Category Archives: The Kids Photos

I have to kill him

Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects.  The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.
— Elie Wiesel

A close-up of Kazon, one of my cats, as he looks up at me (2008_12_27_003706)

I wondered when it would come to this.  I didn’t think it would be him.  And even as the mist of denial thinned, eventually cleared, I told myself to hold on, to wait, to “give it time” in that usual male way: ignore something and it might clear up.  That’s why we don’t rush to the doctor even when we’ve lost a limb and are gushing blood.  It might clear up on its own.  Just wait a little bit.  That’s why we don’t ask for directions.  We say we know the way even when we secretly know that we don’t and that we hope we’ll stumble, blind luck in hand, upon the right path.  Just wait.  Give it time and I’ll find the road.  Or so I generalize.  Not all men are like that, you know, and not that those who are realize how stultifying it is, but as they say, if the stereotype fits…

It began with the slightest loss of weight.  Not much, perhaps only a pound, give or take, yet I notice these things.  It immediately connected with something else I’d noticed: a growing self-imposed isolation.  This, too, came with its sidekick: a burgeoning lethargy.  Amazing what we notice but set aside when we don’t want to face the facts.  Or when we’re tucking tidbits away in the file of What Must Be Faced until the folder holds enough contents to warrant action.

When Henry began suffering from acute renal failure, his weight sloughing off quickly, his personality vanishing beneath the constant hiding from the world, Derek asked me if I had noticed, if I realized what his condition was and where it was going.  Of course I had, I told him, and I had.  Only I had also secretly hoped—not prayed as I’m not a religious man, but as near to that as I could come—really, really hoped that it was temporary.  Yet the downfall accelerated and I could see what was coming.  I knew what I had to do.  Yet Henry’s life of twenty-one-plus-change years had been rich and full and rare, and certainly longer than anyone had expected, though Mom and I had imagined it all that time.  He’ll outlive all of us.  That was our mantra when it came to Henry, and he sure as heck gave it his best shot.

In the same light, and certainly with the same symptoms that vociferously yelled “acute renal failure” at me with every breath, Kazon began his headlong plunge only a few weeks ago.  Again, it started with a bit of weight loss, not much, but noticeable to me, the man who knows their every mood, their every idiosyncrasy, their every vocalization.  Me, who knows when something is amiss almost as quickly as the cat knows.  Yes, I saw it coming then and felt betrayed.  Henry was one thing.  More than two decades he had, and he lived them, absolutely and unabashedly lived them for all he was worth.  But Kazon?  He’ll be thirteen in September this year.  Too young.  Too soon.

Nevertheless, and without doubt the first sign of knowing—truly knowing that you have to let go, I denied it, pushed it away, told myself it was the onset of summer, though no such summer before had resulted in these changes.  But even in my momentary denial, I knew.  I knew.  For as I said, I’ve been down this road before.  The signs are familiar.  I can read them before they’re visible around the next bend.  I know this road, and I hate this road.

It can be said that I will feel the impending gloom and loss just as weighty with any of The Kids when their time finally comes.  Such a statement would strike me as obvious, as if one had said summer is hot, or playing in the rain is worth catching cold, or you either prefer jelly or jam once you stop to notice the difference.  Obvious.  Truisms all.  Some of life’s little axioms.  And equally true though it might be that the emotional impact of seeing one of The Kids stepping through their final days would hit me hard, would steal from me something that could never be regained, each is a different loss, hence Kazon brings to bear its own singular lassitude of heart and mind, its own lachrymose goal that is both unavoidable and dismaying.

Doctors tell only what is already known.  Acute.  Not responsive.  Not long.  And though I am thankful for the inherent finality that says no more suffering, I am left with the pugilistic instinct to avoid what comes next, to deny it, as though denying such a thing can be done, can be successful, can result in anything more than unnecessary suffering.  Which I can’t allow.

As I sat thinking in that way I did so long ago when I set my mind to the task of ending Henry’s life, I sat today quarreling with the aspects of me who each had an opinion about when, how, what comes first, and so on.  Surprisingly, the voice that won out was the logical one, the one who stopped us at the words “put to sleep” and said with the steely voice of logic, “You mean ‘kill.'”  My breath caught in my chest, held still by a weight I could not bear.  My eyes darted to and fro in a vain effort to avoid the mirror of my mind.  He was right, I knew, in that cold, calculating, unfeeling way he was known for.  But that was the logical part of me, the one who could cut through the crap and see right to the point, apolitical, stoic, unmoving and unflinching.  He was right.

