Thursday, May 31, 2007

Carrie Rodriquez

My friend T and I went to see Carrie Rodriquez perform last night. Rodriquez is a new artist whose music is sorta bluegrass/alt country/bluesy.

She performed at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. I had never seen a show there before. It's kind of a unique place to see live music- there are sofas and chairs and tables to sit and watch and listen. All in all a fine evening.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Cat Days of Summer

It's been warm and humid outside so my upper level bedroom has been kinda stuffy. That means the past two nights Diego-san has been the only one to spend most of the evening upstairs with me.

That's his time to be combed, an activity he craves more and more. I think he really enjoys the alone time where most of my attention is devoted to him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day

I may have overstayed my welcome with the three day Memorial Day weekend.

I was taking a late morning nap with Theo on my chest. I think I may have been half asleep and half awake and I think something on the TV made me jump involuntarily. Theo immediately sprung up and started hissing at me. I had never heard him hiss before.

Then I was eating my lunch in the living room. My dish was on the coffee table and Thompson kept edging along on top of the table. I kept sternly warning him to stay away from my food and when he got too close I gave him a little nudge to get him off the coffee table. I must have nudged him a little too hard because he lost his balance and landed with a thud on the floor on his side. I felt awful the rest of the day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tale of the Tails

Who knows what a cat's tail is all about?

Diego-san has the most impressive tail I've ever seen on a cat. It's long and fluffy and he seems to know that, puffing it out whenever he prances about. Theo's tail can best be described as average. It't just a part of who he is.

Thompson's tail seems smaller than his solid frame would suggest. And as serious as he can be, Thompson is just about the only tail chaser in this house. He'll sometimes lie in the living room cat tree and spin in circles trying to catch a part of himself but like most of us, he's inherently unsuccessful. But I doubt he'll ever give up because that's just who he is.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


For all the lack of respect Theo seems to get from the other two boyz and my observations that he might not be the brightest bulb on the tree, I must say his positive spirit is always appreciated around these parts.

He's such a nice lil fella. And while one can look at his relentless nature as pesky another could look at it as consistent and reliable. Unlike some of his roommates he doesn't get down, mope around or appear to be moody at all. That's why he's been so welcome in these parts.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Don't Touch Me

Sometimes the most amusing thing about my entire day is something Theo and Thompson do in anticipation of the boyz mealtimes. As I'm putting their food into their dishes Theo wanders between Diego, Thompson and me rubbing up against each of us. Thompson isn't too fond of Theo's friendliness so whenever Theo tries to rub up against him, Thompson will stand on his two back legs and try to avoid all contact. Theo doesn't seem to notice. Thompson of course remains focused on the status of the food preparation so his avoiding techniques almost seem like instinct rather than a deliberate snub.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The truth about cat and dog food
By Kirsten Weir

May. 24, 2007 | Dick Van Patten eats dog food. At least, that's what the former "Eight Is Enough" actor will have you believe in publicity stunts for Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, the company to which he hitched his falling star back in 1989. A tour of the company's Web site features photos of Van Patten, smiling stiffly alongside such celebrity notables as former 'N Sync singer Lance Bass and ex-"Baywatch" actress Traci Bingham, dipping their spoons into colorful cans of Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs!

Call me crazy but it's going to take a lot more than an endorsement from Hollywood's B-list to convince me to dig into a can of dog chow, and I suspect I'm not alone in that sentiment. In fact, given recent events, more than a few pet owners are wondering whether we should even be feeding pet food to our pets.

The mass media has certainly been on a pet food diet in the past few months, thanks to the reporting frenzy surrounding Menu Foods' recall, beginning in March, of more than 100 brands of pet food. The tainted products, which allegedly killed or sickened thousands of dogs and cats, ranged from cheap Wal-Mart store brand Ol' Roy to high-end labels such as Iams and Eukanuba.

This isn't the first big pet food recall to come down in recent years. In December 2005, more than 100 dogs died of liver failure after eating food manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. The products contained corn tainted with aflatoxin, a toxin released by a naturally occurring crop fungus. Aflatoxin should have been detected at any number of testing points along the way from cornfield to finished product, says Donald Smith, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. "For some reason, something didn't happen in the testing process," he notes.

Unlike the aflatoxin outbreak, the latest recall involved chemicals that no one knew to look for. The products produced by Menu Foods contained wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, a flame retardant and component of some plastics. Earlier this month, government officials reported evidence that the foods may also have contained cyanuric acid, a chemical often found in swimming pools. The chemicals apparently triggered kidney failure in dogs and cats that ate the tainted foods.

The Chinese companies that produced the wheat and rice proteins allegedly spiked the products with chemicals in an attempt to dupe buyers; high in nitrogen, the chemicals made the products appear to contain more protein than they actually did. It's safe to say that American pet food manufacturers didn't intend for melamine to wind up as an additive in their kibble. "The problem was a toxin," says Tony Buffington, a professor of veterinary clinical sciences at the Ohio State University. "If you put arsenic in someone's tea, it's not the tea's fault."

Maybe not, but the recalls have served to highlight vulnerabilities in the manufacturing of processed foods -- both pet and human foods. Weaknesses in pet food regulation may have contributed to the recalls, says Smith. Or, he says, it may have been a matter of luck that this time, the melamine ended up in the dog's bowl and not your own. "This has been a canary in the mine," he says. "It's a wake-up call."

Pet owners like Melissa Hull, a small-business owner in southern Maine, have certainly taken notice. Hull admits she and her husband "were definitely aware of potential scary things" in their cat Smokey's commercial pet food, even before the recall. But the incident drew new attention to the fact that so many pet food ingredients originated on the opposite side of the globe, in countries like China that "have no FDA," she says. "It definitely opened our eyes to just how poor the quality is."

Earlier this month, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut introduced legislation to upgrade the country's food safety system, both for humans and their pets. Among other things, the legislation would give the FDA authority to order mandatory food recalls and would establish uniform federal standards for pet food. As it stands now, pet food falls into something of a regulatory gray area.

Most states follow pet food guidelines published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. These regulations touch on everything from labeling to contaminant testing to nutritional requirements. But the guidelines are only suggestions, and AAFCO itself has no regulatory authority. "Most of the routine day-to-day pet food regulation is performed by the states," explains AAFCO Pet Food Committee chairman David Syverson, and state laws and enforcement programs vary. At the federal level, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine requires that animal feed be "pure and wholesome" and "safe to eat," but there's currently no requirement that pet foods have FDA approval before they hit store shelves.

Another weakness, Smith points out, is the lack of a federal agency to monitor outbreaks of illness or disease in pets. The Center for Veterinary Medicine has received thousands of complaints from pet owners who believe their dogs and cats were poisoned by melamine. But tracking disease, Smith says, isn't part of the agency's mandate. Even if it were, it simply doesn't have the budget to do it. "We don't have an equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control in companion animals," he says.

While pets may not have their own CDC, they do have a place in our hearts. Sixty-three percent of U.S. households own cats or dogs, and people drop more than $15 billion each year on pet food. They're a loyal bunch, says Duane Ekedahl, president of the Pet Food Institute, a lobbying group that represents the manufacturers of 98 percent of the dog and cat food produced in the United States. According to Ekedahl, Pet Food Institute surveys found that consumers are more loyal to their pet food brand than to any other products in the supermarket, with the notable exception of soda.

So what, exactly, is in those cans and bags we pet owners buy so loyally, month after month? "Protein is really the most important ingredient in the nutrition of a carnivore," says Jean Hofve, a Denver veterinarian and former official liaison to AAFCO. But not all protein is created equal, and therein lies the problem.

