Sunday, November 30, 2008

It snowed last night.

Not a lot. Just enough to make the whole house glow with brightness when I woke up this morning. I don't like the increasingly short days that happen at this time of the year, but when there is snow on the ground, that's something different. Love it. I've always loved snow. 

That's me at age 4 hugging the snow in the front yard. There are some things you are just born loving I guess. :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

My sister (the bad one, not to be confused with the other who is....the bad one......not to be confused with how they describe me........the bad one) called Thanksgiving Day and told me she called my mom (who is spending Thanksgiving with the rest of the family at my other sister's) and told her how sorry she and I were that we could not make Thanksgiving dinner this year because we really, really wanted to be there with them. There was a pause and then bigggggggggg laughter erupted from my sister. We are the WORST FAMILY ON EARTH. 

You can put us together and add a dozen other people and still, it is rare for a Thanksgiving dinner to last more than 15 minutes because everyone can't wait to get away. We had a family reunion once where we timed from when the last plate was set on the table to the time the first plate was taken away. Thirteen minutes. People had taken planes to be at that Thanksgiving dinner. 

I just heard about one friend's Thanksgiving dinner yesterday where everyone at the table had to say out loud what they were thankful for and when my friend said the new president, her sister erupted with screaming about how he was a baby killer, then turned red with anger and then got so worked up she started "speaking in tongues." Yes. Thanksgiving. Quantity confined time with family. I don't have the stamina to do it every year (not to mention the patience required to handle the shenanigans of the airlines). 

So then there's my tradition of making a Thanksgiving dinner and serving it to all my pets. Before Thanksgiving everyone thinks this is so darn peculiar and eccentric and weird and after flying back from being with their families, they say they wish they had done the same thing. Ha ha ha.

So yesterday I made a turkey and stuffing, cornbread, sweet potatoes, a Silver Palate black pepper, chive and ricotta bread....some other stuff too. I'll have to look in the refrigerator and see what I missed. Anyway, the gray stray was waiting all day but arrived too early for a turkey dinner because I was so late in getting started. But I think he knew what was up. I got to keep the back door open because the weather was sunny and near 60 degrees. A really pretty day to spend time in the kitchen.

"Well, stop taking pictures and get back in there and cook. I might have all day but I don't have all day. Focus lady, focus."

Since I got such a late start on the whole cooking thing, nothing was ready until about 8 or 9 pm. Eli showed up at the appropriate time and had a plate of turkey set out for him. He had let it be known earlier that he wanted dinner but the smell of turkey just turned him extra feral so as soon as I would spy him, he would bolt out of the yard. I'm surprised I was even able to get this shot of him. He probably thought I couldn't see him (with those eyes?????????).

But he calmed down a lot after the first plate (notice-no "Children of the Damned" eyes) to come back and ask for a seconds and this time he got an even bigger plate of turkey.

Freddie the raccoon never showed up although I looked for him until 1 am. I do hope that Freddie shows up eventually. I'm curious to see what he would try first. Since everything is carried from hand to mouth, I don't think he'd be very happy with mashed potatoes and gravy.... unless I give him a spoon. But I do have two finger bowls waiting for him when he does show up.

The birds got their plates of food but would they let me take a photograph? No. They see that camera and they do everything they can to get away from it and tell me no at the same time. So, since I will have leftovers for days, I'll try to reenact the experience over the next several days and try to take a photograph again. Not promising anything. :-/

This is the first year I attempted serving Eddie some stuffing (cornbread) and that was definitely not a success. It wasn't eaten. When Eddie doesn't like something she picks up the side of her plate and pushes it to the floor. Eddie had transferred all the food that she did like into her seed dish on top of her cage and then, the stuffing left on the plate was shoved to the floor with great enthusiasm. Good thing I didn't use the china. :-)

Everyone's a critic. Animals, people, they're all weird as all get out and impossible to please. Put me in that group too because although I do think of family, friends and pets on Thanksgiving Day and am sincerely thankful they are all in my life.........just don't make me stay put with any of them for more than 15 minutes, I've got things to do.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What happened in the backyard Wednesday

It got cleared out. It got cleaned and picked up but not by me. Obviously. Remember the picture of my dining room? My backyard had the same decorating style. Lots of stuff but no good place for anything to go so things just started piling up......for years (besides, when you live with turtles, plants last longer when you keep them out of the ground and slightly elevated in their protective pots). Brian left the two trees I planted (ha ha ha) but otherwise, this photo looks exactly like what the backyard looked like when I moved in 15 years ago but um, maybe with even less plants.

