Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can't trust the Cats

Sorry that it has been so long since we have posted any pictures. We have been busy with our two new housemates and the chaos that has ensued. Which brings us to the purpose of this post.

Baci is being a jerk. He keeps chasing Chloe and Smudge. There have been couple of fur-flying fights, which has upset Grandma terribly. So we decided that we need to stop encouraging Baci's bad behaviour and at the same time try to increase Smudge and Chloe's comfort in roaming about the house.

So I laid down a new rule...

If Baci attacks either Chloe or Smudge, he has to go for a time out in the bedroom.

It worked for about thirty minutes when his bestest furriend ever, Dolce, decided to spring him from the room. That's right, Dolce figured out how to open the door and let Baci out.

Now what do I do? Outsmarted by my cats again. Maybe I should give in to my wife's desire for a puppy...Hmmm...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dolce's Story Chair - Jingles and the Furry Helpers (pt 5B)

Jingles and the Furry Helpers
Part 5B: A Hectic Ride home

Santa and Jingles stared at the three little forlorn faces in the cardboard box. Each of the kittens were staring right back at Santa and Jingles. Jingles felt a deep excitement within his chest. He tried to fight it but his very audible purr betrayed his happiness. The loneliness that had plagued him at the North Pole was gone. The sorrow that followed the goodbyes with his mother and his siblings was also gone. Jingles had someone to show the wonders of the North Pole; someone who would understand the fascination and joy that a four inch piece of ribbon could possess, and someone who would understand how sleeping on top of a gurgling radiator was more comfortable than a silk, down-filled bed.
“Well, Jingles.” Santa asked. ”What do we do?”
Jingles propped his paws on the edge of the cardboard box and watched the three kittens intently. He dropped down to seat of the sleigh.
“You have to bond with them, Santa.” Jingles said. “they have to trust you more than anything in the world.”
“One at a time?” Santa asked.
“We are at least forty minutes from the North Pole, so I think you had better try to bond with all three at once.” Jingles advised.
“You don’t see a problem with letting three kittens loose on the sleigh as we cruise miles above the Earth?” Santa sought clarification from Jingles.
“Nope.” Jingles replied quickly, but then rethought his answer. “Why? Do you see a problem?”
“I can see several.” Santa stated.”But if you say I need to bond with these kittens, then I will.”
Santa reached into the cardboard box and scooped out the first kitten. The deep orange ginger kitten with the white strip emblazoned on its forehead started purring the minute it felt Santa’s gentle grasp. It snuggled into his lap and continued to purr contently. It seemed like it was made for Santa’s lap. Santa found a large smile on his face as he rejoiced in the kitten’s sweet loving disposition.
“Does it have a name?” Santa asked.
Jingles looked at the orange ginger kitten purring contently and loudly in Santa’s lap. He sniffed gently at the kitten. The kitten regarded Jingles and then twisted its body onto its back. Jingles sat back on his haunches.
“Her name is Myrrrh.” Jingles said.
“Her?’ Santa was taken aback.
“She is a gift that is fit for the King of Kings.” Jingles replied as he nuzzled the little kitten.
Santa reached into the box and lifted up the white-mitted brown and black tabby. The kitten sniffed at Santa’s beard. It began licking his snowy white beard. Santa pulled the kitten away from his beard but the kitten reached out and pulled his beard towards itself and it continued to lick and groom the lock of hair that it had managed to grasp.
“Santa.” Jingles looked at the kitten and at Santa. “Did you eat all the cookies at the last house?”
“Yes.” Santa answered and then hesitated slightly. “Well, we were a little rushed so I did kind of gobble them down.”
“I thought I smelled gingersnaps.” Jingles saw with a chuckle. “Her name is Cookie. It seems she knows what she likes.”
Santa attempted to place the kitten now called Cookie on the seat of the sleigh but she resisted and she grabbed an even larger tuft of Santa’s beard. Santa gave up trying to dislodge Cookie from her grooming session on his beard. He awkwardly reached over and pulled the last kitten from the box. He set the black kitten down on the seat of the sleigh as the orange kitten sat and purred in his lap and the tabby licked at his cookie crumb dusted beard. The black kitten sat and looked about the sleigh. He looked at Santa and at Jingles. He surveyed the controls of the sleigh. He made no move towards either Jingles or Santa.
Jingles did not know what to do with the strangely aloof little black kitten. After watching the other two kittens bond so quickly with Santa, Jingles fully expected the last kitten to adopt Santa similarly. The black kitten watched the other two kittens. He gave his little legs a stretch and then he sat beside Jingles and adopted the exact same stance on seat of the Sleigh.
“Does it have a name?” Santa asked Jingles.
Jingles sniffed at the kitten, who got perturbed at Jingles prodding.
“He will.” Jingles replied. “But he does seem to know what he wants. He thinks you smell friendly enough but that’s not what he needs. Maybe we can figure out what his name should be once we get home.”
“Home, it is then.” Santa repositioned the tabby kitten onto his shoulder where she could still get access to his beard and then adjusted the contently purring ginger on his lap, before he gave the reins of the sleigh a gentle snap. “Due North we Bear, To Home We Head, Fly Straight Dear Friends, To Loft and Bed.”
The reindeer surged forward on unseen paths and unknown footfalls. Santa sat with two new kittens cozied up on his shoulders and on his lap. Jingles sat with a tiny black shadow that mimicked his precise posture. Jingles looked down at the tiny black kitten.
“What do we call you little one?” Jingles asked.
The kitten looked up at him briefly and then went back to studying everything about him.
Jingles nose wrinkled as a little whiff of gas wafted up from the black kitten.
“You’re quite the little stinker aren’t you?” Santa also grimaced as the kitten’s gas reached even his nose.
Jingles look up at Santa. They both felt a great giddy laugh build within. Santa let it out and he gave both Jingles and the little black kitten a loving head rub.