Consider that checkerboard classic, Purina Dog Chow. Ingredient No. 1 is ground corn, followed by poultry byproduct meal, animal fat and corn gluten. Purina Cat Chow is similar, with poultry byproduct, corn meal and corn gluten taking the top three spots on the ingredient list. Real meats like chicken, beef or lamb are nowhere to be found. "There aren't enough high-quality ingredients to make all the pet food sold in this country," Hofve says. "Somebody is using the crap."

Traditionally, much of the protein in pet food comes from animal byproducts. The pet food industry nicely parallels the human agricultural industry, providing a convenient way for food producers to use up the spleens and bones and chicken feet that American consumers don't have the palate for. Even diseased and dying animals are allowed in pet food, as long as they're processed in such a way to destroy any microorganisms, Syverson says. All of those myriad pieces and parts end up as appetizing ingredients like "poultry byproduct meal," "meat-and-bone meal," and "animal digests."

Pet food is also a handy way for meat processors to get rid of brains and spines from cows and sheep -- the parts with a high risk of housing prions, the rogue proteins that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. While such parts are banned from human foods and from animal feed intended for cows and other ruminants, they're A-OK for the family pet. No dog has ever been diagnosed with a mad cow-like disease, but as many as 90 cats in the U.K. are known to have contracted feline spongiform encephalopathy. Most of those cats are thought to have snacked directly on raw scraps from butchers, and according to Syverson, the FDA considers the threat to American cats "minimal."

The good news for pets and owners is that animal byproducts in pet food may not be as gruesome as feared. For years the pet food industry has been, well, dogged by persistent rumors that meat from horses and from euthanized cats and dogs finds its way into pet food. "They do not use horse meat," Ekedahl says, and "as a condition of membership, [Pet Food Institute members] affirm that none of their rendered material will contain cats and dogs. The public just wouldn't stand for it."

So we're probably not feeding cats and dogs to our cats and dogs. Of course, a quick glance at the ingredient lists of that Dog Chow (and most other major brands) reveals that much of the protein doesn't come from animals at all. "Glutens and soybeans and rice protein concentrate -- those are cheap substitutes for real meat," Hofve says. "Protein is the most expensive ingredient, and it's the one that's going to get shortchanged."

Hofve takes issue with grain-based pet foods for nutritional reasons. But she also notes that, whether it's a coincidence or not, most of the major pet food recalls have been associated not with the poor-quality meat byproducts used in pet food, but with grains.

In the case of melamine, the contaminated grain products slipped across the border undetected. The 2005 aflatoxin contamination, on the other hand, involved corn grown on American soil during an unusually wet and fungus-prone summer. According to Ekedahl, most of the meats and grains used in pet foods are produced in the U.S. But "there are some ingredients that come in from overseas, because that's where they're available," he says.

Certain vitamins and additives are generally imported. The amino acid taurine, for example, is almost exclusively produced in China. Taurine is an essential additive for cats; they must get the amino acid from their diet or risk suffering blindness and heart damage. Other ingredients, particularly vegetable proteins, are also frequently imported. "Take wheat gluten -- that's not an inexpensive ingredient," says Ekedahl. "The primary availability of wheat gluten is in China, and we get a very fine product from China."

But Cornell's Smith points out that availability and price go hand in hand. In fact, he says, U.S. producers of wheat gluten "have not been working at full capacity because they've been outbid by foreign suppliers." Despite the recent scandal, Ekedahl says most pet food manufacturers plan to continue doing business with those foreign companies. "For the most part, they have great confidence and long-term relationships with their suppliers," he says.

Pet food manufacturers have been running scared since the recent recall. A spokesman for Natural Balance Pet Foods said the company, besieged by calls, had stopped speaking to the media. Repeated phone calls to other major manufacturers, including Purina, Procter & Gamble (the makers of Iams), Hill's Pet Nutrition and Menu Foods were not returned.

