Happy Birthday Orlando

It’s Orlando’s birthday today.  He’s twelve years old now, at the upper end of the usual life expectancy for a Maine Coon.

S&Cheese &O

For my dear friends who have been reading this blog for a while  – and especially those of you with good memories – there may be some recall of a post not so very long ago where I noted the decline of my handsome boy as feline dementia took a hold of him.  It’s here if you want to check up on that one.  It’s worth reading just to get a background for what follows.

Not being one to take the common route through life, I started doing my own research into feline dementia and cat health generally after my vet talked to me about the illness, the medication involved, the cost and the inevitable outcome.  I mostly mused on certain things that had been happening with my little fellow’s diet and how I had some inbuilt misgivings about the food I was feeding him.

As a person of the human persuasion I know very well how food affects our general health, how commonly used foodstuffs weaken and poison our systems until disease and discomfort are our constant companions.  I know from my own experience that eliminating certain foodstuffs and processed foods can result in disease and discomfort disappearing from my life.  Why can’t it be the same for a person of the cat persuasion I wondered.

Let me explain.  Over a period of time – perhaps the last year or two prior to his increasingly odd behaviour and diagnosis, Orlando had been narrowing his preferred foods.  All cat people know what that means.  If the kitty don’t like it then the kitty won’t eat it – starvation and death are preferable options apparently rather than eating something that doesn’t appeal to their palate.   Orlando had been so successful at this that he had eliminated almost entirely consumption of his special Maine Coon dried food and any other wet or tinned food other than the Dine Desire brand ‘Tuna Fillets and Prawns in Seafood Sauce’.

Having a particularly twisted sense of humour, ever since Fukushima I had often taken to dishing up his food and placing it before him with a wry take on the ‘enjoy your meal sir’ comment such as ‘Enjoy your radiation imbued dinner sir’ or some-such other entirely inappropriate wording.

Every time I said it I wondered how true it might be.  Was his fish carrying dangerous levels of radiation?  I now began to research and found it difficult to get definitive answers – as was mentioned many times Fukushima has been the first meltdown of such proportions and there is no backlog of evidence to weigh one way or the other.   Proponents of nuclear fusion say no, anti-nuclear proponents say ‘yes’.  Here’s a link to an interesting blog post on the topic.  My gut said ‘Yes!’

I had long ago researched animal health and prepared foods and found some alarming evidence that maybe we weren’t doing the best thing for our pets in feeding them commercially prepared animal foods.  I came to that information too late to make sensible choices for Orlando, but Siddy has never eaten commercially prepared dog foods – apart from his highly necessary supply of ‘treats’ that is.  (Such a Very Good Boy must have his treats!)  His major food is ‘puppy stew’ cooked by me with fresh meats and vegetables and nothing else.

Soon after I wrote the post previously mentioned about Orlando’s diagnosis I took action.  I took him off all canned food and all fish.  Cold turkey!  I insisted he eat his special Maine Coon dried food and hand fed him as necessary.  I enticed him with puppy stew – fresh cooked meat with organic potatoes and carrots – he would have none of it.   In the end I had to purchase packets of prepared cat food containing meat products only and this he reluctantly agreed to eat as long as I stood nearby with spoon at the ready to hold up the food to his mouth so he could lick at it.  I also kept him pretty high with a constant supply of his favourite drug – dried nepeta  (catmint) in little baggies.

It really didn’t take that long to convince him to change, it just felt long at the time and required a lot of standing around offering tidbits and being encouraging and singing to him that he was a clever kitty ……  It wasn’t much longer before I noticed that changes were happening and then it was all remarkably quick.  It was so quick I wondered if I had imagined it all.  My cat who had definitely been behaving differently, who had become paranoid and skittish, untrusting, unfriendly and – let’s face it – highly trying;  who threw up often and inconveniently (once projectile vomiting from the top of the refrigerator) disappeared without a trace.  I woke up one morning, about four or five weeks after first changing his diet, to the purring sound of a happy kitty cuddled up with his puppy friend as they waited for me to stir and stretch and get up to serve them first breakfasts.

And just like that he was back.  The dog of the cat world.  Coming when whistled, greeting me at the gate sitting up on his haunches with this front paws held up for his special lift up, cuddle and carry.

Well Hello! 2016

Orlando is now coming in when the door is opened without a pause.  Eating what is offered.  Joining in whenever there are treats to be had……..

O&S Nov treat time

Demanding attention when required …….

whatchadoinmumma

Causing Siddy to become delirious with joy by patting the air vaguely in his direction twice a day.  Watching the ensuing mad dash round the tiny house with a look of incredulity and some disgust on his face. Sharing the bench under the window with the puppy when the sun shines on it and if necessary sitting on top of the puppy if he doesn’t move when required.   Sharing the space in the chair beside me.  Claiming my knee on an equal time basis with the puppy.  Visiting with friends.

