COVID Through the Eyes of A Cat

I wonder if my cats think that I’ve lost my wits (and writing the following blog only cements that idea).

Over the weekend, we visited with the in-laws and my step-father in-law mentioned that our cats didn’t like him. I replied, they slept with you while you napped in the chair! He shook this statement off, so I ended it with “Well, they like us!”

Overall, though, both Westley and Inigo are very friendly cats. Now over ten years old, they are the type who will initially hide when guests come over but shortly thereafter are in the middle of the room demanding some level of attention from the trespassers.

When it comes to my wife and me, it goes to another level. Most nights when I sit at the computer I am offered company by one of them. Sometimes they tag team, allowing a brief respite from entertaining the big guy for a little while. My wife has worked from home for over two years now, so I think they’ve gotten used to her being here. Typically they hang out upstairs (where her desk sits) trying to find a sunbeam in one of the bedrooms.

During this pandemic, I’m now home pretty much all the time. And on top of this fact, I don’t bore very easily. My problem has always been that there is never enough time to do everything I’d like to do. I want to write and read and play games and watch movies and tv and have time with the wife and… so being at home isn’t the prison sentence more extroverted people are dealing with.

Funny Cat Work From Home Office Meme

But the cats clearly don’t know what to do because I’m here all the time. I’ve been working from home for two months now, and the pair of them have adapted to my being home treating it as a now foregone conclusion that I am always home with them. The old world is shattered and this new one is all there is/was/ever will be. If I leave to go outside for a walk I am scolded by Westley upon my return. A series of meows which signify “How dare you leave this house!?! I did not give you permission for such things!” Days meld together so that every day must be the weekend in their eyes.

I can only imagine that they think I am just changing the time from when I normally sit at the desk from night-time to literally all day. I wonder if they wonder whether I still have a day job. Will there still be food in their bowl in the morning? Is he ever going to get up and give me more treats? Can’t he see I’ve been good all day? Heck, he’s been here all day!

Yet, even after spending all that time during the day, I’m sitting here typing up this blog, and Westley is resting on the desk beside me. Inigo visited me a little while ago before going into the bedroom with my wife and curling up on the bed.

Now I can only imagine what they’ll think when it is time for me to go back into the office on a regular basis.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Cats in the Studio – Revisited

Life is never boring with cats in the studio…

Drusilla is a very paws on cat in the studio. She likes to be involved in my creative process every step of the way.

It’s not all mischief and mayhem though, there’s plenty of quiet moments too. This may look like adoration, but she could easily be taking a moment to ponder her next move.

Adoration or Plotting?

What should I do next?

Hunter is more reserved, a silent stalker type. Thus, there’s less photographic evidence… But he’s here. Watching. Waiting. Always.

Take a look at the first installment of Cats in the Studio.

10 Things – Cats in the Studio

I’ve lived with a cat in my art studio since 2006 when Shadow was still shy of a year old and we lived near the Dorset coast in England. Initially, I tried to keep her out of the studio, but her cries were relentless. Over the years I’ve come to learn some valuable lessons and hard truths.

1. Cats love to be involved in the creative process.

Hunter inspected my Prismacolor Pencils

Yessss, these are the colors.

2. If you can’t find that certain pad of paper chances are, they are sitting on it.

I haven't seen your watercolor paper.

I haven’t seen your watercolor paper.

3. Never leave works in progress unattended. Remember, they like to be involved.

It needs my special touch.

It needs my special touch.

4. Learn to incorporate cat hair into your paintings. Chances are there are more than a few strands of fur in this painting. It is what it is.

Sticking with the theme...

Sticking with the theme…

5. Cats will attempt to sway your creative decisions.

Drusilla

Are you sure you want to draw that?

6. Everything is for climbing. Everything.

Mom, look what I can do!

Mom, look what I can do!

7. A warm lap must be made available at all times, no matter what you’re doing.

Oh, you're painting?

Oh, you’re painting?

8. They are never too young to begin disrupting learning what you do.

I want to try!

I want to try!

9. You may feel like working through lunch, but they won’t. Ever.

Drusilla trying to get my Attention

Are you done working yet?

10. All of the above rules apply both inside and outside the studio.

I'm going to sit on your art till you pay attention to me.

I’m going to sit on your art till you pay attention to me.

It’s the Little Things

Hunter and DrusillaLife in the Makepeace clan is better than where it was a month ago, but not where I’d like it yet. This means I’m still following Hunter to the litter box room, just not quite as often, to ensure things are going smoothly (<- worse pun ever). It also means life is slowly returning to normal. Hunter has begun playing with Drusilla. He hasn’t felt like playing for over a month. Our frisky, lovable boy is making a comeback.

This is when reality taps me on the shoulder. It’s November. Two months have passed since Dragon Con. On the outside, I’m pushing forward, getting things done. On the inside, I’m slightly panicked and a little weary. What have been doing all this time besides caring for Hunter?

