Who’s In Charge Here?

A few years ago a co-worker told me about some research she’d read stating that, if we own cats, our lives are controlled by these feline friends. I laughed at the time but now I’m thinking that study may have been correct.

What’s the first thing I do in the morning? Feed the cats.

Where do I sit? Anywhere the cats are not.

Have I ever changed the channel on the TV to pacify my cats? Of course. If one of them seems agitated by what they’re hearing or seeing on the screen, click goes the remote. Well, sometimes I just mute it for a time.

20190606_185007 MimiIf both cats are showing me a lot of attention, I’m fairly certain that in their furry little minds it’s time for dinner. Even if it’s only 3:00 in the afternoon.

My world is better with my cats, so I don’t mind their control. I do, however, sometimes get annoyed with others controlling my life. For example, my local grocery store chose to stop stocking my favorite juice. I know the manager there so I asked him why, and he didn’t have an answer. They sold plenty of it. Perhaps it was a supply issue, he suggested.

At my job I had to work a series of pretty crummy shifts because of a co-worker who took a whopping eight weeks off for her daughter’s wedding. As you might imagine, this woman is pretty controlling in a number of ways–how many brides would allow their mother that much oversight?

Management approved this time off and couldn’t hire anyone to replace her or they would have been overstaffed when she came back. Not that they should be worrying about that. She’s asked for another three weeks off in the short time since she’s returned.

I don’t know who I’m more critical of in that case, my co-worker or management.

Of course as I gripe about this I wonder if there are areas in which I’m taking advantage of anyone else. I don’t think I am–I’m pretty sensitive to that sort of thing–but you never know who might be muttering under their breath about you.

Anyway, the bottom line is, none of us has complete control of our lives.

I just wish the cats would give me my chair back.

Truth to Tell

A few years ago I was having a healthy discussion with a friend’s husband about some political brouhaha or the other. Now, I like Greg. He’s treated me well over the years, but more importantly, he’s treated his wife, Jamie, like the treasure that she is. We’ve always disagreed politically but have never lowered ourselves when talking about this issue or that. Perhaps we both recognize there is fault on either side.

However, a few minutes into our animated talk I realized something I hadn’t caught on to before: Greg was a proficient storyteller, and he had no issue straying from the truth. As he rambled off some “facts” to me, points I knew objectively to be false, I glanced over at Jamie. Did she know he was lying?

Of course she did. Over the years mutual friends and I have more fully recognized the extent of Greg’s, shall we say, misinterpretation of the facts, but none of us have ever said anything about it to Jamie, nor has she said anything to us. It is understood that this is a fault, and a somewhat benign one in context, nothing of which we need to take issue. Frankly, I doubt most conversations between me and Greg would end any differently if he did diligently adhere to the facts. We would agree and disagree in the same measure.

I need to make it clear that as far as we know, Greg doesn’t lie to Jamie about issues important to their marriage. He limits the falsehoods to certain types of storytelling and political debate. It doesn’t make us question him in other conversations–he has seemingly never exaggerated his children’s success, for example, or for that matter, their failures. He is an honest businessman.

Integrity is a difficult issue to define at times. Some would say if Greg can’t stick to the truth in his storytelling you can’t trust anything he tells you. Knowing him as I do, I trust him. Has he perhaps told me Jamie wasn’t home when she simply didn’t feel like talking? Maybe. But that doesn’t bother me.

I appreciate spouses who can lift their partner up without pulling the rest of us down. This is perhaps doubly true because of another couple I’m friends with who will protect each other to the point of lying in a manner that belittles me. When I know the truth, and you know I know the truth, why would you lie about something just to make a fool of me?

It’s a delicate balance and it’s part of the reason relationships can be so challenging. Our perspective shapes the way we evaluate the veracity of other’s conversations. What some consider wrong others don’t even hear.

We all have to live with the faults of others, but as Millie Helper said in one of my favorite episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, “People would be pretty dull without them.”

