Posts Tagged With: Jennyanydots

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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A Reading Challenge Wrap

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The year is feeling old, old, and I am looking at all the posts I need to post to wrap up the end of this year.  The season of introspection is upon us.  Let’s dive head in.

I would like to all remind you of a reading challenge I accepted last January.  Here is the original post so you can refresh your memory: https://caseykins.com/2016/01/15/a-reading-challenge/.  I read all books but one and then gave up completely.  Why, you ask?  The one I didn’t read is a classic I never made time for.  It’s because I pondered a million classics and none of them seemed to be something I wanted to delve into.  I have made time for all the classics I care about, and slogging through something I was sure would be depressing just seemed like too tall an order. I don’t know.  I stopped enjoying the challenge when I thought too much about it, so I decided that reading should not ever be anything except enjoying and I gave up.

All other books, though, I have blogged and completed.  You can find the reviews for them using the search box on the left, if you want.

Here is what I ended up with:

  • A book you bought long ago, but still haven’t read – The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black
  • A book with a character who is similar to you – Emily Climbs, by L. M. Montgomery
  • A non-fiction book on something you’ve always wanted to know more about – Steering The Craft, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • A book by a female author – Lizzy and Jane, by Katherine Reay
  • A book you never got to read in 2015 – The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck
  • A book that will be a complete mindfuck – Fragile Things, by Neil Gaiman
  • A book filled to the rim with magic – Daughter of Witches, Patricia C. Wrede
  • A book you’re scared to read when it’s dark out – The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • A book of which you liked the movie, but haven’t read the novel – Pitch Perfect, by Mickey Rapkin
  • A book that makes you want to visit the place it’s set – Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • A book that’s on fire – Mine Till Midnight, by Lisa Kleypas
  • A book that makes you want to be a villain – Silver on the Road, by Laura Anne Gilman
  • A classic you never made time for – Never Read (I’m a delinquent)
  • A book that shows a different point of view – Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, by Peggy Orenstein
  • A book with short stories – A Knot In The Grain, by Robin McKinley
  • A book that involves a lot of mystery – The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • A book about a person who inspires you – My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, by Dick Van Dyke
  • A book that makes you want to be a hero – The Sword of Damar, by Robin McKinley
  • A graphic novel – The Graveyard Book part 1, by Neil Gaiman
  • A book of poetry – Good Poems, American Places, by Garrison Keillor
  • A book by an unfamiliar author – Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowel
  • A book published in 2016 – The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • A book with a dark and mysterious cover – Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
  • A book from a random recommendationalist – Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell
  • A book with a surprising love element – Shakespeare’s Wife, by Germaine Grier
  • A book with lots of mystical creatures – English Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs
  • A book that reminds you of another season – Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
  • A book no one wants you to read – My American Duchess, by Eloisa James
  • A book you own that is the most beautiful thing you’ve seen – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Illustrated Edition, by J. K. Rowling
  • A book that makes you a complete mess – Emily’s Quest, by L. M. Montgomery
  • A book you started but never finished – Aspects of the Novel, by E. M. Forster

In other Christmas news, I was feeling grateful yesterday that the kitten has never tried to climb the tree.  And then I came home last night to find that she had pulled several of my favorites off the branches and had strewn them around the living room.  Luckily they weren’t the ones with extreme sentimental value, and only one was worse for the wear, but I’m seriously going to have to think about anti-cat measures.  Chasing her away only works when I’m at home to supervise.  Jennyanydots: the reason we can’t have nice things.

Christmas jam is probably in the works this weekend, too.  I’m giving it out as presents this year, so that’s all I’ll say.  Flavors a tasty, tasty mystery.

We are racing toward the finish line.  I hope your season is looking as festive as mine is.

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A New-ish Desk

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I reorganized the house a bit this weekend.  I moved my writing desk from my big office into the little nook in my bedroom.  It’s just in front of the walk-in closet with a big window in front of it that looks out on the neighbor’s pretty plum tree.  Plus, it’s a prime Anydots “Business” site (she has business in all the windows.  She can’t cuddle right now, she has to go), which means she’s continually hopping on and off the sill and chittering at the birds who fly past.

