Cookie’s Spring Adventure: 2011

photography of tortie cat in grass

This is the life!

I’m headed out to clean up my garden for the first time this spring, and I’m remembering Cookie having such a good time last year—especially escaping through the hole in the fence after waiting for me to turn my back long enough—and napping in the sun, and all the years we did this before now. It’s been difficult to be out there with all these memories, but I’m sure she’ll be with me, along with Namir, Stanley, Moses, Sally and Kublai.

Wow, this is the life! I could lie in the sun all day!

Yesterday, mom stopped everything she was doing and went outside in the middle of the day. We haven’t done that since I-don’t-remember-when! I know it’s been getting warmer and the days are getting longer—I’ve seen 19 years of this—but I can never quite keep track of where we are. But when mom does this, all the signs point to SPRING!

First thing in the morning, we went out on the deck and the air was still cold but smelled so good I got up on my green table where I can see the whole yard. It’s not easy for me to get up here anymore and it takes a few extra steps but I was inspired!

tortoiseshell cat on table

Here I am on my observation table.

Then it felt so good I got up on the deck railing and said “hi” to mom who was pointing her black box thing that makes pictures all over the yard. When she turned and saw me, first she took my picture as she always does, then she asked “just what the heck I was doing on the deck railing when I was 19 years old?” I didn’t see why being 19 made any difference in my being on the deck railing and turned around and walked around to the corner, but mom would have none of it and she picked me up! I was so mad I think I even let go of a few profanities. Then she set me on the deck and moved my green table too far away from the railing for me to step on it because “I stumbled a little bit”. She worries too much.

tortie cat on deck railing

What's wrong with being on the railing at 19 years old?

Then we went out in the yard and I walked all around and smelled everything while she got to work. Look at this jungle of branches! I remember when Namir and I used to hang out on this picnic table. I miss my buddy, even though he used to pull my tail.

cat looking into wooded area

Mom has a lot of work to do!

Mom had to help me out of the tomato cage, but I could have figured it out eventually.

cat in wire tomato cage

I didn't really need the help, well, maybe.

I had to keep checking on her to make sure she was doing things correctly. Humans do things for strange reasons—for instance, I can’t figure out why she covered up the hole in the fence in the corner of the yard. I loved to crawl through there and I’d end up in a completely new place. Mom would drop everything and come running, but she couldn’t fit through the hole and had to run all the way around to get me. She didn’t have to get me! I knew where I was! Now I can’t get through there anymore.

tortie cat observing

Sometimes I can't figure out humans.

I don’t like to get my picture taken but sometimes she sneaks up on me and catches me off guard, like when I was taking a bath and enjoying the sun. She said I made a “nice composition”. I thought I was a tortoiseshell cat.

tortie cat on duff

I thought I was a cat, not a "composition".

After all that activity, I was ready for a nap. I used to just curl up on some leaves and grass in the sun, but it felt kind of cold and uncomfortable. Then I found that mom had tossed her flannel shirt on the ground and that was just so nice and cozy, and it smelled like mom.

tortie caton flannel shirt

Mmmm, cozy and warm.

Everyone knows when I stretch out my right arm, the one with the fully orange index toe, that I am a happy kitty.

cat with paw outstretched

I am one happy girl.

(zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………………….)

cat sleeping

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

______________________________

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Cookie’s Ready to Start Baking: From A Year Ago Today

tortie cats with apples in a pan

Cookie's ready to start baking!

Well, look at those bright eyes! I remember this day, a wonderful winter Sunday afternoon with, of course, Cookie in the kitchen as well as everyone else. I think I’ll include this in the series of “In the Kitchen with Cookie”.

Good, let her peel those apples and pears!

Cookie continues her kitchen exploits as I get things ready to make an apple and pear crisp this morning.

Cookie did what most cats do when they want to be a part of something you’re doing—she sat on the nearest piece of reading material, in this case the big old binder of copied and handwritten recipes I keep. I know she’s unaware she’s hanging off the counter, but I don’t think she really cares, she’s ready for action! I could just picture the fruit and enamel pan suddenly flying into the air as Cookie and the cookbook headed for the floor. Didn’t stop me from grabbing my camera first, though.

tortie cat sleeping on cookbook

Cookie naps on the cookbook.

