Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catchin' Up

Since I was gone most of the weekend I took today off and spent it with the boyz. Each of them took turns sitting with me. In other words we had a great day...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mum

Ten years ago tonight, my Mom died. It doesn't feel like ten years and at the same time it feels like forever.

Mom never had the chance to meet any of the boyz but I know she would have gotten a kick out of all three. She did meet their predecessor, Mr. Max, and she was quite fond of him. I think a lot of her fondness for Max was she knew how much he meant to me and anyone or anything that meant that much to me was alright by Mom.

I miss you Mom.

Brotherly Love

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Thompson takes care of his little brother. Watch for a cameo from Diego-san...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Gateway to the West

When the boyz found off I'm off to St. Louis for the weekend to see the Twins play the Cardinals, they wondered why they couldn't come along to do some bird watching with me. I explained that these Cardinals are sweaty men and that the boyz might not enjoy the near 100 degree temperatures so much. All three boyz still gave me the old skunk eye glare...


Friday, June 26, 2009

Laundry Boyz

Diego-san helps with the pre-wash chores (diving under the new sheets as I put them on the bed). Theo helps with the post-wash chores making sure the clothes hamper is completely empty.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Showoffs

I told the boyz I'm thinking about taking up yoga to increase my flexibility. Upon hearing the news, the boyz felt the need to showoff their instinctive yoga skills demonstrating they don't need to take a class.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Video Worth 1000 Pictures

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For years I've been trying to get a good picture of Thompson playing with his favorite catnip toy mousie. None of the pictures have captured his skill and enthusiasm. It took me four days with a video camera to accomplish what I couldn't the last few years...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blooming Time


This is one of my favorite times of the year: it's blooming time for my peonies. I just love their color.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Milestone

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It's our very first video! Courtesy of our terrific new iPhone 3GS capturing a pretty typical night in these parts...

Watch out Quentin Tarantino...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Explanation

I asked Diego-san and Theo to explain yesterday's picture. Theo said he told Diego to "bite me." Diego said he only did as he was told.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cat Talk

I take pride in my ability to speak enough cat to think I understand what the boyz are trying to tell me most of the time. That said, I have no idea what Diego told Theo here that provoked such a reaction. My guess is it couldn't have been good...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not the Best Posers

This picture probably would have turned out a heck of a lot better if Diego-san had been the one in the sun, and Thompson was the one in the near shadow. Thompson just doesn't need as much illumination assistance (no offense meant Diego...)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Versatile Persuader

Diego-san has a couple of tools in his toolbox that he uses to be persuasive. One is his cuddly, loving persona. The other is his intense glare. I'm pretty powerless against either one.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

St. Paul Pioneer Press 6/13/09

Can't afford the cat anymore? Neither can the shelter
By Bob Shaw

In good times, there are lots of clicks in Vickie Lachelt's office.

It is the sound of people hanging up after hearing the recorded message that Feline Rescue's cat-saving programs are only for low-income families.

Now, the hang-up clicks are gone. Thanks to the recession, the callers have less money and qualify for help. Day after day, they leave a stream of messages about their unwanted cats.

"It is never-ending," said volunteer Lachelt, "and it is heartbreaking."

Cats — and the groups that rescue them — are victims of the economic downturn. Animal rescue groups are staggering under the burden of thousands of cats, turned in by people who have lost jobs or houses.

At the same time, donations to the cat-saving groups are dropping. Several groups are pulling back or failing — making more work for those that remain. This, in turn, increases stress on those who love cats.

After 31 years of caring for dogs and cats, Rita Knudson recently shuttered the Brooklyn Park-based Lucky Dog Rescue. "We just couldn't take it anymore," she said.

"I do not want to drop dead with a leash in my hand. It's stressful when the phone is ringing seven days a week, night and day."

For shelter workers, the cat glut isn't just about money.

It rattles their faith in humanity. It makes them bitter to think that kindness to animals only prevails when the stock market is up.

"There is so much more neglect now. So much more cruelty. I don't understand it," said Laura Johnson, president of the cat-rescue group SCRAM, based in Shoreview.

"I get these calls. I say, 'We only have so many hands. Can't you put this animal in your garage? Is there any way you can help?' " Johnson said. "Nine out of 10 say no.

"The suffering I have seen in the last nine months ... I have nightmares."

ABANDONMENT BURNOUT

Johnson saw a Siamese cat that had been set ablaze with lighter fluid. She has seen several cats turned loose after having been declawed on all paws, which renders a cat unable to feed itself.

"A cat like that doesn't have a chance in hell," Johnson said.

"People get mad because (cats) are killing songbirds. That is sad but true. Nature is cruel. But how are these cats supposed to survive?"

One reason Knudson quit was burnout over the increase in abandonment and cruelty.

She was called after kids in Minneapolis shot guns near a chained-up dog — as a training exercise.

"They said they were making it a police dog," Knudson said. "It was the stupidest thing I have ever seen."

