Ginger

Caught in the lamplight...while chasing a fly.

Caught in the lamplight…while chasing a fly.

Squeak.  Ginger-Squeak.  Purr-Squeak.  Ginger-Snap.  Kitten.  Ginger-Snap-Crackle-Pop.  This cat has so many nick-names.  The one that is stuck for sure is “Squeak.”  She was nick-named this from the first day we brought her home, and has continued to live up to it ever since.

Ginger was born in El Paso, underneath a trailer surrounded by eight dogs–how the mama cat managed to slip past all those dogs to get under the trailer and give birth is anyone’s guess.  We got Ginger from the shelter just a few months after Juniper arrived.  Cats are like potato chips–you can’t have just one.

12-week-old Ginger and her sister, Terra, at the shelter.

12-week-old Ginger and her sister, Terra, at the shelter.

Introductions between the kitties went better and faster than expected–in spite of the fact that, at their first meeting, Ginger dashed up to Juniper and tackled her full in the face.  They were soon napping together, wrestling and chasing each other around the apartment like creatures possessed.

Drifting off to sleep after a thorough investigation of the apartment.

Drifting off to sleep after a thorough investigation of the apartment.

Ginger is, in many ways, the opposite of Juniper.  For one thing, their appearances are quite different–Juniper’s brown-and-tan tabby coat, missing eye, and snaggletooth give her a roguish, wild-cat look, and she is often mistaken for a male.  Next to Juniper, Ginger’s patchy calico coat looks like a circus clown.  There is also no mistake that she is female–aside from the calico give-away, Ginger is small and slim (or was, until she got into the kitten food), her white paws are small and dainty, and she minces when she walks.  Pink, especially in its bolder expressions, is not my favorite color–but when I went to pick out a collar for Ginger, there was no way I was getting any other color (it sets off her little pink nose).

Best friends.

Ginger is also–and this is one of the biggest differences between them–by far the most vocal of the two.  This is what earned her the nick-name “Squeak” and its variations.  After she was spayed, we kept Ginger separate by shutting her in our bedroom.  No doubt she was lonely, and every time one of us walked into the room, she would start purring as loud as she could while making squeaking noises (hence “Little Purr-Squeak”).  She still purrs all the time, but talks in a full cry rather than squeaks.  If she’s hungry, if she wants attention, or for no reason at all, she cries.  And if you shut her up–in a room, in a carrier–she goes into full yelling mode.  She will probably also tear something up, just because she’s mad.  For example:

Ginger, my sweet little kitten, can be rather spiteful when she's mad. The cats got into a bag of dog food and then made a mess when their tummies got upset, so I shut them in the room with their litter box while I cleaned up. They were quite certain that this violated their rights and dignity in some way and made a fuss. Juniper concentrated her efforts on escaping, but Ginger decided to exact revenge. When I opened the door to let them out, I found that she had shredded the better part of two paper towel rolls and was busy getting started on an entire pack of toilet paper. She gave me a look that read complete innocence and trotted out the door.

Ginger, my sweet little kitten, can be rather spiteful when she’s mad. The cats got into a bag of dog food and then made a mess when their tummies got upset, so I shut them in the room with their litter box while I cleaned up. They were quite certain that this violated their rights and dignity in some way and made a fuss. Juniper concentrated her efforts on escaping, but Ginger decided to exact revenge. When I opened the door to let them out, I found that she had shredded the better part of two paper towel rolls and was busy getting started on an entire pack of toilet paper. She gave me a look that read complete innocence and trotted out the door.

And this brings us to the next difference.  Ginger is far more inquisitive, adventuresome, and downright mischievous than Juniper.  While Juniper is content to stretch out in a sunbeam or, perhaps, perch on something as high as the table (although, Juniper is the one who launched herself from the second story of our garage onto our paved driveway), Ginger always has to be doing something–chasing down bugs, jumping onto the highest shelf in the room, climbing atop the refrigerator, chasing her tail while balancing in the coat tree:

"Hi.  Why are you upside down?"

“Hi. Why are you upside down?”

Ginger is also the one who discovered that the insides of our couches make great kitty playgrounds.  One morning I padded into the living room to discover that the couch was squeaking in distress–or rather, that the kitten inside the couch was squeaking in distress.  I panicked a little, wondering how I would get her out safely, and was preparing to perform exploratory surgery on the couch when a little sanity returned to me.  I exchanged my knife for a flashlight and pulled the seat cushions out from the couch while calling Ginger’s name.  Finally, Ginger emerged, blinking, from the depths.  I sighed with relief, replaced the couch cushions, and thought no more of it.  Ginger, however, had become convinced that the couch was a fantastic place to play.  Juniper thought that this was a great idea, too.  No matter what we have tried, we have not been able to keep those cats out of our couches.  Ginger has now passed on the secret of her lair to our foster kittens, who have taken things a step further and will sleep inside them.  This has become so normal that I forgot to mention their odd playplace to my brother, who came to house- and pet-sit for us this summer.  Upon discovering that the couch he was sitting on contained a cat, he panicked, thinking that he had squashed and injured it.  To his immense relief, Ginger emerged a few minutes later, wondering what all the fuss was about.

