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Thursday, September 21, 2017

5 a.m., Day 66, laptop camera

Let's not call them fuzzy. Let's call them impressionistic.
Prince Toby at his most imperious.

Would you look at the length of those legs. And the tail!
The tail is fine--just a bit ruffled.

And he's sound asleep, kangaroo legs, giant tail, and all.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Arwen and Toby Show

Arwen takes up a defensive position in an old grocery bag.

Toby scouts.


The fake fight is on!
Note his claws are out and hers aren't. 
She is very gentle with him.

Hey, where'd he go?

...And where did he get that toy?

It's impossible to catch them in focus when they are galloping around the house after each other.
I thought I'd at least give you a sense of size, motion, and general hilarity.

Day 65: Detente, achieved.

I was pretty nervous when Toby walked up to Rufus in the windowsill, but Rufus didn't even blink. The two of them shared the space companionably for half an hour.

Toby is now 9 weeks and a day old. He's officially out of the danger zone for orphaned kittens. He's eating well, using his box, and playing like a mad thing. He looks more like a real cat every day.

 I'm not so sure detente has been achieved with Sophie, but at least she didn't beat up on him.

Look at that sleepy kitty smile!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A buddy for Toby

Arwen, the cat who mulls things over, has been watching Toby closely since I brought him into the house. She came to two conclusions over the past few days:
1. Yes, that is definitely a cat.
2. It wants to play, unlike the other old fogey cats around here.
They have made approaches to playing before, but he was very tiny and she was a bit rough. He has grown, and she has modified her approach. They started playing yesterday, with Daisy watching and occasionally intervening on Toby's behalf by putting herself between them, with no barking or growling; I was watching Daisy to make sure it stayed that way.
This morning, with Daisy sound asleep in another room, I spent the time between 4 and 5 a.m. watching Arwen teach Toby how to play tag and hide-and-seek. He's good at tag but tends to forget he is hiding and/or seeking. I stayed close in case Toby needed someone to referee (he's not quite two pounds, and she's somewhere around eleven to twelve), but they were very good with each other.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Day 59 and it's PLAYTIME!

It was a fun morning at our house between first and second kitty breakfast!

My favorite toy is this jingle ball tied to a string.
I take it away from the apes and run with it.

And I mean RUN.
Sometimes I narrowly avoid smacking into things.
Sometimes I smack into things.

The packing paper is also a lot of fun.
So is the camera. 
I charged the camera right after this was taken.

Mean mommy won't let me play with the camera. 
I. Shall. Sulk.

(Closeup of adorable sulk.)

Well, if sulking won't work, I'll wash.

The paper rustled!

Why is Mommy snapping her fingers and whistling that West Side Story tune?

I'll show her. I'll climb up on her back and wash myself!
She won't be able to move, 
and Daddy will be laughing so hard he has trouble taking a photo.

All grudges forgotten. Snuggles make up for anything.

Day 58, some closeups

Sunday afternoon's pictures:
He was starting to tire after a play session.

Such a pensive expression!

Tiny pink tongue!

You're not going to move me, are you? 
I am very comfortable right here by your leg.
What do you mean, your leg is going to sleep?
It must need rest, then.

September 11, 2001

I was in my second year of teaching elementary Life Skills special education in a classroom with 12 students, 4 full-time aides, and several part-timers. I followed my usual no-TV morning routine at home and got in at about 7:35, a little late because the traffic was bad. One of my aides was already there. She came down the hall to meet me at a dead run.

"The World Trade Center's been attacked," she blurted. "The towers are down. They've attacked the Pentagon."

I made it an ironclad rule never to curse at work, but the first words out of my mouth were, "Are you shitting me?"

"No. Come on!" We ran back to the classroom. After a glance at the TV, I called Matt, who had just gotten his teaching license and hadn't been called to sub that day.

"Turn the TV on!"
"What channel?"
"Any channel!" I hung up.

Some of the staff were there; others were just coming in. We watched the video, played over and over, of the towers going down. We watched for several more minutes, in silence. Some wept. I couldn't. I wanted, more than anything, to be back in New York, where my brother was, where I had lived for three years in my twenties and done everything possible to get out. I didn't love the crowds. I loved the people.

My mind raced. Ever since the Thurston High shootings, which happened a month before I started ed school, I had looked at every space I entered with students with an eye to security: How many doors? How far to each door? Can I lock it? What about windows? Can we get out of them? Should we cover them? Where do I hide the kids? What can I grab to throw at or hit the shooter and at least slow them down?

None of that worked anymore. Would there be attacks in San Francisco, in Portland? Would the power go out? Would the government be taken over by a hostile power? Would we have to send the kids home? Would we have to stay at school with kids whose parents weren't home? How could we keep them safe? We couldn't.

I realized I knew nothing except what I had to do right away.

I turned off the TV, stood in front of it, made sure they were all looking at me. "OK, people, here's the deal. We don't know what's going on in the world, and we can't help what's happened, but in ten minutes the buses are going to pull up and we're going to have kids to teach. Our job is to keep them safe, help them learn, and give them the best day we can. Let's get going."

We went about prepping the day. We met the buses, greeting every student with eye contact and a smile. We worked the day in a weird fog of unreality. Thank God not everyone had the Internet on their phone. There's something to be said for being forced to live in the present.

The following week, my bubbliest student was subdued and anxious.

"What's the matter, B.B.?" I asked. He turned a worried little face up to me.

"Don't like the movie. Scary movie."

'What scary movie?"

"Plane go boom." One little hand zoomed into the other hand, which was held vertically. Both hands dropped. "Don't like the movie."

"Oh, honey, nobody likes that movie. It's a very sad movie." It was all I could think of to say to him. Blessedly, it helped; all he needed was to be heard.