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Archive for the ‘Kitties’ Category

Pairs: Kitty + Kitty

Meet the pair of kitties who keep us company:

Sunny Afternoon
This is a birthday present that keeps on giving. Fur, that is. Nine years and going strong.

Claim to fame: Once, she was sort of friends with a rabbit.
Superpower: Cross-species impersonation (For example, she can bark. She can also almost use her imaginary opposable thumb.)
Diva Demand: “Love me, pet me, love me, pet me, LOVE ME! NOW. That is all I ask.”
On the fence
Eight years ago, we saw a sign for “free kittens” and thought we’d just go for a look.

Claim to fame: Once, she was slimed by a drooling golden retriever and survived.
Superpower: Invisibility (Have you seen her? Even our pet-sitting friends have not.)
Diva Demand: “I will not eat from a dish. Also, I ask that you touch my food before I eat it. No reason, just because.”

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Good Ideas

A Catnap

cat nap

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.
– Robert Fulgham

Afternoon Tea
tea

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
-Thich Nat Hahn

Cultivating

Japanese maple

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
– Mohandas K. Ghandi

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Roses

Happy Valentine’s Day, Blissful readers!

Today, I want to share with you a few blogs I’m loving right now:

Nordljus
Keiko’s stunning photography captures the beauty of food, destinations, and everyday objects. I can only dream of taking photos like these. (Be sure to click on the thumbnails on the left sidebar on Keiko’s blog to see more photos.)

My Inner Edge
I discovered this blog just recently. With a photo and a daily offering from poets like Galway Kinnell and Mary Oliver or, alternately, a meditative quote, My Inner Edge soothes and nourishes my soul.

Colors of the Garden
For me, visiting Kerri’s blog is like an armchair excursion to the countryside via photos of a lush garden and adorable kitties.

The Artful Parent
The idea of family life that celebrates art is so inspiring to me. The Artful Parent reminds me that creating art is a simple, natural, and joyful act.

The Style Files
I’m interested in living spaces that are both functional and artful, and this Netherlands-based blog is a collection of charming ideas for interiors.

Enjoy!

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Are you on your way?

spring comes early

We’ve planted a few early signs of spring.

early buds

Around our neighborhood, the trees are budding.

still hibernating

Even so, some of us are still hibernating.

Season of warm breezes, flowers, and short-sleeved blouses, are you on your way?

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When our neighbors went away on an extended trip, they left Chester in my care. He was a big, gentle tomcat, and we bonded almost instantly. You know how it is. Once in a while you meet an animal with whom you develop a deep connection. Chester was one of those. By the time our neighbors returned, I didn’t want to give him back.

I remember walking Chester back to his home at the end of the street and telling him that I didn’t want him to go and that if he felt the same way, he could always come back. I may have even left a few pieces of food along the way to guide him, just in case. (I know. That definitely crossed a line in pet ethics.)

Chester did come back often, and I may have continued to feed him. (Yeah. That line again.) I was convinced that he preferred me to his original family, that we were actually meant to be together, so… I asked our neighbors if I could have him. Can you imagine? “Excuse me, but, um, can I have your cat?” I’m still embarrassed by the sheer audacity of it. This pretty much cancels out the tricycle story, don’t you think?

Amazingly though, out of the goodness of their hearts, our neighbors agreed to let me have him. I fashioned a warm bed for Chester in the garage, and when my parents let me, I brought him into the laundry room to sleep. I made him special meals of shaved bonito flakes and milk mixed into a bowl of hot rice. We went on walks together, and like a faithful dog, he came running whenever I called him. I told Chester my secrets, and he always listened intently. When he dragged himself to our doorstep after a long absence, his hind legs immobile with pain, I nursed him back to health. Our fondness for each other surpassed the span of time we had together.

One evening, Chester asked to be let out, and as he vanished into the evening, he paused and looked back at me. Something in his look made a foreboding feeling flutter in my heart, but I let him go.

That was the last I ever saw of Chester. I looked for him for months, going door to door and checking roadside ditches and all of his favorite hideouts. At night, before going to bed, I always called for him from the back door, just in case. I refused to believe that Chester was gone for good. As time passed though, my searching spiraled into months of mourning. Concerned family friends offered me a kitten, but I was adamant that no pet would ever replace Chester, that I could never love another cat. For a long time, it was true.

Sometimes what is precious to us simply vanishes. This painting is in remembrance of Chester. He was only a cat–and not even mine, originally–but “he was also my friend.”

See the next painting in the series.

“He was also my friend” is part of a series titled “Lost Along the Way.”

4″ x 4″ acrylic and ink on canvas

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There isn’t much time for anything right now, but here are a couple of gems from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, which I finished reading recently:

 

All important words, all the words marked for grandeur by a poet, are keys to the universe, to the dual universe of the Cosmos and the depths of the human spirit.

The great function of poetry is to give us back the situations of our dreams. The house we were born in is more than an embodiment of home, it is also an embodiment of dreams. Each of its nooks and corners was a resting-place for daydreaming…. The house, the bedroom, the garret in which we were alone, furnished the framework for an interminable dream, one that poetry alone, through the creation of a poetic work, could succeed in achieving completely…. It is on the plane of the daydream and not on that of facts that childhood remains alive and poetically useful within us. Through this permanent childhood, we maintain the poetry of the past. To inhabit oneirically the house we were born in means more than to inhabit it in memory; it means living in this house that is gone, the way we used to dream in it.

In the forward, John R. Silgoe writes, “Ostensibly modest in compass, an inquiry focused on the house, its interior places, and its outdoor context, The Poetics of Space resonates deeply, vibrating at the edges of imagination, exploring the recesses of the psyche, the hallways of the mind. In the house Bachelard discovers a metaphor of humanness.”

