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Day o’ the Dead

Halloween turned out to be pretty uneventful …

I worked a little. Submitted a lot of invoices. Ran a couple of errands. Finally, I took the dog for a walk.

In full costume.

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He really wasn’t all that pleased with me … and he let me know it.

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My response was, “Candy Gram.”

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He didn’t get it. So, I said, “Land Shark.”

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That seemed to pique his interest, but I still don’t think he felt like it made up for the indignation of being forced to wear a costume among the general public.

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I, on the other hand, loved the view of the late afternoon … but the beauty didn’t hold. Right at 5 p.m. — just in time for trick or treaters — the heavens opened up and it started to pour. While the rain continued through the evening, we did manage a great sunset …

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And children slowly made their way out to beg for a little candy. Thankfully, the neighbor’s cat decided to keep me company on the front porch while I waited …

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She may not be part of my brood, but she was a welcome part of my Halloween evening.

Now, onto November …

Happy Early Halloween

Since we are only a couple of days away from All Hallows’ Eve, I figured it was time to share the third and final Halloween costume that I forced Cooper to endure this year. I still don’t think it’s as good — or as appropriate — as his devil costume, but it still makes me happy.

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And before anyone reports me for doggy abuse, trust me when I say that this is pretty much the only option I have to “shame” my dog. You know all of those doggy shaming photos where the pup looks completely remorseful for something he or she has done?

Yeah, that’s never been Cooper. Ever since he came into my life, he has always gleefully owned everything he’s done.

Praise him? His tail happily wags as he prances around the room.

Scold him? His tail wags even faster as he runs away to show everyone what he has just done.

This, right here, is the only time he ever slows down enough to feel any sort of shame.

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With one week to go until Halloween, I figured I should post another set of pictures of Cooper in one of his Halloween costumes. This one made me laugh (they all do, really). After all, he could easily find himself in this very situation in my house.

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Yep, that’s supposed to be a black cat on his back.

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It was hard to take photos of him with it because it kept shifting on his back.

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He may not have been amused, but I was. Thankfully, he’s turned into a fairly patient dog …

The Love of Old and Young

I have always been fascinated by how older cats will take younger ones under their proverbial wing.

First, I watched it with Cole and Lilly. While Cole always kept the little one in line, there was a sweetness between them that was indescribable.

Now, I have watched the same type of mentorship evolve between Gus and Colby.

While Gus is not the oldest in the house, he is only a year behind Izzy. And he has far more patience than his older sister.

So, today, I wasn’t all that surprised when Gus tried to teach Colby, the baby of the house, about his love of plastic army men toys.

At first, I wasn’t sure she would get it (all pics taken with iPhone — sorry!).


He really worked to show her the beauty of the toys …


And she paid close attention … somewhat.


Finally, she understood the joy Gus was trying to teach her. And it was good.


Then, this afternoon, Gus reminded Colby of the joy of boxes … much to my dismay.


The box contained the new water fountain that I wanted to set up in place of Cooper’s normal water bowl. Why did I need it? Because Colby decided that she enjoyed pawing the water in the bowl until it was empty and the floor around the bowl was soaked. While she finds it fascinating to empty an entire bowl with just one paw, my hardwood floors have not taken it well.

Although Gus was not about to let me open the larger box, I did manage to get a smaller box full of filters opened.

And then, Colby decided that the box was hers …




I don’t understand why cats are so fascinated with boxes — even those truly too small to be comfortable — but if it makes them happy, I will keep them around.

Another Week, Another Dental

Last week, I had to take in Gus for a teeth cleaning.

Sounds easy, right?

Not with Gus.

My poor boy freaks out any time I have to put him in a crate. I believe this is because he was returned to the shelter by two other families after having lived with each of them for an extended period of time before he entered my life. Somewhere, deep down, he believes I am putting him in the crate to take him back.

That will never, ever happen. Ever.

Of course, try to convince a cat of that.

