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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Our 14th Blogoversary!

TBT HERE:  This Blogoversary post will be different from previous ones.  The Mews agreed that since none of them were here (or even born yet) when the blog started, I should write today's post.  It makes it easier to refer to individual Mews, Cats-Who-Came-Before, the origins of the blog, and some events The Mews may not remember. 

Some of this will be stuff mentioned in past years.  But there are always some new readers since last blogoversary.  Also, I don't expect people to remember all details.  But I deliberately did not re-read the previous posts of this event, so I hope it will at least be organized a bit differently and maybe with some new recollections.

Technically (today being the 14th Blogoversary), the blog started Aug 25th 2006.  But in a way, it started a couple of years before that.  I do not recall exactly how I came across the 'Max, The Psychokitty' blog.  I certainly wasn't looking for a "cat blog", the concept had never crossed my mind!  I wasn't even looking for "cats", since I was perfectly happy with Skeeter and LC.  But it came up on an internet search of some sort. 

That was 2004.  I wasn't yet retired, so I would sneak a peek at Max's Blog on the office computer to rest my eyes from scrolling through massive databases looking for specific information.  I won't bore you about the details, but I was very good at picking out "interesting keywords" I had not thought of actually doing a search for.  It wasn't anything secret.  Just that I had recently figured out how to read our telephone vendors' proprietary data of my agency's long-distance calls and was trying to discover what useful information was there. 

Mostly, it was for dividing costs among our various offices.  But I also found some of the employees who were running businesses on Government time...  I kept our Inspector General's Office busy for a while...  Anyway, sometimes I just had to stop the high-speed scrolling.  It was like playing a high-speed pinball machine (which I was also good at).

So I used to internet-search odd topics.  I clicked on Max's (as so many other people must have done).  And I was hooked.  I'm snarky myself so Max always made my day.  When I retired in early 2006, I was looking for interesting things to do.  I had found a couple other blogs through Max's site and one day at one of the few, I saw a button that said "Free Blog".

I clicked to investigate what was required.  It seemed safe (no hidden costs, computer-invasions, outsider control, etc.  It took me several days to figure out what to do to set one up and to decide whether I actually had much to say.  I also quickly realized that a blog required some computer skills I did not then have. 

I had never processed pictures, changed the sizes, or copied them around the computer.  But my Mom and I had exchanged thoughtful, humorous, and clever letters since I left home (we both did poem parodies, jokes, and I could print out pics to include with the letters).  Sadly, by 2006, Mom was having "elder" difficulties with writing, memory, and creativity.  While I kept writing to her, she became unable to respond (Dad once mentioned to me that she read and re-read my letters and especially like seeing the pictures of me and the cats), so I kept it up until she died in 2010.

But it was no longer interactive in 2006, so I decided to give blogging a try.  It was confusing at first.  My first 2 posts didn't show up.  I figured out the problem Aug 29th and reposted the 2 that day.  I got my first comment Aug 30th 2006 (The Meezers).  I got my first pics posted on September 2nd.

There were problems in those first days.  I managed to block comments for a few days until someone found my email in the sidebar and told me.  I tried to post text next to small pics, which was quite maddening because everytime I edited text, the text moved around.  It took me a while to give up on that.  Partly, smaller pics saved space, and partly, text NEXT TO pics seemed easier to understand.  But I surrendered to the obvious and easier text under pics like newspaper captions

It was originally "Skeeter and LC".  Both the content, the blogger address and the Blog Title.  I suppose I thought they would both just live forever (or at least longer than the blog).    Hint to any new bloggers:  Don't address your blog after the current cats.  You can change the blog name, but the address remains and that can become painful.  And if you change the address, don't cancel it!  There is a scam-rat somewhere who took over the skeeterandlc address and uses it for scam-ads.

In the first months of the blog, I had Skeeter and LC discussing the house and yard from their point of view.  They didn't understand glass doors, fences, where food came from, cars, vaccuum cleaners, fish in the aquarium, and any number of human things that were "unnatural". 

Some of that confusion on their part WAS actually understandable.  I cleaned the deck door once so well that LC forgot it was there.  She crashed into it one night attacking a frog on it.  She actually broke the glass!  Skeeter never heard a plastic trash bag being opened that wouldn't terrify him into hiding for hours (he came from a small pet store and I suspect he learned that if any animal was put in a plastic bag it never returned).

And at this point, I think it is good to recall my cats here at the house I've lived in for 34 years (on Sept 2nd 1986).  It does lead to the blog...

THE TALE OF THE CATS:

I arrived here in 1986 with Tinkerbelle who was about 3.  She was a difficult cat due to a severe dog-bite that damaged her spine when she was a kitten.  She was extremely sensitive to touching that area.  My Sister and her young daughter were scratched often as a result and Sister offerred Tinkerbelle to me.  I accepted and learned to stroke Tinkerbelle carefully raising my hand over the sensitive spot.  She was never a truly happy cat, but she became more relaxed around me.  She came to trust me.

