The Sleepy Brothers

Our cat Sam sleeps on the back of the couch while Boo sleeps on a cushion on April 10, 2021. Original: _CAM0782.arw

Sam is fully recovered from his oral surgery and is now on a blood thinner to make things easier for his aging ticker. Fortunately his medicine is in pill form as he loves Greenies Pill Pockets and gobbles them right down, let’s just say getting liquids down his throat is more of a challenge so we are always happy when the meds are pills.

Boo went in for a checkup to see how his kidney-friendly diet is faring and there was good news on that front. I slept well most of the week, a relief as I’ve been battling occasional insomnia the past couple of months. Friday morning though a certain tuxedo kept waking me up, as he has done at times the past few weeks, so it was rather fortuitous they had an issue with the network at work so I worked from home and didn’t have to drive in.

You’d think with such excellent teachers I’d be able to curl up and sleep at will but I doubt it will ever be so easy. Last Saturday I couldn’t sleep so I put that to my advantage and grabbed a couple hours of shut-eye on the couch before getting up for my first proper sunrise hike of the year, returning to settle in with my compatriots for a well-deserved nap.

The Wanderer

A close-up of our cat Trixie as she looks out from her cat bed on April 5, 2021. Original: _RAC6772.arw

I was working from home yesterday, sitting in the living room instead of my office, variety being the spice of life and all. I noticed sounds outside that seemed louder than they should be and got up to investigate and realized to my horror the door had accidentally been left ajar. Boo and Sam were sleeping near me but after a quick check of the house I couldn’t find Trixie. She is sometimes hard to find but rather than look further I grabbed a pair of shoes and stepped outside and found her sitting on the wrong side of my office window.

She ran back towards the door but seeing it closed panicked and ran back towards the yard. I wasn’t able to catch her but fortunately she kept running back and forth near me until I was able to grab her and bring her back inside. The picture is from a few weeks ago as she slept in the cat bed on the proper side of the window.

Let’s not do that again little one, I’m not sure my heart can take it.

Fur-lined

A male house sparrow holds leaves and fur in his beak as he perches on a leafy branch of an ocotillo in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 11, 2021. Original: _RAC6982.arw

I’ve not seen a house sparrow in the local desert but they are neighborhood residents, judging by the leaves and fur in this male’s beak I imagine he’s building a nest nearby. We may not be contributing to nesting materials here but I like to think a great many birds in our Irvington neighborhood in Portland grew up in the luxury of a fur-lined nest courtesy of a black lab who seemed to shed her weight in fur each week.

The Letter of the Law

Our cat Trixie is visible behind our cat Sam as they sleep in my lap on March 31, 2021. Original: _RAW5871.arw

A couple of days after his surgery as Sam slept high in my lap I judged his mood to determine how close I should let Trixie get. I kept her at arms length which she followed to the letter of the law, sticking out her front paws such that one was resting on her older brother. He didn’t mind so I let it go, though I had to keep a watchful eye as she would try to inch closer to her hero. Thankfully she didn’t try too hard to smother Sam with affection until he was feeling better.

Our cat Trixie sleeps below our cat Sam as they sleep in my lap on March 31, 2021. Original: _RAW5875.arw

Back From Surgery

Our cat Sam looking up while resting on one of the larger cat beds on March 28, 2021. Original: _RAC5859.arw

Sam successfully underwent oral surgery on Monday, the anesthesiologist who is trained to deal with his heart arrhythmia kept him in good shape and the dentists were able to do their work. He charmed them all of course and they gushed over him, I wish I could take credit for his sweetness but that’s all Samwise. He was a bit subdued the first couple of days (as expected) and mostly just slept in my lap but has bounced back to his normal self. I kept Trixie at bay until he was ready as she was eager to curl up with her hero.

It was Boo who got rattled the most, perhaps he thought when we took Sam away for the day that, like when we took Ellie away for the last time, he wasn’t coming back. He recognized Sam when we brought him home and didn’t hiss (sometimes the different smell throws them at first) but kept looking at Sam like he was a ghost. He didn’t eat regularly for a while and wasn’t interested in playing but after a couple of days I got him to chase his favorite toy and he was back sleeping on my legs this morning. He’s still a little off but mostly back to normal as well.

