That’s How They Make Diamonds

A quick note on yesterday’s Mariners’ game: apparently the kid, better known as Andrew Moore, doesn’t have a problem with pressure. Seven innings, six hits, three runs, four strikeouts, and no walks. Not bad. Not bad at all. Welcome to the big leagues.

Not so much so for Max Povse who also made his MLB debut last night, coming on in relief for Moore: two-thirds of an inning, four hits, three runs, one strikeout. At least he didn’t walk anyone either. Hopefully he’s got that out of his system and he’ll settle down in his next appearance.

Anyway, the Ms are a game over .500 for the first time this season, in sole possession of second place in the AL West–12.5 games behind Houston.

The Mariners had excellent baseball weather. Really. IMNSO, a high in the low seventies and clear skies is just about perfect.

It wasn’t that nice here. Our high was 99. That was outside. Inside, upstairs where I hang out–because that’s where my computer is–it was hotter.

You know who else hangs out upstairs? Rufus.

Do you know what happens to cats when it’s hot?

Their bones turn into jelly, and you wind up with furry puddles of feline scattered around the floor.

Rufus, he’s no dummy. He found a spot directly in front of the air conditioner, and he spent the day like this:
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Yes, I made sure he was breathing before I took the picture. Just to be certain.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler. I can’t wait.

Neither can Rufus.

High Drama

The drama and excitement is non-stop around here, folks. Consider this scene Maggie captured a few days ago.

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Something has Yuki fascinated. So fascinated he hasn’t even noticed the stray hair on his nose. The stray hair that will shortly cause him to sneeze so violently that his tail, normally curled at the end, unwinds to lie straight for nearly four seconds!

But who’s that lurking in the background?

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Why, it’s Rhubarb, carefully disclaiming all knowledge of where that orange hair came from, much less how it found its way to Yuki’s nose…

Meanwhile, out in the backyard,

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MM continues to prove that Carroll’s Alice was a remarkably unobservant young lady.

Hard Luck Lady

Poor Sachiko’s had a rough time of it lately.

In recent weeks, she’s been assaulted by the vicious spinning thing…
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Pummeled by the evil pile of boxes…
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And eaten alive by the the dreadful green monster.
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Fortunately, as the smallest cat in the house, she’s well-practiced in being put-upon. She’s kept it all in perspective.
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A short nap later, no more than three or four hours long, she emerged from the belly of the beast, none the worse for the experience, and ready to face whatever fresh disasters the world has in store for her.

They’re Here!

I didn’t remember ordering anything, but there the box was. Being no fool, I let the security detail check it out. Once they assured me there was nothing in it that required their attention (translation: no catnip), I opened it.
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Yup. Author’s copies of The RagTime Traveler arrived safely before the release date.

Naturally, I needed a couple of pictures for posterity.

Rhubarb and Yuki were properly awed.
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Cuteness Overdose

Into every life some kittens must fall…
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Meet Fortitude and Patience.

Yes, I know those names traditionally go the other way around. But try telling that to the furbeasts. Getting a picture of them in the same place at the same time and not moving wasn’t easy. No way was I going to sacrifice the photo op by trying to get them to exchange places.

No, we’re not theirs. We’ve said it before: our limit is three five six seven. Mr. Fort and Ms. Nickname-to-be-determined are the new feline overlords of our friends Eric and Beth.

Patience is the brains of the outfit. She’s the one who leads their voyages of exploration and who figures out how toys work.
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Of course, her ambition does sometimes lead her into territory where she probably shouldn’t go.
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Despite what this next picture might suggest, Fortitude is no more likely than his sister to stay still very long. That said, as the team’s muscle, he does burn a lot of energy, and he’s likely to go from flying across the floor to snoring before he even comes to a halt.
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He is a bit more photogenic than his sister. She’s handicapped by her all-black coloration. He not only has those lovely leopard spots, but also the white blob at the tip of his tail and the cute pink toe-pads.

But they’re both cuties, and we’re delighted to welcome them to our extended family. (And for those of you keeping track, yes, they are rescue kitties.)

Beth, Eric, feel free to put links to your photo collections of the kids in the comments.

Lifestyles of the Furry Set

Rufus’ socialization and integration continue.
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He’s still not really comfortable with any of the other cats, but as long as they’re not openly antagonistic, he’s willing to live, let live, and sniff butts.

* Yes, my office floor does need vacuuming. That’s one bit of auctorial procrastination I’ve been procrastinating on.

Which means he’s mostly getting along with everyone but Watanuki, who continues to earn the epithet “Mr. Thunk”* every day. Even there, however, relations are improving. ‘Nuki mostly confines himself to chasing Rufus up the stairs and then polishing the already-empty food bowl. Rufus, for his part, regards ‘Nuki with caution, but little fear.

* A portmanteau of “thug” and “punk”.

And not everything is going ‘Nuki’s way. Sachiko has taken over his traditional role as “Lurker Under the Covers”.
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She’s been remarkably resistant to his efforts to chase her off the bed. But then, she’s never been especially intimidated by him. She’s been trying to chew his ears off since she was a kitten.

Watanuki’s response to the disarrangement of his routine has been to declare his intention to run away to sea and become a pirate.

I pointed out that cats aboard ship are expected to work. His response, delivered with impressively lofty tones and deep snottiness?
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“Nonsense. I shall be a figurehead.”

I had to admit that he’d be a good one. He’s got the attitude and the pose down. I asked him how he felt about the ship’s bow smashing into a wave while he was on duty.

His answer was largely unprintable, but hinted that he doesn’t believe the ocean would dare drench him.

Movin’ On

Our catio guest–see last week’s post–has departed, more or less on schedule.

