Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Continuing Adventures of Little Buttercup


We are gaga about this cat, just crazy about her.  She makes us laugh all day, she sleeps in my arms like a baby, she cuddles up with our big cat, plays with him -- she's such a joy to have around.

She really likes to go outside, but I can't imagine just letting her out, and when we go sit on the porch with her, she's down the steps, under the car -- it just doesn't feel safe to me, that she could dart out if a car is coming down the street.  So . . . we're trying the harness route.

 (Linkup with Camera Critters)

Doesn't she look spiffy?  She didn't protest too much, when we first put it on, just rolled on the ground a little to see if it would come off.  Now we're taking her out a couple of times a day on a long leash, letting her explore for 15 minutes or so, and she seems to be doing fine with it.  A little cautious, but that could be the strange environment, too.  When we come in, I immediately give her a spoonful of canned cat food, which she loves and which we're saving for treats at this point.  When she's finished with the cat food, she goes right over to the door and cries to go out again.  Here she is exploring an empty box.

I think she's going to like it, eventually.  I also got a book on clicker training for cats, which we're going to try, because going the spray bottle route to keep her off the tables doesn't seem to be working.  She waits until I walk over and pick up the spray bottle, then she jumps down before I can use it.  There must be a better way.

Any tips on cat raising, much appreciated.  My Loved One, who has a very laid-back attitude toward cat raising, is very dubious about any of this working, but we'll see.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bummer . . .


I once stopped at the ATM on the way to work, on a morning in which I had about five errands to run before I got to the office.  I was flustered and in a hurry and somehow managed to walk away from the ATM without taking my card, without even closing the transaction.  When I got to work, I realized what happened, that I didn't have my card, and so looked immediately at my account online.  The person behind me in line had taken $200 (the maximum) out of my account.

This bewildered me to no end.  If you or I found someone's card still in the ATM machine, we'd be running off down the street after them, saying "Excuse me!  You left your card!"  I don't understand the mentality of someone who sees such a thing and immediately says to themselves, "Whoa -- a golden opportunity."  What kind of person is ready to just take advantage of someone instantly, if the opportunity arises?  I wonder how that person is brought up -- certainly not the way I was, because I feel guilty finding a $20 bill on the floor in a store and even thinking about keeping it.

Of course, we can always be wrong about people.  I had a student once that impressed me -- the wrong way -- on the first day of class.  Wife-beater t-shirt, tattoos all over, my immediate thought was oh, this guy's in class because he's not doing well with his writing and was told he'd better do something about it . . . here's where stereotypes can be wrong.  He turned out to be a wonderful writer, the best student in the class, one that I would from time to time have to say "John (pseudonym), please give someone else the opportunity to answer."  I ran into him in the parking garage one day, and said hey, what's up, and he told me he was going over to the corporation yard to return a wallet he'd found, one that had $200 in it.  When I saw him in class later, I said, did the guy give you a reward?  And his answer was well, he offered me $60 but I didn't take it -- I just wanted to do the right thing.  

So all of this is apropos of what?  The other night, someone went into my car and stole my iPod.  They went through everything, left the car doors open (the policeman says they always do that -- closing them makes noise).  They also stole our daughter's bike, but abandoned it when they found out one of the tires was flat.  Luckily, for some reason, they didn't go into my loved one's car, because they could have had a Kindle, in addition to his iPod.

Unfortunately, our daughter has some rather unsavory acquaintances, and I suspect it was some of them.  These kids stole a $5000 custom-made bike from a guest of the guy across the street, in broad daylight.  The guy eventually got some of the parts back, because the bike was broken up, and they went to juvenile hall over it.  But what I don't understand, if it was the same kids who stole my iPod, is how you can steal from your neighbors, people who say hello to you and would help you any time you needed it.  And their parents defend them.  I just don't get it.

Here's a flower to brighten up a gloomy post:

Trying out some new textures that Evelyn at Within My Focus alerted me to -- two of the textures I used are from Pixel Dust, the other from Flypaper, my favorites.

Have a great weekend --

Oh, P.S., the bank gave me back the $200, and I think they caught the guy.  And I have a new iPod -- I can't live without my audiobooks at this point.  I hope they enjoy the 27-hour biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer I was right in the middle of.

Oh, and I thought I'd hook up with Camera Critters,  with a picture of our Little Buttercup, who is growing by leaps and bounds.  Four pounds, now!

Oh, to be able to sleep so sweetly!

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's almost over --


When school gets out at the end of May, it seems that the summer will go on forever, and is full of endless possibilities . . . But it's not even August 1st yet and I'm already getting emails about the beginning-of-semester meetings, and reminders that for all intents and purposes, my school year will start on August 15, rather than on the 22nd when things really start.  And I'm way behind on planning my class . . . so what else is new??

