Poppa Attack

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Just to show that procrastination isn’t the only reason that I don’t get accomplished, what I should. Like Mary and her lamb, I love (most) animals, and they love me.  When I stop in at the daughter’s place, I don’t usually sit down.  I get in and out quicker.

The above photo, dark and murky though it may be, shows what happens if I sit in the big recliner chair. Daughter is hosting two short-haired female Chihuahuas for a breeder.  One insists on licking my entire face – could be for the perspiration salt – could be because she really likes me.  The other doesn’t lick faces, but will clean out both of my ears.

The grandson’s German Shepherd-cross never believes that the Chihuahua does my face correctly, and insists on re-licking it. With a much larger tongue, it should take her less time, but if I don’t insist on coming up for air, it could go on all afternoon.  She took out my sapphire ear-stud out one day.  I never noticed, and I’ve never replaced it.

The daughter’s younger male cat, who will not be picked up, has picked up on the fact that I’ve been practicing my petting and skritching at home.  He has settled onto the left side of my lap, while the little female loudly stands below him at my knee.

Not seen, on the sofa to my right, is Benny, the big son to my now-gone Contessa. He was battling a two-ear infection, with partial deafness and vertigo, but still loudly insisted that I reach out to him too.

The daughter sometimes babysits the breeder’s little, male, long-haired Chihuahua, when she’s on a business trip. He will let no man near him, but will run to the daughter when I arrive. She is allowed to pick him up, and hand him off to me.  There, he quickly settles into the crook of my left elbow, and closes his eyes as I stroke him.  He’d probably purr, if he were a cat.

The wife insists that I’m the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi. All this adoration is like high-octane gasoline; it fuels my soul.  It de-stresses me, and lowers my blood pressure, though it doesn’t help my memory or concentration.  “Why did I come in here today??  Shopping??!  What for?  What time is it?  What day is this?”   😕

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Ode To Contessa

 

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Contessa – my little one – my Missy – my Lady Cat – my gravatar partner – the one who happily, excitedly, ran to greet me each day as I left the bedroom – has died, and I cried like a baby!

It was not unexpected, but it was no less painful. A retired breeder, she was with us just over 5 years.  She was 16 years old, but many Bengals live to be 20.  She was supposed to be the wife’s cat, but she adopted me and kept me in line just like she did the dog.

A couple of years ago, she developed some sneezing, coughing and wheezing. It was feline asthma.  The vet warned that, when we lost her, it would probably be to breathing problems.  Month by month, the coughing grew more common.

About a month ago, she caught a head cold. Nose was stuffed up and runny.  From February last year, to her vet appointment this year, she dropped from 8 pounds, to seven.  Whether because she felt poorly, or just couldn’t smell her soft food, she stopped eating.  By the time we got her to the vet again, she was down to 5 pounds.

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He gave us some antibiotic, and some high-calorie food. We got the medicine in, but not the food.  When Bengals stop eating, it’s almost impossible to break the cycle.  They will starve themselves.  She spent a week in the computer room, taking the occasional sip of water.  She finally came out and collapsed on the carpet in front of the bathroom door.  The end seemed inevitable.

As I sat in the living-room, reading, I suddenly realized that she’d dragged herself downstairs and was on the floor at my feet. I like to think that she wanted to be near me at the end.  Minute by minute, her breaths became shallower.  I hoped that she would quietly, painlessly drift off.

I had called the daughter and asked what to do with her when she passed. Daughter said that, as soon as I was sure she was gone, to seal her in a plastic bag and put her in the freezer, until a decision could be made – burial with a marker in the back flower garden, or cremated, and her ashes returned?

I’d had a long, hard day with the wife in the hospital for a knee replacement. I left a plastic bag and a note for the son.  I tried to go to bed at my usual 5:00 A.M., but I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t leave the problem to the unsuspecting son.  Besides, if she wanted to be with me, the least I could do is be there for her at the end.

