Perfect Weekend

My Thanksgiving weekend was as close to perfect as is reasonable to expect, a balance of productivity, sociability, and fun.

What makes a perfect weekend? For starters, it’s a four-day weekend. Add to this plenty of mashed potatoes with ketchup; a chance to relax with hot cocoa and toast; and, most importantly, time with a variety of friends.

Our family Thanksgiving gathering was larger than normal. My cousin, Nick, joined us, as did Kris’ sister, Tiffany. Tony and Kamie (and their kids) were actually present and on time. The food was good and, as usual, I ate too much. After dinner, we played games (including a marathon session of Apples to Apples).


photo by my mother

I spent a few hours at work on Friday, but it was basically wasted time. There wasn’t a single call or fax. I spent most of my time drooling over comic book compilations. Yes, I am a geek.

On Friday evening, we ventured to the Portland City Grill to attend a wedding reception for my boyhood chum, Andrew Parker, who married the lovely and vivacious Joann Mangold last month in San Francisco. The food and wine were terrific. I was pleased to see Andrew’s sister, Laura, for the first time in twenty years. We sat with Dave and Karen and Andrew and Joann. We had a good time reminiscing and getting to know Joann better. At one point, Dave provided a warm and witty toast to the couple, utilizing his keen Toastmaster skills.

Kris and I worked outside in the cold and the damp on Saturday. We raked leaves and pruned roses. Simon climbed onto the roof of the garage and pranced around, proud of himself. In the afternoon, I dropped by Mitch’s place to help celebrate his daughter’s tenth birthday. Between cake and presents, Zoe taught me how to play Pokemon. I must not have learned very well: she kicked my ass.

I did better playing poker on Saturday night. Sabino hosted a small tournament featuring two tables of five players each. Each player bought in for $22. The winner received $120, the second-place player received $60, and the third-place player received $20. Perhaps the remaining $20 must have gone toward the five enormous pizzas we shared. (Each person also kept $3 to use as an additional wager any time he went “all in”.)

I’ve never really played poker before, so I was a little wary. I spent some time Saturday googling for tips. The most common advice for novice poker players seems to be: play conservatively, fold often, do not try to bluff. I tried to follow this advice, and it served me well. After a couple of hours, only four of us remained. This group played to a virtual stand-still for ninety minutes, and then weariness began to take its toll. I began to fold hands (such as K-7) with which other might have at least paid to see the flop. Several times, I threw away what would have been a winning hand. Goaded by these poor choices, I started erring in the opposite direction, semi-bluffing on hands that ought to have been played more conservatively. In the end, I went all in with a suited ace-queen (after a flop that turned up another card of my suit and a ten or a jack), but didn’t even get a pair. I didn’t care; I was tired, and I’d had a lot of fun. I’m not the kind of guy who often gets invited to play poker, but maybe I’ll get another chance sometime.

Sunday was a slow day. After enjoying hot cocoa and toast, I finished the leaf-raking project. We took some scones to John, our neighbor across the street, as a thank-you for some home-made grape juice he’d given us a couple weeks ago. He was happy to take a break from pruning his cherry tree so that he could tell us about his trips to Alaska and New Zealand. He also gave us mulching tips. Tom and Roberta, the older neighbor couple next door, came out to join the conversation. They offered advice on pruning fruit trees and propagating grapes. Tom fetched us a large winter squash picked directly from his garden.

For dinner, Kris and I made our favorite steaks. Later, I sat in a hot tub and read comic books. Actually, I read a lot of comics over the weekend: Jonah Hex, Persepolis, Elfquest, Thor, and Doom Patrol. I am a comic book geek.

Darth Vader vs. a Herd of Goats

There are suddenly lots of people who want to see Darth Vader play with goats. When you’re finished, you may want to read my review of Attack of the Clones (I hated it); read my rant on why Star Wars sucks; check out my memories of growing up with Star Wars as part of the Star Wars generation; read why I like the new Battlestar Galactica; or, perhaps, learn the things I didn’t like about the Lord of the Rings films.

I had a real entry planned for today, but this image (from an out-of-control thread on Metafilter) has me busting my gut so that I cannot write:

I know that’s a lot of bandwidth, but it’s worth it.

Let me catch my breath…

Lest you think it’s only Darth Vader who has such power over goats, here’s the undoctored image in which you can see that even umbrellas strike fear into the heart of these tiny ungulates:

Oh, lordy, my side aches.

