Saturday, July 24, 2010

Winston to Lyra.

I am not a cat person. There, I said it. I have not mentioned that fact on this blog to date as I was afraid of the backlash from all of you cat lovers. But for several years now I have avoided cats at all costs. I have enjoyed cats in the past, but after a few bad experiences I swore I would never again allow one in my house unless our family was eating it (okay - I did say that but I didn't really mean it - mostly).

You may wonder how I have been able to successfully photograph so many cats and well --- I am not sure. Especially since I am also quite allergic to them. But I am not mean to cats. I just haven't wanted to befriend any.

And then ... there was "Winston". Sweet, sweet, adorable, manly, soulful Winston. And I fell in love. For real. He came in for a photo shoot and I was completely smitten. I rubbed him without faking interest ... I cuddled him without secretly wanting him to get away from me ... I played with him without having to act as though I was enjoying it. And I was floored by my feelings for him. They were so quick and so genuine. And he was available for "adoption" from the Bangor Humane Society --- sort of. The woman (Erica) who brought him in really wanted to "adopt" him but was having trouble convincing her roommate. I --- and the kids --- were quite surprised to hear me tell her that if she was unable to convince him that I would like to know so that I could apply for him.

Mr. Winston

That night I dreamed of him. The next day I longed for him. The following day he was all I could talk about. The day after that I found out that Erica's roommate said yes and that he was no longer available for adoption. I was heartbroken. But I did not want a cat --- I wanted that cat --- so I told my friends at the Humane Society not to go searching for any ole kitty for me --- as I knew they would likely do just that --- because they are wonderful and saw how eager I was to take "Winston" home.

They didn't really listen to me. So, I told them the kind of cat I would want IF I were to want a cat. The cat would have to be a bit feisty, the complete opposite of needy, long-haired (as I am most allergic to short-hairs), interested in people without being pushy or in our faces all the time but at the same time he/she would have to be friendly and would have to want to sleep with me (as I grew up with a cat that was totally independent except at night --- and I loved that relationship). And it had to be a kitten. How is that for a tall order? How on earth could my friends possibly know that much about a kitten? They couldn't. But they tried.

Ms. Erica even sent me this pic of an available kitty at the Bangor Humane Society:
Abandoned Maine Coon Kitty

How could I not go see this little guy? Talk about a pathetic picture! And an adorable face! The next day Isaac and I were at the Humane Society checking out all the kitties. And sadly, there are MANY. We were even allowed out back where there are kitties who are not yet available for adoption as they require testing, surgery, or some additional attention, etc. The kitty that is pictured above was sweet to be sure ... and so were so many other kitties ... but none of them spoke to me ... none of them tugged at me ... which is exactly what I expected ... as I was not searching for a cat ... I simply wanted "Winston".

But then ... my friend Dawn (BHS worker) and I looked up to see this little lady:

... and I felt something. I am not entirely sure what it was. But it was good. So, Dawn took Isaac and I - and the kitty - into a visiting room. And we played with this little one for a bit. Isaac fell instantly in love. But as much as I felt something for her, I couldn't just give into it so quickly and easily. I told Dawn we would be back within a couple days to visit with her again - with Halis and Meg as well.

Two days later we were all in the same visiting room again. And we were all falling in love. She was feisty, alert, independent, healthy, sweet, etc. I had no idea if she would become all the things I wanted from a cat - but I was willing to try. So, she came home with us the following day. And we named her Lyra - after the Incredible Hulk's only daughter (of course).

The afternoon of her arrival, Isaac and I played on the floor with her for quite a while. She was/is hilarious. And that night, I slept with her on the couch. She is only 1lb and I was afraid she would get lost or stuck in some part of our house --- so I snuggled with her on the couch --- just the two of us. And I sobbed. I literally sobbed from the pit of my soul. I loved her. I needed her. I didn't know how much I needed a cat. How much my anger and "hatred" of cats had nothing to do with cats --- but had to do with the pain of losing my childhood feline companion --- and of how much I missed her --- and how much this sweet little kitty reminded me of her --- and of how quickly and deeply I was falling in love with her --- and how she was/is the exact description of the cat I told my friends that I might consider. She is my cat. I found her. And she is perfect.

She hangs out with me as much as possible. Yet she never begs anything of me. She sleeps with me each night. And she sits with Isaac as though they have known one another forever:
She even eats right along side him whenever he eats on the couch. Because she will eat right out of his own plate --- I have to make her her own:

She especially loves waffles and rice pilaf.

She is awesome. And I miss her when I am away from home. And I am forever thankful to "Winston" (no longer his name) for showing me that I needed a cat in my life. And just as thankful to the two-legged creatures who helped me to bring Lyra home to us (Dawn, Erica, & Aunt Dandi).

Life is just a bit more complete now. And now I can photograph cats without pretending to like them. The facade has faded ... and I am now a cat lover (though still more of a dog person). Thank Lyra.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chicky See, Chicky Do.

Yes, the little chicky made it through the door ... following after Mom on Day 2 of life. Those little wings somehow got him/her over the wooden obstacle. So cool, really. They walk within about 2 hours of hatching ... and immediately start mimicking Mom. I just love to watch them. They are fast as lightning ... and cute as can possibly be.