  • Working on a big commission (it’s in the final stages)
  • I put together a GoFundMe campaign to help with Hunter’s Vet bills.
  • I’ve been sketching pets as part of the GoFundMe campaign.
  • Helped my daughter put together a portfolio and helped her prepare for an interview for the Governor’s Honors Program.
  • I helped reseed our backyard and then managed the daily watering of baby grass.
  • I blogged for Tessera weekly.
  • I blogged twice weekly here.
  • I tried to blog weekly here.
  • I blogged monthly here.
  • Posting daily here.
  • I create the exhibit banners each month here.
  • Shipping orders from my Etsy shop.
  • Photographing my framed originals from Dragon Con.
  • Planning next year’s conventions. I’m going to be the Jordan Con Art Show!
  • Planning my next painting projects.
  • Revamping my website because it wouldn’t behave.
  • Catching up on every episode of One Fantastic Week.
  • I escaped from a room with a zombie. Seriously.

Should I go on? I could probably add more to this list… You get the idea. Some of these things are stress relievers and others are a bit draining. One turned out to be just what I needed. My creative friend Jane Gould was one of the generous contributors to my GoFundMe Campaign. Jane doesn’t have a pet, so she let me have free reign. However, she did plant a seed–dragon eye.

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Thanks for lifting my spirits, Jane! The little things are often the best remedy.

Whatnot and more Whatnot

The last week and a half has been exhausting. I feel like I’ve traveled through the Hell Mouth and back. After four days of trying to avoid a serious situation, things were pushed to the brink. I rushed my cat Hunter to the Vet at 11 p.m last Thursday night. I have the best Vet in world, one of those exceptionally caring individuals. He gave me is cell phone number and said call at any hour. When I called he was in bed, but got up, dressed and met us at his practice. Hunter came home on Monday night and he’s doing better, not 100% but getting there. I’m nowhere near 100% but I keep pushing ahead nonetheless, except when it came to this blog post. I had planned to put together a post on books with monsters, something fun for October, but I just stared at the screen. Not this week. Maybe next week, or the week after, but I can’t do it now. Instead, you get this random post about whatnot.

whatnot

used to not give the names of everything
Put your pot, the corpse and whatnot in the back of the car.
by eugenie March 01, 2004

*******

The example! I won’t be sharing anything about corpses in my whatnot post. The best I can do is share this photo I took of the cemetery in my front yard. 😀

My Halloween Cemetery

What else? I’m reading a digital ARC of a new (new to the US) book by Sergei Lukyanenko (author of the Night Watch series), originally titled Геном. His characters are always wonderfully complicated on the outside, but down-to-earth on the inside. I’m over 50% of the way through the book but I’ve been too tired to read the last two nights. 🙁

The Genome by Sergei Lukyanenko

Cats make superb pirates. All Hunter needs is a pirate hat and a hook.

Hunter the Pirate

I have two Etsy coupon codes running till November 1st. Trick or Treat, you choose.

Trick or Treat

Oh, and I did this… You can too. Just click on the link in the lower right of the image.

http://amandamakepeace.com

http://makepeacestudios.etsy.com

New Studio Assistant

 

These week I hired a new studio assistant. She knows nothing about brushes, paints or Photoshop but I’m sure she’ll be a quick study. Drusilla is eager and full of creative drive. I met her at the dog groomers over the weekend and I knew then she’d make a perfect edition to the creative family. She’s already begun learning about colored pencils and of course, brushes. I’m going to have to watch her with those–she keeps trying to munch on them.

Drusilla MakepeaceDid I fool you?! Probably not. If you follow me on the web anywhere I’ve been posting photos of this little angel almost non-stop. She’s just too precious!

And, she looks just like Shadow. It was a little surreal when I walked into the dog groomers Saturday morning and saw her sitting near the door. My heart clenched and I tried not to look at her. It must have been fate. She’d been found inside a car engine and she has the scars on her nose to prove it. The small, very friendly kitten, was also severely underweight. I brought her home and within days she was gaining weight and running around the studio.

Up until yesterday, we were not positive on whether she was actually a she and that was partly due to her weight and overall scruffiness. The Veterinarian confirmed yesterday we indeed have a little girl and except for some tummy bugs, she was in good health.

I can’t take credit for the name, but I also didn’t need any convincing. Drusilla was my mother’s suggestions. And yes, she is named after that Drusilla. 😀

Drusilla is already taking after Shadow. She likes to sleep right up near my face and she lunged and hissed at the dog yesterday. She’s a fighter and a survivor, but also incredibly loving. I still miss Shadow terribly but this little look-a-like warms my heart. Before long she’ll be sitting in my lap, snoozing as I paint.

Drusilla

For fellow Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fans, you may be interested in my videos from Dragon*Con 2012. I have two videos from a panel with actors Juliet Landau (Drusilla) and Spike (James Marsters). Here’s Part 1, check my profile for Part 2.