Earlier in the week I gave Brian, the guy who mows my front yard, a big bonus because he's fallen on really bad times and since he is so honest and takes advantage of NO ONE, he felt compelled to spend two whole days cleaning up my backyard, not the 1-2 hours I was expecting. Well, he always does a fabulous job keeping up with the front yard but I was a little surprised at just how thorough a job he did in the backyard. My 3-4 dozen perennials that were still in pots because years later, I still had not  gotten around to putting them in the ground....all thrown out. Absolutely all of them. I was a little shocked at first but now that it's a day later, it's just a big relief not having to think about them anymore. He even cleaned my deck, rearranged Freddie's pillows and PLUMPED them. That just cracked me up. I mean really, look at this...

And here are the leftover pots.....maybe 3/4s of them had perennials in them. I had already brought in the tropical plants that can't take long winter temperatures so it's not like he threw out everything. Just the bothersome. I do kind of miss all the hostas though. :-/ But I'll get over it.

When he cleared out the many years of honeysuckle growth that completely covered the old barbecue built in the 1940s, he found the remains of a possum. When he told me about it he described it as the poor little thing that didn't make it. He left the skull for me because he knew I liked that kind of stuff. 

Poor little thing. Possums only live about 18 months in the wild. Since this guy was found in my yard, I'm sure at some points in time he came to the back door and loaded up on catfood, maybe he had some Teddy Grahams for dessert too. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Knitwear for birds

A little over ten years ago, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art & Design here in Kansas City had an exhibition of Argentinian artist Monica Giron entitled "Trousseau for a Conqueror." She knitted life-size protective clothing for the birds found in Patagonia, the region where she is from. There are many layers to her artistic intent (the merging of cultures after one has conquered the other, protection vs overprotection) but my friends and I could not get past the incredible cuteness of all the knitted bird outfits. The preposterousness of birds in their winter sweaters had us laughing until we snorted.

Pullover for a Carancho
Pullover, socks, and scarf for a Flamingo

Pullover for a Chucao

Thanksgiving starts the countdown to Christmas and every year around this time, I think of that exhibit. Why? Because I think maybe the birds and the turtles and Violet should all have their own Christmas stockings hanging from the mantle. Maybe this will be the year when I finally sit down and start knitting a Christmas sock. And if I did, the first one would be for Eddie. Something pink, fuzzy, glittery, maybe with some maribou trim because Eddie is definitely a girly girl. Stella? What kind of sock goes with combat boots? :-/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eddie, my "special" bird

Eddie is probably in her late twenties but she still has yet to catch on to the concept of planning for a landing after launching. Getting airborne is always a big surprise for her. How she stops, that's the bigger surprise. Crash or land?  She is equally proud of herself whether she hits a wall or accidentally grabs hold of something on the way to wherever she's going. When she stops a flight, however way she does it, she lets out a big "Woooooooo" at the end. Success. In her eyes only.

Above is a picture of Eddie after she crashed into the piled up plants in the kitchen that still go out in the morning and come in at night. That's one of her better landings but still, that's just 12 inches off the floor where she ended up. I personally would not be that proud if I were a bird, but she's Eddie and she's "special." Stella is just appalled at the praise and support Eddie receives for the most remedial of things. 

Eddie is definitely not like Stella who is too smart, too calculating and has way too many grudges, more of which are added to her list every day. Stella right now is behind me in the kitchen trying really hard to unbalance some bowls so that they will crash to the floor. I've got some one pound cans in the bowls to slow her down. For Eddie, every morning starts as a completely new first day in the rest of her life. I swear that little hard drive in her head gets purged every night. She's not a pea brain, she's a split legume brain, but I still adore her.

Eddie loves hanging out on top of her cage, very rarely does she launch herself somewhere. I'm very used to her always being on the top of her cage. She spends her days watching her shows on TV with laugh tracks and laughs along when everyone else does. When it's time to go to bed, she climbs into her cage, pulls the cage  door shut and then tucks herself in for the night. But one day I was a little lax about keeping the back screen door shut. 

