Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ah, Well

Here we are, in a "green and pleasant land, just arrived after an uneventful flight and in need of rest and tea.

I forgot to pack my contact lenses, which isn't much of a tragedy since I see better with glasses and am more comfortable. But I will miss my sunglasses since England is very bright and sunny. Dammit. I was distracted as I was cleaning my lenses before packing them; Harris knocked a bottle of melatonin onto the kitchen floor and the top popped open and pills spilled out. To my horror, he was about to dig into them as I ran in, and Toffee and Possum were on their way in, too. I shooed and yelled, and then gathered all the pills to count them. I'd taken three and there were 177 left. None were inside Harris. I found out later that melatonin isn't toxic to cats; it can help them sleep when they are anxious or in pain.

Beware of those green bottles of supplements with the flip tops. They are neither child- nor cat-proof.

We are currently outside London, where my husband has some business; we head to the city  tomorrow. I think we'll be spending much of our time in museums, where sunglasses are unnecessary.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Update

As usual, I just finished repacking my suitcase, which I thought I'd packed perfectly last night.

The weather forecast for London now says it's going to be warm and pleasant every day, and chilly at night. So eliminated some cold-weather clothing for springy skirts. I've also got five pairs of shoes crammed in there, since none of them are perfect.

And I've still got more than an hour to play with the cats... and figure out what to wear on the plane.

Heading to London

We are flying to London tonight for about a week. I'd be more excited if I believed it was really happening, but this was an almost-last-minute decision and it hasn't quite sunken in yet. I'm numb, although I already miss the cats. Like just about every Bostonian these days, we are more than ready for a vacation.

I've visited London once, but only for an afternoon, so I'm not sure it counts. We were waiting between flights from Boston to Cairo, exhausted and not convinced it made sense to leave Heathrow... when I discovered I'd lost my passport. (I'd dropped it on the ramp as we boarded the plane, after showing it at the gate.) We spent a whirlwind few hours getting photographs taken in Boots so I could get a new passport at the Consulate, which was miraculously open on a Sunday. (I had the most bleary-eyed passport photo in history.) We also rode in an old-fashioned cab and a double-decker bus, had a plowman's lunch in a pub, met some friends, and shopped in the Food Court at Harrod's. It was a memorable afternoon in many ways — my husband had initially threatened to travel to Egypt himself if I couldn't get a passport, leaving me to survive as an illegal-alien dishwasher or cleaner, or so I imagined. That had some appeal at the time.

It's taken us 14 years to board another plane for London. I hope I don't lose my passport again, although it turned into a lot of fun in 1999.

The other thing I vividly remember about that London afternoon is that I had to shlepp an archaeologist's red-and-white striped meter stick (like a yardstick, used for photography) everywhere because it didn't fit in our checked bags and toting it was my assignment for the trip.  It was nicknamed "the Stück." Somewhere there are photos of me and the Stück in Harrod's and a pub; I was probably clutching it for my passport photo, too.

So no wonder I dropped my passport with that goofy thing to lug around. The Stück is not coming this time. But I'm bringing plenty of other stuff.

As usual, I packed my 21" plum-colored spinner with enough for a month: skirts, jeans, leggings, too many tees, button-downs, sweaters, two coats, scarves, pjs, tights,  socks, undies, sandals, flats, and flip flops — which are not exactly chic but are my favorites for walking long distances. Depending on where I look, the weather will be warm and sunny or cold and damp. I'd prefer cool and gray, the way London is supposed to be. I'm wearing boots and a Barbour on the plane, where it will be cold for sure.

While I'm glad it was easy to zip my carry-on, the Good Packer award goes to my husband. His 25" suitcase is also packed for a week, but it is only half full. "We'll be shopping," he said when I saw his suit swimming by itself in one compartment. I persuaded him to add a blazer and my umbrella for ballast, but there's still space for a ton of souvenirs. If you want me to bring you something and you know my email address, fire away. Next trip, we'll get him a carry-on bag like mine.

I still need to pack food for the flight. I don't like a single thing about airplane food, and I've gotten sick from it a few times. I plan to get some Trader Joe's Wine Country Chicken Salad, which I'll freeze so it's still chilled on the plane. We like their new Soft Pretzel Sticks; if only they had a bit of salt to temper their sweetness. I'm also packing fruit, cheese, cookies, trail mix, and protein bars. If there is a famine in London, we'll be fine for awhile.

