Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's Posy, Bitches!

I thought it might be time to check in with Miss Posy Fern, mainly because although she is a very hard cat to photograph, I finally got a good picture of her the other day:

She has pretty, very light-blue eyes, but she tends to squint or close them when a camera is pointed in her direction.  Or I'll manage to get her to keep her eyes open, but there will be something like a toilet in the background.  Oh dear:

But anyway, Posy is doing well.  I took her to the vet for a check-up in December, and the vet was very pleased to see that after her teeth surgery last March, Posy had gained over a pound.  She had been underweight before -- probably because her bad teeth kept her from eating as much as she should -- but is now a healthy plumpie.

We keep the attic door closed mostly, but Posy loves to run up there when the door opens.  It's a very sunny attic, and at the moment it is cluttered in a way that Posy loves, with all sorts of comfy hiding spots, like the one below:

Posy is a good "found object" bed maker, and there is nothing she likes better than when we do not hang up our clothes right away.  Apparently a dirty laundry bed is a luxury.  Who knew.

No doubt she is also trying to blend in in the above picture, and not be spotted by the toddler.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reasons Why Owen Is Crying

There’s a website called Reasons My Son Is Crying and both Sean and I often feel like sending in an Owen entry.  These days it doesn’t take much to set off a tantrum and crying fit, with tears pouring down his face, even though he can turn his mood on a dime and start laughing before the tears have reached his chin.  

What most often makes Owen cry is when we don’t let him go where he wants to go.  He will grab my hand and pull me towards his new spot of choice, which at the moment happens to be in the basement standing in front of Sean’s work bench.  Before this it was the kitchen sink, and before that the attic.  Now that we have had one or two warmer days, in which he spent time outside, he is beginning to add the back or front doors to his tugging repertoire.

The coveted spot in front of Dad's tool bench.

And it must indeed be frustrating to have to rely on the permission of others to do what strikes your fancy.  So I do sympathize.  (Although I also sympathize with me, because really, Owen, sometimes Mommy wants to SIT for a second on the weekend, and not be dragged from room to room by a tiny tyrant!)

And then of course there is the general weekday witching hours from 5-7, which I join at 6:15-ish; and pretty much everything then makes Owen fuss, from putting him in the highchair, to taking him out of the highchair, to not letting him throw his food on the floor or overturn his cup, etc. etc.  It is all a fight, which I believe is also known as The Terrible Twos.
Owen checking to make sure I am following him.

In the meantime, I am getting quite good at keeping my grasp on a 27 pound toddler as he writhes and kicks and screams.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Adventure Aquarium

After intending to do so since January, we finally took Owen to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden last Saturday.  (I had basically been stalling taking him because I couldn’t figure a time when he wouldn’t nap in the car, thus ruining any chance that he would take a normal nap during the day.  And I finally realized that that was rather selfish of me – but oh! that one hour of nap at noon on a Saturday and Sunday is much-needed downtime…).  Anyway, I decided to stop being a schmuck and we packed a diaper bag with diapers and goldfish (a fitting aquarium snack) and drove off.

We arrived about 45 minutes later, and first had to run the gauntlet of pretzel and hotdog carts.  Sean and I snickered at the one that had a sign which said “Don’t be a meanie; buy a wienie!”  But we were both meanies and passed by.  I believe the owner of that cart also had a hotdog hat on.  Owen was very impressed with all the seagulls flying overhead, which I thought boded well for his interest in the fish inside the aquarium.

And he did like the fish, although on the whole I’d say he’ll be a bit more interested in another few months.  He was a little freaked out by the fact that most of the rooms were kept dark so as to better see the glowing tanks.  And he was also just as liable to be pleased with an interesting tile on the floor than the crocodile right in front of him, say.  I think the most fun he had was digging in the mulch with a stick on the way outside to the penguin exhibit.  He was approached there by a cute 2.5 year-old boy and they both companionably dug for a bit, although when the other boy referred to Owen as a “baby”, Owen turned around and looked behind him for the baby the boy must have been talking about.  And Sean reassured him that they were both just two men working in the dirt.