To be fair, even those critical of the major pet food manufacturers, such as Hofve, admit the melamine contamination was something of a fluke. No one tested for it because no one expected it to ever turn up in food products. Most American pet food manufacturers generally "do a pretty good job of testing," she says. Human foods are recalled much more frequently than are pet foods, she notes. "When I started looking at pet food, I became really afraid about what was going into pet food, but I was even more afraid about what goes into human foods," she says.

While pet food may not be uniquely vulnerable to contaminants, however, cats and dogs themselves may be more sensitive to them. Our pets are usually a lot smaller than we are, and they eat the same thing day after day. "Because we eat a lot of different foods, toxins that come in are diluted," Hofve says. "If we ate one thing all the time like most pets do, we'd be in a lot more trouble. Variety really is the spice of life, and our pets should eat variety too."

Hofve practices both traditional and holistic veterinary medicine for cats. She's convinced that the ingredients in most commercial pet foods are harming our animals, contributing to conditions such as diabetes and obesity. "The amount of carbohydrates and the quality of the protein [in most commercial diets] are damaging to health over time," she says. "Our pets are carnivores."

AAFCO's Syverson acknowledges that proteins aren't entirely interchangeable. Lamb and wheat gluten contain different sets of amino acids. But along with the glutens and the bone meals, commercial pet foods contain additives (such as the taurine imported from China) to ensure that they are "complete and balanced," Syverson says. That's good enough for him. The Syverson family dog lived to age 18 on an inexpensive diet of grain-and-beef-byproduct kibble.

Buffington, the Ohio State veterinarian, also believes that most pet food is nutritionally complete. "Many people are concerned about ingredients. I think those concerns are misplaced," he says. He suspects that some dogs and cats, like some humans, may have genetic predispositions to certain diseases. In pets as in humans, those diseases may be "unmasked" by something in the environment or the diet. But American pets being fed sufficient quantities of commercial pet food are hardly malnourished, he says. "From a nutritional point of view, deficiencies are nonexistent [in pets] in North America."

With disagreement even among vets, it's no wonder many consumers resign themselves to buying the same old bags of pet foods time and again. A trip down a supermarket's pet food aisle is a lot like a trip down the cereal aisle -- dozens of choices, Technicolor packaging, and big, bold marketing claims. You can find pet foods that minimize hairballs, keep your cat's urinary tract squeaky clean, or protect your pooch with vitamin-packed spinach and beets.

It goes without saying that Rover and Tiger aren't selecting their own food. Health-conscious humans stocking up on blueberries and pomegranates for their antioxidant punch naturally want to do good by their furry family members. Yet any given ingredient -- carrots, for example -- only needs to make up 3 percent of the pet food's total weight for the phrase "with carrots!" to appear in colorful block letters on the front of the bag.

"Many companies will put a token amount of vegetables in to have a label presence," says Peter Atkins, president and co-founder of Natura Pet Products, one of a growing number of small "holistic" pet food producers. "Does it do anything for the dog or cat? The answer is no."

While ingredients like antioxidants probably are beneficial in high enough quantities, "most haven't been fed in trials to understand what effects they have," says Quinton Rogers, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of California at Davis, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. "There is so much faddism in human food as well as pet food," Rogers says. And despite the bevy of health claims listed on pet food labels, only two FDA standards for pet foods actually exist: growth formulas for puppies and kittens, and maintenance formulas for adults. "Everything else is fluff and marketing," Hofve notes.

Don't tell that to Natural Balance's Dick Van Patten or to Natura Pet Products' Peter Atkins, who whips out an analogy of his own to describe the difference between average pet food and small niche brands like his. "It's like buying a Hyundai or buying a Mercedes," Atkins says. "You can get basic nutrition or you can get top-of-the-line holistic nutritional support."

For pet owners who want nothing but the best and have money to burn, top-of-the-line nutritional support may be out there. But let's face it. The average American doesn't have a great record of questioning the ingredients in his own food (Olestra, anyone?), let alone those in his pet's.

