Kitties, a dog, a sunset, and a bird

We missed Caturday again. Life gets strange. We’re making up for it this time, with kitties, dog, sunset AND a beautiful bird. Aside from still adjusting to graveyard shifts, we’re prepping for a short move. For whatever reason, to be designated as an RV park (as opposed to a trailer park), no one can stay beyond 6 mos. without moving out for a day (two nights). It’s a bit of a PITA, but our little abode will be towed out to the street behind the park for that time, after which we’ll return for another 6 mos. It’s worth it.

I can’t believe that it’s been almost 6 mos. already. We haven’t killed each other living in such a small space. In fact, we’re adapting well. I’m still getting rid of stuff. I avoid buying anything new (other than food stuffs) without seriously thinking about it first. I’ve done odd things like dump my two pyrex measuring cups and replace them with a plastic 2-cup measuring cup. Enough little things like that and it really lightens the load. I think the only glass or ceramic items we have left are our coffee cups, the Melitta coffee pot, and the cat food dishes. We no longer buy in bulk, except for the canned cat food. Both of us are still MUCH happier than we were before.

The kitties are happier too. In spite of adding a dog to the mix, they have adapted and learned to relax a lot more than before. Even though trailer walls are anything but soundproof, it’s much more quiet here. They like that. Speaking of kitties, here they are. Miss Jenny’s pics are a short series. They aren’t perfect photos, but we thought they were funny.

Tito: Yes, I'm slowly shredding the window dressings. Is it a problem?

Tito: Yes, I’m slowly shredding the window dressings. Is it a problem?

Miss Jenny

Hmmm?

Hmmm?

What?

What?

Noooooo, you don't say

Noooooo, you don’t say

HAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHA!

Thath thilly

Thath thilly

Titanescu: Hungry eyes. I would say evil eyes, but he wasn't on nip at the time.

Titanescu: Hungry eyes. I would say evil eyes, but he wasn’t on nip at the time.

Miss Pepita: Gimme the cookie! Gimme the cookie!

Miss Pepita: Gimme the cookie! Gimme the cookie!

After sleeping and listening to some rain off and on, we went off to watch the sunset last night.

The nearby hills were aglow

The nearby hills were aglow

Beautiful color

Beautiful color

While watching the sunset, we saw a pair of birds hunting. They were not as large as the hawks I’m used to watching and their color was different. However, they are incredibly beautiful and manage a very graceful hover before diving on their prey. I didn’t know what they were so I asked some friends on FB and was told that they were White-tailed Kites.

White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite

I went off to find a vid that would show the beautiful hovering and found two videos by a local documentary maker named Alex Burke. Both were filmed in the East Bay hills and are a joy to watch. Both vids end with the Kite eating its kill, so if that bothers you just avoid the very end. :)


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Caturday lost

Caturday got away from us. Lastech pulled a 12 hour graveyard shift followed by hauling Pepita to the Contra Costa Animal Shelter to get her shots and license. She’s legal now. However, after standing in line for a couple of hours, we were pooped when we got home and we slept for the rest of the day.

So now for the news. Pepita is now ours, and we, hers! We can take her places where she can safely interact with other doggies. As for Titanescu, as Lastech posted, he purrs! It’s a silent purr, but if you lay your hand on his neck or head, you can feel the faint flutter. I’m thrilled as today was the first time I got to experience this. Tito and Pepi have played a bit of slappy paws. Pepi is a tad too exuberant though. She’ll calm down eventually. Tito kind of likes her, I think.

Tito milking the "cute" moment

Tito milking the “cute” moment

Beautiful Miss Jenny

Beautiful Miss Jenny

As Pepita "yips and yaps and yodels" Titanescu mutters to Tito "собака мудак" (dog is asshole), To which Tito replies suavely: "you might well think so, dear Marshal, but I couldn't possibly comment."

