Posts Tagged With: Cats

Slow and Huffy, or Morla the Box Turtle

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Morla has become quite the fixture in our home, despite his relegation to a corner of the dining room and relative inactivity.  He’s usually either in his pool or in his house, just hanging out.  If you’re lucky, he’ll blink and move his head a bit.

The reason he’s become such a fixture is because he’s hilarious.  Brian swears he looks perpetually grumpy no matter what he’s doing.  I think he looks smugly superior.  When you pick him up, he closes his shell and makes huffy noises as if he’s SO inconvenienced. Either that, or he waves his arms and legs around like he’s flying.  Before we bought him a fancy log house, he would turn over the one I made him from a tissue box and then try to dig through the bottom – or what used to be the top before he upended it. I cut out the bottom for him so he could dig into his loamy bedding, but I guess he doesn’t care.

“What the hell is that noise?” Brian would ask, before investigating.  “Oh…” he’d reply to himself with a chuckle.

Dots doesn’t know what to think, but has decided he needs constant surveillance.  The other cats don’t care.

We thought that Dots would get tired of him, because he really DOESN’T do much.  No sign of that yet.  Every time she gets on the dining room table, she ends up over there staring as Morla wiggles his shell back and forth, adjusting under the light, blinks and raises his head, or plods towards his new house to dig under it for a nap.  She stares if he’s not doing anything, though, too.

Her tail is a calm twitch, and she doesn’t make those chittering noises as if she wants to eat him.  She hasn’t attempted to get into his aquarium, either. She just stares, poised and intent, as he does his turtle thing.  It’s like cat TV.

It’s like human TV for us too – as good as watching an aquarium with all the fish swimming by.  You know, only less exciting.  Except for the constant glee that he seems to eminate.

I really thought I wouldn’t care at all about a turtle I can’t even touch (they can carry salmonella, so I’m a no with the baby on the way).  But he’s been a pretty good addition to what is slowly becoming a menagerie.  I’m glad Brian convinced me to keep him.

Morla is the name of the tortoise in Neverending Story if you were interested.  Bookish and nerdy at the same time – just what this household requires.

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Oh Christmas Tree

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I put the Christmas stuff up last weekend, but it never quite feels complete until the tree is in the house.  Brian and I bought the tree yesterday afternoon – a huge Nordmann fir from Home Depot that is bushy and beautiful in all the right ways.  We fell in love with it because the needles are this deep but fluffy green, silver underneath.  The branches are strong enough for heavy ornaments like the Noble fir, but it’s a little bushier like the Douglas fir.

I think we bought too big a tree, though.  We waited in line for the guys to cut the bottom off the trunk and then slip it through the doughnut of orange netting, but it wouldn’t go through the hoop.  It took 2 burly guys in orange aprons to tug the thing loose until it flopped free onto the black macadam of the parking lot with a swish.

We usually put the tree in the trunk, but it wouldn’t fit this time.  Luckily a 3rd Home Depot guy taught us how to tie it to the roof.  We don’t have a rack or anything and it wiggled up there every time I turned a corner driving home.

“That makes me so nervous!” I said to Brian.

“What does?”

“The way it wiggles up there.”

“The way what wiggles up there?” he asked.

“The Christmas tree!”

“There’s a Christmas tree on the roof?” he sounded shocked.

“There’s a Christmas tree on our roof,” I said, patting his knee.

He kept “forgetting” about it all the way home until I was laughing and cringing whenever I’d turn.

When we set it up in the house we realized it’s so big it blocks the entry until you almost can’t get through.

I’m still in love with it, though.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like with all the lights I bought on it.  Because we’re in one of those years where, of the 12 strands of lights in the box, only 1 strand isn’t half burned out.  I went to Target and bought twice as many lights as I thought I’d need so we’re covered, no matter how much girth the tree can boast.  Challenge accepted, Nordmann.  Challenge accepted.

 

I’m a crazy person about the lights, and that’s my task tonight.  I always wrestle with the tree to wrap a strand directly around the middle trunk before wrapping again from the outside.  It gives the tree a depth of twinkle that is unmatched.  It also, however, gives me sappy hands, needles up the nose, and scratched forearms.  Brian refuses to help anymore because he thinks it’s WAY not worth it.  But I’ll be enjoying my twinkling tree for another three weeks at least, baby.

