Introduction

Camping with family at Silver Falls State Park  Clarence James Browning

My mom originally started a blog for her photography business, as advised by many of her peers.  The problem was that she couldn’t think of too much to write about that had not already been written about, on the subject of photography.  So she assigned me the title, ‘Assistant’ as I often assisted her in her digital darkroom, and filled in with my stories.

Since then I have become a story-teller, and mom has decided to create my very own blog, sharing my adventures and good life.  She removed all my post from her photography blog and placed them here.  Those that were previously published will state such.  As long as my health continues to afford me the privileges of adventures I will continue to write about both present and past ones here.  Here’s to many future blogs

Respectfully, Sir Clarence James

Visit photographer, Dee Browning’s blog

http://deddlebugs.wordpress.com/

or her website where you will find her work displayed both in photography and paintings

  http://dee-browning.artistwebsites.com/

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RIP Sir Clarence James

 

 
Sir Clarence JamesSir Clarence James passed away today.  Till the very end a really special creature who brought joy to our lives for nearly 20 years.  Those who knew him can attest to the fact that he was an unusual feline.  He loved to fetch in his younger years, riding in a car, going camping and till today, daily walks.Awe The Life

 

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A constant companion in my digital darkroom, he scrutinized my work and reminded me of break times.3675DKB02252012

 

A laid back sort of guy, he enjoyed freedom in a secured backyard and leashed trained for his second favorite pastime of taking walks.Sir Clarence JamesI will miss you Sir Clarence James.  You and those other furry family members who passed before you will forever be in my heart.  Say hello to JP Morgan, Sam, Clarence and Ellie, your canine and feline, brothers and sisters.  Enjoy once again their company.

 

R.I.P Sir Clarence James November 1994 - March 1914

R.I.P
Sir Clarence James
November 1994 – March 1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chronicles of Sir Clarence James “Winter Doldrums”



Sir Clarence James

Yes it has been a while since my last blog as winter doldrums have settled in leaving me for loss of words, except my complaints of boredom frequently directed at mom.   I rely on her to make my days interesting when weather the is not suitable for me out on the veranda.  At my age I cannot tolerate it being too hot nor too cold, and this winter has been more often than not quite cold and foggy, reaching beyond fur and penetrating old bones.

Six a.m., each morning, you will find me in the kitchen waiting for mom to give me my morning medicines which she mixes in tuna water.  I regard this as a treat of sorts which I am always eager to receive.  We then retreat to the living room sofa where I receive a much appreciated brushing while catching up on the morning news.   All groomed for the day, I retreat to one of my heated and padded beds for a nap while mom reads the morning paper and drinks her coffee.

Morning chores done and exercises completed, mom will head into her office/studio where I join her for some lap time, while she catches up on correspondence and marketing.  As this takes in some time, I usually have her, at some point, put me in my office chair padded with a think fleece blanket.  I like it here for I can perform my assistant duties in comfort.   My chair, being on rollers, comes in handy for when mom is painting, she just rolls me to a spot next to her easel so that I can receive my allotted petting.  Sometimes this results in my coat getting a little paint placed on it, but no worries as mom quickly cleans it off.

Whatever we are doing in the office/studio, I soon tire of it and insist we take a walk even though she informs me that it is really cold.  This is something I like to decide for myself.   I voice my impatience at the front door while mom dons her boots, coat, hat and gloves.    As the door opens I hesitate bracing myself for the onslaught of icy air.  Mom, standing behind me urges me to make up my mind, “In or out old man!”.  If there is bright sunlight I quickly head for it hoping the sun’s rays will add some warmth to frigid air.   More times than not, the sun’s winter rays lack the strength and after an all too brief walk, I retrace my steps back to the warmth of the indoors.  On those days of fog, which have been many, I never get past the threshold before retreating back indoors as that stuff wastes no time in penetrating my old bones!

Having had too many of these cold days I find myself frustrated and bored and in constant need of mom’s attention.  Since I am nearly blind, she has been inventive and patient in the types of games we play together.  I like it when she takes foil, attached to a string, and swishes it around in front of me, the sound of the foil directs my line of attack.  I tire easily though and retire again to my heated bed for another of my many cat naps required in a day, and mom goes back to work.

Weekends when the fog is dense and sometimes freezing, I hang with dad while mom heads out to capture images in the miserable weather, which she finds invigorating!  Brrrrr!  I get chills just thinking about it.  She leaves after giving me my morning medicine and usually does not return till near dark, leaving me with dad who is not as well-trained to my needs as mom, but with my guidance he gets the job done.   Left to our own devices, we guys like to lounge in the recliner and watch football and old movies.   After an occasional snack or a midday meal we drift off and blissfully snooze away.

Not much else gets accomplished on these days which is fine with us guys.  Mom on the other hand loves to hike and capture images no matter the weather.

Life is not too bad!

Respectfully Submitted, Sir Clarence James, Assistant to photographer, Dee Browning

Chronicals Of Sir Clarence James “Fall Routine”

Sir Clarence James

Sir Clarence James

Routines, some do not like them, others, such as myself, benefit greatly from them.  I have seasonal routines only because the seasons require adjustments due to weather, length of day, and critter activity.  At my advanced age, I rely on my parents to partake and adjust to my routine to accommodate my age related needs. Since our downsizing move, things have fallen into a nice fall routine.  Autumn leaves have continually littered our veranda floor as any slight breeze detaches them from the limbs of the nearby acorn and maple trees   Drifting down they gently twill and sway, waltzing to a silent tune, the sun’s rays shine through their dried shapes brightening their warm fall colors.  OK… that last sentence was not me narrating, mom whom I rely on to write my posts, gets a bit more creative with words than I do.  Anyway, when those morning sun’s rays warm my outdoor cushion I go out and bask, a daily vigil since the visit from Mr. Squirrel in my earlier blog title “Another Intruder”.  While I bask an occasional leaf will drift down, as mom so described, and though nearly blind I have my other senses that aid me in a lazy pastime of swatting at them.  My hunter instincts kick in when Mr. Squirrel shows up, the main reason I am out on the veranda, and taunts me through the lattice barrier.  I don’t mind as I have learned over the years that this form of taunting eventually can, and usually will prove a fatal those annoying critters.  Patience is rewarding as long as I can keep mom out of the equation.  She has spoiled many of my hunts in the past.  Can’t stand to see anything killed even though I am quick about it.  My older brother Frederick Ulysses,  may he rest in peace, used to play with them and when they quit moving would walk away leaving a mess for mom to clean up.    Sorry, I regress, back to my story.  As an old man, I enjoy this peaceful morning time on the veranda while mom works out on her elliptical, followed by bending and stretching her body in yoga poses, and before the grounds keepers turn on their noisy leaf blowers. Mom is such a creäture of habit, thanks to my diligent training, that I know when our meditating time is about to begin and I return indoors.  I love meditating with her and she with me.  I climb into her lap, my body facing out draped over her crossed legs, while she takes her thumbs and pointer fingers, and gently massages my ears.  This totally relaxes us as we listen to music, our eyes closed, our minds only reflecting on her gentle repetitive touch on my soft ears.  Bliss!

Rain, wind, or cold weather, does not stop me from taking my walks.  After our meditation I wait patiently by the front door while mom dresses for the weather outside.  Our walks are shorter for sure this time of year, but still perk me up as I go, nose to nose, with Max, the golden retriever, if he is out, and allow some petting from occasional neighbors such as those with little babies in strollers out for fresh air.  My uniqueness still an attraction.  Squirrels race about gathering acorns, while Blue Jays and crows bury theirs in the bark mulch and leaf filled gutters.  This all seems redundant, what the birds do, as beady eyes of fellow crows and Blue Jays watch and wait, only to swoop in and steal the freshly buried stash.    It seems a vicious cycle  but a great source of entertainment.

Our morning walk completed we begin our work.  I jump to my office chair, padded with a thick fleece blanket, while mom sits on hers in front of her monitors.  Most mornings mom works on processing images,  the room lit with only a small desk light, darkening drapes drawn shut, the only other illuminations in her digital darkroom are the two, color calibrated, monitors that display her tools and images that she has captured with her camera.  I supervise for a time, sometimes requesting a closer look by being lifted to her lap, till I get sleepy, the darkened room proving a great nap atmosphere.

When my morning nap time is over it is time to let me out on the veranda to check on Mr. Squirrel while mom fixes our lunch.  After our mid-day meal, it is time for another walk,  which is usually free of interruptions. After our walk it is back to work in the office.  If mom has started a painting and doesn’t have any images from shoots that are time sensitive to process, she will work on the painting.  I am ready for another nap, but ask that my office chair be put close to where she is painting.  At this stage of my life, I find comfort in being close to mom, her presence as soothing as the music she likes to listen to while she works.  Mom tells dad that I snore and blow air while I sleep.  I think not!

My afternoon nap fulfilled, I become a pest again as I insist she takes me for another walk before it is too dark.  She is not very receptive to this demand as it interrupts her time painting.  She has to clean-up brushes and seal the wet paint so it doesn’t dry out, but I do persist, and she does comply for I usually do my number two’s outdoors if taken out in time.  I am a private sort when it comes to my potty duties and it never fails, at least once a day, anyone walking ‘rover’ when I am discreetly indisposed behind a bush, will invariably, oblivious of my need of privacy, allow rover to come and sniff at me.  Voicing my displeasure gets rover yanked back to the sidewalk followed by an apology when mom explains my unusual crankiness.  Some learn from the experience others….     With my duties done, I never cover-up, mom disposes of the results grateful that it was outside.  This too has become a source of conversation with neighbors.  What people will small talk about amazes me!

I spend most of my weekends hanging with dad if he and mom are not out doing something together.  We lounge in the recliner, eating and watching football, or I just sleep in his lap while he works on his laptop updating his work related information.  If mom is out shooting pictures or in the middle of painting, he will take me for my walks.   I am so blessed to have trainable parents who meet my every need.  Life is good!

Respectfully Submitted,

Sir Clarence James, Assistant to Photographer/Artist, Dee Browning

“Another Intruder” Chronicles of Sir Clarence James

Since our move, I continue to take my daily walks around the premises and greeting all my new buddies.   Max the Golden Retriever, is my favorite as he is always in a great mood, and socially acceptable.  No bum sniffing!  His parents both work for Intel so during the day while they work ,he goes to doggy day-care, just across the road.  They are usually bringing him home when I am out for my walk.  Everything is so close and convenient here in Tanasbourne, between Hillsboro and Beaverton, Oregon.  It is well planned community, catering to the corporations in the area and their employees needs, including those furry family members.   Mom likes this for it saves her time when she needs to shop and take care of business, giving her more time to devote to me, her photography, and art.

At my age, I am happy to have downsized in regards to our living arrangement.  Most of my day I spend lounging on my cushion out on the veranda.   I am constantly entertained by the variety of birds and gray squirrels, who share the same real-estate, as they scamper and flit about the grounds, shrubbery and trees, on the other side of our veranda.

Taken with mom's cell

Taken with mom’s cell

Just the other day I became more alert as I lounged when a squirrel ventured up to the lattice.  This lattice mom and dad put up to prevent me from leaving the veranda and provides privacy.  I watched the squirrels’ movements through the slits of my eyes as I remained perfectly still on my cushion.   It took it’s time inspecting the lattice till it found a slight opening.  I fought the urge to chatter at it as I watched the cautious critter assess his options.  My old heart nearly skipped a beat when it poked its head through the gap!  My body tensed and I feaedr he would notice, but he only paused a moment before pushing his shoulders through entering into my space. Unable to control my natural instincts, I sprang to my feet startling the intruder, who froze in fright for only a second before taking flight, and the chase was on!

My actions so startled the critter, it forgot to turn around and exit the way it came in.  Instead it started running around within the confined space of the verand, a with me hot on it’s tail, literally.  We made such a racket that mom, who was painting in another room, came running out with paint brush and palette in her hands just as the intruder and I entered the apartment through the open slider.

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed as the squirrel ran past her,circling the dining room, “Clarence  James!  No!”  Being so into the chase, I ignored her.

The intrude,r upon seeing mom made an about-face and did a face-plant into the glass slider.  I shocked mom as I did a mid-air twist in pursuit, she didn’t know I could still do that, and I too face-planted the slider.  This slowed us both down allowing mom, who had just put down her art tools, to capture me.  This was all the intruder needed to get it’s bearings before heading back out on the veranda.  Mom put me back down and she and I fought to get out through the slider.  As usual she won and shut the door.  The chase ended with me watching her and the squirrel through the glass slider.  All wound up I began protesting in earnest.

The critter totally shocked and disoriented, frantically searched for an escape traversing furniture, tables and plants. Mom calmly sat down on the carpet and in a gentle, soothing voice began talking to it.  Seeing her sitting and appearing less of a threat, and possibly curious about the sounds she was making, it stopped it’s frantic movements and looked at her.  Remaining still she continued to murmur assurances to it as it  warily resumed searching for the spot where it came in.  This dismayed me and I began complaining louder.   Mom told dad that evening, she could hear me complaining through the closed slider.   I did not let up even when it found the opening, and disappeared up into the tree nearby.

Mom rose and opened the slider,  “OK old man, you can come back out.”  I assured myself it was truly gone by following it’s scent to where it exited, all the while grumbling to mom my displeasure in her interference, nor did I let-up as  I finally returned to my cushion in defeat.  She ignored me and went back to painting and I remained on the veranda hoping the intruder would come back.

To read more intruder stories, check out The Wayward Bird and the Bandit.  Both can be found in the Archives to the left of this post.  The Wayward Bird is located in August 2011 Archive,s and the Bandit is in June 2012.  Scroll down through the posts to locate.  Enjoy!

Till next time,

Respectfully Submitted, Sir Clarence James, assistant to photographer/artist, Dee Browning

“Change of Scenery” Chronicals of Sir Clarence James

Chilling

Chilling

I am baaaaaaack!

I must apologize for the long hiatus from posting, but even though I am quite amazing in all that I do, writing is one I am not capable of.  Since mom and I last posted we have relocated and downsized our living environment, leaving no time to write.  This new phase in our lives has been so exciting for me as I went on a lot of car rides and explored many new things, none of which have stressed me, with one exception, a scheduled Doctor visit, which has been a big relief for mom.  Seeing me thrive in all this chaos, she made the remark that I have been reborn into my 7th life.  I think she is mistaken as I figure it is more like my 6th!

Mom and Dad however have had to deal with a lot of stress.   Though they did a lot of thoughtful planning, those plans like other well laid plans needed adjusting.  This glitch. along with extended family drama added more stress to what is normal and expected when relocating and downsizing one’s living environment. The original plan to rent a condominium went by the wayside, for upon finding one we really liked. it required putting our name on a waiting list.  With the quick sale of our home, our plan needed amending to include apartments.   Dad did not want to reinvest the money from our home sale into another due to the unstable economy.  With retirement in the not too distant future, part of his plan is to move far way from this area when he retires.  Tied to a home that may or may not sell at a profit. due to the health of the economy, is something he wants to avoid.   Apartments added in the search of a new home depressed mom for she values her privacy and quietness. Mom tried hard to hide her depression.  Dad sensing this became frustrated and stressed.   Sensing their moods, no matter how hard they worked to hide it,  I tried to assure them all would be OK.  I would divide my time with each, jumping up onto their lap to head-butt a hand until it lifted to pat my head.  When the petting ceased, I knew their negative, stressful thoughts had returned and I’d head-butt again. When I felt the tension abate, I would then go to the other lap and administer my stress releasing therapy.  This kept me busy till we secured a new home.

We finally found an apartment home, relieving some of the stress, knowing we finally had a place to move to.   Mom’s depression lifted a little upon seeing the location and layout of our new home.  On the arrival, mom placed me on the new carpet, that met my high approval.  It had no previous owner’s smell.  With no old scents to distract me I began exploring our new surroundings with the aid of the bright morning sun coming through the windows, allowing me to see shapes through my partially blind eyes.  When I located the slider that led to the veranda, mom would not let me out.  “Sorry old man.  You have to wait till we secure this area.”  When I voiced my displeasure she assured me that it was first on the list of things to get done.

True to her word, on the second day in our new abode, mom and dad went shopping and brought back privacy lattice for the veranda.  I watched through the slider as they hung the privacy lattice.  With the job completed mom allowed me out and I assisted her in decorating.  To cover the clean, but stained concrete, we laid indoor/outdoor carpet.  Next, we hung ferns, arrange the white metal lawn furniture brought from the front deck of our old home, then mom placed a big pillow cushion  to my delight, for me to lounge on, on the carpeted cement.  Though nothing like my old secured back yard, with grass and plants and more room to wander and hunt in, this area has become my favorite place, and as before mom leaves the slider open when she is home so I can come and go as I please.  Every morning mom and I go out on the veranda to watch the morning sun rise and enjoy the quiet solitude, she sipping coffee and I lounging on my new cushion.  Yesterday, after many unusually dry days, it rained.  The smell of the newly moistened ground and the sound of the gentle raindrops had a soothing effect on both of us.  This also has become her favorite spot.

Taken with mom's Droid

Taken with mom’s Droid

From the veranda I can watch the neighbors come and go.  This is also why mom wanted a privacy lattice for they can see us on the veranda without it.  It is an interesting pastime as we now live in an area known as Silicon Forest, home to Intel, Nike, NVIDIA, Symantac, Epson and many other tech. firms.  Our neighbors come from all over the world, speaking many languages and wearing native attire.  Some have dogs whom they walk.  Seeing this prompted me to get mom to do the same for me.  I went to the door and began calling out to her that I wanted to go for a walk.  Being well-trained, she stopped her unpacking of a box and informed dad, as we headed out the door, that she and I would be taking a break for a walk.

Sir Clarence James on a walk bout. Taken with mom's droid.

Sir Clarence James on a walk bout.
Taken with mom’s droid.

Our first walk took a long time, but only covered a short distance.  I had to explore every inch of our new place. Subsequent walks grew in distance as I became more acquainted with sights, sense and sounds in my new environment.  To my delight I discovered Blue Jays, crows, doves and squirrels also living in the area.  I have made a new acquaintance with Max, a golden retriever, who we meet on walks almost daily.  Mom loves petting his sleek, soft shiny coat.  I don’t mind as he is a true gentleman and greets me nose to nose, none of that butt sniffing stuff!  I also met an annoying little mutt that was unsure of what I was, or if I was going to swat him or not.  This suited me fine as he kept his distance, while jumping and yapping all around me.  A cute little puppy wiggled and rolled in front of me trying to entice me to play, but her youthful enthusiasm would have been too much for this old man to handle so I just laid down and watched her wiggle. She was quite entertaining.

As usual, I have become a neighborhood attraction when mom and I take our walks.  People stop to pet and talk to me, even if mom and I don’t understand what they are saying.  Their actions and expressions are friendly and enthusiastic. Others walk by, pretending not to notice as they watch me out of the corner of their eyes.  All amazed that I just walk along-side mom without a leash.  When I want to go off the side-walk and into a garden area, I will stop at the garden’s edge.  Then I will attempt to go into the garden.  If mom does not say anything,  I will continue into the garden area.  If she says “No!” I will complain a little then continue walking on the side-walk.

"No Clarence!" Taken with mom's droid

“No Clarence!”
Taken with mom’s droid

While we walk, I must have mom to my left due to my failing eye-sight.  If she gets on the wrong side, I stop and wait for her to notice her mistake.  Once she has resumed her place, to my left, we resume our walk.  These walks happen twice a day.  I love my new home!

Respectively Submitted,

Sir Clarence James, assistant to photographer, Dee Browning

Ready To Show, Chronicles of Sir Clarence James

Chilling

Sir Clarence James

Well!  Let the showing begin!

As I stated in my last posting we have begun preparing our home to place on the market, and finally the new carpet has now been installed. It took half a day and started with me being restricted to the backyard and chaise lounge.  I voiced my displeasure of not being allowed to supervise the work being done only to become more displeased when my protest fell on deaf ears.

Grumbling to myself, no one else would listen, I decided to lounge on my chaise and have some serious cat-naps.  Just as I was dozing off, the neighbor next door decided to clean his deck with a pressure-washer.  I hate that kind of noise!  I immediately jumped from the chaise and headed back to the slider.  Mom, hearing the pressure-washer and knowing its effect on me, met me there to open the slider and allow me to enter.  As soon as I brought my tail in passed the door mom shut it, muffling that obnoxious noise.

Being let back into the house, I assume I could begin my supervising job.  Wrong!  Mom  blocked any attempt I had in seeking out the carpet installers, by saying that nasty, hated word, “NO!”.  When she says “NO!”, I have learned to just stop whatever I am doing, which I will then follow with vocal complaining and back-talk.  I have even been known to hiss my displeasure, especially if it is something I know she doesn’t want me to do, but I want to do it anyway.   If she is saying no to something new, I just sit quietly and contemplate the  “Why?”.  I have never been restricted from roaming my house so when she said “NO!”, I just sat and contemplated.  This was a big mistake as it gave her time to build a barrier restricting me to a very small area near the slider.   With my heating pad, food and water placed within the barrier, and again my complaints falling of deaf ears, I decided to resume my cat-nap in spite of the muffled droning of the pressure-washer outside and the less noisy pounding of the carpet installers inside.

The droning of the pressure-washer lessened over time as our neighbor moved closer to the other side of his deck, away from our shared fence-line.  As it became quieter I decided I wanted to go back outdoors where I had more freedom.  After getting mom’s attention to let me out,  I resumed my place on my chaise, to continue my napping.  As the faint smell of pending rain filled the air, our neighbor decided to call it a day on the pressure-washing.  Before long, a gentle rain began its descent from the looming dark clouds, alerting my senses to the fresh smell of rain hitting the earth.  It being summer with mild temperatures, I stretched and yawned, inhaling the freshened air, before returning to my dream-like state aided by the soft pelting sound of the rain drops hitting the big umbrella that shielded my chaise from the gentle rain.  Life is good.

Ta Ta for now.

Respectfully Submitted,

Sir Clarence James, assistant to photographer/artist, Dee Browning

Bad Boy, Chronicles of Sir Clarence James

Camping with family at Silver Falls State Park  Clarence James Browning

A lot has happened in my life the past couple of weeks providing much excitement in my other-wise routine schedule.  You see mom and dad have decided to downsize our living requirements again by selling our house and purchasing a condominium.  Mom and I started packing up all the things we were not using in preparation to showing our home when it goes on the market.  As she packed boxes, I would help by hopping inside them to inspect.  We would then carry them to the garage where they will stay till the move.

Replacement of the carpet came next and that was an exhausting job for me.  Furniture being moved from one room to another, I found myself constantly exploring under, over and around all the rearranging of the furniture.  Needless to say I slept like a baby after this.  Seeing me having so much fun has eased mom’s fear of me stressing due to the change.

The only bad thing about all this is mom gets preoccupied with her list of things to do.  This messes with our established routine.  All this excitement is great, but there are some things I just have to have besides my timely feedings and medicine, and that is my daily walk.  This one daily routine has turned into a whenever mom has the time.  To appease me she has allowed me on the front deck, as long as the child gate is blocking the stairs that lead to the front yard below.  After missing two days of my walk, she again had let me out on the front deck after blocking the stairs.  I became quite vocal about my displeasure.  Dad even commented on my behalf, “Mom, I want to go for a walk!”.  Mom quieted us both with a promise of as soon as she got a moment she would take me.  That moment became at least an hour.   Pacing in front of the gate,I noticed she hadn’t put the child gate in the right spot.  This left a slight opening for me to squeeze through, which I did.

Finally free, mom came to walk me but became quite alarmed when she could not find me.  Together, she and dad, they looked everywhere.  Even the neighbor offered suggestions as to where I might have gone.  As mom grew more frantic, she looked down the street, and saw me coming up the hill.  I was on the sidewalk as trained, vocalizing that I was coming.  She ran down and picked me up and scolded me while hugging me close.  “No more front deck time for you unattended.” she stated.  As mom carried me into the house, she continued to admonish me, “Bad Boy!”

“Purr-Chirp- Chirp”,  I continued to vocalized in my defense. “Mom, you would not take me for a walk. So I took myself.” translated dad.  He so understands me.  We guys have to stick together.

I am being an extra good boy now and mom has resumed taking me on my routine walks.  Life is good!

Respectfully Submitted, Sir Clarence James