Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Recent Adorableness: Possum


Possy has been learning a lot from my big pile of old New Yorkers. He doesn't pay much attention to the fiction or the cartoons (the feline sense of humor is very different from ours) but he likes the ads.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy 7th, Wendy and Possum

The babies, sleeping on an old sheet during the ringworm plague (thanks, Wendy!) of 2009–10.

Wendelina Pantherina and Possumus P. Passamaqoddy had their 7th birthdays over the weekend. We celebrated quietly at their request — they specifically asked for no fireworks. (There was cake.)

Wendy wanted to be an only cat.

Since we don't know exactly when they were born, their birthdays are estimates. Wendy was born in a fast-food parking lot in Swansea, Massachusetts, or thereabouts. (It was not a Wendy's.) Two kind women operating a small private shelter rescued her and her brother; a few months later, they saved her mother, too.

Possum was trapped by rescuers in Shrewsbury, twice. He was TNR'ed the first time. When he went into the trap again, his rescuers figured he and his siblings might be adoptable, so they landed in a foster home.

"Of course we were adoptable," says Possum." We'd been beautifully brought up. We'd had dancing lessons."

They got along so well before Wendy joined the Tea Party.

If you've been reading here for a while, you will remember that Possum has told long, fluffy tales about being a Norwegian aristocrat. He says his father, allegedly a baron, was on the hit list of the Norwegian mafia over a fishy fishing deal, and his family sailed to America to enter a witness protection program.

He doesn't talk about it much these days. Like me, Possum is way behind on his New Yorker reading.

Every July, we have a variation of this little conversation with Wendy:

Me: Happy birthday, Wendy! You're 7 years old now! Don't you think it's time for you to relax and feel safe here?

Wendy: .

Husband: Yes, Wendy, don't you think it might be time to start settling in? 

Wendy: .

Husband: Will you please think about unpacking?

Wendy: .

Some things take time. Still, it's hard to meet a strange cat on the street and get more affection and trust from him in five minutes than I do in a year from Wendy. I try to be grateful for what I do get these days:

1. She sits about a foot from me on the dinner table and stares at me.

2. I am permitted to rotate her dish under her chin at supper time to help her get every morsel.

My husband is permitted to pet her (one hand only) if he's settled in the leather armchair. Wendy has recently discovered the joys of his armpit, whatever they are, and buries her nose there with great pleasure. This is the only time she voluntarily has touched either of us. Let's hear it for armpits!

And let's hear it for everyone who rescues, fosters, shelters, and cares for homeless cats. Where would we be without you? It's too sad to contemplate. Thank you!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Local Color

Well, I tried. But it's still October here in Old New Yorker Land. Where did the weekend go?


We caught a great sunset along the Charles. I did nothing to alter the color of these photos but they remind me of an old trick I of mine — shooting a sunset through the lens of my sunglasses.




Yesterday we saw an amazing condo with a walled garden that would be ideal for the cats. The parlor floor had enough original 19th-century detail to satisfy me (although I missed the pocket doors and the wall that once held them). The basement level was less my style but was intelligently designed and overlooked the garden. Unfortunately, it's on Mass. Ave. and only a couple of blocks from the epicenter of "Methadone Mile." We found this timely Boston Globe feature on our laptops' home pages as soon as we came in from the open house. 

We've done reconnaissance on that block before; this isn't the first time we've loved an apartment there. We've gone there at different times of day and hung around, watching and listening. We've also checked the crime maps: there are enough shootings, robberies, and assaults in the vicinity for us to  know we wouldn't feel safe coming and going. There is also constant, noisy traffic — huge trucks heading to and from the Interstate, ambulances racing to the hospital — but it doesn't feel protective, just loud and wearing. I'm sure plenty of nice people live comfortably around there, but I guess we've lived in our relatively safe Back Bay bubble for too long to be up for that adventure.

Oh, well. At least we saw a lovely apartment. If it had been anywhere else, it would have been far out of our price range and we'd have missed it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Favorite Photo


This is one of those iPhone photos that surprised us with its pleasing, grainy quality and filtered color. My husband took this arty pose of Harris during one of their frequent mutual admiration sessions, where they get together to admire Harris.  

Have a great weekend — stay cool!  I plan to stay inside as much as possible and continue culling clothes from my closet in hopes that Second Time Around will consign them on Monday. I dread taking things there, imagining them laughing me out of the store as they reject my pathetic rags. I have friends who also go through this, which helps to know, but then they have much better clothing than I do. I keep reminding myself that the people I've encountered there have usually been tactful and nice, and that I have a decent record so far.

I'm still digging my way through my pile of old New Yorkers, aghast that I'm still about 30 issues behind, groaning every week when a new one arrives. It didn't help that there were two long, thoughtful articles in the October 19 issue, which took me almost a week of bedtime reading to finish and digest. One was about what a misguided, misanthropic . . . jerk Henry David Thoreau was, and the other was about Gloria Steinem, a person of tremendous grace and understanding, and an inspiration for all. For about four nights my husband had to listen to me exclaiming about what an ass HDT was. I mean, I always suspected it but now I know.  I managed to be quieter about Gloria.

I have a tall pile of library books sitting and waiting patiently, but it's going to be awhile before I can crack any of them. One is about how restaurants design menus and price items to subtly lure us into ordering just what they want us to order. Food, psychology, advertising, and graphic design are all part of the game, and that's my kind of game for sure. I can't wait to read it and. if I ever do, I'll tell you about it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

You Get What You Pay For

Since we don't dare have a single toxic flower around here (Harris), I stick to roses and sunflowers, and I never pay a lot for them. My favorite deal is the $8 bunch of spray roses from Trader Joe's — they don't usually have them at our little Back Bay store, but when they do, it makes my day. There are so many flowers on each stem and they are so fragrant. If you choose wisely they'll open slowly and last a long time. (Gently pinch a few buds between your thumb and forefinger to be sure they are fresh and firm. If they feel soft and mushy, move on.)

Here's my current bouquet. I have to keep them on the bedroom mantel because it's one of  very few places the cats don't go, the other one being the top of our Japanese tansu, which is about as tall as I am and is already covered with glass items, etc., that Harris and Toffee would like to use for gravity experiments.

Some call this pitcher "hobnail" but my husband calls it "wartware." 


There is one problem with these inexpensive roses, however. There are always a couple of single flowers with very short, broken stems. Since there are often about 50 in the bunch, it hardly matters. I put them in a tiny bud vase and leave them in the kitchen by the sink. 

But then at night, they get restless and wander. 

Imagine this horrible scenario: you get up for a drink at 3 in the morning and discover an empty vase by the sink, which had previously held two roses. You go looking for the missing flowers and discover them doing a tarantella together in your living room. You'd probably faint dead away — unless you actually died dead away — from the terror and embarrassment of watching tiny flowers executing intricate dance steps you'd have trouble with yourself.

I am fortunate to have a posse of stalwart cats to protect me from such an ignominious end. They patrol the apartment at night and capture errant flowers, so that all I wake up to is this:


If you don't have any cats it would be prudent to get some for protection. Otherwise, don't buy any cheap roses.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Recent Adorableness: Lion

Once again, Lion has grown his plush winter coat and ruff to coincide with the hottest weather. I don't understand it and he hasn't provided an explanation. We keep the air conditioner running on low for all the cats when we go out, so he shouldn't be too miserable. And we enjoy stroking his extra silkiness and fluff while it lasts.