I’ve long had a hard time writing in the other office.  There’s just so much space, and it never helped that it sort of became the Cat Room, Craft Dump Place, and General Storage Area (read: always a mess).  I always did better at our Quail Creek apartment where I wrote in a large closet – no window.  So I’m hoping that this will bring me that closed-in-walls, cozy feeling I used to have there.  I mean, I used to do 4 hours easy on the weekends.  Now?  I hardly ever write at home, just in the snippets I can snatch in the breaks of my work day.  This spot has plenty of outlets for the computer, too, and all it needs now is a small desk lamp for late nights.

The best part of figuring out this new space was the curating.  I have 2 slim shelves that are supposed to be for propping up artwork and not for storing things, a slim desk, and scarce wall space.  I will miss having my big metal C and the picture my grandmother drew of me, but there isn’t room for them (and is it weird to have a picture of yourself in your bedroom?  Even if you were 14 at the time? It might be…  I’ll find another place for it). Instead I have my book angel, pens spilling out of a tall espresso cup with a mysterious black figure on it, the Puffin In Bloom version of Little Women, the Jane Austen clothbound hardback set from Penguin, all of my Lord of the Rings journals, a slew of motivational hand-lettered quotes taped to the edge of the shelves (somewhat teeth marked by Miss Dots), my clock, my first NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate, and the Chinese lacquered box that I keep my fountain pen ink refills in.  It has everything I need, with lots of inspiration included.

I may also add a real shelf above the window at some later date, depending on how I feel about it all.  I’ve been keeping a journal of some sort since I was in 3rd grade, though I didn’t get serious and regular about it until high school. The books are many, and that crap has to go somewhere.  I’m not getting rid of any of it on the propensity that someone will donate it to the Redlands Library when I die and some historian in 200 years will be very glad that I took the time to write down my weekend chores, though they will have to look up “mansplain” and “Bernie Bros”  because no one has used those terms in more than a century – the latter especially.

I’m pleased.  I did a little writing yesterday and it felt right.  So here’s to being more productive in the future. I shall now be able to seize the book.

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Lazy Week

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My week has mostly been the boring kind.  Which is the kind I like best, in some ways.

I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition on Monday and have burned through it.  Brian has hardly seen me, as I’ve been reveling over diagrams of dragon eggs and portraits of Harry and Hagrid in a rowboat, seagulls wheeling overhead.  It’s prettier than you ever could imagine it would be, even if you’ve already seen the pictures.  My only criticism is that it is a bit too huge to hold and read, though it’s good for spreading out on the pillow next to you.  (Brian?  No, he doesn’t need a place to sleep).

Previews of Chamber of Secrets are available, and I already can’t wait for the next installment.

I made strawberry jam from strawberries we bought at the farm store down the street on Sunday, which I know Brian has been DYING to get into.  We still have ½ a jar of Apple/Lemon left first, though.  It was so good that I licked the pot clean (shhh… don’t tell anyone).  I also had about ¼ of a jar’s worth of leftovers that didn’t fit nicely into the 6 full jars I made, which I promptly ate as well.

The tomatoes have tripled in size, overnight, and are starting to flower.

The kitten has been into her usual shenanigans.  I let her ‘help’ me clean up this weekend (by which I mean I crumpled a bunch of the junk mail into balls she could chase around the house so she would stop bothering me to pet her).  I put them in the recycling at the end of the day.  Don’t worry, she upended it all and pulled them out again (plus more), and strewed it all over the house.  It might have been my own fault for giving that stuff to her to play with in the first place…  I’ll tell you though, the lesson is not learned.  She’s too adorable, and at least the mess is clean paper.  She was waiting in the window for me to come home last night, too (and then promptly showed me that she didn’t care about me at all when I walked in the door).

My mom started a puzzle of Yellowstone at her house, which I find impossible to step away from.  Must get one more piece in (*eye twitch*). I have most of the lodges together, and was starting on the bears taking pictures of humans when we realized how late it was.

Hats off to lazy weeks.  I don’t get many of them.

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Floof!

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Life hasn’t been that joyful in our house lately.  I have become the queen of making ragged ends meet, and am trying to buck myself up in the wake of a job search that just seems to stretch forever with no relief.  I fight with myself daily to get myself to write anything.  I’m telling you this because I’d like to talk about the kitten, and I think that’s key to understanding my obsession for this little bit of black and orange fluff.  And it’s definitely an obsession.

