Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

I stood in my kitchen this past Saturday morning, stirring my coffee and wondering where does one start when packing up 20 + years of life and memories? 
It was early, before 7 a.m. and as I looked down at the floor, I saw the shadow of Max walk by…even the shadow of his tail looked fluffy. “Hi buddy,” I said…and then I remembered. 
I smiled, something that I had not done for several days. 
You see, Max died on Saturday, January 2nd, between 4 and 6 am. 

Max stumbled when he walked in the door after sitting outside on the patio the morning of the 29th of December.  My husband and I exchanged worried looks of concern and immediately drove to the vet; Max was put on an IV, the vet felt a mass in Max’s belly that his technician was going to try and “tap” to determine what it was.   

Wednesday, the vet called to tell us that Max had cancer.  Our doctor wanted to know if we wanted to take Max home and spend some more time with him. 
Of course we did.  The first evening, Max ate a little bit and even sat on Sam’s Bakugan game board and tried to look interested in what Sam was saying.  Max tapped one of the balls with a paw. 

After that he slowed down more each day; he stopped eating and drinking. I started using an eye dropper to give him sips of water.  
How ironic. 
(When Max first arrived home with Hubby nearly 14 years ago, I had to feed Max with an eye dropper because he was so young, he still should have been nursing.) 

We prepared Sam for the fact that Max was not going to get better.  We all took turns holding Max and keeping him warm.  At night, I slept on the couch and kept my hand on him to make sure he knew I was there. 

By New Year’s Day, it was evident that we would be going to the vet’s office the next morning so that a shot could be administered.  The vet had assured us that Max was not in pain, but that death would not come without assistance.  By the evening of January 1st, Max could no longer walk, so I would change the thick towel we kept under him, since he could not get up to use the kitty box. 

Late that evening, he began to whimper every few minutes.  Finally sometime before 2 am, I was able to get him comfortable.  With my head pounding with a migraine, I gave him a kiss, told him we all loved him and I went to lay down in bed for awhile. 

At four in the morning, I went to check on him.  He was warm and he moved one of his cute little paws when I stroked his fur.  At 6:30 a.m. he was gone. 

I know that the phantom images of Max will not continue in our new place, so I am grateful for the vision I had early Saturday morning. 


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Never before at Christmas time have I ever had the gifts wrapped before midnight on Christmas morning.   Often hubby and I  were both bleary-eyed when our three boys woke up to open presents.  Where is the coffee? 
This afternoon my youngest went out with one of his brothers and I had over six hours to my self.
I thought I could clean the tub and take a hot bath without expecting someone to come bursting to ask if I had seen this or that.  And then, I heard an angel chorus….I could get all the Christmas presents wrapped!  I could even use the big table and not have to hide in our bedroom.  I wouldn’t have to lean over the bed, wrapping on top of the comforter; having to be careful not to cut fabric when I cut the wrapping paper. 

After about 3 hours, Pete and Sam called to say they were on their way home…”Did I need anything?”  “Yes,” I shouted, “I need you to stay gone two more hours!”  Sam wanted to know if I was wrapping stuff for him…he wants a razor scooter…the kind that sparks.  “No,” I said, “I don’t think there’s anything here for you yet.” 
Five hours later, I had everything wrapped…including the skooter….buried behind the tree.  Stocking stuffers are in five separate bags, ready to go when my family is down for the night.  I have a  new bottle of cough syrup to go in my stocking.  The kitty treats and toys are in their own gift bags.  

When hubby got home from work and the boys returned from the movies we had bowls of Superbowl Soup (shameless plug for past post) and corn bread.  I still haven’t asked what movie they saw, (maybe I don’t want to know) while enjoyed two more hours of wrapping in peace. 

This evening I walked past the tree.  There, hiding underneath was AJ, with her face buried in her gift bag. 
Even she can’t wait for Christmas.

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Can you tell a Narcissist by his eyes? 