During the summer, I'm always going in and out of the house (and so is Violet the cat) so sometimes I leave the screen door slightly ajar.  I wasn't aware the screen door was wide open one day until I turned around when I was in the backyard and facing the house, saw Eddie flying toward me on her way out of the house with the biggest "Ohmigawd" expression on her face. Once she left the house, up and up and up she flew until she almost flew out of sight and then..... I saw her make a U-turn and then...... land on the roof of my house. I was just stunned. So was Eddie. I ran to my neighbor and he grabbed his ladder and grabbed his new baby and off we went to try and rescue Eddie. But when Eddie saw all that commotion, she launched again. Out of sight. Completely out of sight. But then we saw her descend from a big U turn in the sky from behind the trees into someone's backyard up the street. Edward (my neighbor) and I searched for a half hour. No Eddie anywhere. I was heartbroken, tired, was down to 2% hope and then when I was almost ready to give up finding her, I said in a very sad voice out loud, "Eddie?" I heard an instant little churr. She was right in front of me all wrapped up and stuck in a big hedge of honeysuckle that was growing on a chain link fence. I grabbed that bird, rolled her in the bottom of my tee shirt and ran right home.

The screen door stays closed when I'm outside now. Closed. Secure. In fact I even lock it. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that Eddie is still living here with me and that she never caught on to launching, landing and relaunching or I would never have seen her again. She's a little split pea brain but I adore her. There's no explaining that but I do. If you've never heard the "This American Life" story of a woman and her love for a macaw, click here. Just don't do it with a bird on your shoulder and a cat on your lap. I was just listening to it with Stella on my shoulder and Violet on my lap and the first time the macaw made a noise, Stella flew off as fast as possible (I found her hiding in the medicine cabinet) and Violet? I have no idea where she is right now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cats and Raccoons. Real and the wannabe.

The Civilized cat (this is Daffodil, baby Rex's nanny):

The Cat wannabe (Freddie, from a few weeks ago):

And baby Rex, who just recently learned to walk and looks like what a raccoon would look like if it grabbed some wooden spoons and started walking upright (Meg says Rex's Indian name is "Coonwalker."):

Yesterday I spent the day at Redbud Ranch and watched Rex (he's almost one year old!) go round and round and round and round the house for hours and hours and hours and hours. Rex has just learned to walk and it was so much fun to watch him go go go. But it's exhausting(!) and he was the one doing all the moving and banging with the spoons. 

When I got home last night around 7 pm I looked out the backdoor and saw a raccoon. Not Freddie. I think it was Freddie's momma. She was HUGE. One sight of me and she was gone in a flash. But no Freddie.

At midnight I went out on the deck just to be outside and look at the stars and stuff, noticed one of the pillows on the glider had fallen and then I heard a rustle. There was a loud sound of something being done urgently to bolt up those deck steps as fast as possible. I raced into the house. It was Freddie galloping toward me at full speed. He must have been famished (but I think that's the normal state of raccoons even when their tummies are full). His little hands were reaching all over the screen door in search of dinner. Behind him was another raccoon which looked like it could have been his little sister. Freddie got his plate of food but he gave his sister a look so she went over the side of the deck and then under to get whatever cat food fell through the cracks of the deck. Easy to tell what was going on because there was a lot of crunching going on down there.

I think Freddie has been missing for a week because his momma gave him a long talking to and a long timeout to get things clear. Freddie is a raccoon, not a cat or anything else. Dang. I think that's the end of my visits with my my sweet little raccoon. He's traveling in a pack now. He was moving around too fast for me to feel safe to take a picture of him last night. He's back to being a wild animal but maybe he'll be his silly, slow, waddling self again if there aren't other raccoons nearby to keep an eye on him. I'm going to miss the old Freddie. But I'm still setting a plate out for him this Thanksgiving. :-)

And in the meantime, I guess there's a raccoon wannabe that makes me laugh (oh I'm so going to hell with this one) Rex, Coonwalker.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is this?

If Stella could hold her breath underwater, more importantly if she could swim, more importantly if she could cooperate and get along with others and not tear out the sequins in her swimming suit (as well as everyone else's), I would sign Stella up for a synchronized swimming class like that!

Or maybe she could be a little teapot in a school play, short and stout.

Please, no photos during the performance. The flash will disturb the artiste.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Ride With the Devil"

This is a scene from "Ride With the Devil," a film directed by Ang Lee about the American Civil War which was filmed in the Kansas City area in 1999. 

If you look behind the door, there is a little frame...

...and if you look in my house, you will now find it hanging on my dining room wall (um, but photographed on my front porch because I needed some good light).

