Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I am finally ready to Blog again after a Long Absence. As you Know, my Humans have procured a New Dog, and I am Not Happy About It.

Because the New Dog, Angel (Ceiling Cat knows why they picked THAT Name for her), is Bad With Cats, I, Baxter, have to Suffer. I am confined to the Second Floor so the New Dog doesn't chase me down and possibly Do Damage to Me. Of course, I have my Own Room, complete with All My Toys and my Scratching Post Perch thing, my Box and everything I need. And I can go into the other Rooms on that Floor, including the Bedroom where my Humans and That Dog, the one they call Diva, sleep. So I do get Some Attention.

But I'd like to continue to come Downstairs and sit with the Humans when That Dog is sleeping, as I did Before. But until the New Dog gets used to Me, I guess I'll have to put up with the Situation. She has come to my gate when I was in my Room and looked at Me. Once I gave a Mighty Hiss and Growl and she seemed Intimidated. But the next time she just Barked at Me.

So. Here I am, finally ready to Blog about Current Events. But the Current Events have been So Horrendous in the past Few Weeks that I don't know where to Begin. I'm going to Skip the most Tragic events such as the Terrible Events in Japan. So, that leaves Me with...Libya.

OK, so like the other Countries where the people are Revolting (well, the PEOPLE aren't revolting, they are staging a Revolt), Libya has its own Revolt going too. Unfortunately the Human, if You can call him that, Qaddafhi or Gadhafi or whatever Crazy Spelling you want to Use for him, threatened to Kill all the people who are Protesting. So our Country, in its Infinite Wisdom, has decided to Get Involved. We didn't Get Involved with any of the Other Revolts, but who am I, a Mere Cat, to Question the Government?

From what I understand, Other Countries asked us to Get Involved. And it is a Coalition Force, acting on a UN Resolution. Sounds Vaguely Familiar to me. What was that war called? Korea? Oh, wait, it was a "Police Action." Wonder what they will call This after the Fact? Jon Stewart had a few ideas:

Turd Sandwich, Anyone?

Personally, as a Cat, I find it Foolish to Get Involved in what is basically a Civil War. If I am going along, Minding my Own Business, and see a big Catfight happening on the Other Side of the Street, you can bet I am not going to Get Involved. I certainly don't want to get in the Middle of it; it's a Good Way to Lose an Ear, or worse!

Of course, President Obama has said he's Not Getting Us Involved. He's just Protecting Civilians. He didn't seem to care that Much about Protecting Civilians in some of the Other Countries where Revolts are happening. Maybe we just Like their Dictators better.

At any rate, I hope this Ends Soon and we don't have another Big Mess on our hands. In the meantime, could the Pundits and Congresspeople ever think about the Economy once in awhile instead of Arguing over Every Last Thing that President Obama has ever supported or done? As My Favorite Human, Jon Stewart, noted, in the Eyes of the GOP, President Obama can't do Anything Right.

By the Way, my Female Human and her Friends were in the Live Audience at the show just Above. It was their Second Time there, and they are going to see Stephen Colbert next month. As a Cat, I would not be Allowed In, which makes me feel Discriminated Against. They also don't let Kids Under 18 in. I guess it's because All Those Words that get beeped on the TV show are said Quite Clearly in the studio. But Come On, what Teenager doesn't Already Know those Words?

Well, that's About It from MY end Today. Oh, before I go, How do you Like the New Format? My Female Human suggested that I Make Some Changes in honor of Spring, to perhaps encourage it to Show Up. So far, she tells Me, all these Sunny Days I observe from my Window, are still Very Cold and Windy. Let's hope that Changes Soon.

In the Meantime, keep hitting the Catnip and hope we are not Now Involved in Yet Another Costly War in an Unfriendly Country.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Slip-Sliding Away"

I don't know what it is about this winter that seems so endless. Maybe it's because I'm not working, and unlike last year, I am not keeping busy taking care of my mother. Last year, although I noticed the winter was cold, I didn't care because I was indoors doing things for Mom anyway. And then it seemed to get much warmer much quicker in April, right after she came home from the nursing home, and we were able to be outside.