The Floof, miss Jennyanydots, is on board with the tree too.  She likes to hide in things and jump out at you to attack.  Brian calls under the bed her murder cave because of the dust ruffle, and how many of his toes currently have puncture marks.  She’s already co-opted the tree for the same purposes; a yuletide murder cave of Christmas cheer.  Somehow, when the bible mentions making a joyful noise, I don’t think they meant growling cats fighting beneath the festive bows.  But that’s what we’ve got happening in my living room.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at home.  In some ways I’m pleased.  In others, it makes me even more panicked that I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet…

Also, have you noticed yet that it’s snowing on the blog?  My favorite thing of the season ever!

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Lyra Marsh, and Camp

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Camp NaNoWriMo?  Over tomorrow.  And I realized again why I never do camp… it just doesn’t feel urgent enough.  Which isn’t to say it wasn’t worth it.  I’ve started all 4 stories and finished 2 of them (one, it turns out, is going to be incalculably long.  The other involves domestic violence and was harder to write than I anticipated).

I have decided to let myself be a “winner” by validating, though, because I wrote well over the 10,000 words I committed to.  I think I may have even gotten 2 things that are publishable out of it, though they will need a lot of work.

The one GREAT thing that came out of all of this is Lyra Marsh.  I’m not sure what kind of a thing she will eventually be, but I might end up setting her up a blog where she can write about her trials and tribulations as an undergrad at Pragnum.  That’s my first thought.  I’m trying to share more of my work on this thing, so I made an inspiration board for her on Pinterest, here.  And below are the first few of her entries as a teaser.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who has ever drawn a witchsona, because you all are inspirational and Lyra is the proof.  J

I’m sort of in love with this girl.  Picky-Picky is also my favorite.

Lyra’s Blog:

Okay, so isn’t the first post on a blog supposed to be about who you are and why you think you want to blog?  That’s what they tell me.  Here goes:

I’m Lyra Marsh, student at Pragnum College, majoring in Warding, with a minor in Charms.  I used to live in the dorms, but my cat, Picky-Picky, couldn’t be there with me.  She’s a tortie; a mostly black cat with a splotch of orange on her eye and chest and little white feet.  Which means we broke the rules, of course, and got thrown out.  Picky-Picky is a non-negotiable subject.

Oh, not thrown out of college.  Just thrown out of the dorms.  I’m not that crazy.

Besides, what else would I do?  Go to a regular college and major in Colonial Salem?  I mean, there’s only so much history can teach you about how it’s better to just shut up about magic.

You would think that Pragnum would be more understanding about familiars, wouldn’t you?  But supposedly I’m “too young” for one, as they “only come to older witches who have reached their majority.” Maddening.  We don’t all work on a schedule, Pragnum.  As someone who knows about protection, I can tell you that familiars come when you need looking after the most, not when you reach some sort of predetermined age.

All that shit about not needing protection now that I’m living in the dorms, where the school will protect me.  Nice try.

I don’t know.  Maybe Picky-Picky has too many cat like qualities to pass muster or something.

Wow.  I really got off subject there.

So, in any case.  Picky-Picky and I are looking for an apartment.  With no roommates.  I just got a job at Brew-tiful, the café down the street, and the owner is willing to work around my school schedule.  With that and the money I’m bringing in from selling charms on Etsy, it’s looking like I can afford something, anyway.  And I’m gonna ask mom to pitch in what she was paying for my dorm room.

Basically, that’s why I’m starting this thing.  I thought people might like to know the exploits of me and Picky-Picky as we adult in the real world.

With tips for living as a magic-user of course.  There aren’t many of us, but we matter too, damn it.

#

Found an apartment!  It’s super adorable, and I can’t wait to move in.  It’s tiny.  Just one bedroom, and I’d be surprised if it was more than 500 square feet.  But it’s perfect.  There’s a bowed window in the front that didn’t quite show in the photos, where my work desk will fit perfectly.  There’s also a strange, scrolling radiator in the bathroom.  The house is quiet and peaceful, with a lot of light coming in, too.  The bedroom will fit a double, I think, if I push the bed up against the wall on one side.  It’s one of those bungalows built in the 1920s that all look out on a central lawn.  There’s even a little porch.