***

Ginger must know I am writing about her, because she has come and draped herself across my arms while I am trying to type.  She drives me pretty crazy sometimes, but I love her.  I’ll just try to remember that the next time she tears up a pack of toilet paper.

Shopping bag or sleeping bag?  If you're a cat, it doesn't matter. P.S.  If JoAnn's is interested in a promotional deal, I'm all ears...

Shopping bag or sleeping bag? Ginger finds yet another use for re-usable shopping bags.
P.S. If JoAnn’s is interested in a promotional deal, I’m all ears… 🙂

 

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This is a Test

I’m figuring out how posting comics works in this theme, and posting my most recent Great War/”Real Life”-sequel comics at the same time (ah, efficiency!).  If you’ve seen my deviantArt page, you probably won’t see anything new here for a little while.  However, I’ve excavated enough of my studio to make it useful, and I’m itching to cartoon again, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I am posting new comics.  I just need a new computer…currently I have to use two different laptops in the course of editing and posting a new comic–one of which is 6 1/2 years old, and the screen is going (of course, that’s the one with photoshop)–and it makes the process rather more tedious than it needs to be.  I think digitally editing my comics is the worst part of cartooning, anyways.  Ah well.  I guess it can’t be ALL fun and games. 

Old Posts: Juniper

Juniper…I have to say, I love this cat.  It feels a little silly to admit, even to myself, how attached I am to her…but I would be truly devastated if something happened to her.  Since this post, she and I have reached a much better understanding–probably due in part to the fact that she is out of the kitty teenage stage.  When my husband was re-located to New York, she made the 10-day cross-country trip with us from Texas, and then stayed with my parents for several weeks while we house-hunted–all in all, no small feat for such a territorial animal as a cat.  Sometimes, on the road, when we had arrived at yet another hotel, she would pop out of her carrier, slowly look around the new room, and then look up at me.  “You’re still here, right?” she seemed to ask.  “Then I guess it will be okay.”

The feeling is mutual.

Juniper

Posted on May 23, 2012

Pretty kitty

Meet Juniper.  She came to us one chilly morning in early January, cold and damp from being out all night in one of the desert’s rare snow showers.  Her left eye was clearly infected, black and hugely swollen.  We took her in, and finding no evidence of an owner, adopted her and got her eye fixed up.

Juniper’s first day with us. You can see how bad her infected eye was.

The name “Juniper” was Shaun’s idea.  You know you are homesick for trees when you start naming your pets for them…but it fits her.  It took a while for all of us to figure each other out.  Though I love cats, I hadn’t grown up with them, which meant that I underwent a crash course in Cat Psychology 101.  Even though I knew that cats, unlike dogs, feel no obligation to please the people they live with, it was hard to remember that when I found Juniper on the kitchen table for the umpteenth time.  To make it more difficult, Juniper was stubborn and strong-willed (okay, what cat isn’t?), mischievous, and openly defiant.  This may not have been all her fault, as she was on the cusp of being a teenager (in human years) when she found us.

Juniper bounced right back after having her eye removed and being spayed at the same time. I wish I had her resiliency. She did hate her “party hat” though!

She was very sensitive about being touched, and unless you caught her in just the right mood, would snap or claw at your hand if you tried petting her or picked her up.  She also had the bad habit of tackling or clawing hands and feet in very rough play.  Whomever had kept her before us had clearly not done us any favors in the socialization and discipline departments.  She had certainly been someone’s pet–she was comfortable in a home, not shy or seriously aggressive, and she had been well-fed.  However, the fact that Juniper came to us at 10 months old, unspayed, under-handled and with an bad eye infection seems to me to point to some degree of neglect.  This is a shame on the part of her former home, because with some discipline and TLC she has turned into a really wonderful pet.  From day one she has slept on our bed at night, usually on top of or snuggled next to me.  Sometimes she will groom my hands, and she runs to the door to greet Shaun when he comes home from work.  She mostly tolerates being petted now (we’re still working on it, and on being picked up), and we’ve discovered that she will melt when you scratch under her chin.  She’s funny and playful, and will perk up and make her “happy noises” (a rolling trill) at the sound of one of her jingle balls.  She is adorable and soft, and has made me feel so much more at home here.  Having a living creature to come home to and talk to has improved my spirits greatly.  I may not love it here in the desert, but it has given me a few very good things.

Juniper sometimes likes to curl up on the shoe rack next to Shaun’s Army boots.

She needed a few tissues….

