One Year

August 3rd, 2013


One year ago was the worst day of my life.

I still look around for you sometimes, out of the corner of my eye.  I imagine what you would have had to say about things.  When I sit down to read a book, if I close my eyes for a moment I can still feel you sitting there behind me, looking over my shoulder.  Still waiting, but this has not happened yet:

Anyway, we’re managing ok, but I wish you were here to supervise all of the packing and moving we’re doing, and I’m sorry you weren’t around for the home inspection.  I tried to remember everything you used to know about such things; I think I did alright.  Don’t worry…Dad won’t screw up any of the home improvements in the new place…I think he’ll feel you over his shoulder too.  Barrett is keeping the new dog in check, and Ed is just ignoring it, you’d be real pleased with them both.

Hope you’re having fun, Mithrandir.  Say hello to Lee Van Cleef.


I Made This Because I’m Lame

July 31st, 2013


shaun white game of thrones


Cue the appropriate theme music.

Three Years Addendum

July 30th, 2013


And just like that, a grey and white kitten showed up….

Thank you for choosing that day to go exploring, Ed.  We are eternally grateful to you for bringing light to our lives at such a sad time.  You’ve grown into a fine Grey Cat and you make me smile every day.


Three Years

July 29th, 2013

gulli_4-25-2002 copy

Miss you, little Gulli.  You are never forgotten.

I wish you were here with us still, so you could have met Ed, and Barrett, and Seamus.  Your kindness would have made their moving in with us that much easier.  Making new friends was your favorite thing (besides dessert), and I know that you would have won all their hearts and happily shared your home (and cuddles) with them.

Hope they have lots of cupcakes and cheese where you and Mr. Gandalf are.  Give him a lick from me and Dad.  Love you, pumpkin.

What The Hell’s Going On, Pt.2

July 16th, 2013


Aside from getting a dog, we’re also moving.

Wish I could tell you that it was to Canada, or Maine, or Oregon, but alas, we’re just moving within the PGH city limits.  A number of factors came into play with this decision.  Dissatisfaction with our current ‘hood (Greenfield, for those in the 412) has been growing for a while.  It really sunk in when I was unemployed for a year, and had lots of time to stay home and take good, hard looks at the place.  When we first moved here, we assumed that the area was beginning an upswing of gentrification, but then the housing/mortgage crisis hit and that never materialized.  So the neighborhood has stagnated, or possibly backslid.  I’ve complained a lot about the litter, the people who don’t pick up after their dogs, the scummy landlords and their scummy renters.  It’s gross, and I’m sick of looking at it.  (No, Greenfield isn’t all bad.  It’s quiet, low in crime, and my immediate neighbors are close-knit.)

Another thing that happened was that the center for new and cool developments in PGH shifted over to East Liberty, where the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s went in.  We drive across town umpteen times a month to go there, so why not try to get closer?

Finally, interest rates dropped so low that we thought we might actually be able to afford better.  So we started shopping.

I won’t bore you with the ups and downs and emotional wringer of house-hunting.  But the end result is we’re buying a 2 bedroom, 1100 sq foot 1951 ranch house in Shadyside.  (It’s at the point where Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, and Point Breeze meet so you could say it’s in any.  I choose Shadyside because it has the Shadyside zip.)  It’s smaller than what we were hoping for, it needs updating, but it suits us.  It feels good.  And the location is everything we could have wished for.


And I’m going to try to 1950s-ize the hell out of it.  Finally, all of those mid-century volumes of Living for Young Homemakers and Better Homes can serve their purpose!  I’ve been scoping out Craigslist for antiques every day, and we’re planning to get bright green counter tops installed.  Also is my new crack.

Our scheduled closing is Aug 14, Gandalf’s birthday.  If all goes well with the loan, we may try to move it up a bit to have more weekends to work.  Either way I’m looking forward to it.  If we’re condemned to spend eternity in PGH, I wanna spend it in the nice bit.