I also liked this image from the same thread:

I’ll have to post my “what I did over Thanksgiving weekend” stories tomorrow (assuming I stop laughing by then).

Hot Cocoa and Toast

Ah, what a lovely Sunday morning. What a fine thing it is to have slept late, lingering in bed with my wife by my side and the cats at our feet.

We slide out of bed and tumble downstairs. Kris feeds the birds, and we watch through the windows as the finches and jays and chickadees compete for the various seeds. Kris brews a mug of tea, then a second. We sit at the dining room table, looking at Walnut, the fat squirrel in the tree, as he forages for nuts and seeds in the feeder. The jays wait impatiently for him to leave.

“Isn’t it funny how he hides his peanuts,” I say. “Look at him climb down the tree and hide them in the lawn. He’s lucky there aren’t any cats around.” While he’s on the ground, the jays fight a peanut battle, squabbling over the tastiest treats.

“Look at that!” exclaims Kris. “It’s a bird of prey. It looks like a falcon.” She runs to grab the bird book, from which we learn that the bird is, indeed, a peregrine falcon.

Uncommon in open areas, especially near water. Nests on cliff ledges or (recently) on buildings or bridges in cities. Solitary. Hunts from perch or from high in the air, stooping on prey at very high speed…Feeds mainly on small or medium-size birds. Sleek and powerful, with very pointed wings and relatively short tail. Prominent dark “moustache” unique; also note uniformly patterned underwing. Voice a series of harsh notes rehk rehk rehk

Why is a peregrine falcon sitting in our walnut tree? The squirrel doesn’t like it and, in a startling display of bravado, makes a sort of lunge at the bird, which is easily twice its size. The falcon is cowed, or willing to humor the squirrel. It sloughs from the tree and curves away on the strength of three or four wingbeats. A marvelous sight.


Not our falcon.

“We have a great house for birds,” Kris says, and I murmur agreement.

“What shall we do today?” she asks, finishing her tea.

“I have no motivation,” I say. “All I want to do today is to lay around the house.”

“That’s fine,” she says, “but promise me you’ll finish raking the leaves.”

“I’ll finish raking the leaves, but not until this afternoon. I want to move slowly. I want a hot bath. But first I want some hot cocoa and toast.”

Nothing is finer on a cold November Sunday than hot cocoa and toast, the preparation of which is almost a religious ritual: retrieve the blender and the toaster, plug them in, heat the milk on the stove, toast the bread ’til it’s golden brown and then slather it with honey, cut the cocoa tablet into chunks and dump these into the blender, pour in the steaming milk, turn the blender on.

Nothing is finer on a cold November Sunday than hot cocoa and toast.

While I wait for the cocoa to froth in the blender, I fetch The New York Times from the end of the sidewalk. “Hello, Nemo. Are you hunting birds?” The air is brisk, the grass is damp; I do not want to rake the leaves. The paper has a fine heft. I peel the two plastic bags that protect it and, as I walk back up to the house, I scan the headlines.

Nothing is finer on a cold November Sunday than hot cocoa and toast and The New York Times. Nothing is —

Holy shit!

On the counter, the blender has become a fountain of hot cocoa. I drop the paper and punch wildly at the buttons. The cocoa-spout continues. Why? There’s the problem: the blender is not gushing from the top, but from around the base. The pitcher on top of the blender has started to come unscrewed, and the hot cocoa is spewing from the bottom, all over the counter, all over the toaster (plugged in and toasting!), all over the floor. Screw the top back to the base! Unplug the toaster! Quick! Where’s a towel? The bathroom!

“I’m not messy!” I call to Kris. I’m not messy is one of my common refrains (others of which include I’m not clumsy and Kris Gates is always right). “I’m not messy” actually translates into “Oops, I made a mess again” because, in reality, I am messy.

Here’s Kris. She’s taking stock of the situation. “Why are you using a nice bathroom towel to mop this up?” she asks. “There’s a whole stack of kitchen towels on top of the fridge.”

“Well,” I explain. “I lost a lot of cocoa. There are probably two cups on the counter.” I direct her attention to the black cocoa-fall trickling down the cabinets.

“Oh my god,” she says. “I’m going upstairs.” And she does.

Why do we have so many things on the counter? I have to move them all, wipe them all with hot water. When I’ve moved everything, I’ve revealed a small pool of hot cocoa.


