Foxy on the bench

27 07 2011

My neighbor Eric’s cat, Foxy, is a frequent visitor to our garden. A few months ago, she discovered that the newly-placed cushion on the wrought iron bench was apparently put there just for her. She allows me to photograph her, but she still hisses at me if I get closer to her. I’ll extend my hand and she’ll lean in a few inches from me, never averting her eyes from mine. And then comes that nonplussed hisssssssssssssssssss. Every single time. I’d say she’s a bit ungrateful for a feline who was just given a comfy bed on which to languish in the afternoon shade! Ah, well…she makes a great (and frequent) model, doesn’t she?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Revisited: Sewing with Jasper

18 07 2011

We lost our beloved Jasper (aka Stripey Joe and Mr. Twitchy) in late October last year. He had been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an enlarged heart two years earlier. While we knew the condition could be monitored and medicated, we were well aware we could lose him sooner than his normal lifespan. Even armed with the prognosis, how can one ever prepare for such a loss? We loved him fiercely for almost ten years and he is never far from our thoughts. He was my furry photographic muse. I still see him by the patio door in my studio, watching birds and skinks and squirrels, and I can still hear his terradactyl-like meow. While we still have ZenaB to spoil, there is something missing in our little family.

Originally posted July 18, 2010.

(Sounds like a reality show, doesn’t it?—like Project Runway, but with felines). I’ve been in a sewing mood since the 4th of July weekend at the lake and to date I have made three tablecloths, 33 table napkins and six table runners. Do I need more table linens? Of course not! Every time I start sewing, Jasper insists on joining me and nestling into whatever fabric is available. Hope you like cats because that’s all I’ve photographed this week. It’s been too hot to do anything outdoors! This evening, my friend Karen joined me at the sewing table. She was making the second of two pillow shams for her bedroom (and we were so brave—flying without a pattern—whoo hoo! Wild women!). In the second photo, Jasper is serving as her topstitching quality control inspector. While Karen sewed the sham, I pulled out the Sculpey clay supplies and made some large leaf-shaped buttons for the pillow closures. Now I just have to bake them in my clay-dedicated toaster oven, paint, and seal. If they turn out halfway decent, I’ll photograph them and show you the finished effect.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Interior Design Lesson #1: How to match one’s cat to one’s decor

29 05 2011

What cat? I don’t see any cat! Where is Matilda?

I think my friend Sue has done a most excellent job at feline + floor coordinating, don’t you? Move over, Nate Berkus!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Frequent visitor to my garden

26 05 2011

I was potting two ferns near a bench and looked up to see my neighbor’s cat, Foxy, lounging on top of the fence, surrounded by honeysuckle blooms, and warily watching me. I noticed how green her eyes were and how bright the green background was and knew I had a great combo going! I grabbed my camera and got a bunch of shots. She remained on her lofty perch for more than an hour.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Costco box + window + cat = fun

16 03 2011

You must forgive the rather crudely cut out window in this Costco box—a square it is not. ZenaB was quickly losing patience with me altering her new playhouse, so I did the best I could in the time I had.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Layla, Louie and the lovely lady

13 12 2010

I photographed my friend Karen and her Ragdoll cats, Layla (left) and Louie this afternoon. Last year I photographed her with Layla for her Christmas card. (Learn more about Layla in my post here.) Karen adopted Louie earlier this year.

Many of you may be familiar with the saying, “herding cats.” Well, getting these two furballs to sit still and actually look at the camera (and not punch each other out) was like….well…herding cats! We got the best photos when Karen sequestered them on her bed (see how color coordinated everything is—her bedroom walls are painted the softest spa blue—looks like a portrait background, doesn’t it?). And in this photo, one might actually think the two cats love each other. One would be so very wrong. We’re both happy with the results and the cats are no worse for the wear…especially after we plied them with treats.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


19 08 2010

My friend Carmen, whom I visited this weekend in South Carolina, rescued Turbo when she was visiting her brother in Dallas last October. Her brother’s friend saw someone toss the cat out of a car at a Bank of America parking lot. David, knowing Carmen never met a cat or dog she didn’t like, worked on her for just 30 minutes on the phone until she agreed to pick up Turbo en route from our wedding in Sequin. She said if he was a male, she would name him Turbo, because her late husband, George, wanted to name a previous cat Turbo and she wouldn’t let him! Turbo turns one year old at the end of this month and is a wild-eyed, crazy loving cat! When he was finally captured, he was hiding in the engine of a car. In this shot, Turbo has decided that the stack of expensive rugs that Carmen bought from Izmir, Turkey on her recent cruise was set up just for him.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Big cat, little bowl

