Tag Archives: Millie

How a Christmas photo Session went Awry

See the Christmas photo above? There’s a story behind it, and you may interpret “behind” literally.

A week before Christmas, 2012 in Alice’s Doylestown, Pennsylvania home, she and I put together a holiday photo session with Josh and Millie, our two cats. I set my camera on a tripod in front of the living room’s distinguished six-foot-tall, trimmed Christmas tree. Alice’s pride of her handiwork in front of the room’s magnificent fireplace was plain to see.

Next, I set the self-timer. While Alice held Josh, I grabbed hold of Millie, but as the shutter went off, Millie was not facing forward.

The sound of the shutter frightened Josh whose claws caused Alice to let go, so I was left holding Millie while Alice went into the kitchen to pour some milk into a bowl.

Millie immediately chased after Josh, so I decided to re-position the camera so Alice and I could sit on the floor and allow the cats to find our floor-friendly location more animal-friendly.

Alice managed to get comfortable, but as I hurried to get into position, the shutter started clicking away. As you can see, I was over 60 and no longer adept in moving quickly.

By the time the camera’s shutter clicked again, something untoward happened: I farted — involuntarily and loudly, resulting in the photo at the top of this post.

Alice couldn’t contain herself, and as she laughed unabashedly at the implausible situation, so did I. I could never be indifferent to Alice’s infectious laugh, and neither could anyone we met.

It helps my state of mind to celebrate Alice this time of year, and now you know why our expressions look why they do.

Immediately after the photo was taken, we realized how well the camera captured our spontaneous joy, so we ordered copies of the infamous photo and placed them inside Christmas cards to all our friends.

Now you know the full story of a photo session gone awry, but it’s one of my favorite memories. Merry Christmas!

Millie the Cat

6/17/11 – 5/4/19

There’s no easy way to view the end of another being’s last breaths.  Nevertheless, in providing hospice care, we fulfill our responsibilities.

Yesterday, Alice and I drove Millie, ever complaining about our Ford Escape’s motion, to Cowlitz Animal Clinic, here in Longview, Washington.  The well-regarded clinic sits on a wide commercially zoned highway with little weekend traffic.  Because it was Saturday, we appeared to have the clinic almost entirely to ourselves.

A little history here: A month before we moved to Longview, Millie disappeared from our cramped Somerset West (Portland) apartment for 17 days.  Somehow, our tabby feline was found by a respectable homeowner more than a mile away, a fortuitous happening.

After 18 uneventful months with us in Longview, where we kept her indoors (and to our neighbors’ delight) Alice walked the cat several times a week outside on a leash, Millie was deemed to have diabetes.  Skeptical about treating her with daily insulin shots and frequent bloodwork; Millie was already down to skin and bones.  Less than six weeks later, even after changing her diet from Meow Mix to Iams, she was on the doorstep of wasting away — literally.

This visit to the clinic was made tolerable by a sensitive doctor of veterinary medicine, Kayleen McLain, who shared a professional sense of grief with us, especially while trying to find a vein — any vein — to administer the needed dosage to send Millie away to a permanent dreamland.

We mourned some as we said goodbye to her spirit, but found comfort once we noticed the serene look as she passed over.  We did not mourn long, because doing so would hinder Millie’s journey to “the other side.”

I once read that bonding with an animal comes with a limited contract: One of you will go before the other.  After that, life goes on.

That’s probably why, at the moment we returned home, Alice cleaned up Millie’s area from visible memorabilia.  Today, Alice is gardening outside, watching for hummingbirds, working up a sweat, and encouraging new life.

Millie was a great companion.  We dare not weep, because we would be crying only for our loss.  We will not be selfish.

Alice says, “We’ll get another cat.”

Cat Scratch Fever

I remember picking up our tabby cat Millie, intending to settle her upon my lap.  Then something unexpected happened.

Alice and I had been watching TV, and as she rested her feet atop a pillow strategically set on the coffee table in front, I made myself super-comfortable.  Lying full length, I stretched my legs across Alice’s lap.  Then I unfolded a soft blanket and wrapped it around the two of us.  Millie ambled over, seemingly because a cozy resting place with a soft blanket could be used to knead her paws.  Our feline companion looked up enviously, and I surmised she needed a lift.  So I picked her up.

Bad move.

As I brought her atop the blanket – surprise, surprise – the independent animal objected.  Wresting furiously away from my grasp, a claw from her left paw sank deep inside my left pinkie finger.  I shrieked in pain as the cat’s full weight bore the intruding object downward.  Somehow, I managed to collect enough common sense to lower Millie down toward the floor, whereupon the claw loosened and receded, and I sank into a peculiar delirium.

* * *

Millie’s Point of View

Man oh man, the things I have to do to maneuver these humans into acts of submission.  Millie the cat here, and six months have gone by without Mason making any mention of me on this website.

The humans changed their password on the computer, so I have been unable to hack my way back here.  But my maneuver put the old man out in dreamland.  He looks funny with his eyes twitching, you know?

But enough of him.  This post is about me, me, me!


Some cats get along with Millie

Over the past few months, I made a friend.  Her name is Myrtle, and she lives on the other side of an eight-foot-high wooden fence that separates our apartment complex from a residential area.  My buddy can jump all the way to the top of the fence, able to visit me at the slightest whim, while I used to be stuck on the apartment building side.

But I’m no dummy.  Over time, I dug a little passageway under the fence, so now it’s no problem commiserating with her.  Plus every morning, I pester Mason and Alice with some obnoxious meowing at 4 am.  They relent –almost sleepwalking – and let me out.  I really enjoy manipulating those two humans.

Don’t call Millie a snob

I tell Myrtle about my days and nights, and she thinks I’m cool.  Lately, though, we discovered an interloper cutting through my side of the fence.  And we don’t care about his name; we just call him Simpleton.


If I look at him in a certain way, he gets nervous.  That’s almost as much fun as messing with Mason and Alice.

Now that I got readers’ attention, I must admit that sometimes I get bored, so I have to find new places to enjoy the day.  As you can see from the top photo, I’m not camera shy either.  I’m drawn to a puppet-like creature that reminds me of a Raggedy Ann doll that Alice puts on top of the cable TV box.  I love hanging out with him.

I have an uncanny sense of what causes humans to gawk when I pose in a super-cute setting, so the doll sets a perfect tableau.  Do you think I should audition for a cable-TV show?  After all, I could become more popular than the Kardashians.  Just a thought!

And look at this.


The sink in the master bathroom offers another good photo op.  I like this picture a lot.  I call it “Sink or Swim.”  And, please, please, don’t let Mason take credit for the photo.  I had to prompt him to take the shot.

Oops, gotta go.  I believe Mason is beginning to snap out of it.  I bet he really will be surprised to discover I write better than he does!

* * *

Awakening from a cat’s fantasy

Boy, do I feel weird.  I don’t know what a cat scratch can do, but as I read my latest post it appears I became delusional.  I managed to proofread this post, and it appears humorous and utilizes some Millie photos that have been sitting around.

So maybe I’ll copyright it.  But don’t you think it stretches the imagination too much?  Who would believe a cat could type, or be able to communicate so much mischief?

Nah.  Simply no way, José.  Unless the cat got my tongue.