O family portrait Nov 15

A happy, healthy, elderly cat.  Regal, collected, clear.  Not a drop of dementia in sight.

Happy Twelfth Birthday Orlando King – long may you reign!!

Orlando June 17

Tell me, do you have food related stories about your pets and their health?    I’m very interested and I’m sure others are too, please share.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

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Happy Birthday Siddy!

So many of you who have been following along, these past two years especially, are familiar with possibly the best puppy in the whole world.  For our new friends and casual readers, here’s a wee overview of the boy himself and for our longtime friends I hope you enjoy the recap.

Two years ago today a little Shih Tzu and random mixture puppy came into the world.

He was still so tiny when I met him at six weeks old

first meeting 2014

 

And took him home – even though I was at first reluctant to take on this little ball of energy …..May31 First walk3

 

Orlando and I did not know what had hit us!

Yikes!

after siddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I quickly discovered I had been found by my own personal happiness guru

12 6 14 profile

He was named Sid-Arthur, for Siddhartha the Prince who became the Buddha.  I had no idea at the time how fortuitous that was.

RedshoeOrlando meanwhile had retired to the top of the refrigerator and other high places and there he spent most of the ensuing year25 10 14 1

 

But even he eventually caved – how could he resist?Play3aa

 

 

 

Morning Smooch

sleeping duo June

Who knew one little black and white ball of happiness could change my life so completely?

2nd Bday 3

 

Happy Birthday Siddy – 2 years old today  2nd Birthday 1

 

He made a gif with his second favourite person for your amusementS&D gif

 

 

 

 

And today he will celebrate being a big boy by visiting the older students at the Sara Cohen School for Special Needs who have just completed a module on how to interact with dogs.

Soon he will be visiting a local Retirement Home to spread even more of his particular brand of joy.  Life is going to get busy for Siddy the Happiness Guru!

Thanks for coming by today, we love that you did!

About Pets and Blogging Friends

I know, I know – it’s been a while…. I am a poor blogger, incapable of keeping to a schedule, or even regular posts.  But as most of you know, this is supposed to be a blog about my arty-crafty output – and my arty-crafty life has been severely curtailed by a bouncy little fat puppy who LOVES the work room because his mumma zones out somewhere else altogether and he gets to rearrange and change up – or down – all he likes until she eventually becomes aware all is not well ……..  usually by picking up on the fact that it has been Q-U-I-E-T for a long time…………

Last time I zoned out and was concentrating on a work in progress he removed all the paints from the shelf at the back of the easel. took them into the lounge and chomped holes through two of them leaving artistic stripes of blue and red – and therefore purple too – along the bottom of my lovely white door curtain……….. Oh, look – another excuse to change up the decor.  🙂

For me it has been interesting to discover that when I’m in the zone, artistically speaking, I hear nothing.  I am totally immersed.  Totally in the moment, totally zen  🙂  Who knew!

Right now I’m not though.  Right now I’m typing this with a little round puppy sitting beside me doing his best Marx Brother impersonation with a chew stick poking out the side of his mouth which he is chomping on most enthusiastically while occasionally leering up at me and giving me a gentle nudge.

Don’t you love this photo?  Does it make you smile or laugh out loud?Marx Bros 17 8 14

Orlando is asleep on the table which has become his new residence and which he shows no signs of being prepared to give up.  Anything for a quiet life – I don’t host dinner parties any more any way.

Tig 9

 

Life these days starts with Siddy and me going for an hour long walk, which includes a good twenty minute romp at the dog park.  Except for two or three mornings when the bitter cold Antarctic blast sent all us wimpy puppy owners running for home. While our usual claim to be the Riviera of Antarctica suits us pretty well, sometimes it feels like we are right down there at Scott Base!

Due to any outing being curtailed we must then come home and, after his breakfast of porridge, milk kefer, DE and savoury yeast, its a rambunctious game of fetch up and down the hallway.  Then I can get on with my tasks – but always constantly accompanied by a keen and eager little pup – ‘Whadda we doing now?” “Where we going now?”  “This way?”  “That way?” “Where now?”  “Whadda we doing? Whadda we doing?  Where are we going?”

But I have to say yet again – he is probably the best little puppy in the whole world!