I put clothes back on and went and sat beside her, occasionally stroking her. I couldn’t read.  I couldn’t think.  I alternated between the chair, and pacing the floor, cursing Fate and the Universe, and crying.  It seemed each breath was a little shallower than the last.  At one point she raised her head to look at me.  I want to believe that she was making sure that I was still with her and was comforted.  Then she sank back down and I thought that had been her last breath.  A couple of minutes later, she shook her ears and moved her head.

Around 6:00 AM, she seemed to spasm. Her front legs didn’t work, but she used her hindquarters to scoot a couple of feet across the floor.  I was afraid that she was in distress.  I rushed upstairs to the computer.  Our vet is 15 miles away, and doesn’t open till eight, but there’s an animal hospital a mile down the road which opens at 7:30.  I could take her there as soon as the son gets home with the car, to have them end any pain.

Around 6:20, she rear-leg drove herself over into a corner, behind a scratching post. Cats want to die alone, with dignity.  She managed to flip herself over onto her chest and tummy.  She lowered her face, her mouth and nose into the carpet, and….

I lay beside her, gently touching and stroking her, and crying my eyes out. When the son got home, we bagged and froze her.  Next week, when the wife can walk, we’ll take her to our vet’s.  The price for a job-lot cremation is $25.  A single-animal cremation, with her ashes returned is $200.  The son says he’ll split the cost.  We’ve done it for the others.  Honor says that we shall do it for her.

I don’t know how such a small, little lady managed to occupy such a large part of our hearts and lives. She was definitely part of our weird family.  Like any human relative or friend, she will be sorely missed, and never forgotten.  I/we thank you, my regal little Countess.  Be at peace!

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***

I composed this post later in the morning that it happened, to help myself deal with her passing. Thank you for reading my very personal tale of loss.  I’ll be back soon with something a bit more up-beat.   🙂

Cat Blog – AKA: Views And Likes, Come To Daddy

They say that, after a while, people and their pets begin to look alike. I don’t know about looking like my pets, but I know that I/we have begun to act like our cats, and the cats, sadly, have become like humans.

Experts say that cats don’t talk to each other the way people do. They have many different meows and other sounds to express wants, needs and feelings.  Two or more cats may make sequential sounds, but it’s not conversation.

I can make a low-pitched rumble in the back of my throat that sounds very much like purring. For reasons not known to me, it is called ‘vocal fry.’  About 30% of people do it at the end of words in normal speech.  The Kardashian females are especially noted for it.  When a cat purrs at me, I can purr back, and we’re both contented.

Cat Blog

When the son comes home in the morning, Mica jumps into his lap, digs his claws into tough denim pants, and demands his whapping and scratching. If son is distracted by food, drink or newspaper, Mica soon yowls to remind him that attention is missing.  The son says he’s learned to read and time these outbursts.  Just as the cat opens his mouth, the son meows loudly at him.  He says the look of confusion is precious.  Wait, what??! I was gonna say that.

I have some mild allergies that sometimes make me sneeze – never once, always at least twice, usually three, occasionally four, at least twice, five in a row. If Mica is in the room, or awake and able to hear me, after each and every sneeze, he lightly meows.  The recovering Catholic wife insists that he is blessing me.  As if I needed blessing, or the cat is authorized to do it.  I think he’s just telling me to keep the noise down, to protect his sensitive ears.

Each of our cats has a different time and place where they demand attention. With Tonka, it’s often as I recline my easy chair for my afternoon nap.  Suddenly I have the equivalent of an 18-pound building block on my chest, wanting to snuggle in – try to breathe, try to breathe.  No wonder superstitious mediaeval peasants thought that cats ‘sucked the life out of babies.’  It’s known as positional asphyxia.

Cat Day

In the winter, the air in the house is so dry that we got half-inch-long sparks off doorknobs, so we installed a humidifier in the hall, outside the bedrooms. It had push-button controls on the upper surface.

As we accumulated cats, we found that they will jump up, and pad around on a humidifier, even when it’s running.  Waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a cat-induced, speed #10, oncoming tornado is a real adventure.

