January 30, 2016

Sunday Selfies : Blending with Mitalee.

 Mitalee is joining our friends at , The cat on my head, for their fun Sunday Selfies!

Mitalee, " Today I am taking my selfie from an angle above my head. I call this selfie, "Blending", on account I am blending into the carpet quite effectively. You could almost call me a cat chameleon, wouldn't you agree?!"

Have a Sunny Sunday!
Don't forget to HOP! It's a wonderful way to visit old and new friends alike.
See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo

January 29, 2016

Snugglers, Mitalee and Levon.

 Levon, "It is a typical cold and rainy, winter day here in Vancouver. It is the perfect day to find a cuddle buddy and to snuggle the day away!"

                                            Levon and Mitalee snuggling the day away!

Levon and Mitalee , " We are snuggling in OUR dog bed . As you can see, there is plenty of room if anyone would care to join us! "

Have a Fabulous Friday!
See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo

January 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday : Some times, I feel like a cat!

                                                    Duffy on the first ledge of a cat tree.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo

January 26, 2016

Esme's hide-out.

Esme, " I love to lie in my scratcher right next to the radiators on a cold, rainy day."

Esme , "Also,  everyone forgets I am here and I can snoopervise all the household activities as well as bask in the heat thrown off by the radiator. It's nice to have my own little hide-out!"

Have a Terrific Tuesday!
See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo


January 23, 2016

Sunday Selfies with the Cousin Puppies.

We are joining our sweet furiends at , The cat on my head , for their fun Sunday Selfies! This week , our Cousin Puppies, Panda Bear and Billie Bear are being featured.

 Do I look guilty in my close - up selfie?

Do I look guilty in my close-up selfie?

Do WE look guilty or slightly aloof ? Do we have a hang-dog expression and therefore are not quite our gregarious selves in our  Sunday Selfie?!!

Because! WE made this mess!!  Now, may we have a treat, please?!  Afterall , we do have manners , we are very polite , (albeit , prone to messiness),  adorable puppies.  :)

Don't forget to HOP!  It's a wonderful way to visit old and new friends alike.

Have a Sunny Sunday!
See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo

January 22, 2016

Alive and Kicking!

 Malou, " We have been having some extensive computer problems which made it impossible to post which is why we have been MIA! LP eventually changed our browser so we are now officially back online! Did you miss us? We missed you! "

 Malou, " Can you spot my hero Mitalee in the Catty Stack next to me?! Peeking out from the top left hand corner?"

Malou, " I have relocated to the top of the Catty Stack. I will certainly be able to keep a better eye on my hero from this vantage point. Some times I wonder what Mitalee would do without my dogged vigilance to keep her out of harm's way !"

Have a Fabulous Friday!
See you Sunday for Sunday Selfies!
the critters in the cottage xo

January 13, 2016

The Story of Isadora Gypsy Rose (Part 3).

**Please scroll back to the two previous posts to read the first and second parts of Isadora's story if you haven't done so already. Thank you.**

When I arrived at the Christmas party house, my first impression was that it was filled with ease and laughter. People had arrived before me and were welcoming of both me and of my dogs. But as I have already mentioned, I am truly not a party person and consequently, I found a little corner of the living room to tuck into and I contently observed the dogs as they ran from one person to another, in an attempt to endear themselves to all who made a fuss of them.

Eventually I did leave my corner to fill a plate with delectable holiday fare and when I returned to my seat, a cushion on the floor, I noticed Masala and Allegra were being overly exuberant at the front foyer of the home which was visible from my vantage point in the living room. Their energy was happy and inviting and not any cause for concern. Although I couldn't see what was causing the commotion and their boisterous reaction to it , it was evident that the circle of people who had joined them, were enjoying their antics and high energy as well as whatever had caught their collective attention. I ate the sweets found on my plate with relish, reminding myself of my favourites so that I might treat myself later to second helpings.

I had just placed my empty plate on a nearby side table and sat down again, when all of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, a little ball of fur darted across the living room and literally dove into my lap! Startled, I glanced around to see who she belonged to but no one appeared to be concerned for her whereabouts. The circle of people in the foyer had dissipated and Masala and Allegra eagerly ran up to me giving the little puppy, for that is what the tiny ball of fur was, loving licks and nudges. I understood at that moment , that the arrival of the puppy had been the cause for giddy celebration in the overly crowded and welcoming foyer.

Eventually a woman and her teenage daughter found me and claimed the puppy as their own. The puppy's name was, Jamie. I ended up staying at the party until all but a handful of people had left, for Jamie had made a nest in my lap and had fallen into a deep sleep only awakening after nearly everyone had gone home. Evidently, I had not wanted to disturb her sleep and had stayed put on my cushion on the floor, the entire evening.

