pets, can’t live with them…

What do you do with pets who want you to morph into their playmates, 24/7? Read a funny post where the writer felt her cat was a terrorist, stalking her all the time. Meanwhile I kept thinking of Sitka, and Juneau his brother, part-Maine Coones, who want at me all the time.

Whether seated, standing, or walking around, Sitka wants up. He’s like my daughter who when she was 2 or 3 used to come to me with outstretched arms, saying “uppy, uppy, uppy.” Sitka doesn’t say anything, he just stares at me with soulful eyes. But I can tell he wants “uppy, uppy, uppy.” Sometimes I think I should get one of those things new moms use to carry around their newborns. Then I might at least have 2 hands free to do something, other than hold Sitka. It’s impossible to multi-task with him in my arms.

At least when I sit to eat a meal, Sitka’s learned that’s my sacred time. But as soon as the plate is put away, he’s back at my side, demanding to be “uppied.” I have to look him straight in the eye, and say “Not now,” and mean it. He’ll try to outstare me, until I give up and walk away, feeling guilty. That cat can do that to me. 

Even when I sit-a-spell with Sitka in my lap, he’s always inching his way up into my face, trying to wrap himself around my head. Barely able to breathe, I have to remove his grip from around my throat, gently, or roughly, pushing him back down onto my lap. Only if I continue petting him, does he remain in place. If not, the struggle to regain higher ground starts up again. I’ve never had a cat like Sitka before, and I’ve had a lot of cats as pets in my lifetime. Ask my husband.

Juneau, Sitka’s litter mate, is another force with which to be reckoned. That cat could be a footstool, he’s so big and solid. In fact, he often wiggles his way under my feet as I’m blogging. As I rub them back and forth over his body, Juneau seems content to let me. Unlike Sitka who wants me to wear him like a crown or a bike helmet, Juneau prefers I use him to warm my feet. When I do pick him up, it’s like lifting a large bag of groceries. I have to remember to bend at the waist, or I’ll injure myself. With a grunt I hoist Juneau up onto my chest where he pulls back, squinting at me as if to say “Don’t hurt me.” I hold him tight, stroking his back assuring him that it’s okay to be on Sitka territory. Once Juneau settles in, he starts with the body-slamming.

Just as Sitka has his own unique mannerisms, so too does Juneau. He’s the only cat I’ve ever owned who literally throws himself against me, my legs if I’m standing, my chest if I’m sitting. He body slams, as my daughter has often remarked. It’s as if he wants inside my body, as if he can’t get close enough, and just wants to find a way in and stay there. Creepy, right? 

Juneau will even go so far as to nip me to get my attention. While I’m blogging, he’ll stretch up towards me, mewing pitifully. If I don’t stroke him immediately, he nips my elbow. It’s like a bee sting, which gets my attention quick! I reprimand him, after which I coo and pet him. Like his brother, Juneau can easily send me on a guilt trip. He’ll even nip me when I’m holding and stroking him. It’s either to reassure himself that I’m his, or that I’m not giving him my undivided attention. He doesn’t even want my eyes wandering toward the TV. Nope! My hands AND eyes have to be on him. Of course, I’ve had to scold him about his manners, otherwise I’d have nicks all over my body.

While Sitka and Juneau were rescued from an animal shelter, Sunkist is my purebred grand-dame. At $100, she was actually cheaper to purchase from a private owner than my 2 boys who cost $125 apiece to adopt. A 16-year-old Persian, Sunkist sits like a sphinx before me, as if willing me to get down and pay homage. (Here comes Juneau, mewing alongside me. Gotta give him a few strokes.) While Sunkist does allow me to pick her up once-in-awhile, to hold and pet her, and coo sweet nothings in her little ears, she much prefers I crouch on all fours and massage her endlessly. And I mean…endlessly.

Unlike the others, Sunkist has the patience of a sphinx. She will sit for what feels like hours to me, awaiting her turn for my undivided attention. Whether it’s right at my feet, or at a small distance, her head dropping from time to time as if in a doze, Sunkist never wavers in her efforts to get one-on-one time. When I do get down beside her, inevitably one or 2 of the others will try to steal me away. I have to nudge them out-of-the-way, saying it’s their sister’s turn to have at me. Either they get the message, or Sunkist walks off in a huff. It’s her way, or no way.