More pics to come, I am certain.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Peep. x8

My goodness ... July seems to be the month of "new life" around this farm. Yes, usually one would think that spring season is when farm babies are born. But something wonky has happened around here. Seems that Mr. Rooster and all his hens got a bit randy and broody this past June. Check out what (or who) has been popping up around these parts ...

It all started when this nameless hen came out of the woods one day with 3 chicks stumbling behind her. Forgive me for not even noticing that she was gone (she had to have been laying on these eggs somewhere for 21 days) but we have several hens and her absence went unnoticed. So, when she came back home as a Mama, we were all shocked and bemused by her little chicken nuggets. So cute. Sadly, on of them past away ... but the other two are doing just great and living with Mom in and out of the goat barn.

Meanwhile, our always broody hen - RJ - had been laying on eggs for what seemed like forever. Several times we had to remove her from unfertilized eggs gone bad ... but she would just find more eggs to sit on and we didn't have the heart to take her off of her most recent clutch no matter how disbelieving we were that anything would ever hatch from underneath her. But ... she proved us wrong ... and only two days after we noticed the first set of summer chicks (shown above) ... we noticed that RJ had some special surprises of her own.

It all started with one ...

Which then lead to five ... all hearty survivors ...

And perhaps RJ would have hatched out more, but she abandoned the rest of the clutch in order to care for her 5 new babes. Soooo ...

our friend Tree decided to take over for her ...

And Tree's efforts paid off ... as she hatched out her very own chick the next day. And if I am right, I believe she will hatch a couple more out by the end of the week.

There you have it. Eight little peeps so far. Totally unexpected. Heck, I didn't even know our rooster was getting busy ... as he is as old and as tired as can be. But alas, we have several new members of our flock ... and some VERY doting and protective Mamas. And not just the feathered kind ... I find that I am out by the coop at all hours of the day ... making sure that the chicks are thriving, warm, fed, safe, etc ... and also enjoying all of their antics :)

I am sure there will be plenty more chick pics to come. They are so darn cute. ENJOY!



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Friends that Feel Like They Have Always Been in Our Hearts.

So, a little while back I hosted an Annual Pet Portrait Fundraiser Contest to benefit the Humane Society. It was a wonderful success for both my studio and for the Bangor Animal Shelter. Money was raised, animals were helped, people were proud of their award winning pets ... etc. All good stuff to be sure. BUT, what I didn't expect ... and am forever grateful for ... is the number of amazing people I met while organizing the event and while photographing peoples' pets ... and how many lifelong friends I believe I am now blessed with because of those efforts.

Topping the list of amazing new friends are Robin & John Kingsbury (Miss Robin is pictured below with my kiddos). You may remember seeing their dog Sir PAL (Piss-A-Lot) on my Flickr page. I love these people. Truly. Already. And hopelessly. And they are just as in love with us. How cool is that?

They invited us to their family camp for the 4th of July ... and it was as if I had always been there ... like I grew up knowing the place. Their extended family is so much fun. So loving, welcoming and talented. Robin's Aunt is an incredible artist who has the nerve to suggest that she "is just a nobody". Excuse me?! Well, no one is a "nobody" and I can't think of one other person I know who shares her artistic talent! But that's a Mainer for you ... hardworking, talented people who are more modest than they should be. Anyway, I love her already too. And her husband, Skip ... seen here being goofy :)

The kids had such a great time too! Isaac could barely stay out of the water ... and I caught Meaghan GENUINELY smiling on at least two occassions! And if that weren't enough ... my usually quiet and conservative husband talked up a storm and actually drank 4 beers. I have never seen the man drink more than 1 since he was in high school. So he was quite comfortable.

And it is so easy to be comfortable with these great folks. I love them, love them, love them. Good, good stuff.

And here's the thing ... the world is AWESOME. And I have learned that when I open myself up to the Universe ... am content with myself ... and approach people in an authentic and loving way ... that I found the most AMAZING people to share my life journey with. I can name at least a dozen people that I can call my friends now ... whom I have only known for 2-3 months ... and with whom I have the best times with. No expectations, just enjoying eachother ... endlessly. And I am so happy with it all. (I only hope that I give them all something in return as well ;)

I distinctively remember putting it out to the Universe that I wanted to meet and fall in love with some new friends ... as I was feeling a bit empty from some shallow and sometimes harmful friendships of the past ... and the Universe responded ... bountifully! What a lesson for my kids too --- become your best self --- love with wild abandon --- put all your desires out to the Universe (God/Source/etc) --- then reap the rewards of your love and trust.

Thank you Source! And thank you to all my rock-awesome friends. As Robin said, "There are no coincidences" ... and I am forever thankful that she and I crossed paths at the exact moment in our lives when we were meant to.

Love you all. You know who you are. If you don't --- then I need to remind you how much I love you! Thanks for all the lovin' in return. That is why we are here on earth --- for no other reason than to love one another as best we can.

Rock out the love ...
Jodi & family

For more pics of our fun day on the lake ... see here: