Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur



Filed under: Art and Photography,Linda,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie by Laura Moncur 11-15-05

Maggie, my cat, is sitting on my lap, purring loudly. Since I’ve started working from home, she has made it a habit to sit on my lap the entire time I write. Sometimes I feel like she’s glad that I’m home because she gets extra attention, but most times, I just feel like a warm pillow.

Sid, the dog, has taken to following me around the house in the hopes that I’ll drop some food. He’s rewarded about fifty percent of the time. It’s not like I’m feeding him treats. I’m just clumsy and sometimes food falls on the floor. Anything down there is fair game to him. He loves carrots. He thinks that grape tomatoes are toys. He’s quick to take anything. He’ll take it to the food dish and start eating it there. If it’s good, it’s gone. If he doesn’t like it, I’ll find it on the floor with a couple of teeth marks in it.

No wonder we have mice. Linda, my other cat, and I saw one a couple of weeks ago. It was only an inch long (not including the tail) and it scurried between the floor boards and the wall, just like in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Linda jumped off the couch and paid vigil at the point where the mouse disappeared for almost an hour. She was very quiet and sat still, just waiting, but the little guy was in the basement and long gone.

Maggie found a mouse under my desk. Mike and I were snuggling on the couch with Maggie when she jumped off us quickly scuttling under the desk. We saw her pounce on it and play with it for a bit, but it must have gotten away. This house is over a hundred years old. There are holes and pathways for small animals all over. With the settling on the northeast side of the house, the cracks are getting even larger.

I usually clip the cats’ claws, but since I realized that we have a mouse problem, I’ve left their talons unshorn. I don’t want to have to call an exterminator. I don’t want to have to get a live trap or some poison. I don’t even want Maggie or Linda to actually catch a mouse. All I want is for them to scare them away so I don’t have to deal with them. I’m even at peace with cohabitating with the mice. Maybe they’ll eat the grape tomatoes I accidentally drop. Sid sure won’t.


Static Electric Sparks

Filed under: General,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 8:45 am

The humidity is low. We run the humidifier 24 hours a day, refilling it when it goes quiet, but it cannot keep up. The tropical plants that shouldn’t survive a Utah dehydrated winter are wilting. Somehow, Mike will keep them just healthy enough to last until the swamp cooler turns on again.

At night, when I pet Maggie, I can see electric sparks fly. Every time I touch her ears, a tiny flash of static electric light flares. She doesn’t cringe at the shock. She purrs loudly instead. She climbs on my belly and gives me a kitty massage. The moments before I fall asleep are illuminated only by static electricity.


Maggie in the Window

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie in the Window by Laura Moncur 12-29-05

Every morning, Maggie spends some time in the window sill. Sometimes I wonder if she is getting her “light therapy.”


Maggie on My Lap

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie on My Lap by Laura Moncur 01-19-06

Maggie is on my lap. She is purring loudly and my arms are wrapped around her to reach the keyboard. Somehow, this has become a normal routine. She purrs on my lap and I type despite her. It’s symbiotic in a way because her purring calms me down and my lap is a warm pillow. Anyone who could see me here typing would think that it’s an uncomfortable situation, but we both seem to enjoy it.

I remember my mom’s cat, Patches, used to sit by her typewriter when my mom was heavy into studying for school. I always thought that Patches was attention-starved, but now, I don’t think that was true. She just wanted to be where my mom was just like Maggie is with me. I’ve never had a cat like this before and it makes me happy to enjoy her company.

Photo Note: It took 50 snaps to make this one good picture. I didn’t know how hard it is to take a picture of myself until today.


Maggie in the Sunlight

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie in the Sunlight by Laura Moncur 01-23-06

She wants to sit on my lap and be pet. I roll the chair into the sunlight and take her picture instead.


Maggie Cleaning Linda

Filed under: Linda,Maggie,Our Pets,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Click Here to See the Video

I was sitting on my chair in the bedroom when I noticed that Maggie was cleaning Linda. Usually these sessions end up with a cat fight, so I ran to get my camera. Three minutes later, Maggie casually jumped down from the bed and it was all over: no cat fight, just a quiet moment in my life captured on film.

It’s no wonder that Maggie pukes up huge white hairballs on a regular basis…


Maggie Silhouette

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie Silhouette by Laura Moncur 04-05-06


Maggie Round

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie Round by Laura Moncur 05-28-06

It was cold in the house the other night. Maggie had rolled herself into a perfectly round ball. I was able to get a quick picture of her.

The interesting moments of our lives are so fleeting that it’s difficult to record them with anything but our memories.