I didn’t take Picky-Picky with me to the open house, of course, but she liked the pictures on craigslist.  She only stopped purring when she started patting at the rent amount.  Damn cat.

I can afford the rent.  Alright, so I’ll have to sell a few more charms or pick up an extra day at Brew-tiful.  I can make it.  It’s the deposit I’m going to have to ask mom for.  Which she might give me, though I’ll definitely have to sit through a lecture about my rule breaking propensities first. Again. Ugh.

I know what you’re thinking and I DID check out the other tenants before I filled out the credit check form.  Can’t be too careful.  I touched the stoop railings with my hands when I was walking past: in love; cozy and safe; kinda sad; exuberant; and placid, is what I read from all of them.  No red flags here.

And also, I gotta admit that I told the paper to make me look responsible after I filled it out.  Which is cheating.  But I really love this place.  We have to have it, Picky-Picky and me.  Have to.

#

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about magic, and I want to say that it works differently for everyone.  You just sort of have to learn how it goes as you do it.  For me it feels a lot like breathing, I guess.  I mean, I breathe things in and I know about them, or I can breathe words out and tell things how I want them to be.

That’s how I figured out the neighbors.  I breathed in and could sort of taste the ‘in love’ on my tongue, or the ‘sad.’  And that’s how I told the page to make me look responsible.  It’s totally controllable, when I’m using it and when I’m not.  It’s like the difference between saying to yourself “raise your arm,” but leaving your arm at your side, or actually raising your arm up.  I can tell a thing to be something without making the telling magic.

Which is why when I told my last boyfriend to go to hell, he didn’t actually go to an alternate plane of fire, just back to his mom in San Francisco.  Although…

No, I’m kidding.

There’s also like a… how do I say this?  I’m not super strong or anything.  I’m getting a little skill in warding because of all the classes I’ve been taking, but I probably couldn’t have sent Kevin off to hell if I’d legitimately tried.  That’s too big for me.  Keeping pots stirring while I’m on the phone?  Sure.  Telling my favorite shirt to come to the top of the hamper?  Of course.  But I can’t even make the busses in this damn town run on time.

The reason my charms work is because I think really hard at them while I’m putting them together, and they want to make bad guys overlook that TV set you have in the living room.  I mean, as an example.  I’ve coached them into wanting it.

It’s why I’m so good at wards and charms.  They’re subtle, and they last longer and are more potent if they think they want to do what you want them to do.  There are some kids in my class who are that “wham-bam” kind of magic you think of, but that’s not me.  And it’s not most of the folks in my major, either.

So the answer to any magic question is that it varies so much that it’s crazy.  And I happen to be the subtle kind, not the explosion kind.  But maybe you know a little more about me now?

And P. S.  No, I’m not revealing the location of Pragnum.  That’s stupid and could get me in a lot of trouble, since it’s supposed to be secret and all unless you’re a magic user.  No, it’s not like ‘Hogwarts,’ (which doesn’t exist, by the way) and you could go there if you were able to find it.  In fact, it’s pretty easy to find.  Which is why I can’t say anything more about its location.  So there.

#

Move In Day has officially come and passed.  Whoo hoo!

Except, damn it mom, I don’t need you to send me any more charms.  She’s freaking out about me living alone, even with Picky-Picky around.  And she keeps sending me these stupid amateur charms that just stink of incompetence.  I can make better stuff than that and I’m not even out of college yet.  Geez.  And does she think I don’t have any warding on my place at all?

I’m not stupid, mom.  I’m being careful.  I put the “nothing valuable, nothing magic” ward on my place the night I moved in, and I have charms at every window and door now too.  Ones I made, not that crap you sent me.  Yeah, it’s imperfect because I had to do the inside of the house and not the outside since I share a couple of walls, but that’s what the charms are for.

The place came with a refrigerator and a stove, and nothing else.  The fridge is an old mustard colored thing with a peeling sticker on the handle that’s supposed to make it look like wood.  But it cools, so that’s all I care about.  The pilot lights on the stove always stay lit, too, so I’m going to have to watch Picky-Picky.  She knows better than to bat at that stuff, but if it flickers she wants to eat it.  Too cat-like for her own good. SMH.

