Cross Country Kitties

My daughter said it was surreal, having both her Dad and I sitting across from her and her boyfriend at a table in a local restaurant, sharing a meal in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It certainly felt that way to us too, having made a rather impromptu two day trip driving across the country to help her move, and to bring her three cats home with us to central Texas.  We finished our meal and made plans for the next day – where to meet up and arrangements for pickup of the U-Haul for moving – and then headed to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.  We would need it.

Now I don’t know about you, but my husband and I aren’t big on moving, although we have certainly helped our daughter move a number of times.  Year after year, one apartment to another.  When she moved away from Texas to Minnesota a couple of years ago she went alone, and we thought our apartment moving days were over!  And this move would not be easy.  Third floor, wet slippery slushy snow, and high temps in the 20’s.  We were fortunate that, although bitterly cold by our standards, it was a gorgeous sunny day.  We were even crazy enough to delight in the fact that we were getting to experience a little bit of “real” winter!  That nostalgia had worn off by the end of moving day, though, as our weary bodies were ready for a hot shower and a clean bed.  And we were still mentally preparing ourselves for the long two day ride home, with three cats in tow.

As we awoke to Day 4 of our cross country adventure, the weather had changed.  It was even colder outside, and the sun was gone now.  It looked like a winter day, with gray and overcast skies.  Snow was expected with a front that was coming in later in the day, and we really wanted to head out as early as possible and get ahead of any potentially bad driving conditions.  We had 600 miles to go to make it to Wichita, Kansas before this day was over.  Our daughter picked up her cats from the boarding kennel, and we quickly moved them – each in their own soft crate – from her vehicle to ours.  It was very cold outside and the goodbyes were quick.

I have so often wished that I could talk to pets and that they would understand what I am saying.  It is so hard when you can only reassure them with a gentle voice and hands, but can’t really explain to them what is happening.  Such was the case now, with three plaintive meowing voices coming from the crates.  Poor, scared things.  After we got through downtown Minneapolis I relented and unzipped the crate tops and front panels, and let the roaming begin.  All chose to explore at least briefly.  The two older cats, Caska and Mr. Moo, climbed back into their crates in short order, while the youngest cat Binx continued his loud meowing as he explored my vehicle from the very back to the very front.  He looked out windows, climbed over our shoulders, slinked onto the floorboards (including the driver’s side).  Eventually he settled on my passenger side floorboard.  I had a pillow in my lap and think he felt a little more secure in the temporary darkness.

I had come prepared for this ride home.  We had a big litter box in the very back of my Honda Element, which fortunately does NOT have carpet in it.  We had fastened the back seats up, to leave as much room as possible for luggage and kitties.  I had brought along small plastic bags, spray cleaner, and paper towels, all of which would prove useful on the trip home.  I kept one pet bowl for water, and lightly filled it after some of our own gas/food stops (while the car was not running) so the cats could drink and not get dehydrated.  And all three did take advantage of this.  I made the decision to hold off on food throughout the duration of the day, instead giving the cats food at the overnight hotel.

My biggest fear, the cats potentially escaping from the vehicle, proved to be unfounded.  Unlike dogs, who would be more excited and tend to bolt for the door once open, the cats seemed to want to “hide” in their crates.  My husband and I would take turns on exiting and entering the vehicle, all the time keeping a very watchful eye on the cats.  All in all, the ride on Day 4 went amazingly well.  No pets sick, and all fairly settled.

When we arrived at our overnight destination, we placed their litter box, food and water bowls in the bathroom, and turned the kitties loose for the night.  And cats being the nocturnal creatures they are, you know they stretched their legs and moved about all night.  Once at around 2:00am my husband and I both sat straight up in bed because they had loudly knocked over something in the room.  And Binx climbed all over both of us in bed, and purred loudly under the covers.

Day 5 was pretty much the same as Day 4.  The ride was becoming more routine now, and we were just anxious to get home.  Finally, after more gas stops than seemed imaginable, our round-trip 2400 mile journey was over!  The days ahead will now be filled with helping all of our pet household (which suddenly numbers eight) to make the day-to-day adjustments.

Have you ever traveled with cats?  Ever made a cross country road trip with your kitties?  How did that work for you?  I’d love to know!

Amber Eyes

Web-Lion

I was visiting my sister-in-law and her husband in their new home.  It was large and very modern, and I marveled at the beautiful architecture.  It sat on the precipice of a tall cliff, overlooking an emerald green lake.  There was a long rectangular vanishing pool set into the stone patio out back, viewable from the living room, which appeared to melt into the sky.  My niece Scarlett was also visiting, but not for the first time, so she took my hand and led me on a home tour.  I continued to be amazed by the modern design of the home.  In every room there were tall floor-to-ceiling thick commercial glass windows, so that the house was almost see-through, and blended with the land on which it was constructed.