Her name is JennyAnydots, (I say like the song), but I have a penchant for yelling “FLOOF!” at her that Brian has started to imitate.   If I catch Dots unexpectedly, she’ll actually respond to that.  And then immediately pretend that she didn’t, of course.  She is The Night, and she responds to nothing.

She follows me around the house so much that I’ve taken to calling her my familiar.

Dots is not only extraordinarily destructive, she’s the joy of my life.  Brian and I were pondering this last night.  I mean, she really is a terror, to the point that you would think she would be unlovable.  She’s mean to the other cats.  She sharpens her claws on the rugs, the new dining room chairs, even the mattress sometimes.  She has been known to climb curtains.  She broke the ancestral depression glass, and the glass pot lid to my only stew-pot. She eats the sponges and gets into the trash. I was woken up at 3 am the other day by a bite to the big toe (which is why she’s not allowed into the bedroom at night anymore).  I was attacked repeatedly this morning from under the new dust ruffle.  She is nearly always in motion.

“What happened to all our glass measuring cups?” Brian asked me the other day.

“What do you mean?” I said, pointing to the two in the cabinet.  “They’re right there.”

“Yes, but didn’t we have, like, a ton of them?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said.  “But we don’t anymore because Dots.”

I’ve lost a few glass bread pans, too.  She’s her own force of nature, and SO BAD.

The truth is that none of the above bothers me a whit.  The more she gets into and breaks, the more I laugh and the more I love that kitten.  She’s so darn happy in her destruction.  She purrs when ripping things to shreds.  She snuffles around in the kitchen, and if I jump at her she will disappear, fluffy black tail trailing behind, into one of the cabinets, peeking her nose out at intervals.  She runs at break-neck speed toward loud noises so as not to miss anything. You can tell when she climbs the curtains that she’s awfully proud of how high she managed to get.  She cuddles so sweetly, if you can manage to convince her to settle down.  The hours she spends scrabbling in the bathtub after the chain on the rubber plug are the joy of my morning.  Who needs pot lids and measuring cups, anyway?  All I need is that deep-throated purr when I rub her chin, or for her to bury her way under the covers so she can sleep next to me.

Sometimes I worry about what this will mean for my future parenting skills.  Sometimes, I worry what this means now for my sanity.  Until I met Dots, I was not the indulgent type.  But even if I didn’t witness the purfull strewing about of trash, or the munching of the sponge, or the shredding of the stash of paper towels, I don’t mind picking up after it.  I’ll even encourage it.

Here is the conclusion I came to the other night: Someone in this house should practice unbridled joy.  Neither Brian nor I are managing it lately, but that kitten sure does.  On my crankiest days, she reminds me that there is a state of mind where silliness is all that matters.  That is well worth worrying about the state of the rug, cleaning up her trash stash, and stretching the budget to afford the small fortune in sponges she eats.  It’s worth sweeping up another pile of glass from the kitchen floor.  Heck, it’s even worth bites to the toes at 3 am.

The other two cats will live on in our hearts as the cuddly lumps they are, but Dots will go down, well loved, in infamy.

FLOOF! (I think it’s a new rallying cry).

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A Weekly Round Up

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This week there is a tropical storm somewhere, so we have been getting spurts of torrential downpour and some epic thunder all weekend.  The wind blew down the grape vine trellis, and the cats went a little crazy.  Brian and I sat in front of the window and watched the water stream from the pergola in the back yard, puddling in the dirt and weeds.

The cherry tomatoes have gone a bit wild.  I was able to actually use some of them to cook with. (!!!)  I had heard that the Juliet variety of grape tomatoes was not considered one of the better tasting types, so I was a bit apprehensive.  But these are excellent, tangy bites of sunshine.  I would plant them again in a heartbeat.  I’m going to claim it’s the compost. The Marriage Perfect Flames are turning orange-ish too now.

I am ¾ packed for Maine.  Terribly early, I know, but I won’t have another weekend to do all the laundry.  I will only have Friday night.  It seems strange to go back again so soon after my last trip.  Strange but wonderful.  I haven’t had the chance to long for gray beaches and blue skies; for lighthouses and that sweet, wild smell of reedy grass that meets me as I walk the dirt roads, the salty wind that whips my cheeks red.  I’m not feeling empty without it all, I’m just feeling VERY glad to see everyone.  And excited for lobster and Queen Anne’s Lace, of course.