She fell asleep long before the crisp was done, though, enjoying a nice nap in the warm sunny kitchen. I used a different recipe, mostly from memory. Heaven forbid I move her when she’s settled.

five cats in the kitchen

Five cats just hanging around.

She set a bad example for all the others, though, as they all gathered around the counter where I work; Kelly is on the refrigerator  and Mewsette is on one of the cabinets. I also ended up working on a very small space next to my sink since every time I turned around there was a different arrangement of cats on the counter and table and I felt black cat hairs wouldn’t take the place of the raisins I thought I had. Cookie, though blurry, looks a little annoyed at the others taking a part of her turf.

Actually, we all had a lovely morning in the kitchen as I made the crisp and finished putting things away into the new cabinet I’d moved in the night before. There’s something about a weekend morning kitchen that’s welcoming and comforting with a warm oven, fresh baked goods, watching the birds outside, just spending some relaxed time. I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen as working with my hands is usually a prelude to creative work, and I’ve always  noticed that whenever I spend time cooking or baking, listening to a recorded book or singing along with the radio all the cats have always joined me. It’s a wonderful memory.

Later I had a nice warm piece of the crisp and Kelly shared my vanilla ice cream.

You can see Cookie interacting with my kitchen activities in other photos:
Cookie in the Pasta Bowl
A Cookie in Every Pot
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheesecake

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To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


You’re Not Going Anywhere: From A Year Ago Today

tortie cat on coat

You're Not Going Anywhere For A While

Here’s Cookie, a year ago today, determined to stop me from leaving the house again!

Okay, so I was out a lot in the past week, much more than normal, and I was a little preoccupied when I was here.

What’s the best way to get mom to slow down for a bit? Sit on her lap and purr, she’ll sit there all day. But first you have to get her attention. Cookie makes a statement by balancing herself on top of my hat and jacket draped on the back of my desk chair. She knows I wouldn’t go anywhere without my hat.

What would they do if I worked a job away from home?

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Cookie’s Spring Adventure

photography of tortie cat in grass

This is the life!

Wow, this is the life! I could lie in the sun all day!

Yesterday, mom stopped everything she was doing and went outside in the middle of the day. We haven’t done that since I-don’t-remember-when! I know it’s been getting warmer and the days are getting longer—I’ve seen 19 years of this—but I can never quite keep track of where we are. But when mom does this, all the signs point to SPRING!

First thing in the morning, we went out on the deck and the air was still cold but smelled so good I got up on my green table where I can see the whole yard. It’s not easy for me to get up here anymore and it takes a few extra steps but I was inspired!

tortoiseshell cat on table

Here I am on my observation table.

Then it felt so good I got up on the deck railing and said “hi” to mom who was pointing her black box thing that makes pictures all over the yard. When she turned and saw me, first she took my picture as she always does, then she asked “just what the heck I was doing on the deck railing when I was 19 years old?” I didn’t see why being 19 made any difference in my being on the deck railing and turned around and walked around to the corner, but mom would have none of it and she picked me up! I was so mad I think I even let go of a few profanities. Then she set me on the deck and moved my green table too far away from the railing for me to step on it because “I stumbled a little bit”. She worries too much.

tortie cat on deck railing

What's wrong with being on the railing at 19 years old?

Then we went out in the yard and I walked all around and smelled everything while she got to work. Look at this jungle of branches! I remember when Namir and I used to hang out on this picnic table. I miss my buddy, even though he used to pull my tail.

cat looking into wooded area

Mom has a lot of work to do!

Mom had to help me out of the tomato cage, but I could have figured it out eventually.

cat in wire tomato cage

I didn't really need the help, well, maybe.

I had to keep checking on her to make sure she was doing things correctly. Humans do things for strange reasons—for instance, I can’t figure out why she covered up the hole in the fence in the corner of the yard. I loved to crawl through there and I’d end up in a completely new place. Mom would drop everything and come running, but she couldn’t fit through the hole and had to run all the way around to get me. She didn’t have to get me! I knew where I was! Now I can’t get through there anymore.

tortie cat observing

Sometimes I can't figure out humans.

I don’t like to get my picture taken but sometimes she sneaks up on me and catches me off guard, like when I was taking a bath and enjoying the sun. She said I made a “nice composition”. I thought I was a tortoiseshell cat.

tortie cat on duff

I thought I was a cat, not a "composition".