Skeeter arrived in 1992.  He was the first cat I actually chose myself (the others were all give-a-way grey tabby females) or Tinkerbelle).  I stopped at a small local pet store on Halloween.  It was being renovated.  I was looking for a female Siamese.  But there was this little terrified orange/white male kitten alone in a cage at the front of the store shaking from all the noise and dust. 

How could anyone leave such a kitten behind?  Well, sure, many must have, but I didn't.  Best $10 I ever spent!  Skeeter's posts are listed in the subject sidebar.  But I'll mention that it took him only a few days to realize everything was calm in his new place.  When he accepted that, he stayed around me like a mosquito.  When I was young, we called them "skeeters".  So that was his name.  And he was next to me most of the days of his life.

LC arrived the year after from the same place.  Tinkerbelle was not friendly to Skeeter.  And with the commute to the job, the hours of the job, and the commute home, I was gone 12 hours a day.  Skeeter was always desperate for my attention when I got home.  I could change my hours.  So I decided he needed a cat of his own.  Literally, a pet to take care of...

So there I was in the same small pet store (quiet and peaceful by then) on the same day a year later (1993).  There were 2 kittens in the front cage.  I was attracted to one.  It was friendly, loving, and sought attention.  But it was promised as a wedding present and being held while the newlyweds were on a cruiseship.

The other was standoffish, hissy, and unfriendly.  If I walked to one side of the cage, she went to the other.  Oh well.  I never met a cat who didn't come to love me.  I reached into the cage and held the kitten while the shop-owner loosened each claw from the other side.  That sounds like a BAD start, doesn't it?  Well, she hid for a couple days, but I sat and talked to her a lot (pushing tiny amounts of food each time).  She decided I was OK.  But, as planned, I oriented her to Skeeter.  Like I said, I was away most all day. 

It worked as planned.  Mean Old Tinkerbelle didn't like Skeeter, and she disliked LC more.  So Skeeter "Mancatted" up and protected LC.  It was the start of a 16 year friendship. 

The name LC came from her furs.  She was white with  black splotches and a co-worker finally said she looked like a cow.  LC stood for "Little Cow".

Skeeter and LC were devoted to each other all the days of their lives.  Skeeter died at 16.5 in December 2008.  LC died at almost the same age in January 2010.  She missed Skeeter so much that she only came up on my lap regularly her last few months.

But I need to mention Tinkerbelle again because her fate was not explained.  She used to go outside and stay out all night.  The neighbor once mentioned to me that she would always go sit on the front steps about 15 minutes before I arrived home.  She was a huntress and there was a swamp across the street with a field near the road. 

That was her personal place.  So it wasn't unusual that when I let her out in the morning that she would stay out most of the day.  Mostly she would return to the house when I called but smeties she wouldn't.  She never really liked Skeeter and LC, not that they bothered her, but I think she resented not being an Only Cat.

So one day in 1999, she was out and I was going fishing with a friend.  She didn't come in, but I knew she would be there when I returned.  I never saw her again.  Well, she was at least 16.  And I have read of cats that seemed to go off to die alone.  I don't know about that, but I never found a trace of her. 

Maybe she found a new home free of other cats (and dogs).  I put up posters.  I walked the streets in daytime and at night.  I asked neighbors if they had seen a roadkill cat.  I found a lost cat once and put up posters.  By the time I was attaching the 3rd one to a street sign, a girl on a bike said "that's my cat".  I returned it.  But I wasn't that lucky with Tinkerbelle.

Here's an odd thought.  Suppose you die and whatever your deity is says you can ask one question which that deity will answer fully.  Suppose you would love to know the history of humankind after you dis?  Or suppose you would love to understand how the universe began?  I'd love those answers.  But suppose I had the chance to know what happened to Tinkerbelle?  I think I would ask about Tinkerbelle...  The lack of closure hurts me to this day.

You all know about Ayla, Marley, Iza, and Laz.  But briefly, Ayla in 2008 was finally the female Siamese I was searching for back in 1992, Iza was too in 2009, but turned out to be a Tonkinese (to my joy of herself),  Marley "sort of" replaced Skeeter but is a special buddy all his own, and Laz is new and adjusting to life here and we will see what the future brings.

So this 14th Blogoversary is a trip down Memory Lane.  And because I chose to be all texty today, TOMMOROW is going to be the PARTY DAY!

Because today is the start of the blog, but it didn't show then.  And it took a few days, so I can choose any of the days for a PARTY.  And Its MY BLOG, so I make all the rules, LOL!



Mark