Three Years

Our dog Ellie relaxes on the tile of the rental house right after we arrived in Arizona on March 31, 2018. Original: _DSC5443.arw

I can hardly believe it but it was three years ago we arrived at the rental house after a three day drive from Oregon, a little bedraggled but looking forward to the next stage of our lives. I snapped this quick picture not long after we got out of the car, thankfully Ellie did well on the long trip. As long as we were together she was happy, an attitude I tried to adopt when it felt like we were in a whirlwind as I had but a day to settle in before starting work. I never dreamed we’d get another year with her and that she’d even see us into our new home but we got lucky in so many ways with this sweet pup. I met a black lab the other day on a neighborhood walk, she was straining at the leash to meet me so I knelt down and gave her some much deserved affection. “You’ve made a friend,” her owner said, though I wasn’t sure which one of us she was referring to. I love meeting dogs of all kinds on my walks and hikes but obviously black labs will always hold a special place in my heart.

Twenty

Our cat Scout sits beside the catnip on our back porch in Portland, Oregon on May 6, 2005. Original: IMG_8116.cr2

Twenty years ago a feral cat gave birth under the house of one of my wife’s friends, the mother soon disappeared so the family raised the kittens until they were old enough to adopt out. We were offered one of the last of the litter and named our tiny tuxedo Scout. I’m close to all our pets but even so Scout and I had a deep bond, sadly cancer took her from us after 12 years but I’m thankful for every day we spent together. I’ve been having off-and-on trouble sleeping lately but it was never as hard as when I came back from a long hiking trip, she’d wake me up throughout the night either to reassure her that I was well and truly home or to tell me I was never to leave her side again, I’m not sure which.

She was four in this picture, sitting beside her favorite catnip plant on the back porch.

Oranges

A pair of orange Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 trail running shoes sit below our orane tabby cat Sam on February 21, 2021. Original: _RAC3913.arw

I like orange in many guises, whether orange the fruit or orange the tabby or orange the color. In Oregon I had many uses for shoes that don’t apply here in Arizona so I’ve been letting my array of kicks dwindle as the old shoes slowly wear out. I did pick up a pair of trail runners recently to replace two pairs of shoes on their last legs, this style could fill multiple roles but my intent is to use them as a complement to my hiking shoes and to try some occasional light trail and road running. I haven’t run in decades and wasn’t serious about it even then, I found it a joyous way to exercise but quit when I felt it was hurting my knees. I’ve worn the shoes to work a few times to make sure I like them as they’ll be permanently covered in dust once they greet the desert. The Hoka One One brand is new to me but given the closeout pricing and the delightful colors and some positive reviews on Youtube I decided to give them a go.

A pair of orange Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 trail running shoes sit beside our sleeping cat Boo on February 21, 2021. Original: _RAC3824.arw

The Aging Heart

Our cat Sam rests atop the cat tree with the TV in the background on January 30, 2021. Original: _CAM9550.arw

Sam needs oral surgery but in preparation they noticed some odd heart behavior so he went to a cardiologist and was diagnosed with heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), so he’ll get his surgery at a specialist with an anesthesiologist trained for his condition. Then he’ll be on a blood thinner to reduce stroke risk, thankfully I think it’s in pill form as he likes pill pockets but getting liquid down his throat is not for the faint of heart. He’s not showing any symptoms yet so depending on how his condition progresses he might be with us for years to come, he’s to get periodic evaluations every six months and we need to keep a close eye on any symptoms that develop.

The Night Watch

Our cats Trixe and Boo sit behind the wooden shutters of my office window at night on January 30, 2021. Original: _CAM9513.arw

Boo has spent a lot of time with me this winter and at night has been trying to figure out how to open the window shutters after I close them. I suppose he has figured it out since after he starts rattling them I give up and open them enough so he can get behind them. On this night in January Trixie joined him for his watch. A couple of weeks later he sprang off my legs where he had been sleeping and ran to the window, this time I grabbed a flashlight and when I opened the shutters saw the local javelina family was paying us a visit. I went and woke Trixie and Sam and brought them in, Trixie squirmed and protested until she saw why I had disturbed her slumber. Boo had seen them before, not sure about Sam and Trixie, but they all sat transfixed as the family rooted around for mesquite seeds on the other side of the window.