I briefly spoke with the woman and her daughter  as they put a wee coat on Jamie and prepared the carrier she would be placed in for the ride back to their home. I felt protective and vaguely proprietorial of this tiny, tiny puppy and was happy to note that they both seemed concerned for her warmth and safety. It was December in Vancouver and we had had snowstorms like none I had ever seen before. The snow was staying on the ground and not melting in a few days as it usually did. The woman placed a heavy, warm blanket over the carrier and I felt a slight twinge of panic. I would now have to say good-by to Jamie and I had an odd feeling that it wasn't time to do that quite yet. Truthfully, another odd thought skipped through my mind as well. The thought was, you belong with me!  The you, of course, referred to the puppy who would shortly be on her way home. Nevertheless, despite my misgivings, I forced myself to say good-bye and told the woman and her teenage daughter that it had been a pleasure to meet them.

Less than a week after first meeting Jamie, I received a call from the work colleague who had hosted and invited me to the Christmas party. She was phoning to ask a favour of me. Her friend, the woman with the puppy, whom I had met at the party, was going away for a week and a half and had no one to take care of the puppy. She could board the puppy at a kennel but wondered if I would be interested in caring for her instead? I hesitated. It was Christmas and we would be having family from out of town visiting and I already had two dogs and a cat to contend with. I told my colleague that I would phone her back after discussing it with my fellow. My fellow was adamant that Jamie stay with us. He had also met her at the party and felt a tiny, little dog like that would do poorly in a kennel setting. Later I would realize that my reluctance to have her stay with us in the first place, stemmed from the unnatural attachment I had felt for her when she had been in my lap for only a matter of hours. How would I feel after she had been with us for almost two weeks?!  Certain that my heart would be broken, I nevertheless agreed that a kennel wasn't a place for a dog no bigger than a guineapig and I phoned my colleague back and accepted to take care of the puppy for her friend.

In what turned out to be an over two week stay ( Jamie's family was stranded at their cabin due to never before seen snowstorms that played havoc with road conditions), I fell in love a bit more with every passing day.  I brought Jamie to work with me and had even gone so far as to foolishly rename her. I had started to introduce her to everybody by the name I had chosen for her rather than by Jamie, which I felt she had made clear she disliked since she never responded to it when I called it out.

 When the woman and her daughter finally came to pick Jamie up, she jumped out of the woman's arms and ran back to me just as I was closing the front door.  I resolutely handed her back to her family and firmly closed the front door noting the deep, sigh of sadness that escaped me, in doing so.

A few days went by afterwhich  I received a call from the woman where Jamie had gone to live. She wanted to know if I wanted Jamie. She asked me straight-out, just like that. Did I want to keep Jamie for good? I immediately thought, why would she ever want to give away her puppy? What could possibly have occurred to have this change in heart?! She asked if I had a moment, and when I said I did, she began to narrate Jamie's story.

 The woman had been shopping on Commercial Drive when she entered an intriguing store seemingly filled with magic potions and possibility. She heard an unusual sound coming from behind the store counter and inquired about it. The shopkeeper told her that her dog, Dearest, had just had a litter of puppies and the sound she was inquiring about was of puppies nursing. The woman asked to see the puppies and immediately fell in love. She asked the shopkeeper if any of the puppies were for sale and was told yes, and given the price. The woman went home and discussed it with her husband. Her husband was adamantly against getting a puppy. He believed the asking price was far too steep and as business owners with an active and busy teenager, he also felt they did not have the time to invest in a puppy. The woman accepted his decision, although she was not in full agreement of his logic.

Five months would go by and the woman would still occasionally think of the puppies from the enchanting store on Commercial Drive. One day, the woman and her husband had a terrible fight and a terrible fallout. The woman decided she would go back to the store and buy one of the puppies just to spite her husband. She planned to also buy a carrier, jacket, lead and everything a puppy would need or could possibly desire, to spend even more money and to further deliberately hurt her husband. When she arrived at the store, the shopkeeper told her all the puppies had been sold but for one, and that she was keeping that puppy as a future breeding dog since she looked exactly like her mother , Dearest. And then, as if on cue, a little puppy came out from behind the counter. The little puppy was red, red, red, like an Irish setter red, with a splash of white on her chest. She tilted her head to the left, then titled her head to the right.The woman fell instantly smitten and felt she must have the puppy at all cost and offered the shopkeeper over twice the amount of money she had originally asked for the puppy. The shopkeeper agreed and let the puppy go.

It must now be crystal clear to you how Dearest and Mr. Pister's daughter came to live with me. I named her, Isadora Gypsy Rose. She would grow to dwarf her parents as an adult of five pounds but remained a teeny, tiny dog who would go on to live the life and adventures of a giant dog, during the fourteen and half years she lived with us.