Mom doesn’t live around here, but Jules, my old roommate, is from just down the street.  Her parents were awesome and let me raid their garage for furniture.  I have a funky mirror, an end table for the bed I bought, and an old desk with some chairs for a kitchen table.  The desk is this huge sturdy thing that someone painted army green, and there’s one tiny drawer in it.  None of the chairs match, but all of the seats are upholstered in this awful gold brocade.  I started knitting colorful covers for them yesterday.  They’re gonna be like a patchwork rainbow when I’m done.  Granny square for the win.

I bought a mattress at Goodwill (it’s refurbished, not used.  Don’t get grossed out).  I bought my couch at Salvation Army and I LOVE it.  It’s one of those low-backed things from the 60s covered in green velvet.  Who cares if the pillows are too slouchy?  The only room that has curtains is the bedroom, and that’s also the most furnished.  I mostly just moved my dorm stuff in there, and it looks good.  Even if I am sleeping under a twin comforter on a full sized bed.  I’m the only one sleeping in it anyway.

The most important part is my work desk.  That was in my dorm, too.  Can’t go anywhere without it.  I set it in the little bowed window, and I can look out on the big tree in the neighbor’s back yard while I work.  Kinda like living in a forest.  It’s one of those Victorian roll-top desks with a thousand cubbies for all my stones, seeds, pits, feathers, wires and things.

Picky-Picky has already gotten into a spat with the neighbor cat down the street.  I told her it isn’t fair of her because she turns on the super speed and the other cat doesn’t even have a chance.  She doesn’t seem to care.  In fact, she turned her upright tail to me when I was lecturing her and cleaned her face.  I get it, brat.  Now leave the neighbor cats alone.

So basically we’re right at home.

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A Tale of Three Bad Cats

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Look at them… they’re clearly plotting something.

The cats are on a roll lately. It seems like a small kitten would not be that much extra cat, but Jennyanydots is extraordinarily naughty, as my sister in law likes to say. Couple Dots’ single minded determination to get into trouble with the neuroticism of the cats we already have, and it’s been, uh… interesting. Brian is fed up. I open the front door at the end of the day gleefully wondering what they’ve destroyed this time. It’s always interesting, and never what you would expect.

Last week, we didn’t close the lidded trash can well enough. Dots, through much determined sniffing, found that she could pull the bit of the trash bag that overhangs the can and ferret her way in. Evidently, tracking the recycling all over the house is not good enough. She wants the dirty stuff in the actual trash can. Preferably to eat.

This week, we got wise and closed everything down properly. But Dots thinks it was her destruction of the trash bag that led to her victory last week. I came home to find that it had snowed plastic bits in the waste alcove, and that the trash can had a red ring around it where the drawstring had fallen free. Lid still intact, though. The humans take this one. I choose not to dwell on the fact that the bag is useless without the drawstring, and it’s going to be a pain to take out the trash next time.

Anydots and Annie have been tearing all over the house after each other. Usually it’s cute.   I realized the other day, though, that they had knocked my dollhouse staircase over and broke off a few of the rails. They came loose clean, so I’ll just have to glue them back on again. Not too bad. Among things that have suffered permanently from the rumpuses are my glass bread pans, and the carved angel knick-knacks (they’re now headless). The kitchen rug is permanently askew.

I came home yesterday to find that they all preferred eating my novel to reading it. Pieces of draft pages are all over the office, mingled with shreds of paper towel. I had just picked up all the remnants of Christmas wrapping and tissue paper they destroyed a few weeks ago. And we haven’t even mentioned the collection of Brian’s black socks they have dragged all over the house in an effort to pretend they’re dead rats.

Little antisocialite Amy has decided that she will not use any box the dirty kitten is allowed to use. Instead, she prefers the dining room carpet.

They ate all of Brian’s trail mix after doing their favorite sneaky trick. They sniffed it and pretended to be uninterested so we would be careless with it. Once we were at work, they ripped the bag open, binged on the contents, and scattered seeds throughout the house.