And therein lies at least one truth.


Image Credit: ©saquizeta – stock.adobe.com

Open Door

Yesterday I was cutting fabric–in the course of my job at a fabric store–and noted that all nine selections of my customer’s featured cats.

“Someone is a cat fan,” I said.

kitty no bkgd lr“You said it,” he replied. “In fact, she’s such a fan she had her name legally changed to Kitty.”

I was taken aback by that piece of information, or I might have asked what her given name had been. Instead I uttered a weak, “Wow.” Inside I was saying, “Are you kidding me?” but of course I was too polite to say that, even though my customer clearly understood that not everyone would understand his friend’s motivation.

Which led me to think, just how much of a cat lady am I? I’ve written on this subject before, albeit in a different context, but at that time made the observation that “cat lady,” in my experience, refers to someone with, say, eight or more kitties. The two I have qualify me to be merely a pet owner.

Yet you look around my house, and it’s clear I’m a fan of cats. My salt-and-pepper shakers, for example, are a cat (salt) and bird (pepper). My dish towels–the decorative ones–have kitties I’ve embroidered on them. Go out of my kitchen and you’ll find pictures of cats in my living room, bedroom and spare room. There’s a mirror and a couple of figurines as well.

We’re drawn to the things that make us happy, and cats make me happy. So do books and writing (did I mention the poster in my basement hallway of a cat reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”?), and there’s plenty of evidence in my home to support those interests as well.

We give ourselves away in less obvious ways as well. My Prius–actually a Prius C, the smallest of that model–is so small it may tell others I’m single. Hopefully it says I’m concerned for the environment as well. One might think it says something about my income level, but that would be deceiving. My Toyota dealership had a really good option for purchase that has me paying for this long-lasting car over seven years.

I shop a lot at Walmart, but that’s mostly because I live near that store’s headquarters and you can’t spit in this area without hitting a Neighborhood Market (Walmart’s grocery store). Shopping there will mean different things in different parts of the country.

I don’t know all the  things that give me away, and maybe that’s just as well or I’d become self-conscious. But you open the door to any of our lives and aspects will be illuminated.

But frankly, I’ve revealed so much on this blog I’m not sure I have any secrets any longer.

Image Credits: Open Door ©quickshooting – stock.adobe.com; Cat © puckillustrations – stock.adobe.com

Leafy Lace Top

Some of you know of the physical limitations I’ve experienced in the last few years that have kept me from knitting for a time. While I’ve completed a few smaller projects, this, at last, is something I can call substantial. It was a challenge–in a good way–and I’m very happy with the results. I’m reblogging this from my knitting blog.

Designs & Words

It’s been awhile since I’ve completed what I would consider a substantial project, and here it is–my version of the Leafy Lace Top from the Vogue Knitting Spring 2017 issue. It took me some time to complete, in part because I had some challenges with the pattern and in part because of the physical limitations I’ve experienced lately.

VKSPR17 Leafy Lace Top--BlueI knit it in Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima in color 3727, a quite pretty shade of blue. It took me five skeins, or 1100 yards, which is nearly exactly what the pattern called for. The yarn used in the pattern–Brown Sheep Cotton Fine–is 222 yards per skein while the Ultra Pima is 220.

Surprisingly, while the stitch gauge precisely matched what the pattern called for, the row gauge was way off. I knit two extra repeats of the 28-row lace pattern to reach the same length. I didn’t catch this until I’d…

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If I do move, the laws have to make sense

My mom very much wants me to move back to Minnesota to be closer to her. Right now that isn’t a possibility, financially or emotionally. But I’ve agreed to consider it a few years from now.

However, the longer I stay where I am, the happier I am here. Still, I think the desire to spend as much time as possible with my mom while she’s alive will eventually drive me back north.