A wild cat might not eat oats and wild dogs may not crave corn, but after thousands of years of domestication, our pets aren't truly wild. A feral cat might subsist on birds or chipmunks, but it probably won't sleep on your feet or live to age 20. "There have been a lot of cats and dogs raised on various pet foods their whole lives, without any observable problems," Rogers notes.

That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. McDonald's now serves salads, after all, and the $15 billion pet food industry, too, may have to change if customers demand it. Although the Menu Foods scandal is only the latest in a line of recalls, its size and scope have placed pet foods on the public's radar screen. "This is a catharsis for the industry," Atkins predicts. "At the end of the day I think it will be for the better; we'll take a real strong look at where ingredients originate and make sure companies are vetted and ingredients checked very thoroughly."

Hofve hopes the latest recall will force change, but she's skeptical that the government will put its money where our mouths are. The entire annual budget of the FDA is around $2 billion; only a fraction of that is spent on inspecting the foods eaten by people and their pets. Food safety hasn't been a priority for the feds, Hofve says, yet the recent outbreak of toxins in pet food "is nature's way of saying: Pay attention."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Examples

Another refrigerator and Diego's high IQ example:

I've had the refrigerator for only a month or so but Diego has already figured out the exact spot he can sit so his face isn't hit by the swinging open of the door while at the same time having the optimum spot to see all the treasures that can be found in the refrigerator. Theo on the other hand sits and wanders in the path of the door so if I were not to open it slowly he'd get whacked in the head. Thompson just stays by his dinner dish whenever I go in the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where is Everybody?

Theo spent much of the weekend harrassing the other boyz. He was constantly chasing Diego-san everywhere. He spent a lot of time wrestling Thompson until Thompson would invariably hiss at him.

It makes me wonder sometimes if we are exciting enough for Theo. I remember when I first visited him at his foster house- there were seven other cats there. They seemed to roam the place in packs. Theo, of course, was the only one who came to greet me at the door. I therefore kinda wonder if he doesn't spend much of his day looking around for all the missing cats- and all the excitement that must accompany that amount of feline population. Not that Thompson and Diego are THAT boring.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Rough Life

Quiet Sunday with the boyz. The most entertaining thing was watching Thompson follow the sun around the house.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


The refrigerator I used to have came with the house when I bought it. Given its bulk and style I wouldn't be surprised if it was the only refrigerator the house had ever seen. My house was built in 1951.

I moved into my house in 1996. Since that time I never once defrosted the freezer. I always figured it would be a messy chore to let all the ice melt. I also didn't want to tempt my roommate at the time, Mr. Max, with a flood of water to romp in. The freezer was so frosted there was about five inches of room to put anything.

So one of the things I am thoroughly enjoying about Diego's and my "new" refrigerator is that I now have room for an ice cube tray. I have been quite refreshed with having beverages with ice cubes. What a treat!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Attention, Please

The boyz have been craving attention recently. That probably relates to my schedule causing me to be away from home a lot and the only appearance I make is when I plop myself into bed at night.

Theo wants to play. Diego wants to be combed. Thompson wants a face rub. I've given up some sleep to be able to meet these needs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Try

Theo doesn't like it when he doesn't have access to me. In other words if I close a door behind me he sits outside the door mewing away.

The only door I always keep closed in my house is my office door- that's where I keep the stuff I don't want the boyz getting at- stuff they can break or stuff that is too valuable to tempt them with.

On the other side of the hallway from the office is a bathroom. Yesterday I was in the bathroom and I closed the door behind me. I could hear Theo in the hallway meowing away. When I finally opened the door I saw him sitting at the wrong door- the office door- apparently thinking I was in there.

He's the sweetest cat in the world but sometimes I'm not sure he came equipped with all the famous cat instincts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hot Enuf For Ya?

It got up close to 90 degrees the past few days so the boyz have been lying around with their best "would u stop being so cheap and turn on the blippin air conditioner already" looks on their faces.