Here are a couple of shots so you can see how much he has grown – I know you want to know!  It’s the same toy in both shots, the first one taken when he was about 9 weeks old and the second one today and he is now 19 weeks old.

toystoys 17 8 14

We have had our up’s and downs since last I graced your lovely reading spaces – YD’s beloved cat Stanley became unexpectedly and quite seriously ill and was eventually diagnosed with feline aids, picked up many years ago most probably in a fight [he always was a bit of a bovver-boy]  Stanley is a rescue kitty, adopted when he was grown and therefore most likely spent the first three years of his life living in kitty poverty.  Nobody knows for sure.  A cat of much charisma, great charm and friendly demeanour, YD had said a while back, ‘He is not the boy he used to be!’

Stanley

It was devastating diagnosis.  Getting medication into this cat has always been claimed by his mumma to be an impossibility.  Our slightly raised eyebrows and quiet disbelief in this claim was blown completely away when we found out it took the vet and two practise nurses to hold him down and administer an oral dose. The vet was preparing us for the worst and I was mopping my baby girl’s tears.  But Stanley is not a boy to take anything much lying down, including dying.  He fought back and after three days was on the mend enough to go home.  The vet whacked an intravenous shot of antibiotics into him and since then he has spent most of his time sleeping, waking long enough to eat – and eating more and more every day – then back to bed again.

We got lucky and have more time with this lovely boy.

Recently my dear friend from Serendipity Farm, the lovely Fran aka narf77 had one of her dastardly good ideas and announced that I was to become the proud owner of ‘A Dangler of International Happiness’  This all came about because I admired her dangler in this post.  If you go on to read the comments you will see how she coerced encouraged our shared friends to take part.

A few days back I received a wee package from Hawaii with the first items enclosed.  It was most fortunate that they got through NZ Customs who are notoriously anal about allowing foreign flora into our country in case it grows legs in the middle of the night and eats us all in our sleep …… and look, an original stick figure sketch from the BO exactly as they appear in this fabulous blog ‘Farmlet’ subtitled ‘Living cheaply and richly on an acre in Puna, Hawaii’.

HM Christi1

Christi is a writer, married to the Bearded One, who, it appears, is master of anything that needs doing and cartooning as well.  They recently relocated from Washington State to Hawaii and are busily involved with preparing to live as much off the grid as possible.  These are good folks with huge hearts – I love them to pieces!

I have more for you too friends – take a look here.

I admired these on The Twisted Yarn ……………..

storkscissors

and next thing I know I am happily cutting threads with my very own pair of stork scissors sent all the way from the UK.  Aren’t they gorgeous!!  Phil made the pretty cover and I now have a sample of her so neat crochet work  🙂   If you are into things like crazy good knitting and yarn bombing go check her out and see what she gets up to when there’s a break from paying attention to her toddler twinnage, her day job or her allotment!  I know you will enjoy her as much as I do!

HM StorkScissors

I am working in my art room, just small projects that can be worked at without me losing track of the doings of one little puppy.  I hope to have something to show you next week.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering how the detente is going – I now have a daily ritual of a purring cat on my knee with a quivering puppy trying very hard to contain himself beside us – and last night both of them were cuddled up in bed with me for about an hour.  Orlando teases Siddy, Siddy ‘bites’ beautifully and usually gets wapped for his trouble.  It’s great fun to observe 🙂

I’ve requested a ‘family portrait’ for my birthday.   We’ll see.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

No Paintings – Just Life!

I haven’t posted for some three weeks – some of you have even messaged me   🙂   Those of you who follow along on the Contented Crafter Facebook page are kind of in the loop…… briefly put it’s been a little bit crazy with not much going on in the Create Joy room that can be shared.

First off I decided – completely out of the blue – to give my tiny house a wee bit of a makeover, a do-up, a preparation for winter if you like …… in my usual inimitable fashion and with not much spare cash I began a one woman crusade to find how best to gain space, colour, comfort and energy into a room measuring roughly 3.20 x 5 metres [or for you non-metric types: 10’6″ x 15′]  It’s a challenge!

Then other activities began to intrude – there is my ED’s birthday gift to finish.  I’ve been working at it on and off [mostly off] for a year now and you can follow it’s earlier progress here and here and, if you are really interested, here.

I dislike leaving things unfinished and so it must be completed even if I wish I could have a complete re-do.  I’ve discovered [again!] that you learn so much from an activity and get better at it the more you do – hence the wish to start again!  But I can’t as the original idea was to recycle a box in an unusual and worthwhile way and the box is now no more and we have what we have.  So on I went with my project, all the time backtracking to add in, embellish up and do over.  Like Topsy it has grown and grown and developed and evolved and is ending looking nothing like the original idea.  Isn’t this the way of life?

