Happy Birthday Meezers!

My sister Ginny, and her friend Jewel, were (and are) tight as thieves. They could identify with each other as working moms. Jewel’s kids were still young and Ginny’s daughter, M, was entering her teen years. And, both were also mom cats. Sis had a calico cat (named Calico, of course) and Jewel had a pair of Siamese, Wilma and Betty. Ginny asked if her two Siamese were spayed. Jewel replied, “No, Wilma and Betty were quite satisfied being indoor cats, showing no interest or desire to go outside. Besides, they’re both girls.” Ginny had Calico spayed just in case if she slipped outside. Being fixed also would add years to a cat’s life (male and female) with fewer health issues.

In late July 1989, Jewel had noticed Wilma was putting on some weight and didn’t think much about it. She did take more notice as July became August and Wilma beginning her search to find the perfect nesting site. Wilma’s chosen nesting site was on top of Jewel’s bed, and that is where she gave birth to three baby meezer kittens – Dino, Pebbles and Bam-Bam. The Flintstone theme to names was courtesy of Jewel’s daughter, Sophia.

Finding good, forever homes for the three babies ensued when the kittens were two weeks old. Jewel asked Ginny if she would be interested. Sis said she would take one, but Calico was set in her ways as the only cat in her house. But, Ginny said she would ask around. And, ask she did. I said, “I don’t know. You know my work. I could be gone for weeks on end. Who would take care of them while I’m away?” That’s easy, mom and dad would care for your kitty while you’re away. I wasn’t so sure, but agreed nonetheless.

On Columbus Day Weekend 1989, a wiggly Siamese kitten named Dino came to stay. New to the home, he investigated every square inch. When Dino ate, his purr machine turned on. Between his sleeps during the day, he was a non-stop play machine. The first three nights, he stayed in the laundry/utility room with a low cardboard barrier separating that room from the rest of the house. It was so he would be know where his litter box would be located. Beginning on the fourth night, he had full run of the house at night. He would begin his sleeps near the dishwasher, soaking in all of its heat, and later finding his way to bed to sleep with me.

First Christmas: Dino and Pebbles (Dec 1989)

While Dino settled in nicely, Jewel was having a difficult time finding a home for Pebbles. Jewel also began to have doubts about the person who said they would take Bam-Bam. She asked Ginny if I was interested in taking Pebbles. I said I would, and if her concerns about the person regarding Bam-Bam’s adoption grew, I would take him as well. Fortunately, Jewel found someone more reliable and more loving to take in Bam-Bam. The someone also had previous experience with Siamese cats and their talkative nature.

When Pebbles came, nearly three weeks later, she acted she didn’t know who Dino was during the first night. Beginning the next morning, the two were playing without having missed a beat. Not only were they littermates, they were also the best of friends. They kept on eye out for each other. When one was not feeling well, the other stayed near.

Pebbles with the beanies (Summer 2004)

Dino with the kitty grass (Fall 2004)

Though both have been gone for many years, we continue to mark their special day.

Happy Birthday Dino & Pebbles!
xoxo

 

Photos from the archives of Two Cats Two™. The Christmas photo was taken with the Canon FTb 35 mm SLR using Kodak Max film (ASA 200). The latter two were taken with a Kodak APS camera using Kodak Gold APS film (ASA 400).

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad turns 86 years young today. He has a fondness for sweets and desserts, though his mainstay is vanilla ice cream. It is the flavor that can go with anything, including cookies. The family chocolatiers, Laurie and Elizabeth, baked late into evening on a batch of chocolate-chocolate chip cookies for dad.

The rest of us had to be satisfied with scent of chocolate wafting through the house. And, we were.

This evening, it’ll be a family cookout to complete the day. Though mom is not here to celebrate with us, she certainly is in spirit. And, it will be a good celebration filled with laughter and love.

Happy Birthday dad!
xoxo

Iowa Bound

Embarking on the last segment of their riding season, my girls will soon close their summer campaign. With the many personal worries and concerns, my girls put them aside and continued to ride well, showing their strength of character. Mark and Trish, their riding coaches, have always believed “success and winning will take care of itself.” Their approach and the hours of practice and hard work have handsomely rewarded the girls with a very impressive and very solid season.

Deborah with Captain Andrew (Jul 2016)

Both the girls and their horses have proven their mettle and steadfastness in the show ring. They’ve kept their perspective on riding. Most importantly, they’ve made sure to have fun in what they love.

It’s on to Iowa.

Equestrian Preview

“Have any of you ridden the other disciplines?”

Deborah and Elizabeth looked at Tara. With a laugh, Tara said she gave dressage a try when one of her friends was unable to compete in a schooling event a few years ago. “I had no idea what I was doing. I ‘followed’ the horse’s lead. Remarkably, we finished with a third place ribbon.”

Tara following the horse’s lead in a dressage schooling event (Jul 2009)

And, so, began the interview with my three daughters. With the Summer Olympics scheduled to begin shortly in Rio, one of our local TV stations had asked my daughters several weeks ago if they would like to do a piece on the Olympic equestrian competition. The local station had been following their riding efforts since last summer, and thought it was an ideal opportunity to introduce general sports followers to equine sports. They agreed to give it a try.

Speaking with the media is not new for the girls. They’ve done a few interviews before. Their longest was a 20-minute, web exclusive for ABC 7 in Los Angeles, last year. One of the questions, they are asked often, what is it like competing far from home. They generally reply that while it can be challenging at times, the aim is to keep everything in perspective – concentrate but relax, and, most importantly, have fun.

