Tag Archives: cats

Winter’s Vice…

Pregnant Skies

The gray sky–low, gravid, and calm–waits to unleash torrents of chilling rain. Despite bundled from such brumal weather, winter chills still slither ‘neath frocks and slickers alike. There is no escape.

And poor Andi. Of late our walks have been truncated due to his sad visage. We only manage to go half way before he looks up at me with pleading eyes, begging to turn around.

I stop, and stoop, and ask, “Well, what do you want to do? Go home?”

And with that one magical word—home—he turns around and leads me back to the comfort of our old house.

Realm of the Sauropods

Here are a few shots from a month earlier, a time when Andi didn’t mind going the entire distance on our daily stroll. You half expect an Apatosaurus to rear its lengthy neck among the reeds and grass, with giant clumps of fauna dripping from its maw.

Redwing Retreat

Our walks are calm and healing. Only a month ago did swarms of redwing blackbirds squawk and twitter amongst these very same reeds, chattering away unseen.

But now, the bitter chill of November lingers, the kind of day that cannot shake  frigid frissons from your shivering body. No matter how many layers, the cold creeps into your bones.

Feline the Warmth

Our cats, not accustomed to sleeping together, have found refuge in each other’s midst, a feline yin and yang. And not to be left out, Andi on occasion will drape a heavy paw over a kitty. (I think Boo simply tolerates this and enjoys the warmth.)

Pooch Love

As for us humans, well, we keep this 213 year old house somewhat warm. With plastic wraps around most windows, and having a forced air system, they manage to keep ol’ man winter at bay. As long as there is oil in the tank we won’t allow hypothermia to visit our dwelling.

Thanksgiving is nigh and come Thursday, long travels await us. Let’s just hope those pregnant clouds disappear without too much of a drenching.

“Can we go home now?”

Happy holiday to all. May warmth, comfort, and calm be yours.

©Paul Grignon-2013, All Rights Reserved.  

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Dog Daze of…Summer!

“Hot ‘nough for ya?”

Are you, too, tired of hearing this oft-repeated hackneyed query during the summer months? Perhaps if Andi could talk he’d say the same thing. Poor Andi. He does not fare well in these humid conditions. But he dutifully goes for his three or four walks a day.

“C’mon, Andi. Ready to go?”

 ‘Ugh. Not again. Sigh.’

Here’s  a shot of us down at the Westville Dam, taken before we moved to our new digs.

Bike and Run with Andi & Jace

Bike and Run with Andi & Jace

Me, my son Jace, and Andi walking along a dirt path. Julie took this enchanting photo. (It’s rare to get our son on his bike, so we managed to get two things accomplished; Jace on his bicycle and Andi for his walk.) Here’s another just walking this time.

Out for a Stroll

Out for a Stroll

Since we moved into our new place on June 1st, we have done quite a bit to the house and environs. Our four pets have acclimated nicely to the huge place, and both Miles and Boo love to haunt the spacious barn.

As you can see by this next photo, Maggie has cottoned to Andi. Can you believe it?

Maggie and Andi

Maggie and Andi

We are amazed by their antics together. She is such a flirt. She’ll stroll into the living room, knowing full well that Andi is there, and start to strut her feminine feline magic.

Andi bounds from the couch and towers over her, not really sure what to do. But he is clearly enamored with her. He’ll lie down in front of her and slowly approach and do a little jig around her.

I think she just wants to be licked, much like when Boo does that to her. She is the spoiled queen of the house.

Boo and Andi during  nap.

Boo and Andi napping after their exhaustive antics.

Andi and Boo have their own strange relationship. Andi just wants to play with Boo, but Boo will have none of it. Andi does his usual prancing around Boo, and Boo will unleash a double-pawed mitt at him, replete with razor-sharp talons. So far Andi has proved quite adept at darting away before being sliced to ribbons.

They will keep this up for 10-20 minutes at a stretch, and Julie has some footage on tape so perhaps at some point I’ll post it. It is quite hilarious watching this exchange between cat and dog.

Since we’ve had a heat wave of late (come to think of it, this is the 3rd of the young summer) a slew of air conditioners have been going full force. Andi will lie for hours in one of the rooms, and on more than one occasion I have searched for him, only to find him curled up in his crate in our bedroom.

I can see why. It’s dark and cool and rather comfortable. Makes me want to squeeze in next to him and take a nap. But other things beckon.

Like finishing our living room. And here is the result of our efforts.