Where does my dog Mocha, a mixed terrier-beagle, fit into all this? She just takes over the whole show if that’s what she decides. But most of the time, she’s more than happy, or not, I can’t tell sometimes, to let me pay attention to the felines in the family. Being the biggest, and most companionable of all our pets, it’s hard not to give Mocha more than her fair share of my time. Besides walks during the day, we romp around the house in the evenings. Me chasing her around the coffee table, or the other way around. She looks at me in confusion when we play this game as if to ask “Are you Alpha, or are you my pack mate?” Why the confusion? Because I often get down on all fours when we’re carousing. She never bites me, but sometimes she has this gleam in her eyes as if she wants to grab me by the scruff of my neck, as she does her toy, and shake me violently from side to side. Or as with Juneau who allows Mocha to nibble at his neck, seemingly in an effort to clean him.

One thing I can’t bring myself to allow, is letting Mocha lap my face with her tongue. I know others allow this all the time, her vet, Dr. Rice for one. Having seen where Mocha’s tongue has been, i.e. licking her poop hole, I just cannot stomach her licking my face afterwards. Sorry, just can’t. Funny, I’ve no problem when Gretchen, Sylvia’s dachsund gives my face a few quick licks with her tongue. The difference, however, is that Gretchen surprises me before I can turn away, Mocha looks me directly in the eye as if asking “Are we doing this, or not?” I mean when I’ve got the option, I’m always going to say “Duh… I don’t think so.” She settles for my mashing instead. I’m all over her, like Sitka and Juneau are all over me. Mocha just lies there and takes it. I can only imagine what she’s thinking. I hope it’s not “God, she drives me nuts with her mashing!” But as long as she says nothing, I guess I’ll keep mashing and smooshing her.

gotta love those animals…i do!…hugmamma.  

trivia, but not trivial

Life is about the minutiae in our lives. Details that make each of us unique. Oh, we may all have similar routines: awake, brush teeth, down a cup of coffee, get to where we’re going, try to beat the homebound traffic, feed our tummies, put our feet up in front of the TV… where we doze off. (Well, at least half the population does this, while the rest of us find our way to bed. You women know of whom I speak.)

It’s what we use to carry on, how we prioritize things, and how our personalities affect what we do that separates us one from the other. Therein lies the substance of our individuality. All this to say…let’s focus on the “small,” for it’s the “new big.”

A reader’s comment on another blog site prompted me to coin the phrase. He asked if we ageed that Oprah was losing her humility. He felt her behavior strange in that upon leaving her residence she bid farewell to the doorman, nearby flowers, and so on. My reply to his query was that I felt Oprah realized that the “small” things in her life were more important to her, than all the material wealth she had garnered. The big stuff comes and goes; the small remains…right to the end.

So here’s my small stuff.