Because of Gus’ little issues with crates, the vet and I strategized ahead of time and decided that the best bet was to bring him in one afternoon, so that she could examine him and draw his blood. I would leave him overnight and she would conduct the dental work the next morning.

Thankfully, everything went off without a hitch. Well, other than the fact that Gus peed in the crate on the way to the vet, tried to hide under my shirt while in the exam room, and was so scared in the boarding area that the staff had to put a blanket over the door of his little cubbie hole for the night.

When I picked him up the next day, he was talkative, as usual, but I wasn’t sure if he was upset or pissed or feeling some other emotion. Once I got him home, it was still a little hard to tell. He stumbled around the house, his back legs sliding out from under him with every turn and jump. He refused food. He refused to relax. He refused cuddles.

The only thing he seemed to want to do was explore every cupboard in the house.




Clearly, he was still a little hung over from the anesthesia.

So, I gave the boy a little time to decompress. And detox.

Within two hours, he tracked me down and let me know that he was hungry. At least, I assumed he was hungry. He kept rubbing up against me, purring happily as he kneaded the floor. I gave him as much food as I dared and then went back to work. Within moments, he was back at my feet, rubbing up against my legs, purring happily as he kneaded the floor.

For the next three days, whenever the little boy saw me, he would repeat the same basic steps: enthusiastically rub against my legs, purr like he had never purred before and knead the floor like it was the newest dance craze. He wouldn’t even stand still long enough for me to take his photo, constantly repeating what I soon considered a dance of love.

Why a dance of love?

While Gus has always been a loving little soul, he has never been quite that demonstrative. I figured that he realized that although I left him behind, I also brought him home. And that was worth all the loves in the world.

Then, I realized that Gus was offering the same amount of attention and affection to every cupboard in my kitchen.




And with that I no longer felt special.

Heck, I am no longer sure that he realizes that the person who dropped him off at the vet is the same one who picked him up.

Oh, well. At least the boy is happy and healthy. That’s all I can really ask for.

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Mr. Man — Gus-Gus himself. Love this boy.

The Blood Moon

I have never taken night photos before. The closest I have ever come to a night photo was to take some early morning photos of Mt Hood (those are still to come). But last night, I decided to try to take photos of the blood moon — the total lunar eclipse that happened last night.

While I have a basic understanding of the process and the general equipment necessary to be successful I still found it incredibly difficult. Despite using both a tripod and a remote shutter, many of the photos ended up blurry. And, at times, the camera refused to take the photo, even with a long shutter speed and the ratcheting down (is that how you describe that?) the f/stop as much as possible to let in more light.

Still, I somehow managed to get one photo that was semi clear. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. Beginner’s luck?

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A closer look at the one picture I seemed to get right.

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Ahhh … it has gotten to that time of year again: When the days grown shorter, the evenings cooler and I revel in the opportunity to humiliate my dog.

See, I don’t really believe in putting clothes on dogs. It’s just not my thing. I do have a doggie raincoat for Cooper — an important accessory in rain-swamped Oregon — but nothing else.

Nothing else, that is, except for costumes.

At Halloween and Christmas time, those little costumes come out.

And I put them on Cooper.

And he acts humiliated.

And I laugh.

Welcome to day one of sharing in my joy.

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Pathetic, isn’t he?

Red in Tooth

Today, I had to take three of the beasties to the vet.

Cooper and Colby had to go in because they needed vaccinations. Cooper just needed an annual booster. Colby was in for her last vaccine, so that I can continue taking her for walks outside (on a leash, of course).

While Cooper loves going to the vet (unless he’s having one of his episodes), Colby has continued to prove that she is not so sure of this whole poking and prodding and temperature-taking thing.

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Colby — definitely NOT happy.

I tried to entertain her …

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And after a lot of love and attention, she started to come around … a little …

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See? She’s soooo much more relaxed. Only one ear is back now.

Thankfully, the vaccines went by pretty uneventfully. In fact, despite the fact that most animals are sleepy after vaccinations, the shot didn’t slow down Colby one bit.