A Purring Cat On My Chest

Filed under: General,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I will never be able to get a picture or a video of Maggie sitting on my chest. She comes to me when she wants to, not when I have the camera ready. It’s usually at night when the light is impossibly low. She is so close to my face that I can’t get a good shot. It’s impossible for me to get a good picture or video of her when she is sitting on my chest, purring.

I’ll just have to remember it.


Maggie Silhouette

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 8:59 am

I see Maggie in this window almost every morning. I think I’ve taken a picture of her before, but today I realized that she is over ten years old and there might come a morning when I’ll never see her in the window ever again.

So many people equate pets with children. If so, they are chidren that never grow up and almost always die before you do. If this is parenthood, then I want to know where the kid kennel is.


Maggie Sleeping Soundly

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie Sleeping Soundly by Laura Moncur 02-18-07

Sometimes a photo turns out so perfectly that I hardly have to pull it into Photoshop at all. This one just needed the levels adjusted. She was sleeping so soundly that her tongue was sticking out, but not so soundly that the activity of the picture-taking didn’t wake her. This was the only shot I got before she was up and rubbing on my legs…


Maggie Sleeping

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie Sleeping from Flickr

It’s so rare when I can click a picture of her actually sleeping. She was out for the count, though and I got two photos before she woke up and shook her head.

Maggie has been so lonely since Linda got sick. She and Linda would play together almost every day, but now, Maggie is left to her own devices. I’m kind of worried about what will happen when Linda finally goes…


Maggie Without Linda

Filed under: Linda,Maggie,Our Pets,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Before Linda died, I saw something like this every day. Now that Linda is gone, Maggie is so lonely. Even when she sits on my lap all day, she meows.

I can’t be another cat. I can’t bear to get another cat. This video makes me happy and sad all at the same time.

Click Here To See The Video

Download this video for your iPod

On another note, this video was filmed over a year ago. I never posted it because Mike is sleeping on the bed behind the cats. The reason you don’t get to see more of the cats playing is because they woke him up and he kicked them off the bed.

I haven’t been awoken by a cat fight on my bed for months.


Maggie Avoiding Me

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 8:29 pm

When I took this picture, Maggie kept moving her head away. She refused to look me in the face no matter how much I coaxed her and clicked my tongue. I can’t bribe her with food, she has no weaknesses except for the constant desire to be petted and held. She was on my lap and happy and there was nothing I could bribe her with.


Elvis and Maggie

Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets,Video — Laura Moncur @ 11:09 am

Back in September, we adopted Elvis. I find it strange that I haven’t talked about him here yet, but two months of my life kind of flew by while we enjoyed our new kitten.

It all started when Stacey and Dan got a puppy. Mini was the tiniest Chihuahua puppy you’ve ever seen and she fit in Mike’s hand. Seeing her made me want a kitten. It had been almost a year since Linda had died. Maggie was lonely and clung to me like a needy baby and I thought having a kitten would be nice for her AND us.

I talked to Mike about looking at kittens, but Mike said, “Cats tend to show up in our lives. Let’s not look for a kitten. Let’s just wait for the next one to show up.”

Within two weeks, I got a phone call from my mom. “There is a 70 year old lady in Reed’s apartment building that is going to abandon a kitten outside. Do you want to adopt him?” Apparently the woman had adopted the kitten, given him ONE day to get used to her current cat and couldn’t stand the fighting anymore. She was just going to let him free outside, near a BUSY road.

Within the hour, we had the kitten at our vets office. He was free of parasites and nasty diseases, so we took him home.

It took Maggie two days to stop hiding under the bed.

It took us two weeks to name him. Mike just gave up and let me name him Elvis. The “official” story is that he’s named after Elvis Costello, but really, I named him after Elvis in Animal Crossing. Everybody just thinks we named him after Elvis Presley.

After two months, he and Maggie play and fight and I’ve even caught her cleaning his ears like she used to do with Linda before she died.

Here’s a video of them playing with their new cat toy. Mike had sprinkled some catnip on it. They both wanted it, but Maggie unilaterally informs Elvis that he needs to wait his turn.

Adding Elvis to our household has been a joy. I’m so glad he showed up in our lives.


Maggie Purring

Filed under: Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 11:12 am

Maggie PurringEvery night when I go to bed, Maggie will climb on my shoulder and lie there, purring. It’s the BEST way to go to sleep and I have become so accustomed to it that I really miss her when we go out of town. Sometimes, it’s really difficult to go to sleep without her there.

The other night, I recorded her purring with Mike’s Edirol. I pulled it into GarageBand and made an mp3 that works pretty well. It’s only 2:43 minutes, but I put it in a playlist and have the playlist repeat.

