Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Family Member

I want to announce that I now have a new family member. My friend Lynn feels due to harassment and other issues from residents at the building where she lives that she needed to find a home for her retired service dog Rommel. Rommel knows me and Jim quite well so when she asked I told her sure we would give Rommel a home. Rommel has joined my family now and he seems to be making himself at home. He is seven years old and a very well trained older gentleman. Rommel has known Kai since the day I brought him home and though he sometimes views Kai as a bit of a crazy puppy they get along well. Rommel has also played with Topaz so they are familiar with each other. We brought Rommel home a couple of days ago. I wanted to make sure he was going to be happy and settle in before I took the step to announce that he is mine.

Rommel when he first arrived, looking just a little confused and stressed.
Fortunately Rommel LOVES cats and kittens. He likes to gently pin them down with one paw while he sniffs them thoroughly from nose to the tip of their tail. If they run then he loves to chase them as far as they want to run. He was in heaven when he found out that there were four cats here and that none of them were afraid of him. As a matter of fact all the cats walked right up to him a few minutes after he arrived and gave him the once over.

Jim and D.C. say hello to Rommel

Rommel brought his own food, food dishes, leashes and collars as well as a large cushion that he uses as a bed. We put the cushion off to one side in the living room and soon the cats have claimed it as their own. Poor Rommel walked over to his bed and looked down at the cats that were sprawled there and turned and walked away. According to Lynn he won't dispossess a cat from anything that it has. That includes food, a cat can walk up to Rommel and steal his food right out from under his nose and he will just watch it walk away with it. So if the cats get on the bed first then Rommel looks for somewhere else to lay down. I keep telling him to climb up on the cushion and threaten to lay down on the cats, I am sure that they will move. He is such a gentleman, he won't do it.

Pippin and Gabby make themselves comfortable on Rommel's bed
I am thrilled that Rommel is staying at my house now. He is fitting in well with the rest of the menagerie that lives here and by that I mean the crazy humans also. He is such a handsome boy and an excellent ambassador of his breed. Considering he was rescued by Lynn from horrible conditions when he was three months old he has come a long way. Kai is very happy to have an older brother to play with. Welcome to my family Rommel.

After a long first day Rommel settles in for a nap.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spaghetti and Poker

We had wonderful weather this past Sunday with bright sunshine and warm seventy degree weather. Sounds like a good day for another picnic and that is what we did. We went over to our friend Roy's house and on the menu was Spaghetti and meatballs. Not exactly your usual picnic fare but if you are eating in the great outdoors even if it is just someone's yard then I am going to call it a picnic. Jim cooked the spaghetti because Roy claimed incompetence when it came to cooking edible spaghetti noodles. I took my camera with me and I spent the time while dinner cooked taking pictures of all the lawn decorations and plants that were present in the yard.

Log cabin birdhouse
It is an interesting collection of birdhouses, statues, benches and other items. Anything can make a good picture if you get the right angle, lighting, etc. I do not put together all the elements of a good photograph. While my pictures may never be award winners they do please me and they do remind me of a wonderful day spent with friends enjoying one of the last nice days before winter comes to northwest Pennsylvania.

Is this a frog or a turtle. It appears to me to be the head of a frog (buggy eyes) with the rest being a turtle!

Butterflies and Birdhouse
Roy owns a Cockatoo that came out on his perch to visit with us for awhile. He is quite the comic for a bird and very entertaining to watch. He would say "Hello" and then bob his head up and down quickly while raising his crest as high as it would go. When he got bored he would pull splinters of wood off his perch. Later he climbed down on the tray grabbed a large piece of wood that he had ripped off the perch and used it to scratch his head, combing his crest with it. And some experts say animals don't make or use tools!

Our friend the Cockatoo, responding to "Hello"
What a pretty bird!
The yard is overshadowed by a huge old locust tree and the sun filtering through the leaves made a wonderful picture. So of course I took several. Here is my favorite one.

The evening of course progressed to a game of Texas Hold'em Poker. For once I was doing quite well and really cleaned up on several of the hands. The black cloud that follows me when I am playing any type of game was absent for just a little while and I took full advantage of it to gloat and tell everyone what a wonderful poker player I am. I have to get my bragging in when I can because when it comes to games of chance I don't get many opportunities! Just one last picture of our host Roy. I apologize for it being blurry but Jim took the picture not me. I will have to leave it here until I get a better one to put in its place.