As Pepita “yips and yaps and yodels” Titanescu mutters to Tito “собака мудак” (dog is asshole), To which Tito replies suavely: “you might well think so, dear Marshal, but I couldn’t possibly comment.”

Pepita making friends in the line at the shelter.

Pepita making friends in the line at the shelter.

And now for the original (and best) Francis Urqhart of House of Cards


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Lime Ridge Open Space

I’ve posted a couple of photos from the Lime Ridge Open Space, but they didn’t really show enough. Here are a few more photos to give a better scale. This ridge runs from the base of Mt. Diablo (about 5 miles away) to less than a mile from our place. As close as it is, we don’t walk there as there’s no rail crossing nearby. As a result, we drive to the parking lot about two miles away. The trails are used by runners and dog walkers as well as anyone wanting a bit of fresh air. In the summer and fall, the grass is brown and there are cracks in the ground here and there. Given the drought, it’s worse than usual. I’m hoping I’ll have some pretty green pics come spring. :)

Pepita aka Stick Dog. She picks one up and carries it for a short while, then drops it to pick up another one. She'll go through a dozen sticks on one walk

Pepita aka Stick Dog. She picks up one and carries it for a short while, then drops it to pick up another one. She’ll go through a dozen sticks on one walk

Some of the trails run behind houses

Some of the trails run behind houses

Mapache! We found this carving along side the trail

Mapache! We found this carving along side the trail

Just a tree on the ridge

Just a tree on the ridge

The contrail over the ridge was interesting too

The contrail over the ridge was interesting too

The cloud between the contrail and the ridge looks like bird or butterfly wings

The cloud between the contrail and the ridge looks like bird or butterfly wings

Looking back at Mt. Diablo

Looking back at Mt. Diablo

View from the trail

View from the trail

Looking West from the top of the ridge. This is only a mile from home

Looking West from the top of the ridge. This is only a mile from home

Another view from the top

Another view from the top

Heading back down.

Heading back down.

That hike covered a bit over two miles. It’s good for the dog and even better for me. I’m finally losing some weight and in the right way. :)


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Caturday: Furbutts, rain and walks

Happy Caturday everyone. This week has been interesting. The furbutts are not yet integrated and suffered a mild setback of sorts. We had a bit of rain and we’re getting out for better walks thanks to Pepita.

Well about that furbutt integration setback… Miss Pepita was worn out from a long walk, so she was in her crate and minding her business. Tito decided he wanted to play and threw his paws around Titanescu in an attempt to wrestle. Did he smack Tito and tell him to fark off? Nope. The little tyrant wrenched free and marched over very calmly to Pepi’s crate and smacked her on the nose. He’s an a$$hole, after all. He didn’t use claws, but he upset her. The other two are getting closer and closer to her. This episode set them back a bit as she’s more nervous now.

We got a bit of rain this week. It wasn’t much, but it was so nice, we took the dog for a walk at Lime Ridge. It’s a hilly ridge that runs from the base of Mt. Diablo all the way out to where we are. It’s been too warm and sunny to walk there much. With the clouds and rain, it was great. The weather is starting to cool, so we’ll head out there more often. The walks are great as it lets Pepi use up a lot of energy and it gives the pointy eared people a break. It’s not hurting me either as I seem to be shrinking. It’s a combo of better food (more veggies and salad) and more exercise.

Latech and Pepita in the rain with Mt. Diablo in the background. Distances are deceiving. It's only 5 miles to the road up the mountain.

Latech and Pepita with Mt. Diablo in the background. Distances are deceiving. It’s only 5 miles to the road up the mountain.

While not a real clear pic, we found a Great Blue Heron hunting bugs and gophers.

While not a real clear pic, we found a Great Blue Heron hunting bugs and gophers.

