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an independent dog. [merely-a-thought monday]

independent dog

jen pulled the sliding glass door open for the fourth time (within a short visit of potlucking time around the kitchen island) and we all laughed.  sweet henry and chester wanted out.  wanted in.  wanted out.  wanted in.  this is a familiar tune.  dogdog finds it irresistible to demand to go out and then not want to miss anything and want back in.  on repeat.

andrea and scott have two golden retrievers.  impeccably trained, they wait for a sign or a word to do most anything.   they are not the in-and-out-ers that dogga and henry and chester are.  i remember them as calm and happy and i vowed that one day i would have a dog as well-behaved.  this is not that day.

but dogdog is, yes, dogdog-ish.  his sweet face watches our every move, trying to anticipate to which room we might be moving, trying to assess why we are feeling what he knows we are feeling.   he doesn’t like conflict; he doesn’t like the sound of metal touching metal.  it took him a while to warm up to the ukulele (which he now loves and wishes he could play) and the piano draws him into the studio.  he won’t touch food on the counter or the table or really anywhere unless given permission, but his direct eye contact begs for a bite every breakfast.  he destroyed very few things as a puppy (well, the kitchen cabinet door and the table legs count) but de-heads every toy he is given and un-stuffings them.  he bows to all things babycat, yet loves to drag him around and taunts him until babycat asserts his ruling paw.  his aussie-ness makes him intuitively try to keep track of all people and animals in the house, a tiresome and difficult chore when one is peculiarly averse to going upstairs or downstairs.  he is quirky.

on island he was quiet.  here at home he is a barker.  i guess he knew the littlehouse wasn’t his.  he loves errands both places.  he ecstatically runs miles in circles in the backyard and certain names will make his eyes wide and his australian-shepherd-jumping-bean-dog-heart jump with glee. he clocks out of all responsibility late at night, content to quietly languish in whatever room we are in, happy to have pets and go sleepynightnight.  sweet, sweet dogdog emerges from constant-motion dog.

i don’t remember the story we were talking about around jen and brad’s island.  i’m sure it was one of tripper’s many idiosyncratic tales.  we rolled our eyes and laughed.  and brad said, “you should be proud that you raised an independent dog!”

riiiiiight.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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he rules supreme. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

babycat computer

babycat’s work ethic is clear.  he is not dedicated to screen time, nor is he dedicated to long portions of work-related tasks.  he prefers to nap.  anywhere.  anytime.  his eyes squeezed shut, he pretends to be unaware of the things going on around him.  because he is “big-boned”, a-lot-of-cat, scooting him out of the way is like gently easing a massive concrete block a little to the left or a little to the right; there is no give.  yet we work around him, we absolutely accommodate him.  if he is sleeping on the bed, taking up perpendicular space, we will squish to the side, choosing to list starboard or port, whichever direction he is not.  he rules supreme.

i wake in the middle of the night, d jostling me, a clear sign to turn over and stop snoring.  only i am not snoring.  from the foot of the bed or perhaps under the bed, where jostling is impossible, it is babycat who snores loudly.  his contented breaths both amuse us and keep us awake.  a gentle poke-at-the-cat yields a temporary lull, but his sweet hulking body settles back into sleep and snoring commences.  the white noise of our overnight, he rules supreme.

dogdog wants to get a drink of water from their mutual bowl.  but babycat stands over it.  dogga reaches his paw out to try and drag the cat from the bowl, but babycat is firmly planted and dogga is unsuccessful.  so, even though he whines with frustration and looks at us with a “do something!” plea, dogdog, at least twice the size of this supersized cat, waits.  because babycat rules supreme.

and yet, even with the snoring and the bed-hogging and the torture-of-the-dog and the clear reign-of-the-house, we cannot imagine life without the babycat.  his presence and the fact that he-saved-me-i-didn’t-save-him rules supreme.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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“………..” merely-a-thought monday

dogga end of day.jpg

at the end of the day, when we sit listening to the quiet, waves lapping at the shore, a silent moon pulling our attention outside, dogdog lays, finally resting, his eyes tightly closed.  there is something about the trusting nature of a beloved pet sleeping that tugs at your heart.  i wonder what are the thoughts he thinks; what are the dreams he dreams?

as we weave through complicated days, dogga weaves with us.  he is always aware, always watching.  our sweet aussie, he is a mess of empathic energy, his eye contact unnerving.  his little heart beats fast and he watches, watches.  he has comforted us with his gentle knowing more times than we can count.  he doesn’t say much, but then, he doesn’t have to.

and then, at some point, he drops to the floor.   for him, everything is right in the world.  his people are close by, his babycat lies next to him or across the room.  all is well.  and he sleeps.

sometimes i wish it was all that simple.  it’s people who complicate matters.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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the tape box. [two artists tuesday]

bcat tape box copy

i’m not sure why babycat thought we expected him to go sit in the square.  but he did.  jen had told us about this experiment….put blue tape on the floor and see what your cat does.  laughing, we tried it.  and b-cat cooperated.  it wasn’t minutes after the tape was on the floor that he entered the kitchen, looked at it and went directly to it.  he sat his sweet hulking body down inside that tape-box and eventually he laid down inside it (although he was definitely coloring outside the lines, so to speak.)  it was astounding to watch.  this is a cat, after all.  and yes, he has really loved the dogbed in the sunroom and the crest box in the sitting room, but a box made of painter’s tape?  we just didn’t expect him to conform so readily.