We’ll miss our house on Deely St.  If I could pick it up and take it, I would.  But I’m satisfied with the good feeling that comes from leaving a place better than you found it.  Much love went into this house, especially from all of the friends who put their sweat and time into it:  Cheri and I assembled the IKEA cabinets, Jimmy helped with the kitchen floor, Tim and BW put the roof on the porch, Donna and everyone else we know ganged up to build the retaining wall, Dave lent a hand with the screening, Rachel and Mike painted the garage….in short, friends helped to make it a great home.  Thanks to all, and I’m sure you’ll do the same for the next house.  (No, that was NOT a clever plea for free manual labor disguised as sentiment!)

Come by and see us in the 15232 zone!

What the Hell’s Going On?

July 3rd, 2013


I’d just about given up this blog because really, who reads personal blogs anymore?  But I have some major life events happening that I suppose might need more space and detail to discuss than what Facebook lends itself to.

So as everyone knows by now, we got a dog.  His name is Seamus Arthur, and we adopted him from Animal Friends (same shelter that Barrett and mom’s Myrna came from, same shelter that found Nala a home) on May 26.

Everyone also knows that we’ve been looking for a dog off and on since Gandalf passed.  It has been a vexing, upsetting, and emotionally taxing process.  Many times I have been completely frustrated and annoyed at all dogs, all the shelter staff, and especially with the crazy breed rescue people to the point where we gave up.  But obviously we never gave up completely because at some point it became like some puzzle to solve or some Mt. Everest challenge to show who’s boss; in other words, it nagged at my OCD.  Wanted to do it to prove that we could.  Also, I’m very prone to fall into ruts and I like to fight against that trait so that I don’t become a 100% routine-bound shut-in.

We didn’t expect to find a dog when we stopped at Animal Friends on May 25, though I had seen Seamus (Who was named Bilbo at the shelter. Significant? I think so.) on their site and he was on the short list of dogs we wanted to see. After going down their list of cat-safe or possibly cat-safe dogs and eliminating the very elderly, the Beagles (sorry!), the biters, and the separation anxiety-havers, that left Bilbo.

He passed his cat test with flying colors, basically ignoring the cat to sit, staring at the adoption volunteer for 20 minutes.  When we were allowed in, we were immediately struck by his gentleness.  After spending more time with him, we couldn’t find a single reason not to adopt him.  Granted, that’s not stopped us from bypassing some worthwhile dogs before — anxiety has gotten the better of me several times. But while we were visiting with Bilbo, a family came in who had seen him earlier in the day.  I guess they were undecided about him, they didn’t place a hold on him or anything, but changed their minds and came back.   And they were miffed that someone else was looking at “their” dog!  We thankfully didn’t hear it ourselves, but they cussed out the people at the adoptions staff and pitched a fit (with their kids their to watch and learn from the parents’ stellar example, of course!)  The counselor told us about it, and sure enough we noticed them pacing the hall and glaring at us.

So we took Bilbo out for a long walk, at which point it was decided that he would come home with us.  Oddly enough, if it hadn’t been for the Family of Assholes, I/we probably would have chickened out again (especially since they had some cute kittens at AF that day!)  But no one could stand the idea of gentle Bilbo going home with a pack of screaming douchebags.

And now we have a dog.  And it’s been going eerily well.  He is housetrained, does not bark, listens to commands, and most important, respects the cats.  He is the ideal dog for cat people like us who think the whole notion of needing to teach an animal how to be civilized is foreign and ridiculous.  It’s still been a huge adjustment, but I don’t regret it.  We enjoy his company, and when I see how happy he seems to be, I wouldn’t go back.

Ed and Barrett are managing well.  Barrett desperately wants to play with Seamus, but Seamus is too afraid of him.  Ed keeps his distance unless we’re in the room.  The hard work has been on us, knocking ourselves out in the attempt to see that everyone gets some personal attention each day.  But hey, what else have I got to do….?

At the Movies

April 5th, 2013


A sad farewell to Roger Ebert.

He was our go-to critic.  When BW and I were undecided about whether we should take a chance on a movie and critical opinion was split, we’d invariably ask one another, “What did Ebert say?”  I didn’t always agree with him, but I always respected his opinion, and I always learned something from his reviews.  He was that rarest of creatures: a movie critic who could write well.  I’d recommend his book The Great Movies to anyone who wants a solid education about all of the movies that really matter.  His negative reviews were delicious and savory morsels that I relished reading and made me yearn to be able to write bad reviews that were half as good.