This is the same trail the next day. The clouds were beautiful

This is the same trail the next day. The clouds were beautiful

Here are the pointy eared people. I managed to get some pics, but needed to tweak them a bit artistically to make them presentable. :)

Tito watching the birds

Tito watching the birds

Miss Jenny keeping dad's side of the bed warm

Miss Jenny keeping dad’s side of the bed warm

Titanescu looking like his normal stink-eyed-tyranical self.

Titanescu looking like his normal stink-eyed-tyranical self.

Pepita with a stick on the Lime Ridge trail

Pepita with a stick on the Lime Ridge trail

And now for a delightfully happy bird and dog


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Caturday: Miss Pepitonescu

They are slowly, very slowly becoming ONE: Miss Pepitonescu, the sixteen legged wonder.

I suspected Tito wants to be Pepita’s boyfriend, but the little stunt he pulled earlier this week was a surprise. At some point in the afternoon, we let Pepita out of her crate to go for a walk. Out came Tito who must have sneaked inside when we left the gate open during the previous walk…

Tito shortly after his release from the cage of doom

Tito shortly after his release from the cage of doom

Rudha-an here: Tito was stuck in the crate with Pepi for at least an hour. LOL Poor kitty. There was no bloodshed, of course. I suspect that there was a lot of licking though.

As for Titan, he’s being Titan by rubbing against the crate, causing Pepita to growl and bark at him. Naturally, he hisses at her when she does, but not in caps like before.

Titanescu following sunbeams

Titanescu following sunbeams

Overall however, there’s much less barking and hissing going on. So to recap, Titan and Jenny spend as much time on the bed with us as they like and for Jenny that means actually more time than ever before. The environment is healthier for all of them: they can lay in the sunshine coming through the screen door or through the skylight and feel air moving through their fur. Titan in particular absolutely loves this.

Jenny sharing a quiet moment with dad.

Jenny sharing a quiet moment with dad.

Pepita is coming along, remaining quiet for hours now between bouts of puppyness…She’s a very sweet little creature and I think Tito, as usual, sensed it first among the other cats.

The human crew is still exhausted from all the extra exercise, walkies at all hours with Pepita, adapting to my working nights again and all the unbearably cute and draining puppy love we’re getting.
Woof.

Pepita loves to go for a ride

Pepita loves to go for a ride

Rudha-an again: Pepi has not yet had an accident inside the trailer. She’s very good. She spends time in the crate, but she also spends a LOT more time out of it. I still keep her on a leash indoors, but that’s so that she doesn’t try to chase the kitties. today, we left her in the crate and made our first foray away together without her. We sat outside to listen. She cried a bit, but settled down quickly. When we got home, she was napping peacefully.

And now, “Jules and Jim” with two cats and a snail.


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Caturday: Kits, a dog and a singing fish

Yes, today we have the kitties, the new doggie and yes, even a singing fish. LOL

Things are moving along in lives of cats and dogs. It will take a while, but I’m teaching Pepita to be nice to the kitties. It’s slow, but she’s learning. The kitties are showing less and less fear of her. Titanescu has already smacked her a couple of times. No claws as near as I can tell. She’s a tad skeered of him. We got a bit of rain this week. We didn’t get much here, but it rained on the fires which is good. Now we’re having another heatwave. Lastech is also adjusting to graveyard shift, so that’s a joy. I don’t mind the shift. It just takes a bit of adjustment is all.

Tito is still looking annoyed about his diet

Tito is still looking annoyed about his diet

Miss Jenny being watchful

Miss Jenny being watchful

Titanescu having a snuggle with dad

Titanescu having a snuggle with dad

And of course, the dog. The most amazing thing is that in the two weeks she has been here, she hasn’t peed or poopied inside the trailer…knock on wood. She also has a much better harness.

Pepita says it's HER froggie toy

Pepita says it’s HER froggie toy

And now for that singing fish


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Every puddle a book, every turd a story

The Whizzers of Oz…
Puddles and turds, oh my…

Such explorers dogs are… Every time the red heads leave the Endurance for a walk, Pepita dashes out, reading the neighborhood nose to ground. Someone aptly coined the expression “reading the newspaper” and that’s exactly what she does.

Reading the paper

Reading the paper

Hmmm. A middle-aged shepherd mix with a diet slightly too high on protein, suffering from abandonment anxiety and an imperceptible limp in the right hind leg, stopped right here 6 days ago. His owner feeds him table scraps at times, real refried beans mashed in bacon grease, not the canned stuff. But the dog food itself is mostly dried stuff, from a poorly sealed bag making it too soft.

All this and more from a desiccated turd on a sun burnt patch of grass. Sherlock Holmes got nothing on this hound. Much like people have done on the Internet, dogs who never see one another communicate without really interacting, but absolutely need their olfactory landscape like we do good books and foods.

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At the Lime Ridge open space, Pepita stopped dead in her tracks. Could it be? This patch of dead grass around this fire hydrant..! Oh the rich, full characters, their histories,diets and desires! The stories may well be familiar, but they offer all the comfort and affection of a certain edition of “the Count of Monte Cristo” with just a touch of excitement.

You must remember this,
Louis Armstrong was misinformed,
A piss is more than just a piss…

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Caturday: Gimme shelter

Something a little different for this edition of Caturday, wherein we transform the Endurance into more of a shelter…

Well, we weren’t ready, really. We figured that once the crew of the Endurance diminished through -ahem- natural attrition (old age), we could consider the addition of a canine member to the 26 foot craft. Naturally, life works on a different schedule. I was at work a few days ago when I heard dispatch over the radio directing people to an area East of the property pronto. I was third to arrive and found out someone had disposed of a puppy in a dumpster. Yeah, that was about as bad as it sounds.

The infamous recycling dumpster

The infamous recycling dumpster

Whatever their reasons might have been, this was on Labor Day and the trash was going to be picked up early, so it’s not hard to imagine what might have happened if someone had not reported seeing it happen from a distance and called us when they did.

The three of us debated what to do for about six minutes. Four minutes in, the question was who does the pup go home with? Texts were sent, calls placed, and I drew the short straw. Rode the motorcycle thirty miles back to the Endurance, picked up Rudha-an and the Lander, drove back to work and picked up the scared little beastie. The nugget, as we got to call her at first, is a pretty healthy looking Daschund-Beagle mix with a red coat.

The Nugget, as we called her at that point

The Nugget, as we called her at that point

First thing we ordered was a crate, so she and the catonauts could walk around without… Cross-cultural misshaps. A harness and leash allow us to take her for walks, and on those days when temperatures rise above 100 degrees, we pile up in the Lander for a short drive to our local arboretum.

Yes, this is Rudha-an and the pooch at the arboretum

Yes, this is Rudha-an and the pooch at the arboretum

There, the nugget can romp on the shady patches of grass, track through dead leaves and all that good stuff while we keep an eye out for snakes and other dogs. We also started basic obedience training, especially since we found out at the vet that she is neither spayed nor chipped.
After that, we had to find her a name and settled on Pepita, the “little pumpkin seed”, and on those days when the yipping and rambunctiousness get to be a bit much, PITA for short.

Pepita taking a rest after going for a walk

Pepita taking a rest after going for a walk

Naturally, this has been somewhat of a shock to the system for the pointy eared people, who originally executed a strategic retreat under the couch.
By now, they spend more time lounging in view, on the back of the couch or at a window, and occasionally onto the bed when Pepita is in her crate. Tito is much less disturbed than the other two. He has come as close to withing two feet from the pup despite her growling. Tito moves slowly, isn’t fluffed up and doesn’t tense up in fear when we pick him up. By now he is the one she is most accustomed to seeing, and I think he will be key in bridging “cultures”, our ambassador Tito.

