Archive for October, 2007

Oct 28 2007

Open Door Policy

Published by under Cats,Dogs

Yesterday morning, I had the kitchen door open, and the baby gate in place to keep the dog and kittens in place. My “office” is also in the kitchen, and my desk faces the door. I was sipping coffee and checking my email when a guy walked up to the gate and asked if he could have a look around. Turns out he was interested in my eccentric apartment (the former wood working shop of a Victorian coffin factory) for a TV show pilot. This would be, and is, the heroine’s cool loft.

As he walked around taking pictures, I pulled a sweater on over my pajamas and tried not to be too embarrassed about the fact that I wasn’t dressed, the bed wasn’t made, and the place was in a more chaotic state than usual. He assured me that they could see beyond the untidiness.

June tried to help him set up his tripod. He thought she was adorable rather than annoying, and said that in the show, the star has a cat. But considering what happens to most child stars, she should probably remain a beautiful unknown who keeps getting asked why she isn’t in show business.

In the evening, my neighbor dropped by with a bag full of hot gingerbread she’d just made. You have to love a neighbor like that. She also wanted to see the kittens, who were sleeping cutely and pretending that they weren’t complete maniacs. After the usual petting and fussing, I walked her to the door and said good night, and resumed watching the final season of Gilmore Girls with Audrey on my lap. Audrey loves the Girls, but June finds it all too Girl-y for her, so she never watches it with me.

As I passed through the kitchen an episode later, I heard a cat meowing and scratching at the door. I assumed it was Quince and that she couldn’t get into her house, so she came here. I opened the door, and a small cat shot in the door at an illegal rate of speed. On closer inspection, it turned out to be June!

She must have slipped out unnoticed during the neighborly goodbyes, and I had taken her absence for her usual scorn of anything girly. Horrified that I hadn’t noticed and thinking of all the terrible things that could have happened, I swept her into my arms and warmed up her cold paws. She purred happily, as if nothing had happened. I gave Rita and the kittens some salmon treats to celebrate June’s safe return, and had a vodka treat myself.

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Oct 27 2007

Rule Number One

Published by under Uncategorized

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Who, me?

Possibly the best tip I’ve ever gotten from a vet was from the kittens’, Dr. Jill. For those of you considering entering the dangerous and enchanting kingdom of kittens, I’ll pass it along. You’ll thank me later.

Dr. Jill says:

Whatever you do, don’t feed the kittens as soon as you get up. Wait at least half an hour.

It sounds simple, and it is, but it will have a huge impact on your life. The kittens won’t think that as soon as you get up, they’ll get fed, so they’ll let you sleep in. For example, it’s nearly 10:30 and I’m on my second cup of coffee, but haven’t fed the kittens yet. (Yes, I’m an excellent mother.) Instead, they’re romping around like crazy and totally ignoring me, which is the way I like it first thing in the morning.

Yes, when they see you getting the food ready and attempting to give it to them, they’ll be milling around your feet, making noises like little French police cars, but they won’t have been doing it all morning.

You’re welcome!

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Oct 22 2007

How Much Is That Doggie on the Sidewalk?

Published by under Dogs,Rita

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The Priceless Puppy

Summer’s lingering longer than usual this year, though not outstaying its welcome. Is that even possible?

To welcome the sun and spicy fall air into my otherwise dark and windowless kitchen, I have the front door open and the baby gate up. This keeps Rita and the kittens from escaping into the Wide World, but they can still watch the pigeons and people passing by. It’s kind of like television with Smellovision.

Today’s surprise guest was none other than Quince, the kittens’ mother. She came swaying over to the baby gate, her bell ringing jauntily, and sniffed the kittens, who sniffed back. Then she left. I don’t think they recognized each other, but it was fun for me to watch. A close encounter of the kitty kind?

Rita and I had a couple of odd encounters last night.

We were on our way to the big park (the little park is the other way) and passed a guy sitting outside the slaughterhouse. He didn’t look like the regular slaughterhouse workers, with their rubber boots and gloves, who often sit outside when they’re on a break so they can pet Rita and/or share their lunches with her. He looked like just a regular guy smoking a cigarette.

“Nice dog,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said.

“Give you a hundred bucks for it.”