From the seat of the sleigh, Santa, Jingles and the three kittens could finally see the beginning of the permanent ice sheath that lead to the North Pole. Even the reindeer could sense that the worst part of their yearly trip was over. Soon the sleigh would return to normal weight and inertia and their natural talents would slowly supplant the magical means that were necessary to propel Santa around the world on his unique yearly journey.

The sleigh shuddered suddenly. It dropped almost a hundred feet in altitude in a blink of an eye. Santa’s hands gripped the reins tightly. Even Jingles could sense the panic in the reindeer as the sleigh suddenly took on more weight and inertia than they could magically handle.
“What’s the matter, Santa?” Jingles asked as the kittens instinctively cowered
next to him on the sleigh’s seat.
“I don’t know.” Santa struggled with reins. No matter what he did the sleigh continued to rapidly lose lift. “Sammy warned us about this,remember.”
“The gum drop diodes.” Jingles remembered. “They must have worked themselves loose.”
“Can you check Jingles.” Santa asked as he tried to keep the Reindeer’s path above the horizon.
“I will look, Santa.” Jingles hopped down to the floor of the sleigh and opened the access hatch to the amazing mechanical works of Santa’s sleigh. “But that was added after my trip last year. I don’t know where they are.”
“You have to try Jingles.” Santa replied excitedly. ‘We only need about thirty more minutes to reach the permanent ice pack.”
Jingles worked himself through the access panel. He could see the gum drop array as it vibrated and started to shake itself loose. He tried to squeeze himself closer towards the gum drop drive array, but he was too big. Jingles felt a sharp, jarring thud as his body was slammed against the roof of the mechanical compartment by a sudden loss of altitude of the sleigh.
“Jingles.” Santa cried out. “You better hurry. The reindeer can’t hold this line much longer.”
Jingles suddenly felt the same pangs of weakness and failure that he had felt his first year on Santa’s sleigh. He had one task to complete, it was beyond his ability to finish and now it seemed that not even Santa would be able to help him. The sleigh’s rapid descent sharpened.
Jingles tried to reach the Gum Drop Diode Drive Array. It only needed to be pushed back into place to save the sleigh.

Neither Santa or Jingles noticed a little black kitten follow Jingles into the heart of Santa’s sleigh. The little kitten followed Jingles unheard and unseen. He watched as Jingles tried to reach a small rectangular panel that was bouncing irregularly amongst the other equipment. The little black kitten looked around at all the miraculous gizmos and gadgets that whirled and spun in the heart of Santa’s sleigh. He watched and studied each and every little movement, bob, jump and wiggle of the vast myriad of candy-cane control rods, wreath gyroscopes, and licorice cabling.