After all that activity, I was ready for a nap. I used to just curl up on some leaves and grass in the sun, but it felt kind of cold and uncomfortable. Then I found that mom had tossed her flannel shirt on the ground and that was just so nice and cozy, and it smelled like mom.

tortie caton flannel shirt

Mmmm, cozy and warm.

Everyone knows when I stretch out my right arm, the one with the fully orange index toe, that I am a happy kitty.

cat with paw outstretched

I am one happy girl.

(zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………………….)

cat sleeping

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Cookie’s Ready to Start Baking

tortie cats with apples in a pan

Cookie's ready to start baking!

Good, let her peel those apples and pears!

Cookie continues her kitchen exploits as I get things ready to make an apple and pear crisp this morning.

Cookie did what most cats do when they want to be a part of something you’re doing—she sat on the nearest piece of reading material, in this case the big old binder of copied and handwritten recipes I keep. I know she’s unaware she’s hanging off the counter, but I don’t think she really cares, she’s ready for action! I could just picture the fruit and enamel pan suddenly flying into the air as Cookie and the cookbook headed for the floor. Didn’t stop me from grabbing my camera first, though.

tortie cat sleeping on cookbook

Cookie naps on the cookbook.

She fell asleep long before the crisp was done, though, enjoying a nice nap in the warm sunny kitchen. I used a different recipe, mostly from memory. Heaven forbid I move her when she’s settled.

five cats in the kitchen

Five cats just hanging around.

She set a bad example for all the others, though, as they all gathered around the counter where I work; Kelly is on the refrigerator  and Mewsette is on one of the cabinets. I also ended up working on a very small space next to my sink since every time I turned around there was a different arrangement of cats on the counter and table and I felt black cat hairs wouldn’t take the place of the raisins I thought I had. Cookie, though blurry, looks a little annoyed at the others taking a part of her turf.

Actually, we all had a lovely morning in the kitchen as I made the crisp and finished putting things away into the new cabinet I’d moved in the night before. There’s something about a weekend morning kitchen that’s welcoming and comforting with a warm oven, fresh baked goods, watching the birds outside, just spending some relaxed time. I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen as working with my hands is usually a prelude to creative work, and I’ve always  noticed that whenever I spend time cooking or baking, listening to a recorded book or singing along with the radio all the cats have always joined me. It’s a wonderful memory.

Later I had a nice warm piece of the crisp and Kelly shared my vanilla ice cream.

You can see Cookie interacting with my kitchen activities in other photos:
Cookie in the Pasta Bowl
A Cookie in Every Pot
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheesecake


You’re Not Going Anywhere

tortie cat on coat

You're Not Going Anywere For A While

Okay, so I was out a lot in the past week, much more than normal, and I was a little preoccupied when I was here.

What’s the best way to get mom to slow down for a bit? Sit on her lap and purr, she’ll sit there all day. But first you have to get her attention. Cookie makes a statement by balancing herself on top of my hat and jacket draped on the back of my desk chair. She knows I wouldn’t go anywhere without my hat.

What would they do if I worked a job away from home?


Cookie and Me, Our 18th Anniversary!

me and cookie on the steps

Cookie and me, 2010, photo compliments Green Tree Times

Looking back in my records it’s not clear if the big day was December 6 or December 9, 1992, but no matter. Cookie is my main tortie and she’s been with me the longest of any cat currently in my household, and she has many stories to tell. She’s also been a very special friend of mine all these years for reasons you’ll read in her story.

It’s not hard to get “old”, really it just happens. What is more interesting is how you get there. And you have to have a good human who will take care of the important things for you.

photo of cat and flowered dress

Cookie and I have lunch al fresco.

I have lived my life in service to my mom, and I have let no other living thing, human, feline or otherwise, come before her. To me, and to the rest of us, she is like Freya, goddess of just about everything that is worth living for, and I have happily served as one of her chariot cats all my life.

tortoiseshell cat in forget me nots

Cookie in forget-me-nots

Most people don’t know that tri-color cats have an excellent memory, and can recall everything we’ve experienced through our lives. It’s one of the reasons tri-color cats have been considered good luck through history, though most humans think it’s only because of our unique coloring. That extra gene that gives us our tri-color coat also gives us an extra ability both to remember and to perceive. Sometimes, we can be a little irritable, but it’s only because we’re processing an awful lot of information.

