Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Everybody Wants You

The song by Billy Squier keeps running through my head when I think about all the kitties who are trying to adopt me lately.

There is a very pretty tabby mix with white paws who hangs around the studio and is getting very friendly. Not friendly enough that I have a picture of him/her yet, but enough that I can feed her and approach her and pet her. I've gotten her to come into the studio a couple of times, but Sissy has a fit and attacks her again and again until I let her escape. I call her Stripe. I believe she is female, and hope she has been spayed. I don't know what to do about her, I'd like for her to have a nice home but apparently it isn't going to be here, as long as Sissy rules the roost. Anyone out there want a nice kitty?

Then there is Adonis. He has been hanging around the back door at home. He is absolutely gorgeous. And very friendly. Indy doesn't seem too put-off by him, so I don't know if she'll allow him to adopt me or not. He and Indy look like they could be litter-mates.
I do love my kitties, but it would seem that I'm well on my way to being the crazy old lady with a dozen cats. Oh well, could be worse, I suppose... could be raining.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Geocaching and other delights

Our part of the state has escaped relatively unharmed in the recent winter weather events. We had some snow, and some ice but nothing like the Willamette Valley experienced.
Eric and I went geocaching last weekend, and ended up walking the mile-long snowy trail to the top of Communications Hill at Yaquina Head. We found the cache and logged our visit, then enjoyed the view from the highest point in the vicinity. It was a clear and beautiful afternoon, albeit pretty chilly. We stayed to watch the sunset. Eric shot these beautiful pictures during our jaunt.

Pink mist

I love the variations in color in this shot....

The tiny size of the boat against the enormity of the ocean and land mass...
The lighthouse was just renovated and restored to its original colors... it looks gorgeous.

If you've never heard of, or never experienced geocaching, I highly recommend it. Get yourself an inexpensive GPS unit - I saw one the other day for about $100, and get in on this treasure hunt. It gets you out into the great outdoors, lets you search for hidden treasure, log your visit to the cache, and trade trinkets and/or travel bugs.

Eric and I are planning a trip to Baltimore for an EMS conference in early March, and we're going to spend a few extra days exploring the area including Washington DC. We'll be doing some geocaching there.

In the first cache we found last weekend, I traded for a rock that someone had painted a dog's face on and signed the back. I'm going to gather up some smooth polished round rocks from the seashore, paint ocean scenes on them, sign and date the back and place them in the caches we find. My own version of a traveling gnome, I guess. I like that idea.

I have been asked to provide photographic coverage for the Yaquina Lights fundraising event this weekend. I'm looking forward to that... watch for pics from that event posted here next week.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow Day

I finally got out this morning after a few false starts and captured some images of the beautiful snowy scenes around the studio. Here are a few of my favorites.

This is a detail shot of a metal sculpture/bench created by local aritsan Sam Briseño.

Snow on holly

This is my studio, shot from across the street and up the hill. You can see the crows that steal the cat food I put out for my furry little friends.

I wanted to get over to the beach and do some shooting but I value my life and limb (and my car) too much to risk it. Maybe next time.
Be careful out there!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Feline Friends

I currently have 4 feline friends. I have a long-haired tabby at home, and she is my sole house-pet now. She is about 8½ years old, and I’ve had her since she was about a month old. She came into my life on the third of July, 1998. I was working at a car dealership in Newport at the time, and a customer came onto the lot, in a small pickup truck, drunk, and threw this poor, tiny little kitten out onto the pavement because she had pooped in his truck. So that was the last time he ever saw her. Because of the date, I named her “Independence” and call her Indy.

She played second fiddle to Toby for about 6 years, and when he died, she really started to come out of her shell. She is now ruler of the house, and is playful, affectionate and gorgeous. And she seems very happy. Whenever I am sitting, she is on my lap, and she sleeps on the bed with us, too.

Simon came into my life when I moved the studio to its current location. He belonged to my neighbor and he was left behind when said neighbor ended up in jail. So Simon became my studio cat. He is gorgeous and very sweet, but not very affectionate. He had some large, non-cancerous tumors on the back of his neck that my mother generously paid to have removed almost a year ago. Wednesday I noticed a large open wound on his shoulder, so we took him to the vet at the same time as Gypsy. He is back at the studio now with stitches and a drain tube in place.
I don’t know how he got that cut, but I’m guessing it was either a dog or raccoon… Simon usually spends his nights outside. I share him with the restaurant next door; the employees feed him outside the back door when they open at 5 a.m., and the diners greet him and pet him on their way in, and throw him scraps on their way out. He’s kind of a ‘community cat’. But I consider him my responsibility and he spends most of his days in the studio, sleeping on the ottoman in the window.
Sissy came into my life about a year ago as well. She started appearing in the back yard here at the studio, and it wasn’t long before we made friends and she started coming inside. Now she lives in the studio, and spends her nights inside. She’s still pretty skittish around strangers and loud noises, so I feel protective of her. She is terrified by trucks back-up beeping, and the sound of tape. Whenever I open one of my orders of large prints, she runs for cover because of the sounds of ripping packing tape. Even the small rolls of tape will send her into a tizzy. I’m guessing that at some point in her life, someone tortured her with it. Poor thing. Anyway, she and Simon are both about 5 years old, and were both fixed when they came to live with me at the studio. I’m glad that someone in their pasts cared enough about them to do that for them.