Juniper and her new little sister, Ginger.

Quote

Old Posts: A Beautiful Day

This was one of the firsts posts from my former blog, “Careless Talk Costs Lives.”  I am moving some of the old posts that I don’t want to lose over to Squirrel’s Spot.  Today, while marveling at the beauty of autumn in New York, I again pondered the question that I ask in this post–“I never quite realized how much my sense of natural beauty is biased towards lush greenery.  …I wonder if I would think differently if I had been born and raised here.  What if the landscape I’m used to, attached to, were the alien one?”  As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  I am glad that I had opportunity to live in El Paso so that I could ponder these things.

A Beautiful Day

Posted on May 9, 2012

 

It was cloudy today.  I stepped outside to do laundry and it smelled like rain.  It was cool.  I wanted to throw open the window and doors and let the rain-smell come into the apartment.  Later, it did rain.  Today was a refreshing break from the monotony of sun and heat that has been with us since March.  It was a beautiful day.

I am from New York State (you know, that land mass next to New York City).  It’s green.  Rain is not a big deal.  Often, it’s an annoyance.  Moving down here to Texas and living in the desert has given me a greater appreciation of rain, and of water in all of its forms.  The landscape is like the moon, if the moon had prickly scrub everywhere.  It’s brown and tan with splotches of tired, dusty-looking green.  I never quite realized how much my sense of natural beauty is biased towards lush greenery.  Not that I can’t find beauty in other landscapes, but lush green is a beauty that I’m comfortable with.  I wonder if I would think differently if I had been born and raised here.  What if the landscape I’m used to, attached to, were the alien one?

When people ask if I like it here, I respond that I like three things: the mountains, the sunrises, and the sunsets.  I do think the mountains are beautiful–in a harsh way.  They’re kind of cool, in any case.  In the Northeast, you often can’t see the mountains for the trees.  Here, the mountains are the only thing blocking your view of the horizon.  And since the only thing they are covered with is some scrub, it’s easy to see their folds and undulations.  I think that’s pretty neat.  And in the light of the rising or setting sun…well, they can be downright gorgeous.  I now know what “purple mountain majesty” means.  Although you have to drive about 20 minutes away to find the “fruited plain.”  The day we discovered *that* was pretty exciting.  I had my nose glued to the car window–”Look!  FIELDS!  PLOWED FIELDS!  Oh my gosh, we just passed over a RIVER!!!  Look, an orchard!”  Can you tell what I miss?

The mountains here in Texas.

Up in the Adirondack Mountains in New York.

Lab Mice Greeting Cards available on Etsy!

Lab Mice greeting cards are now available in my Etsy shop!  I have quite a few designs, so it will probably take a few days to get them all listed.  Individual cards are $2.00 + $1.50 shipping to the U.S.

Check it out!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/SquirrelsSpot?section_id=14235507

"Astronautical Birthday"--available both as a birthday card and a party invite.

“Astronautical Birthday”–available both as a birthday card and a party invite.

"Princess and the Frog"--a card for a bridal shower, or to congratulate someone on her engagment

“Princess and the Frog”–a card for a bridal shower, or to congratulate someone on her engagment

"Just Don't Bust a Stitch"--a get well card.

“Just Don’t Bust a Stitch”–a get well card.

Etsy and Lab Mice: Links

Since part of the purpose of this blog is to connect my various online presences,  I thought I should start by putting the links all in one place.

Etsy Shophttp://www.etsy.com/shop/SquirrelsSpot

My Etsy shop is also named “Squirrel’s Spot.”  My shop carries Orthodox Christian wedding crowns, decorated candles, and occasionally floral arrangements.  I also plan to start selling Lab Mice greeting cards there in the near future.

Lab Mice deviantArt accounthttp://labmice.deviantart.com/

In the future I plan to post my comics in this blog, but for the time being the dA account will remain and function as a sort of “archive.”

Lab Mice Facebook Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Lab-Mice-Comic-Books/211641878877082

***

There it all is.  One of my cats has come and draped herself across my arms, so further typing is a bit difficult (okay, I could move her, but she looks so content…).

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.”

  ~Pam Brown
(via quotegarden.com)

12 Years

…O beautiful for glorious tale

Of liberating strife,

When valiantly for man’s avail

Men lavish precious life.

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness,

And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

~”America the Beautiful” by Katherine Lee Bates

This is the First Post

“The world needs people like me, Anne, just to amuse it.  It would be a terrible place if everybody were intellectual and serious and in deep, deadly earnest.”

~Phillipa Gordon, Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

There, I have made the dreaded and awkward First Blog Post.  By the way, welcome to Squirrel’s Spot–my own little corner of the world wide web, a place to consolidate my Lab Mice comic, Etsy endeavors, and extraneous musings.  Hope you’ll stop by often.  Hope I’ll remember to post often……