Jingles felt the press of a little body against his. He turned his head and saw that the little black kitten had followed him into the belly of Santa’s sleigh.

“Go back, little one.” Jingles demanded. “This is no place for you. Go find Santa!”
The little black looked at Jingle and then at the vibrating Gum Drop Diode Array that was threatening to break loose from its designated spot.
“Me fix.” The little black kitten said defiantly as he wormed his way along Jingles’ side.
“Go back!” Jingles tried to order the little black kitten.
There was another sharp drop of the sleigh and both Jingles and the little black kitten were slammed against the roof of the sleighs’ mechanical space. Jingles let out a gasp as his back hit a supporting strut. The little black kitten had been tossed a couple of feet away. He was dangerously close to one of the wildly cavitating wreath gyroscopes.
“Stinker!” Jingles called out in panic. He had not figured out the little black kitten’s true name yet, so he had resorted to the last thought he had of the little black kitten.
“Jingles!” Santa cried out. “You better get those diodes fixed or we are all going for a very long cold swim!”
Jingles tore his gaze from the still form of the little black kitten to the now madly flopping diode array. He tried to move closer to the diode array but he was still a paw length away. He did not notice that the little black kitten was slowly crawling back towards the Gum Drop Diode Drive Array.

“Me fix!” the little black kitten said defiantly aloud to himself.
The little black kitten crawled past Jingles and reached the loose diode drive array. His small frame allowed him to rear up slightly with the narrow confines of the sleigh’s mechanical space. He drove both of his tiny fur tufted paws down sharply onto the vibrating array.
“Me fix!” the little black kitten cried as he reared up again and then drove his paws down on the array. “Me fix!”
There was a slight shudder as the Gum Drop Diode Drive Array temporarily reconnected. Santa’s sleigh jumped slightly higher into the sky with each and every pounce of the little black kitten onto the diode array.
Jingles saw that the little black kitten’s efforts were working.
“Come on, Stinker!” Jingles cried out, “You can do it!”
“That’s it, s’Tinker.”
“You’ve got it, ‘Tinker.”
“That’s it, Tinker!” Jingles exclaimed, “You did it!”
There was a deep thrum as the Gum Drop Diode Array fully engaged. Suddenly the sleigh jumped upwards and found its original flight path home.
“Thank you, Tinker.” Jingle snuzzled the little black kitten. “You have saved all of us.”

Santa’s sleigh broached the break between the land and the great northern ice sheet as it raced towards the North Pole. Santa gave a great sigh of relief. Even if the flying magic of the sleigh and the reindeer failed, they would now be able to make back to the North Pole. It might take several weeks of traversing the ice and snow fields on the ground to get back home, but they would get home.

To be continued...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dolce's Story Chair - Jingles and the Furry Helpers (pt 5A)

Jingles and the Furry Helpers
Part 5A: A Hectic Ride home

“On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen!” Santa called out to his magical reindeer. “On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner and Blitzen!”

Santa’s reindeer strained against the sleigh. There was a most unChristmas-like screech of steel runner on snow-clad asphalt. Slowly, the sleigh picked up speed. Soon it jumped free of the snow lined street and rose into the Christmas Eve sky. The faint redness of the eastern sky warned that Christmas Eve was soon to be replaced with Christmas Day. The sleigh arced high and fast and made a straight and true run for the North Pole. Everyone on the sleigh, from Santa and Jingles to the reindeer, knew that to be caught by the sunlight on Christmas Day would extinguish Santa’s magic forever.
As they raced further northwards, the rising sun grew dimmer and dimmer. Santa gave a small sigh of relief as the fear of being caught by the Christmas Day sun was quickly fading.
“Santa.” Jingles was busy sniffing and checking out the box they had found by the silent humane shelter. “There is a tag here on the box. It’s addressed to both of us.”
“Let me see that.” Santa looked at the cardboard box he had retrieved from the humane shelter.
“To Santa and Jingles.” Santa read the silver and gold inscripted tag. “From Antonius, Dulcinea and Elbereth.”
“Who are they?” Jingles asked as he found his perch looking over Santa’s shoulder.
“Elbereth is the Angel who brought you the scroll.” Santa replied, “I think Dulcinea is the Angel who built the Rainbow Bridge. I do not know who Antonius is. He must be an Angel as well.”
“He brought me to my mom.” Jingles said softly. “He is the Angel that brings all kittens to earth.”
Santa looked at Jingles.
“Shall we open it?” Santa asked.
“I don’t think three important Angels would give us a gift if they did not want us to open it immediately.” Jingles said as he canted his head and regarded the cardboard box.
“Well then, we open it. Now.”Santa said as he pulled the cardboard box open.