Living Room Update, 1...

Living Room Update, 1…

Living Room Update, 2

Living Room Update, 2

Remember those pics from a blog or two ago? Well, here is the same room, replete with tan paint and curtains and other accoutrements.

Not bad, eh? Oh, and we just purchased these odd shaped chairs from an estate sale.

Boo at rest.

Boo at rest.

A different color paint and they’ll be a nice addition. Despite their squat appearance, they are incredibly comfortable, as evidenced by Boo’s massive sprawl.

Next up, Cam’s room. Unfortunately, whoever wallpapered this room, they forgot to prime the walls. It’s nearly impossible to remove the paper, so we’ll prime it with an oil based primer, then use latex paint over that. I think that will work. Any suggestions or advice?

All in all this summer is shaping up okay. Jace is in camp, and since I am not presently working (other than an odd modeling gig here and there. And sometimes they can be rather odd…) I watch Andi and take him for his dreaded walks.

Our three cats and one dog seem to enjoy our place immensely and it’s nice to know they all get along quite spectacularly. Although Miles keeps  a wary eye out for Andi. He doesn’t particularly relish Andi’s playfulness.

Andi continues to be a joy and a wonder, and I thoroughly enjoy playing tag with him in the yard and going on our multitude of walks. He is a love.

Andi with his toys.

Andi with his toys.

I continue to be amazed at how much I am, after all these years, a dog person after all. Who knew such a thing was possible?

Next up:  Dead Things (no, not what you think…)

©Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

A Moving Experience…

Whew!

Man, oh man, I hate moving. We just pulled up stakes, as of June 1st, and this is the first time I’ve had a moment to breathe and get back to my blog.

It’s not simply a case of packing and moving in a single day. No, far from it. In fact, it took an entire week just to pack, and a handful of days to move, and I’m still in the process of sorting things out. (I know one of the cats is around here somewhere…)

So much has transpired of late, and I am woefully behind with my own blog as well as some of my favorites. Like my good and intelligent friend Eric Alagan’s elegant blog Written Words Never Die, or the hilarious Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds, and of course a plethora of other fine sites.

Lately, the urge to purge to has never been greater. No, not that kind of purge. I mean the kind of saying the hell with a mountain of boxes and just simply tossing them into the trash. I cannot believe how much ‘stuff‘ we have.

But we have moved into larger digs, with more privacy, and the house comes with a huge barn and a massive attic, ample space for storage and for the felines to explore. Oh, and Andi you might ask? He’s acclimated himself quite nicely, thank you.

So MUCH more to say and discuss and tell, but for now more boxes and packages and sorting awaits me. We don’t have cable yet so I’m typing this at the library. (Poor Andi is in his crate–his room, I should say–and so I shan’t delay too much.

Suffice it to say I will be back very soon, to peruse many blogs and comments and lovely stories from fellow writers. I apologize for my silence, but a glimmer of the end (of moving) is, mercifully, nigh.

Mr. Alagan, I WILL make all attempts to get back to your fine writing very soon, and I look forward to reading your new material!

Thank you all for your patience, and I cannot wait to get my writing chops back into a semblance of order.

For now, take good care, and keep on writing!

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

Dog Daze of Spring, Part 2…

"Hi! I'm Andi."

“Hi! I’m Andi.”

I sit on the floor, and look down into the doe eyes of Andi. It is a vastly different perspective from my previous  world of only cats.

A cat. Now there’s an easy animal to train. A little kitty, bring him home, set up a litter box, bowl of food and water, done. Set for life. The kitty will know to poop in the box, and has free reign of your house. No worries. Except perhaps a pilled chair or a furball now and then.

But a puppy. Hmm, slightly different, I am finding out.

We are crate training Andi, so that has been a challenge. But last night went well. He slept the entire night without having to go outside. A good start. But way too soon to give him free reign. I’ll give you an example.

I made a foolish mistake the other night. Andi woke up at 2:30 in the morning, so I took him out to pee. When I let him in, I told him to go to ‘Andi’s room’, what I call his crate. He usual does. But as I rounded the corner to the living room, there he was, curled up on the couch, staring at me with pleading eyes: “Please! Please let me sleep with you!” those eyes said.

"Oh, please! Can I...?"

“Oh, please! Can I…?”

How could I resist such magnificent beseeching eyes? So I did.

Well, come the morn’, I woke up and had to use the loo. I looked down at Andi, and he was fast asleep. I thought, ‘I should take him out first.’ But I didn’t.