Here is the MP3 if you would like to fall asleep to the sound of my precious Maggie purring. It’s a quiet file, so make sure you turn up the volume so you can hear it.

Download MP3 here: Maggie Purring Right click and choose Save As…

I have gotten so much solace from this cat. When we lost Linda last year, both Maggie and I were so heartbroken that we bonded together. She was with me all the time. Since we’ve gotten Elvis, however, she spends a lot of time playing, growling at and sleeping with him, so she needs me less. I’m happy that she’s more content, but I feel like I’ve lost her a little.


Elvis & Maggie Under The Covers

Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Before Elvis came to our house, Maggie used to like to sleep under my afghan. She doesn’t do it anymore and this is why:

If you listen closely, you can hear Maggie growling from underneath the blanket. She wasn’t very amused by this game.


Elvis And The Blue Feather Toy

Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’m kind of embarrassed by this video because the Halloween boxes are stacked in our living room for the whole world to see, but it made me laugh so much that I couldn’t help posting it.

I love how at the end, Maggie tries to help him get the toy by jumping up on the boxes. It’s almost like she’s saying, “Umm, it’s stuck right here, dumbo.”


Sid Is A Saint

Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets,Sid,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This video is proof positive that Sid is a saint. If you notice, Maggie is watching, far from the fray. Even Mike won’t let Elvis chew on his feet. Only Sid is calm enough to handle this kitten. Twice during the filming Sid looks at us (first to Mike and then to me) as if to say, “Can you do something about him?”

I love how at the end when Sid barks, everyone scatters, even him. Maggie runs from her observation point, Sid stands up to get away from the sharp kitten teeth and Elvis flees from his bark.


Maggie Cleaning Elvis

Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Maggie is very shy about cleaning other cats. I only got video of her cleaning Linda once. I’ve caught her cleaning Elvis about three times, but this is the only one I was able to get on film. I had to turn on the lights and grab the camera to capture this and by then she was almost finished.

It’s so comforting to know that Maggie has someone to play with that will keep her company when we’re not in the house. When Linda died, she was so lonely that she was with me constantly. I needed her comfort during that time as well, so it worked out for both of us. I’m just glad that she has Elvis to keep her happy as well.


Maggie Cleaning Elvis

Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I had kicked Maggie off my comfy chair in the bedroom and plopped her onto the bed. When I looked up, she was cleaning Elvis’ ears. She does this several times a week, but usually I can’t get to my camera in time to catch them on film.

This time, they were both so mellow that I got FIVE minutes of video. Here are the cutest 70 seconds:

When Linda died, I thought I would never see anything this cute again, so seeing Elvis and Maggie together like this makes me happier than I can say.


Maggie Being Her Beautiful Self

Filed under: Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love this photo of Maggie.

Maggie Being Her Beautiful Self by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Sometimes I need to just take a moment and learn how to relax like Maggie does. Lately, it seems that I only relax when I’m so exhausted that I can’t do anything else.


I’ll Just Have To Remember This

Filed under: Elvis,I'll Just Have To Remember This,Maggie,Our Pets,Sid — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Sometimes the camera just can’t capture my most joyful moments. The other day, Maggie was playing with Elvis’ toy mouse. The sunlight was streaming in the faux stained glass window in our living room and bouncing off the carpeted stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Maggie jumped and rolled and tossed the mouse with glee that is rare considering her shy personality.

When I noticed her playing, I pressed pause on the TiVo, which disrupted her play. Just knowing that I was watching her play was enough to stop the festivities. It was as if she was some sort of sub-atomic particle refusing to both play and be observed at the same time. There was no way I would be able to film her. She wouldn’t even let me watch her.

Elvis peeked around the furniture trying to catch a glimpse of her playing with his discarded toy, but she noticed him. Sid pretended not to watch her play by lying his head down on the carpet, but kept an uneasy eye on her the entire time. With an audience of three, it was too much for her bashful nature and she abandoned the mouse on the third stair next to the scratching post.

The total time she played with the mouse was maybe twenty seconds before the three of us stopped our respective activities and watched her in amazement. Twenty seconds of pure and unadulterated joy washed over us and we drank it in as much as we were allowed. No time for cameras. Not even enough time for Elvis to retaliate. Just a beautiful outburst of bouncingly playful happiness that was impossible to capture on film. I thought to myself, “I’ll just have to remember this.”


Five Seconds of Hillarious

Filed under: Elvis,I'll Just Have To Remember This,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 8:21 am

It happened just a few minutes ago. I heard the sound of a bag rustling upstairs. I had just spent the last half hour chasing Elvis away from every form of plastic in the house, going so far as to actually CLEAN up and remove any bits of plastic bag, plastic bubble wrap or plastic wrapping that was lying around because my stupid cat had decided that it was the day to eat plastic.

