Cat’s Pajama Tour by Janine Donoho

Counting sheep jammies

Counting sheep jammies

During the time that our home was under construction, we stuffed a whippet, a greyhound, two cats, and two humans into a 27-foot 5th wheel. That was over a decade ago. Our home now sustains a whippet, an Italian greyhound, one cat, and two humans, although on the animal front, only the cat and we – her minions – started this journey. So measurably, it appears that not much has changed.

Each morning our tuxedo cat, now 15 years old, sits on my lap after breakfast so I can ‘groom’ her with a boar bristle hair brush. That probably makes me her Big Kitty, an honor I accept. Yet a funny thing happened along the way — a theme emerged from her photos.

Now you’re invited into a tour of this cat’s pajamas.

Plushie garnet jammies

Plushie garnet jammies

Llama jammies

Llama jammies

Cayenne jammies

Cayenne jammies

Pink love bunny jammies

Pink love bunny jammies

East Indian elephant jammies

East Indian elephant jammies

Puffer fish jammies

Puffer fish jammies

Pink flamingo jammies

Pink flamingo jammies

Teapot jammies

Teapot jammies

Cinderella slipper jammies

Cinderella slipper jammies

Blue rose jammies

Blue rose jammies

A Quality of Light by Janine M. Donoho

Warbling VireoDo color and texture equate with sound for you? Consider the warbling vireo

Panting whippetIf we allow ourselves to do so, we humans revel in sensory input. Then there’re those extreme moments when our survival depends upon paying attention to our environment. As writer and fledgling artist, I try to capture sensory qualities. This presents an ongoing challenge.

For whatever reason, today’s hike focused on visuals accompanied by sound. Have you allowed yourself to become Sunlight through leavesfully engaged within properties of illumination? At different times sunlight through leaves captivate as a zephyr Black-chinned Hummingbird, adult malerustles an aspen branch. Or the sheen off my whippet’s brindle spots and my greyhound’s tortoiseshell coloration enchant me even as their panting ripples light along their coats. Then there’s the bending of light that gives feathers their iridescence as a black-chinned hummingbird shrilly claims his territory. Texture combines with color and sound to draw me. When that happens, my breath catches and the pace falters.

During my final edit of CHOSEN BY MIST, book 3 of the MISTBORN CHRONICLES, I attempt to infuse detail into story without losing pace or scene focus. Sometimes it works. How do you incorporate sensory detail into your writing and visual art?Mariposa lily with lupine

Earworm by Janine M. Donoho

For the second time in two days, I awoke to a bad case of earworms.IG with a frozen soul patch Then I purchased the tunes online–thank you Kate for my birthday gift card. There’s an excellent basis for best friends being the BEST.

Without further ado, drum roll please. In order of infestation, my worms were Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis and Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick. After really listening to the lyrics, I realized what wonderful poets these women are. Winter gardenAlso remembered that in Ann Tyler’s Breathing Lessonswhistled tunes offered the only hint of Ira Moran’s state of mind. Hmmm.

Last night bumped -7 degrees F with a wind chill of -20 . Even though my guy received his shot early in November, he’s suffering through a bout with flu. Then there’s our epileptic greyt Kartouche’, whose drug-addled mind has him yipping his way toward full bark… Oh, and monstrous sunspot AR1654‘s lit up the solar canopy, rippling with C- and M-class solar flares, thus affecting the earth atmosphere’s chemistry and thermal structure. On the upside, we get to enjoy stunning aurora borealis.Aurora Borealis

So, practicing the art of breathing. Any of you experiencing unusual earworm activity? Do they reflect your state of mind?

A Dog’s Tale by Janine M. Donoho

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kartouche’ as Nina Sophia’s Manny

Not all hiatus are planned. In this case, mine has its roots in a dog’s tale. You see, my sweet 5-year-old greyt began seizing in June–at night between 2 and 6 am. We’ve belonged to each other since his puppyhood when he was an underweight 5 pounder at 9 weeks.

Kartouche’ arrived via a Colorado rancher who uses his hounds to run coyotes. Greyts love to course, and thus chase coyotes for the sheer pleasure of the act. Yet when they corner a wild trickster, it’s all tooth and nail. A greyhound might not return from such battles. They’re thin-skinned, lightly furred and lean. Think lovers and runners, not gladiators. They’re also rocket scientists among canines. When his rancher tells the wounded greyhound to go after the next coyote pack, the greyt politely says, “No thanks. You go this time.” Then the rancher might shoot the useless hound. Thus even though Kartoucheʹ came from different stock than my previous ex-track greyhounds, I consider him a rescue, too.

3 Dog Night by the Stove

3 Dog Night by the Stove

When Kartoucheʹ started seizing, I stopped sleeping. These aren’t dainty petit mals, mind you, but messy, dangerous grand mals that he leads into with an attempt to outrun them–at 45 mph. That’s what’s known as his aura stage, precursor to the tonic-clonic stage. This is a dog friendly house, but walls and furniture prove deadly to a greyhound running blind before he ends in scary collapse. Yes, I’m a biologist, but Kartoucheʹ is one of my beloved hounds. Seizures scare me–each one could be his end. As his human, it’s my job to keep him safe.

Despite living in extremely rural Washington State, we’re fortunate to have a remarkable and compassionate vet. She started Kartoucheʹ on a drug regime, but he continued to experience tonic-clonic clusters every two weeks. So we took her advice and visited the eminent WSU Veterinary Hospital in Pullman–5 hours away. We discovered another great team of vets there, thus expanding our canine health squad to four, all of whom communicate freely. Even so, it’s taken until now to find the right balance of drugs to keep Kartoucheʹ from damaging himself further.

The good news? He’s been tonic-clonic free for 4 weeks now. He still has nocturnal moments that I call ‘flight responses’,

Snow pack

Snow pack

when he struggles to his feet and takes a few steps before regaining consciousness, then returning to bed. While I still respond in PTSD fashion with flashlight and pounding heart, this signifies a vast and positive change from where we started seven months ago. What it also means? My creativity and energy have returned.

In macro terms, let me leave you with a few life lesson reminders. All-nighters ruin your health and sleep really is essential. Stamina only takes you so far. Eat well and exercise, no matter what. Go anywhere and do anything within your means for those you love. Deep creativity requires rest and peace of mind.

So welcome to my year of the hounds. Now we’re off to enjoy a snow hike–full pack press. Shout out to MuttLuks, YakTrax and other winter gear. Happy New Year!

Greyhound in the Arbor by Janine M. Donoho

Like many of us, I navigate periodic meltdowns. This usually happens during the BIG transitions: death of a family member, including our hounds; life in new geography which entailed leaving behind best girlfriends; the early death of a friend; learning on Facebook that your very independent and beloved son was in a near fatal accident… You get the idea. We all face these changes.

Most of us survive these times. Sometimes we do so through our natural ebullience, other times we walk upon tender bare feet across what feels like shards of heated glass. My process for surmounting falls most often in the latter category.

When engrossed in the moment, I sometimes encounter resistance toward the next evolution. That can mean putting petal-to-metal to get where I need to be. Although it does bring out interesting responses in the predominately slow-moving folk where we live now, that behavior’s changing.

 Allow me to share with you this scrumptious moment between–a moment of now with my sweet greyhound Kartoucheʹ. After three years of feeding roots and training trunks into cordons and a canopy, we have our first ripening grapes.

Bliss.

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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