When I was nearly done with cleanup, I remembered to snap a photo.

Five minutes later, I sit down at the table and spread open The New York Times. I read about Elia Kazan while drinking tepid cocoa with toast.

Mashed Potatoes with Ketchup

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in part because it seems to last forever. A four day weekend? Who wouldn’t love a holiday that granted that?

I also love Thanksgiving because it has the best food of any holiday. Most years, it’s my job to make mashed potatoes for the family gathering. I generally try to make enough so that there are plenty of leftovers?

Why?

Because then for several days after, I can enjoy one of my favorite breakfasts: mashed potatoes with ketchup.

It’s hard to say exactly when I started eating mashed potatoes with ketchup. Maybe I was in eighth grade, maybe in fourth. I also used to add jelly, but that habit died quickly. Kris, of course, doesn’t care for my breakfast of champions. “That is gross,” she tells me.

“It’s delicious!” I say. “You like french fries and ketchup, don’t you?”

“It’s not the same thing.”

“You’re right,” I say. “It’s better.”

And it is.

Ghost of Thanksgiving Past

I saw a ghost today.

I was in line at Costco to buy my ritual Polish dog when I saw my father standing three places in front of me. My father has been dead for more than a decade.

I knew it was him instantly: the big belly hanging over his belt, the tangled mop of hair, the shuffling feet. He was wearing one of his solid blue dress shirts (tucked sloppily, as usual), dark blue trousers, and a pair of worn dress shoes. He looked the same, he moved the same, he even smiled the same.

For a few moments, I literally stopped breathing. I watched Dad move forward in line. He scratched his nose like always, itching it; I expected him to take out a hanky and blow. When he reached the front of the line, he smiled at the worker and made some inaudible joke. The worker laughed. Always the clown.

And then it occurred to me: this was not a ghost of my father, but a ghost of my uncle Norman. His voice was quiet, his manner shy. Still shocking, but less so than it might have been.

I could breathe again.


My father (Steve), my grandfather (Noah), and my uncle (Norman) in 1983.

It has been ten years since my father died, and about fifteen since my uncle Norman passed away. In that time, I have never seen a single person that reminded me of either of them. It’s easy to pick out strangers who remind me of friends or, especially, of acquaintances, but I never encounter strangers who remind me of family members. This is probably because I know family members so much better: it’s easy to spot little differences that reveal a stranger’s dissimilarity. This man, this ghost, did not possess dissimilarities. Everything about him indicated that he was a family member, some lost cousin or uncle.

I watched the ghost shuffle across to the soda fountain, then to the condiment dispensers. I watched him carry his food to a back table. “It’s your turn,” the lady behind me said, shattering my reverie. I’d forgotten all about my ritual Polish dog.

On the drive home, Robert Greenberg expounded upon Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture, one of Dad’s favorite compositions. Again I sunk into a nostalgic reverie, remembering him, remembering the things he did, remembering Thanksgivings of long ago.

(From the archives: another remembrance of my father on Independence Day)

End-of-the-Year House Update

It has come to my attention that a certain mother-in-law would like to see some photographs of the changes we’ve made at Rosings Park over the past six months. I am happy to oblige.

Our big project this year was, of course, the bathroom remodel. I documented that never-ending task in this weblog (before, beginning, middle, end), but I never shared photos of the finished product.

  

Kris and I each got something we wanted in the room. I got a long clawfoot tub in which I spend a lot of my spare time. It’s fantastic, except on cold winter mornings in which case it is like a sheet of ice. Kris designed her dream vanity and had it built to order. She loves the granite-like surface (the name of the material escapes me).

We recently made another large expense when we purchased a new range. The range that came with the house was old and unreliable. It took half an hour to preheat the oven to 425, and even then it might not hold that temperature. Baking was a crapshoot, and cooking on the stovetop wasn’t much better. We like to entertain, so we figured it was worth splurging for a nice range. After Paul and Amy Jo raved about their double-oven, we opted for something similar.

Our new range has two ovens. The upper oven is small, as you can see, but it preheats quickly and is perfect for cookies and pizzas and everyday use. The bottom oven is more traditional. Both can be used at the same time. The stovetop features a continuous grate, which is quite nice. We don’t like the placement of the knobs, but that’s really the only drawback of this range.

