Insert Annual Blessing Here

The new year is supposed to be a time of change. Hanging a new calendar. Making resolutions to improve oneself.

What we often forget is that it’s also a time to renew the old.

“Auld Lang Syne” is, after all, a reminder to cherish what’s behind us–those who have passed, those places we won’t visit again–and drink to their memories. It’s not an invocation of what’s coming.

So take a moment today for your own auld lang syne. So what if it’s a day late. Even a few days, weeks, or months don’t matter. As long as you keep those memories, they’ll keep you.

New Years is also a time to renew traditions. That song is one, certainly, but so are spending time with friends and making new friends.

There are personal traditions as well. Our original Backyard Bowl is long gone, but Maggie continues to put out food every day. That’s a tradition that goes back to at least 2013.

Meet G’aw.

He’s the most reliable visitor to the current Backyard Bowl; most days he’s waiting when Maggie takes the food out.

We continue our tradition of naming visitors by appearance. He’s Grey tabby and white, but that’s unwieldy for daily use, and the acronym is unpronounceable, even to one who grew up reading science fiction about aliens whose names generally lacked vowels. So, one quick apostrophization, and “G’aw” he has become.

Let me clear: we have no plans to lure him inside. Indeed, we continue to make plans so as to not lure him indoors, or even into the catio.

He’s acceptably friendly: he says hello from a cautious distance; waits for Maggie to come inside before approaching the bowl; and hangs around in the yard when he’s done eating, but quickly abandons even the best patches of sun if he hears us come outside. That’s about right.

Old tradition, new friend.

Happy New Year. May it be better than the last one; indeed, as the old-and-possibly-faux Irish proverb has it, may it be better than you deserve. Because really, at this point, I don’t think there’s anybody reading this blog who deserves the kind of years we’ve been getting lately.

Post-Thanksgiving Turkey

The day after Thanksgiving, we had a…well, “invasion” implies conflict, and there wasn’t any. “Visitation” is a bit better, but it suggests an element of social interaction that was entirely lacking. Let’s go with “encounter”.

The day after Thanksgiving, we had an encounter with some of the neighbors.
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They spent half an hour or so wandering around the backyard.
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We almost never see them on our side of the fence, yet there they were.
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Sachiko peeked out the window to see if there were any birds at the feeders and promptly hid behind my legs.

At that, she comported herself more bravely than the rest of the security force, who apparently all clocked out and went upstairs to have a little lie-down on the bed.

They left as quietly and peacefully as they had arrived.

Was it a celebration of having survived another Thanksgiving? A wake for those who didn’t? A plea for some leftover stuffing and gravy?

Perhaps it was all of these.

Unhappiness

No cute picture this week.

Sorry, I’m not feeling the toe bean love. Or the sleeping cat, cat in a small space, or, indeed, any other cuteness.

A family of coyotes–mother and four or five pups–has moved into the neighborhood, and is hanging around the area outside our fence.

All the cats have gone into hiding. Hell, even the damn Trash Pandas have made themselves scarce.

We’re doing our best to annoy the coyotes into leaving, making loud noises and throwing pine cones when we see them. And we’ve moved the Backyard Bowl to a somewhat more protected location. The felines sneak out when things are quiet, grab some food, and vanish back into hiding again.

We saw MM late Wednesday night.

Tuxie hasn’t been seen in more than a week. This is not good.

We’re clinging to the hope that someone else saw his charm and charisma, and has given him the indoor home he’s been angling for. It could be. We know he’s been visiting more people than us, and the last time we saw him was a couple of days before the first reports of coyote sightings.

But it’s hard to maintain optimism, especially knowing he’s got a microchip registered to us. Surely if someone had adopted him, they’d have taken him to the vet for a checkup, right?

Or maybe someone spotted the coyote and gave Tuxie some temporary shelter. That could be too.

And there are still other cats around. We’ve caught glimpses of a black cat from across the street and an unknown black and white critter.

But they’re not our buddy Tuxie.

So, no pictures today. Maybe next week.

Tuxie Beans

Tuxie has been very friendly of late, sometimes preferring cuddles to food. And he’s developed a taste for a tummy skritch–a taste he shares with Rufus, by the way.

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Pardon the blurriness. Even when he’s getting the attention he wants, he’s still rather wiggly.

But check out those handsome, two-toned pink and black toe beans.

Odd Couple

Tuxie and MM have, for the most part, arrived at a workable arrangement. There’s always some jockeying for position when the food bowls go down, but after a minute or so, they settle down to the serious business of eating.
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To be quite honest, we’ve arrived at the point where they spend more time shoving each other aside to get petted before they eat.
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It’s a bit awkward, but quite endearingly cute.

Adaptation

As I’ve mentioned, it has been cooling off around here lately. Not to the ridiculous extremes everywhere else in the country, but enough to be noticeable.

Tuxie and MM have been evaluating different approaches to maximizing sunlight acquisition and retention.

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Sharing body heat, in other words. MM has decided that Tuxie makes a darn good hot water bottle.

Though some positions work better than others.

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We’re pretty sure she wound up with a stiff neck after trying to sleep this way.

But it’s nice to see how nature adapts to changing conditions.

Back On the Fence

Perhaps you remember that we had to replace our backyard fence last spring. If your memory of my meanderings goes back far enough, you might even remember that MM was very fond of the old fence.

It took a long time for her to warm up to the new one.

Oh, she spent plenty of time supervising its construction, and she certainly appreciates the fact that there’s more space between fence and ground at the back of the yard, so she can get in and out without mussing her fur.

But as a platform to display her inarguable superiority? That took longer.

The wait, however, is over.
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Honestly, that doesn’t look like a comfortable perch. There is an MM-sized flat surface there–a vertical 4×4–but I’d have thought the cold metal of the hinge would be more of a deterrent.

Perhaps she figures total air superiority over Tuxie, the deer, the possums, and the trash pandas is worth a little discomfort.

Those Guys Again

All is not sweetness and light around the Backyard Bowl.

We put the food out for the cats, and we don’t particularly begrudge the occasional possum who drops by. They’re generally polite and usually only take a couple of mouthfulls of krunchiez.

Then there are the trash pandas.

They are not polite. They track mud in the water bowl. They empty the bowls and then shove them around looking for more food. And they’re arrogant. The stroll around and give us dirty looks as though they’re the property owners and we’re a bunch of ragged squatters. And the language they use! Well!

So it’s a great day when we catch them off guard and force them to tree themselves.

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There was much rejoicing that day.