This sweet cat would no doubt be offended at the comparison. 
The individual asking Google the question used the phrasing  “Can you tell a narcissist with his eyes.”  I don’t think you can necessarily tell what kind of human being a person is, by their eyes. 
I have only known one bona fide narcissist and I know what his eyes were like. 

Some people are shy, they can’t look you in the eyes for very long.  It’s not that they are dishonest, it just makes them uncomfortable, makes them feel vulnerable, to look in another person’s eyes for very long.  Being a victim of a narcissist left me feeling fragile and fearful to let people see my eyes.  As if, they would be able to see the pain that was written there. 

Many people like myself have been harmed by individuals who portrayed themselves as genuine, when in actuality there wasn’t a human emotion in their being….the only emotions they had, were mirrored from another living, breathing person.  To look a narcissist in the eye is the beginning of losing a part of your self…they take so much – they take as much as they can and then they leave the shell of their victim behind. 

There is the famous phrase that says:  “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” 
I don’t know if that is true or not.  People would be afraid to look anyone in the eye if it was.  Everyone would be able to see each others flaws, hurts, their darkest secrets. We know (those of us who were/are victims), that narcissists have no soul…at least it seems that way to us after we have been abused by them for a season or in the unfortunate cases of some…a lifetime. 

Since the demise of the narcissist, I have gotten good, or should I say better at reading people.  I like to think of it as radar or maybe  N-dar.  It would be even better to say that I listen to my Intuition now.  I watch body language when I meet people; when I interact.  I watch how people comport themselves…I watch their eyes.  I look to see if they attempt to ‘lock me in their gaze’ and not look away. 
There’s a Red Flag waving. 

Sometimes I wish I had Sookie Stackhouse’s (True Blood) gift of hearing thoughts.  She would be quick to say that she does not read minds, but rather thoughts and feelings.  But like Sookie, it is impossible to ‘glamour’ me.  Sorry Bill…Sorry Eric, it won’t work. 

I will tell you one thing about the narcissist’s eyes….his eyes changed color. 
I know, I know, it’s not supposed to be possible, not without contact lenses. 
I know it sounds like something out of Hollywood or a popular novel…Edward’s eyes changed from golden to black, when hungry. 
I can only tell you what I saw.  
The N’s eyes would turn black when he raged or during an episode of Devalue & Discard (we’re not talking Dungeons and Dragons)
His eyes changing color was something that happened many times. 
Truly, his eyes looked like a shark’s eyes.  Empty, cold and unfeeling….just like him.

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     It seems that everyone is going Green….everything and everyone is  is becoming environmentally correct. 
The market is selling eco-friendly shopping bags to replace the plastic bags we’ve been using for years. 
No longer will I be able to get brown paper bags each September so my “tween” can cover his books for school.
At least not for free anyway.    

      The last time I went to the market they had a “Buy One Get One free” sale…..so I’ve been stocking up. 
We even get a choice of patterns…beach theme, your basic Green, and the free advertising one….”I know where you’ve been shopping….”
Last month when I was in Santa Barbara, Old Navy was practically “begging” their customers to buy a bag for a buck.

     This past weekend while I was unloading my groceries, I noticed one of my Eco-green bags moving across the kitchen floor….seems AJ had climbed in the bag with the cat treats, still inside. 
I think she can read.


Not AJ….but a reasonable facsimile.

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This was originally entitled “Gaslighting: Doggy style. 2008_05_29-bertha7921

I was going to be able to use this great line:  “No, this is not going to be about sex.  Mind out of the gutter, please.”  But I thought if I had one more post about Gaslighting, my audience was probably going to go screaming off into the night. 

Really, this is going to be about being gaslighted by two canines. Specifically a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Treeing Walker Coon Hound.  While I can’t cite specifics re: the abuses from the N;
I can tell the you about two dogs that made my life miserable for 45 minutes while on vacation. I do like dogs, but I’m sorry, cats are never this cruel. 

We were on vacation in the Emerald City; actually on an island, but close enough for this tale.  We had spent 3 wonderful weeks in the Pacific Northwest.  My husband and older sons returned home; leaving myself and our youngest son to follow a few days later.