Other times, stress comes from listening to owners abandoning pets they love.

"A young gal called me to see if any assistance was out here," said Erin Hauer, director of Our Paws Cat Sanctuary in Wyoming. "She said her cat was hungry. She said she was hungry."

This June is a perfect storm for unwanted cats, said Deb Balzer, spokeswoman for the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley.

Winters are steadily becoming milder, so the cat-breeding seasons are longer. "They used to have one or two litters a year. Now they have multiple litters," Balzer said.

The recession compounds the problem. The river of unwanted cats is swamping the Humane Society.

"We average 75 cats a day, more than 500 cats a week," Balzer said. Last summer, the Humane Society took in 10,000 cats. About half were adopted. The other half — old, diseased or unadoptable — were euthanized.

The national average of cats euthanized after being admitted to shelters is 71 percent, according to the Humane Society.

FEWER CATS OR MORE HOMES

SCRAM's Johnson said calls for help have doubled in nine months. "We are averaging 30 to 40 calls a day, because of this economy," she said.

The economic downturn hurts other animals, too.

Because of a foreclosure, the Humane Society recently received an entire petting zoo. Later, a goat named Billy was taken from a foreclosed farm in Woodbury.

But cats are by far the most common abandoned animals. The ultimate solution to an abundance of cats, rescue groups agree, is an aggressive and cheap spay-neuter program.

Many such programs already are in force. For some cat owners, SCRAM charges a rock-bottom $33 for neutering and $69 for spaying — procedures that normally can cost $300.

The Humane Society's Balzer said people need to learn that they have a responsibility to spay and neuter their cats.

"We hear people say, 'Oh, I never got around to spaying and neutering them.' Then it's 'Oh, look at all the cats running around here,' " she fumed. "Pretty soon they are giving away free kittens at their kid's lemonade stand."

Another solution?

"People need to open their homes," Johnson said, "and take in another cat."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Schnews

The news makes Thompson snooze. Sometimes I can relate to that...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Four Eyes

Something tells me somebody's (or somebodies') dinner dishes are empty...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Boy Thompson

Have I ever mentioned what a great cat Thompson is? He seldom gets into trouble. When I yell at his more trouble ridden buddy Diego, Thompson is the first to go over and sit with Diego as if to let him know where his allegiance is. He has somehow managed to befriend both Theo and Diego, never taking sides in that difficult relationship. This entire household salutes you Thomps.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kings of the Castle

I was at a offsite training today so I got home a lot earlier than I normally do. When I entered the house, Theo groggily looked up at me from the couch. Diego-san came prancing down from upstairs. Thompson came hopping up from the downstairs. I don't know if this is normal when I'm gone but I found it somewhat amusing that each boy had claimed his own level of the house.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Little to the Right

A friend gave me a one year old washing machine (his family needed a larger one). He delivered it in the evening. I was able to corral Thompson and Theo and put them upstairs but Diego-san ran downstairs. He ended up in the basement rafters supervising our installation. Nosy Nellie.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back in the Old Days

Thompson is regaling Theo on all the adventures he once had as an outdoor kitty. Theo is wondering where that french fries smell is coming from...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday Blahs

Sometimes it's hard to get going on a Monday morning. Fortunately for some, they don't have to.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Resistance is Futile

Theo is making some progress in his relationship with Diego-san. Now not only does Diego sometimes stay in the room when Theo appears, but he is also allowing his little brother to be in the same proximity on the rare occasion. (My favorite part of this photo is capturing Thompson's ever present supervision of all things going on in this household...)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Old Man

My legs cramped up badly last night during our softball game so all day today I've been pretty sore and hobbling around like a very old man. Theo has been watching my new walk with complete fascination. Meanwhile Thompson and Diego-san look at me with eyes that suggest they've seen it all before, just the normal shtick.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

More Than Enough Special

I think I offended Thompson. Theo greeted me with extra enthusiasm when I got home from work. I picked him up and hugged him. He was purring loudly and he tried to lick my arms so I hugged him even tighter and said, "How's my special little guy?" Thompson looked at us and meowed with a little attitude. "That's my nickname," Thompson's eyes seemed to say. I tried explaining all three boyz are pretty darn special but Thompson was having none of it as he grunt hopped away.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Revenge of the Boyz

A strong case has been made that I shouldn't leave the boyz for days/weeks at a time. Since I've returned home the following has happened:

* My mini laptop crashed and I've had a hard time restoring it;
* The sound card on my desktop computer has stopped working;
* The doorknob to the upper level of the house broke;
* The HD channels on my DirecTV do not work.

Coincidence?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What I Did on My Spring Vacation

My friend -M and I took the Amtrak down to Austin and San Antonio Texas. My favorite part of the trip was eating lunch at Sandra Bullock's restaurant in Austin. I had a turkey and gouda sandwich. It was delicious.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A True Friendship

A true friend doesn't care where you sleep. And I guess I don't blame Thompson for his choice here- Diego-san's belly is awfully soft and warm.