In these days of movie blogs and websites where fevered argument about the style of Batman’s belt-buckle passes for film criticism, Roger Ebert was a gem.  Informed, learned, literary movie criticism is indeed a dying art form and has lost one of its Great Masters.  Soon we’re going to be all alone in the ever-darker wilderness of terrible movies without a trustworthy guide to see us safely through.  Roger, your voice of intelligence and reason will be deeply missed.

Curtailed of Fair Proportion?

March 21st, 2013


Not sure if this qualifies as a #WastesofTime&Energy post.  Maybe I need to create a Wastes of Time & Energy: History Edition category?  Anyhoo…

The world’s gerbil-like attention span has long since moved on from the Richard III discovery to other things, but for the truly invested, committed, and obsessed among us (We few, we happy few!  Wrong king, I know…) there is decades’ worth of material to lovingly sift through and ponder.

One aspect that I’ve been dwelling on for the past few weeks is the facial reconstruction made from Dickon’s (his friends call him Dickon, trust me) skull.

Personally, I have never seen a facial reconstruction at a museum or any other venue that I’ve truly liked.  That has ever made me feel as if I’m in the presence of a real human that really looked like that.  They’re always ‘off’ somehow, the same way that CGI human faces are ‘off’.  They are too smooth, they have no character, no lines, no discernable age, and the coloring is for some reason always garish.  There’s a generic quality to them all, and Dickon’s is no exception.

I understand that this is due to the limits of the technology.  Working from a skull, the only features they can really create accurately are the jawline, chin, forehead and placement of the eyes in their sockets.  That leaves an awful lot…how full or sunken the cheeks are, lip shape, eyebrows, circles under the eyes, wrinkles…in short everything that makes a person look like him-or-her self…as guesswork.  And rather than guess wrong, the technicians tend to not guess at all and so the result is all of these bland faces.

Which is not to say that I totally hate the reconstruction of Richard.  The only thing I hate about it is the eyebrow situation.  Seriously? What is that mess?? Apart from that I do think it is a useful tool for helping us to form an approximate idea of Dickon’s appearance.  We can definitely learn a few facts from it:  Dickon had a very strong jawline and a pronounced, jutting chin.  Good cheekbones, too.  All of this stuff is also apparent from his semi-contemporary portraits, so that’s cool.

At any rate, after I spent a lot of time watching the videos and staring at hi-res images of Dickon’s alleged face, it started to look so familiar.  I knew I had seen a jawline like that, that jutting chin, and that hair, even the nose….somewhere before.  It nagged and nagged at me, but I just couldn’t place it.  Then one day it just hit me at random.

And then I watched Rattle & Hum (it’s free on Amazon streaming!) just to make sure.

What do you think, sirs?



Why are you doing this to us?

March 7th, 2013


Ooooohhhhhhhhh NOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Just in time to capitalize upon the discovery of Richard III’s remains (and the popularity of Game of Thrones, because hey, it’s old-timey people in doublets and armour so it’s all the same to the viewing public, amIright?) comes a BBC/Starz (STARZ?!?! REALLY? Was The CW all booked up?!) miniseries about the Wars of The Roses.

Now, I could be 110% behind such a project.  A well-scripted, historically-accurate show about Lancastrians and Yorkists?  Hell yes, bring it!  Why settle for GRRM’s cheesed-up pastiche when you could have the real thing?  The Woodvilles would show those Lannisters how it’s done, AND we wouldn’t have to endure any Danaerys scenes! Score!

But this is not such a project.

This series will be based on “The Cousins’ War” novels by Phillipa Gregory.  Yes, the Phillipa Gregory who was responsible for The Other Boleyn Girl.  In which Anne Boleyn had sex with her gay brother (and that was one of her good books!)  The Phillipa Gregory whose novels are one step up from being this:


And yet who loudly and consistently touts herself as a “historian.”  Bitch, don’t even.