We took the cone off the kitten yesterday.  Her first act was to try and eat it in retaliation.  Then she spent the next four hours cleaning herself.

The last thing that happened was Brian and I celebrating our 12 year anniversary.  We got rained out of the plans I made (outdoor amphitheater?  Not so much), but Plan B was to go see Guys and Dolls at the Fox theater in Riverside.  They played slap-stick Buster Keaton movies before the show instead of ads, had a fancy picture booth with Sinatra, and made the experience altogether perfect.  Bonus points for the contingent of the audience dressed in ‘50s garb.  I think Plan B might have turned out better than Plan A would have, even if it hadn’t rained.

I am also attempting to pick vacation reads and maybe a new crochet project.  Any recommendations?

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The Spaying of Jennyanydots

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We got the kitten spayed this weekend.  The Humane Society could not pronounce “Jennyanydots,” so all her paperwork just said “Jenny” on it and it made me a bit sad.  She’s Miss Dots to us when I’m not calling her “floof!”  Although I don’t care a whole lot.  It just made me feel like it was less homey than I would have liked.  We dropped her off in the morning and then picked her up in the evening. Her recovery has been simultaneously hilarious and tragic all at the same time.

“She’s still under the influence,” said the gal who handed us her cat carrier. “So don’t let her drive home.  Put the lampshade on right away, and you can remove the black bandage from her leg in an hour.”

“I wish someone had told us that she wasn’t allowed to drive before she got her last DUI,” I said to Brian later in the car. He laughed.

Boy, was the gal at the vet’s office right.  Dots could not walk in a straight line to save her life. She kept flicking her foot backwards to get the bandage off, and she HATED the cone.  It turns out that a high kitten attempting to get out of a cone is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen.  She decided that if she walked backwards, she could probably walk out of it.  So she was staggering around the room backwards, bumping into all sorts of things, rolling her head around and generally being floppy.  But she was doing the whole thing with this nonchalant look of boredom on her face, her pupils wide.

She finally gave up and slept on the stairs, only waking up intermittently to kick at the cone with her back feet.  The next morning, she kept misjudging distances and space, and ended up falling off the window ledge, the couch, the counter, and the dining room chairs.  She has now mostly adjusted, but she is constantly itching her ear and hitting plastic instead, or trying to clean herself by laying the cone against her leg and licking it.  She keeps this resigned look on her face as if it was a horrible trial she was just going to have to submit to.  It breaks my heart.

I had heard that spaying cats made them much more friendly, but I wasn’t prepared for quite this friendly from Dots.  She wants to constantly be on my lap these days, and she’ll even cuddle up to Brian.  One of my favorite things about my floof is that she was sometimes such a feisty little shit; just like all women should be.  She’s been so docile the last couple of days.  I’m hoping it’s just because the cone has quenched her spirit, and when it’s gone in a week she’ll be back to normal again.

“I hope she’s not,” Brian said when I told him.  “I like this Dots much better.”

We’ll see…  I mean, I could do with a little less mayhem.  But I’m loathe to dispense with the mayhem altogether.  It keeps life interesting.

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Of Cars and Easter

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Brian’s car died last week with a slow whimper.  It won’t go faster than 40 mph, and that’s no good for commuting on the California freeways, even if it wasn’t making that horrible sound between a rumbling and a wheeze.  We bought Brian his car specifically because it’s big enough for him.  He’s 6’5, and has to fold himself into my little compact car.  He gets knee and ankle problems when he has to drive it too much.  This means that I’m the designated chauffeur for both directions of commute.

It’s been nice and it’s been annoying, both.  I like leaving the house with him, trying and always failing to be ready at the same time, and driving along the roads in the quiet morning with my hand on his knee.  I like watching him lean over the railing of the pass that goes over the train in his dark trilby and tie, and seeing his face light up, his hand waving, when he finds my spot in the car in the lot.  Sometimes there are impromptu adventures like the when he suggested we go to the graveyard you can see from the train.  There is a marble serpent in that graveyard, swimming in green grass, and a few mausoleums.  I kept looking for Bod and Silas inside.  But I think their graveyard was a New England graveyard, not a California one.

The drawbacks are that it’s a whole hour earlier than I would need to get up if I were only responsible for getting myself to the office on time.  And although it’s only a few more minutes to zip down the 215 at the end of the day to the Riverside train station, it is just long enough that I get that twinge in my shoulder, that crease between my eyes, and that little bud of impatience in my chest.