Front to back, Tito, Titanescu, and Miss Jenny

Front to back, Tito, Titanescu, and Miss Jenny

Despite the original protests (Attica! Attica! Attica!) all the cats are managing to eat, drink and continue to use the litter box. As for Pepita, she hasn’t had an “accident” indoors, managing to do her business during one of her walks.

This will take time, just as the cats were still getting used to life in the trailer, but we can cautiously say so far, so good.

Miss Jenny and Titanescu having a snuggle

Miss Jenny and Titanescu having a snuggle

Tito spent a couple hours sleeping under covers in bed with me yesterday, while Jenny parked in her spot on the pillows between my head and the wall.

Titanescu comes out more often as well, but wants nothing to do with “собака” (the dog) yet. She barks, he hisses. Still, “war is more than just a bark away” at this point…


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John Muir’s farmhouse in Martinez, CA

I’m one of those people who posts or more often re-posts pictures of beautiful scenery on Facebook, from National Parks to gardens and villages in bucolic settings. In fact these pictures are everywhere to be found, from web pages to commercials, because truth be told we can’t get enough. They are just about as universal as John Muir’s name and yet, many people do not connect it to the man and his legacy. Maybe it is this familiarity with the name that is partly to blame for this ignorance.

John Muir

John Muir

John Muir's home located in Martinez, CA. It was built by his father-in-law, Dr. John Strentzel

John Muir’s home located in Martinez, CA. It was built by his father-in-law, Dr. John Strentzel

I read yet another article today about oceans’ levels rising as a result of climate change, which included two videos depicting such changes as Icelandic glaciers melting and oceans’ temperature changes over the course of the last fifteen years. I’ve got a pocket French dictionary somewhere that I bought almost exactly forty years ago. Fifteen years. Some social mores don’t evolve that fast.

In the midst of one of the cruelest fire seasons, and before another El Nino reshapes the aftermath, I am still  optimistic about what conservation efforts at every level will achieve. Almost 120 tears ago outside his house in Martinez, Muir planted a Sequoia sapling which has been suffering from a vascular disease caused by a fungus. But while it may eventually perish, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive successfully cloned it to ensure its re-incarnation when the time comes.

The giant sequoia (tallest tree) planted by John Muir near his home.

The giant sequoia (tallest tree in photo) planted by John Muir near his home.

The same goes for great ideas, great notions such as those Muir worked hard at expressing. I think one of his greatest notions had to do with his own path. He chose to do what he loved and became a major voice for conservancy, heard well beyond these borders. He could well have been successful exploring industrial pursuits and accumulated wealth, but ultimately his chosen works benefited many more people, in ways some haven’t yet discovered.

Rudha-an here is a slideshow of the rest of the site.


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Caturday: learning how to cat

Miracles of miracles, Titanescu continues to grace us (occasionally and when the stars are properly aligned) with grooming and purrs. It’s a low sound, somewhat uneven and with breaks in-between, an unfamiliar language to him like broken English.

You can hear it in the evening mostly when ambient noise is low, making  me wonder if he manages to purr now and then throughout the day without us hearing. It’s so quiet you can’t feel it as you pet him. Although truth be told, you have to pet Titanescu very lightly. And only in certain spots. The rest of him is a mine field.

But he does like to rub his cheeks on hands and fingers, even grabbing a hand with a surprisingly strong paw to do so. On a more serious note, we are watching him very closely for potential signs of dementia: the other night, he sat on the table where Rudha-an was working on TARS (her laptop), when without warning, cobra-like, he lunged twice and bit her head. Why? No reason. What movie is playing through his head?

And hey, here’s something else he’s discovered: how to be extra annoying in the morning demanding noms. He’s found a hollow partition next to Rudha-an’s pillow set, and he hits it repeatedly with his (again: surprisingly strong) paw making it sound like someone was pounding at the trailer…
Whatever is going on, that cat has real style. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Titanescu attempting to do the sexy stretch

Titanescu attempting to do the sexy stretch

Miss Jenny

Miss Jenny

Tito

Tito


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