14 07 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Sewing Interruptus

14 07 2010

Saturday, 9:14 p.m. © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s tabby

23 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

A new garden visitor

25 03 2010

I spotted this pretty girl (I assume it’s a girl because of the pink collar, but you just never know) walking across the shed roof outside my office window. In the glare of the morning light and without my glasses on, at first I thought it was our regular visitor and neighbor’s cat, Indy. We’re guessing she might belong to our new neighbors, but we’re not sure. Michael saw her on their front porch before she came to the back yard. I got closer and realized it wasn’t Indy. She stayed on the roof and approached me when I came up to her. I petted her once, then she began hissing, then she let me pet her again, then she hissed again. Testy little thing, she was. Ah well, she made a great photographic subject and she hung around on the shed roof for quite awhile.

CRITTER UPDATE: Unknown kitty has a home—she belongs to our new neighbors. I saw her and a dog peeking out the glass front door last night. Good to know she has a home! I sure wouldn’t let our cats out unattended—I’m much too fearful the call of the wild would whisk them away forever.

CRITTER UPDATE #2: Unknown kitty is now known…her name is “Foxy.” And that she most certainly is (she could improve her attitude, though).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Decluttering with Jasper & Spot

10 11 2009

I should come up with a better name for the cleaning I am constantly doing in my office (and every other corner of the house). It’s not spring, so it’s not really spring cleaning. Let’s call it what it is—decluttering. Constantly. I emptied out a canvas and wicker basket late this afternoon. Jasper, who never turns down an empty box or basket, claimed it as his nap bed for the rest of the evening. I only had one of my point-n-shoots ready, so the quality of this shot is questionable—but I love it anyway! He’s watching Spot, our “sea monster,” as my friend Debbi calls him/her (we still don’t know what gender this pleco is). What we do know is that he/she is huge—a little over a foot long now. Spot is sucking algae off the tank (plecos are primarily algae eaters). Check out my posting here about how we inherited Spot, the $500 free fish.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Jasper & Spot


My green-eyed girl

4 07 2009

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Apparently you can get here from there!

20 05 2009

In celebration of passing the 70,000 mark on my blog, I offer you some unusual word searches that actually brought visitors to the blog:

cocker spaniel trixie little jimmy
nancy wong booty (Nancy must be very popular.)
mating blogs
october afternoon ducks in a row
what rhymes with the name victoria carr
polydactyl woman (Apparently, it’s possible. Read this.)
the coolest thing ever
obsessive crochet (Been there, done that—too much for my own good)
thrift stores on way to death valley (Ooh! Now that sounds like a fun road trip.)
kids running from bees  (Smart kids)
mom washed our hair   (Every Sunday night, right before the Wonderful World of Disney)
nun toys ugly  (hmmmm….)
using thankfully incorrectly  (Ha! My dad is going to love that one.)
sugar glider on a cat (not a safe place to be, that’s for sure)
lucky hummingbird hobo (I googled it to see what that might be. It’s a tote bag.)
ice cream chest freezer in rio grande valley (hmmm…sounds like criminal activity…should I call the police?)
lilium sweat kiss (sweet, not sweat…and it’s a Lily hybrid)
20 foot high elephant lawn ornament (Our homeowner association would have a fit!)
she wet (T.M.I.)
honey sockal loocust creeper (Definitely not a potential candidate for a spelling bee)

And the top dozen postings of “all time” on my blog are:

Concrete leaf casting (still in the #1 position, as always): 2,482 hits

Color Magic Rose (still in the #2 position, as always): 1,777 hits

Crafty room divider screen: 1,523 hits

Stuff about me: 1,128 hits

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth: 598 hits

Spotlight on Abbie!: 592 hits

Gigglebean with parrot and sugar glider: 528 hits

Heavenly blue: 515 hits

Mina Lobata (Spanish flag): 489 hits

Monarch butterfly habitat poster: 449 hits

Then on to craft project #823: 387 hits

Bionic Woman = Cover Girl: 345 hits

Many thanks to my fellow bloggers who have sent their visitors to my blog:

Avid gardener and photographer Birgitte in Denmark

Bookkeeper, writer, cochlear implant recipient and fun-loving Abbie in New Jersey

Avid gardener, photographer, wife, and mother Jan in Virginia

Garden designer and photographer Pam in Austin, Texas

Traveler, blogger and photographer ChrisY “Visuallens” in Malaysia

Librarian, gardener and photographer Phillip in Florence, Alabama

Lovely Heather—Mom, wife, designer, lover of all animals, helpless creatures and underdogs—somewhere in the U.S.