Now I’ll admit, I read The Other Boleyn Girl (and saw the movie, because someone I know is a rabid Eric Bana fan.)  I rolled my eyes but I could cope with it because for one thing, it was about the Tudors and they deserve to be messed with, and for the other, not much is really known about Mary Boleyn so an author can get away with making things up out of whole cloth.  But you don’t screw around with known facts and you do NOT  tamper with my Plantagenets.

I wouldn’t touch these “Cousins’ War” novels with a 10-foot halberd, but I gather from browsing the reviews that, among the hundreds of small and large inaccuracies Ms. Gregory treats her readers to is this gob-smacker:  Elizabeth Woodville, and her mother Jacquetta, were witches.  Descended from a Celtic water spirit, Melusine.  Elizabeth used witchcraft to get Ed 4 to marry her, and also brought on Richard’s back problems with a curse.  Do you see what this is doing to me?  Phillipa Gregory is putting me in a position where I have to defend Elizabeth Woodville!  Auuugh!!  *slams head on desk*

But the author is a “historian”, so it’s ok, right?  I assume she obtained her degree at the same university as the Downton Abbey writers.

ANYway, the TV show will star Max Irons (son of Jeremy) as Edward IV and a bunch of other largely-unknowns.  No word on when it will air.  At least the guy cast as Richard is really cute, I’ll give them that.  Here’s a look at the brothers of York (l-r George, Edward, Richard), and below is an article and video.  And yes I’ll watch it.  Of course I’ll watch it.  I may have to steal a supply of high blood pressure meds, and wash that down with gin, but how could I not watch?  I owe it to the historical record to call out the bullshit.  And how often do we see a cute R3 on tv? :P


If you please

March 4th, 2013


It’s been brought to my attention that my mom’s cat, Myrna is a reader of this blog.  That brings total readership up to four!

In honor of that milestone, today’s post is for Myrna.  Actually, I stumbled across this while searching YouTube for educational videos about Siamese cats.  Were you aware that there was a Siamese cat with her own cartoon show?  We all know the “evil” (i.e., they weren’t dogs) Siamese cats from Lady & The Tramp.  Personally, I loved those two badasses, but let’s face it, they were clearly results of Disney’s harsh anti-catism as well as some not-too-subtle racial stereotyping.

Fear not! Canada is here to right those wrongs!  In 2001 a Canadian animation studio in partnership with the Sesame Street Workshop produced a show for PBS Kids called, Sagwa: The Chinese Siamese Cat.

According to Wikipedia:

Sagwa resides in the palace of a magistrate in of pre-colonial Hong Kong (possibly during the Qing, as shown by the characters’ clothes), part of a royal family of cats who have the ability to write with their tail. She and her siblings, along with various other cats and Fu-Fu the bat partake in adventures that are usually accompanied by moral lessons, as is typical with most children’s shows. However, one aspect that sets this show apart is its display of various aspects of Chinese culture, which helps promote awareness and understanding of other ethnicities.

Who knew?

Here’s part one of the first episode, and there’s a ton more on YouTube here.  Alas, not on streaming Amazon or Netflix.

Gimmie a ‘W’, gimme a ‘T’, gimmie an ‘F’!

February 25th, 2013

What’s it spell? DUMBASS!

Days like today, I hate the internet.  Because every so often you encounter someone online whose opinions are just so friggin’ dumb, they force me into having to defend things that I hate.  Sometimes it’s Catholicism, but today it’s the Oscars.  Mind you, I have nothing against the Oscars as a concept.  Hand out rewards for the best filmmakers and actors of the year?  Fine with me.  Televise it so we can enjoy the pretty people?  Cool.  I just hate the format, the execution, the voting process that rewards mediocrity and overlooks real art time and again.  But it’s a damn fine idea at heart.

Some people disagree.  Today on Facebook, some guys  (a “friend”, who isn’t even really my friend just a familial obligation, and his friend, who I don’t even know) were bitching along the lines of, “Waaggh, the Oscars are so stupid! It’s a bunch of millionaires congratulating themselves! Waaahhhg, why do people want to watch that?! “  Now, where the asininity and hypocrisy comes into play here is that both of these guys are huge sports fans.  I’m sure you can figure out where this is leading.

