I looked after Homer's cats while he was in San Diego over the past few days. Forrest, who moved in Ye Olde Casita after my February return to Sydney, has also been out of town. His cat, Shirley, needed some TLC, so I looked in on her, too. Five cats. That's a lot of petting, not to mention poo to scoop. I don't mind, however. They're sweet cats.
Homer and his cats (minus Snowball), circa 2007
I did have a scare yesterday. Snowball the Kitten decided to wander outside after Puff had craftily pried open the door, after I only thought I had closed it tightly behind me upon going to visit Shirley in the Casita. So I returned to Homer's backyard and found Puff standing at the door and Snowball under a tree. Snowball, just this side of feral, was nervously sniffing around, eating grass and crying. The big sook. I tried to coax him back inside, but he wouldn't have anything to do with me and wouldn't let me get near him, despite the pleading, scolding and food handouts. The clincher was when he squeezed into the crawlspace under the house. At that point, I gave up. I've had many cats before, and when one has got out before, they always come back that evening. They know where home is. And food.
So I got to tell Homer when I picked him up from the airport that the newest addition to his fold had temporarily flown the coop. No, not Henny-Penny, but Snowball. Of course, I felt terrible, and I tried to palliate his worry by telling him that cats come back. Snowball didn't look like he was going anywhere. He just wanted to relive some of his vanishing youth in the wild for a few hours.
About an hour later, Homer called to tell me that Snowball was safely back in the house. I hope I'm not off the Holiday Party list.
Homer's hen, Henny-Penny, was a good girl while he was away. She laid an egg nearly every morning. They are beautiful, the color of fairy tales. Unfortunately, Snowball the Kitten rolled one of them off the kitchen table. Not so pretty anymore.
Yesterday, I planted the cactus we had bought over the weekend. Zane has been wanting a big cactus bowl, so he, Mark and I headed to a very cool local nursery, where we all chose a few succulents we liked. Last night, while he was taking a break from some Pre-Algebra homework that was kicking his butt, Zane designed the arrangement, and I transplanted them to the bowl. I enjoy these projects with Zane. It's nice to do something creative and non-Wii.
By the way, Zane started his own blog a couple of weeks ago. Why not stop by and encourage him to write more?
A few days ago, a piece of mail arrived informing me that I had been pegged by a speed camera while driving a a car I had rented in December. It wasn't the violation notice itself, but an invoice for the $30 admin fee charged by the rental car agency. The letter gave only the time and date of the offense. Odd, I thought, when I realized I was in a rehearsal at the time/date listed. But then I remembered Mark had dropped me off and used the car to do some shopping while I was jamming on some holiday tunes. I duly paid the $30 fee and informed Mark that it seems he got caught by a speed camera. I didn't like being the bearer of expensive news, but I have to admit that a little part of me did a happy dance that it wasn't me. (I had just been pegged in October.) I told him that I would let him know when I get the actual violation notice in the mail.
It arrived yesterday. And there are problems.
The speed camera image, captured at night, is unfocused and unclear. Having said that, the person the photo is neither Mark nor I. The rear image of the car is also hard to make out. One number on the license plate is particularly difficult to see clearly.
The clincher, however, is that the camera is located on a highway in Phoenix. How I was able to receive a speeding ticket at a location nearly a hundred miles from where I really was at the time is a mystery.
I'll call tomorrow. I hope this isn't a long, protracted battle.
In other news, Martha got a haircut today. I'll miss the little beast.
Martha likes her new digs. Yesterday, we took her over Rob's place, which is where she'll hang her collar for about 4.5 months. Rob has three dogs. Charlie and Sassy are fairly big, and Nina is a formerly abandoned Shih-Tsu mix that Rob initially fostered back to health and then adopted into his household.
People who abuse and abandon animals should be punched in the neck. And face. Nina was near death when they found her in Aug of last year. Ticks covered her body, even working their way into her right eye, destroying it. She was sick with infection and tick fever.
Rob, who volunteers at the Humane Society and has seen some dire cases, was surprised they even attempted the thousands of dollars of treatment it took to bring her back. But they did, and look at her now.
Martha was smitten with Charly. He is the alpha male of the bunch, but he didn't seem to mind an ankle-biter for a couple of hours. He's a friendly, well-behaved dog. And he'll also let Martha know when he has had enough. It will be good for her to have that kind of dog to learn from. Martha will learn from Sassy & Nina, too, but I think they're a little less thrilled by it all.
