musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser


August 15, 2009

More cat blogging – Raven

I’ve been meaning to blog about our new family member, Raven. I wanted to wait until I’d uploaded some decent pictures of him, and he’s a bit camera shy. At first he was shy of us, and the camera was just a big scary eye staring at him. He ran every time he saw it for the first couple of weeks. Here he is at last, relaxing. (Click on thumbnails for larger views.)
Raven relaxing (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 8:03 pm PST, 08/15/09

July 20, 2009

Move over piano man

Piano cat wants to play. (Click on photos for larger views.)

Tara 01 Tara 02

Let’s see, this note is … here …

Tara 03

Darn humans with cameras! I’m outta here.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 12:04 pm PST, 07/20/09

June 25, 2009

Which is smarter?

A cat or a dog?

I have never thought dogs are smarter than cats, but according to a study described in The Guardian, Cats outsmarted in psychologist’s test, they are, at least in some ways. I’m not quite convinced, since I don’t fully understand the test myself. Either I need a better description or the dogs in the study are smarter than I am as well. What I found most entertaining about the article was the comments. We will defend our pets to the bitter end! I love both dogs and cats, and I’m not sure why humans feel a need to take sides as dog people or cat people. Frankly, I don’t care which are smarter, cats or dogs. Members of both species seem to know quite a bit about friendship, and have something to teach us humans….

So maybe the question should be: Which are smarter, cats, dogs, or people?

— Barbara @ rudimentary 7:51 pm PST, 06/25/09

May 3, 2009

Office Cat

OfficeCatclick to enlarge

Our home office is in the second bedroom, where we’ve removed the closet doors and added storage shelves. As soon as she was big enough to jump that high, Tara began insisting that one particular spot, on a shelf at about my eye level, was hers. She started pushing things out of the way, and wouldn’t leave it alone. Finally I gave in and cleared a space for her. (The shelf doesn’t really sag, that’s a trick of the lens.)

She’s asleep there right now, so shhh!

Cats always know their place. Humans can only get out of the way.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 5:04 pm PST, 05/03/09

April 20, 2009

Catnip anyone? No?

My strange little cat, Tara, doesn’t like catnip. But she loves valerian root. I never knew until she came along that some cats like that. I saw it mentioned on a humane society site and decided to try it — based on her love of dirty socks, which smell about the same. She goes nuts over it. Valerian root is the one thing she’ll sit up and beg for. Catnip? She reacts to that about the same way some kids react to vegetables. It’s just not for her. But she has learned the sound of someone opening the cabinet and bottle that hold the valerian root. She can be in an entirely different part of the house, but as soon as I reach for that bottle she materializes beside me.

Thanks to Sarah for the post prompt.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 8:13 am PST, 04/20/09

April 13, 2009

I know there’s something good happening out there

I’ve been in a horribly bad mood, mainly due to family troubles of the kind that make me feel helpless and small — the news of the death of my oldest brother, and my dad’s loss of independence due to a stroke. I’ve also had some just silly bad luck at home, little things like stubbing a toe so hard a few days ago that I worried it was broken (it’s still sore), straining my back lifting a bag of cat litter yesterday, frustration over the economic crunch that everyone is feeling, when I really could use a newer more reliable car. Why is it that bad news and events seem to come in these overwhelming groupings that feel as if they’ll never end — or, if that isn’t what’s happening, why is it that my mind seems to make even the small problems feel big, once it starts on a downward spiral?

Today I knew I needed to crawl out of this hole I found myself in. I’ve been avoiding the news, because that usually just makes me feel worse, and worse was definitely not what I needed. I know some people think that’s an unrealistic attitude, but I find the news unrealistic, in its focus on everything bad and very little good except nonsensical news about the personal lives of celebrities — people who would likely just as soon be left alone when it comes to personal matters.

I decided to search for some positive news on the Internet, and I found this story on a blog called Great Pet Net that I thought I should share in case anyone else could use a lift: Jasmine the Mother Theresa Greyhound. Dogs tend to have a healing way about them, all around, in my opinion. But this one is exceptional. She certainly had a distant healing effect on me.