I had carefully packed two memory cards for my camera in my carry on luggage.  I put them in a Ziploc bag with a few other small soft items.  I knew exactly where they were.  After three weeks I was re-packing, getting ready to go home.  I hate re-packing.  How is it that you can never get the same suitcase to close as easily as you did on the way up?  It’s like an old TV show where the heroine tries to wiggle into a girdle. 

One evening before we left, our friends and I were going to swap photos.  I had filled one memory card, with about 700 photos.  I sat down with my friend and we went through photos from our joint vacation the previous summer. There were close to 500 photos; I decided it would be easier to down load all of the photos from his lap top.  “Go get your memory cards,” he said.  I went into one of the guest rooms that my husband and I share when we visit……….

Moose and Petunia are very curious dogs.  (Hey, I didn’t name them, the kids did.)  The moment we arrived with our luggage they were in the guest room.  Sniffing the suitcases….”Hey, I smell cat!”  Climbing on the bed and laying on the comforter…”Hey, we’ll sleep with you guys tonight…”  It took five minutes to move 80 and 65 pounds of dog from the room. 

Early in the trip, the 1/2 pound of fudge from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, “disappeared” plastic wrapping and all.  Our friends never did find any ‘remnants.’  After that we were always careful to close the bedroom door so that we did not have a raid from any furry commandos.

……My carry on bag was sitting on the bed right where I had left it…except the door was ajar.  I reached in to get the Ziploc bag with the memory cards; the bag was gone.  I went back out to the main level….where could I have left it?  I retraced my steps, 4 or 5 times.  I looked in the bag again.  My friend called me from the living room…”Are you going to bring the memory card?”  The dogs were strangely absent. 

If I hadn’t felt like I had stepped back in time, standing my office, hunting for something that the N had taken, I might thought to see where the dogs were. Instead I kept searching the main floor of the house.  My friends joined in the hunt.  They both assured me that the dogs would have never taken a Ziploc bag from my bedroom.  My girlfriend started wondering, out loud, whether I had actually brought it with me on vacation. I had that horrible panicked feeling of thinking: Did I really bring the memory cards?  Am I imagining this?  I  was having flash backs to when the N was gaslighting me on a daily basis.  I had that same off centered feeling. 

I should have paid more attention to the dogs as they nonchalantly sat on the living room floor.  Petunia had THE most guilty look on her face.  She’d look at me and then look away.  To those of you who have dogs, you know “the look.”

After 45 minutes, it seemed like longer, of walking through the house, running my hands through my hair, looking under everything…we found about 30 dog bones or portions of them…my friend took the flashlight and went out into the darkness.  I stood on the porch, not wanting to commune with the raccoons, skunks and other furry woodland creatures.  “Is this it?” he called.  He found the bag at the edge of the wetlands.  Yes, the Ziploc bag that carefully held 2 2 GB memory cards the size of my thumbnail, was returned to the kitchen for inspection.  The cards were fine.  They were still in their individual cases.  I can’t say the same for the Ziploc bag or the tea bags; they were quite spitty.  Sorry Petunia, it wasn’t more fudge. 

Moose couldn’t look me in the eye, and went to his kennel.  Petunia was found upstairs in our friend’s bedroom, hiding under the covers.  The next day, I surprised Petunia by coming into the room from another direction, she took one look at me, and her back legs couldn’t move fast enough. She raced out the doggie door and ‘hid’ outside under the tire swing.


When I got home and started unpacking, the cats were very curious.  They kept sniffing the luggage, mouths open, with disgusted looks on their furry faces.  “Ewwwww!  Have you been around a Dog?!”  “How could you!!  Traitor!!!!”  I took another dirty load of laundry to the washer; when I returned to the family room, the cats were standing over something white on the floor.  It was a dog bone.  I guess Moose and Petunia were trying to apologize.

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I spent my evening being the manicurist for a furry diva.  I’ve trimmed 18 razor sharp, kitty toe nails; and I still have flesh on 99% of my body.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I had nothing else to do…I’m waiting for the season premiere of CSI. 