Of course it isn't just a financial decision for me. Turning on the air means closing the windows and then I'd have to deal with the "why won't you let us get fresh air once in awhile" looks.

A fellow just can't win. Fortunately it is much cooler today. Feels like May.

Monday, May 14, 2007

High IQ

Diego-san continues to impress me as the smartest cat I've ever known. He seems keenly aware of everything going on around him and his curiosity is almost always satisfied by the knowledge he gains.

I swear he even understands every word I mutter, even when I'm yammering away about nothing in particular. The latest example? The morning race I conduct with the boyz where they are to wait for me at the top of the stairs as I'm getting ready in the morning. As soon as I start to head downstairs they too can head downstairs to be fed their breakfast. First one down gets lavish praise as the winner. If they leave before I start to head downstairs they are automatically disqualified.

I made these rules up along the way. Thompson always waits for me so in a way the game was tailored to honor his patience with me. Diego used to almost always wait for me too but there was a period he took off downstairs long before I was ready. So one morning I explained what he was doing wrong to be disqualified and almost every morning since he has played by the rules.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

I rode my scooter over to the cemetary in the morning to visit my Mom. I can't believe it's been nearly eight years... No doubt Mom would have loved the boyz (and they her) and she'd probably have a soft spot in her heart (as I must admit I do) for Thompson in particular.

I read once that cats see the person who feeds them as their mother since providing food is one of the major duties of a mother cat. I think Theo picked up on this as he was extra special to me today. He took a nap with me and after he was given his dinner he hopped up on my lap and gave me extra attention. What a sweet lil fella.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


A few years back when it still was just a two cat house, I saw an ad in a catalog for a cat bunk bed. I thought it would be perfect for Thompson and Diego-san so I ordered it.

When it arrived it was much smaller then I thought it would be. The boyz didn't seem too impressed and it has pretty much been unused as intended (it's underneath a window so the boyz use it to sit on while looking out the window). Today I went upstairs and saw Thompson using the bed as a bed. It's taken a few years but maybe I'll still get my money's worth...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Opening Day

We won our first softball game of the season and I had a decent game. I actually hit a home run which was probably my first in three or four years. I had some trouble in the field butchering two ground balls but I made all the other plays and we won (something like 13 to 2- I stopped keeping track). My biggest worry- pulling a leg muscle- didn't happen although my legs felt pretty tight all game. I still quite enjoy playing softball and when I'm out in the field I still feel like the kid who used to spend every day all summer long playing whiffle ball with my brother in our backyard. Those were my Theo-like days and they seem a long long time ago.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Clean Up Time

Finally had time to do a little yard cleanup last night. I cleaned up the flower garden upfront, cutting the dead portions of my annuals off and adding some mulch.

The boyz of course were quite attentive, watching each and every move I made. I even heard Diego's high pitch squeal letting me know he wanted to come out and help.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Twins Win

I went to the Twins game last night. It was a very good game- they scored three runs in the eighth inning to tie the game and then got a three run home run from Justin Morneau in the 10th inning to win.

I scooted to the game and it turned out not to be the brightest decision I've ever made. Everybody was standing out in the mezzanine at the dome upon the game's completion. I looked out and it was pouring- rain coming down in sheets with frequent lightning and thunder.

Like most of the people there I waited until it sort of let up and then made a mad dash to my scooter which was parked about a mile away. I was pretty soaked when I got to my scooter and then the rain started coming down hard again so I waited underneath a building until it let up again. I realized scooting home in the rain and dark wasn't the safest thing to do. It doesn't help that I wear glasses and thus it was darn near impossible to see. But I didn't have much of a choice not knowing when the storm would eventually pass. I made it home safely. Thompson greeted me at the door with a look of concern and I swear, a look of disdain- as if he was telling me I really shouldn't be out there in weather like that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

24 Hour Party Pooper

Had a late late meeting last night. I didn't get to bed until after midnight. Of course that was when the boyz were just getting started (having probably spent the entire day sleeping). Still I was so tired I fell right asleep despite all the commotion around me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

It Isn't Just Me

This isn't exactly an original observation but there are some mornings (Mondays in particular) where it is hard to get up and go to work especially when one of the boyz looks at me like- you're not really leaving are you?