I rolled my eyes and considered leaving my reading and comfy couch to further stop this obsession. I listened carefully and determined that it didn’t sound like the furtive, chomp, chomp, chomp of Elvis’ plastic eating. It sounded like he was just playing with a plastic bag instead. Laziness overtook me and I went back to my reading, but the noise continued.

Then the noise moved. The sound of a plastic bag moved from a distant irritation to an approaching ruckus. I could hear it advancing from the bedroom to the staircase at an increasing speed. I put down my reading and got off the couch to investigate, but before I could get up even one stair, the crinkling was halfway down the stairs.

In a streak of white and gray fur, Elvis ran past me toward the kitchen, but the fluffy sound of the plastic bag was still coming at me from the staircase. In a panic, Maggie and the plastic bag rushed past me, following Elvis. She wasn’t chasing him, so much as she was chased by the bag wrapped around her neck. Rather than follow Elvis into the kitchen, she ran like a cheetah away from the noisy monster attached to her body. I laughed at her skittish attempt to escape the crinkle monster that she had unwittingly climbed through.

She rushed up the stairs, plastic bag in tow as I tried to grab her. I laughed again and followed to the bedroom level. Mike called from the top of the stairs, “I’m sure that was hilarious, but it just woke me up…” His groggy voice told me that he wasn’t fully awake. “You tied a bag to the cat?!” I finished climbing and rushed to defend myself, “I didn’t do it.” I was still laughing, trying to find where Maggie had hidden.

I followed Mike’s dazed gaze to my comfy chair in my office. I looked under the chair and there was a shell-shocked Maggie with the bag still around her neck. Her excited run had torn it to shreds, but it still hung strong around her neck. She cowered away from me as I reached under the chair. I grabbed the handle of the bag and removed it from her neck, trying my best to control my laughter.

It was the plastic bag that had brought home my boots from the store. I had removed the boots, wore them, deemed them completely unusable for winter snow and abandoned them, all without ever throwing away the bag on my bedroom floor. Maggie must have crawled in it, had a bout of play with Elvis and tried to escape through the handle instead of the proper opening. I could envision the entire event and I laughed.

I put my sleep-deprived husband back to bed and sat down at the computer keyboard. “I’ll just have to remember this,” I told myself.



Filed under: Elvis,Maggie,Our Pets,Sid — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am


I’m sitting in my blue comfy chair. I have Elvis on the left arm, looking out the window, following every movement of birds and debris. I have Maggie to my right, sitting on the footstool and Sid on the floor.


I always imagine an alien group observing us. They can tell where all the life forms are in the house and notice that we all congregate in one room, no matter the size of the house. In fact, we are all congregated in one corner of that one room.

I imagine that they would find this behavior strange. Why would they all hover in one tiny corner of that large dwelling? Are they scared? They aren’t close enough to be getting any warmth from each other. They each seem to be moving of their own free will. Why do they congregate when they could spread out? They must get some benefit from the close proximity, despite their differences in genetic make up. What is it?


Laura and Gray Stripey Cats

Filed under: Lucy,Maggie,Our Pets,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 11:34 am

I have a much adored gray stripey cat right now named Lucy. We adopted her a few years ago:

Laura and Lucy 2015

When we adopted her, we had just lost Maggie, my previously adored stripey gray cat. I had no idea how to name her, so I literally let a stranger name her. When we were at the Farmer’s Market, I was holding her while Mike filled out the paperwork for adopting her. An old lady came up to me and fussed over the kitty and we talked.

Nice lady: Oh she’s so adorable are you adopting her?

Me: I am. We just lost our gray cat. She died…

Nice lady: My gray cat just died, too. I’m so sad. She was such a good cat.

Me: What was her name?

Nice lady: Lucy.

Me: Then that’s what we’ll name her. Lucy is a really good name.

I just realized that I have loved gray stripy cats my ENTIRE life. It started when I was just a baby. My mom even provided proof. Here is my father introducing me to the kitten.

Laura and Gray Stripey Cats 1

This is 1969 in Norfolk, Virginia at Mrs. Cannon’s House. I have no memory of this event, but it’s obvious I was really interested in this kitty. As a kid, I would look at this picture as proof that the kitty liked me too, because she reached out her paw toward me.

Laura and Gray Stripey Cats 2

I eventually cornered the kitty. I have no idea how this encounter ended, but I like to think that we were both happy.

Laura and Gray Stripey Cats 3

Sometimes, when I’m half asleep and think weird thoughts, I like to tell myself that Maggie was ALWAYS there for me. She just kept coming back to me in the form of a gray stripy cat.

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