The Natural Order

A fat fluffy red fox jogged briskly across my backyard this morning, halfway between the house and the lake. Patches and I were sitting on the deck enjoying a cup of coffee, when the fox caught the two of us off guard.

We watched avidly as Mr. Fox scurried down into the forest, and continued watching long after he was out of sight. Patches’s tail whipped back and forth as she followed his every move; whereas, mine remained static. My tail doesn’t often whip these days, even when I’m agitated or excited. One of those unfortunate cases of “use it or lose it” I’m afraid.

Eventually I had to refill my coffee, so I left Patches on guard where she remains as I write this:

No fox is getting past her. Nosirree! Unless of course someone offers her a treat, then all guard duties will be abandoned for the sake of a catnip flavored nibble.

Now, to the point. This little essay began with the words, “A fat fluffy red fox….” The order of the words rolled off the tips of my fingers and onto the screen. Could I have also typed, “a red fat fluffy fox” or a “fluffy red fat fox?” Sure. But why did my initial word choice feel the most correct to me? We tend to say, “clear blue sky” instead of “blue clear sky,” and Patches would be a “cute black and white cat,” and not a “black and white cute cat”; although, she most definitely remains black and white and undeniably cute.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has pondered this ordering of adjectives. When I googled it I found this interesting article.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj-2dXV_8LgAhVNhOAKHSqbB6sQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fblogs-trending-37285796&psig=AOvVaw0merRecZG_17DUM74VQjSX&ust=1550500785616506

Isn’t English wonderful? It’s also often confusing and in some ways, limiting, but it’s always interesting. And some folks can still get away with using adjectives in the wrong order. I’ll leave you with another fox, George Strait, and his rule bending song, “Blue Clear Sky.” How I’d love to see him in my backyard.

https://youtu.be/JLh5Y9PRFSc

Peace, people.

Foul Weather Friends

Get ready to say “awwwww!”

Match, a chihuahua, is the elder statespet of my daughter, Ashley’s, home having been adopted several years ago. When the family added another adoptee, Snuggles, a couple of weeks ago, Match wasn’t all that thrilled.

Snuggles, a pastel calico, tried to make friendly overtures towards her canine sibling, but Match was having nothing to do with her. Of course sometimes Snuggles’s efforts at forming a friendship were a bit aggressive–the dog’s wagging tail was just too intriguing to resist attacking.

But last night as a thunderstorm passed through their area, my daughter snapped two pictures that melted my heart. Poor Match was frightened by the storm, and Snuggles came to his rescue:

Ashley said Snuggles calmed and comforted Match during the storm. Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, or maybe the two will only be foul weather friends. Regardless, this made me smile.

Peace, people and pets.

Stacked Cats

My cats, Scout and Patches, can barely tolerate one another. Generally, if Scout is in the living room, Patches will be in one of the bedrooms. If Patches is napping on the back porch, Scout will be curled up on our bed. Seldom will they arrange themselves in such close proximity that I can fit them into one photograph.

But today, I looked up from my book to see this tableau:

That’s Patches above and Scout below.

This could be an omen. Forget chakras, don’t consult your horoscopes. Whether for good or for evil, the cats have aligned.

(No cats were harmed in the writing of this post.)

Peace, people!

Curfew Kitty

I was attempting to write a post for the blog last night, but my efforts were hampered by a harasser. The guilty party? Our youngest cat, Patches.

Patches doesn’t like it when we stay up past her 8:30 p.m. bedtime. Around eight she begins campaigning for us to follow her to the bedroom, first by giving us the look:

If that fails to deliver the desired results, she plops down in the middle of the room and sighs loudly at regular intervals.

At the mere mention of the “B” word (bed), she’s ready for action.

She’s kind of hard to ignore.

It’s 9:05. I’d better give in or risk the wrath of Curfew Kitty.

Meow, people.

Cat-astrophe

Let me preface my post with this thought: I love my cats. I might need to end with that thought, as well, since reminders are critical at this point.

Studly Doright and I share our home with two felines. Scout Elizabeth*, who is 15 years old, and Patches Elizabeth* who is approximately eight. They are polar opposites. Scout is friendly and brave. Patches is afraid of her own shadow and anti-social. They’re both well-behaved, but they cannot stand each other.