Our final expense was a light for the study. As I’ve mentioned many times over the past year, I’ve coveted this art deco light from Rejuvenation:

Kris thinks it’s frou-frou, though, and the slippershades (and the fixture itself) are quite expensive. Also, it’s a custom-order item. When I discovered another light fixture upstairs in the seconds department, I surrendered to practicality.

  

Actually, I like this compromise fixture for several reasons: the antique gilt finish is nice, similar to that on the slippershade fixture; the styling of this fixture matches that of the other two we installed in the house, and is more period appropriate than the slippershade fixture; this fixture — which normally would cost much more than the art deco fixture — cost less than my first choice because it (and the shades) were half-off in the seconds department; and this fixture puts out a lot of light, which is redirected from the ceiling &mdash: it makes the room feel cozy.

We have spent a hell of a lot of money on the house this year. In fact, despite my newfound frugality, I’ve been struggling to stay above water financially. Kris and I have agreed that we will make no major (planned) expenses of any sort next year. That ought to give me a chance to build up some savings and to mentally begin to feel like things are under control.

Meanwhile, the wildlife outside our house continues to entertain.

You may not be able to tell it, but this little guy is quite pleased because the cats are all inside. (The cats, however, are unhappy.)

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music

I have never learned to love opera, but I may be beginning to do so.

Inspired by last month’s book group selection — Vikram Seth’s An Equal Music, which is, in part, about the life of a string quartet — I have eschewed my normal audiobooks in favor of Robert Greenberg’s Teaching Company course entitled How to Listen to and Understand Great Music.

The Teaching Company is an organization that provides outstanding college lectures on CD and DVD and other formats. To quote the company’s FAQ:

The Teaching Company brings engaging professors into your home or car through courses on DVD, CD, audio, and other formats. Since 1990, great teachers from the Ivy League, Stanford, Georgetown, and other leading colleges and universities have crafted two hundred courses for lifelong learners. We provide the adventure of learning without the homework or exams.

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music is both a music appreciation course and a music history course. It is long — forty-eight lectures of forty-five minutes each — but I love it. Greenberg is passionate about his material, and this enthusiasm is contagious. The course touches on early music, on the music of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. It delves into the Baroque Era, the Classical Era, and — my favorite — the Romantic Era. Tomorrow I will begin the last section, which covers music of the twentieth century.

A course like this allows the instructor to cherry-pick. Greenberg not only focuses his lectures on the best compositions (from the best composers) throughout history, but he also selects some of the finest recordings. The recording he uses for Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” is bright and vibrant. In his choice for Beethoven’s fifth symphony, each instrument sounds marvelous and clear; I thrill to the deep thrum of the cellos.

It is Greenberg’s discussions of opera that have opened my mind. Opera has always seemed to me a pursuit for the wealthy. I have viewed it as the ultimate in highbrow entertainment. Apparently, this has not always been the case. In fact, it’s the opposite of what once was true. Originally, opera was music for the masses. Before the era of radio and television and motion pictures (and the internet), opera was the ultimate popular entertainment, a position it held for three hundred years.

During his lectures, Greenberg highlights an opera or two from each compositional period. From the early Baroque, for example, he features Henry Purcell‘s Dido and Aeneas. In particular, he discusses the well-known aria, “When I am laid in earth” (a.k.a “Dido’s Lament”). I say “well-known”, but I had never heard of it. What a shame. Listen and weep at its beauty. (Note: this is not the recording featured in the course.)

(Greenberg does not discuss Mozart’s The Magic Flute, but since Kris loves the Queen of the Night’s aria (“Die Höle Rach”), and since I have an mp3 handy, I’ll post it. I recently watched The Magic Flute on Discovery HD‘s Friday night opera lineup. This aria, in the context of the show, kicked major ass. The Queen of the Night is pissed. She gives her daughter a dagger and commands her to kill Sarastro, the Priest of the Sun.)

From the Romantic Era, the course includes “Una Voce Poco Fa” from Rossini‘s The Barber of Seville. Here I’ve posted tracks eight and nine from Greenberg’s lecture. Track eight features one recording of the bulk of the aria. Track nine features the full aria (including the introductory bits). Both tracks include some of Greenberg’s lecture.

