The 5 a.m. Club

Our cat Boo rests underneath chairs in our bedroom on October 15, 2021. Original: _RAC9747.arw

The brothers woke me at 5 a.m. yesterday (more precisely, Boo woke me to pet him a bit then Sam jumped up for a snugglefest) and, unable to get back to sleep, I eventually got up for a sunrise hike. The scene repeated this morning except I immediately fell back asleep after they each got their pets. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind another early hike, but I would prefer if they’d wake me closer to the time I need to be up and at ’em when the park opens.

On the medical front, Trixie is officially out of quarantine after her biting incident and Boo’s blood test came back with no alarming results though it doesn’t tell us why one of his markers was high.

The Hardest Part of Working From Home

Our cats Boo and Sam snuggle in my lap as I sit in my chair on May 17, 2021. Original: IMG_6123.jpg

For the past year or so while I go into the office during the day I can usually finish up my tasks from home. Depending on how deep of a sleep they are in the brothers often greet me at the door, Sam is always eager to jump into my lap once I get settled and sometimes Boo as well. The hardest part of working from home can be finding room in the lap for the laptop.

The Desert Family

Our cat Boo rests on the back of the futon in our living room on May 8, 2021. Original: _CAM1594.arw

Last night when it cooled down enough to open the windows I logged off work and moved from the living room to my office. As I was getting my things together I noticed Sam was at the top of the cat tree, wide-eyed, staring out the window. I went over and realized a javelina was eating mesquite seeds out front so I turned off the lights and Sam and I settled in to watch it.

A few more of various ages came wandering in so I went to get Boo and Trixie and we all settled in to watch the desert family though one of us couldn’t see so well in the dark. Eventually two adults sauntered in with five adorable babies in tow. Trixie was in front of me next to the screen so she had a front row seat when an adult brought two of the babies right below the window. She stayed quiet but from her body language I was a little worried she might explode.

The javelina spent a lot of time in the yard, from beginning to end 20 or 30 minutes, so fun to see and hear, at least for all of us but Boo. He got scared and ran off when one of the adults sprinted across the yard, so he wasn’t there when the babies arrived. I could tell he was nearby though as when the little things started making a ruckus the darkness growled behind me. He was already a little stressed as he hates the ceiling fan in my office, I held out turning it on for as long as I could but it’s gotten too warm to not run it, so sadly for now I’ve lost my tuxedo sidekick. Here’s hoping he gets used to it as I loved having him tucked in beside me all winter.

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.

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 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.