us. In her increasing confusion, she had started to respond to the kitten like he was her precious Malkin, back from his long trip beyond. It was hard, but we wanted her to be able to leave before another debilitating illness.

Cats are precious, complicated, crabby creatures.

Leia was a princess.

She had a tangential relationship with the litter box (distressing). She didn’t like treats. But she loved her catnip lobster (lobbie), catnip frog, and her red sparkle ball. She was a fierce hunter, although most mice got smothered under her. She loved us, once she figured out what we were (she spent months and months under the bed, hiding).

And most of all, she loved Malkin. She still looked for him in her final months. We hope Malkin was waiting for her, to welcome her home and wash her ears. I like to think they’re both young again, sitting together on the back porch, watching squirrels and cardinals in the yard. Hopefully there are tins of salmon and laser light toys.

In an electronic age, when you lose a pet, there are strange stages of loss. You email and text friends, who grieve with you. You switch out photos on your phone’s locked screen. I am lucky to have one adult cat and a kitten to distract me, but it doesn’t fix the recent loss that then triggers an overwhelming remembrance of ALL things lost.

Peace to our tiny salmon goblin. Peace to the Queen.


Flickr Photos