Stanley is a little sleepy but we wanted to send you wishes for a nice Independence Day, even if you’re not American! We hope everyone manages to get through the official and unofficial fireworks displays, keeps out of grills and doesn’t eat too much of anything they aren’t supposed to.
I am thankful to the people who risked their lives and fought the Revolution and on this day declared our independence from the influences of Great Britain and Europe declaring that in this new land we would do things a little differently, and that about 100 years ago my grandparents, all four of them, found a way to get to this country and make new and better lives for themselves so that on a quiet morning in July 2006 I could sit on the deck of my house and take photos of my cat in peace and freedom.
You’ve seen photos similar to this one, and indeed I took a number of photos of Stanley that morning intending to do something with them some day. I took this one intentionally so the flag would be part of the photo but Stanley wasn’t sitting any taller than this no matter how I tried to cajole him to pose sitting up with the flag behind him—he was about 24 years old. I also used a distance shot from this on Memorial Day, below, where you can read a little more about that photo.
And you may have also seen the sketch, “Stanley With Geraniums”, which was one of the pieces of artwork I’d planned on creating from the photos I’d taken that day. This was the featured artwork and desktop calendar for July 2013.
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And a few years later, 2009 to be exact, I had a different table on that corner of the deck, and Cookie was supervising me.
Above is how I typically spend my Independence Day—not that I don’t enjoy picnics and fireworks and all the usual celebratory things, but it’s all about independence, right? So I and my cats do as we please, and for me that usually entails working on a creative project (even if it’s technically work), listening to music or a recorded story or something engrossing on the radio, and spending time with my cats, who also enjoy as much independence as they want every day of the year.
I am “technically” working today as well, on a number of creative projects, but today I am inside and Mimi is watching over me.
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And of course the holiday wouldn’t be complete without an address from the cross-border lovers…
Bonne Fêtes Nationales, 2013
What a difference a year makes. Last year for the fête nationale of both countries Mlle. Daisy Emerald and her mama had just moved to the historic city of Kingston, in Ontario, but just last month moved to a sweet little country hamlet with cottages and a lake—and most of all, no road construction. In fact, the roads are so quiet and safe that bunnies hop down the middle, unopposed.
And we have a new kitty in the mix, Theophile, another house panther who is making fast friends with Mr. Sunshine as the two chat about managing their households and being natural born engineers with a love of tools.
But Mlle.’s mama and I still envision the feline lovers as hero and heroine in any number of historic or operatic scenarios, and with both national celebrations so close together the two become stand-ins for historic characters.
Giuseppe & Mr. Sunshine,
Mlle and Theophile have asked me to send this message to Mlle’s Giuseppe and Theophile’s new pal Mr. Sunshine…. Happy 4th of July to you both and to your Mama Mimi, your brother Jelly Bean and sister Mewsette. And special wishes to your lovely Mama Bernadette and the Seniors, Lakota and JoJo.
Mlle and Theophile would have sent messages in their own words but they have found the excitement of hearing about the Water Street Bunnies exhausting and have fallen asleep on the sofa after a fine summer chicken dinner.
Their Mama is waiting for Papa to finish preparing salads and bowls of berries for the old folks’ evening meal.
In slumber, love from Mlle Daisy Emerald & Theophile. purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr xo.
Mlle. Daisy’s mama and I imagine them as two lovers living far apart, divided by a country’s border, a revolution, and the fact that neither of them has a passport.
She also tells us Mlle. looks much like Mewsette, so Mewsette was a stand-in model for my digital illustration of the two of them, above, in period clothing, the bonneted, beautiful and brave Mlle. and the dashing, daring Giuseppe in a beret with white plume (though I dare say Mlle. would be the braver in battle, since G. disappears when a loud vehicle goes down the street). I pulled the fireworks from my photos of our local events, and the chapeaux from my photos of various reenactors, and layered and blended and applied a painterly and a canvas texture filter in Photoshop.
Read about Mlle. Daisy Emerald and the long-distance affaire between the mature French-Canadian feline lady and the young American opera star.
They so enjoy writing florid Victorian-style letters to each other, sometimes the poets, sometimes the artists, sometimes the bonneted Mlle. Daisy Emerald and the beplumed Giuseppe Verdi in their Revolutionary roles.
Happy Independence Day to all our American cats, and have a nice day to everyone else!
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!