Intruding into this work came several more activities.  YD is on a five week long vacation from her job.  She spent most of the first three weeks taking me out shopping with her – just for fun she said, and I am always up for some fun!  I never ‘go shopping’ any more and found it fun, but quite exhausting.  Several items have found their way into my room makeover stash.

With all this time on her hands and nothing but good ideas in her head, YD turned to me as we drove home from one of our shopping trips and said “Let’s have a garage sale on Saturday!”  It was Thursday afternoon.

We have been talking about having a garage sale for months.  We have stuff to get rid of.  I have a tiny house and can’t keep stuff like I used to.  I have too much stuff.   I have stuff in boxes and cupboards and in the way.  I would like to get it gone.  And it would supply me with some much needed cash for my beloved redo…….. But, like, in 36 hours time?

“But we haven’t advertised it”  I said.  That was no concern to YD, we would put up some big notices on lamp posts and attract all the Saturday morning strollers who would be heading to the Esplanade for their Saturday morning Latte’s……

“But, we haven’t sorted” I said.  No problem!  We would do that this very evening and transport all my stuff to her place, where said Garage Sale was to be held, tomorrow.

I don’t seem to have the word ‘no’ available for use with either of my girls and so we were off and running!  Cupboards were emptied of boxes, sifted through and piled into cars.  Cupboards got a quick once over, drawers were emptied out and resorted.  The bookshelves were relieved of some of their burden.  The boxes of stuff that had already been set aside for our garage sale day were loaded up and disappeared.  My house felt lighter immediately.

Over at YD’s house on Friday we did the same activity for her and the piles of stuff accumulated in her carport.  I discovered my inner hoarder and pulled a couple of items back, strictly with the living room makeover in mind….

Friday night, and again at 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, we drove around the area and stapled notices to lamp posts exhorting any one who could read to come to YD’s house and spend their money on our unwanted stuff.  What we were both blissfully unaware of was that my neatly handwritten invitations – black Sharpie on brown cardboard – were far too dull and small to be readily seen by all the latte seeking hordes……….

Our Garage Sale was a fizzer.  The fact that we made $60 was a small miracle according to YD’s best friend tLK who had driven around looking for the signs on her way to help fend off the hordes of bargain hunters.

What I was really pleased about is that all my junk is now at YD’s place living in her guest bedroom and YD and tLK decided they would have a second go at a Garage Sale – and do it properly this time with advertising in the media and readable lamp post signs and everything else required for a successful day on ED’s birthday – when I will be in Wellington celebrating said event with the ever-so-lovely and aging ED!

It all worked out rather well I thought.

While all the above activities were going on I had discovered that my vacuum cleaner wasn’t actually doing any more than picking up the minimal amount of dust and debris it could get away with.  I had cleaned the floors vigorously with it and when that activity was over got down on my hands and knees with a lint brush and brushed up a rather remarkable amount of dust and debris – and hair from one Orlando King.  The cleaner, despite its roaring and puffing and vigorous movements, had done minimal work and was due for a sideways promotion.

I spent several days perusing my options online and armed with my new found knowledge and requirements set off to visit three stores and see what they had on offer.  Imagine my joy when, at the very first store I was approached by a tiny young woman with a friendly demeanour and an extensive knowledge of vacuum cleaners!  Imagine – there she was, working in the appliance section of a store and knowing her subject!  Fantastic!

vc sales girl

I spent a happy ninety minutes with her, discussing so many different aspects about cleaners in general and three in particular that I am now a walking encyclopedia regarding the pros and cons of the things!  Having educated me enough we began to play with the possibilities.  I happily cleaned large areas of floor for the department store, scuttling customers and servers out of the way with my vigorous brushstrokes.  My friendly and capable retail person scuttled about too, finding more dirt and debris to scatter in front of my searching motorised broom while I oohed and aahed at the sight of all that muck disappearing up the pipes despite her valiant attempts to rub it into the carpet and scatter it about in inaccessible places.

15577954-lovely-housewife-with-vintage-maid-dress-cleaning-using-vacuum-cleaner

With two cleaners tried out and my back beginning to get a bit stiff from the bending it was on to number three.  Now to be honest here, I was a reluctant trialler of this model.  It was an upright – the ones that look like they used in the UK pre-war days and I have always been a girl who uses a lowdown cleaner – you know, the ones modelled on the electrolux in days of yore – there are still people in the world who refer to ‘luxing’ when they talk about vacuum cleaning their floors.

My friendly, but determined sales girl really wanted me to try it and honestly, I was just doing it to make her happy as she had been such fun to play with.