Scarlett and I went down a long corridor, and then stepped out onto a decked balcony.  We rounded a corner and turned to look back into Ken’s study, through some of those tall windows.  In comparison to the rest of the contemporary home, the study seemed steeped in history.  The wooden floors were richly covered by intricately woven Persian carpets.  A very large antique mahogany desk sat centered in the room, which was lined with tall ornate bookshelves stuffed full of page-worn books.  There were many distressed leather chairs scattered about the study for some impromptu reading, accompanied by perfectly sized tables on which to place a drinking glass and pair of eyeglasses.  There were even a few potted plants, which had grown to some size due to the great amount of natural light they received each day.

Scarlett reached to open the door into the study, somehow knowing I would want a closer inspection.  Just then, a couple of young lions appeared in the doorway.  One young male lion quickly brushed past us and onto the balcony.  Suddenly realizing he was somewhere he didn’t belong, he just as quickly turned and went back into the study, the golden tassle of his tail sweeping our legs.  Scarlett quickly bolted the door shut.  “Oh,” she said, “I forgot we were not supposed to go into THAT room!”  “Yes,” I responded as I gazed into the male lion’s amber eyes as he let out a big cat yawn, “and I think I know why!”

Suddenly I heard a low humming sound, and turned my head towards it.  The sound grew louder and louder, and then I recognized it.  It was my husband’s electric toothbrush, buzzing away in the adjacent room.  It was soon followed by the alarm on my i-Phone, until I was awakened.  I slowly came to the realization I was in my own bed, in my own room, and a new day had begun.  I kept my eyes closed for a moment, hoping to go back to the C.S. Lewis dream I had just left, but knew that would be impossible now.  Perhaps again tonight…

Do you have imaginative dreams?  Do you dream in color?  Do you remember them once awake?  Here’s hoping you do!

Feathered Friends

Birdfeather

Sculptural Bird Feeder

Art.  Sculpture.  Bird feeder.  All in one!  This hand crafted, beautifully intricate sculpture by Missouri artist Joe Papendick is welded from steel & copper and stands approximately 6′ tall.    An “I-beam” shaped base on the bird feeder is securely welded to the upright support, and allows for placement 8-10″ deep into the ground.  A stainless steel screen keeps the bird seed dry and will never rust through.  A lovely verdigris copper hood gives some protection from rain, wind, and sun, and is as beautiful as the birds that will feed beneath it.  I love the fine intertwining metal “branches”, and can imagine that this piece would indeed be very difficult for any bird to resist, as it will provide both a feast and a welcoming refuge.

All new work currently in progress can be seen on Joe’s blog.  In addition to lovely pieces such as this that deftly imitate nature, Joe has some wonderful contemporary designs, including one which was featured in the April 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living.  His earlier work was featured on the HGTV series “I Want That” back in 2006.   He is also a featured Etsy seller.

 

Parakeet_il_

Watercolor Parakeet

This precious little watercolor piece is from Welsh artist Alison Fennell’s Etsy shop Eastwitching.  This 8×010 inch print is of Bertie.  Alison states that he is “a real busybody and loves a cup of tea. I had fun painting his plump little body in some of my fave shades of turquoise, lime green and aqua.”  Watercolors have always been a favorite medium of mine; I just love the light and translucent quality they bring to an art piece.  Be sure to check out Alison’s “About” page in Etsy, to follow her interesting story about her life and art.  Looking for more whimsical animals?  She has many, many to choose from, so have fun browsing!

The high resolution and quality of these prints on archival authentic Epson Radiant White paper makes them almost impossible to tell apart from an original.  They are packaged in a clear cello sleeve (including certificate of authenticity) with a piece of rigid cardboard for stability, then placed in a sealed waterproof plastic mailer for complete shipping protection.

 

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Bird, Birdcage, and Tree Wall Decals

Even if you don’t have your own garden, you can have one now with these contemporary wall  murals by Estsy shop Cuma.  Created with the very best vinyl decal material, these look super easy to put on the walls of your home, and are easy to remove should you want to change the decor of the room at a later date.  Decals won’t damage the paint but cannot be reused.  All the wonderful designs on the site are made by Cuma, can be custom made to different sizes upon request, and are offered in a wide range of colors.  Be sure to see all the offerings on the Etsy site with examples of the decals used in different type room settings including nurseries, childrens’ playrooms, offices, dining rooms, and bedrooms.  The decals offer a quick and easy way to change the entire look of a room, or conversely, you could quite literally build your room around them!