What tattered and threadbare blankets we throw over that word—kill—all to make ourselves feel better for what we’re about to do.  Translucent, they are, none of them of sufficient substance to hide the crimson writ beneath their thin veils.  The word remains, the result the same, and only our vulpine ability to deceive ourselves makes it seem otherwise.

We butcher a cow or a pig on the farm, and saying ‘butcher’ helps us put the act in context, the context of putting food on the table, of providing sustenance so that life can go on even while it’s ending.  For that’s the essence of life, isn’t it?  Something has to die in order for something else to live?

We say “put to death” when capital punishment is carried out.  We feel the offense warrants death, but we don’t want to admit we’re killing someone, and we know it sends the wrong signal when we tell our kids that killing is wrong whilst all the while we do it in the dank and dark recesses of our prisons.  But since they deserve it, their crime being so terrible and all, we say “put to death” so we can avoid the paradox: If killing is wrong, and if revenge killing is even worse…

We charge someone with manslaughter when they cause the death of someone else in a way that doesn’t quite warrant the murder moniker.  This lessens the blow to the jury, lets them ponder the situation with a softer edge than would otherwise be possible, and we throw the full weight of the law behind the new name for killing so it takes on an air of officialism, of rightness.

We “pull the plug” when we remove a loved one from artificial life support and allow them to die naturally.  Perhaps their living will stated this clearly, perhaps their spouse or responsible party said this is what they wanted, that they never wanted to be a living vegetable.  No matter the reason, we know the end result but can’t tell ourselves that we are killing somebody, so we quietly pull the plug and weep alligator tears to wash away our guilt.

We “put down” or “put to sleep” an ailing animal when we know the future holds only suffering, only prolonged death stretched like bubblegum from Death’s naked teeth.  They were a good horse, a faithful companion of a dog, the most loving cat, a bird so affectionate you wouldn’t believe…  In our feeling turmoil, the idea of killing them offends us so deeply that we can’t fathom giving time to the thought, so we put them down or put them to sleep instead.

And here is where Logical Me chimed in originally.  The emotional me, the caring me, held Kazon in my lap where he has spent so much of these past almost-thirteen years, and I spoke through my own tears the words “put to sleep” only to be corrected in my mind: “You mean ‘kill.'”  And after brief anger passed, I realized that was precisely what I meant: I have to kill him.

There are things I want to say about Kazon before the tide of this terror abates, before it washes back out into the ocean of existence and waits for the next pull, the next ending, the next killing.  There are stories I want to tell, photos I want to share.  I hope you’ll indulge me in this.  Or at least ignore me as I get through it as best I can.

I’ve never liked killing.  I especially never liked killing a loved one.  But I like the alternatives even less.  Perhaps what follows is catharsis of some kind, an attempt to reach that ludicrous and never-gained state of closure, something only doors and eyelids and windows really ever achieve.  Or maybe it’s my way of coping with loss, the coming loss, then the loss behind me on the trail, the scar of which only time can smooth down to just a trace of its once crimson self.

Change only happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go.

To whom it may concern

Mom recently said to me that she knows something’s wrong if I’m not writing.  How telling.  True, sure, but nonetheless insightful for its simple clarity.

Fox squirrel (a.k.a. eastern fox squirrel, stump-eared squirrel, raccoon squirrel or monkey-faced squirrel; Sciurus niger) resting atop a fence (2009_06_06_022664)

So yesterday, when my eighth blogging anniversary came and went, I sat on the fence regarding how much I felt like posting about it.  Then the day slipped by, a wisp of smoke grasped and lost in the same moment.  Which didn’t bother me.

Abstract photo of the keyboard of my laptop (190_9006_ab)

Because for months now my keyboard has looked less like a communication device and more like an impassable desert.  I felt daunted as I sat in front of it, unable to resurrect even the most fleeting word combinations from the dark and barren landscape at my fingertips.

Heavy morning dew on a blade of grass (20080824_11348_ab)

Substantial thoughts and ideas, let alone the ability to make them manifest, quickly vanished in the light of day, nothing but morning dew of the mind.