This morning it was Theo who was playing the guilt maker by following me around as I got ready for work, rubbing up against me and purring and then looking at me with those big round eyes of his. Add to this the fact that it was grey and drizzling outside and I have a meeting this evening and I must admit I really wanted to go back to bed and spend the day with the boyz.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Boss Needs Attention

Diego-san was extra peppy and needy this morning and I'm not sure why.

Early in the morning he hopped up on the bed and tried to crawl underneath the covers with me. Sunday mornings are the only time the boyz get a regular snack aside from their normal food. I give them some Greenies which they seem to enjoy. I give them their treat after I'm finished getting my own- a latte from the coffee shop across the street from my house. This particular morning Diego couldn't wait and he was howling from the minute I got back with my latte.

Then he decided to wrestle Theo and that led to a high speed chase. I went upstairs and got on my computer and Diego immediately came up and got in his "I want to be combed" position- belly up. When I ignored him he began howling away until I finally relented.

Next I decided to vacuum the carpet upstairs and Diego, never one to show fear, was right there supervising the job.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Hop Forward

My nephew Jonathan was over yesterday to mow my lawn. Jonno is trying to earn some spending money and I don't mind helping out (and getting out of lawn mowing duties altogether).

Jonno got a ride over from his brother Eben, and so he came into my house after he finished mowing, to wait for Eben to return. All three boyz greeted him. I was surprised that Thompson was so friendly- he went over to get petted and he didn't run upstairs at any point. He did spend most of the time underneath the coffee table but this was much more social behavior than usual. He especially doesn't often come out when male visitors are over and particularly younger male visitors. I was glad to see him opening up just a little bit more.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Curling's Over, It's Softball Time

We had our first softball practice of the season. Our first game is next week.

Of course with every passing year I'm wondering how much longer I'll be an effective softball player. Essentially my game is dependent on my legs- I'm still faster than many of the players. My hand/eye coordination is good, but it's my ability to run that is the strength of my game.

Since my most strenuous wintertime activity is curling (which quite frankly isn't that much of a cardiovascular workout) more and more I feel like I'm not quite in shape when softball season arrives.

Theo did his part in helping me out last night. I was scrambling looking for all my softball equipment and I opened a drawer that had a big crinkly cat toy ball inside. I moved it and Theo appeared in about two seconds ready to go. We played fetch for awhile which allowed me to stretch out my arm a bit.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My New Buddy

I bought a new scooter last night. My old one had a bad piston and since I was thinking about upgrading before it POOFED out last week, I decided now was the time.

I got a Buddy 125 which is a tad more powerful so it qualifies as a motorcycle. This required me to go take the written motorcycle test yesterday. I passed and a few hours later I was a-scooting on home.

I like my new Buddy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Where Are the Boyz?

I was getting ready to go to work this morning and the only one around was Theo who kept rubbing up against me.

That Thompson and Diego were nowhere to be seen was a bit unusual. Usually Diego is right there watching my every move and many mornings Thompson makes it a trio of boyz either urging me to blow off work and stay home, or encouraging me to get out of the house ASAP so they can get on with their morning- it's hard to tell which.

I kinda did a search for the other two boyz and found them contently sleeping together in a cat tree underneath an open window. They didn't bat an eye as I said goodbye to them.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vanity and Feels Good

I bought Diego-san a new comb. The one we were using was losing its bristles every time I combed him.

The new one has longer bristles that are less dense. I'm not sure it's getting as much fur but Diego seems to love its feel. Indeed last night after we were done with the grooming session he lay on the floor hugging the comb.