I say “more or less” because we decided to give him a couple of extra days in the resort. It wasn’t that big a deal. Tuxie was an easy guest, unlike MM when she had her surgery. Not quite as mellow as GT/Rufus, perhaps, but then, nobody is.

The weather was hot after his operation. A couple of days toward the beginning of the week set or came close to setting high temperature records.

Didn’t faze¬†Tuxie a bit. He spent most of the days sprawled on the cool foam pads.
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He was much more active after dark.
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Hang on, let me give you a closer look.
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I think he was meditating, though I wouldn’t swear to that.

By the way, note the odd position of his left hind leg. That’s not a side effect of the surgery. He’s sat like that for years. It seems to be a neighborhood thing; we’ve seen Rufus and MM sitting with a similarly-extended leg as well.

MM couldn’t wait to leave. Tuxie was in rather less of a hurry. He strolled out of the catio and buried his nose in the bowl of food we had put out for him. When he finished eating, he moseyed his way down the desk stairs, sauntered across the yard, and ambled off on his rounds.

Nor has he been unsettled at dinner time.
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MM is always in a hurry to make sure I fill the bowls. Tuxie figures I’ll get it done eventually, and there will be plenty of time for him to get on his feet–and he’s right.

Another Guest

We have a catio guest!
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Involuntary and hopefully of strictly limited duration, I hasten to add.

Way, way back last July, when Rufus–called “GT” at the time–moved into our garage for what we expected would be a short visit, I said “Once everything settles down and they [Fix Our Ferals] reopen, Tuxie will be paying them a visit.”

“Settles down.” It is to laugh. But it has gotten a little quieter around here, and FOF is reopening, so…

Tuxie’s appointment is Sunday morning. We wanted to make sure he didn’t miss it, so we snagged him Tuesday afternoon and moved him into quarters on the deck.

I suggested he think of the time not as pre- and post-op, but as an extended vacation. He doesn’t seem convinced.

He spends most of his time lounging around and complaining.
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Mind you, that’s basically how he spends every day. And to be fair, I should note that the previous photo shows him mid-yawn, not mid-yowl.

Tuxie is a bit skinnier than we’d like, but two meals a day should help with that.

And we really, really hope that he’s not FIV-positive, because that would really give us a difficult decision to make. Realistically, the Rufus solution is not on the table. Of course, it wasn’t on the table last August either.

But be that as it may, at least Tuxie will get to spend a week or so in a luxurious retreat with catered meals and plenty of attention.

He doesn’t seem too unhappy about that.
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As Excuses Go…That’s a Pretty Good One

Writers are justly famous for our ability to procrastinate.

But–do you want to hear a secret? Okay, come a little closer so I can whisper–the truth is we’re actually no better at it than anyone else. We just document it better. Because writing is what we do.

And we’ve been at it for a long time. How long? Well, Excuse for Not Writing Number 1 is “Sharpening my charred stick.”

Technology has made some changes. In many parts of the world, Number 2,745 (“Washing the dishes”) has been largely replaced by Number 68,117 and 68,118 (“Loading the dishwasher” and “Emptying the dishwasher”).

At this point, many writers do it more because it’s a tradition than because they feel any deep personal need to procrastinate.

There’s something of a thrill in extending a tradition.

I speak from experience. I’ve just been notified that I’ve had an excuse added to the list.

Official Excuse for Not Writing Number 237,630 is “Rufus demanded a tummy rub.”

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I’m proud, honored, and humbled to have made such a significant contribution to my field.

Quota

One of the main reasons why the ASPCA and other animal welfare groups recommend Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) over euthanasia in reducing feral feline populations is that feral colonies are rarely isolated.

As with any wild animals, population will increase to roughly that of the environment’s carrying capacity. Removing cats from the colony, rather than fixing and returning them, simply lowers the population to the point where the local habitat has a surplus of resources. And then cats from surrounding areas will typically move in, and the population will rise back to the local maximum.

Since we’ve adopted Rufus, we’ve begun to see this phenomenon playing out.

Meet Bunter.
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Maggie named him, not for his prowess in wielding a bat, but for the character in Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey stories. As Wikipedia puts it, “Bunter conveys an air of awesome solemn dignity lightened at rare intervals by an icy sarcasm and an understated but biting criticism.” That sounds about right.

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Our Bunter has been showing up intermittently for a couple of months–and the expression he* turns on us when we interrupt him at the food bowl is the most eloquent icy sarcasm laced with biting criticism I’ve ever seen.

* As usual, in the absence of evidence, I’ve assigned pronouns via coin flip.

MM, of course, has been keeping a close eye on Bunter.
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As queen of the local chaos of cats, it’s her responsibility to pass judgment on the suitability of any would-be immigrants. She’s also drawing on the talents of Ooki Brothers Security in monitoring Bunter’s behavior.
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They naturally take a special interest in tuxedo-clad cats.

Nor is Bunter the only feline who’s been dropping by.

During the February rains, we spotted a new arrival.
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He slipped into the yard when MM and Tuxie weren’t around and checked the food bowls for goodies. After a couple of days, he vanished, and we decided he must have found fault with the environment and moved on.

Until a couple of days ago, when it started raining heavily. Sure enough, as soon as it got wet out, there he was.
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He hasn’t been around long enough to acquire a name. For the moment, we’re using our usual fallback of naming based on appearance. So he’s known as “Somewhat Bedraggled Meezer.” If he sticks around, we’ll need to replace that–or at least shorten it.

MM is on the job, keeping an eye on SBM, though as yet she hasn’t called in the Ooki brothers or their assistant.
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It’s too soon to say whether either of our visitors will become regulars–though we do have another bowl ready for deployment if it’s needed–but the queen seems to have given tentative approval to both of them. Or, to be more precise, we haven’t heard any debates in the yard, nor have we seen any pointy politics.