When I returned, he was in the middle of the room, peeing on the rug. Aargh!

Holding back the urge to admonish him, I gently coaxed him into the cage, and cleaned up the puddle. I learned my lesson.

And our cats are slowly learning about this new creature in their midst, even boldly venturing near the crate. But I believe it will be awhile before they become best of friends. At least the cats are making the effort to introduce themselves. (Or maybe they’re just sizing him up and plotting Andi’s demise…)

'What is that creature in there?'

‘What is that creature in there?’

Miles plotting.

Miles plotting.

It has been six days since we adopted Andi and things are going much better. Right now as I type this he is wrapped around my back, pressed close to me and snoring away. I am barely perched on the couch, a mere few inches on the edge. Andi cannot get close enough it seems.

I look down into his eyes once again, and my mind returns to cats. Yeah, sometimes cats do what Andi is doing right now. But for the most part, what I love about felines, is their independence.

Some days, when you want your cats on your lap, you call them over to you: “Hi guys! C’mon, come here! Come sit on my lap!” The cats slowly turn their heads toward you and think, ‘Yeah, right. In your dreams’ and then they turn away, irritated that you bothered their precious nap time.

'We don't think so.'

‘We don’t think so.’

But a dog. After the same command, he couldn’t get there fast enough. Unless, of course, you have a leash in your hand, and you’re going to take him out in the rain again to see if he’ll pee or potty. Then, he’ll hesitate, and suspiciously eye your ulterior motive.

At this juncture, Andi will usually dart into his ‘room’ and curl up, still looking at me with those big, wary, brown eyes. Ah, so much to learn.

to be continued…

Our son and Andi.

Our son and Andi (with pilled chair).

©Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

Finis…

002One day our son came home from school with a plastic bag filled with water. We were all packed and ready to go to Scituate for the weekend, to visit family. Inside the bag was a goldfish. Our son exclaimed, “We have to go to Wal-Mart! Right now! He needs food!”

First of all, what teacher gives every student a fish to bring home? We did not have a fish tank, and we couldn’t leave him in a plastic bag. I found a Tupperware container and slopped the fish and water in. I said to my son, “Don’t worry. He’ll be fine for two days. We’ll get food when we get back.” And then we left for our trip.

This  happened about four months ago. The reason I even mention this at all is because yesterday I went into my son’s room, to dutifully change the fish’s water, like I have been doing ever since the fish arrived in our home. By the way our son, quite cleverly, named the fish ‘Fins’.

So there I was, bringing the tiny tank I had purchased months ago into the kitchen, to change the rank water. But I noticed Fins wasn’t his usual frisky self, darting from side to side. He was lethargic. I gently took him out with a net and put him in some fresh water. He remained listless. I emptied the water, washed the rocks and fake seaweed and the ‘Surf’s Up’ little sign I had bought.

When it was clean I added fresh water, along with a water conditioner, stirred the tank, and returned Fins to his newly replenished home. He remained listless, almost comatose. I sprinkled in some choice salmon flakes (our cat Boo loves them) but still no response.

During the day I continued to check up on him. I’d open the tank and stir the water, and once in a while Fins would stir. But then he’d (I am only guessing it was a he) became lethargic again, and his head would bob, as though he was bottom feeding.

My son came home from school with a friend and disappeared into his room. He was in there for less than ten minutes when he came out and reported the sad news: “Fins is dead,” he said. There didn’t appear to be any sign of sadness on his face. Perhaps it was because I did all the work; changing the water, feeding him, making sure the water was the right temperature.

I went into his room, and sure enough poor Fins had expired. His gills were not moving at all. Maybe he died of sheer boredom; swimming from one end of the tank to the other, over and over again. That would make any creature  weary. Or maybe he died of loneliness. The only fish in the pond. Perhaps he was despondent and simply gave up the ghost.

I would have had a picture of him but I’m sure you can visualize a goldfish. I mean, how many people take photos of their fish? I can see of a cat, or a dog. Plus, goldfish all look alike. (Was that some kind of ichthyologic racial slur? I don’t know. Probably.) “Fins, and to all your brethren, I hereby apologize for my previous callous remark.”

I took Fins out of the tank and wrapped him in a paper towel. Only his head showed. He looked so tiny and helpless. Poor Fins. Our cats hovered about, sensing a snack. But this was one fish that wouldn’t end up in their maws.

