Kitten Chortling

Prissy much?What cat sleeps on a pillow with her paw under her cheek?  I mean really!

We’ve been so entertained by Spice.  She’s such a kitten… rambunctious and full of energy.

She and Smudger are now almost friends.  They play a little bit and spit and spat … a lot like siblings.

dsc08921Like most cats, Spice loves when new groceries come in and she can play in the paper sacks.  Upon occasion, she gets kicked aside by accident.  I still don’t expect a living being to be inside a paper bag on the kitchen floor!

Remembering being feral I think she longs to go outside.   She watches the squirrels and birds on the bird feeder and seems to be wistful.  I wish we could let her out, but I’m not comfortable with her outside since we live pretty close to a street.  We don’t have much traffic, but I still don’t want her outside yet.

We love to listen to Spice.  She’s much more vocal than Smudge.  Smudge will meow…. loudly ….. when he wants to go out …. but he only meows when there is silence in the house and everyone is asleep.  Spice, on the other hand, is a chortler.  She sounds like a pigeon and chortles all day.  If she’s up, walking, cuddling, playing … whatever … she’s chortling.  It’s so funny!

So, what are some of your animals oddities?

Pet Indicators

If I couldn’t walk outside into the chilly air and I couldn’t feel the cold upon my own skin, all I would need to do is glance around our home and I would be able to see that autumn has settled in.

Dulcie now remains covered up by her blanket all night long.  We pulled out her blanket about ten days ago.  Her excitement was obvious as she danced around my feet waiting to settle down and snuggle up for the night. We generally find her in the same spot each morning that we left her in the night before. Then there is Smudge.  Can he pull himself into any tighter of a ball? I doubt it.  His little paws are tucked way up under his body and he has successfully backed himself into the corner of the couch, away from draft and circulating cooler air. (Being feline, he refuses to enjoy a snuggle blanket)

I’m so thankful for our pets. They give us reason to be excited about coming home.
They are always happy to see us.
They are grateful for the smallest gestures of attention or gift of treat or food.

I adore our pets
and I love the way that, just like the seasons
and all of living creation,
there is an ebb and flow to their actions.
If we pay attention,
they tell us their needs and desires
and, of course, show us their love.

Announcing Autumn

It’s here. Fall. It’s officially here. Yes, it began on Monday, according to the calendar. What an appropriate gift for my birthday since I love trees and leaves. They will not go unnoticed during fall. Trees cry out for your admiration and attention in autumn.

And isn’t autumn a beautiful word? You almost have to hum or sing it as it rolls from your lips. It lilts through the air. An appropriate word for a beautiful season.

Seeing “Fall Begins” in small print inside a square on my calendar isn’t the only way that I know the season is here. Yes, there is a crispness in the air that is new. Yes, there has been a drop in temperature at night. And, yes, darkness settles over our home earlier in the day now. But, these aren’t my indicators; these are:


My Smudger spends the summer sprawled out on the deck. He sleeps all day … on the deck…. without moving.

But, now that autumn is here, he SITS. Note that his feet are tucked up underneath his little body. Yep. Summer is gone. His piggies are cool.

And Dulcie? How does she let us know that fall has arrived?
She doesn’t want to go outside.
Why? Because she feels as though she’s under attack.

She has some issues. We found her on the side of the road on some back road when we lived in Albany, Ga. Long story short, the nearest neighbor (which was about a mile from her, at the time) said that she had been sitting there on the dirt road in the same spot for a week. At first, she ran around with a pack of dogs, but she had deserted them and staked out a spot on the road.

Evidently, she had been dropped off. She was waiting for her family to come back to pick her up. When we approached, she was SO excited to see our van. Then we spoke to her. She didn’t recognize our voices so she began to cower and began to trot down the road. After much following, coaxing, a rope and can of dog food, we lassoed her and got her into our van.

We tried to find her owners for several weeks to no avail. It turned out that she had heart worms (was this why she was dumped?). She thought the couch was a bed (not in THIS family, it’s not). She was dreadfully afraid of rain and lightning, vacuums and cameras (lightning association, maybe?). And she was afraid of a raised hand, arm, broom or toy…. anything that looked like you might be getting ready to hit her.

She was probably about two to three years old when we found her. She was fully house trained. She has no bad habits. She doesn’t drool or yap. She doesn’t turn over trash cans. She is calm, calm, calm and friendly. She likes children. She has no “men” fears. She sheds a bit in the fall and spring, but that’s about her only “flaw”.