We got as far away from him as fast as possible.

When we came back, he was gone, but Rita started jumping up on a guy I had never seen before, acting all thrilled to see him. “How are you? Where have you been?” her tail asked. I asked her to cease and desist (though without much hope), but the guy said he was Former Owner’s brother and knew Miss Rita. He added that she had never looked better or healthier, which I’m sorry to say made me all smug, since I’m secretly convinced that I take better care of her than FO and that she’s happier with me, too. If anything, FO’s brother should think the opposite, so it was a nice vote of confidence.

Yay.

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Oct 21 2007

Gracious

Published by under Uncategorized

I really wish I could see this exhibit at Sotheby’s, honoring the style and elegance of the legendary Grace Kelly.

Almost as much as I wish I could have attended Ellen Barkin’s jewelry auction around this time last year – and buy a couple of things. Like the diamond briolette necklace. Or the strand of emerald beads. Or the long diamond tassel earrings. Or the JAR diamond thread ring…

Apparently Ms. Barkin decided to unload the sparkle after her billionaire husband, Revlon chief Ron Perelman, summarily ditched her (with security guards in attendance, no less). If I were her, I would have kept every last carat. After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

But she did make $20 million on the auction. So maybe she’s laughing all the way to the bank – or the jewelry store.

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Oct 19 2007

Company

Published by under Cats,Dogs,Rita

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Quince

This past week, I had the pleasure of Quince’s company while her owner was in Spain, the poor thing. Quince is the beautiful mother of my beautiful kittens. My neighbor took her in as a pregnant stray who was a kitten herself – barely 9 months old. She was essentially a pregnant homeless teenager, so she was lucky to find Patrisha. It seems to me that cats and dogs choose us, not the other way around.

Every morning, Rita and I would go to Patrisha’s little Victorian rowhouse (an endangered species on our street, as the soulless, expensive condo boxes encroach). I’d leave Rita in the little front yard and go inside, where Quince was always waiting for me. Patrisha left a window open, so Quince could go in and out at will, but I think she spent a lot of time inside, waiting for her girl to come home. Surely a formerly homeless cat appreciates a warm and happy home even more than cats who have never had to kill their own dinner.

So I’d feed Quince, walk Rita, and in the evening I’d go back, feed Quince her dinner, and curl up on the soft velvet couch with my book (Away, by Amy Bloom). Pretty soon, I’d hear Quince’s little paws and bell as she trotted into the room. She’d hop up and make herself comfortable on my lap, purring away merrily. Eventually, she’d leave for her evening stroll, and I’d leave, too.

I realized how lucky I am to know my kittens’ mother and to be able to spend time with her. I can see where June and Audrey get their supermodel long legs from, their funny, swaying walk. I can see how Audrey has the same sharpness to her delicate face, how June has similar coloring.

Patrisha brought me a present from Spain to thank me for taking care of Quince, but I should have thanked her instead.

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Oct 18 2007

Diamond Cats

Published by under Uncategorized

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Nothing but the sparkliest for my kittens.

Discovering that Dennis was, in fact, Audrey in disguise gave me the perfect excuse to buy pink sparkly mice. Having already traumatized her by treating her like a boy for the first three months of her life, thus possibly sowing the seeds for a future serial killer* (though being a girl and cute definitely lower the odds), I didn’t want to push the gender confusion thing further with sparkly pink mice.

In general, the toys you buy kittens are less attractive to them than the things they find around the house. I believe human kittens are the same way: give them a dream toy and they’ll toss it aside and play with the wrapping paper for hours with ostentatious glee. My neighbor gave them a fancy sort of kitten “learn & play” thing, and they scorned it in favor of a toilet paper roll.

The fancy toy is gathering dust in the corner, feeling justifiably neglected and unloved. I’ll probably end up paying for its therapist.

They do love the sparkle mouse, though, and it has the advantage of not looking enough like a real one to make me scream if I come across it unawares.

Audrey loves the little diamond hoops I wear every day. They are her favorite toy on earth. Her method is to ooze sweetly onto my lap, as if she’s just there to cuddle, and when she’s lulled me into a false sense of security, start batting at the earrings. Variation: she merrily chews on them while purring in my ear. There is nothing ticklier! Or a pricier teething ring, for that matter.