I went into the bathroom, said I’m sorry, and ceremoniously flushed him down the drain, to some kind of fishy Davy Jones’ Locker. “Rest in peace, Fins.”

So now the tank, as you can see, sits empty. Will I get another fish? Probably not. I’ll empty the tank, and relegate it to the bowels of the basement.

And then I’ll wait to see what my son brings home from school next.

Um…does anyone happen to know how to take care of a platypus?

©paul grignon – 2013, all rights reserved.

Cat Time…

MilesSometimes, when it’s getting late, and you’re all nestled in bed, your cat wants some of your time. Hell, he’s been alone all day, shivering with cold paws because the heat was off, and now he just wants quality time with his human.

I was going to say ‘human master’, but all you cat people out there know that that simply isn’t true. More like ‘human slave’ to their feline whims.

So you’re lying in bed, after a long day, and you’re tired, and you just want to read a little. A few pages, catch up and all.

But then your cat advances from the foot of the bed—tentatively— not sure where it would lead. Will that guy fling me off? Will my human chattel yell at me? Or will he stroke my fur? Your cat creeps closer, still hesitant, still wondering if he’ll be banished. Perceiving all is well, he crawls onto your chest.

Now here’s the important part; most days you give him a sort of disinterested scratch here, a scratch there, and a stroke just behind the ears.

But it’s done peripherally, and you know what? Your cat can tell. The slow twitch of his tail, the tensed body, a slight cat frown. Your offhand petting is just not cutting it. Sometimes you just have to put your book down. Sometimes you have to give your cat your undivided attention.

He needs you.

He wants you.

He’s been waiting for you.

It’s time to give him some cat love.

Put your book down, hold your cat close, and pet him. A lot.

Cats miss that petting, that stroking, that rubbing, something remembered from when they were young, how their mom used to do all that. But then they are whisked away too soon. They miss their mom, their mom’s touch. But they retained that need, though, and still crave it. And you will give it to them.

Boo & MaggieTake time to give your kitty some love. Your cat’s purr is your reward.

©Paul Grignon – All Rights Reserved. 2012

Close to Home…

The wonder of travel never fails to elicit a sense of excitement, where new vistas are to be experienced, something to counteract the seemingly ho-hum aspects of our usual existence.

Yet sometimes one does not have to stray too far. Sometimes a sense of awe and new vistas can be found right at home. Have you ever just stopped from the whirlwind of daily living to really peer at what resides within your residence?

I did just that this past weekend. Before the onslaught of the football playoffs that seemingly stretched on forever, I paused over morning coffee and noticed something rather striking.Buddha Burner

It is a photo of the remnants of a sandalwood incense stick protruding from my Buddha  burner. It caught my eye as I strolled through the kitchen, ready to nuke my tepid joe. The burner sits atop the microwave, and the image of the curled ash against the diaphanous curtain I thought enchanting.

The rather erotic Anthurium plant appeared captivating against the backdrop of the distant backyard.Anthurium

Here in the Northeast we have had a bit of snow, but lately the temperatures have been mild. I happened upon our garden toad, ringed with snow. It seemed to be poking its head out, testing the air, a cozy little amphibian lair.Mr. Toad

The cowboy hat I found at the ‘Take it or Leave it’ section at the dump, and the dried yellow rose is a lingering beautiful reminder of my Beloved’s birthday.The Wild Rose

These next two shots were taken two days apart. In the first I snapped this fiery sunrise, an early morning conflagration. The next shot is the same scene, with the melting snow that created a sfumato atmosphere in the back yard. That photo was taken the same day as my friendly toad picture.Fire In The Sky

Melancholy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our kitchen table, a reflection of my painting, along with a pleasing bouquet.Reflections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flower nestled in a candle pot.Flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our memo chalkboard, with two of my favorite animals; a kitty cat, and a great blue heron. Oh, and the quick doodle of the snowman is mine.Chalkboard

A metal Great Blue Heron that my lovely bride gave to me for Christmas. Sometimes, when I’m alone and writing in the living room, I look up and am startled by its presence. It is quite realistic, and come the spring I will put it in the garden. Heron

A key rack near the front door. We always have the real birds show up every morning, searching for scraps. There are always three, and one has a slight limp. They forage for our leftovers, be it toast, pizza, even old stale cake, something a little different from their diet of carrion.Keys 'n Crow

So as you can see, there are many magnificent sights to see, close to home. Take a minute. Pause. Look around.

What wonders do you see in and around your own domain?