So I remember all the way back to my beginning, which was pretty grim.

closeup of tortoiseshell cat

Cookie Closeup

There were four of us kittens with our mother and we were pretty happy and warm in our little box in a house until someone in the house decided we should be raised outdoors “like real cats” and put us outside. I was very young and still nursing, only tasting real food now and then.

Our mom moved us to a safe place then went off to get some food since she was told to “fend for herself”. We never saw her again, though we called and called for her.

Other little humans heard us, though, and led some other big humans to where our mom had hidden us. We were so hungry all we could do was cry. Unfortunately by that time two of my sisters were silent and we knew we’d never hear them again.

One of the big humans picked up my sister and one of the little humans picked up me and the big human told the little one that we needed special food and it might be a lot of work, but that we were probably old enough to survive if we got enough food.

So I went off with the little human, but not to live happily ever after. It seems his mom wanted no parts of me, even though he already had another feline in the house. He brought me inside overnight because she didn’t notice, but the next day she would put me outside. I really don’t understand some humans.

But he fed me and he played with me and I understood that he really loved me, so I stayed close to his house and when he came outside to look for me it made him so happy when I’d magically appear from under a bush or around the side of the house.

He always managed to feed me something, but there were times when there wasn’t much. Then the weather got colder and colder, and I heard him and all the other humans talking about how we hadn’t had “snow”, that icky cold wet stuff that gets on everything when it’s cold outside, “that early in winter”. When there wasn’t snow it was just cold, and it really hurt my paws.

pastel painting of snow in morning

Morning Snow 1, a painting from that winter, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

One day I had had enough. Cold wet snow was falling fast and I just started walking. I found a spot where warm air was flowing out of a little window and I settled underneath it, since it was somewhat dry there. I heard the boy calling and when he got close enough I came out and he picked me up and began to carry me back to where we lived.

We stopped on the way to talk to a big human in a little house I had passed. While he held me and proudly told her “this is my kitty”, I could see there were other cats in the house looking out the windows. They looked so warm and happy I could only wish, but I knew my future was in this icky outdoors. Still, I heard her say, “If your mom puts her back outside, just bring her here.”

And later that day his mom came home and literally tossed me out the door into the snow, which was really deep and wet by then. He brought me back in, and I heard them on the phone, her saying, “I don’t care if that cat dies it’s not coming in here, he already has one…”

Then he put me in his coat and in a minute we were back at the lady’s house. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I’ll take care of her, and you can visit.”

painting of cat looking out door

The Little Sunflower, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

So we went inside and she put me in a nice warm room by myself then left. There was a bowl of food and a bowl of water but I was so tired and confused after my awful day that I ignored it at first and just curled up on a nice soft bed and fell asleep.

The lady came back in and picked me up to take me to another room with bright lights. She sat on the floor and put me on her lap and talked to me while she gently ran her hands all over me, pulled on my ears, lifted my face and looked right into my eyes, lifted each of my paws and felt all my toes. Any other time I’d have given her a piece of my mind at treatment like this, but it wasn’t like the kids outside would do, and besides I was kind of in a stupor in the warmth with food and gentle petting.

I curled myself up on her lap really tightly and started on the second toe on my left hind foot. “Hmmm…” she said, picked me up and looked at my foot, pulling my toes apart and looking really closely. Then she let my paw go and I went back to it with my toe, feeling a big profound purr begin deep inside me, but again she took my foot and inspected it and let it go. This time she just petted me while I worked on my toe and after a while I heard her say, “Oh, little kitty, you’re nursing on your toe…” Well, when I lost my mom and then my sister and I was alone a lot, I needed something for comfort. What could it hurt?

cat in basket

Cookie in the basket several years ago.

I stayed in the warm, quiet room with the food bowl and the lady came to visit a few times a day with food in a little can—yum! I heard the other cats outside and we sniffed under the door at each other. She petted me and talked to me and called me “Chocolate”, but I was still wary and usually kept my distance when she came in, acting unconcerned, except when she sat down and then I could curl up on her lap and work on my toe. I just knew this had to end, and I wasn’t going to get too accustomed to the room or to her since I had loved the little boy too, and had to leave there. I had lost my mother and all my sisters, and I wasn’t taking any chances anymore.

But one morning when she came in and cheerily said, “Good morning, Chocolate!” I impulsively turned and walked over to her, put my tail up and asked her a question with just my eyes, “I’m staying here, aren’t I?”