The sun setting behind thickening clouds (20081011_13814_ab)

Yet in the sunset of these ruminations dawned a jarring realization.  Though the past year has held its share of challenges, some of which I must carry with me beyond this eighth anniversary, part of my worsening blog malaise stemmed from a disturbing truth I have to face: in the past year, I broke my cardinal rule by allowing someone to influence—Nay, not just influence, but rather to control what I blogged, even if indirectly.

Why didn’t I post anything about The Kids last year?  Why did my writing degrade into nothing short of mundane documentary, a blow-by-blow, dry, uninspiring mess?  Even though the past several months and their inimical ways share part of the blame, here at the beginning of my ninth year at the keyboard, why has blogging become so intimidating, so resented?  It all boils down to a boy and how I let him indirectly manage my personal journal.

That idea made me angry.  And since anger is more useful than despair, it spurred me forward, urged me back to my roots, forced me to decide resolutely that, like I said five years ago to another friend for the very same reasons, this is my blog, my journal, my home on the web.  If you don’t like it, just go away.

While I still have trials to win and obstacles to overcome, that hangup seems to have stuck in my craw for far too long.  It feels good to finally cough it up.

And to show my resolve in this matter, here’s a picture of the Shadow, al-Zill.

A close-up of al-Zill, one of my cats, as he looks out the window (20080613_06470)

He’s watching things blow away on the winds of change.

— — — — — — — — — —


  1. Fox squirrel (a.k.a. eastern fox squirrel, stump-eared squirrel, raccoon squirrel or monkey-faced squirrel; Sciurus niger)
  2. My laptop’s keyboard
  3. Heavy morning dew on a blade of dallisgrass (a.k.a. water grass or Dallas grass; Paspalum dilatatum)
  4. An autumn sunset at the family farm deep within the Piney Woods of East Texas
  5. al-Zill, or sometimes “the Shadow” and “Little Terrorist”

Shooting the messenger

I have spent the last week hunting down illegal uses of my images and filing DMCA claims as appropriate.  In just seven days I filed more than 250 such copyright violation claims.  And I had barely scratched the surface of the thousands of entries I pulled from my server logs.  I grew more frustrated as I went along.

People had them on their blogs, on their MySpace and Facebook profiles, in forums, and even on fake search engines that provided code that could be used to embed the images on other pages.  In the first 100 entries I looked through, I even came across someone hosting a variety of my images on his site whilst claiming they were his work.  In all these cases, they were linking directly to my server and thus using the bandwidth and hosting space I pay for each month.

I threw up my hands in defeat.  There was no way to catch up with, let alone get ahead of, this wholesale theft of my property.

But then it occurred to me: I’m smarter than that!  We’re talking about technology here, right?  And if there’s one thing I know, it’s technology.

Hence, as of today I’ve written and implemented a new image hosting program for my site.  This new program kills all existing hotlinks to my images except those I’ve explicitly approved.  I’m still working on that list, yet I can say this with absolute certainty: it is and will continue to be a short list.

This new system allows me to randomly change the image host and associated links en masse without harming any of the approved uses no matter where they are on the internet.

So starting now all existing links are dead unless I’ve discovered and approved them.  That includes search engines, some fellow bloggers, feed readers, and those very few forums where I myself have posted my images.  Otherwise, all direct links and hotlinks to my images are now broken.  This enforces my copyright and use rights even for those who feel everything on the internet is public domain (speaking to you and your ilk, Judith Griggs!).

Since I can’t be certain I haven’t killed a few small and hard to find feed readers, I’ve included an image in this post.  Here it is:

That’s Loki in case you were wondering.  I’ve always loved that photo.  Anyway…

If you can’t see the picture, comment on this post or send me an e-mail and let me know so I can follow up with you to identify and authorize your reader.  Also, if you’ve embedded one of my images somewhere and it no longer works, you’re free to contact me about it (Ted, Amber, TGIQ and a few others: I already addressed your uses, so you should be OK.).  Assuming I think your use is legal, I’ll fix it, but otherwise you’re SOL.

Moving forward, all image URLs will change on a regular basis, perhaps even as frequently as every week.  This will not impact authorized users since it takes me less than ten seconds to force an update to all authorized links across the internet.  Otherwise, it’s for my peace of mind knowing that anyone who slips by will get caught in short order.

