He's a Guinea Pig, and his name is Chumley.

Panda and Cindy were peering under the stove this morning. If you have cats then you know what that means, when they suddenly sit very still and stare under the [fill in the blank: stove, couch, closed door, dry sink, etc.]

It means that they’ve cornered something (alive) that you don’t want to know about.

After I got the heebie jeebies I thought: Hey. It’s January. It’s the wrong season for thousand-legged hors d’ouvres to be running around, tempting the cats…

So I got a yardstick and I poked under the stove and this is what I got:

I’ve been wondering what they do with all those toys I keep buying them.

In other kitty news: Penelope, our newest addition (I found her on the woodpile in the backyard last May), who used to live on our kitchen counter (due to the fact that our two black cats, Thing One and Thing Two, have dedicated their lives to making her life miserable) has been living on top of the cable box in our den for the past three or four months.

Q: What’s the difference between Penelope and Veal?

A: Not much, really.

Last year our band of backyard cats found a weak spot in our perimeter defenses (they found a teeny hole in the back wall that was justbig enough to squeeze through) so they spent a cozy Winter coming and going into our basement.

But this year, Top Cat decided that he wasn’t going to live like that again, with 12 cats in the house and the basement door that also leads to our kitchen pantry that always has to be kept shut (to prevent the indoor and the outdoor cat tribes from declaring war on each other) and with two extra cat litter boxes in the mud room just off the kitchen (P.U.). So in the Summer he fixed up the old cedar shakes all along the back wall and he closed up the rabbit cat hole and he painted the house a Normandy Butter shade of yellow.

Then it became Winter again. And it got cold. Real cold. And it snowed.

And Top Cat went out and ripped off the new cedar shakes from the back wall and he knocked out a new access door into the basement and now we have the backyard cats curled up again on their quilts and cushions and cubbies in our Home Sweet Home.

That’s why I nominate Top Cat to be the first inductee to my Cat Lady Hall of Fame.

And lastly, I have to tell you about the weird weather we had today. But why tell you when I can show you?

It started to snow at 7:30 this morning. This is what the backyard looked like at 8:30 AM:

And this is what it looked like at 10:30 AM:

And this is what it looked like at 2:30 in the afternoon:

There goes my Snow Day, my day for guilt-free lazing around the house drinking tea and reading old diaries. I might even have taken a bubble bath in the middle of the afternoon…

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments about us getting together for an on-line art journal course. I remember the words of an old college professor I once knew, who was  telling me about his long academic career. He said to me, “There’s only one thing you can’t teach a person,” he said: “and that’s how to take a hint.”

So I guess art journaling can be taught. And damn it, I might just be the gal to teach it.

Of course, I’ll need volunteers to be, well…

P.S. (Added four hours after I published this post): To all those indignant art journal teachers who are sending me nasty emails about how self-centered I am, and how success has gone to my head, and how DARE I shit on them after all they’ve done for me….

That above statement is a JOKE.  Remember jokes? That we laugh at when we don’t take ourselves so seriously? And I am sorry for forgetting that art journaling is already owned by people far nicer, more talented, and far far more spiritual than I. I hang my head in shame.

11 comments to He's a Guinea Pig, and his name is Chumley.

  • I’m in, but I refuse to go under stoves.

  • admin

    “So I guess art journaling can be taught. And damn it, I might just be the gal to teach it.”


    Yes, Vivian, Art Journaling CAN be taught – as proven by my 20+ sold-out art journaling workshops over the past 3 years. The first art journal workshop to be ever be taught online, in fact.

    In fact, again, I remember being the first person to call your book an “art journal” in my rave review on Amazon (still the top featured review). You were calling it a memoir as I recall.

    Your approach may add some good stuff to the teaching of art journaling, and we welcome you to the party, but please give at least a passing nod to the pioneers in this field. You will *not* be pioneering!

  • Sandy in Guilford CT

    On line art journal class – Where do I sign up!!!! – what fun that would be with YOU – I will bring my own cat toys to sketch ;-)
    And I second Top Cat’s induction – gotta love a man like that.
    AND p.p. – as I am across the sound from you – it was a wild and wooly winter day yesterday – complete with bright blue skies, then howling gale force winds , frozen wet roads – but Hey this IS New England.

  • So where do we sign up for the art journal class?

  • I love Top Cat. Where do you find men like that?

  • Deborah

    I second Barbara’s opinion: Top Cat da man! Clone him forthwith and you can make millions.

    But, online journaling class?! I was so confused. I thought it was to be an on-sight class, like a week long workshop, where we’d all go to thrift stores and have tea in between the journaling sessions. I mean, what could an online class teach us that you’re not already teaching us here? Duh?

  • Jackie

    Today’s posts and photos arrived in bits and pieces… approx with breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are now all here. I thought Penelope was THE administration….or at least assistant. Your assistant. Without a picture of Chumley, I had no idea what a gerbil…um, guinea pig? was doing here today besides eating lucky charms. Back in my farmhouse days, one of our cats did eat our little furry Gonzo. I don’t know, are we having a full moon or what?

  • Nancy

    Shame the self-proclaimed “art journal pioneer” didn’t have the guts to sign her name and had to hide under the nom de guerre of “admin”…
    I like your style of art journaling much better than much of what I see out there. I’d sign up for an on-line class from you any day.

  • Jan

    I’ve seen that same “stare” from Barney, one of my mini Dachshunds, when he finds something neat. If i drop something and can’t find it..I just have to say the word (get down on the floor) and good ole Barney will come running..and always find what I couldn’t. I have to say, he’s be so jealous of your “find” under the stove! ha! What a haul! Thank God for men like Top Cat. I live with one myself and think the world could use more of those big old hearts!
    As for your art (not used loosely) I love it and would be more than thrilled to learn anything I can from you!

  • “admin” drips of jealousy. She probably got 12 people to sign up.

    Where do I sign up for YOUR class? I don’t care if you’re a Pioneer or not. I’ve seen your work AND THE BOOK.. That’s all I need.

  • Cheryl, Your cat is beautiful.

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