Just Pictures

No time to say so much that I’d hoped to say. But Sunday is over now. So just pictures, this time.

differentiate1 020Bugs

differentiate3 003Barney

differentiate2 003-cropBoth

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Cuteness Consequential

A dear friend sent me a video the other day that was off the cuteness-charts. Two little piggies.

I was sorely tempted. Pigs are “whip-smart, affable, and entertaining.”

The only thing is, there is no such thing as a “teacup pig,” suitable for handbag-stuffers à la Paris Hilton. La Paris found about this through direct personal experience. The people who sold hers told her it would stay under twelve pounds.

Look here for a picture of Paris with her little pig. Look here for a picture of her with her fifty-pound pig, one year later.

Also, I heard about Steve and Derek, two guys in Canada who were fed a similar line like that, when they adopted tiny little Esther. She came to them tricked out in a pink tutu and tiara. In fact, though, just like à la Paris only then some, Esther turned out to be no nano-pig. She was quite simply a commercial pig, only just newborn. Esther now weighs in at around 670 pounds and counting.

Now friends, anybody who’s been following our saga over here knows that I myself took Bugsy in on a whim and an impulse, at a time when I knew less than zero about what I was getting myself, and him, into.

Likewise with Steve and Derek.

Steve and Derek’s Esther is now the proud owner of the banner “Esther the Wonder Pig,” and she is every bit of that. She has turned out, as a 670-pound member of the family who shares the house, the kitchen, the bed, the lot, to have transformed Steve and Derek’s lives. The guys are now vegan, they are vigorous proponents of a plant-based diet, and they have still kept ever-expanding Esther in their suburban home near Toronto. (They bathe Esther in the bathtub.) They then launched an indiegogo campaign that raised enough money for them to buy a farm. Now the guys plan on turning the farm into an animal refuge, while at the same time providing Esther with enough real estate for her total pig lifestyle.

Likewise in my own modest way, Bugsy changed my life, too, in a way that’s equally wonderful for me, as my life is now filled with love where before it was not. So I am hardly one to point fingers at anybody who stumbles into animal-parenthood without fully appreciating the big picture.

But I do mourn the piggies who aren’t lucky enough to have Paris and Derek and Steve as parents. Apparently human contact, only, is not really best for pigs and the vet’s article to which I link above recommends that if you are going to do this, you keep two pigs, not just one (although you do have to wonder whether that’s always true, when you see how happy Esther looks). And the so-called nano-pigs can still grow to 100 pounds. The extra-cute ones are more likely to be tiny babies, separated from their mothers too early. The teeny ones still have their umbilical cords attached and, in fact, there’s one clearly visible on the pink guy in the above video.

Plus, zoning regulations classify pigs as livestock. And, pigs are super-strong. Esther tore the door off Steve and Derek’s oven.

And so – of course, as ever with other species that are so cute when they are young – there’s the rescue issue.  You just want to weep, when it comes to what our animal companions have to go through.

I’d have to ask the cats how they’d feel about two 100-pound pigs in the house. I know what Bugs would say.

“No way, javelina.”

Bugs and Barney recently encountered a dragonfly that made no pretense of being little or cute. This one was on steroids.

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Barney: Hey Bugs!  Didn’t you go through something a lot like this once before?

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Bugs: Not interested, Barney. Jurassic Park. Arkansas is Jurassic Park.

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Barney: Too right, mate. Still . . . I might like to get a paw on this one.

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Well . . . whatever.

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The End.

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If Only, Now Too

Lately Bugs has been especially affectionate. He’s developed a strict routine where, once in the morning and just before lights out at night, he comes and makes biscuits on me.

It’s always the same. First he sits near the bed and speaks. I put down what I’m doing and answer. He speaks again. I lie down on my left side, with my left arm extended. Not the right arm. The right arm doesn’t work. It’s got to be the left.

Bugs then hops up, climbs on and over me, arrives at the left bicep, and begins.

He makes biscuits with great intensity.  He purrs constantly. A bead of moisture gathers on his nose, drips off, is replaced by another. And another. And so on.

This lasts about ten minutes and then he’s off, usually abruptly and without any reason I can tell. A bird calls, Barney moves in the other room, no reason at all. Sometimes, though, he turns sideways, collapses into my chest, and falls asleep. I like that especially.

So this morning, at one point while this biscuit-making was going on, I actually lost my sense of myself as separate from Bugs. I merged into his soft furriness, his focus, his intensity.

It was a most wonderful feeling.

I began thinking – yes, of course thinking came back, way before I wanted it to but there you go – I thought if only I had had Bugs when I was a child. If only I had had a chance to luxuriate in this profoundly pleasurable way, with just one beautiful being expressing connection and affection, without judgment or reason or justification or explanation, just doing it. The harshness of my childhood, the barrenness, the frustration, the fury, all this would have been eased, ameliorated. I would have known that life can also be lovely, immensely pleasurable, profoundly consoling.

body1 002Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk writes of how traumatized people can heal their disrupted sleep and digestive patterns, hyperarousal, pain and anxiety, depression and illness, by connecting with support and with the opportunity to ease stress-flooding.  To reset physiological functioning not by talk, but by bringing comfort and well-being to the body so ragged by trauma.

Well — there’s still time.

Where there’s life, there can be healing.

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To life, with cats.

catrun

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Remembering

It took a post from our good blogfriend Here There Be Spiders to remind me that as much as I loved my dad, I have never honored him with a post on the anniversary of his death. Which is today, fourteen years ago.

On his birth, yes, but not on his death.

So this one is for you, Eddie, and also for Spidey’s mother, who died the same day.

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Edward C. Schnee, zichrono l’bracha

september1 003-cropBugs, in formal wear.

september2 001-cropBarney, also in formal wear.

Remembering is a blessing.

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Second Anniversary

Happy Gotcha Day, Barney.

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It’s been two years . . .

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Every day of which I have loved you.

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You’re even OK with Bugs.

play1 (11)Mostly.

play1 (3)catrun

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No Problem Here

It’s a fresh Sunday morning, cool and green. My tears – and a summer rain much like the one that swept through the day Fangie died – seem to have washed away the heaviness of grief. What remains is a tender soreness, the ache of a muscle well used.

I have also been so comforted by those of you who have remembered Fang. We may never have met one another except through this blog, but, still, we can share memories like that. That is just so heartening to me. Thank you so much for that.

So now seems the right time for a photo-essay in a lighter vein. The other day we broke out Kim’s Chateau Dryden Special Reserve Nipatini.

High?  Me?

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Naw.  I drive better when I’ve had a few.

nipatini 003-cropNo really!  Not high!

nipatini 008-cropWell maybe just a little.

nipatini 010-cropI’m fine now.

nipatini 017-cropTime for a rumble.  (Note Barney’s swishing tail.)

nipatini 018Well, maybe not.  We’re both kind of . . . tired.

A problem?  No.  We can take it or leave it.

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Fangie Remembrance Day

I just realized – this may be World Cat Day to the world, but it’s also the day Fang died. Two years ago.

Fang

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For those who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him, here’s my tribute to him.  I still cry, reading it.

Here’s what Fang looks like now.

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  To Fangie.  An excellent boy.

ma-fang
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