How does this impact you?  Not at all if you follow my rules when it comes to using my images.  But if you embed an image in a page somewhere or directly link to an image—and that includes in an e-mail message, and you do so without my express consent, you’re out of luck because it ain’t gonna work.  If you want to link to an image, you must link to the post that the image appears in; this requires no approval from me.  If you want to embed an image in a page somewhere, you must get approval first and you must provide me information on where the image will be used so I can authorize that site.

I used a rather blunt instrument for this, which happens to be the best security method in all cases: deny all and allow few.  That means all sites are denied before a few sites are allowed.  Thus I will watch all failure messages from this point forward in order to (hopefully) catch anything I missed.  And you’re welcome to let me know if I missed something should you catch it before I do.

In the final analysis, know this: From now on, my images show up only where I say they can show up, so no more hotlinking in forums or in e-mails or in Facebook profiles or on blogs.  You can find them in search engines and you can find them here; aside from that, though, your options are now quite limited.

Oh, it should be abundantly clear I’m livid about this.  I’ve never been one to pay attention to stats.  I don’t track visitors, I don’t watch how people get here, and I don’t pay attention to traffic.  Imagine, then, how utterly shocked I was to find an amount of abuse orders of magnitude beyond anything I’d ever imagined.  I’m no professional photographer, but these images are my work, my time, my effort.  They are also legally protected.  Is it too much to ask that they only be used in ways I approve and that I be credited for them when they are used elsewhere?  No, I didn’t think so.

(Obviously I can’t stop someone from downloading an image, uploading it elsewhere and using it from there.  But at least in those cases I’m not paying for the storage and bandwidth used by thieves.)

A look back at 2009

While I’m loath to follow the herd in most cases, like many I find the beginning of a new year to be opportunity both to look ahead and to look back.  But I do not look backward to understand the me of the present.  On the contrary, I don’t consider myself defined by what has come before.  Post hoc, ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”) happens to be one of my pet peeves, a bit of flawed logic that many use to excuse bad behavior in the present by identifying something in the past that must be to blame.  No, I am who I am because that’s who I am, not because of my past, and it’s up to me to change anything I don’t like rather than blaming some conveniently unchangeable event in history.

Very much against the grain of most people who look back to understand why they are who they are, I look back only to see where I’ve been, what has transpired, what things I might like to change and what things I might like to repeat.  And it is in this spirit that I find I’m of the mind to look back at blogging in 2009 for a bit of photographic and compositional navel-gazing.

As I recently mentioned to Ted in the comments on his blog, I am my own worst critic, something that hits me hardest when it comes to my writing and my photography.  But 2009 was a year of growth for me.  I won’t claim I’m even half as good as many of the writers and photographers out there, but I did improve—and I improved enough to capture at least a few respectable images and to write at least a few respectable pieces.

Narrowing down twelve months to a sampling of what I think are the top pictures and top writs of the preceding year seemed daunting.  I take a lot of pictures, after all, and no one will ever accuse me of not communicating with enough words.  Do I go with what I think are the best, what garnered the most positive feedback, what demonstrated the most growth, what tallied the most views, what brought out the most character in my subject, or what fit any of a million other possible criteria?  Ultimately, I decided the best were those that stand out to me for whatever reason (and each entry below catches my attention for a different reason).

So without further ado, here’s a look back at 2009 as seen through my lens and words offered here on my blog.

My favorite photographs:


American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) from On wings: One of the first images of 2009 and one of the first captured with my new dSLR.  Not one of my best images, no, but it was a major advancement for me and a major step forward with my ability to use a camera.


Texas ocelot (Leopardus pardalis albescens) from You might never see it again: This photo could have been better had there been a clear view, had I used a better lens, had I gotten out of the car…  I can think of a million reasons that would make it technically better, but I can think of no reason why it’s not perfect the way it is.  Read the post and you’ll understand why getting lost can be the greatest gift you ever give yourself, a doorway to finding something rare and endangered and magical, and why in my mind the image stands as one of the finest wildlife encounters I’ve ever had.


Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) demonstrating the broken-wing display from Protecting treasure at a distance: I spent part of my summer monitoring and protecting their nest which they built in the middle of a heavily used and often mowed portion of White Rock Lake Park.  They taught me a lot in that time, and they tolerated me more than I expected.  (You can see their story in the link above as well as Protecting treasure up close and The treasure, plus a close-up of one of the parents in put on your faces – killdeer.)


