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Michael Ubaldi, February 21, 2005.
Michael Ubaldi, January 8, 2005.
Most of my Christmas morning at the tree was spent having a ball with my folks as we opened presents and enjoyed a succession of coffee, cinammon rolls, orange juice and chocolates. Naturally, catblogging took place.
Michael Ubaldi, January 8, 2005.
2. What difference does it make?
Telescope the entry.
Michael Ubaldi, December 25, 2004.
Michael Ubaldi, December 24, 2004.
Michael Ubaldi, December 23, 2004.
Michael Ubaldi, December 18, 2004.
Catblogging has been brought into vogue, so with a camera and two adorably photogenic cats within five miles of me, I'm happy to join the bandwagon.
In April of 1990, my family drove a few streets over to the home of a former teacher of my sister's; the woman's cat had recently become a mother and a brood of six kittens needed loving homes. This was new for us, as the Ubaldi household was one of few pets. My father has suffered from considerable allergies all his life: ragweed, mold, pollen, trees, and dander from most animals. He hardly enjoyed a day of clear breathing when the family kept a guinea pig for a few years in the mid-1980s, and as his allergist put it, he benefited enormously from the fact that the animal was stuck in one place at all times. Dad's reaction to dogs was legendary — they were out of the question. We assumed every other animal with fur was, too, until my father asked his allergist to try him for cats.
No reaction. After certain family members could finally be convinced that cats were not agents of the devil, it was decided that two cats be purchased, one ostensibly for me and the other for my sister.
The dam had made good: three black kittens, two grey and a tiny, black-and-russet thing who was, we were told, the runt of the litter. We visited once, when the mewling little cherubs could fit three times over in a washtub; and again, some weeks later, when they were nearly weaned and my sister and I were to select our kittens. The brood had been moved to a shed where they could run, jump and tumble under lock and key — they'd learned those skills quickly, no longer the immoble puffy balls in a washtub, and had a mind to dart away from us the moment my sister's teacher opened the shed door to let us inside. All except two: the brown runt and one of the two greys. The runt moved towards my sister, who squatted, then picked up the kitten to place it on her knee, where it stayed. The grey cat, as my mother tells it, wanted to follow his brothers and sisters but, startled by the shed's new entrants, froze in confusion. I scooped it up.
More visitors, invited by the teacher to adopt the rest of the brood, stepped into the shed as my sister and I each petted our catch. "I think they've found their kittens," smiled one.
We took the cats home on the third and final visit. As luck would have it, mine was a boy; my sister's was a girl.
They say that dogs are the best companions. The last fourteen years have led me to disagree.
The russet cat is Rascal. Rascal is strange. She is a cat but occasionally acts as if she were a dog or a rat — or even a slug. Last Sunday, at my folks' house, Rascal played groundhog. (Note the Garfield book in the first photograph; serendipitous symbolism.)
Michael Ubaldi, December 12, 2004.
Here's the King, nearly complete; bows, icicles and family ornaments will finish the trimming. The sheer convenience of my Olympus made documentation of our decades-old trimming tradition possible. I'll put it up between now and Christmas. In the meantime, watch for some new sights on the masthead.
Michael Ubaldi, December 11, 2004.
Outside, the snow is falling and I just finished calling my folks, "Yoo-hoo." After a hearty Bob Evans breakfast, we'll drive an hour south to chop down our Christmas tree. As my father explained at a party last night, the last pre-cut tree he bought was in 1974, a season spent hearing the dulcet chime of needles falling to the floor by the dozen. The Ubaldis have taken their tree directly from the ground ever since. Dad prefers Douglas Fir; I love the smell and sharpness of Blue Spruce. Either way, our find will be beautiful and uBlog photographs will follow. Enjoy the day!
THE DAY: Snow fell in Cleveland but it stuck about thirty miles south, near Medina. Between Wooster and Shreve, snow was no less persistent if less successful. Snow was falling while we chopped down our Frazier Fir — a monster of a specimen the likes of which my folks' living room hasn't seen since 1982, one I've dubbed King of All Christmas Trees. We'll stand it up and trim it tomorrow afternoon.
Michael Ubaldi, November 12, 2004.