It’s a beautiful spring day here. Flowers are blooming, in spite of the gopher that keeps eating them. (Our gopher loves California poppies and nasturtiums. What does yours like?) The The Hooded Orioles arrived early from Mexico, and one almost flew right into me yesterday, maybe because I was wearing green and blended with the plants. Later I watched three Red-tailed Hawks circle the sky above our house. Clouds sail across the sky today in a stiff, delicious ocean breeze. My cat Tara is always up for a game of chase or a tumble with toys. Someone I care about is playing Bach on the piano in the next room.

Yesterday I spotted a long, sinuous cloud in the western sky that looked like a Japanese dragon. I didn’t get a picture, but if you’re familiar with the animated film, Spirited Away, it looked a lot like Haku in his natural form as a river spirit.

Now that I’ve set my mind back in its more customary direction, at least for the moment, good things are beginning to happen inside me again, too.

Every now and then I find it necessary to keep a gratitude journal, to find at least three things each day that I’m grateful for to write about. I think I’ll take up that practice again for a while.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 4:30 pm PST, 04/13/09

March 27, 2009

Crane flies and a flying cat

We have crane flies like crazy here right now. I’ve always called them mosquito hawks, but apparently they don’t eat mosquitoes (and we’ve already had a few of those).

Tara’s pretty good at catching bugs. She loves to chase the crane flies that get into the house. I’m not sure which is worse, though, pesky crane flies, or a flying cat. She’ll leap, climb, or fly wherever in the house she needs to go in order to catch one. She got so busy hunting them a few nights ago that she didn’t even eat the chicken I gave her. They must be very tasty bugs.

Fortunately I stowed most of our breakables away when she was smaller, because now she’s a force to be reckoned with when she goes flying through the house after a bug. It’s almost like having a monkey on the premises. An eight-pound fur ball flying at you is no laughing matter. She proved that a few days ago when she knocked over my office chair. I wasn’t in it, I just came running when I heard the crash from the other room, and found the chair lying on its back on the floor with one of its adjustment knobs broken off. I think it had something to do with a running, flying leap into it from front to back. A few days later she tried to knock me over, seated in the chair, with an unbelievably football-like tackle for one so small. No claws were used, it was all in fun, of course, but what a cat. I think her Siamese is showing.

Mice beware. Do not enter here.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 11:57 am PST, 03/27/09

November 27, 2008

Thankful for rain, I think

Yet another weather blog. That seems to be all I have to write about recently, for which I apologize.

There’s an old saying about rain in California, that it doesn’t rain but it pours. Last night and this morning are a perfect example of that, here in my vicinity, and a day or two earlier with the evacuations of burned areas north of here for fear of mudslides.

After Election Day — the results of which pleased me extremely on the presidential front — we settled into another hot, dry spell with high temperatures in the 90s for too many days to count. I’m trying to put them out of my mind now, but I think this was the first year I ever used the air conditioner here as late as the third week of November. October is supposed to begin our rainy season.

Now the rain. No, now the RAIN. Last night it was so loud it woke me three different times, and once scared the cat so she wailed something about whether the sky might be falling and needed to be reassured. I gave her a hug. (I needed a little reassurance myself.) It wasn’t windy. The noise was just rain. Lots of it.

This morning it’s still raining, but it’s a less frenzied kind of rain. There seems to be less rush to dump all the moisture in the sky on us at once. My estimate is that we might have gotten two inches last night. But I don’t have a rain gauge, so I’ll have to verify that. It sounded like two inches!

And yes, I meant what I said in that last post. Now Tara is nearly 8 months old (Saturday the 29th), and this is her second rain. It’s her first really big rain, since that Election Day rain turned out to be merely a wimpy drizzle after all. And now our fire season is officially over — until the next long dry spell, which hopefully won’t begin until July. The reservoirs are low, so we could use quite a lot of rain this year in Southern California, as well as a nice thick snow pack in the Sierras. Besides, our amazing, intrepid firefighters need a vacation.

In spite of this being a much bigger rain than I hoped for, I’m grateful. The sun is peeking out between clouds now, and I’m wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wherever you are and whoever you’re with, have a wonderful day!

— Barbara @ rudimentary 11:06 am PST, 11/27/08

October 16, 2008

Dry weather musings

It’s dry here, desert dry, with humidity in the teens. When it’s hot and dry like this, black widow spiders come out to catch droplets of water from the hose, as the sprinkles shift strands of their webs in the rock wall in the lower back yard.