I got the frame at an auction of props that were used in the movie. I put that little 1909 pumpkin in the frame because I liked the tension ripples that looked like they were emanating from that little clenched toothed jack-0-lantern (I'm not so enthused with that paper with the clamshell pattern, one of these days I've got to replace it with something simple and plain).

I've bought several things at auctions (you can find some really great stuff) but instead of getting better at it, I am decidedly getting worse. The last time I was bidding on something, the auctioneer had to stop the auction and ask me what I was doing. Was I actually trying to bid, and if I was, was I sure that I wanted to?  

I've been seeing a range of expressions in that little jack-o-lantern face. I know when I wrote about this little pumpkin before, I likened his expression to what I felt was being thrown at me by the turtles that day. Looking at it now, it's got kind of a confused but stunned expression. I think that was what the auctioneer was seeing on my face during the auction. :-)

Btw, no Freddie sightings since Monday. :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce...

Oh good grief, I really shouldn't be giving the raccoon a name at all. He's a wild animal. And he's going to stay a wild animal. And I really shouldn't humanize him with a human thing like giving him a name. I learned that in a wildlife rehab class. It keeps you on track with your rehab mission but I did find out later that the people working at the wildlife center secretly did give names to the animals in rehab. Ha ha ha. 

I remember at the orientation meeting, all of us had to tell something about ourselves and what we appreciated about nature. Lots of nice thoughts, mine followed someone who liked to look at cardinals against white snow. Pretty image. But when it was my turn to talk, I said I liked to get a pizza and set it out on the deck and watch the birds have a big party (not my birds indoors, the wild ones outdoors). All birds love Italian food, wild or captive. I don't know how many nature rules I broke with that statement but I remember getting a look and...well, it wouldn't have worked out anyway. Ha ha ha. But giving an animal a name is an important thing because that brings them a lot into your world and hopefully a little out of theirs. 

I like to name my pets after people I know (friends, family, co-workers). So what name would I come up with this time....? There were lots of good ones for whatever reasons  but the one I'm going to try out and hopefully settle on (the raccoon hasn't come by tonight, otherwise I'd test it out) is a name of someone who retired from the company I work for several years ago. He was a darling man who was always in search of cake. He ......loved ........cake. I remember one day he was feeling very sad because there was no cake to be found and that was just so darn pitiful, I went out at lunch and bought him a cake, not a piece, one whole cake. It was so funny. It made him sooo happy. That man loved his cake. He would light up just talking about cake! So I'm going to try out his name on the raccoon. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Freddie K, who would be a cake seeker too if he knew what cake was.

This picture was taken last night right after he unrolled himself from being a tight little cat-sized ball of fur. Those are his  back feet in the front. He really did make himself kitty-size. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

I looked out the kitchen door window at 7 pm...

...and who was that on the glider? Was it the gray cat, or the raccoon? I really couldn't tell and 7 pm is not really raccoon time. Whoever it was, he was all rolled up in a ball and fast asleep. When I studied  him, all I could see was a ball of gray fur, some pointed ears and a tail that was tucked around tight, but whoever it was, he did have some subtle striping in his tail... so I opened the door to check out who it was. Guess who unrolled himself and showed his sleepy face? He had been waiting.

Meg says I'm running a coontina. :-) Yes, I am. From 6pm to 1am every night, it's all you can eat and only what you want to eat. Tonight I gave him his plate of cat food but he wanted more,  so I just handed him a measuring cup full of catfood through the slightly open screen door. Although he's entirely comfortable with me, I'm not so trusting of him (although so far he's the been the best behaved "stray cat" that's come around ). He took the measuring cup from my hand and seemed to like grabbing the food from the cup since when he eats, everything is carried from his hand to his mouth. Later I tossed him a small bunch of grapes and he carefully rolled them all back to the paper plate. He certainly is a civilized little thing. 

He reminded me of a sketch I had done of my old cat Bert in my 1982 sketchbook (I've had it lying around because I pulled it out to post that ghost drawing on Halloween). 


and the cat impostor: 

Somebody has this stray cat lifestyle nailed! He certainly has had plenty of cats to study. Here's Violet giving him some strong scrutiny after the poor thing just woke up. That lasted all of 15 seconds and then the two totally ignored each other. I think the raccoon is her favorite stray cat that has appeared at the back door.

He continues to be so damn cute. Later this evening, I called Violet's name to get her back in the house for the night and who came running up the deck steps?