The highlight of the course so far (for me, anyhow) has been The Wolf’s Glen scene from Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber. Drawn from a German opera of the Romantic Era, this music sounds absolutely modern. It is raw and powerful. It is dark and fantastic. It is filled with eerie malevolence. It is amazing. I listened to it on the drive to work today and it gave me chills not once, not twice, but three times. (No, the chills were not from the frozen air outside.) This is an astounding piece of work and I am shocked that I’ve not heard it before. The scene lasts for sixteen minutes, which is a long time, I know, but it’s worth listening to if you have the chance. The setup:

Kaspar has sold himself to the devil (who, in this case, takes the form of the wild huntsman named Zamiel). Kaspar’s time is running out. In order to gain more time, he plans to trade the life of his friend, Max. Kaspar brings Max to the Wolf’s Glen and together they mold seven magic bullets. The first six will go true to their mark, but the seventh will go where Zamiel wills it.

If this is opera, then sign me up. I want more. I guarantee I’ll be purchasing another Greenberg course, How to Listen to and Understand Opera.

Courses from The Teaching Company are expensive; they cost several hundred dollars on CD. However (and this is important), at least once every year, each course is marked down significantly. A $500 course like this one, for example, might be marked down to $140. I know that $140 for a college lecture series on CD might still seem expensive, but I believe this one has been worth every penny.

Other courses I have purchased include: Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living; Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality; The Roots of Human Behavior; The History of the English Language; and The Iliad of Homer. Earlier this year, another Metafilter reader noted my interest in Teaching Company lectures and shipped me a boatload of courses on history and philosophy. (Thanks, Lee!) I’ve managed to convert most of these from audiotape to mp3, and they’re on my iPod, ready to be audited.

I would love to share these lectures with you. Because they’re expensive, and because they’re good, I want them to get as much use as possible. If you have the time and the interest, please let me know. I will loan you whichever course suits your taste. Maybe you, too, will learn to love opera!

The Great Book Purge

“Who are you and what have you done with my husband?” — Kris

I’ve been quiet around here lately, but that’s a good thing. I’m tidying the nooks and crannies of my life. For example:

We have many bookcases with many shelves. To be precise, we have eighty-five bookshelves of about thirty inches each. That’s approximately 2550 inches of books, or about 213 feet. That’s a hell of a lot of books.

The recent change in my mental outlook has allowed me to realize that I don’t need to possess as many books as I once did. It used to be that I felt the urge to own any book that looked remotely interesting. No longer. Nowadays I’m more interested in purchasing high-quality copies of books that I already love or want to treasure. Girl With a Golden Earring? A low-quality book group selection that I certainly don’t need to keep. Moby Dick with woodcut illustrations? A keeper! Most books I can find at the public library.

Spurred by Live Simple, I’ve scoured our bookshelves in an attempt to free space. To do this, I deliberately shut off my sentimental faculties. “But that was a gift from Joel! But that was a book that I read when I first met Kris! But that was my favorite book when I was twelve!” So what? If it’s not a book that I want to re-read or to keep as reference then I set it aside to purge. Kris vetoed some of my choices, and I kept books that I knew would be difficult to replace (The Dune Encyclopedia is highly collectible and out of print), but to the extent that I could, I was ruthless in my culling. As a result I’ve purged hundreds of books. (This sounds impressive, but really it only freed about twelve shelves of space. I still have seventy-three shelves filled with books.)

The Great Book Purge is but one example of the recent changes in my life. There are others, and they’re all good. I am happy with this place, this new me that I’ve found.

Today was a big day at Rosings Park, a day we’ve awaited with much anticipation. It was the day of the New Range. Exactly at noon, we took receipt of a brand new Maytag Gemini Precision Touch 750 gas double-oven range. Good-bye, old range, with your unpredictable heating and igniters that didn’t work; hello, new range, with your continuous grates and two separate ovens!

After the range was installed, and I had tested it with a can of bean-with-bacon soup, I headed out to purchase a light fixture for the study. As you may recall, I’ve been coveting a specific art deco slipper-shade lamp from Rejuvenation.

I wasn’t able to fulfill my dream today, however; the lamp is a special-order. Dejected, I drove home and purged the encyclopedias.

Overrated

Somebody on AskMetafilter recently wondered “What are some of the most over-rated movies you’ve ever seen?” Though, as you might expect, the discussion was overflowing with subjectivity, there were also some interesting observations. One commenter noted that it’s possible for a film be both good and overrated, as in those well-reviewed small art films that don’t lend themselves to mass appeal. More often, however, it is the over-hyped blockbusters of mediocre quality that seem to garner more acclaim than their modest pretensions can bear.