The other night, a few miles away, people were evacuated because of a brush fire threatening homes, an untimely reminder of last October and our four-day evacuation. I slept lightly, when I slept at all that night, worried we’d get a reverse 911 call, should the Santa Ana winds shift. Now that fire is well contained, and the sky is blue. Yesterday some high, wispy clouds stretched thin feathers across it, so high up we didn’t feel any moisture from them. At least they were pretty to look at.

The cat keeps getting charged up with static electricity when she plays. Then she touches me, gets a shock, and thinks I’m being unreasonable. But she’s a forgiving soul. As soon as the air conditioner chills her, she decides some lap time might be in order. Tara’s coat, which has fluffed out again after a few months in which we thought she’d grow up to be a shorter haired cat, now suffers from static cling, crackling close to her body as I stroke it. Her glorious, bushy tail picks up everything. It’s better than a feather duster.

Last night she cozied up to Barack Obama during the debate. I had the little desktop TV on, and she sat right in front of him, blocking my view, gently patting his face now and then. She completely ignored John McCain. I think Tara has cast her vote.

I’m still inner focused and in reading mode, sometimes online, sometimes in books. As soon as I post this, I’m off to read some more. Someone let me know when autumn starts for real around here. In my experience that’s around Halloween, so maybe my “autumn’s here” notice will be a knock on the door by little goblins.

I would be envious of people like Marion who are expecting snow soon, if I didn’t realize how many months of it she’s in for, away up there in Canada. Extreme weather for months and months — or just weather that’s too extreme, period — isn’t fun, at either end of the spectrum. I wish us all longer, gentler autumns and longer, gentler springs.

Kitten pictures follow. (Click on thumbnails to view larger images.)

The first two are from 3 months ago, when Tara was 3-1/2 months old and Indi was still with us — um, training her? Apparently they didn’t find anything good in the trash that time. In the second one, that was my clothing Miss Bigfoot was digging her claws into with the look on her face that said, “Gotcha!” She’s usually gentle with her claws when playing now, though she has yet to completely understand about not biting. Maybe when she’s finished teething in another month and a half. She’s gradually getting gentler altogether when we play, because she knows if she gets too rough, playtime ends, and she would prefer that it never, ever end.


Anything good in there?
Gotcha!

The next two are from yesterday, at 6-1/2 months. I caught Tara in a quiet moment lounging on an office chair that she’s not really supposed to be on, but I’m just happy if she doesn’t claw it. The first shows a glimpse of her fluffy tail.

Bushy tail What again with the camera?

She’s starting to settle down, except for her desire to climb every mountain, which involves knocking things off high shelves. I have most of my breakables put away safely now, so if she doesn’t kill herself dragging a heavy, blunt object onto her own head, we’re all safe.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 3:22 pm PST, 10/16/08

September 13, 2008

Shelob is dead, but Ike rages on

Yesterday I killed the largest black widow spider I’ve ever seen. She was beautiful, but … she had to go.

Sorry to write such a Halloweenish blog so early. But the weather has been cool and cloudy here the past three days, making it possible for me to do a little gardening again, which makes me happy. I’m afraid in the hottest weeks of summer I don’t venture out much (or blog much, apparently), except to throw a little water on things to keep them from dying. Unfortunately weeds don’t seem to need much water to keep them from dying.

I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people with a perfectly manicured and landscaped yard. But maybe this suits my personality better — you know, finding huge creepy spiders, growing a forest of weeds as prolifically as anything else, trying to figure out what to do with monster sized zucchini after zucchini, wishing a certain gopher would move elsewhere and that the neighborhood outdoor cats would stop killing my lizards and pooping in my flower bed. Story of my life. But it makes for more drama, perhaps, than a perfect yard.

Tara is growing up fast. She got spayed last week, which set her play time back some, a setback which had to be forced on her because she can’t seem to sit still for more than five minutes. People are such wusses after surgery, compared to pets. It makes one wonder why we’re the dominant species on the planet.

Now Tara’s making up for lost time!

My thoughts and prayers go out to those in Texas, where Hurricane Ike seems to be acting up much worse than my little terror of a kitten could dream of doing. I hope Ike doesn’t give her any fresh ideas.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 10:38 am PST, 09/13/08


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