We eventually bought a new humidifier, with touch-screen controls at a 45° angle on the front edge. When cats jump down from something, they slide their front paws over the front edge….  And here comes the tornado again!  We’ve gone two winters now without running it.  A few electric sparks are not as much of a shock as that.

Cat Scratch Fever

All of my cats demand attention at certain times, but Contessa (my little ‘Missy’), is the one who hangs out in the computer room with me while I’m working, or trying to.  She’s also the one with the sharpest claws.  My arms finally reached the point shown above, before I learned to use peripheral vision to notice her coming.  I saw a blog-post the other day.  All it was, was a photo of an arm, scratched worse than mine, with the caption, “Why yes, I do own a cat.  Why do you ask?”

Now, a gentle paw slap as she tries to grab, my attention and my arm, is enough to make her sit back on the floor. Most females don’t want my hands anywhere near them, but when she’s in a ‘pet me’ mood, she demands them all over her.  After 5 long years, she’s even finally taken to lying on her side on the floor at my feet, so that I can rub her tummy – a sign of trust.

Other trust signs are the long, slow, two-eyed blink, and lifting their tail and showing you their butt. They have to trust you enough to take their eyes off you, and the exposed rump not only means that they’re temporarily defenceless, but there are scent glands, which we can’t smell, but which they use to identify themselves to others.

Cat Decision

catacomb – beauty salon for felines
catalyst – cat’s inclination after too much catnip
or – a feline who really makes things happen

catatonic – party fare for cats substituting milk for gin
catechism – manual for turning your doubting tomcat into a true believer
catsup – dinner party for fat cats (catered, of course)
catamaran – a cruise boat for kitties
catastrophe
– four felines and a decorated Christmas tree
catapult – what felines apparently use to get into your lap….when you least expect it
Catalan – a Spanish gato
catamount – wherever your kitty climbs up, to sleep
catfish – be sure to put the lid back on the aquarium

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Medical Bills

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A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said: “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

The distressed woman wailed: “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet.

“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.

He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.

A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said: “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!” she cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged. “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the CAT scan, it’s now $150.”

***

You can get much farther with a kind word and a
gun than you can with a kind word alone.
Al Capone

***

President Trump was being entertained by an
African leader. They’d spent the day discussing
what the country had received from the Russians
before the new government kicked them out.

“The Russians built us a power plant, a highway,
and an airport. Plus we learned to drink vodka and
play Russian roulette.”

Donald Trump frowned. “Russian roulette’s not
a very friendly game.” The African leader smiled.
“That’s why we developed African roulette. If you
want to have good relations with our country,
you’ll have to play. I’ll show you how.”

He pushed a buzzer, and a moment later six
magnificently built, nude women were ushered in.
“You can choose any one of those women to give you
oral sex,” he told Trump.

“Unreal,” The Donald said, “But it doesn’t seem much
like Russian roulette.”

“Trust me!” he said. “One of them is a cannibal.”

 

 

I Was In The Neighborhood

Neighborhood

I recently wrote about some neighbors from Hell, and some of you indicated that you had some first-hand experience.

In nearly 50 years of marriage, we’ve never had any really bad ones, merely ‘interesting’ ones, like the kids in the other half of our current semi-detached.  A girl, 8, and a boy, 6, who never ‘walk’ down stairs, they sound like they have a collection of bowling balls, which they pour down.  My son works all night, and ‘tries’ to sleep during the day.  These two rattle cups in our kitchen on the side away from them.

In a public housing complex, one neighbor was a single mother. She’d had a son, and then, 25 years later, a change-of-life daughter who she indulged.  The kid wanted a kitten, and was given one, but neither the 10-year-old, nor her pet was allowed in the house when Mom was not there.

Too poor/stupid to buy a harness or collar, the girl put a heavy cord around the kitten’s neck and tied it to a cedar bush while she was at school. One day the kitten was startled by something, and leapt up into the bush a couple of times.  My wife happened to look out our back window, to see it dangling from the cord.  She rushed out in time to save it, and spoke to the mother.  The kitten bit the girl, and she threw it down the basement stairs.  It survived that, but eventually ‘disappeared.’

She was given a pet rabbit. I’d forgotten about the no pets in the house rule.  I came home from work about 3PM one afternoon, to see a blue, plastic, recycling box inverted in the back yard, in the blazing sun.  An hour later, the kid showed up and removed an almost heat-stroked bunny from beneath.  I told her not to leave her pet in the sun.  “Well, it was shady there when I left.”  [The sun moves during the day, you little ****!]

Like daughter, like Mother. She came by her dumb honestly.  I came home one day to see the mother’s car with a coat hanger sticking out of the top of the driver’s window – oh-oh!  Sure enough, when I went inside, the wife told me that she’d locked her keys in the car.  The wife had explained the catch the lock with a coat hanger, but her fingers weren’t strong enough.

I went out and had it open in a couple of minutes, and took a bundle of keys that a building custodian would be proud of, to the door. I told her that she should have another set of keys for just this situation.  “Oh, I have a second set of keys.”  “Well, where are they?” “On the chain, with the others.”

The kid was a little pudgy, and her mother restricted her diet, possibly why she wasn’t allowed alone in the house. We always had a bag of hard candies in our glove compartment, to suck on, on long drives, to avoid the need to stop at Burger King for drinks.  This was when I first started regularly locking the car, when the candy disappeared for the second time.  I also installed a locking gas-cap, because some people in the complex had their gas-tanks siphoned, and others had water, pop, sugar and sand poured in.

In my Racism Hurts post, I wrote of a beige neighbor from Guyana, who was such an asshole that he qualified for the ‘Paki’ label. A problem to others, he was more entertaining, if irritating to us.

We rented a brand new house which a relative had purchased as an investment. A pair of young professionals had it built, but he got a great job offer in another city, even before they moved in.  We had to meet his wife there to get the keys.

She assured us that they had not lived in it, but her brother had, for a couple of months, while getting an apartment after a messy divorce. What few possessions he had left were locked in the garage, and would be gone by the weekend.  I grabbed the garage-door handle and lifted….and the door rolled up.  Of course, he had to surrender the key; it’s not locked.  I rolled the door down and said nothing.  It’s not my problem.

Our problem was the young couple who moved in on the other side. She was the airhead instigator. He was the ‘Yes dear.  Yes dear.’  A new house – we went almost a year without a paved driveway, clattering in over mud and gravel.  Finally, I helped the owner lay timbers as a frame, on their side.

A city by-law requiring that all structures, like fences and driveways, had to be 2 feet inside the property line had been rescinded. The legal maximum width for a single dwelling driveway was 17 feet.  We drove two cars, so he and I made it 18 feet wide, bringing the timbers to about 3 inches from the property line.

After it was filled and paved, I came home one day, and found three little bamboo sticks between the houses, the kind you tie flowers up to. Not very straight, the line between any two would miss the third by 2 or 3 inches, but Hmmm….

Sure enough, the next time he saw me outside, he told me that my driveway was on his property.  “No, it’s not.”  “Yes it is!  You’re going to have to tear it apart, and remove some of it.”  “It’s not on your property!  Why would you think it was?”  “Well, I measured.”  “Measured from where?”  “I measured from the house.”  That explains the gardening stakes.

I asked why he hadn’t measured from the survey marker. “Huh?”  I walked down to the sidewalk and pulled back the sod we’d cut to put the timbers in.  There, 3 inches on his side, was the large steel spike that the surveyor had pounded in at the property line.  “Uh – Okay.  Never mind.”

That winter, I began by pushing the snow on the outside of the driveway, into the drainage swale between the houses. One day, I came home to find my wife embroiled in an altercation.  Apparently (the female) one of them had figured that, in the spring, when the snow melted, instead of flowing downhill into the sewer, the melt-water would flow 3 feet uphill, over the edge of their foundation, and flood their basement.

There she was, on a snowy, December front porch, in a bathrobe and slippers, screaming, “You fat pig! You fat pig!” at my poor wife.  Not exactly the way to win an argument.  Still, from then on, I pushed the snow down a short driveway, and piled it on the City-owned Boulevard in front of their house till they couldn’t see over it, across the street, and there wasn’t a thing they could say about it.

They say that good fences make good neighbors, but even Trump couldn’t build a fence high enough to make this pair of morons good. 😯

Cool Cats

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Another post about cats, in the shameless pursuit of blog-stats – but first….let me tell you about my dog. My dog eats peanuts.

It started innocently enough, with a handful of peanuts, for me – and a forlorn, mooching dog in front of me. ‘Offer him one.  He’s a carnivore.  He won’t take it.’ But he did, and another, and another….  Now it’s a daily ritual – he gets 8 or 9 peanuts, and I get to read my newspaper in peace.

The wife decided to cut off his soft dog-food, and feed him only hard kibble, to help clean his teeth. He has allergies to grass.  I give him an antihistamine a day, to cut down on his scratching and licking.  I used to put them in his soft food – now what??  Put a dab of peanut butter on the end of a kitchen knife, embed the pill in it, and scrape it off against his front teeth.  Schlurp, schlurp!

Dogs will come when you call them. And they’ll be happy.
Cats will have someone take a message and maybe get back to you.

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I should paint a yellow line down my spine, not ‘cuz I’m chicken, but because this guy has taken to walking on my back (and Shimoniac’s). Like the peanuts, it also started innocently.  I stopped and knelt on a step, just below the half-landing, going upstairs, to pet and skritch him.  Somehow he oozed around the corner, up a couple of steps, and walked through the railing, onto my back.

I don’t know if he’s petting me, like I pet him, or establishing dominance. Now, whenever I go to the basement storage room, he jumps up on the freezer to get ruffled, and walks all over my back.

An exposed back is not safe! The day he leapt from the landing as I bent over at the bottom of the stairs to put my boots on, was….interesting.  I often kneel when I clean out the litter tray in the basement.  To have him pounce is not unusual.  To have him do it, just as I stand up, has him clinging to my shirt.

Then one night I did it with no shirt on, That required almost a whole tube of antiseptic cream, and sleeping on my stomach for a couple of days.

Matthew & Tonka

If I walk past this needy big fellow on a table or TV stand, he often reaches out to pull me in. He’s the most trusting, and loving of my cats.  When we snuggle (almost every evening as I read), he licks my moustache and eyebrows, and rubs his face against my glass frames.  He lies on the back of my chair and licks/grooms my hair.

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Our little female has helped herself to some of my chocolate milk a number of times, when it’s sitting on the end table beside my chair, minding its own business.  She’s lost a lot of teeth, so liquid nourishment is good for her.  A couple of Christmases, she’s also sampled eggnog.

I’ve left out one of my cats, and I have lots more interesting information about cats, but you’re already looking at me the way I look at Jehovah’s Witnesses, when they come to call, so I’ll just end with a bit of feline humor.  Have a chuckle or two at the expense of cat owners/lovers, and come back soon.

Signs that your cat is the owner and you are the pet:

  1. You get up as many times as they demand to be let in and out of the room.
  2. You feed them tiny pieces of food, which you go through the trouble of cutting up, whenever they stare at your plate of food.
  3. You run the faucet for them whenever they feel like playing with water (never mind the fact they have a filtered water fountain).
  4. You hold them for however long they desire to stare out of the window (usually 5+ minutes).
  5. You let them redesign the household any way they want. (Books on the floor instead of shelves? OK!)
  6. You feed them treats whenever they forlornly play with their empty interactive treat toy.
  7. You get up to play with them whenever they pounce on you, even if you are in the middle of writing an important email/blog/essay, etc.
  8. You let them choose the side of the bed they want to sleep on first and sleep on whatever space they designate to you.