So I say, “It’s no more stupid than billionaires paying grown men millions to run after a ball/puck, then charging the public hundreds for the privilege of watching it.”  Now is it?  (And while I’m on my high horse, the Oscars aren’t publicly funded. Ahem.)

And Friend of Friend counters with, “It’s different because they aren’t all patting themselves on the back.”

What the fuck flavor of crack do you smoke, Friend of Friend?!?

Every major sport (and minor ones too) has it’s own annual awards ceremony, complete with red carpet.  Ever heard of the Heisman Trophy? The NHL Awards? Ever seen an Olympic gold medal ceremony?? Hello?!? The only difference is the amount of tv coverage, and the fact that unlike actors, most athletes look like ass in suits.

Not only that, but what about sports Halls of Fame?  These people sometimes quite literally build shrines to their own “achievements.”


And they charge steep admission fees to come in and look at some guy’s old used jock strap (under plexiglass!) and gaze in awe at the trophies they award to themselves.

2009 NFL - 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Fawcett Stadium - August 8, 2009

If that isn’t the height of self-congratulatory narcissism, then what IS, I ask you?  And if we want to complain about big-budget, over-produced cheeseball spectacles, any Olympic Opening Ceremony makes the Oscars look like a small family gathering.  Conspicuous waste?  They’ve got that covered.

And at the bottom of it, what is wrong with the practitioners of a field rewarding achievements in their field, now matter how “stupid”?  If it’s not your thing, don’t watch it.  But don’t pretend that your thing is any better.

Being an idiot is one thing, but hypocrisy really gets on my nerves.



And the number of the counting shall be Three

February 24th, 2013


Happy 3rd birthday to my favorite kitty, Ed, Eddard, Eddie, Eddie-spaghetti, S’ghetti-cat!

Seems like only yesterday when Fortune (thanks Gulli!) sent little Ed Chigliak-Greer (aka Pretty Boy *eye roll*) wandering into our path.  Since that start and after a nerve-wracking period as a kitten hellion, Eddie has matured into a surprisingly mellow grown-up.  A lap-cat with us, but reserved with strangers.  Playful with Barrett, but not exhausting.  He’s totally grown out of his aggressive phase and, like his namesake, seems perfectly content to go with the flow and enjoy watching the world go by.  Ed is a sensitive boy and more likely to be troubled by changes and stress, which is why brave little Barrett is the ideal pal/bodyguard for him.

Since Gandalf’s passing, the all-important role of The Grey Cat has fallen to Ed.  He’s slowing easing into it and bringing his own talents to the job.  Whereas G was a project manager and co-conspirator, Ed is more of a sounding-board.  Gandalf liked ninjas and samurai and potato chips; Ed likes extreme sports, the internet, and graham crackers, and has shown no interest in home improvement projects.

No mater how he goes about it, I know our family wouldn’t be our family without a grey cat in it.  Thanks Ed, and happy birthday.

Loyalty Binds Me

February 5th, 2013


Feb.4, 2013.  A lost King is freed from the clutches of history, and returned to the real world to look us in the face.  King Richard is dead; Long Live King Richard.

University of Leicester Announces Discovery of King Richard III

I have been enthralled…ok, obsessed, with the story of Richard III for many, many years and am firmly in the pro-Ricardian camp.  I believe that Richard’s seizure of the throne was legal, that he was a just and in many ways enlightened king, and that he has been the victim of bad publicity at the hands of the Tudors (who IMO were the Kardashians of their day) and as a result of our cultural deification of Shakespeare.  Being a rabid Yorkist has many compelling elements: mystery, conspiracy theory, political thriller, and the allure of rooting for the underdog.  Most of all, and the least fun element, is the terrible sense of injustice, of wrongs and betrayals heaped upon Richard by his contemporaries and on down through the centuries, wrongs that we Ricardians want the world to admit, and apologize for.