June, on the other hand, doesn’t waste her valuable time on the small stuff. This morning, she came trotting into the kitchen with something in her mouth. There was something swinging around, but it was too shiny to be either a regulation mouse or a sparkle mouse.

It was my 85 year old diamond watch.

Note to Self: keep all diamonds out of paws’ reach. Who knew jewelry needed to be kitten proofed?

*Though a serial killer of real, not sparkly, mice would be welcome and appreciated.

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Oct 14 2007

Oh, No!

Published by under Uncategorized

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PostSecret just gave me something new to worry about.

Maybe Amsterdam’s handbag museum could accommodate the Fabulous Suzy Collection?

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Oct 11 2007

Catwalk

Published by under Uncategorized

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June, the ultimate office accessory.

It?s hard to work with the kittens around. They love playing on my desk so much that I have removed anything with toy potential (especially that pen shaped like a palm tree), but they still keep popping up to see what I?m doing. Not content to merely observe, they walk on the keys. I keep moving them away, but they keep coming back like fuzzy little boomerangs.

All this office time has netted them some pretty impressive skills for 3 month olds. So far, they have:

  • Annnotated an email: \———–
  • Turned on my iPod and selected Wilco
  • Done a spotlight search (for the letter “e”)
  • Typed the Spanish upside down question mark ?. I have no idea how to do that.
  • Turned on CAPS LOCK
  • Turned the volume all the way up (I usually keep it muted)
  • Downloaded a Google map to my desktop.

Someone should invent kitten repellent. A temporary mist you could spray around your desk, so the kittens don?t annotate your work unexpectedly with their kitten comments. On the door, so they can?t sneak out when you take out the garbage. On yourself, so your kittens don?t bite and claw your bare feet, arms and hands in their oh so playful and painful manner. Not to mention climbing up your legs, their needle claws digging merrily through the fabric and right into your delicate flesh. Of course, the effects would have to wear off when it?s time to cuddle.

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Oct 08 2007

Having Kittens

Published by under Uncategorized

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Sleep mode

Having kittens is like winning the lottery.

Suddenly, you?re just so much more popular, and it has nothing to do with your charms. Friends and neighbors drop by casually to say hello, and just happen to notice the kittens, who have two modes: frantic and asleep. They?re either running around like crazy, getting into trouble, or fast asleep, usually in some peculiar place (wedged on top of the records or on top of the lighted room dividers, which seem to be like hammocks to them). There is much admiration. They?re cool cats.

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Oct 04 2007

Surprise, Surprise

Published by under Cats,Dogs,Rita

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The kitten formerly known as Dennis

Well, it’s just been one thing after another since I got back from Detroit.

One thing:

The $350 vet bill.

Rita lives to sniff things, and it looked like she might have sniffed the wrong thing. She and my kind neighbor Charlie were enjoying each other’s company while I was enjoying Kathleen’s company in Detroit. The enjoyment came to a rapid and horrifying halt when Charlie noticed Rita investigating some mouse bait which he had overlooked in his kitchen.

Of course, this occurred on a Saturday evening, so he had to take Her Loveliness to the emergency vet, which is much more expensive (but not more luxurious) than the regular vet. While Charlie imagined how he was going to tell me about this, Rita had her stomach pumped twice, and even though it didn’t look like she had ingested any poison pellets, they gave her Vitamin K just in case*. I’m not sure who had the worse time. But Rita is healthy and happy, unlike our collective bank accounts.

Another:

A couple of days later, at a different (and slightly less expensive) office down the street, I learned that Dennis is, in fact, a girl. Apparently everyone who saw Dennis from Day One onwards had the same hallucination, including the vet, because no-one noticed the whole “Dude Is a Lady” thing on the first visit. This time, the vet got a second opinion from her partner, and said they’ll check again on the next appointment (kittens go to the vet approximately as often as Lindsay Lohan goes to rehab), so stay tuned.

Years of living in San Francisco and walking to work through the Tenderloin in the early morning hours has given me a remarkable ability to tell when a girl is really a guy, but not, apparently, the other way around.

*I learned far too much about how mouse poison really works. I’d stay in ignorance if I were you. ~shudder~

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