Sissy is extremely affectionate, and loves to get up on the desk, in my face, while I’m trying to work. She’ll lie on my hands while I’m trying to type. She rubs her face on my face and hands. She drools heavily when she’s happy, and it drips all over my desk, my clothing, and her fur. Small price to pay, I think, for the unconditional adoration she gives me. The drooling wouldn’t be nearly as tolerable without her wonderful sweet nature and absolute rapture at being close to me.

Stripe is another ‘community cat’ that hangs around the studio. I think she’s a neutered female, but I’m not sure. I also think she was dropped off here. She is here everyday looking for food, and eats ravenously when I put it down for her. She looks well-fed and healthy. She is getting more and more friendly, and wants to come into the studio in the worst way, but Sissy will not allow it. I let Stripe come in one day, and Sissy went after her, again and again, attacking her mercilessly, until I was able to get Stripe back out the door. I feel bad for Stripe, but I don’t know what to do about it. Sissy obviously will not accept her in the studio, at least not at this point. Maybe eventually. Sissy accepts Simon because he was here first. I’ve thought about taking Stripe home to be a housecat, but I don’t think Indy would appreciate that much at all. She loves being the only cat.

Overall, I am one of those people who prefer the company of animals to most of the people I’ve met. They work their way into my heart and take a firm hold on it. Sometimes I think I must have the word “sucker” stamped on my forehead. I adore them as much as they adore me. I foresee my future as the old crazy lady with a dozen cats. I just hope I don’t become that person for another 30 years or so… but there I’ll be, wearing purple and tending my cats.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


As we change over our annual calendars, it is natural that we humans consider the changes that have come to pass in the old year, and ones we want to make, or foresee coming our way in the new year.

I, of course, am no exception. There have been LOTS of changes in my life in the past year, and I foresee a lot more of them ahead in 2007.

I have decided to take one more day a week off. The studio will be closed on Sundays and Mondays, starting next week. I’ve been neglecting myself and my household for the last year or more, and need to have two days off a week. Period.

I’ve decided to make this blog more about me, and not just about my job and my business. So you’ll see more posts of a personal note here.

Like this one.

I had to put my dog down yesterday. She was over 17 years old, and had spent 16½ of them by my side. She was a wonderful, smart, energetic and enthusiastic little girl, and I loved her dearly. But, at 17 human years, she was at an equivalent of 140 – if you count the first year as 21 human years, like I do. A hundred and forty. I said MANY times as I watched her toddle around, man I don’t want to live to be that old. She had cataracts, so she had limited vision. Her hearing was failing. Her poor old body was just worn out and it was time to let her go in the most gentle, loving way I could. The vet charged me $85 to euthanize my poor little dog, who probably weighed all of about 3 pounds. I guess veterinary compassion only goes so far. Oh well. What’s done is done.

Of course, when we humans lose someone we love, the first thing we do is go through our pictures of them. As Eric pointed out last night, our photographs are our windows into the past. Moments frozen in time. I came up with over two dozen images of my sweet little dog, when she was young and beautiful and vibrant. That’s the little doggie I want to remember.

After she got to be about 15 years old, she didn’t want me to brush her beautiful coat anymore. It hurt her and she let me know by screaming and fighting with me. So I stopped because it felt like I was torturing her. She stopped enjoying her baths, too. She used to love to be bathed and groomed when she was younger. When she got to be an old dog, she also stopped caring where she urinated, and often did it on the carpet in the house. So I set her up with a doghouse outside and got her a heating unit specially made for doghouses to keep her warm at night. We fenced the yard so she wouldn’t wander off anymore like she used to when she was younger. She used to love to go check out the neighborhood, and no amount of calling her would bring her back home before she was good and ready to come back.

I found her in the summer of 1990 when she was about 6 months old. I was working at a grocery store in Waldport, and this pretty little pointy-eared black dog had been circling the store for a couple of days, looking for whoever lost her. When I finally coaxed her close enough to catch her, I took her home and did the normal stuff you do when you find a lost dog. No one claimed her, so I named her Gypsy and took her in to the vet to be spayed. He said she was probably a purebred Pomeranian, and was 6 to 9 months old. She was such a beautiful little girl. She became my constant companion, always going with me wherever I went. She loved to ride in the car, and really loved to go for walks with me. She would just prance; she was so happy and so proud of herself.

She stayed with me through my divorce in 1994, and my move to Depoe Bay. That was my in-between place, I’d left my husband’s home (trailer house) in Waldport, and was looking for a home to purchase. So I spent 15 months in a small house in Depoe Bay. It was the first time I’d ever lived alone, and I had my Gypsy dog by my side, along with my Toby cat, who also stuck by my side for 18 years. That little house had a cast-iron circular staircase to the upper level, and Gypsy never would go up them. I had to carry her upstairs every night so she could sleep on the bed with me and then downstairs again in the mornings to go outside.

Then in 1995, the three of us moved to Toledo and have been here ever since. Now my two furry black-and-white friends are buried side-by-side in the back yard.

It’s so hard to say goodbye to our furry little friends. In her old age, my little Gypsy reminded me very much of my late grandmother. The last time I saw my grandma was at the celebration of her 100th birthday. The posture, the movements and gestures, the failing eyes and ears… when I looked at my sweet old dog, I saw my sweet old grandmother. And I said, ‘man I don’t want to ever get that old.’

Godspeed, my beautiful little friend. I loved you so much.