I'm playing with Wendy and the kittens as I write this. We're going to miss them so much, but we're afraid they will miss us even more. They will get some quality time with our cat sitter at least twice a day, but they're used to getting attention any time they want it. Possum and Wendy know what the appearance of our suitcases means... I hope they tell that kittens that we always come back.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post as frequently from there as I'd like, since I'm not taking my laptop, but I'll try. If not, brace yourself for a torrent of photos and commentary when I return.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recent Adorableness

Harris knows the kitchen counter is forbidden, so he gives a defiant look while trying to blend in with the granite:


Toffee finally sat still and posed for a glamour shot:


I think Wendy had had too much caffeine when I took this...


... While Possum is ready to get away from it all.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Boots in Bloom

"Bloom" — before and after.

I spotted my new Hunter rubber boots in the closet the other day, and they looked like they were covered in mildew. I was bummed; I'd chosen these boots because they have a matte finish and I figured they wouldn't "bloom" as much as the glossy ones do. I've heard that the bloom is caused by temperature changes. Whatever the cause, it looks awful. The Hunter website says:
Occasionally, you may notice a white powdery "bloom" on your Hunter rubber footwear, this is because rubber is a natural product and in certain conditions, insoluble particles may rise to the surface. This is a normal process, characteristic of high quality, natural rubber and nothing to be concerned about.
This process does not affect the performance or durability of your boots. A pristine finish and shine is easily restored with regular use of Hunter Boot Buffer, or Instant Boot Shine, available from good Hunter retailers, as well as from our online store

From what I've seen, it doesn't happen "occasionally." It happens a lot, whether you wear your boots or not. Perhaps it gets better with time.

I don't have any of Hunter's anti-bloom products, so I used olive oil and paper towels to get rid of the bloom. It's easy: just apply some oil, rub off the excess, and buff until the surface feels dry. You can see the result on the first boot, above. I wonder how long it will last.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Thought I Was Done...

... but I'm not.

Gawking at crime scenes is not cool. It seems disrespectful, making a spectacle of a place that is only remarkable for witnessing recent suffering and sorrow. The gawkers also strike me as impolite, or perhaps thoughtless — other passersby have had to walk off the curb and into the street because of mobs snapping photos of the damage at Abe & Louie's, the Forum, and so on.

Why would someone bring their little kids to town to see that, and pose them for photos? Beats me. I realize that kids need to learn about the world. But do they need to see bomb damage up close and stand where people suffered and died?

My husband reminded me that the Israelis have a protocol for eradicating all traces of a bombing so the area looks perfectly normal afterwards, as soon as possible. That way, terrorists can't leave their mark on the city and most citizens won't know if and where a tragedy occurred. I suppose that's what we're aiming to do on Boylston Street, to get everything back to normal. It doesn't mean we all pretend the bombing never happened. Those of us who live, work, and run around Back Bay will not need a shrine or memorial to remember, although our responses will be different and will change over time. Some of us will be traumatized for a long time, some will remember with sadness, some will feel lingering horror or fury. And I'm sure many would like to forget and just get on with their business.

The neighborhood is not back to normal. There's a sort of festival atmosphere on Boylston Street; it's extra crowded, and there are many tribute and memorial posters and shrines there, and on Newbury Street, too. I've heard different kinds of live music near the bomb sites, and thought it was wonderful. I'm in favor of anything that makes it easier for the people who are finding it painful to walk on those blocks of Boylston.

We can pray or meditate for free in Trinity Church right now, instead of having to pay $5 for the privilege. So don't miss out on that.

I find the gawkers hard to fathom. Last week, it never occurred to me that Marathon Sports would become our newest tourist attraction. It's hallowed ground, for sure. And I can't wait until we all treat it as such, and keep on walking.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recent Adorableness

Little Harris is much easier to photograph than Toffee. He seems to understand the concept of posing, whereas most of my photos of Toffee are blurry or show him turned away from the camera.

Harris had a vicious encounter with Da Bird recently, with growling and snapping of teeth that he let me document:




Then he sat for a formal portrait, worthy of the title that Possum bought obtained for him: "Baron von Greywacke." Or, as we prefer to call him, "Pixie Face."


Toffee didn't have as much fun with Da Bird and he doesn't have or want a title. He just wants to chew on things, like old, dirty logs in the fireplace. He can reach them since he broke the rickety fireplace screen. We've had to cover them with an old bath towel to keep him from eating splinters.