She plugged it in, showed me where all the switches were and I dutifully turned it on and ………..Wheeeeeee!  It dragged me around the store at a rate of knots.  If I was cartooning it for you you would see me hanging onto the handle, airborne like a para glider, grinning like an idiot!

I couldn’t find one of those but this may give you an idea:

cleaning frenzy

Of course it came home with me!  The absolute bonus on a fun afternoon was that that particular model was marked down, for that weekend only, by $100.  How much better does it get?

Here is a picture of the box, newly emptied of it’s goodies, proudly posing beside Orlando’s metre high wardrobe cat:

Bissellbox

And here it is a moment or two later – look carefully:

catinbissellbox

Do you see that hovering bird of light in the photo?  It’s a complete mystery to me how that got there!

As we are on Orlando, lets finish this post with a bit more about his latest obsession.

Due to my imminent room make-over the refrigerator has been moved to a fairly unlikely place, [but there is a good reason for it of which more later.]  This allows his little kingship full access to the back of said fridge, where the motorised bit lives and which gurgles in a most enticing way apparently.  He spends hours watching closely:

Morning,

catguard2

noon

catguard3

and night:

Fridgeguard1

Sometimes he falls asleep watching it.  Then it makes a big gurgle, or the motor switches on and he jumps.  He does that four feet off the ground, backwards leap that cats do when they get a scare.  Sadly for him, this makes his mumma laugh!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did  🙂

Orlando Enjoys A Snack

Hello there 🙂

If you saw the previous post you saw my first attempt at a gif.

It is really just a fast and jerky series of shots with no real sense of continuation – so of course I had another go – I couldn’t possibly let all Boomdee’s good advice go to waste!

This afternoon Orlando was enjoying third breakfast and having a wee chat to me while I cleaned the bench, so I grabbed the camera and clicked away as fast as I could.

Of course he did not play ball and kept looking up to say “Whaddya doing Mama?”

So this is what I got:

Orlando Enjoys A Snack

What do you think?

Thanks for popping by today – I love that you did!

Well, Who Knew – Making A Gif is Just So Easy

My blogging pal the ever helpful and really talented  Boomdeeadda read the post ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and asked if I’d ever thought of turning Orlando’s photos into a gif.  I hadn’t, but as she gave me a link and said it was really easy, I thought I’d have a go.

What we have is just a really fast animation of some of the photos you saw in the previous post – but it has taught me what is required….. so next time the feline Brad Pitt [read the comments in the last post] feels camera ready we’ll give it a shot!

Thanks Boomdee – who knew it was so straight forward!

free gif maker

gif creator: The Contented Crafter

Thanks must also go to markingourterritory.wordpress.com where delightful gifs and how-to instructions are clearly given.  Thanks to Boomdee for passing this info on.

You’ve Got Mail!

I wasn’t going to write a post today – I’m still nursing this lap top gently along – but this was all too funny and cute for words and I just had to share it.

A wee packet arrived with the courier this morning and as I cut open the plastic delivery bag a scattering and tinkling windfall ran across the table …. in their careful handling of our post the deliverers had inadvertently caused the tissue paper wrap to tear and all the little extras my fabulous supplier had put into my parcel were released……

YGM1

which caused this to happen:

YGM5a

“Hullo Mama – whatja got there then?”

I’ve got this:

YGM2

This pretty package contains my ordered supplies – those gorgeous flowers and the beaded ribbon and the pile of pretties on the table are all the little extras that Louise from Retail Girl  – my supplier also found on the kiwi website Trademe –  puts in.  This is my third order from her and every time her parcel arrives it is like Christmas morning!

These are the goodies I ordered – mostly coloured half pearls and blingy ribbon sliders [the pearls fit in the sliders] for all the gift bags and other secret things I am making for Christmas presents.  🙂

YGM3

I was sitting admiring all my little extras – those pretty flowers have clips attached so you can wear them in your hair………..

YGM4

….when I heard a thunk, which sounded to my finely tuned ears suspiciously like a cat arriving on a table top.

“Ooops, really I don’t know what happened – I was there  …..”

YGM7

“…..and now I’m here …..”

YGM6

“But now I’m here, I’ll just have a wee look shall I?”

YGM8

“Very interesting….”

YGM9

“But what’s this?”

YGM10

“I’ve got it ……..”

YGM11

“Ooops!”

YGM12

“Did I kill it?”

YGM6

“I’ll just sit here and look out the window for a bit…..”

YGM14 Best

“……….and you can admire your pretties ………”

YGM13

“……….and admire how very handsome I am too!”

YGM14c

Ain’t he though!

Thanks for stopping by today, I love that you did!

PS If you hit the link to retail Girl and get an error message, just hit the ‘home’ button and that will take you to Louise’s site.