Tag Archives: play

Close Encounters

Twitch and Little Guy had a brief but rather intense conversation the day we brought him home, then she retreated to her favorite safety zone, the top of the fridge. Once we had rescued Little Guy from behind the bathtub, we moved him to the study, a room which has a solid door and plenty of space for him to run around while he got used to living indoors.

Little Guy: Wow, I like this place! It’s warm and there’s plenty of yummy food and it never, ever rains! Ooh! What’s that? A catnip mouse? Goody goody! I had a great time last night bouncing off the walls and throwing things on the floor. I think tonight I’ll climb the curtains and see if I can’t knock a couple of pictures off the walls. Woo-hoo! Boy, I’m having a great time. Yes, I am. But now…I’m getting…kind of…sleepy….zzzz.


Since he’d passed his HIV test and his cold seemed to be over, we thought it was time to release him into the general feline population, meaning Twitchy.


As you can see, it wasn’t a joyous occasion. He’s curious about her but she’s pretty much afraid of him, which is weird considering that she’s about twenty times bigger than him. I had expected her to have more moxie than that.

Baby steps. At this point, it’s supervised visits only until we can be sure that she’s not planning to have a Little Guy sandwich for lunch.

To be clear, Little Guy is not his name. It’s just something to call him until we find the right one, unless he turns out to be a rapper and we call him Lil Gui.  We’ve vetoed a few names already: Bruce, Eliot, Seneca, Spartacus. It has to be something that goes well with Twitchy, the way Plato went with Dana.

Any suggestions?

Baby Teeth


Little Guy has been with us for over a week and we all survived. Although we still haven’t come up with a real name for him, we’ve made a lot of progress in other areas. He has a healthy appetite and took to the litter pan with no fuss at all. We had to keep him separate from Twitchy until we could get him tested for AIDS, which we did yesterday. He’s negative. Many street cats are not. We are lucky people.

The first couple of days, he would skibble across the floor on his tummy, terrified, elbows and knees pulled into his body, so we thought he was part weasel or dachshund, but once he relaxed we could see that he is normal cat shaped.

He chews on my fingers while he’s rolling around in my lap. Then he tears around the room chasing his toys. And he does acrobatics, leaping from the window sill to the stool to the desk, hanging by his claws from the back of my sweater. Then, just like a baby, he passes out and sleeps and sleeps.

There is so much power in such a small package; I can pick him up with one hand. Just last week, I thought of Twitchy as a relatively small cat, but suddenly she’s huge.  Little Guy is a tiny ball of furry perfection that gives me perspective on what does–and does not–really matter.

Thank you, Universe. He’s just what I needed.


A Tale of Zen

Years ago, a friend and I went to Kyoto. While we were there, we visited Ryoanji Temple and its renowned rock garden. It was a cold, overcast weekday and nobody else was there. We sat on the wooden porch next to the garden and as we watched, a single snowflake fell. It was one of those rare and very special moments; I could swear I heard the sound of one hand clapping.

Unfortunately, most of the time, this is more like what my life looks like.

Zen garden school

Although I only very rarely dress up in an orange sheet, I do often feel like the guy at the side with his head in his hand. More often, though, I’m one of the clowns playing in the sand. And that’s probably just as it ought to be.

Tanuki Tales

The doorbell rang this morning. It was three kids, I’d say 8 or 9 years old. There was the usual initial shock when they saw my face. It’s not that I’m hideous. I mean, I’m no George Clooney but I’m not Quasimodo either. It’s just that most Japanese people need a moment to collect themselves when they see a foreign face.

Turns out the kids had been playing in the park next door and had tossed a ball over the fence into my garden where it hit a planter and spilled dirt all over one of my tanuki.


The kids had come over to apologize. I told them it was OK and not to worry about it. There was nothing growing in the planter anyway and the dirt didn’t do the tanuki any harm.

Tanuki have an interesting place in Japanese tradition. Although based on an actual animal, the Japanese raccoon dog, which is neither a raccoon nor a dog, they are said to have magical powers. According to Wikipedia, they can shape-shift in order to fool people and make them look stupid.

Most of us don’t need a tanuki to help us in that department.

Photo by 633highland
Photo by 633highland

This is what real tanuki look like. Cute, right?

This guy is almost as tall as me.
This guy is almost as tall as me.

An interesting thing about tanuki statuary is it always has really enormous testicles. These are a symbol of fertility, obviously, but also of financial success.

This guy stands in front of a neighbor’s house.

It’s a big house.

They have an expensive car.

I guess the tanuki did his job.

Apparently, real tanuki are anatomically only what you’d expect them to be. I looked at a lot of pictures on the Interwebs but couldn’t find any tanuki porn, so you’ll have to take my word for it.


We were sitting on the swings in the park today. There was nobody else there except a homeless guy who was rubbing his ankles and having an intense conversation with some rather inattentive pigeons. Five little boys arrived on bicycles and I thought, “Good. That’s what the park is for.”  Then the boys sat on a bench and pulled out their Game Boys, every one of them. Does that count as playing?