I’m a sucker for those cats, though. I really am. Dots has the loudest purr, and she gallops onto my lap while vibrating, marching and lifting her chin for pats. She will suddenly decide that on my lap is not close enough, she must be rubbing her cheek on my cheek, charging at my face. Annie just wants to loll on anyone’s lap and be adored. Amy wants to stand close and be admired with no touching. The older cats clean each others’ faces in the morning and sleep entwined. Dots sleeps outside my door and bolts into the bedroom in the morning as soon as anyone opens it. She sits behind my double-sided face mirror and terrorizes the cat on the other side when I’m getting ready in the morning.

For purring in stereo surround sound, I would do an awful lot. Now pass me that carpet cleaner, and stock me up on super glue. I’m going to need it.

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Anydots Update

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It looks like our visitor will stay. We introduced her to the other two over the span of about a month. It was a grueling process in which Brian held one cat and I held the other, and we let them hiss at each other until they were tired of that. Then we let them wander around the room together and hiss at each other. When the hissing subsided, we let them out into the house. Hissing still takes place, but usually only when Anydots has pounced on someone’s tail or has the audacity to try and share the window sill. No one has been beat up, and I consider that a victory.

Jennyanydots has a penchant for getting into the trash and a taste for earrings, or really anything that’s shiny lying around (little magpie). Pens are also her favorite to munch, especially the silver tip of the fountain pen I write with, preferably while I’m writing with it. She has grown a bit in the past month and is infinitely fluffier. Her hobbies include standing on keyboards of all kinds and running break-neck towards dinner plates.

It is the Anydots show, and if you are not watching she isn’t pleased. She’ll meow until she gets your undivided attention. Her meow is rather large for her size, and so is her purr. If she isn’t meowing she’s purring. There is no in between. I may be losing my “favorite” status because she’s been sleeping in the crook of Brian’s elbow, but I love her just the same.

I’m awfully glad she can stay.

Now if we can just get her to stop clawing at the carpet…

She’s too adorable to reprimand.

But I’m doing it anyway.

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It’s Official!

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We have officially moved in. The house is so quiet, and there is an amazing view from my bedroom window of bushy tree tops with palms rising above them, silhouetted black in the darkness.  The huge July moon peaked from behind patchy clouds last night, leaving a silver aura in the sky.  The mountains are ever present in Redlands, too.  I will round a corner and find myself staring at a vast orange grove, the brown foothills in the distance disappearing to become layers of craggy purple on the blue sky.  At night, the foothills light up like fairy dust.  I predict that I will love this place so deeply in no time at all.  I’m already infatuated.

I’m a total wimp these days.  I used to swing around 30 pound Female Court skirts on the Electrical Parade every night (those wires are heavy!), and then walk a mile or so along the parade route to make sure all the lights were chasing, not blinking, with more heavy lifting waiting at the end.  I am that hardy girl no longer.  This weekend almost killed me.  My back ached with a cold, hollow pain that is so much more than muscle fatigue.  My feet throbbed enough that it woke me up in the middle of the night with a frustrated sigh, which then also woke Brian up.

“What’s wrong?” he asked as I threw my head against the pillow.

“My feet are just throbbing,” I said.

He pulled my feet from under the blanket, drowsy and lazy, and let me drift in and out of sleep as he massaged them. They stopped throbbing. Things like this are why he gets major good husband points. It would have been a good night’s sleep if it weren’t for the nightmares of floating boxes and dire home repairs.  Oh the joys of homeownership…

The cats are also being awesome.  They have never had a house with stairs and they are slinking up and down as if they are sure to be dive-bombed by something nasty, out in the open like that.  They often yowl a satisfied call to the night, but last night they meowed soft loneliness at our bedroom door and didn’t stop until dawn.  When I went downstairs to get a drink from the kitchen, Amy followed me.  Five minutes later, Annie realized that she was alone.  Upstairs in a strange house.  She started crying again, from the fluffy place where she had been cleaning herself on my bed.

“Hey, crazy,” I yelled at her.  “We’re all down here.”  I made kissy noises, and she came trotting down the stairs, the look on her face wide eyed until she saw us.  Then, she became very intent on grooming that tail.

She’s cool.  She doesn’t need company to feel secure at all, obviously.

They both looked at me in horror when I said “goodbye cats and kittens,” and closed the door on them to go to work this morning.  I’m sure they’ll survive.

As I’m sure we’ll all survive, and thrive, in this new place and this new lifestyle. I look around every morning and think “I can’t believe I live here!” I think that’s a good sign.

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