A male eastern cicada-killer wasp (Sphecius speciosus) from put on your faces – cicada-killer wasp: Several large colonies of these insects can be found within walking distance of my home, the largest of which actually surrounds my home on all sides.  In a good summer, the air is filled with many dozens of these giant wasps.  They are my favorite insect in all the world.  (The above image was taken during this photo session.)


A feeding white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) from A ‘Dear Mom’ letter: A different species of sphinx moth has vexed my mother for some time at the family farm in East Texas: they never visit her when there’s enough light or enough time to get photographs.  When I stumbled upon this one in dim morning light, I knew I had to capture a few shots for Mom (even knowing her species was different, I thought she’d appreciate seeing one).  A female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) flew in to protect her dining table and chased the moth away.  It was amazing to see how similar in size they are, not to mention how they both feed on nectar using the same hovering technique (hence these moths are often colloquially called “hummingbird moths”).


A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) grabbing a meal in Gone fishin’: These birds are year-round residents here at White Rock Lake (along with several other heron and egret species), so seeing them requires little effort and can be done every day throughout the year.  Watching this one hunt was a joy because both it and a great egret (Ardea alba) came right into the bay while I was sitting on the shore.


One of the three juvenile Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) from Hawk triplets: Their parents have lived here at least as long as I have.  Being able to spend the summer watching and getting to know these three young raptors was an unequaled treat.  (You can read their story in the above link as well as Keeping my eyes on the triplets and Who remains?.)


A giant robber fly (Promachus hinei) from put on your faces – giant robber fly: These large predators stalk the area around my patio each summer and early autumn.  They will chase anything, from birds to other insects to planes flying overhead.  What they catch is a different story—obviously—but they fascinate me with their daring, their strength, their prowess and their ability to capture and kill things much larger than themselves.


A male American kestrel (Falco sparverius) from put on your faces – american kestrel: One of the best unplanned wildlife photos I’ve ever taken.  On a very cloudy day, I sat at the edge of a meadow watching him hunt the prairie grasses.  I never realized a small field mouse was scampering through the dense flora quite near where I sat, but suddenly this falcon dropped out of the sky and landed a few steps away.  I let the shutter fly but only came away with this one good image.  It was like a studio shot with light breaking through the clouds in front of me and a bit of sun peeking through the clouds behind me.


A young green anole (Anolis carolinensis) from Anole art: No larger than my pinkie and lost in a jungle of brush, this lizard sat patiently soaking up sun while I grabbed a few pictures.  This species is ubiquitous here—a colony even lives on my patio—so they’re easy to find and photograph, but something about this tiny life in this photo with the colors the way they are…  Well, it enchants me.


A female common green darner (a.k.a. green darner or dragon fly; Anax junius) from put on your faces – common green darner: I do not as yet own a macro lens.  Therefore, I have to make do with technique rather than equipment.  In this case, that worked well—using a 400mm telephoto lens!  No flash was involved (since I hate using flash).


A male wood duck (Aix sponsa) from Some flew this path before: No doubt the most beautiful duck species on the planet.  Wood ducks are small in size and small in voice, but they make up in personality and plumage what they lack in vocals and mass.  It takes time to get close, to get them into the open, but patience and persistence can pay big rewards with these unequaled beauties.


A Virginia opossum (a.k.a. possum; Didelphis virginiana) from put on your faces – virginia opossum: Most would never think of opossums as cute or endearing.  I’m not most people.  I adore these creatures.  Finding and following this one on a rainy evening gave me an opportunity to grab this very adorable image as it climbed a tree before looking down at its admirer (though I bet it thought of me as a stalker rather than an admirer).


Brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) from put on your faces – brown thrasher: One of several year-round mimic species in Dallas, the brown thrasher can be loud or quiet, deceptive or declarative, hidden or in the open.  When this one flitted to the top of a bramble near where I stood, the trees behind it and the bit of open sky created a perfect natural frame.  I took several dozen photos from different angles as the bird watched me.