The AskMe commenters considered Forrest Gump the most over-rated film they’d seen. The Lord of the Rings trilogy took second place, and there was a three-way tie for third between Napoleon Dynamite, Titanic, and the most recent Star Wars trilogy.

I noted that recent years have often seen the Oscar for best picture go to overhyped, overrated films in lieu of films of greater merit. I make a point of seeing all the Best Picture nominees each year. Each of the following struck me as overrated and undeserving: Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Return of the King (aka Peter Jackson’s The Long Goodbye).

This trend is not new, however. Last night, Kris and I watched an overrated film from 1973. How The Sting managed to win eight Oscars (including Best Picture over The Exorcist) and rake in a pile of dough is beyond me.

The Sting was released when I was four years old. All I can remember of it is how for a time the film’s theme song — Scott Joplin’s piano rag “The Entertainer” — seemed to be everywhere. Over the past thirty-two years, I’ve picked up something of the plot, but until last night I had never seen the film.

The film is set in 1936 Chicago, at the height of The Depression. The prohibition-era gangsters are gone, but their legacy lives on in small-time hoods and grifters, and in organized dens of iniquity throughout the city. One of these small-time players is Johnny Hooker. When one of his scams accidentally nets $10,000 he finds himself playing for even bigger stakes. His partner is killed, so he seeks the help of Henry Gondorff, a big-time con artist. Together, they orchestrate an elaborate revenge.

The film is stylish, but its style seems a sort of melange of different early twentieth century eras. The score is all ragtime piano, music that was popular in the late 1890s and early 1900s, not in 1936. (That’s like using big band music for a film set during the 1970s.) The costumes look more 1920s than the 1930s.

The sets also contribute to this patchwork quality. Many of the interior shots were shot on soundstage. (Even the golf scene was shot on a sound stage.) Most of the exterior scenes make obvious use of a studio backlot. I don’t mind soundstages and backlots, but it’s nice when they’re less obtrusive.

The film has other problems. There’s a subplot with a sort-of-love-interest that makes little sense and serves no purpose. It ought to have been excised from the script. The director isn’t content to cut between scenes, but uses an array of distracting wipes. This works for George Lucas in his Star Wars films, but it doesn’t work here. Because of the extensive use of sound stages and back lots, the entire movie has a stage-y feel, as if adapted from a play. (Kris and I both noted this independently of each other.) I got the impression that Robert Redford (as Johnny Hooker) was supposed to be playing a young punk in this film, somebody maybe 21-years-old, yet at the time the film was made he was 35- years-old and he looks it.

Though The Sting is likable enough, it’s ultimately forgettable popcorn fluff. There’s nothing there. It left me with a sort of empty feeling. “Is that all there is?” I asked kris when it was finished, but she only shrugged. It’s not that the film is bad; it just isn’t good. It feels like average entertainment. Why is it so revered? To me, it’s just another overrated movie.

Helpless

Simon is sick or hurt, and his inability to communicate his ailment is tearing me apart.

Parents talk about how frustrating it is, how heartbreaking it is, to not be able to help an ailing infant, and I want to tell them, “It’s the same way with cats,” but I never do. They wouldn’t understand. They’d think I’m trivializing their child’s problems, when actually I’m sympathizing with them.

Simon seemed fine Sunday morning, but by mid-afternoon something was wrong. He was sitting on the porch, on a bench, and I could tell merely from looking that he was unhappy. I went outside to pet him, and he didn’t move. He didn’t say a thing. I picked him up and he whimpered a sad little kitty whimper. (Or, in his case, a sad BIG kitty whimper.)

I carried him inside and put him on his chair. He stayed there all evening, never moving. When we went to console him, he growl/whimpered at us. He wouldn’t take food. He wouldn’t take water. He did get up at one point to use the litter box, which was something of a relief. Several years ago, he had a urinary tract infection, and I was afraid that had returned. I’m pleased to report that he pissed long and strong, just like a horse. But then he went back to his chair without stopping for a snack.

This morning, he was either better or worse, I cannot tell. He didn’t whimper when I stroked him, but just sat there, a dull expression on his face.

Poor Simon.

I don’t know what is the matter. He is not limping, but it almost seems like he’s sore when I touch certain parts of his body. Was he bitten by something? Did he get stung? Did somebody kick him? Is he sick?

If only cats could speak.

in Cats | 309 Words