Golden-haired, candid, open and honest, blossoming photographer Chloe in Australia

Avid gardener, quilter, and Kurt’s Mom—Aunt Debbi in North Texas

Hearing loss social network creator Senthil somewhere in the U.S.

Gardener, nature lover, and recorder-of-all-things-happening-in-the-pond GG near Atlanta, Georgia

Photographer Scott Thomas in upstate New York

Artist and photographer CheyAnne in New Mexico

Passionate gardener, daylily enthusiast and aspiring novelist Gotta Garden in Stafford, Virginia

Avid gardener and photographer Jan from Covington, Louisiana

Reluctant (but obsessed anyway) gardener Kim in Maryland

Creative photographer and lonely wanderer Wildblack in Abu Dhabi

Fotoblography Andy, somewhere in the U.S.

Web/graphic designer and photographer Stacy Tabb in central Florida

Marketing specialist and very talented nature photographer Ed Vatza in eastern Pennsylvania

Homemaker, wife, mother of five beautiful children, and cochlear implant recipient Jennifer near Nashville, Tennessee

Up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Jay Henley in Maryland

Artist, crafter, newlywed, and amazing cloudscape/Texas sky photographer Shelley in West Texas

Avid gardener, photographer, mother, wife and Army retiree Tina from Tennessee

Gardener, blogger and candid writer Gumboots in Australia

Father, writer, and soon-to-be-a cochlear implant recipient (yay for you, finally!) Ulf in Norway

Undeniably, hands-down, no contest—the best father this girl could have, The King of Texas

Indy on the roof

15 05 2009

My morning (and frequent) visitor—Indy, a sweet neighborhood cat. To the left of my most-often-used Mac is a window that overlooks a side yard with a tool shed and attached firewood shelter. Indy comes up the stairs of the front stoop, jumps to the wrought iron railing, then makes his way over the shingled wood shelter roof, where he stares at me until I come out. He has an unusually deep and flat meow—a cat’s equivalent of something curmudgeon-ish—a complaintive “muh-wowwwl, muh-wowwwl.” This morning he was just lounging on the roof, staring down at me. I ran out to get this shot—one of only three shots I could manage—and then he was off to chase a squirrel out of my garden. (I confess that I got this shot while talking on the phone with a friend. Self-kudos to me for the shot actually being in focus! While on the phone, I saw Indy…ran upstairs to get my camera…back downstairs to grab a CF card…then outdoors to the backyard…climbed onto the edge of the raised tomato bed to get the best angle…cradled the phone on my shoulders and shot just four snaps before he ran off. How’s that for multi-tasking? And yes, I heard and understood every word my friend said.). Check out my first posting (plus a really cute photo) of Indy here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


A sighting so rare…

13 05 2009

ZenaB and her “brother” Jasper, just inches apart, basking in the afternoon sun on the still-not-tucked-away-trundle bed in the guest room. This shot of them occupying the same space (peacefully) is pretty rare. She’s usually slapping him upside the head whenever he walks by. My sweet little stripey Joe loves her despite her queenly behavior. He even mews pitifully when she hides (I imagine her snickering behind some door) from him.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Jasper & the Little Mermaid

26 02 2009

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Kilroy was here.

28 01 2009

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 5:07 p.m.—ZenaB peeps through the banister

Ever wonder where the phrase “Kilroy was here” came from?

Wonder no more:

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



19 09 2008

What is it about cats and empty boxes? I spent the entire day cleaning my studio and every time I cleared a box of papers out, in jumped Jasper or ZenaB. Here’s a shot I got of Jasper in a black canvas storage box.

Speaking of spring cleaning…it is amazing (and somewhat shameful) what things I find when I go through boxes I’ve put aside “to file some rainy day.” Here are the more interesting items I’ve come across so far today:

— a bank envelope with $41.00 (prompting delight then dismay then delight again)
— an old letter from an old boyfriend (a valiant effort to console me, the “dump-ee”)
— 20-year-old letters from my Dad; one that mentions he and Mom were going fishing. This was a revelation. I never knew she was interested in fishing.
— three letters of acceptance for jobs I had when I was in my 20s…one where I was informed I would make $838 every two weeks. Wahoo! Ah, I recall the days of an unairconditioned apartment, ramen noodles, burned biscuits setting off the fire alarm in the building, staying up ’round the clock doing multiple freelance design jobs, and scurrying roaches (in the apartment, not on the menu)
— various birthday cards from acquaintances I’ve since forgotten how I knew them. Egads….the boxes are dusty and so is my brain, apparently.
— a National Enquirer clipping where Cassandra Delaney claims, “John Denver kicked me out of our bedroom for 8 months!” Yes, I’m a John Denver fan…why else would that be in the pile?
— a newspaper article from the Washington Post titled, “On the Road: From Mortgage Slave to Happy Vagabond.” P.S. I’m still a mortgage slave and not (yet) a happy vagabond.
— A copy of my friend Karen’s resumé before she started working at the place where I met her in 1986. Wonder why I have this?
— A 1994 letter from Sue Feld, then Editorial Administrator for American Photo, notifying me that I had two photos to be published in two categories in their 3rd annual contest for reader photos (I had two out of the total 146 images published from about 46,000+ images) Ah, that was a day of elation at the mailbox!
— the formula Karen gave me for growing perfect tomatoes. Yes, readers, I will share the magic formula shortly!
— glow-in-the-dark animal tracks decals from The Nature Company (doesn’t everyone need those?)
— a printed transcript from an AOL live forum conversation with John Denver, dated 8/2/1995. My question posed to him was: “Years ago, I read about your interest in photography. I also saw a photo of yours in American Photo magazine’s Celebrity Photographers Issue. With all the traveling you do, you must have a vast collection of photos. Have you ever thought of publishing a book of your nature photos and personal essays on the environment?” His reply was: “Oh, we thought about that and I’m not sure it’s going to happen as a book of photo nature essays, but I’m not really sure I ever want to do another book!” I suppose I could have asked him “why did you kick Cassandra out of the bedroom for 8 months?” but I doubt it would have passed the muster with the AOL forum host!
— my laminated ID, dated June 21, 1985, that I had to wear when I worked for the U.S. Customs Service as a Clerk-Typist (and made something like $12,000 a year as a Grade -4 (what it felt like). I moved up from the Rio Grande Valley, lived with my parents for a year, and Dad found me this job in the FOIA office (Freedom of Information Act) at Customs in D.C. I typed 100+ words a minute, so the job was easy. My co-workers were really nice, my boss was most certainly not (and in the end, I did get the chance to let her know what I thought of her—tactfully and truthfully, of course), and I was just biding my time until I could find a job in graphics (pre-computer days, mind you…see how that fact dates me?). I commuted with my Dad to work (which was actually quite fun), and I typed letters to prisoners (mostly), informing them their request was being handled, blah, blah, blah. When the papers were ready, I typed a “Dear Prisoner Man” letter telling him how much he (it was almost always a he) owed for the copies. The photo on the ID shows a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed (figuratively), unjaded twenty-something with a really good hairdo (which is unusual, trust me), and a hot pink blouse (did I dress in the dark?). Where did that girl go?
— my prom photo with my friend Ray…I didn’t go to prom when I was actually in high school. Ray was a year behind me and asked me to be his date after I had already graduated. I decided I was “too mature” to wear a long dress (the thing to do in those days), so I wore a knee-length, seafoam green, polyester dress (sounds ugly, but it was actually quite tasteful). My Farrah-Fawcett-wings completed the look! UPDATE: My prom dress was silky, and when I came across the prom photo, the word “Quiana” popped into my head. I did some reading and I was right—my dress was made of Quiana, a slinky nylon fabric popular in the 70’s. I was so cutting-edge with my fashion choices, wasn’t I? Raise your hand if you want to see my prom photo!
— a very lovely letter, dated July 12, 1995, from nature photographer Art Wolfe. He thanked me for writing (I praised a workshop I took with him in Cape May, NJ) and for sending him a package of my Polaroid transfer notecards. His letter ended with him off to Grandfather Mountain, Cuyahoga Valley, Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Paris, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, New York, and back to Kenya for a Smithsonian assignment. Sigh…do you need an assistant for low pay, Art?

See more photos of my pretty boy here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Eclectic Max

31 08 2008

This afternoon Gina and I stopped by one of our favorite little shops, Eclectic Nature. Their address is 1503 Mt. Vernon Avenue, in the Del Ray area of Alexandria. They were having an “end of season” sale with all plants 50% off. There wasn’t much left, of course, so we left empty-handed (which doesn’t happen very often!).

Eclectic Nature sells plants, unusual containers, and garden art outside. Inside the gift shop, you’ll find original paintings, jewelry, gardening supplies, home decor, knick-knacks, and other eclectic stuff. And you’ll most likely run into Max the cat. He’ll probably be right smack in the middle of the checkout desk, vying for your attention. He had just come in from the nursery when I got this shot of him. He is the sweetest thing and very affectionate. He looks like a gargoyle, doesn’t he?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Man of mystery

17 07 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Just as I suspected….

16 07 2008

I always thought maybe Jasper did sneaky things when I wasn’t looking. This afternoon, he was obviously annoyed that I was trying to photograph him while he was trying to nap in the afternoon sun. I went to put in a new CF card, got ready to focus again, and here’s what he did. (The pattern in the foreground is a silhouette of metal flowers in a large vase…looks tropical, doesn’t it?)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Annie Belle

16 07 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

I’m in (catnip) heaven…

20 06 2008

I thought I had lost Jasper in the “Jumanji” part of the garden this afternoon. I peered through the Concord grape vine into the herb garden and saw him settled in, completely surrounded by the run-amuck catnip. Seriously, I need to do some weeding, culling, and cleanup in the garden this weekend. The recent storms have created a little shop of horrors in my backyard!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Regina and Dusty

14 05 2008

I shot this photo of my friend Regina and her sweet cat, Dusty, a few years ago. The original was shot in color but I think the b&w version is stronger. It is said that some people begin to resemble their pets and I certainly see that with these two and their big expressive eyes!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

We are not amused.

9 05 2008

Calling it a day, I came upstairs a few minutes ago and as I neared the top of the stairs, Jasper was in his usual spot by the living room step, basking in the sunshine. I had my camera in hand and was planning to go out in the front yard garden to see what blooms were now illuminated by the elusive sunshine (it’s been raining all day). I stopped short and knew it was a photo op in the making. Jasper did his usual staredown, hoping I was headed to the kitchen to indulge the carnivore in him (I wasn’t). While I waited for the clouds to pass and the sunbeam to come again, he gave me this look through the whole session. I like to call it his “we are not amused” look. Wonder what he’s thinking? (“look deep into my eyes…yes, that’s it…you will feed me meat now…do not look away….it is futile to resist me…put the camera down…you are under my spell...) 

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

My pretty boy…

26 04 2008

Jasper…he was watching a male and female cardinal singing to each other in our red oak. Immediately after this shot, he found the catnip bush and forgot about the birds!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Rudy Tooty Fresh & Fruity

17 02 2008

This is Rudy. He lives across the street from mom and dad. His predecessor was Ralph. Ralph loved staying at the neighbor’s house next to mom’s and started spending more time with them than he did at his own home. So they adopted him. The original owners then went out and got an almost identical cat and named him Rudy (they have a thing for names beginning with “R”). Occasionally Ralph and Rudy cross each other’s paths and there’s a mock duel going on across the yard. There’s something about mom and dad’s house that draws cats to their front porch. Rudy comes running from the hedges as soon as he hears us unlock the door. And because I can’t simply call a cat by his given name, he has been nicknamed ‘Rudy Tooty Fresh & Fruity.’ He is the most loveable cat you will ever meet. He’s well-fed and I assume the owners let him inside when it gets really cold, but honestly I would keep him indoors if he were mine. The street is too busy with fast cars and he’s too sweet to be left to the elements, even in balmy Texas. It was hard to photograph him because he wanted to be petted and kept putting his head up to the lens (hence the wide angle look to his face). So, this is the best I got that day.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Miss Peggy

29 12 2007

Miss Peggy is one of the many cats that my sister’s neighbor has rescued and given a home to in San Antonio.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Carmen’s Friendship Garden

21 10 2007

© Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.