most of the time, b-cat lives his life outside the box.  he acts more like a dog than a cat; i had never had a cat before him so i taught him all sorts of dog-tricks.  babycat doesn’t really know the difference, although were he to look it all up, he would see ‘follows the sun around the house’ was in the rule book for cats, not dogs.  but this one evening, with no prompt from us, he decided to stay inside the box.  he sat, he laid down, he purred in his sleep.  he was content.  inside the box wasn’t too bad, i guess.   later on, though, when the tape was off the floor, he didn’t seem to notice it was gone.  he never looked for it.  he didn’t seem to pine for its presence in his life.  he just went about his not-normal-cat behavior.  outside the box.

i guess there is something to be said both about living in the box and living outside the box.  both have merit.  one encourages you to be the cat you are defined to be.  the other allows you to be the dog no one expects you to be.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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wide-mouthed-b-cat [not-so-flawed wednesday]

wide mouth babycat copy

i’m not a particularly good teller-of-jokes.  even the punchlines of knock-knock jokes sometimes evade me and i find myself wracking my brain for the end, while anyone who listens can’t help the yawns.  but one of my all-time favorite jokes to tell is the one about the wide-mouthed-frog.  my niece heather was the first to tell me this joke; she was a pretty adorable toddler acting out the part of the wide-mouthed frog and i couldn’t help but laugh.  now here was one i could remember! there are many versions of this joke now and you can make it last as long as you want; for me, the longer you have people watching you act like a wide-mouthed frog, the better.

the curious wide-mouthed frog hopped happily around, stopping to ask various animals what they are and what they eat.  he stopped by a robin and said, “hi!  i’m a wide-mouthed frog and i eat bugs!  what are you and what do you eat?”  the robin replied, “i’m a robin and i eat worms.”  “OHHHHHHHHHHHH!” exclaimed the wide-mouthed frog and hopped happily on.  he stopped by a giraffe and said, “hi!  i’m a wide-mouthed frog and i eat bugs!  what are you and what do you eat?”  the giraffe replied, “i’m a giraffe and i eat the leaves off the highest trees and bushes around.”  “OHHHHHHHHHHHH!” exclaimed the little-bit-more-informed wide-mouthed frog and he hopped happily on.  the wide-mouthed frog visited with many different animals on his way, learning new animal names and diets.  then he came to the side of a river where a snake was lounging in the sun.  “hi,” he said to the snake. “i’m a wide-mouthed frog and i eat bugs!  what are you and what do you eat?”  the snake sneered at the wide-mouthed frog and, coiled into a tight circle, said, “i’m a snake and i eat wide-mouthed frogs!”

this picture of wide-mouthed-babycat makes me think of that joke.  he clearly has no cares in the world and would have no worries, lest his food bowl disappear and the sunlight be gone from the sky.  sleeping and eating, pestering the dog, yawning, snoring and vocally demanding attention are his tasks and he is brilliant at each of them.  we simply couldn’t resist posting this picture of the cat-we-adore, a part of our world.

and the tightly-purse-lipped-wide-mouthed frog said, “oh.”

read DAVID’S post this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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back to back. [two artists tuesday]

dogdogbabycatbacktoback copy

dogdog and babycat – back to back

in the middle of the night when i wake up – which happens every night thanks to the keeps-on-giving gift of menopause – i can hear them.

dogdog is gently breathing, sometimes punctuated by his paws running in a dream where he is doing laps around our pond, excitedly barking.  his even breaths, a dog in mostly-quiet slumber, reassure me, and my heart and i listen as he peacefully sleeps.

the peaceful-sleep bar is different for babycat.  he is not a stealth-sleeper.  well, actually nothing that babycat does is stealthy.   he’s not that kind of cat.  instead, his sleep on the end of the bed (he picks the side and you definitely know early-in-the-night if you have drawn the short straw) is noisy, fraught with snoring.  i’ve never heard a cat snore as loudly as he does; it is absolutely necessary to nudge him a little so that he steps it down a tad bit.  even with the snoring and the give-him-an-inch-he’ll-take-a-mile-bed-hogging, babycat’s presence sleeping on the bed is reassuring and i lay awake in wonder at how peaceful he seems, how content.

these two are buddies.  i was concerned at the beginning, having never had both a dog and cat simultaneously.  i needn’t have worried though.  they will lay napping on the raft back to back, with their people nearby.  perhaps at those times it is the two of them tuning in and listening – to our voices, our laughter, the rhythm of our day.  and perhaps it is those times that they are reassured.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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babycat in a box. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

babycat in a box copy

remember when you carefully wrapped your toddler’s presents, expecting their absolute glee when he or she opened the gift?  and then, moments after the gift was opened, with wrappings and gift cast aside, you found them ecstatically playing with the box the gift came in?  well, welcome to babycatworld.

b-cat has lots of toys.  we struggle with keeping dogdog from devouring them.  we gave him fun new things for christmas, but he doesn’t seem all that interested.  however, the moment we put a carry-your-stuff-out-box we used at costco on the floor in the kitchen, babycat decided it was his.  no matter where we move it, he sits in it.  he has claimed it; it is his safe spot.  it would be impossible for him to lay down in it; his hulking “big-boned” body dwarfs the box.  but sitting in it seems to suffice for him.  i guess everyone/every creature has their special spot.  so for now, this crest box has become a part of our home.

i might add that it doesn’t match our decor in any way.   i’m wondering if he would still sit in it if we spray-painted it black…

read DAVID’S thoughts on this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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