Actually, the real reason is because AJ (the re-in”cat”ion) of Boots, managed to step in a puddle of pine tree sap in our back yard.  She was leaping all over the sidewalk, shaking her paw, trying to lick it off.  While she was making the most awful faces, I silently had to ask my self, “AJ, you lick your bottom, and you’re making faces like that over pine tree sap?” 

Have you ever tried to get pine sap out of a furry cat paw? As a public service – Here is the step by step procedure, if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.

First, enlist your unsuspecting spouse to hold the cat in question.  Wrap the cat in a towel that you wouldn’t mind seeing shredded.  That beach towel you got as a wedding gift years ago, buried in the back of the linen closet, next to the raffia wall hanging covered with silk flowers should do nicely. 

Once the sticky little ball of fur with teeth is firmly in hubby’s grasp, you’ve got to start getting the sticky sap off.  What to use?  Don’t use the embroidered washcloths from Great Aunt Myrtle, she might come to visit one day.  Try a diaper wipe.  You will need several.  I swear by Huggies diaper wipes.  They get out practically anything.  No more diapers in our house, but I still have wipes. 

Now that the paw is wet, the cat is annoyed and your spouse is a bit on edge, what are you going to use to breakdown the sticky stuff the rest of the way?  How about Vaseline Petroleum Jelly?  After consulting the “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cat Care” manual, start rubbing Vaseline into the paw pads and fur. (It works on gum too, but that’s a story for another time.)  

If you speak in a French accent as you describe the “kitty spa experience” it lightens the mood, a little.  Hubby is breaking into a sweat, as he struggles with 8 pounds of cat that feels more like 80.  To the cat your ‘accent’ only sounds like, “Blah, blah, cat.”  In any case, you will be getting the ‘evil eye’ from both the husband and the cat. 

Note to self…buy a fresh jar of Vaseline, since no one will want to use it after a kitty paw has been repeatedly dipped in the jar….

Time to get off the excess Vaseline.  Back to the diaper wipes.  By this time AJ has given up.  She sits motionless in her bath towel dungeon; and doesn’t make a peep while her paw gets a final rinse in baby shampoo & warm water.  The paw in question gets dried off with her terry cloth prison.  She’s survived her spa experience; with a heavy sign of disgust, she flies down the hallway, not to be seen for hours.  Hubby dries the beads of sweat off his forehead.  He leans over, kisses the wife and says, “Next time, we let the pine sap wear off!”

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My first cat was a beautiful tortoise shell named Boots. Boots had adopted us shortly after we were married.  We were with her while she recovered from being shot by, (pardon me) an idiot with a pellet gun.  To show her gratitude, she stuck by my husband’s side while he was on his journey through cancer treatments. 

Toward the end of his “detour,” “a bump in the road,” she would accompany my husband back and forth to the bathroom during his bouts of vomiting and dry heaves, as the last round of chemo drugs went through his system.  Sometimes she would sit quietly outside the door, sometimes she would go and sit next to him in the bathroom.  She would wait for him to wash his face, sometimes even watching him from the counter top.  She would escort him back to bed, jumping up gently beside him, always laying next to his left calf like a little bundled up “turkey.”  I felt like she wanted to say to him, “Can I get you anything?” before she settled down for another 20 minute nap. 

When chemo ended, Desert Storm began.  She was his couch buddy.  He recovered from the poison of cancer therapy by being an “Arm Chair General” of Shock and Awe.  Most of the time Boots would lay next to him, sometimes performing “kitty paw massage” on an arm, leg or whatever was available.  When something important was happening, she would sit up at attention, her ears swiveling back and forth while she listened to him explain the latest news from the front lines.

She waited in the window at home for us, while we waited for news from the oncologist.  I could swear she was smiling when we walked in the front door, somehow she already knew the good news. 

Many years later, we knew that she had reached the time when we had to make a decision for her.  She was in pain and could not eat.  We gathered around her as she slipped away.  It was horribly painful, but we wouldn’t have let her go in any other way.  It was only right to be by her side.

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