Not the solid gray cat who has lived in this house for 14 years whose first name starts with the letter "V."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A sunny day and that means.....BUGS!!!!

I was heading out the door today and surprise, it was a sunny day and almost 60 degrees and sure enough, on the front screen porch......bugs. The temperatures have been dropping into the 20s at night but today, since it was kind of "warm," on my front porch were one praying mantis, several ladybugs and a lacewing....all on the porch screen warming their tummies. There was also one stinkbug on the molding ......but he never moved. :-/ This guy however, was pretty animated and was enjoying the sun. He had quite the expression (but what's up with the lumpy complexion?).

Every praying mantis I met over this past summer has had a different personality, and mission. They helped me with the grasshopper problem, were amused by bees forcing themselves to the very bottom of the turtleheads, beheaded an ant, grabbed something from a spider web for a quick snack, attacked me (!), but generally I'm impressed with all of them for their grace and how they took the time to consider the things around them. They're pretty patient. They're not jumping and  flying around like other bugs. If you see one in a spot in the morning, chances are he or she will be near the same spot at night. 

A profile, late in the day, of what is probably my last praying mantis photo of the year ...

I remember telling Sherry how much I missed photographing my backyard insects (and this was a month ago) and she told me to just go to a park and lift up some leaves and that I'd  find the bugs. "Oh, they're there Maria." It hasn't gotten to that point yet because I'm still bringing in my plants every night and putting them out again in the morning. And so every night a stinkbug or two comes in and also about a dozen lacewings. And in the morning they all go out again.

Last night Violet was captivated with a stinkbug that was active in the kitchen.

Violet would paw him down into that stack of  plastic pot covers for plants (I got them at a nursery years ago because I liked the colors-I've never used them though).

After the stinkbug got knocked down, he would just crawl back up the be pawed down again.

I had always been afraid (?) of stinkbugs because I thought the little things carried a concentrated stink like a skunk. I guess you can't shake them up that easy because I sure have tested them, and now, so has Violet. That stinkbug would not oblige us with a stink. He didn't care. Crawling up the wall and being knocked down was just something to do until he got to go out the next morning.

Interesting little stinkers, that's what they are. >:-)

And so, this should be the last bug post of the year and I'm closing it with a photo of this lazy girl. She's dragging her flying wings and that shadow is long but her makeup still looks good (even though I think she got a little carried away with the application of her beauty spots).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Look who just showed up at midnight...

...for dinner, some grapes, and I swear, to be tucked in for the night.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Starling. Starling. STARLING.

I collect just about every starling print I run across and because I do this, I now have a wall in my living room that is covered with starling prints. It's very Alfred Hitchcock but that's fine by me because I'm probably the only one who thinks the final scene in "The Birds" would be the ideal front yard. 

Some of the prints are charming and sweet like this  hand-colored Albin etching (second quarter 18th century).

And some of them are stunningly beautiful like this hand-colored lithograph by John Gould (third quarter 19th century). 

This particular print shows the feathers from baby to adult and the transition in between. Juvenile starlings are the oddest looking birds because all their stars appear on their bodies before the stars start appearing on their heads. For a length of time that seems like forever, their baby heads sit on top of adult starling bodies. When Starlinka was going through this stage, it was very funny. Such a goofy look. But cute!

And then there are some prints that are just plain.......mystifyingly weird. I love all of them regardless of how well they're executed but this one, it really is an odd one.

If you know anything about how perspective works, the horizon line is usually at eye level (at least for one and two point perspective). Working with that concept, this artist's viewpoint was at the bird's midwing. Fine. But if that's true, that "tree" behind the bird is awfully small. If you were a six foot tall man standing in front of this bird, maybe that tree is 8 or 9 feet tall but that bird would be 12 or more feet tall. Yikes. That bird is huge. HUGE. That shadow is huge! I adore birds but not when they're this big (aiyee!).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nature. Art.

This is another Laurie & Whittle hand-colored print dated March 18, 1795. Click on the image if you want to see a larger view. take these two women, combine them into one......that's me!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Possibly, probably, almost certainly, my last post about insects for the year (no promises)

Every year at this time, I have to bring in all my plants when the night temperatures get below freezing. But then I put them all back out again when it warms up because I have no idea how I can permanently fit all those plants in the house. This happens every year and for some reason it is always a surprise. So in and out and out and in we go and with that comes a lot of confusion from the bugs that accidentally get carried indoors. 