  • Sitka, one of my Maine Coone/mixed-breed cats, behaves more like a dog, than even my dog does. Reaching for my hands as they flutter over the keyboard, Sitka’s huge paw interrupts my typing while he peers at me from under my elbow, with huge, pleading eyes. He nudges me so that it’s difficult to continue what I’m doing. So you’re mistaken if you think I just sit here merrily cranking out blog, after blog, after blog. There are interruptions.
  • Just returned from my monthly hair appointment. Without my hairdresser, my BFF, Best Friends Forever (as defined for me by my daughter), I couldn’t “hold back the hand of time.” Is that from an “oldies, but goodies” tune? Anyway, it seems my stylist is allergic to dark hair coloring. First thought? Oh, oh. The hunt is on for a new BFF. But she put me at ease in explaining that she’d just use gloves. Problem solved. Love my hairdresser, my BFF.
  • Speaking of where I’ve just been. I schedule my hair appointment on a weekday because the salon is less busy than on Saturdays; but  of equal importance is the receptionist on hand. Her smiling face and warm demeanor welcomes me like family. In the moment, I like to feel I belong. I think we all do. It’s more fun than hanging around the periphery feeling left out. The more I feel I’m part of my community, the more I feel I belong…I’m home. And we all have to do it in our own way, and in our own time. (My husband’s favorite refrain when I ask him to do something.)
  • Driving home today, I noticed taxpayer money at work. Construction has picked up in and around our town, even in our own neighborhood. One common aspect that I noticed are the workers holding the signs, SLOW and STOP. I often think how boring their job must be. Hours of standing, dust flying in their faces, dirty looks from drivers, in the path of traffic as they stand alongside the busy roads. Who’d want to spend mindless hours, days, and months in a seemingless thankless job? So I’ll take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all those who serve us in the “line of duty.”
  • By now you know my husband has compelled me to read the Wall Street Journal regularly. So if I have to deal with it, you dear reader, must too. But there really are articles for you and me, the normal folk. I cite 2 articles in today’s copy. “Tired of Nit-Picking? Lice Are Peskier Than Ever” and “Fighting Happily Ever After.” Both are relevant to me, as I’m sure they are for many of you. Kids are away at summer camps. Who knows what they’ll bring home amidst their belongings or on their scalps? I’ve personally experienced trying to get the little buggers to give up residence on my youngster’s pretty, little head. But here’s what caught my eye in the article “Another possible treatment: applying Cetaphil and letting it dry on the hair overnight to suffocate the head lice.” It goes on to say that there’s no guarantee it’ll work. Cetaphil! I use it as a daily face cleanser with great success. My skin feels ageless. How it looks is “in the eye of the beholder.” I think “I look maaahvalous, dahling!” But maybe I’m biased? As for the Journal’s other article? I think it’s self-explanatory. Even a newspaper that is daily reading for Wall Street types, can have advice for the lovelorn among us local gazette readers.
  • Just untied a tiny, rolled up piece of paper that was placed into the bag holding a stretchy, silver bracelet I’d bought at a small gift shop on Saturday. Had toyed with the idea of simply tossing it in the garbage, unread. But I didn’t. My curiosity got the better of me. It is true that “good things come in small packages.” Unrolling the paper whose edges had been carefully cut, forming scallops all around, was a gift of words “May You Receive His Amazing Grace.” I pass this along to you as you go about your day.
  • Did you know that ENTERPRISE, that bastion of rental cars, is rolling out the latest addition to their fleet, Nissan’s Leaf, an electric car. The partnership allows the auto maker a platform from which to familiarize the car-buying public with its newest “toy.” Enterprise is our agency of choice, but I’d hate to run out of electricity with nowhere to recharge on the open road…in unfamiliar surroundings. Something to ponder. Hmmm…
  • WIKILEAKS, the whistle-blowing website that leaked 76,000 documents on the Afghan war, may be guilty of doing so to raise its public profile. Reader beware. Don’t believe what you hear, until you look at the “fine print,” the facts behind the facts. Remember it’s “in the details, dummy.” Fitting, but not my words. I know I’ve heard it somewhere…but where?
  • Reality shows make me chuckle. Sometimes I even laugh out loud. I don’t follow them religiously, but if I happen upon one that interests me I may settle into a comfy chair. My husband despises the “Housewives of…” saga. He’ll stomach a lot, but not tales of bitchy women. I’m beginning to wonder if that show is giving us real housewives a bad rep. I mean are we getting a bad rap? Of the many, and there are now quite a few, Bethenny Frankel-Hopy wins my vote for “most real.” This is totally apparent on her spin-off, “Bethenny gettin’ married?”   “What you see is what you get!”, a New Yorker who doesn’t give a “…” what people think. Bethenny lives her life her way, takes her lumps, and gets back in the fray. What I especially like about her own show is that it exposes an endearing side. Proof? Jason, her new husband, and his parents are the most loveable, normal people. And they love Bethenny to pieces! They “get” who she is under all the sarcasm, a woman scarred by selfish parents, who made it to the big league with her talent for cooking. Having lived and worked in New York, and having friends who are natives, I know they are people with big hearts willing to embrace you with oversized hugs…if you let them. So let them.

The bewitching hour has arrived, prepping for dinner. So adios, muchachas y muchachos…

until we meet again…hugmamma