Finally being able to see the pictures of his remains on Tuesday brought a lot of mixed emotions.  I am always moved by the sight of tangible, physical relics of the pre-photographic past.  They let us know that the stories, the fables, the characters of history were REAL.  That these things did happen.  And these people did live.  Always, I’m thrilled by that knowledge.  So the sight of Richard — who I’ve read so much about that I feel like I have a personal relationship with him — being able to actually look him in the face, was a marvel to me.  But when I looked longer at the photos of his bones there in the excavation site, I cried.  Such a tragedy that this young man, who had such loyalty, and will, and who was loved by the people of the north who knew him best, who overcame scoliosis and a skinny frame to forge himself into a formidable warrior, who was by all accounts just, ended so injustly.  Hacked down, hog tied, stripped, and thrown haphazardly into a too-small grave with only the merest nod at proper burial rites, no shroud, no coffin.  And if only just a very few things had gone differently, if a few people has behaved as honorably as Richard expected them to, none of it would have happened.

The lesson here is that history, like nature, is capricious, unpredictable, and sometimes very cruel.  And that Henry Tudor was a piece of shit.

Though I’m leery about Richard being used as a tourist attraction in the future, for now I am happy that he is being treated with reverence and will at last receive a fitting burial and memorial.  I’m hopeful that maybe now, finally, some re-examination will occur and the knee-jerk Richard bashing will end.  I would really like for this event to inspire similar research on other monarchs.  Why can’t we DNA test and facially reconstruct all of those Kings and Queens whose burial places are public knowledge?  (The answer is “Because QE2 says No.  Daft old bat who isn’t even in the proper line of descent anyway.  Off with her!!)  Think how amazing that would be!

Anyway, this was a profound event for me and I’m going to be dwelling on and trying to digest it all in the coming weeks.  If I can get just one person out there to stop believing the Tudor hype, it will all have been worth it.

(As an aside, a huge part of what got me interested in Game of Thrones was the obvious fact that Ned Stark and his story arc were so transparently modeled after the life of Richard.  A good, decent man from the North goes south into a nest of petty vipers, tries his level best to provide just rule, and in return is stabbed in the back, killed, and reviled as a traitor.  A huge part of what made me sicken and tire of Game of Thrones was the slow, awful realization that we will never, EVER get justice for Ned Stark in that story.  How wonderful that we may see some small real-life justice for Richard III.)

X Games 2013 Recap

January 28th, 2013


So I shouldn’t quit my day job and become a bookie, my prediction was wrong.  Though Shaun was trying his damndest and landing triple-corks at slope-style practice, he was not able to transform that into a win in the finals.  In fact, he came in 5th and fell pretty embarrassingly twice.  (Though for what it’s worth, everyone was falling because the light conditions sucked on Friday afternoon.)

I began to fear…”Is it the haircut? What if it’s the haircut??”

Such that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the superpipe final on Sunday night (ESPN’s fascist streaming video policies didn’t help any, either.)  I was that worried.  Stupid me.  I should have known — Shaun would be hating himself for his very public failure at slopestyle, and when Shaun gets mad, magic happens.

I woke up this morning to news of a 6th straight SuperPipe win AND a new record for the highest airborne height ever achieved by an athlete in that event: 24 feet, 1 inch.  Besting his own record by a whole foot.  Fox was indeed flying.  Watch:

There’s a whole year to go until the Olympics.  He will keep working on the mountain, but until then Shaun White still owns the sky.

X Games Pep Rally 2013

January 24th, 2013


I don’t know what my feelings are doing with this picture, I really don’t.

Anyway, it’s that time of year again that no one cares about but me: Winter X Games!  But I care enough for all three of you readers.

X Games is extra important this year, because we’re leading up to Winter Olympics 2014 and everyone participating in snowboard competitions now is racking up points to qualify for the Olympics.  Obviously, I think it’s safe to say that Flying Fox will qualify for the Olympics.  But there’s another reason why stakes are higher in 2013 — slopestyle.

Slopestyle is basically downhill snowboarding with tricks, as opposed to the superpipe which everyone knows from the Olympics.  Shaun used to compete in both years ago until he decided to concentrate totally on pipe, because that was the Olympic event.  But in 2014, slopestyle will be added to Olympic competition.  And Shaun, being Shaun, wants medals in both.  :)  He tried to get back into slopestyle in last year’s X Games, and it was obvious that he was lagging behind everyone.  The “too old”, “sellout”, “not a real snowboarder”, and all the usual slurs were bandied about by the usual jealous tools.  Then he had an injury and had to bow out.  Of course, the haters said that the injury was fake, and that Foxy just couldn’t stand to be made to look bad by a bunch of young upcoming slope kids.  For all I know, that’s true, but either way it’s good.  What I do know is that Shaun is constitutionally  incapable of allowing anyone to be better than him at snowboard.  So he has gone off, he has put in some serious practice on slopestyle, done whatever alchemy he does, and he is probably going to show up this week with some never-before-done by humankind trick.