The Olympic experience is no different. While the stage is bigger and the expectations are greater, the riders see it like any other competition in their own preparations and with their horses. Many are already competing on the international circuit, so there is not much in terms of additional preparation. Their training is about staying sharp. The focus is safely transporting the horses to and from Rio. Each team has received from the FEI, the governing body that oversees equestrian sports, a comprehensive list of supplies and equipment approved for Olympic competition. In addition, the host nation, Brazil, has provided an extensive list of regulations, practices and controls for the entry and exit of horses. When the horses and their riders and support crew meet, it is a process of settling into their surroundings and back into their routines.

Tara and Cameron on a circle exercise course at RRC (Jun 2012)

At the Olympics, the girls described the equestrian events as seeing horsemanship and horses at their very best. A horse with a very skilled rider will do anything that is asked of it. In the early days of equestrian sports, one would see a rider-horse combination doing it all – dressage, show jumping and cross-country – all to showcase their horsemanship skills and the abilities of their horse. In the present day, it is highly specialized according to discipline for rider and horse. Rarely would a rider and horse be found competing separately in all three disciplines. Better known as eventing, it is the three disciplines combined.

“Who will win?” Deborah replied equestrian sports is the one sport in which “anyone can win, that is how level the field of competition is. It is very similar to the NFL axiom of ‘On any given Sunday’.”

Eventing (Aug 6-9): The favorite is Michael Jung from Germany, currently ranked #1 in FEI Olympic Rankings. His primary competitor is fellow German rider Ingrid Klimke, the 2008 and 2012 winner of the Olympic Eventing Trials. Other contenders include Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson from New Zealand. Todd is the record holder of titles and championships won. Riding for Team USA is former two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Phillip Dutton. Dutton, originally from Australia won Olympic Gold in 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney). He changed his citizenship to the United States in 2006. Teammate Tamra Smith should also be considered as a possible medalist after contributing to the 2014 Team Gold in the Nations Cup at Bromont CCI*** in Quebec.

Dressage (Aug 10-15): The heavy favorite is Germany in both the team and individual events. Dutch rider, Anky Van Grunsven, is a contender also, winning Olympic Gold in 2008 (Beijing). Leading Team USA is Steffen Peters. Originally from Germany, he became a US citizen in 1992 after the Barcelona Games. In 1996, he led Team USA to a Team Bronze in Atlanta. He currently rides Legolas, who is ranked the world’s #1 dressage horse.

Show Jumping (Aug 14-19): Team USA is strongly positioned to medal. They are led by Kent Farrington, rated in the top ten of best show jumpers in the world. His teammates are Elizabeth Madden, a previous Olympic Gold Medalist. She was ranked as the fourth best rider and top woman rider in 2013. McLain Ward, who helped Team USA win Olympic Gold in 2008 (Beijing) in Team Show Jumping, rounds out a very strong contingent. The UK, Netherlands, France and Germany are also considered strong medal contenders.

Deborah flying Comet over a 1.45 m double fence combination (San Juan Capistrano, Jun 2015)

Last question: “Any chance of seeing any of you in a future Olympics?” Deborah: “Depends.” Tara: “Maybe.” Elizabeth: “I don’t know.” Both Deborah and Tara added, “If any of us has a chance to be a future Olympian, or ride the international circuit, it would be Elizabeth. She is loaded with talent. From our perspective, her instincts are unrivaled by anyone in the world.” Deborah added the observation, “The best part, nobody knows who she is and how strong of a rider she is.”

Last word to Elizabeth: “I still don’t know. I’d rather remain as that unknown rider who comes out of nowhere, then slips back into anonymity. Makes for a better story.” With plenty of smiles and a few laughs, the easy interview wrapped.

Note

The local TV station indicated portions of their interview will tentatively air on Sunday, Aug 7th during the late evening sportscast. It is unknown if the one-hour, late night news, sports and weather broadcast will be livestreamed. The station is currently fashioning the three-hour-plus interview into a 45-minute web exclusive.

Happy Birthday Musketeers!

We celebrate our Musketeers, Maxie, Midnight and Tuxie, becoming 11 years old today. When we first saw them as tiny, three-week old kittens, little did we know they would  become part of our family.

And, how have they grown into the beautiful (Midnight) and handsome (Maxie and Tuxie) cats they have become.

Midnight

Maxie

Tuxie

They are a tightly-bonded trio with their own individual personalities. While it doesn’t seem like it on some days, they genuinely look out for one another. When one goes to the vet for their annual check-up, the other two patiently wait at home.

They have earned and wear the title of Musketeer to the fullest.

 

Happy Birthday Musketeers!

xoxo

Show Ready

Another week, another show. This week, it is much closer to home.

Cameron sampling the grass (Colorado Horse Park, Jul 20 2016)

After a week of practice, it is back to the show ring. This show is a little bit of fine tuning for the girls ahead of the Iowa shows in August. Their riding coach, Trish, will be watching and advising from the side. She is very proud and pleased at how well they’ve been riding this season.

Today was a pretty easy day with a light workout this morning, and the “Walk of Champions” later this evening.

A Rainbow Bridge Day

He loved the scent of fresh-cut flowers. The one scent Dino enjoyed the most was gardenia. When that plant bloomed, it was like he consumed all of its scent.

In summer, Dino enjoyed the greenhouse very much. The plants, the scents, were very intoxicating.

When July 18, 2008 came, we awoke very early as usual. Though his appetite had slipped away, his eyes were bright, clear and alert. It was his approval to say it was okay to say goodbye for now.

We miss our Siamese boy very much. Not only was he the best of friends, Dino was a very loving member of our family and confidant.

Love you always,

mom and dad
xoxo