If more than four of these are true, you are the pet.   😆

 

AutoPrompt – A Day In The Life

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Oh, you are in for such a treat!  First, let me finish where many of you begin.

My half(assed)-sister and I were always the night-owls of the family. Often forced during my working life to accept shift-times imposed by employers, since I retired, I find that my ‘normal’ schedule keeps me up until about 5:00 AM.  I’ve had comments from BrainRants on new posts, before I turn in.  He’s getting up today, when I’m going to bed yesterday.

I skip the morning TV shows and get up around noon/1:00 PM. Being retired doesn’t mean having nothing to do.  Normal aging of the wife, myself, and daughter LadyRyl has amassed an impressive list of doctors – GPs, specialists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, and Podiatrists that I get to drive to.

The first half-hour of each day is spent feeding and watering – the dog, four cats, plus juice and pills for the wife and me – then on to cleaning out the litter box. The excitement hangs heavy in the air.

It’s probably a good thing that I spent the second half of my work-life in a physical-labor job. Since I retired I have gained some weight, but I’m still in shape – pear-shaped.  At least my legs get a good workout each day.  I don’t need one of those stair-masters.  I probably do 30 to 40 flights of stairs a day – up, and down.

I sit in the living room, reading the day’s paper. I faintly hear the wife call me from upstairs, where a head-cold has wrestled her to the bed.  I climb the stairs, because she can’t speak loud enough to be heard.  She wants a Keurig coffee.  I return to the kitchen.  There are no K-Cups of the requested flavor.  I go downstairs to the utility room, and bring some back up to the kitchen.  I take the brewed coffee upstairs up to the bedroom, and return to the living room.  1 cup of coffee = 3 flights of stairs.

After temporarily completing my catering and hand-servant duties, I usually get to sit by the front window and read today’s Waterloo Region Record and yesterday’s Toronto Sun.  I know, another weird-osity.

It started years ago when a co-worker friend used to give me his copy of the Sun at the end of a shift. When the shifts ended at 11 PM, or 7 AM, I read it ‘the next day.’  I only read the Sun for entertainment news, and the strange filler articles, like ‘Man Bites Meteorite.’  Along the way I take time out to do the two crosswords and word jumble.

I make ‘lunch’ between 2:00 and 3:00, sometimes for both of us, usually not the same thing, and often from leftovers in the fridge. Then it’s time to do the marketing.  Since the wife doesn’t often go out, we don’t go ‘grocery shopping.’

A local supermarket offers me a 50 cent or $1 discount on copies of the Sun, depending on the day of the week. I get home delivery of the local paper, but have to go out for the Sun anyway, so I add a few items each day as needed, to keep the cupboards stocked.

Late afternoon is devoted to the few chores I do – snow shoveling, lawn mowing, dish washing, preparing for evening meal. The computer room window faces west, and the sun-glare on the screen proscribes keyboard usage for a couple of hours.  This is when I might get some reading in….until one particular cat begins head-butting, and pawing – sometimes even pulling a flannel throw off the back of the couch – until I agree to cover us both and have a nap.

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Cultured people eat dinner. We have supper – any time between 8 PM and 10:00.  The son gets up at 9:00, we exchange some lies and brags, and he leaves for work just after ten.  Now the computer goes into overdrive.

I do my last, on-line crossword, read emails, compose posts, do research, visit websites/and comment, interrupted irregularly but frequently by both two-legged, and four-legged room-mates – coffee, cookies, cat treats, catnip, water, kibble, outside several times for the dog. I read some more while he’s out.  The cats are kept safe indoors, unless you read my Almost Catastrophe post.

I often play a bit of Solitaire and Mah-Jong for pattern recognition and decision making, to keep the brain sharper than a marble. With four cats, we have two litter pans.  The wife cleans one, and I clean the other, twice a day.  I get the one in the basement.

Suddenly it’s 5:00 AM again. I haven’t accomplished anything, and it’s time for another exciting day to draw to a close.  I’ll see you again tomorrow.  Don’t call too early.  😉