I’ll admit that I found Bachelard somewhat challenging. He’s unapologetically abstract and long-winded, but at the same time, The Poetics of Space is undeniably dreamy and even a bit magical. In the days since I finished reading it, I’ve found myself pondering the spaces I know and remember and discovering entire rooms of imaginative meaning and possibility. If you’re looking for a book to tickle your imagination and are willing to read slowly and thoughtfully, as Bachelard requires, I recommend it.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, in the space we call home (where the rest of us are quite busy, I might add), this is the scene:

Sprawled about

Christmas tree & a sleepy fuzzy

On a chilly night

It’s as though the cats have decided to semi-hibernate through the winter, and I do not blame them. I want to grab a book, curl up in a blanket, and join them.

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Tea for two after supper
While I was undergoing Fibromyalgia treatment, every six weeks, we went straight from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy to pick up another sack full of medications. On one of those trips, “somebunny who loves me” bought me this mug, and it has been my favorite ever since. In the background, “somebunny” is catching up on reading for book club.

Favorite mug

* * * * *

A little sketching and journaling about my goals for 2008, with old jazz playing in the background

A few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a box of colored pencils and this spiral-bound notebook. “Colored pencils are very forgiving,” she said. I think she meant for me to draw, but I’ve been using it to write and sketch out my goals. It’s a looser, right-brained approach to journaling compared to the written journal I keep.

Sketching

* * * * *

Today, it rained, but earlier in the week, there was sun.

Some of us couldn’t resist soaking up the rays on the favorite mat just outside the screen door.

Soaking up some sun

Want to join?

* * * * *

Then there was a bit of tropical paradise.

A bit of Hawaii

A dear friend is getting married in Maui! And a box full of sunshine and festivities arrived in the mail, complete with luggage tag, leis, and travel baggies. Have you ever seen such a lovely invitation to a wedding in the tropics?

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Turns out, I’m not the only one

…who loves the new throw:

Someone has taken my throw.

Afternoon nappings

By the way, fuzzies, this throw that you’ve so wholeheartedly chosen as your own? Not really yours. In case you were wondering. Yeah. Did you hear that? Not really yours. Hello? Anyone?

Today’s soundtrack is dedicated to you, dear fuzzies.

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The Truth about Cats

Someone's new favorite place

Someone has discovered a new favorite place. On chilly evenings, she is keen on roasting herself there–just a little to the left of center in front of the fireplace. She gazes into the flickering flames and purrs and, from time to time, turns herself so that her flanks are equally warm on both sides.

It’s that season when the cats suddenly pretend to adore us, but I know the truth. What they really love are these things: warm laps, extra blankets on the bed, and a roaring fireplace. Yeah, we’re onto you, fuzzies.

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I love French memo boards. I think they look nicer than plain cork board, and as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about push pins tragically becoming cat toys. Not that it’s ever happened, but you never know with those fuzzy-headed members of our household–specifically, this one:

this fuzzy cat

and this one:

this other fuzzy one

I’ve also discovered that I love making French memo boards. Have you made any? They’re super easy and quick to make. I was a bit under the weather today, but I rallied and made this one:

French memo board

Materials:

  • an old art canvas
  • fabric
  • ribbon
  • sewing pins
  • backing fabric or board +fabric tacks (or alternately, buttons + thread)
  • a hammer
  • a staple gun

Instructions:

1.  Cut your fabric so that it’s large enough to wrap around to the back of the canvas.

2. With the fabric placed face-down on a smooth surface and the canvas situated face-down on the fabric, staple the fabric to the back edge of the canvas. Make sure the fabric is taut. You’ll want to staple along one edge first then pull the fabric taut (but not so tight as to stretch it out of shape) and staple the opposite edge. Repeat on the remaining two edges.

3. Cut the ribbon. You’ll need two pieces that are long enough to reach diagonally across the board from one corner to the other. You’ll also need four shorter pieces that are long enough to reach diagonally from the center of the top edge to the center of the side edge. All of these ribbon pieces should be long enough to wrap around to the back of the canvas.

4. Starting with the longer pieces, position the ribbons and pin them in place.

5. Staple the ribbons on the back of the board. Start by stapling one end of a ribbon in place. Remove the pins holding that ribbon in place, stretch the ribbon tightly across the front of the board, and staple it in place. Repeat with the remaining ribbons.

6. If you’re using fabric tacks, you’ll now nail through the spots where the ribbons cross. Turn the board over and hammer the tacks to the side so that they’ll hold in place and won’t pose any risk of injury. If you’re using buttons, sew them into place where the ribbons cross, making sure to catch the ribbons with your thread.

7. If you’re using fabric tacks, you’ll cut a piece of backing fabric or board that is slightly smaller than the canvas itself. It should be large enough to be attached to the back of the canvas frame but small enough that it will not be visible from the front of the board. If you’re using buttons, this step is optional. Staple or nail the backing piece to the back of the canvas frame.

8. Trim any excess fabric or ribbon, especially if you are not using a backing piece.

9. To be able to hang your French memo board for display, you may want to attach a ribbon to the back of the board. Simply staple a piece of ribbon to the left and right edges of the frame on the back. Position it about 1/3 from the top.

You’re done!

Gift Ideas 

French memo boards have endless potential for customization. Experiment with colors and background pattens. Try a friend’s favorite color combination for a birthday gift, pink or blue gingham and a lacy ribbon for a baby shower, or shades of ivory and white for a wedding gift. To further personalize these gifts, add photos and thematic quotes or poems.

There are a couple more photos of my memo boards on Flickr, if you want to see.

Have a blissful weekend, everyone!

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