Love Comes Tumbling

Our dog Ellie resting in the sun and shadows of our backyard of our house in Portland, Oregon a week after we adopted her

Ellie continues to confound with her dietary adventures, somehow opening a tupperware tub of freshly baked chocolate raisin cookies and devouring every last crumb, maintaining her perfect attendance in the clean plate club. But dear Ellie, not freshly baked cookies! Not freshly baked! If you must eat cookies, stick to the store-bought kind!

A day or two later she broke open a bag of cat treats and finished those off, followed later by the supplements she takes for joint health. If only the cats were so eager to take their medicine!

While walking her at night earlier in the week, she had so much energy I ran with her a bit. We ran past the houses in one section of the neighborhood where the tall trees block the streetlights, where the roots of the tall trees broke up the sidewalk, where I tripped on the broken sidewalk and faceplanted into the concrete.

I landed hard but was able to get my hands out in front of me, the ground knocking out the doggie treat I was holding. I wasn’t surprised that Ellie sniffed out the treat in the darkness and gobbled it down before checking to see if I was OK. My palms took the brunt of the damage and got skinned up pretty badly, as well as the top of my right hand. My left knee and right elbow were badly bruised but not bleeding.

After the first night the swelling went down and it was clear there was no permanent damage. The wounds are healing rapidly and the pain subdued with ibuprofen. It was a lovely weekend but I didn’t do any yardwork apart from mowing as I can’t put any hard pressure on my palms yet, but that left extra time to play catch with the tennis ball in the backyard with Ellie, a fair trade.

This picture of Ellie is from earlier in the year, you can see a bit of white paint on her neck. All of the paint spots are gone now, apart from a bit on her tail, the fur there must shed more slowly.

I’m Ever So Happy. Seriously. I Am.

Our dog Ellie with her stuffed rabbit toy

One thing I hadn’t anticipated is how much harder it is to get a good picture of Ellie compared to the cats. A trained chimp could point a camera at little Sam and get a nice picture but I’ve been struggling with Ellie. I expected it to be hard to photograph her black fur but hadn’t accounted for the difficulties of her larger size and how sad she looks when she’s relaxed. She’s holding one of her favorite toys, a plush rabbit that squeaks when she bites it. She has a similar goose that was her first toy and remains a favorite. When you toss them, our retriever loves to bring them back, and especially loves to bring them back squeaking all the way.

The other day Ellie had a roast. Not the sort of roast where we’d make fun of how she snores, but a pot roast kind of roast. The kind of roast that I was going to eat later. Somehow while we were enjoying the roast for dinner the leftovers disappeared from the counter upstairs.

And some leftover bacon a short while later and a tub of cookies last week. Fortunately there were no gastric disasters as a result of her dietary indiscretions. We were prepared to interrogate her when her legal counsel stepped in and told her not to say another word. Little Sam said we had no evidence that Ellie had actually eaten all of these things, for all we knew he had done it. The bacon, perhaps, but even he couldn’t eat that much roast, and the tub of cookies was bigger than he is. He then claimed that perhaps I had eaten all of these things and was blaming it on Ellie.

The outrage! I could eat that much roast but not that fast (some here say I’m a slow eater), so what jury would believe such a story? Sam pointed out that there is prior precedent, a certain night in which a batch of strawberries freshly dipped in chocolate didn’t live to see the morning. An offense for which I admit my guilt, and which I also admit could cause reasonable doubt in a jury.

All charges against Ellie have been dropped.

Where’s Boolie 2009

Rick Cameron hides inside a large redwood tree in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park

This year’s version of Where’s Boolie comes courtesy of a large redwood tree in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. This was my first morning in the park and the tree sits right off the Prairie Creek Trail with a cavity in the middle suitable for housing an entire bigfoot family.

I had to smile when I heard a distant hooting that morning, probably an unfamiliar owl or other bird, but it also reminded me of the supposed bigfoot calls from I show I watched a while back. I hoped with camera in hand to get some nice high-resolution, in focus, non-shaky bigfoot pictures but it was not to be. It would have been the perfect time to prove my theory on the true nature of bigfoot.

It is not a popular theory and has put me on the fringe of the lunatic fringe. I believe that they are not some form of ape running undiscovered in our forests — I mean seriously — but that they are in fact Wookiees.

My critics are quick to point out that Star Wars is fictional. I know it’s fictional — I’m not an idiot. I just don’t understand how it’s relevant. To Kill a Mockingbird is fictional. Are mockingbirds fictional too?

Emma Sleeps to the Beat of a Different Drummer

Our black cat Emma sleeps in the cat bed with one leg sticking out

After Templeton died a year and a half ago, we went to the Humane Society to pick out another cat. It’s always hard to choose from so many animals who need a good home but I was leaning towards a black cat since I think they are beautiful but had never had one. Emma had lived in a multiple cat household before and I liked the way she was sprawled out as she slept — something Templeton used to do — so we requested to see her after we had selected little Sam. She was more nervous than Sam but seemed sweet so we decided to bring both of them home.

It took a year and a half but now that Emma has discovered the warm beds, she is often curled up in them in a circle like all the other cats. But she also frequently sticks a paw out and on this one occasion had an entire leg sticking askew. Just this afternoon I saw Scout, our tidy sleeper, with one paw sticking out.

The ways of Emma are spreading.

A close-up of our black cat Emma as she sleeps in the cat bed

Lady Em

Our black cat Emma rests her head on the edge of the cat bed

I’m thankful for many things in my life and one of those things is our dear Emma. She’s a quiet cat like Scout but she chirps rather than meows. She plays frequently with Sam but also plays on her own, her favorite game is shoving her furry mice under the closet door. I empty it out several times a day but after only a few minutes the mice are mysteriously once again behind the door. We are looking to hire someone full time to empty the closet but the job pays only in purrs. Emma doesn’t give up her purrs easily and they are so soft as to be nearly inaudible, so when you hear them you know you’ve earned them.

She’s not a lap cat like the others — although to be fair Scout wasn’t a lap cat at her age either — but she is affectionate. She discovered the magic of the heated beds a couple of months ago and has been a regular visitor to their electric warmth ever since. I’ve photographed all of the cats in the beds at one time or another so I was happy to finally get a shot of Emma as she poked her head out of the bed.