This year is different. Even though it is arguably almost the middle of March, the weather is cold, dreary and windy. Yes, it was above freezing today, but so dreary and cold it didn't matter. The other day there was ice on the deck again after the warm rain had ended and the cold front blew in.

So, I've been hibernating more than usual this winter. Whole days go by and I don't go outside the house except to walk the dogs. Now that there are two, at least that forces me to go outside twice since I don't walk them simultaneously.

I find I have let things slide...maybe I'm slip-sliding away, as Paul Simon would say. "The nearer your destination, the more you're slip-sliding away."

Well, I don't know if I'm anywhere near any kind of destination, but I do feel as if things are slipping. For instance, unless I have somewhere to go - I admit this publicly - I usually skip wearing a bra altogether. I mean, why bother? It's cold out, I wear fleece sweaters, no one can tell, and it's comfortable.

I also seldom take my shower until about 4:30 in the afternoon - again, depending on whether there's somewhere I have to go. Why bother? All I have to do is walk the dogs and sit by the computer.

The other thing is, the bunion on my right foot has become so painful that almost no shoes are comfortable. So I've been walking the dogs wearing my rubber-soled bedslippers. They're so comfortable. Who's going to see me anyway?

I asked DH the other day, "Honey, I've been wearing these (pointing to my feet) out in public. No one can tell they're bedslippers, can they?" DH: "Um, yeah. They can." Oh well.

I was walking Angel yesterday wearing said bedslippers, jeans (at least it wasn't sweats) and a bright red fleece sweater. I mean, bright orangey red. This look was topped off with a neon pink down jacket that I'd gotten on closeout from Lands End last winter. In addition, since I hadn't had my shower yet, my hair looked like an epileptic spider had walked through it in the midst of a grand mal seizure.

Unexpectedly, I saw someone approaching in the distance, and I saw she was heading in my direction. She was nicely dressed in a color-coordinated jogging suit and sneakers, apparently taking her afternoon's exercise. She did not meet my eyes as our paths crossed, although I smiled and said "hi," as I went by. Miffed, I thought, "How unfriendly." Then I looked down at myself and realized what I looked like, and couldn't blame her.

We have a weird guy in our neighborhood who wanders around at all hours of the day holding an umbrella up over his head (it doesn't matter if it's rainy, sunny, cloudy, or fair). He also usually has his shirt off and is carrying it over one arm. In addition, he frequently has on shorts, even if it is winter. He holds his hand to his ear and is talking at all times, as if to aliens. (No, he does not have Bluetooth.) I suddenly realized the unfriendly jogger might have thought I'm similar to this guy, and felt she should steer clear of me.

This made me think of the Madwoman of Chaillot. Maybe that's who I looked like. I didn't even know who the Madwoman of Chaillot was, just that it was a play that my parents were involved in as part of their little theater group back when I was a kid. Maybe my mother was in the play, I don't remember. But it sounded good.

I started thinking, maybe she was a character I could identify with during this miserable long winter of existence that seems to have no end. I've always had a tendency to narrate my own life as if I were in a novel. I started thinking thusly:

"Wandering aimlessly like the Madwoman of Chaillot through the streets of Bloomfield, Mauigirl felt the winter could not be any longer if it tried."

The only problem is, I had no frackin' idea who the Madwoman of Chaillot was and what made her mad, and I thought I should look it up. So when I got home, I went directly to the Google.

As it turns out, the play, The Madwoman of Chaillot, has a lot to teach us today, despite being written by some French guy back in 1943. From Wikipedia, here is a brief plot summary:

"The play is set in the Cafe de l'Alma in the Chaillot district of Paris. It is said that Molière, Racine, and La Fontaine used to frequent this cafe. But these days a group of corrupt corporate executives are meeting. They include the Prospector, the President, and the Baron, and they are planning to dig up Paris to get at the oil which they believe lies beneath its streets.