(Scout is the black cat, below, and Patches is the one with patches. Studly named her. I wanted to call her Indy.)

We’ve left the cats alone at Doright Manor many times. Our housekeeper, Rosa, comes over to check on them if we’re away for more than three days. She’ll clean their litter boxes and give them treats, and remind them that there are still humans who care about them.

Over the Christmas holiday we were away for a week, so I’d asked Rosa to check on the cats twice–once mid-week and again on her regular day to clean. We’ve used this plan successfully multiple times. Unfortunately this time Rosa had a family emergency, and the cats went without a visitor all week.

We came home to a minor disaster area. The cats’ litter boxes were full and they’d done their business in some weird places: behind the couch, next to Studly’s recliner, in the smack dab middle of the dining room floor. I think they thought we were gone for good. It kind of broke my heart that they felt they’d been abandoned.

I’ve spent the week since we’ve been home acting as a combination forensics scientist, scullery maid, and pet whisperer–inspecting for bodily fluids, airing out the house, scrubbing rugs, and reassuring cats. Both Studly and I came down with head colds over the holiday which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand we couldn’t smell the messes, but on the other hand the lack of olfactory input made it difficult to locate them.

Fortunately about 2/3 of the flooring in our home is easy-to-clean tile. And the weather has been unseasonably warm allowing us to open all the windows for several days straight. I hope I’ve found every bit of poo and pee, but my sense of smell is still compromised, so who knows!?

On an added note, we’ve got company coming next weekend. Maybe we’ll play a new game I just made up: “Do You Smell What I Can’t Smell?” Or “Poo, Poo, Help Find the Poo?!” Better yet, maybe I’ll just watch their faces as they enter Doright Manor. That should tell me everything I need to know.

I love my cats.

Peace, people.

*All my cats throughout history have had the middle name Elizabeth. Even the males. I don’t know why.

Cat Christmas

The only reason I put up a Christmas tree this year is because the cats guilted me into it. Studly and I are spending Christmas at our daughter’s home and I told him I didn’t think we’d need a tree. Apparently the cats heard me and they went on strike–no purring or cuddling until the tree was up. They looked pretty cute with their protest placards, but wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to snap a photo.

At any rate, Studly and I learned our lessons, and we have a small tree. The cats are back to giving us lots of love, so everyone’s happy. They asked me to find a bunch of cat Christmas comics, too, and rather than make them get their signs out again, I complied.

Here’s Scout admiring the tree. It’s her shift. Patches is hiding somewhere.

Doing Nothing

On Saturday morning I had no plans. None. I found myself sitting in front of the tv watching Miracle on 34th Street while sipping coffee laced liberally with Irish cream. It was the 1947 version of the film, and in spite of my having seen it approximately 4 billion times in my life I was almost seduced into watching it again.

Instead I decided to go to the grocery story with a stop at Starbucks along the way. After leaving Starbucks with my favorite non-fat iced chai latte laced with a shot of juniper, my eagle eye spotted an estate sale in an unlikely location. I had to make a u-turn to get to it, but soon I was browsing through a veritable wonderland of vintage collectibles and plain old junk. There was so much stuff that I made two complete circuits through the building and still didn’t find anything I needed. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by volume.

On the way to my car, though, I saw a green stool that seemed to be asking me to take it home. It was only $4.00, so I plopped down my money and loaded it into the back of my car. It’ll be a great plant stand, don’t you think? Or a side table for the porch? Or maybe even, gasp, a stool! Go figure.

I fully intended to go to the grocery store next, but there was a crafts fair being held in the parking lot of a church, so I pulled in and browsed for a bit. Honestly, most of what was being offered wasn’t too enticing, but the local humane society had a booth, so I made a donation and bought treat filled stockings for the cats. They’ll at least be pleased that I didn’t spend my morning watching an old movie.

Finally I made it to the store where I bought stuff to make sandwiches. I’d just finished eating when Studly Doright came in from playing golf to find me watching Miracle on 34th Street. I guess I’ve come full circle.

Peace, people.