A very foggy Dagger Point view from Scenes from Aransas: I admit the environmental conditions weren’t ideal for photography, but something about this image feels haunting, whether it’s the heron lurking at the far left or the way the world vanished not too distant from where I stood or the felled trees drawn with shadows or…  Well, there’s just something about this photo that keeps me coming back.


A female Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) from put on your faces – cooper’s hawk: You may call her Baket.  She’s mother to the hawk triplets mentioned earlier, she’s at least ten years old, she’s raised a brood of offspring every year in the last decade, she lives and hunts only a few steps from my front door, she lets me share her world, and she is my medicine animal, my spirit guide, my life’s totem.  There will be others when she gives up this life, but they will always be hawk.

My favorite words:

Walking out the door: when the search through the photo albums of memory dredges up more than the image we are searching for
a song of adolescent ivory: when thinking of flowers and love and loss, I channel my inner e.e. cummings
That which is to come: a celebration of the spring to come
It’s that time of year: bad photos coupled with a steamy, entertaining look at spring—as defined by mating red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus)
A million fluttering wings: a celebration of butterflies
Remembering my own humanity: though compiled from writings I did in 2007, this event always helps me to know my own heart
Listen with me: what it feels like inside my head when I observe nature
Morning: nature’s daily change of shift in words
Counting the stars: how looking at the night sky made me ponder life out there and worry for the loss of life here on our own planet
And I watch: watching two hawks as they kettle
The journal is the thing: why I blog

The Kids:

And to finish off this review of 2009, I want to include The Kids.  This year’s feline focus is dedicated to Larenti who died on March 27, 2009.


Lion’s lament: discovering habits can be like a blade against flesh after the loss of a loved one, even if that loved one was a cat
Living in the past: sitting on the couch reading turns into a travel through time
Larenti from the unseen: some old photos of him from my defunct photoblog
Pains of life revisited: after his death, something I wrote for someone else in 2005 suddenly became written for me
Remembering that which is lost: a synaptic weeping in quick memories
the ghost of you whispers: for and of Larenti

A sense of community

The spirit of every naturalist harbors a common interest in the world not made by man, the world built by nature upon the foundation of the cosmos.  Just as every atom and every molecule sees within itself the building blocks of the universe, and just as every living thing on this planet sees within itself traces of a single common ancestor from which we evolved, so too does every naturalist have within them a singular awe of nature’s abilities, a shared sense of passion for what nature provides, an inherent drive to discover and appreciate the handiwork of Earth, and an unfaltering will to protect what little of nature is left so future generations face something more than a lifeless, barren landscape.

For bloggers, this naturalist ribbon links one to the other and gives rise to community.  Part of that community lives in blog carnivals, regular celebrations of nature in its many forms.  Over the next several months I will host several of these carnivals, and I am working with Amber of Birder’s Lounge to launch a new blog carnival in an area of nature that we think deserves more attention.

Many moons ago I posted regular carnival roundups that linked to all the recent celebrations of nature.  I even participated in more than a few of them.  Then life fell on me, other obligations took center stage, and I stopped following them, let alone linking to them.  My growing desire to share nature with others has reversed that trend.

So beginning now I will return to my habit of posting a weekly summary of the blog carnivals I feel are worthy of mention.  Should there be none for a particular week, well, it seems obvious there will be no such post.  And to kick things off, here are the recent carnivals of interest:

More than worth your time, whether you’re only interested in eye candy or science or art or discovery or simply getting out of the house virtually by visiting places near and far and seeing through the eyes of others, these nature parties circle the globe and cover the world in ways you can scarcely imagine.

— — — — — — — — — —

I will be hosting I and the Bird on December 17.  (If you know why that date is important to me, please don’t say so publicly lest you spoil the theme of the carnival.)  Following that, I will host Festival of the Trees on January 1, 2010, The Moth and Me on March 15, 2010, and Circus of the Spineless on April 1, 2010.  Should our plans work the way we hope they do, Amber and I will conspire to launch a new blog carnival in January, after which I will host that one as well (perhaps in February or March), though the first edition will be a joint venture hosted at the carnival’s home site.

When I told The Kids we would host I and the Bird in a few weeks, I suddenly found myself surrounded by a common visage.


Though that shows only Vazra, that same look of intent interest is duplicated on five other feline faces, each of whom wants to welcome the incoming birds with open claws jaws paws.  But since they’re inside cats, they’ll have to be satisfied with looking at the pictures instead.