Alligator Fears

Long time readers will know that I have a fear of bears. This has been previously documented on this blog. But you may not realize I also have a fear of alligators. And most other things that can kill me. I like to think of this as a healthy fear.
This is how I react to bears. Even when they are behind a fence in the zoo.
This is how I react to alligators at my elbow. Not in a zoo, but a nature preserve. There are no fences.
I have no pictures of me encountering these sorts of animals in everyday life. Most of the vicious creatures I encounter regularly are kindof like this cat below. Her name is Margaret Thatcher, Maggie for short. She can only kill birds and small rodents.

Sometimes I am blown away by the awesomeness of pictures of me pretending to be scared. If you know of a modeling career in this (e.g. victim in some horrible animal-related accident where the photoshoot requires fear and no contact with the animal) please let me know.

Crazy Pets

Maggie in the windowsill

My parents, for years, had two pets, a dog and a cat. For our first six year in Kentucky, Traveler (our collie) was a single child. He mourned the loss of our cat deeply. He moped around and every Himalayan cat he saw, he thought would want to play with him, cause it must be Rumbler. (We had left her in Alaska because we’d been long term petsitting, we’d never “owned” her.”) Then in 2004, dad’s co-worker decided that my parents needed a cat and Maggie (Margaret Thatcher) came into their lives. Traveler loved Maggie and it was common to see Maggie sleeping on top of Traveler or Traveler helping Maggie groom the hair on the top of her head.
So, perhaps it wasn’t surprising when Maggie took Traveler’s death incredibly hard. She knew it was coming (as we all did). He stayed outside for the 48 hours before he died and she apparently refused to leave his side, even for food and water. When I say he stayed outside, that was primarily because he couldn’t walk up stairs or control bodily functions, and by that point he wasn’t eating. It wasn’t very cold and they’d made the shed up for him. But Maggie stayed with him. Mom brought him inside (carrying him) before she took him to the vet, and I don’t know if Maggie came in too, but when mom came home from the vet, Travy wasn’t there, and my parents say that Maggie hasn’t been the same since. She’s been much more needy and has craved attention.
Ben is not a cat person. I think of him as a dog person, but neither of us has pets at the moment. So I didn’t know what his reaction to spending a week with a cat would be. Maggie has latched onto him though. Dad thinks it’s because he’s the calmest presence in the room, but if Ben is seated, Maggie will find lap space and sit there for as long as possible. It doesn’t matter if he’s reading, doing sudoku, or on a laptop, she will be there. I, naturally, have been teasing him about this and he now claims that we can’t get a cat because the cat would like him better and then I would feel neglected and would get another cat, leading to a vicious cycle. For now though, I’ll just enjoy having a cat wandering around and I’ll enjoy the notion that maybe, one time, the cat will pick me…

State Fair: Animals and Pictures of Food

How can you not love the State Fair? In Alaska, the State Fair always meant giant cabbages and rides and winning blue ribbons. In Minnesota, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the State Fair means Deep-Fried-Things (preferably On-A-Stick).


Tricia is demonstrating the proper excitement to show about “Cheese on a Stick.” And who can ignore the draw of “Fresh Fried Fruit On A Stick”?


But the mandatory pictures of every single thing we ate were not on my camera, so I cannot share that with you today.
The Star Tribune gave out Bacon Balm Mmmm tasty!


Sadly this was instead of the map of the fair on a stick with the best food (and newest food-on-a-stick) identified. The lack of such a map made food finding much more difficult than prior years. But the bacon chapstick eased the pain.

I’ve been to the MN State Fair three times before, but I’ve never really looked at the animals before. This time I was looking through the eyes of Simon. Alpacas!


Sheep are stupid! They eat their cages.


The lamb lead, it turns out, is a lamb showing competition crossed with a fashion show. The lamb in the foreground is wearing several necklaces. The girl made her own wool dress. She’s 13.


This is some breed of chicken called a silkie. I found online where the breed is described as “An oddity of oddities of the poultry and pet world.”


And this breed of chicken looks like a teenager who’s refusing to cut his hair.


This rabbit looks like my old Himalayan cat.


Join us next time for art and butter at the Fair! Or food. Which ever comes first.

Edit: I’m trying out new blogging software, so for the moment, you can’t click on the photos and see larger versions. They can be found in this picasa album. I’m still not sure what I think of the software. I’m looking for a better WYSIWYG editor than blogger provides. Ideas? Anyone?