He also wishes his fur would grow longer, to match his fouffy tail. Here you can see him concentrating on making his ruff grow:


I've started calling him "Mr. Bouffant" since his tail resembles a teased ponytail from the '60s. It's bigger than Wendy's now — which I thought was impossible. My husband doesn't care for Toffee's new nickname so he's welcome to come up with something better. (We also call him "Toffeepot," or "Pot" for short, which is awful. Toffee deserves a more fabulous name.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Around Back Bay

I planned to write something that isn't related to the Marathon bombing, but it doesn't feel right. So here's one more post about life right now in my neighborhood. Things are slowly getting back to normal; Boylston Street is open to those who live there, and to business owners and their staffs. Restaurants have a ton of work to do, as do the stores damaged by the blasts. As soon as it's cleaned up, I hope we'll all be heading there, to spend some money and help everyone recoup the significant losses they sustained after being shut down for more than a week.

I watched the police move the shrine from Exeter Street today. I'm not usually moved by shrines, which is odd; I'm so sentimental that I'll cry if I see someone else crying, and I've been known to sob over sappy commercials. Perhaps my aesthetic sense overcomes my emotions; shrines are usually a mess of dead flowers in plastic and sad-looking stuffed animals. But I was moved to see how carefully the police handled all the stuff that was left by the barriers on Exeter, the cross street between the two blasts. I think they are moving it all to Copley Square, where this larger memorial from Berkeley Street went when this section of the street reopened:


I took that photo over the weekend from the windows of the new Restoration Hardware store (more about that experience soon).

I can tell things are getting back to normal because people on street are getting cranky again. I was out walking last night and I believe I stopped three young tourists who were about to breach the barriers across Dartmouth Street at Newbury. They were discussing how to make a run for it — because they could see their destination straight ahead of them in the distance. I said it was a bad idea; they said they didn't know how else to get there. I pointed them toward Berkeley Street, telling them it would be much faster than heading in the opposite direction. They sounded relieved as they thanked me; they just had no idea how far the barriers extended. Not that far.

I also saw this last night:


From the comments I overheard, I could tell things are getting back to normal. People were debating what it meant and everyone had an opinion. "It's because it's been ONE week." "Boston is Number One!" "Looks like one floor didn't get the memo." "Its' a work in progress, they're going to put more around the sides." "I hope it means one more day and we can go there."

It was promoting The One Fund Boston.

Walking on Newbury Street today, I overheard more crankiness about the barriers, more complaints about the inconvenience. People are ready to move on, eager for things to get back to normal. It will happen, but it won't be the same. I expect it will be chilling and sad to cross those sidewalks where the bombs were left and so much blood was spilled. At least the first few times. but we'll get used to it, I suppose. Life goes on, and we're allegedly very tough in this town.

I took this photo of some of the graffiti covering the Nike Building before the rain washed it away. It's the best the building has ever looked:


We may be able to return to Boylston Street tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. And then I'd like to write about something else.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Last Week's Best Moment Before the Capture

We spent most of Friday watching the TV news, since the governor had ordered everyone in Boston and neighboring towns to stay indoors. Like many people, we spent our captivity catching up on the drama we'd missed while we were asleep, while hoping for new developments in the manhunt in Watertown.

The phone rang sometime after 11 that morning, about 5 hours into our news-watching. It was my brother, in New Jersey. People across the country were watching the situation unfold, I realized.

I checked the caller ID before answering. I greeted him by saying, "What?" My brother and I don't talk often but we are never formal in greeting each other.*

"Oh, good, you're home!" he said. "I'm glad I caught you. You're supposed to stay inside."



* "What?" is quite an improvement over our usual greeting: "Who died?" We have (or more accurately, "had") a number of elderly relatives, and since we don't call each other much — except around tax time, birthdays, Christmas, and emergencies — the worst-case scenario often comes to mind when we see the other sibling on the caller ID.

Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Beginning to be Over

After a terrible, unreal week and a long, suspenseful day, we know that the bombing suspect is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, to our great relief. Like everyone else in Greater Boston, we've been glued to the TV, which we hadn't turned on since the last episode of Downton Abbey.  The cats couldn't figure out what we were up to, but they were happy to curl up with us.

We went for a walk this evening, after we heard we were allowed to go out. Everyone in Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and surrounding areas had been ordered to stay inside since early this morning. (People grew so bored that they were driven to such extremes as housecleaning — I could see it from my windows. I was on the verge of polishing some brass myself, but tackled a pile of New Yorkers instead.)