I'm participating in the "Friday 56," in which you pick a quote from page 56 of whatever book you're reading.  Here's the book:

 And here's the quote:  "The most emotionally compelling of those private obligations was protection of men's dependents.  Thus wars were increasingly explained as being fought for hearth and home, most especially 'to protect our women.'"  This is a very interesting book about the American family, especially myths that have grown up about it -- for example, that it's evidence of our country's decline that so many teenagers are having babies these days, when in fact, the rate of births by teens 15-19 is actually half of what it was in 1957.  In this quote, she's talking about what happened as a government could no longer count on the fact that people had an obligation to be obedient to the state (i.e., to fight for it in times of war), so they began arguing that people had private obligations, to protect their women and children, in order to get them to enlist.  It's a very interesting book.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boy, it's been a while --


I was so busy, getting ready for my "Summer Art in the Garden" show, I was kind of a basket case.  It happened last weekend, and although it was not a huge moneymaker, I'm really glad I did it for the experience of getting ready for something like that.  Of course things went wrong -- on the last day, I ran out of double-sided tape and the tape dispenser exploded, and my staple gun quit working.  But the show went very well -- even though people weren't buying much (they were there to buy plants, not pictures), they were very complimentary about my work, and that was very gratifying.  Also, the store wants me to give them one of my great big pictures, so we'll see how that goes.  The picture below is one that a number of people were interested in -- personally, I don't think it's that great, but who am I to argue?

I'm forging ahead with new things --  today I submitted a couple of things to a juried show at the Santa Cruz Art League called "Works on Paper" -- first time I've ever done something like that.  I also put in an application to the "Aptos Artisan Fair," which is a charitable event for a big Methodist church.  Because it's a fund raiser for the church, I'm figuring that people will come ready to buy :)  So I'm crossing my fingers for both those things.

At the bottom of the blog, I've got a ticker going, counting down the days to my retirement -- 346 today, I think.  I cannot, cannot wait -- I'll be able to devote myself to photography and art, and I will be soooo happy.  

I'm going to make the rounds and see what everyone has been up to!

Linkup to Still Life Standouts -- 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More of What I've Been Up To


Things are progressing slowly with my tendinitis -- it's better, but definitely not gone yet.  It's been hard to type and I haven't been able to think about using the mat cutter to get things ready for my show.  I still have two weeks, though -- 

Here's the latest glamor shot of my new baby:

She's so pretty, isn't she?  This is one of her favorite spots, sitting on the bathroom window ledge, looking out at the patio.  She still looks small, but we realize that she's twice the size she was when she first came to us.  Little Buttercup . . . 

We didn't do much for 4th of July, just hung out with some neighbors for a bit, and then set off a few fireworks in the street.  Of course, I had to try to get a few pictures:

They were just little rockets that sat on the pavement, but they were pretty.

We could also see various fireworks in the sky -- fireworks aren't legal in the county, but people manage to set them off, big ones, too.

 What did you do on the 4th?  Anything fun?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Kitty Chronicles


When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?  ~Montaigne, 1580

Oh boy, it's been way too long since I've posted.  Between tendinitis, a new kitty, and watercolor class, I've had little opportunity to post anything.  But I want to do a kitty update.  

As I mentioned, I'm not a cat person, so I'm shocked at the amount of devotion this little bitty thing has evoked in me.  I've been thinking about living an authentic life, and thinking how a kitty (or dog, or any non-human thing) lives authentically -- she plays when she wants to, sleeps when she wants to, is fairly unaffected by the opinions of others (except when she's on the dining room table), freely gives and receives affection, on her own terms, when she wants to.  Of course, people also supply her with food, water, a cat tree, treats, toys galore . . . what's not to like about her life?

 [Terrible cell phone picture, link to iPhoneography]

This is her favorite people-related way to sleep -- curled up on someone's chest.  Sometimes she lies like a baby in my arms, or wraps her legs around my neck, so it looks like I'm wearing a fur collar.   She's happy, and I'm happy too, because what is nicer than having something soft, warm, and furry on you, purring?

She is the most happy-go-lucky creature, a ball of energy, pouncing on our big cat, chasing little mice around the living room, leaping on and off the cat tree, racing from the armchair to the ottoman to the couch to the coffee table and back to the armchair again.  And when she's exhausted herself, she drops -- 

and sleeps the sleep of the innocent.

She already knows that if someone gets up from the couch, there will be a warm spot where they were sitting.  She knows that when the lights go out at night, it's time for her to go in her crate, and she starts the game of running and hiding until someone catches her.  She knows that she can only push October (our adult cat) so far, then he will squish her and that's not fun, because he weighs 25 lb. and she weighs 2 or so.  She's learning fast.

Anyway, it's a great feeling to have such a little creature happy to see you.  She makes me very happy, too.