 The story of Isadora Gypsy Rose as told to you by me, has forevermore come to its' end ; for we lost Isadora in October of last year, 2015. As my pen in hand slows, I am aware that I am no longer a young woman as I write this, but neither I realize, am I quite old. I have lived long enough , however , to understand that with every heartfelt hello in life, will come a heartfelt and at times, painful, fare- thee- well. Of that I am certain. Fare- thee -well, Isadora Gypsy Rose. Your life was destined to be intertwined with mine long before we ever met. You will never be forgotten. I will carry you with me all of my remaining days.

                               THE END.

January 10, 2016

The Story of Isadora Gypsy Rose (part 2).

** Please see previous post to read part one of the story, if you have not already done so.**

My first impression upon entering the shop was that it had changed very little since I had last set foot in it , twenty years ago. There seemed to be more glass covered display cases filled with eclectic merchandise than there had once been before and the aisles of fabric and clothing were neater and somehow appeared more orderly. In earlier years, I remember merchandise had been easily or loosely strewn and dispersed about the store without rhyme or reason.The aisles, however, were still packed , crowded and draped in colourful and exotic eye-catching cloth. It could be deduced, when glancing at some of the stock, that numerous trips had been made back to the Orient, to Asia and to North Africa , since I had last set foot in the store all those years ago, but overall, its' mystical and inviting ambience remained intact. My nostrils, always sensitive to fragrance, could depict the faint scent of burning frankincense , promoting calm and peace.

I slowly made my way to the far left corner of the store as my eye was drawn to the sparkle of silver jewellery. The store was very quiet, almost still , and I wondered as to the whereabouts of the shopkeeper .

Suddenly, a young woman, a girl really, no more than sixteen or so, burst into the room grinning, her face open and fresh. I'm sorry, she explained, I was just in the back alley taking the doggies out for a little potty break. I looked behind her and I didn't see a dog or dogs for that matter but assumed she had left the dogs in a back room that was accessible to staff alone.

Was there anything in particular you were looking for ? She pressed on. I thought about telling her that I used to come to this store often years ago, that I had subsequently moved far away, that I had recently moved back to the area and that this store was the only thing that remained familiar to me, that held me closer to my hopelessly, wildly naive and idealistic youth. I wanted to tell her how everything had changed, how everything changes but knowing that she also would understand that one day, I decided against saying anything of the sort and instead asked her if she carried any amethyst.

Oh, yes, she replied enthusiastically and motioned for me to follow her as she led me to another aisle.
And that is when I caught a glimpse of a little dog or should I say when I caught a glimpse of a dog that was so little, it seemed scarcely there at all! Surely this dog was the tiniest dog I had ever seen up to that point in my life! She was red, red, red, like an Irish Setter dog red but had a single blaze of white on her chest. She looked at me intelligently with her head tilted to one side, than tilted her head to the other side. I grew almost giddy and my first impulse was to scoop her up and to slip her beneath my coat and to run out of the store with her. I willfully resisted this urge since thievery is not a characteristic I would ever want to be known for. Instead, I asked the young girl if the dog was hers. But before she could answer me, another equally tiny dog skid around the corner of the aisle and playfully began to nip at the first dog's heels. The second dog was cream coloured and appeared to be a boy.  I had to sit down and so I did. I sat down in the aisle, in the  middle of the store and observed the two, tiny dogs playing and cavorting and in watching them, in partaking of their innocence and purity, I suddenly felt more hopeful about the decision I had made to come back to Vancouver. I felt stronger about the decision I had made to begin a second degree, to leave my family, good friends and all that had been familiar to me behind in the east, in order to begin something on my own here. I had wanted to meet and overcome a new challenge; all the while knowing the friends I had known here in my youth were long gone, living their own singular lives in faraway places.  Suddenly I emphatically felt I would achieve my goal.

What are their names I asked the fresh, young girl who remained oblivious to the choices she would one day need to make which would in turn shape the woman she would become. I fervently hoped she would choose it well. What breed are they? I further inquired.  They are teacup poodles, she answered, and they weigh no more than three pounds each! The little red girl's name is,  Dearest. We call the boy, Mr. Pister.

Dearest and Mr. Pister , I whispered to myself as I walked down the street away from the shop and a smile crossed my face. I vowed to visit them again and often for I had learned that they were the shopkeeper's dogs and that they virtually lived there and were rarely away.