Back Bay's streets were still quiet after the ban was lifted; the blooming magnolias filled Commonwealth Avenue with their sweetness. The wind was freshening and it looked like rain. On Charles Street, I overheard someone on a cell phone say, "They got him?" so we ducked into a pizza place with a TV. We made our way home listening to the radio, and glued ourselves to the TV for a few more hours, until it was over.

Thank you all, for reading these posts and for your thoughts and comforting words for us and our city. We've all just seen shocking evil and great heroism, moments of terror and of courage, strength, and grace. Let's hope the healing can begin now.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Carrying On, or Not*

Here's today's adorableness — just when we needed it:


The news trucks are no longer parked on the Commonwealth Mall, although scattered TV crews are still filming from Newbury Street. Newbury Street is open but most of Boylston Street is still blocked off as a crime scene — and some of those businesses will be hurting if this continues much longer. But, generally, things are already getting back to normal; people walk around with a mildly defiant air, keeping their chin up. This won't cow us or even put a crimp in our style. Everything people have said about Boston being tough is true, although I suppose the same might have been said if this had happened in another American city. But then I consider the people who ran another two miles to work emergency shifts at the hospital after completing their Boston Marathon... and I find that that is "Boston" to the core. 


I skipped going to the Marathon for decades, mainly because I hate being in crowds. I used to cheer at the finish line in the 1980s, when it was a more intimate, less razzle-dazzle event. But in recent years, I've carefully avoided it. I also avoid Newbury and Boylston Streets the weekend before the Marathon because they're so busy. Like many of my neighbors, I like to walk at a "Boston" pace when I'm doing errands or getting some air. Tourists create a slow-moving obstacle course for us. (Tourists also step onto our narrow elevators and just stand there. What the hell?)

But I will be cheering my head off at close to the finish line of the Marathon next year, as long as I'm still a Proper Bostonian. How could I possibly do otherwise, now? It's the only correct response to this year's tragedy, short of actually running the race itself. 

Hmm.


* I have never understood how one is supposed to simultaneously "keep calm" and "carry on." Where I come from, "carrying on" involves yelling, screaming, and breaking things. I was an expert at carrying on when I was tiny. There are occasions when I wish I still had the energy. People have explained to me that "carrying on" also means "going about your business." Why use a phrase that can have such different meanings?  I prefer to imagine Brits throwing dishes and trashing furniture with quiet dignity... as I imagine myself when I was still in the tantrum business.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back Bay Today

 Barricaded streets. Police and guardsmen. Floral tributes. TV trucks and crews, Cooper and Blitzen.

And what were these running shoes doing on Exeter Street?












Monday, April 15, 2013

We're All Bostonians Tonight

Today is Tax Day in America and Marathon Day in Boston. The third Monday in April is also when Massachusetts and Maine celebrate Patriots' Day. April 15 is the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci and Henry James. It's my husband's birthday. April 15 already had plenty going on.

It didn't need this.

I was having tea and angel-food cake on Beacon Street when the bombs detonated. We were having such a "lively" meeting that we didn't hear the two blasts a few blocks away. (We'd ignored an earthquake during a previous meeting.) We didn't hear the news for more than an hour. By the time we tore ourselves away from the TV to walk home, the streets were closing and hundreds of dazed, exhausted runners and their entourages were walking down the center of Marlborough Street, wrapped in mylar blankets and trash bags for warmth, unsure of where they were going.


The residential streets of Back Bay are never crowded. You normally see just a few people at a time, even on Marathon Day.


I could describe my reaction but, chances are, you know it. You've been there; we all have, now. We all remember 911. We all become one family on days like this; we're in it together. We feel collectively sad, furious, puzzled, shaken, unsettled, and distraught. We grieve. We wonder who did it and why. We think about the victims and their families and all that unnecessary suffering and waste. We relive Manhattan, and Newtown, and Oklahoma City. We watch too much news on TV.

There will be others who will give eye-witness accounts and explore what happened with eloquence and insight. I'll just tell you how it was around here.

It was a beautiful spring day. And then all we heard were sirens and helicopters and then the quiet chatter of displaced runners filled the air. The streets were closed, so traffic disappeared. The birds kept singing, and the magnolias kept trying to bloom, and there was a chill in the air that suddenly felt more like evil than like April. We were told to go home and stay off the streets, and to avoid crowds. So we watched TV, staring numbly in disbelief at our own familiar streets and stores and pavements, just around the corner. Transformed by blood, debris, and horror.