This morning I heard a bunch of whacks coming from the kitchen and found an overly enthusiastic green stinkbug launching itself into the walls. So he got escorted out of the house.

And then there are the lacewings. Lots and lots of lacewings. What is unusual about them is that they pick just one kitchen light to congregate under. I have two identical overhead lights but just one of them works for them. When I brought them in the first time last weekend, they were green. I was a little surprised with this one who was climbing around the coffeepot colored. So she got put outside. Look at the size of those eyes! I think the term for that is caffeination!

But I believe she is saying thank you for keeping her warm overnight. And for the coffee.

And then she launched her little latte colored self off to somewhere else (after she jumped on me and the camera....oh why do they keep doing that?).

This morning a little ladybug joined me on the computer, too lazy to tuck in her flying wings. And no spots. I guess on a Sunday morning, even ladybugs take a day off from applying their makeup.

And every year there is always one praying mantis. I'm never sure what to do. I usually escort them right back outdoors, which is what I did with this guy after I took some pictures. He seemed to be pretty fascinated with the smoothness of my glossy enamel painted kitchen walls.

I tried to get a picture of him on something more interesting but he would have none of it. He scrambled back to the wall in no time flat. He was fascinated with that wall.

I realized it was kind of weird to see a praying mantis in your kitchen, let alone play with it.

Sherry said she kept a praying mantis on her ficus tree one winter. He was good for conversation when guests came over. I might have done the same thing with this guy if I didn't recognize that expression on his face.

I get that expression from my turtles almost constantly. Add one more? That would mean three and if you have three, you have a collection. And a collection of mean faces is something I don't want to start. So out he went, even though he was resistant for some reason. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What is this?

Monkey? Cat?      Monkeycat?

Oh it's you know who. Making himself completely at home. The bold and brazen article who is now even more so.

Last night I noticed that the gray cat that smells of cigarettes showed up for his dinner and as I was serving him his dinner...I noticed  the raccoon coming up the deck steps. I went inside, got another plate of catfood, went outside, no raccoon in sight so I set the plate down and returned to the house. And that's when a little dark hand reached out from under the glider and got hold of my jeans. Good grief! The boldness. I was a little taken aback and even more so once the raccoon managed to crawl out from under the glider and started eating the catfood that had been set down for the gray cat. The food that was right outside the back door (the raccoon's plate had been set down further down on the deck). Well, what to do? In between the open back door to my house and me was this pretty big raccoon in a pretty tight area. I couldn't walk over him and I couldn't walk around him so I waited for him to finish the plate. When he was done eating, he didn't know what he was supposed to do either. Luckily the gray cat had had enough of all this special treatment and jumped down, punched the raccoon  in the nose a couple times and then they both took off to separate parts of the deck to cool off (well, one of them took off to cool off, the other one just waddled around like John McCain at a presidential debate).

I'm glad the gray cat did that because I could now safely get back into my I could bring out even more food. Yes, I know what I'm doing is stupid but then, that's what everyone in my family dies of, we can't help it, it's in the genes.  Really, I had to tell a new doctor one time that people tend to do something stupid in my family and then die which is why my family medical history was so lacking. When my dad, at 70 or so, decided he had never bungee jumped before and wanted to try it...well, why not do it from the tallest bridge in the world? My sister and brother went to witness that when he decided to go jumping in New Zealand because someone ought to claim the body if this was going to be his final act of stupidity (it wasn't). 

Here's the raccoon working on his second plate and if you look in the background, you can see the gray cat giving him a mean look. Click on the image to see the larger version. Hmmm...maybe he's giving me a mean look.

The raccoon didn't want to get punched in the nose again so he climbed up on the bench to avoid any further confrontations.

Here he is looking small and scared and pitiful. He's a good actor. He's none of those things.

The gray cat got served his food on a ledge outside the back door so everything was peaceful again at the all-you-can-eat. 

The raccoon finished his second plate of catfood and a couple grapes, climbed up on the glider, got comfortable, and then started.......... getting...............sleepy.......

...1.........2..............3.............and he was completely passed out.

Thanksgiving's coming up and one of my traditions is to make a complete dinner for all the pets served on real plates. I love watching my birds carefully eat their mashed potatoes and gravy while I drink champagne. I wonder if the bold, brazen article will be here for the annual event. No doubt by that time he will have moved into the spare bedroom and will be helping me make dinner by peeling the potatoes. I know those little hands could learn to do it.