But she's a puppy. And we were all puppies at one point.
To Martha, everything is new and immediate. It is exploration and learning, cleverly disguised by Mother Nature's Department of Instinct and Behavior Development, as a playful game. Oh, they're crafty bureaucrats, with their destroy-the-houseshoe and maybe-I-can-just-eat-my-poo tricks.
I can't get angry with her. I can be a stern teacher, but I don't have to be overly annoyed. Of course, puppies will push the boundaries. They learn from it. I don't think there's any species of our kingdom that knows the difference between right and wrong from birth.
Take Zane, for example. As he has grown and matured over the past 5+ years, I have watched and guided. Admittedly, I used to get annoyed with him as he learned yes from no, need from want. It took a while for my Let-Him-Learn epiphany to occur, something which made me realize my annoyance was unnecessary and misguided.
What I was really angry about was that my carefully ordered notion of parenting and partnership was being tampered with, and I hadn't put together a Plan B. Unfortunately, Zane's mum got caught by the gravity of the chaos.
Lord, the apologies. All heartfelt, and all very necessary.
Martha and I are feeling restless today. And I'm vaguely despondent to boot.
I'm probably just tired. A lot has happened over the past year..in a number of arenas. We have a terrific new President and First Family. I have hopped continents a few times, edging forward in life and reconnecting with friends and family. I made some decisions regarding my career (or lack thereof). Our family has grown by one. I worked hard at the gym to boost my health, fitness and image. I sang. I loved.
Now I need to get motivated again. Brian has put together his new Mondo Beyondo list already. I need to pull my finger out.
Maybe this mood calls for some facial hair reconfiguration. Any suggestions?
PS -- Homer's a star. He made it on Cute With Chrisagain, this time with Henny. I'm nowhere near as tall or handsome as Homer, but maybe I'll snap some pics with Martha and send them in. She is definitely cuter than Ms Hen. And it is all about the animals, after all.
Mark's cousin bought our Liberty (Legacy to you Americans). While I've never been very attached to a car, I think I will miss this one. Mark always cringed when I called it my first "family car". But it served this family very well for a few years.
And it was damn sporty, as seen in this speed camera image, snapped of me just before my most recent return to Tucson. ($81 and some points against my record. Nice birthday present.)
Okay, I'm man enough to admit it. I covet Zane's iPod Touch. Now that I have seen it up close (and used it quite a lot...much to Zane's quiet annoyance), I want one. I'm actually thinking more about the iPhone, though. It does everything the iTouch does, and more.
I do have to replace the mobile phone I dropped in the loo last year.
It would be nice to have one machine that does everything.
I am an internets junkie.
I am not too old for games. They stave off dementia, after all.
I have an older phone that works fine.
Do I really have to be cutting edge?
It's probably a not good idea to be constantly connected.
I don't like it when people roll their eyes.
I'll be (even more) broke.
I'll be mistaken for a material girl.
Kicked out of the Witness Protection Program.
Nicknamed "Psycho Sandy".
I took Martha to PetSmart yesterday. She's like Roger...loves her some road trips.
Hooray! I found someone to take care of her for the 4 months I'll be back in Sydney. I'm grateful to know some really cool people.
Blueberries are cheap as chips right now. I bought heaps yesterday and just made blueberry turnovers. That's not good. Sydney Mardi Gras in less than two months, and I'm fat from the holidays. Gold's Gym, here I come.
Martha in full-swing of her juvenile naughtiness*;
A hen in the yard~;
A handsome latino handyman doing some work next door#;
The return of a warm winter to Tucson@;
* While Homer was taking care of her, she tormented his cats. This morning she peed on my bed. Typical puppy stuff.
~ Miss Hen appeared in Homer's yard one afternoon a few days ago, and she's here to stay. She will have a name soon. Homer has a ballot on his blog. Quick, go vote!
# Nothing much to say on this one, except that it's cool to have something to see besides the worn fence and leafless trees as I look out the work window.
@ Sorry, Mark and Zane. Whatever controls the weather, feeling particularly cruel, must have known you were leaving.
What is it about puppies and slippers? I hear Martha chewing on mine behind me. I think she has grown a bit over the past week. She seems bigger. And she's nearly too big for the winter outerwear we bought for her in Palm Springs.
Martha sulked a bit after I put the jacket on her.
After some convincing with a chew toy, she finally lightened up and we went outside.