Pushkin’s Obscure Language

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, tamed squirrel, wild rabbit, my little half-feral cat. I call you little one, baby, honey, words I save only for you. I bristle at the thought of someone comparing me to an infant or small child and loathe call any human by the same name, but you’re so much like a helpless infant that they slip out, even when I intend to call you by your proper name, the one we chose because your elegant tuxedo markings seemed to fit with your namesake, the great Russian poet.

You’re bigger than you act, a full-grown male, lean and strong, instead of the typical indoor cat padding of fat, but you hide around the house as if perpetually scared of attack, a timid kitten in a house full of dogs. We’re gentle and kind and have been for years, but you still shy away. I hold out my unconditional love on a silver platter and yet you approach it with fear. In a few months, you’ll be five, and you still only accept me with the most tentative expressions of trust.

I’m often reminded of a quote by the real Pushkin,

“I want to understand you, I study your obscure language.”

And I do. I try to make myself as vulnerable as you think I’m scary. I lie back on my bed, perfectly still, arms thrown above my head, wrists crossed, hands limp, neck tilted at an angle so that you will see that I am willing to let you rip out my jugular, and I wait. I wait for you to stop mewing in the hall and come into the room. I let you leap up on the bed without turning to track you with my eyes. And then you stumble around on the duvet, strangely keening as though you are are singing a mourner’s lament. I wait for the moment when you determine that I am harmless enough and start to sniff at my cheek, your cold, wet nose sometimes brushing against my skin.

And then you do what I’ve been waiting for. You put your two front paws on my thigh and then begin to inch forward, until you are finally sitting on my stomach, regally upright like an Egyptian cat statue, bobbing on the waves of my breaths.

I open my eyes and say, “Hi, little guy,” and slowly raise my hand to do what you love best. I trace my thumb along the edge of your mouth and scratch the side of your face until you decide that the affection is too much and leap away, off to examine the world underneath the china cabinet or dining room sideboard.

I’ll learn to speak your crying language one day, and we’ll come to the understanding that I mean no harm. You’ve mellowed with age, and maybe your courage will continue to increase, until you curl close to me at night like Zelda Fitzgerald or remain constantly at my side like Maxwell Perkins. I don’t ask you to put aside all of your insecurities for me or to believe that I am wholly without threat, but I hope that you will accept fragments of my love and let me in just a tiny, minuscule bit. I am not as scary as I appear. Really. I promise.

In Which Ella Wants to Kill a Groundhog and Has an Infant for a Cat

I was woken up in my least favorite way at four a.m. by screaming. It was not the most pleasant way to start the day.

Max, our self-appointed alpha cat, does this thing where he transforms from a very cuddly sweet kitty to a puffed-up, screaming fur ball of teeth and claws whenever he sees something that looks vaguely alive on the back deck. And I am nearly always the person sent in to diffuse the situation. My arms bear witness to Max’s momentary lapses in sanity.

But because it was four a.m. and I was feeling rather foggy, I put a sweatshirt (which ended up being backwards because I hadn’t bothered to turn on the light), stumbled down the stairs, wrapped Max in a towel, and started pacing around the hall, begging him to calm down so that I could go back to sleep. He ended up falling asleep on my stomach after around twenty minutes, and I dozed off shortly after, only to wake up two more times to repeat the whole cycle. It was like I have an infant for a cat.

This afternoon, I seriously debated buying a gun and shooting the groundhog that’s taken up residence in our backyard and has been the instigator for all of Max’s screaming fits. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal to shoot animals in your backyard, and I don’t know the first thing about firing guns. Instead, I made my dad promise to take me to a shooting range so that I could learn and found a website that sells humane traps for large vermin. Groundhog, your days are numbered, my friend.

Eleanor the Laundry Fairy

Eleanor the Laundry Fairy is currently hiding under fresh sheets and trying not to drift off while she hastily types out this post. Earlier, Eleanor observed that sock matching is like playing a much more disorganized version of children’s flip-cards memory game. Sock Extravaganza 2012 was a success, leaving the household down to only five singleton socks. Pushkin has offered to claim them as his own and make a nest with them under the ottoman. In other news, falling down the stairs while carrying a laundry basket is just as exciting and painful as it sounds.

In Which Ella and Eliza Hang Out With Kittens

Tomorrow I post a ridiculously long piece that I’m nearly done editing, but for tonight, enjoy some pictures from my afternoon with Eliza.

There were adorable rescues at the pet store so we just had to play with the cats for close to an hour. There was a calico kitten that let me hold her like a baby and a black and white kitten that licked my cheek and climbed onto my shoulders and perched there. It was wonderful and I want to take them all home with me.



My bangs are doing something wonky and my expression is a little off, but look at that adorable kitten licking my cheek!


Ella’s Calling

This how I spent my evening. It was incredibly nice. If anyone knows of the profession where I can read and write all day and hang out with animals and children, please let me know. I think I’ve found my calling.


In other news, I’ll get back on top of the blog tomorrow. There had been a charming cyber-bulling incident that threw me for a loop for over a week, but I’ve some good ideas for some longer posts for the rest of the week that will get published over the next few days.

As for the cyber-bullying, I quite frankly pity that girl. She sounds miserable. Still, cruelty is cruelty, and her behavior is inexcusable, no matter what her emotional state was at the time. Malice is never appropriate.

In Which Ella Trains Maxwell

Tonight, while I got ready for bed, Maxwell waited in the hall for me before lying down in bed.

It appears like my training of the lad is going very well.

In other news, I made and cleaned up three separate baking projects today, which I think is some sort of record. Amusingly (and also sadly), I have not and will not be tasting any of them.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Once Upon a Time, A Russian Poet Was an Adorable Kitten

Guess who is sick.

This girl.

In other news, when you’re sick you sometimes find yourself staring at your cats destroy your carefully folded laundry while you curl up in a chair and hack up a lung. It all of a sudden occurred to me that Pushkin has really grown up. He turned four only a few months ago, but this very muscular and adult-sized cat is so different from the malnourished, three-month-old feral kitten we rescued.

I found some baby pictures for you to enjoy because I find that cute animals makes congestion a little easier to handle.

This first one is right after his mother (a feral cat) got run over and a few weeks before we coaxed him into the cat carrier to be taken to the vet.

This next one is from the day he got home from the vet. He was around three months old and very underweight. I had just turned fourteen at the time.

Pippa playing with Pushkin.

Pushkin at six months old. Max, the cat behind him, is about two-years-old at the time. Max was born in a boat and rescued, along with his five siblings, at five-weeks by my cousin and her husband during a hail storm. His mother was also feral.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.


Two Pictures for Thursday

Picture Number One:

Maxwell and Zelda were sitting like this when I walked into the sunroom this morning, so I naturally had to make a scrammbling dash up the stairs to find a camera to document it. I think that the cuteness is definietly worth the bruise I now have on my shin.

Picture Number Two:

I was walking down to the basement, when I glanced over at a spot on the wall that had some water damage, and I noticed something very strange. I’m hardly sure if this is intentional–there are a few other spots circled in blue–but the marks seem to indicate something rather, um, unseemly. Judge for yourself.