The third animal to go to the vet was poor, poor Zoey. During a vet visit a month ago, we realized that her teeth were a little worse for wear. In fact, she had managed to break off the tip of one of her canines. How did she do that? Knowing my clumsy little girl, she tried to take a leap of faith and missed.

Anyway, after a cleaning and two extractions, I was able to bring her home. She was … well … still a little stoned. As soon as I let her out of the carrier, she weaved her way through the house, stumbled into more than one wall, and stared at random things.

Of course, as one friend pointed out, that’s not really all that different than Zoey’s normal personality.

I told you — she’s clumsy.

And blissfully dumb.

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Zoey simply sitting and staring at the laser light toy that was the other cats were playing with.


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After getting home, Zoey wandered through the house. Of course, she’d only take a few steps before deciding she was too tired to keep going and simply flop over.

Hopefully, she will only be down for the count for a couple of days. Zoey’s crazy antics make it worth getting out of bed every day.

The Inner Lives of Dogs

I don’t profess to be a dog expert.

I don’t understand all dog language — whether verbal or non-verbal. In fact, I’ve been known to misinterpret calm assertiveness (thank you, Cesar Millan, for adding that phrase in my vocabulary) as aggression and aggression as confidence.

OK … once two dogs start snapping at each other, I generally catch on, but what I’m saying here is that I can be a little slow when it comes to understanding some puppy cues.

Except when it comes to my own dog.

My own frenetic dog.

My own frenetic, insane dog.

My own frenetic, insane dog who occasionally suffers from inappropriate verbal response syndrome — or IVRS (I’m trademarking that, so don’t try to steal it) — what I have come to consider as doggy Tourette’s.

When it comes to my own dog, I’m pretty sure that I know exactly what he’s thinking. His internal dialogue goes a little like this:



Food. Food. Food. Food.

Not spoiled.

Not spoiled.

Why’s she telling me I’m spoiled?

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Don’t let Cooper’s pathetic look fool you … he’s completely spoiled. In case you hadn’t noticed, he’s in my bed. Laying on my side of the bed.

Not spoiled.

Not spoiled.

Was that a noise?


Could be that guy who comes with the boxes.


Gotta let him know I’m here and need attention!


Wasn’t him.

My life is pathetic.




I never get enough food.



Or attention.

Cats get all the attention.

Dumb cats.

Cats get all the food.

Dumb cats.


Food. Food. Food. Food. Food.


Yep, that’s pretty much as complex as his inner dialogue gets. Unless he’s decided to tell me off. Then, I’m sure there are a few choice words thrown in for dramatic and comedic effect.

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A note to Cooper from his vet’s office. See? He’s not as pathetic as he would have you believe.

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Cooper and his new favorite toy. See? Not pathetic. He gets new toys several times a year … of course, that could have something to do with his ability to destroy toys within 30 minutes, but still …

Signs of Fall

A few days ago, the heat of summer finally broke — at least for a short window of time — and we got our first real taste of fall.

The temperatures were mild. The wind steadily caressed the trees and a gentle rain started to quench the parched earth.

The land was ready for the relief …


… as was I.

Early fall is my favorite time of year. The heat of summer often bleeds into the days while the evenings cool off quickly and offer a reprieve that summer days rarely do. See, Oregon’s summers are marked by an odd phenomenon in which the days actually grow warmer as the evening progresses. While the heat peaks between 2 and 4 p.m. in other parts of the country, we generally don’t hit our warmest temperatures until 5 or 6 p.m. Then, the heat can be slow to surrender to night.

With the first signs of fall, this phenomenon quickly, thankfully goes away.

With it comes days of intermittent rain and winds. It’s just a taste of weather yet to come, but it’s enough to make one want to bundle up with a good book, a warm fire and a cup of strong coffee (or tea … or cocoa … whatever your poison). Yes, the days grow shorter, but it reminds you to appreciate every moment of light.

Fall sunrise