When a tragedy or disaster happens in your own neighborhood, you quickly find out who worries about you. Facebook is a godsend because you can quickly reassure lots of people around the world.

As I was watching the news, wondering what I might possibly do to help, a friend called to say she'd been evacuated from her apartment on Boylston Street and had nowhere to go. So we hosted a refugee for a few hours, until other friends called and told her about a sneaky way to get back into her building, locked down as part of the crime scene. She made it back in and isn't leaving unless she's forced to.

I hate being told to stay inside so I went for a walk. Back Bay looked like the crime scene it is, with yellow and red tape stretched across abandoned streets, policemen and flashing blue lights at each intersection, and brightly lit clusters of journalists and photographers. Almost everyone else was home watching the news, but dogs still needed to be walked and people needed smoke on their porches.

Tomorrow we'll wake up not remembering this and then it will hit us all over again. My lovely little neighborhood, filled with blood, broken glass, and fear. Nothing will be quite the same again here, as nothing was the same after 911 and Newtown. But somehow, it's all the same, isn't it? And it's so damned wrong.

A media cluster on the Commonwealth Avenue mall. Ruining the grass.

Forget walking on Newbury or Boylston Streets.

I don't usually see Anderson Cooper on my evening strolls.

Or giant American flags. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bubbles

I took a bubble bath tonight, the first since Harris and Toffee arrived. They are both interested when we take showers, and Toffee has even walked around the rim of the tub to the inside wall, risking a soaking, when he's been with me. They love jumping into the wet tub afterward, leaving footprints on our old wood floors.

The kittens were more suspicious of the bubbles. Harris was braver and encountered them first. I put some bubbles on the rim of the tub and he stood on his hind legs and took a swipe at them, getting bubbles on his nose. He made a face and retreated. He did this a couple more times, swatting at the bubbles that landed on the floor long after they'd vanished. I looked over the side of the tub and he gazed back with a bitter expression. Bubbles are lousy toys, according to Harris. Less rewarding than a laser beam.

Toffee was entranced by the bubbles but cautious, staring from a distance with huge, black, dilated pupils. He stood to investigate, balancing delicately with one paw as he took slow practice swings with the other, waving his paw nowhere near the bubbles on the tub rim. He finally made contact and survived. Then he decided to taste them.*

I tried some, too; they tasted very faintly of Philsophy's grapefruit scent. Toffee took quite a few nibbles, swiped bravely at the bubbles that floated in the tub, and quickly grew jaded. Bath bubbles are not fascinating for long, I learned, but I will get a wand and try blowing soap bubbles for the cats one of these days.

I opened the drain. It started glugging loudly; both kittens took off but quickly returned when they heard the shower. They left little wet prints all over the floor.


* Toffee is adventurous in his eating habits. He steals milk from our glasses and eats roses if I'm not careful. He also likes chevre, Gruyère, cheddar, mozzarella, Robiola, and American cheeses, as does Harris. I finally have the makings of a working Cheese Patrol after Wendy and Possum proved to be such disappointments. Toffee is also interested in bread, cookies, and cakes. Researchers claim they have proven that cats can't taste or appreciate sweet things. I say cats are smarter than those researchers. Cats know that, if we swallow that theory, we'll leave more cookies and muffins lying around to be nibbled.

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Toys

Yesterday, our friendly UPS person brought two toys for the cats, the Hagen Catit Design Senses Play Circuit  and the Catit Design Senses Speed Circuit. I was interested in these because the kittens really enjoy smacking the ball in the round, boring track of their Bergan Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy. These toys are both more complex sets of track modules that contain balls, and they can be joined together in different arrangements to keep it interesting. Toys like this fit nicely under our coffee table, so they aren't underfoot, and they can slide under the sofa when we have guests who aren't cat people. (Which is never.)

What clinched the purchase was the image of this overstimulated kitten on the front of one of the boxes:

I'm sorry to report that none of our foursome was that into their new circuit toy, but there was adequate curiosity and a satisfactory amount of play:

Harris settles in patiently for what he thinks will be a long assembly process; he knows I hate to read directions.

Possum went all helicopter-parent on me, worrying about safety. I reassured him.