“Oh, little kitty, I’m so glad you’re happy to be here!” Humans can be very intuitive too. I knew I was right. And I knew that I’d be devoted to this person for all my life. Eighteen years later, I still am. In fact, right now I’m properly draped across her lap, right paw extended and my chin resting on her right wrist as she types, and just a little purr is intended to massage her wrist and to relax me. Mom is working and I am attentive as her kitty in waiting. We are very happy.

photo of two tortie cats

Cookie and Kelly at the computer

I have seen many changes since the day she let me out of that room and I officially joined the household (and I had no idea until some time later that I nearly left with someone who was looking to adopt a tri-color kitty who ended up with Sunshine, a calico who had been wandering the neighborhood as well as me). I was the youngest then; now I’m the oldest, I’ve been here the longest. I grew to love all the cats who were here when I came for what they taught me, even those who came for a while then left, and all the others who came and stayed and are still here. I even managed to get over my pique when my mom took in another tortie, that scrawny, noisy Kelly who is so un-tortie in so many ways, and now it’s hard to believe that Kelly is a senior cat too.

photo of tortie cat in the sun

Cookie-patra

I knew some day I’d hold this position of honor as the lead cat in the household. I was instructed by the best cats in the world just exactly how to take care of my mom and how to be a leader among cats so that you earned respect without having to lift a paw, though sometimes you need to say something. Usually, a stern look will do.

Cookie and Sophie

Cookie and Sophie

But mostly I’ve loved being one of my mom’s guard cats. I knew this was my place and learned the position from my sister Sophie, who was here when I came in and who became my closest friend in the household, though she could be a little strange at times. Still, whenever our mom settled down, we would take our positions on either side of her, either curled in vigilance on either side of her on her desk or literally leaning against her ankles, either just being vigilant or giving her the strength and support she needed in the moment.

Recently, I started helping her in her shop where I greet and supervise customers, and of course you know I am on the sign to let people know where to find good cat art—with me as a subject, how could it be otherwise?

We lost Sophie a few years ago, and it hurt as badly as losing my mother and sisters did all those years ago. I couldn’t even be there for my mom, or she for me, until one day we looked at each other and noticed we’d each quit eating and were losing weight and just feeling sick all the time. We curled up together and gave each other the strength to go on.

photo of two cats in the grass

Cookie and Namir relax in the yard.

We’ve lost others too. We lost Namir; even though I wasn’t as close with him as I was with Sophie, and he used to run up behind me and swat my butt then trot away giggling, we had great times out in the back yard helping mom with her garden and just enjoying being cats out there and it’s just not the same out there without him.

Peaches and Cookie are exhausted with all the new information.

Peaches and Cookie are exhausted with all the new information.

And we lost Peaches, who I still miss even though I thought it was rude of her to “cut in line” coming in the house at age 15 and not working her way to her senior position the hard way, as I did, getting tossed around by the older cats and finally getting my mom’s full attention. Peaches was one of the nicest kitties to come into the house, though, and I miss curling up with her on mom’s desk; I even miss keeping an eye on her all those months when she was ill.

There has been so much more in my eighteen years here with my mom, and I am looking forward to many, many more. Our Stanley lived to be really, really old, several years older than I am now, and I don’t see any reason I can’t do the same.

photo of cats on bed

Mewsette questions Cookie

Besides, who would look after our mom if I wasn’t here? The only kitty I’ve seen with any potential all these years is Mewsette, who has been hanging out near me and asking questions. I have to put her in her place now and then because she’s a little too friendly for me, but even though she’s not a tortie she is big and strong and solid black and though she’s young and silly I think she may be able to be the next kitty in waiting.

Cookie, "The Goddess" block print © B.E. Kazmarski

About Cookie’s name…tortie cats can look very brown when they are young, before their markings develop clarity on a slightly larger body, and Cookie was the first tortie I encountered. I called her “Chocolate” because of her coloring and because she was sweet. Because she was small I called her “Chocolate Chip”. One day I called, “Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cookie, Cookie and she ran out from under the bed with big round eyes as if to say, ‘How did you know my name?’ ” She’s been Cookie from then on, but her full name is Semi-Sweet Butterscotch Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. You know how these things develop.

This article originally ran as “Cookie Reminisces” as we celebrated Peaches’ 100th Birthday in April 2010.