Did I mention that she communicates with us? Yes. She humpfs, huffs, whines, and groans. She moans and sighs and grumbles. If you put your head down on her and say “IIIIeeee looooovveee yoooouuuu” in a sing-song kinda way, she will do a little sing-songy thing that mimicks the song in your voice as if she’s saying she loves you back to you. She also does this little barky thing where she jumps around and plays. And she “smiles.” Yes, really. A Dalmatian’s smile is a response to being caught doing something wrong… in fact, it’s more like a “smirk.” If we leave the house and come inside to find her smiling, she’s been in Glory’s room and found a pack of gum and eaten it. That’s just an absolute.

In the fall, when we put Dulcie on the porch, she whines… incessantly. Are you following me here? I’m talking about an almost constant noise. She can do it for hours. Why? Why does she hate the porch so much in the fall? The same deck that she loves in the spring and enjoys in the summer? What’s so scary about our porch?

This is our deck. These are weapons. The pine tree drops pine cones. The oak drops acorns. Later on, the sweet gum tree will drop gum balls. Evidently, she thinks they are being thrown at her. So, she’s afraid. It’s a sad thing. I wish I could help her. I wish I could explain to her that she’s okay. But, she doesn’t get it.

So, autumn and early winter terrorize her. It takes her all spring to fully recover. She loves the summer. And the fall hits her – literally.

So, the rest of you require a calendar to find out when autumn starts. At our house, our pets are our indicators.

Do your pets have any crazy quirks?

Makes Me Happy Monday: Smudge

I love our kitty. I’m not a die-hard animal lover. I really enjoy birdwatching. I care for our dog, Dulcie. I like other people’s pets. I will pet a dog I see out with with a neighbor. I’ll discuss the antics of a friend’s cat.

But, I love our Smudger.

He is a rescue, like our Dulcie. My mom was out for a morning walk and heard him meowing in the bushes along the edge of the road. My dad wouldn’t go back to save him. (My dad is no animal hater … he just didn’t want a new pet in the house. At the time, I think they still had two). The next day, Mom went walking to hear him still crying. She got dad to go back with the condition that the cat would come to us and not stay at their home. I agreed to find him a home.

And as does happen from time to time …. we caved. Our home ended up being his new home.

He was a tiny tyke. He was fearfully afraid of people. He stayed under furniture for days. For weeks, he would JUMP someone entered the room. Surely he wasn’t even at an age that he should have been weaned. But, he grew in size, strength and trust and found a place in our heart and our home. That was back about seven or eight years, three cities and four homes ago. That was a long time ago.

There’s nothing about Smudge NOT to like. He takes care of himself. He isn’t demanding. He goes out in the morning when the sun comes up. We call him back in just before dusk. He barely sheds – I never sit on my couch and leave looking like I’ve just lounged in a cat bed. We have a little pet door that allows him to go into the utility room without help. We fill his food bowl once a day and that’s it. He’s not a loud guy. He’ll meow upon occasion. When he happens to be inside during the day and wants to go out, he’ll sit in front of the back door, press his ears down and stare at the doorknob until someone gets “the message” and lets him out. He let’s us pet him anytime we want … but doesn’t demand attention. He’s always lying down, sleeping or sitting in some cute position.

James even says he smells good. That’s a taking it a bit too far for me, but he and Smudge have a special relationship. If Smudge “belongs” to anyone in this house, it’s James. I’m with the comic that I heard that once said, (I’m paraphrasing from memory) “Why do we say that cats clean themselves? After they’ve licked their entire body, they’re still covered in cat spit.” Good point.

None the less, I love our Smudge-a-boo. He’s a low maintenance, high output family member. He makes me happy.

Are you a pet lover? Do you have a special feline or canine friend? Write about it and let me know.

Lost and Found

Last Thursday evening, I saw this beautiful puppy trotting by our house. She looked like she knew where she was going, but she had no collar and was heading to one of the busiest roads in Augusta, just one block from our house.

I grabbed a leash and headed out to see if she could be captured. I assumed she was a puppy who had gotten lost in our neighborhood.

Before dusk, there were signs up everywhere. She wouldn’t eat, and was skittish, but was accepting of our kindness of water and a soft spot to rest. She preferred the couch or my James’s bed for her own, but quickly learned that we wouldn’t agree to that.

While I was away on Friday, nobody called to claim her. We took her to our friend’s vet office to find she wasn’t microchipped. So, we cared for her and had a plan for Saturday.

We headed to the local humane society on Saturday. Nobody was looking for her. We went to a local pet store that sponsors adoptions. A local rescue group was there and directed us call animal services in our county and the county that borders ours. I put ads in the local papers.

We got busy with school on Monday and I waited for phone calls. None came.

Tuesday morning, I remembered that we hadn’t called animal services, so I called the Columbia County Animal Services Office. They had two families who were looking for huskies. The officer called one of the families, though they live in a subdivision almost four miles away. Surely she hadn’t strayed that far from home?

Turns out that she had.

The more I talked with the woman on the phone, the more I recognized that this dog was surely hers. She was fearful of most people, but loved other dogs (our silly old Dalmatian wouldn’t play with her, though). She wouldn’t touch dog food, until extremely hungry, but loved to sit by the table when we ate (as she was forced to forage for food when she was abandoned). She had two beautiful blue eyes, was small framed and female. She left home on Wednesday. We found her Thursday evening. She crossed two very, major roads to get to our house. But, she navigated safely.

Turns out that she is skittish because she’s a rescue. She was abandoned and then adopted four years ago through Molly’s Militia (a local animal rescue group). The family who saved her had a beautiful story to tell of a son, who in his late teens/early 20’s was being treated for cancer. He had given up on life. He wanted a dog so his mom granted his wish. Of the dogs to choose from, he chose Bella because she was afraid and off alone. He realized her need for company. She must have also recognized his. After having chemotherapy, Bella would lie on the bed at Adam’s side. It was no wonder that the only bed that he tried in our home was that of James.

Today, the young man is in college and finished with cancer treatment. The mother credit’s Bella with saving her son’s life.

And I’m thankful that we had a part in possibly saving hers. She might have been injured, picked up or killed, had we not taken her in.

Do you have a rescue story to tell?

I think he knows

Glory left on Tuesday morning. This shot was taken on Tuesday afternoon. Mudge has spent most of his sleeping hours on Glory’s bed. I think he knows she’s gone. Either that or he’s just keenly aware that her room is the most (audibly – not visually) quiet in the house.

And I don’t blame him for missing her. Glory is a ray of sunshine. You can almost see a rainbow swoosh through the air as she moves from room to room. She’s a people pleaser person (same – same?… at least for most). Thus, now that she’s driving, she’s only home to bathe and sleep. I miss her, too. I miss her since she left for Albany for a week… and I miss her since she turned 16 and is gone WAY too much for a Mom’s heart.

And don’t you just love her room? My two oldest have lived in a dozen homes in their few years of life. When we bought the house we’re in, Glory asked if she could write on the walls. I didn’t even have to think about it. “YES” was my gut response. The condition: when we move, she has to sand and paint her room.

Glory has been a collector of phrases for years. So, we bought her a pack of paint pens and she pulled out her little book of sayings. She began to write. It brings me great joy to go into her room, because it’s personal, because it’s busy, because it’s her.

Glory’s view of the world

She has cool plastic shower curtains over her windows, bright, tropical colors everywhere and too many photographs to count. Her friend, Tara, says she gets a headache when she goes into her room (Tara is much more subdued than Glory). There are others who have had the same reaction. I understand. But, Glory’s room gives me energy.

I love her monkey. He began outside her room, hanging on the curtain tie-backs that keep the beaded curtain pulled to the side. He migrated to her room on her mirror. One at a time, he has been given earrings, a nose ring, a belly button ring, a tobyMac pin and a necklace. He’s a really jiggy monkey.

Retro Bedside table makeover
Retro Bedside table makeover

Another great find was this uber fun retro table. It had broken marble slabs in the top. We recycled those and added wood inserts in their place. We had three pieces of glass cut to allow her to put photos – or whatever she’d like – into the showcases. With little plastic spacers between the wood and glass, there’s room for photos or even mementos. The top was in bad shape so we painted it purple and made this table fit perfectly into her room.

She used to have a chair for reading. She asked for a footstool for quite a while, but we couldn’t find one that was cool enough. Then I found this 1970’s mushroom stool. It had a yellowing vinyl top, but the black bottom was in mint condition. So, I bought some plush purple cloth and covered the stool for her as a birthday gift. Though she no longer has the chair in her room, she won’t part with the stool.

Her butterflies … let’s call them Ben & Jerry ’cause they add flava to the room

Her butterflies remind me of her. They’re bright and colorful. Butterflies flit about from one place to another. They throw splashes of color wherever they fly. They make people look and react. They illicit reaction. When you see one, your first reaction is to tell others to “Look.” You become still…. even quiet…. and watch. Or you try to catch her when she flies by or you follow him as he bounces on the air. This is my Glory.

I once made the mistake of buying her kleenex in a cool, decorated box. Then she expected to always get cool kleenex. Wrong. I’m too frugal for that. So, I bought her a tissue box cover and decorated it to fit her room.

So, you’ve been given a glance at the girl through the room in which she resides. We miss her presence. We miss her free spirit. We miss her glory. You can probably see why.

What room in your home best represents the person who lives within?