There, looking back up at Santa and Jingles, were three kitten faces, one solid black, one a deep orange ginger with a bold emblazoned white stripe on his forehead, and a white-mitted brown and black tabby.

To Be Continued...

Dad: Now, dear furriends, I want to give you all the chance to help out a poor, unimaginative story-teller. I need three names for the kittens that Santa and Jingle found in the cardboard box. They need to be names that you think a cat located at the North Pole would have. Do you think you can help?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dolce's Story Chair - Jingles and the Furry Helpers (pt 4)

Jingles and the Furry Helpers
Part 4: One Last Gift

Jingles and Santa made their yearly trip around the world. Now that Jingles was no longer hanging out the back of the sleigh or trying to time his jumps through Santa’s fireplace portals, the trip went quicker for both Jingles and Santa. It went so well that Santa let Jingles have several extra minutes with his brother and sister at one house and his mother at another.

“I am so proud of you, Jingles” Amaretti purred as she and Jingles rubbed cheeks.
“I miss you so much.” Jingles purred as he flopped over to let his mother groom and lick his forehead.
“You are far more than any of us could ever hope to be.” Amaretti said. “You bring joy to everyone you touch.”
“There is something else…”Jingles tried to explain to his Mom about the scroll.
“Of course there will be pain and sorrow along with the joy.” Amaretti purred knowingly. “You may be my son, but you now understand how I feel. I bring you, My joy, into the world, knowing that there is pain and sorrow waiting out there for you.”
“Santa says that it becomes easier to bear.” Jingles replied.
“Depends.” Amaretti replied. “I never found it easier. But then I never knew what became of any of my kittens. I know some found their way to the Bridge far too soon. But other than the word you bring of Ruffles and Monkey, I do not know what happen to any of my other offspring.”
“I can find out…” Jingles offered to help.
“No, Jingles.” Amaretti gave Jingles a firm but loving headbutt. “My children have been set upon their Path,just as you have found your own miraculously chosen task. Live your life, Jingles. Live it with every essence of your being. That is how you honor me and the rest of your family.”
“I will.”Jingles bowed his head.
“Jingles.” Amaretti said proudly. “I am so proud of what you have become. I mourned for my little lost kitten, but I see that he has returned as a big brave cat.”
“Thank you, Mom.” Jingle said as a tears pooled in his eyes.
“Jingles. There is one more thing.”Amaretti added as she placed her paw on Jingles’ paw. “I do not want you to mourn when and if you see my name on your scroll. I can sense that you will outlive all of us. You must find the strength to go on and remember that we are always with you.”
“I am always here Jingles.’ Amaretti placed her paw on Jingles chest, next to his heart.”Never forget that.”
Suddenly the magic that surrounded him and Santa revealed a terrible secret to Jingles. In his heart, he knew that this was the last time he was going to ever see his mother again. He did not need the scroll to tell him that.
“I love you, Mom.” Jingles said softly.
“I love you, Jingles.” Amaretti replied with a gentle head rub. “Now go and fulfill your destiny. “
Jingles moved slowly to Santa’s portal through the fireplace. He took one last look at his mother as she sat next to the silent and quiet Christmas Tree. He nodded once to Amaretti and then he disappeared through the portal with Santa.

As they cruised far above North America. Santa looked down at his newest helper. Jingles was no longer prowling back and forth on the seat of the sleigh in anticipation of their next stop.
“Jingles.” Santa asked. “Are you okay?’
“Yes, Santa.” Jingles replied. “My mother just gave me the best gift ever.”
“And what was that?” Santa asked.
“Her love, Santa.” Jingles said sadly.” Her love.”