All three boys inspect my first track, which combined both sets into a double loop.
 Harris most enjoyed knocking around the end pieces that I didn't use.

Harris and Toffee completed their pre-flight examination, which included a taste test from Harris. 
Plastic — yum!

Let 'er roll... the flashing red ball is enticing and challenging to smack around the track, which has a series
of gentle hills and valleys.

Toffee settled in for another play session this morning.

Wendy is interested in the track but is too shy to play with it. I hope she'll get over that in time.

I try to read reviews before I buy anything new, and I found dozens from helpful cat people on Amazon. So I knew that, while this toy was a hit with most cats, it was too advanced for others, and that the openings were too small for some bigger cats' paws. I knew we wouldn't have those issues; we have smart cats with dainty paws. But there IS a problem: it's hard to find the ball in the track when it isn't flashing. I have trouble spotting it, and so do the cats, who have shorter attention spans. So I'm going to remove some of those blue track covers to see if that helps. Most likely the ball will disappear, but life's a risky business.

If the toy still doesn't make anybody resemble that crazy kitten, I might donate it to a shelter and get us a few of these Turbo Track sets, by Bergan, who makes the round track with the scratching pad that the cats all love.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Comedy" in Kenmore Square

Somebody with a junior-high level of humor and a roll of black tape monkeyed with the pedestrian signals in Kenmore Square:




I admit it took me more than one trip to Kenmore to register just what was screwy; I'm a daze as I rush to my twice-weekly physical therapy appointments. For a day or two, I vaguely thought that the signals looked odd but that's as far as I got. So the joke was on me...  and surely countless others who are also on autopilot as we cruise our familiar neighborhoods. 

But it's been a while now, and the joke is officially old and boring, so it's time the signals were fixed. I contacted the Mayor's Live Chat "Citzens Connect" line, and got a quick response. They were aware of the situation and are sending someone to take care of it. In time for Marathon Day, I wonder? I'll be heading over there again on Tuesday and will try to pay attention.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Wendy

Either Miss Wendelina Pantherina was flattered to hear that she has fans out in the Blogosphere or she was relieved that we'd sent off our tax returns (more likely, since she's such a worrier) — she allowed me to take more photographs of her in the past few days. We think she is an uncommonly pretty cat and it's nice to see her being decorative instead of consorting with the dust bunnies under the bed.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

The magnolias are busting out on the sunny side of Commonwealth Avenue, and you can smell them up and down the street. The white star magnolias began popping around Sunday and are in full bloom now, and the more prevalent pink trees are close behind. I'm guessing that this weekend will be primetime for that side of the street, even if the weather cools down.




Today was unseasonably warm, more like May than April. Consequently, there was an awful lot of bluish-white skin on view, including my own surprised feet — I traded my boots for uncomfortable ballet flats. 

I thought this couple captured the spirit of the day, cruising on their tandem bike, even sans helmets.


Monday, April 8, 2013

A Glimpse of Wendy

It's hard to photograph Wendy as she has a tendency to run for cover whenever we take notice of her. She's a strange girl, not entirely "feral" and incredibly sweet — in the three-plus years we've had her, she has yet to hiss or growl at us (I can't say the same for her early reactions to the kittens). Nor she has bitten or scratched any of us (except when kicking her back legs to escape from being groomed, which I consider involuntary).

Despite being so skittish, she spends time each day lying on her back, purring loudly as my husband rubs her belly, eyes closed, paws waving in the air. This can only happen in designated spots — bed, leather armchair — at designated times, on Wendy's schedule. I'm also permitted to pet her briefly when she's on the bed. Otherwise, we can't get near her. We've long considered her our Greta Garbo, elusive and more prized because of it.

Here is a rare shot of Wendy, who briefly allowed me to capture her calico beauty:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Pinterest Sampler

Here are some intriguing images from the people I follow on Pinterest. I'm still having a very good time there every day.

It's Harris and Toffee:

In the library © Maija LAAKSONEN (Artist, Finland) aka moussee via DeviantArt


Igneous rocks formed from lava flows of the Archaean era (>2,700 million years ago) are often found to contain disequilibrium-textured crystals characterized by spherulitic, branching or dendritic morphologies that occur in layers near the flow surface.

Detail, The Ghent Altarpiece, 1432, Jan van Eyck

1857–60 court ensemble, Italian. Metropolitan Museum of Art


Alice Roosevelt, 1891


Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle

Decorative bindings