Another day spent with good friends that I can file in my memory book. I like to remember times spent doing simple things, sharing good food and time with people that you like. Even quiet get togethers can be the happy memories that weave together to make the quilt of your life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And now the cats want to drive!!

As if things are not strange enough in my life now the cats are asking for driving lessons! At least that is what it seems like. Randy recently stumbled on a Stutz Bearcat electric ride on toy made by the Marx Toy Company in the early1960's. It has been sitting on the living room toy in front of the television set until a place for it can be found in this already over cluttered house. I am a bit of a pack rat but that is another story.

1960's Stutz Bearcat electric ride on toy by the Marx Toy Company

This toy is Randy's pride and joy. He is a toy collector and he likes unusual toys and also toys from the Marx Toy Company. To find both an unusual toy and one from Marx made his day.He obtained the toy from the original owner that rode the car as a child. He has since kept it under a tarp in a barn. Despite that it remains in very good condition. Randy has plans to take it apart and restore it. I know it will be beautiful when done.

The cats have all adopted the car as their very own. Fortunately Randy finds this amusing and does not seem worried that they will damage the car. At any time of the day or night you can find at least one of them sitting on the seat of the car, playing with the steering wheel, climbing over the hood or taking a nap. It is Gabby's favorite perch by far and you will find her there more often than the rest.

Gabby enjoying the view.

D.C. and his brother Pippin have discovered that the seat of the car is an ideal perch to sit on and watch television from. These kittens have never shown any interest in watching the television until the car appeared right in front of the TV set. Watching television now is an interesting adventure because at any moment a cat paw or the entire cat will pop up in front of the screen to chase something moving there. I have heard that you can purchase a video for your cats to play when you are not home for their entertainment. Sort of a cat babysitter. I have never given much thought to purchasing one because I have never had cats this dedicated to watching TV. Maybe I should buy them one but then what happens if they learn to program the VCR! Will Kitty porn be far behind!!

Pippin watching TV

I am waiting for the cats to present me with demands for their drivers permits. And the when Randy gets the car running again there will probably be arguments over who gets to drive! This could be as bad as having a house of teenagers! Yep, I really need this. Is anyone interested in having a precocious cat come to live with them, sorry but you will have to provide your own car!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Let sleeping dogs lie!!

Have you ever watched your dog sleep? They sleep in the strangest positions and seem like they are so comfortable. If I slept twisted around, upside down and sideways I would never be able to move when I woke up in the morning. Kai however is always sprawled in a chair or on the floor with his legs straight up in the air, head twisted to one side, the rest of him forming the letter "S".

Kai catching some "Z's"
Cats and kittens seem to also be able to sleep while hanging over the edge of chair backs, tangled up in a knot together or in other equally strange contortions. Maybe it would be a good idea to get into the business of being a pet chiropractor because surely after sleeping in some of these positions they have to need an adjustment or two.

This is Yankee taking a nap

Pip just hanging out At times the kittens pile on each other and it is anyone's guess where one kitten ends and the next one starts. At least they can share body heat and keep toasty warm when sleeping in a pile like that. Not a bad idea on a cool fall day.

Snuggle time

Just one more, I could not resist.

How many cats do you see?

Okay I will resist the temptation to put more pictures here. It is a beautiful sunny day and I think I will take myself and my camera and see what we can see! So long till next time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good News!

I have good news to share. I am going to be writing for "Front and Finish" magazine. I will be writing a column for the online edition of the magazine which according to the editor is attracting more readers than the printed version. I am writing a bio and getting a picture taken to send in and then I can post columns as often as I wish. I am writing the column describing the training and showing difficulties faced by disabled handlers. Since I am going to be forced to show Kai either from a wheelchair or a scooter I will definitely have a first hand view of any problems. I hope to get readers and judges involved in question and answer columns about such things as accommodations needed for a disabled handler, proper heel position next to walker or scooter, can rally be done from a wheelchair or scooter, How fast is fast when you walk with a cane or other assistive device?
The ideas keep flowing so I think I will have fun with this column.
I am also going to be writing articles for "Show Dogs Online". I am planning on sending my first article for that magazine this month. I am working on ideas for stories so I can query the editor and get started. She is looking for columnists for future niches so I need to get my niche squared away early. I am definately more comfortable writing about performance events than I would be writing about conformation or breeding.
I need to get busy writing now. I would cross my fingers for luck but I have such a hard time typing when I do!