I went back to my new life with gusto ; found somewhere to live, started my second degree, found a part-time job, found a second part-time job, moved three times, graduated, found a full-time job, found a fellow, made a home with that fellow with my dogs Masala and Allegra always in tow. Together the fellow and I adopted our first cat, Mitalee. Thus the years flew by and I never did go back to visit Dearest or Mr. Pister, my star gazing store's teeny , tiny , miniature dogs who had buoyed me back into possibility one cold and rainy day, when I had first returned to Vancouver.

During the holiday season about four years after I had first arrived to Vancouver for the second time in my life, I was invited to a Christmas party by a work colleague. Let me take a moment to clarify that I am not a party goer. In fact, I would rather be reading, or painting,  or gardening, or doing something with the animals rather than interacting with people in a party setting. I love the people I love and I love them well, but I am not big on small talk or establishing social hierarchies or big on having to convince others that I am as crazy busy as they are and subsequently, equally important and successful. Yet I accepted the invitation and went to this party. I brought my dogs Masala and Allegra with me, my dogs at the time, and knowing me, that was probably one of the conditions I made before accepting the invitation in the first place . . . can I bring my dogs? Alright. Then I will attend.

to be continued.

the critters in the cottage xo

January 7, 2016

The story of Isadora Gypsy Rose.

When I was seventeen years old, I decided that I wanted to experience my country, Canada, in its' entirety ; for if life were my oyster to discover, than surely Canada was my pearl. I set out to hitch-hike across Canada stopping at each province along the way until I eventually made my way to the westcoast and to Vancouver , British Columbia. It was an odyssey that should have taken me a year after which I had planned to begin my university years but instead , I ended up staying in Vancouver for three more years where I grew both my mind and my heart.

I lived with two other girls in east Vancouver before the Olympics and the eventual migrating middle-class cleaned and prettied it up. We all worked at Granville Island, a Public Market that had just opened and catered to tourists and affluent Vancouverites.

In those days, Commercial Drive, the area we lived in, was not known as it is now known as , "The Drive". It was not a trendy place at all but was spotted with struggling shopkeepers, renters, immigrants who had become first time homeowners , musicians, misfits, artists and other more hardened and sketchy components of society. There were areas of that lengthy street which were not safe for a young woman to walk alone through ; neither in daylight or by night.

The  shops and shopkeepers were equally interesting and unique and there was one store in particular that one of my roommates would often pull me into as it was her favourite. The store smelt of travel and far away lands. Upon entering it , the eye would roam, perhaps seeking lamps that needed polishing in order to allow contained magic to escape and allude to promising and exciting adventures. There were aisles of draped, exotic cloth and clothing and glass cases filled with silver jewellery and talisman of travel. Sticks of incense were often burning throughout the store ; it was this heady scent that would more often than not eventually drive me out of the store and into the streets as my tolerance for its' perfumed richness was limited. My friend, on the other hand, could have stayed in that store for hours, days and perhaps even months, as she often joked about pitching a tent there so that she could have a full overnight experience, comparing the store's contents to bright stars found in an evening sky.

After three years, I left Vancouver and did not return for a full twenty years. When I returned again, I was immediately struck by how much Vancouver had changed. As a young woman , I would often refer to Vancouver as , The Rainbow Village. Vancouver in those days, resembled a small village that had been placed in a larger geographical setting. People wore bright clothing with labels that pointed to our Great White North heritage and evoked romantic images of being raised by wolves amongst stalwart Canada Geese. People were friendly and open and outdoorsy; they were small town folk dwelling in a big city setting. By comparison, I would refer to the inhabitants of Toronto, found in eastern Canada, as the Darkloaders. By this I meant that the preferred colour clothing to be worn was dark or black and those colours are what would be chosen when loading their washing machines, hence, Darkloaders.Toronto in those days, seemed much more sombre than colourful Vancouver.

But, like all little jewels and treasures the world over, Vancouver in the twenty years since I had lived there, had been "discovered" by the world and now instead of the open, bright and nubile face it had once presented to me, it was firmly fixated to those Darkloaders. Vancouver in my mind had morphed over the twenty years since I had lived there, into a herd of determined and resolute  bison. It had formed an almost impenetrable circle of resistance where only the select few would be allowed to drink from the well , making it almost impossible for me to find like- minded friends.

I decided to go back to my old haunts to see if I could still find a speck of magic in the Commercial Drive area I had left all those years ago. The area had changed enormously and had become entirely unrecognizable but for a few stores that had actually withstood the test of time. Commercial Drive had become gentrified but thankfully there was still an inviting aura of allure that remained , propelled by artists and possibility.

I began walking from the furthest end of the street and as I passed each shop, I crossed off my list of memory, the store that had once been before it. And then I saw it. There is was. Still standing. Still miraculously in business over twenty years later ; my overnight camping store, my star gazing store. I took a deep breath of anticipation , opened the front door and walked in.

To be continued.

See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo