one day when i had nothing better to do i decided to create bags that were fun to use - the kind of bag i would use at my local Vons instead of using plastic or paper. i just painted straight on blank canvas bags i bought at JOAnns.
the big white cat was created after a cat we used to have named "bemstein". the scottish terrier i made because my daughter's high school's mascot is a scottie dog. i created the small flowery ones for my young stylish daughter, (said high schooler) Rosie, in case she needed to tote some french bread around with her as she walked the streets of Paris on our vacation there.
and the squirrel one i created because squirrels are funny. don't you think so? even the word squirrel is a weird one. look at those letters together. its got a lot of letters from the far end of the alphabet; q, r(s), esses (ok, only one s) and a u. that is too back-of-the-alphabet heavy. the word should be better rounded with letters, mixed up front and back, like, maybe, squabbel or aquaccel or squaccab........i don't know.
so about our cat "bemstein".
bemstein was a big, fat white male cat. he lived both indoors and out. he was a mean sucker. almost as mean as he was fat. he hated our doberman, dempsey. just because he was a dog. prejudice cat.
when we brought dempsey home as a 6 week old pup, (so cute) (dempsey, not the cat) -ok the cat was NOT cute - he was handsome, maybe - but never cute.
anyway. when we brought dempsey home - the cat learned to love to claw at dempsey; ambush and surprise attack him. bemstein would lay on a dining room chair where dempsey had to pass him to get his food dish. bemstein stuck out his claws like a cartoon character would spring open a jack-knife. his claws would stick into dempsey face and they two would stay like that frozen for 1/2 hour. we would have to literally unhook bemstein's claws so that everyone could get on with their day. dempsey never minded it though. he would do it again. number 1: sniff the cat (how could he have forgotten already what the cat smelled like?) number two: get stuck with claws in snout. damn dog.
bemstein had a huge gut. he was funny to watch walk on the fence. his belly would sway over one side of the fence then the other as he walked. i wish i had filmed him, especially from the back. if i had, i would have made a background song with a beat like this: boom -ditty-boom-ditty, there goes the fat kitty. he always maintained his balance - somehow - and he still could spring up on birds. he had a very healthy self image. i tried to learn that from him.
one night i was painting by the slider that leads to our swimming pool. the screen was open because it was a very hot. around 10 p.m. i heard a strange noise - i listened harder - it sounded like a rapid scrapping. i was wondering what our neighbors were doing at that hour - probably some handyman scrapping or sanding the tiles off his roof - damn suburbs.
it kept up...finally after i asked the family if they heard it too and we had a big discussion as to whether i was hearing things or not, then i went out to investigate. the pool light was on and there in the deep end was that fat cat trying to claw his way out of the pool. it wasn't working, but i will say this - a big fat dollop of a cat like that, can really float. he could have just floated on his back and he would have been fine.
anyway, i felt awful. i immediately rescued him and wrapped him in a towel. i was horrified. how did that happen? after i dried him off and took him indoors he wriggled free and then paraded around like nothing had happened. he was completely composed, unfettered of worry, not the least bit embarrassed or ruffled. i tried to learn that from him too. he was looking for the dog so that he could play "pin my nails on the dog's face".
thinking it over, i did remember hearing a loud splash - but i thought the neighborhood kids had thrown another rock in our pool. although it did sound more like they threw in a watermelon.
when i went outside, at first this is what i saw in the pool light: a tiny, tiny pin-sized wet cat head (the size of a wet mouse head), then a massive white bellowing out, magnified by water, floaty fur and the pool light, overgrown blown out pufffish. completely disproportionate and down right comical.
and no wonder he couldn't get out. he would have needed swartzenhager-like arms for that.
a few days later, my husband and i were sitting out by the pool talking as my husband smoked a huge stoggy (cough, choke,wheeze), when the cat walked by, i guess he got too close to the edge (the cat, not my husband) and kerplunk, he was swimming again. we couldn't believe. never had any animal of ours fallen into the pool before - ever. i think it was the weight of the belly. he must have swung it over the edge and couldn't get the momentum back. i fished him out again. he was not the least upset. he was one cool, pool, fool cat.
don't worry, he died an old man - had nothing to do with swimming but a bit to do with a coyote. Oh, bemstein - God keep you well.
and oh, why the name "bemstein"? well, my husband in those days was in charge of naming the pets. he always loved vintage boxing. There was a trainer for Jack Dempsey (our dog's name - see what's happening?) whose name was Whitey Bemstein. He actually looked like our cat too. white cat = whitey bemstein.
nowadays our daughter names the animals - that's why our cat is named Miss Dior.
i guess if i were in charge they would have famous artists names like Declaws (degas), Pi-cat-so or meowy monet; or names of colors like vermillion or cadmium or alizarin.
hummm, i like "alizarin" because the letters in that name are from a good balance of both ends of the alphabet.