I used to tease Brian when we commuted down to Orange County every day together that it was 3 hours of “forced alone time” with his wife.  But I forgot how great that time with no distractions can be.  I missed it, and I’m glad to have it back.  Even at the cost of some of my patience.

We had a lovely Easter this week.  By some miracle, I didn’t over-commit to bringing a thousand things.  I had a very nice Saturday trapped at home while Brian took the car to do some overtime at work.  I made pies with crust from scratch and generally loafed around with the cats.  Sunday morning, we left the house at 9:00 am, visited all the families, and got home about 9:00 pm when we fell into bed.  I had a great excuse to wear my vintage pin of a bouquet of pink flowers and my peter-pan collar shirt.

Highlights of Easter:  Brian attempted to force everyone to play Love Letter with him until my sister’s fellow finally trounced him at it for good (I’m kidding about the “forced,” they had quite a rivalry going).  At my grandfather’s house, twelve grown adults roamed the bushes and fought over bright plastic eggs to find the gold one (which was filled with an extra-fancy scratcher.  My dad found it).    At my mother’s house, she cut the heads off hollow chocolate bunnies to put port inside them… fortunately, she spilled the reddish port all over the place and it looked like some horrible bunny massacre.  A tasty, tasty massacre.

I expect this week to be rather sleepy.  Brian and I are still working our way through the edits on my novel.  I’ve started to draft out the sequel.  Tomatomania is coming to the Botanic Gardens next weekend, so I will have to put some attention into compost, watering strategies, and planting.  A large amount of my time is probably going to be spent keeping cats out of Easter candy, because Jennyanydots is way more devious and crafty than the other two ever have been.   With all of that, and with my duties driving Brian around, let’s hope it all continues as quiet as it’s started.

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Weekly Round Up

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This week has kicked my butt.  I’m not exactly sick.  It’s like I never got to the “can’t get out of bed so I get to rest and watch terrible videos all day” stage.  I just went straight to the “mild headache, with mucus in Technicolor” stage.  I’ve been sucking it up and going to work anyway.  I took some Dayquil the first few days, but I forgot about Dayquil.  I always feel like I’m seeing out of too many eyes and my brain can’t quite make the links I want it to, even though it’s making most of them.  So now I’m just suffering in silence and drinking as much liquid as possible.  Hot tea for the win.  And I’m much better than I was on Monday.  I’m sure I’ll be fine soon.

I blame my misery on the weather.  I like the rain.  I like the sunshine.  But when the day swaps back and forth from pouring to shining, to pouring while shining, it does a number on my sinuses.  And it all happened mid-day, too, which meant no pretty rainbows to make up for it.

I have learned this week that there’s an award for the book with the oddest title each year.  Among those currently in the running are “Nature’s Nether Regions,” and “Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People that Used to Love Them.”  I think those two are gonna be neck-in-neck.

Spring has come to Redlands.  I pointed out the spring-green bits on the top of the giant tree in our front yard, and Brian groaned.  “It starts…” he said.  “All those leaves to pick up next Fall.”  I’m thinking instead about the lovely deep green it turned last summer, and all the cool shade we got.  The neighbor’s plum tree lops over a bit into our yard and I can see the white blossoms through my bedroom window.  The Roger’s Reds went from looking like twisted dead twigs to sprouting little silver leaves no bigger than a dime.  I have a feeling the yard is going to start looking closer to how I want it to look in no time.

The kitten has decided that we’re writing buddies.  Or rather, that she wants me to stop writing and be buddies.  She has eaten two of the cloth bookmarks tethered to my Moleskine notebooks, skittering around the table after them.  When she realized that wasn’t working, she attempted to sit on the notebook.  When I still didn’t stop scribbling, she sat on my hand.  My aunt is in the middle of a house re-do and she gave me a tiny desk with an adjustable sloping top.  The kitten doesn’t understand why the surface isn’t flat.  There has been much snuffling, some climbing and sliding, and a bit of trying to climb underneath the mechanism.    She’s SUCH a problem.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Her problematic mannerisms are what make me love her so much; and that deep, throaty purr of hers.

The last news this week is that 2015 might be just as filled with babies as 2014.  First set of friends just announced they’re having a girl.  I’ll go get out the crochet hook…

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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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