Because he feels obligated to.  And that’s why the haters will never touch him.

Now let’s kick off with a little untraditional Pep Rally music…

Skateboards….I almost made them respectable.

You think you’re immune, but I can sell you anything.

I’m the man.

Not Forgotten

January 22nd, 2013



Five years today, and I still miss that face.  Love you, Heath.  Hope it’s nice where you are.

Year One

January 18th, 2013


It’s been one full year since we adopted “Archie”, still sneezing and coughing from a URI, from Animal Friends.

In many ways, it’s been a hard year and having Barrett hasn’t always been easy.  (That URI took months to finally clear up all the way, for one thing!) But if I had a dollar for every time I’ve thought to myself or said to BW, “I’m glad Barrett’s here”, I would have a very tall stack of bills.  His “youthful exuberance” provided a much-needed counterpoint to the sadness of Gandalf’s slow decline.  Most of all because he has been such a help and a good friend to Ed.  Ed is very sensitive and reserved, and tends toward clingyness and I simply don’t know how hard he would have taken both Gandalf’s death and my going back to work without B’s company.  And he coaxes Ed to play, which is not always the easiest thing to do.  Nothing makes me happier than watching them tear around on their nightly chase scenes together.

Barrett’s original “promotional blurb” at the shelter said,

“Archie, upon first meeting has been known to welcome you with a squirm-fest of joy.  He loves to roll on his back, look at you with his bright emerald eyes, and proceed to wiggle and nudge himself right into your heart.  His chest is marked with a large white diamond, just in case you need reminding that he is a gem!

An active entertainer, Archie, at play, will perform some leaping antics for his amusement and yours.  His paws are small and delicate, his panther-like stealth reminiscent of an Animal Planet episode.

His former owner says he likes “all people”, other cats, treats, and his scratching post.

Sadly, you may miss out on meeting such a great companion.  Black cats tend to go unnoticed.  Give this jewel of a cat a second look today.  Ask an adoption counselor if Archie is right for you.  He may just wrap you around his little paw!”

Verbose, maybe.  But every word has proven true.

Shine on, my little friend.

B is for Birthday

January 6th, 2013


Today is Barrett Benedict’s Birthday!  Or so we have decreed.

Naturally, since B came from a shelter, we have no idea of his birth date or even his real age.  All we have to go on is that the folks who surrendered him (at the end of Oct.2011) said they’d had him for 11 months.  We now think they probably owned him from early kittenhood, so…a January birthday.  And it so happens that Mister Syd Barrett’s birthday is Jan.6.  It’s a done deal!

As for Barrett’s age…no idea.  We keep adjusting it backwards so he grows younger the longer he lives with us.  He was absolutely NOT three when we adopted him nearly a year ago like the shelter said!  So we started thinking two? Maybe a year and a half? But given how much he was grown and filled out since he’s been with us, we’re now thinking that he may only have been one year old at adoption.  So

We love you, Barretts.  Happy 2nd, or 3rd, and 67th birthdays!

Kitty Treats

December 27th, 2012


Every Yule, we get little gifts in our stockings “from the kittehs.”  Usually it’s some sort of snack food.  (Hey, kitties aren’t wealthy.  And they like treats.)  Almost always I get chocolate-covered espresso beans (good kittehs!) and BW gets trail mix or nuts or one of those hippie snacks that he likes.  This year the cats got a can of Blue Diamond Rosemary Black Pepper Almonds for BW, and they were SO good we tried to formulate a knock-off recipe before BW goes back to work and takes his almonds to the office with him.

These are fantastic, classy-looking, and will make your house smell like heaven.  I would absolutely serve these at a swanky little cocktail party, if I ever hosted such a thing.

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Solstice 2012

December 21st, 2012