No, the cold doesn’t bother me. Well, it does, but I can live with it more easily than many others. I have to say this about winters in Minnesota: if it snows, there are plenty of plows to keep the roads clear. Where I live now that isn’t the case, not in the least. It isn’t unusual for some roads–and some parking lots–to never get plowed.

And while the law in Minnesota requires people to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes, the law here is tricky. If you shovel a path and someone later slips and falls, they can sue you. If you never tend to the sidewalks, there’s no recourse for the fallen. The law is similar for parking lots.

A few years back someone had the brainy idea to publish obscure or wacky laws throughout the United States. I don’t know if shoveling laws from any state made it on that list, but a quick Google search uncovered these fun facts:

  • It is illegal for women to drive while wearing a house coat in California.
  • In Texas, it is illegal to milk another person’s cow (that one has a germ of sense–it could be theft–but in practical terms is a tad foolish).
  • In Los Angeles, it is illegal to wear a zoot suit. That has to be problematic on some movie sets.

No doubt each state has it share of crazy laws, and no doubt each of these laws had some common sense at its inception. We all know how, in our nation’s capital, laws that make it through Congress usually have some sort of attachment that seems completely unrelated (and likely is) to the law in question. That’s crazy, but that’s politics.

Well, I titled this post “If I do move, the laws have to make sense,” but we all know that isn’t wholly possible. I’ll just have to leave my house coats and zoot suits at home when I visit my relatives in California.

Image Credits: Map © Bigstock; Zoot Suit © stock.adobe.com

Winter Can Stick Around As Long As It Wants

Well, spring looked like it was on the way earlier this week — but today we reverted back to winter.

This isn’t as difficult for me as it is for some of my neighbors. They’re ready for summer by now. Or so they say. Last year we got no spring. Not one day of it. We went straight from coat weather to 80 — then 90 — degrees. So they complained about that.

As for me, I lived in Minnesota long enough to believe March is still a part of winter. Spring comes along in April. Plus, I rather like winter, certainly more than summer. Now I can do without the sub-arctic cold experienced by much of our country earlier this year, and I don’t like driving in the snow, but overall I like the coziness of the cold.

My heating bill is generally lower than that for air conditioning (both electric, the only option in the rocky terrain I live in). And I love having a bowl of chowder simmering on the stove or a pan of rolls baking in the oven. Yes, I can do those things in July, but it just doesn’t have the same effect.

So winter can stick around a little longer.

Image Credit: ©lena_zajchikova – stock.adobe.com

Vacuuuuuum

I just bought the most wonderful piece of housecleaning equipment — a vacuum designed to pick up pet hair. It still scares the cats (they look so bewildered when I dare to use it, as if I’d promised not to clean the carpets ever again after the last vacuum pooped out.) I’m embarrassed by how much cat hair I’ve pulled up already, but that’s not going to stop me. Next step is to shampoo the carpet, which will pick up even more.

You see an adorable kitten or a forlorn cat waiting to be rescued, and you think, “I must take this sweet baby home.” You know about the food, toys and litter. You’ve factored in vet visits. But it’s easy to forget in the passion of the moment of adoption just how much that cat hair is going to invade your life.

It’s all over my clothes and forget trying to get it out. If I wear something black, I’m bound to get a knowing look and this question, “how many cats do you have?”

Now hairless cats are an option, but I’ve learned a few things about them. They secrete an oil that’s just as difficult to eradicate as the hair. A co-worker owns six (and two “hairies”) and she’s brought one in to meet us. Actually, she brought Kate in for a brief stop before her (my co-worker Kelli’s) husband could take them home, but regardless, it gave me a chance to meet and hold one.

Their skin feels like a shammy cloth and they are super sweet. That’s apparently characteristic of the breed. Still, I like my cats to have a full body of fur. Those wrinkles in the skin freak me out.

But back to the vacuum cleaner. It’s like a new toy for me, which is good for the carpet. But not so good for the kitties!!

Image credit: (c) geosap — stock.adobe.com