Their nefarious plans come to the attention of Countess Aurelia, the benignly eccentric madwoman of the title. She is an aging idealist who sees the world as happy and beautiful. But, advised by her associate, the Ragpicker, who is a bit more worldly than the Countess, she soon comes to realize that the world might well be ruined by these evil men—men who seek only wealth and power. These people have taken over Paris. 'They run everything, they corrupt everything,' says the Ragpicker. Already things have gotten so bad that the pigeons do not bother to fly anymore. One of the businessmen says in all seriousness, 'What would you rather have in your backyard: an almond tree or an oil well?'

Aurelia resolves to fight back and rescue humanity from the scheming and corrupt developers. She enlists the help her fellow outcasts, the Street Singer, The Ragpicker, The Sewer Man, The Flower Girl, The Sergeant, and various other oddballs and dreamers. These include her fellow madwomen: the acidic Constance, the girlish Gabrielle, and the ethereal Josephine. In a tea party every bit as mad as a scene from 'Alice in Wonderland,' they put the 'wreckers of the world's joy' on trial, and in the end condemn them to banishment—or perhaps, death.

One by one the greedy businessmen are lured by the smell of oil to a bottomless pit from which they will never (presumably) return. Peace, love, and joy return to the world. Even the earthbound Pigeons are flying again."

Wow, who knew The Madwoman of Chaillot was such a contemporary play with such contemporary, pertinent themes? Ah, well, I guess it's as the other Frenchman said, "Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose." (The more things change, the more they remain the same).

I guess I could do worse than being the Madwoman of Chaillot. At least she had an optimistic attitude - which is hard to come by these days. Plus Katharine Hepburn played her in the movie. How can I go wrong?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Farewell to Little Cat -- And, Hello to a New Dog

Sorry for not being around for awhile. I have some sad news - Little Cat (Zoe) started going downhill over the past few weeks, and about four days ago she lost interest in her food. So we took her to the vet on Thursday and they gave her IV fluids and nourishment, but it didn't help this time. She was just fading away. So we took her home and let her be in her own little bed. She spent a quiet day yesterday and slipped away a little after 7:30 p.m. last night. I'm glad she went so peacefully. She looked as if she was just asleep.

The vet had her down as 15 years old, but we've long thought she was older than that. My mother had gotten her at a shelter so her real age wasn't actually known at the time she adopted her. We knew when we got her after my mom died that she wouldn't be with us for that long. I'm just glad she had so many good times up at the cabin with us and that her last months were so pleasant.

In the meantime, we have decided to keep Angel, the pit bull who showed up at our house three weeks ago on a freezing cold night. She was probably used for breeding, as she had obviously recently had puppies. She was also emaciated, very smelly, and had very long toenails, as if she was never walked. After she had a bath we took her to the vet and she got her shots. She's completely housebroken, and sweet as can be. Her only flaw is she goes nuts when she sees cats and small dogs. But we hope training will help. Angel is gaining weight every week and is looking really good now.

Unfortunately, we also realized that she has an itchy skin condition which the vet and I think must be mange. The vet didn't find any mites when she did a skin scraping, but sometimes they don't show up. So we're treating her for mange. Luckily it isn't necessary to do horrible things like dip the dog in insecticide as they did in the old days. The vet gave her a shot of Ivermectin, which must be repeated in two weeks, and we have to shampoo her with a medicated shampoo once a week. It's always something! Sometimes I feel as if I live at the vet's office!

Luckily she and Diva get along well, amazingly enough. I thought Diva wouldn't put up with another dog, especially a female, but she is being surprisingly tolerant. We can even have them in the same room and they get along well. So we are keeping her. She is the most affectionate dog; all she wants to do is sit next to you and cuddle. She walks well on the leash, is great in the car, and just lives to please you. How anyone could have mistreated her like that is beyond me.

Here are her latest pictures. We gave her a toy and she was beside herself. She'd apparently never had one before.

This one is actually from about a week ago but I love the way she cocks her head (which is why it is a little blurry as we captured her doing it!).

So, that's the news from our household. I'll be back again soon and may actually write something of substance now that things are calming down around here. Hope to be visiting your blogs more too!