I am a big fan of aquariums in general, and the Adventure Aquarium is a good one – not perhaps as impressive as I remember the big central tank in the Boston Aquarium as being – but good nonetheless.  (I once thought it would be a good idea to take an aquarium and pie tour across America, and still plan to do this one day.  Anyone care to join me?)  I am also excited to return in a few months when they are having a special hippo exhibit, because I love me some hippos!  This aquarium had a lot of pools set up where kids can reach their hands in and touch various creatures—sting rays and starfish and the like.  I got Owen to touch one starfish, but after that he was on to me and clamped his arms tight to his sides.

Afterwards we walked along the Delaware River and admired the views of Philadelphia across it.  And then drove home as Owen napped in the car.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I’m sure you have all been wondering what has been going on with the birds in my backyard?!  Well I’ll tell you:  chaos!  Chaos and ruin.  And that is because a large flock of grackles has moved in and seem in no hurry to ever leave.  There are about forty of them, and they eat ALL THE SEED.  Plus they bully the other birds away from the area—even doves and bluejays.  The other birds come when the grackles temporarily fly off, but it is all very disappointing. 

I googled “backyard bullies” and immediately found sites with ideas of what to do if you have grackles or European starlings or the like.  And the plan which I think I will resort to once my current bags of seed are gone is to offer only safflower seed, instead of the mix of safflower and sunflower which I had been serving.  The grackles don’t like the safflower, whereas the chickadees and titmice and cardinals do.

I’ve even spotted the grackles chasing our cute little woodpeckers from the front suet feeder.  Meanies!  I wish they would head on out to wherever they came from.  Sean calls them crackles, which makes me giggle.  It’s like a cat’s version of the perfect rice krispie treat:  snap, grackles, and pop.

And the grackles are also very noisy.

This morning, we did have a red-winged blackbird at our feeder, which I had never seen in our yard before.  We also have a bird which I have seen many times but can’t identify.  It’s the size of and has the markings of a bluejay (although chubbier) and without the blue.  It’s sort of a khaki/light brown and there even might be a bit of light yellow on it.  Any ideas?  It too really likes the suet.

In the meantime, I’ve come up with two new curses for the day:  May your yard be filled with grackles!  And unrelatedly:  may the person who used the coffee maker before you at work fill the pot with hazelnut coffee.

Sure, he's cute by himself, but times forty?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Owen Has Two Cats

This is what Plum’s life is like nowadays.  He is lying in the sunporch getting his Z’s and D’s all comfy-like:

And then this happens:

Resulting in this face:

O how hard it is to be a cat in Bulldogge Manor!

Owen actually really likes both cats.  Posy is smart and pretty much runs away from him whenever she sees him coming.  Owen has just recently started noticing Posy’s loud meow, and will laugh and then imitate it when he hears it.  He actually does a pretty good Posy.  He’ll then laugh at his own imitation:  cats are funny!

Plum is almost always in the living room or the sunporch if it is warm enough for him, and since Owen spends a lot of his time in the living room, their paths cross often.  Plum is not a fan of children.  He likes my teenage nieces—once they reached the teen years—but kids 1-12 have always elicited slaps from Plum.  And I think an awful lot of those slaps had full claws out.  But oddly, Plum seems quite tolerant of Owen.  Owen will run up to him if Plum is walking around and try to touch his whiskers, and Plum has yet to truly get angry at the boy.  He will usually protest a bit with a few girlish meows, and will slowly meander in the opposite direction, but he doesn’t slap.  I’m sure one day he will, but I have been impressed with his restraint.  Sean has even seen Plum walk up to Owen when Owen was standing in front of the television and rubbed against him a few times in affection.  I think he is getting used to having a little brother.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Water Play Is Endless

One of Owen’s favorite things to do these days is to pull a chair up to the sink and play with the running water.  He likes to run his hands under it, and fill up various cups, and pour them out, and scrub plates with the sponge, etc.  He can do this for a good thirty minutes without tiring.

The negatives are three:  he tends to not understand how to keep the water in the sink; an adult has to stand behind him so he doesn’t fall or step off the chair; and he never wants to end sink time, and has a leg-kicking, arm-thrashing fit when I finally get tired of standing there and remove him from the chair.

Martha tells me that Owen's cousin Josie would have a similar fit when forced to end her water play.  It must be addictive to an 18 monther.  At any rate, here is Owen happy to be in front of the sink once again:

So happy he can't stop moving!

And here he is warming up beforehand:

And wondering if he should splash the camera:

Ha!  That would be funny!

Back to work:

And finally here he is in a later session laughing as he scrubs the counter with a sponge!