The sleigh was making a high gee turn above a large city. The sleigh was finally empty and Santa and Jingles sat exhausted on the padded red seats. The reindeer sensed that their yearly mission was over and they began their high speed parabolic flight path back to the North pole.

Jingles felt a stone growing in his stomach. It screamed that he had forgotten something back on Earth. He looked into his bag. There was nothing there, so he had not missed delivering one of his gifts. The pain grew and grew within his tiny body.
“Santa!” Jingles cried out. “There is something wrong. We have missed someone! But there is nothing in my toysack.”
“Jingles.” Santa cried out as he quickly checked his toy bag. “Mine is empty as well. Are you sure.?”
“Santa.” Jingles cried out in pain. “It hurts!”
“Dancer! Dasher!” Santa called out, “Emergency decent! Follow Jingles’ beacon!”
Santa’s sled dropped from the sky as Santa gave control of the sled to Jingles. Whatever was causing his pain guided the sleigh to it’s final position. It crashed through a heavy cloud covering and raced along a strong storm front. The temperature in the sleigh dropped several degrees as ice and frost formed on the sleigh’s runners and hand rails. The reindeer began to strain as the extra earthly weight became too much for them to bear.
“Land” Jingles stated, his voice strained with pain.”We must land now.”
“To the roof, To the Peak.” Santa cried out as he snapped the reins.”Dasher and Dancer, Now must we seek!”
The two lead reindeer snapped the sleigh in a rapid descent. From Jingles’ cry, they now had their landing vector. The sleigh plummeted rapidly. Soon an industrial building came into view and the reindeer aimed the sleigh not to land on the roof as is their custom, but on the snow covered street. Normally Santa forbade any street level landing as it would give evidence to anyone who might believe without faith. The sleigh skidded to a stop in front of a plain brick-faced building. Santa could tell that their arrival was not to deliver any presents for their was no signature of a fireplace or of a Christmas Tree to be seen. He looked over the fa├žade of the building and saw the unlit letters: “Edmonton Humane Society”. He looked down at Jingles.
“We are here for you, Jingles.” Santa said. “Shall we see what awaits for us?”
“I don’t know.” Jingles was nervous. “Now that we are here, the pain has lessened, but I think there is something here for both of us.”
“Standfast.” Santa called to the reindeer pawing anxiously at the snow. “We will be here but a moment.”
“This way, Santa.” Jingles took off across the thick covering of snow.
Santa followed quickly after Jingles. He had not seen this happen in all in his centuries as Santa.

Jingles lead Santa through the thick blanket of snow. He avoided the obvious front door of the building and ran straight to hidden alcove of the building. Jingles meowed angrily and growled as he ran. Santa followed quickly behind.

There, in the protective leeward side of a weathered brick wall , sat a cardboard box that was quickly being buried by drifting snow. Jingles raced up to the box and began pawing and scratching at the sides. From within the box, a small plaintive cry leaked out.
“Santa!” Jingles cried out.”This is why we are here. You have to help me!”
“Jingles!” Santa replied as he picked up the cardboard box and headed back to the sleigh. “I have it, we must get back to the sleigh.”
Jingles fell in behind Santa and used his foot falls to move through the thick snow.

To be continued...

A vivid dream

In the comments of our last post, Grr, Midnight and Cocoa made a very special request. It was not special in what it asked but in the way it asked it.

During the Christmas Holiday, I was working and at the same time trying to progress the story of one of my favorite characters, Jingles. One night I had a dream. Now I am a believer in what some people call Vivid Dreaming. A dream so real and true that you feel you have lived it. I have experienced this several times. Some have been terrible, some have broken my heart.I have always woken to realize that it is up to me to either realize the dream I experienced or to do whatever I could to change the outcome.

I have been married for thirteen wonderful years, so yes, I can change the outcome of one of my vivid dreams.

I had another one during my Christmas holiday that I do not not want to see realized. I dreamt that I came across a book about "Jingles, The Christmas Cat". I saw the details on Amazon and I could see the cover as plain as day. It broke my heart to see something that I thought I had created claimed by someone else.

That was the dream. The reality was that I knew that I wanted to do something more with the stories I told on Dolce's Story Chair. Please dear readers, I want you to understand; I will finish the current story. But it will be longer than any other story for my dream showed me that maybe it has a life beyond these simple electronic pages.