“Have a nice trip?” “Last Fall.”

A nice trip, indeed.

I’m working in a warehouse now as a technical writer. The administrative aspect of my job doesn’t mean I get an office, however, or even a traditional desk. I’m smack dab in the middle of 95000 square feet of bedlam.

They strive for high safety standards, but with that much STUFF it isn’t always easy.

So I’m walking to the ladies’ room when BAM! I find myself face down on a cement floor. Turns out a piece of plastic strapping tape — used in this case to bind a pile of empty, flattened boxes — was jutting out from said pile. I slid on it, which is what caused me to fall forward.

I landed smack dab on my side, seriously bruising my rib cage, liver and kidney, and the surrounding muscles. I spent hours in the ER, where they ruled out any cracks, breaks or damage to organs.

But, ow.

Even with painkillers, things like feeding my cats and lying down in bed hurt like the bejeebers. This is likely to last a little while.

So if it isn’t this, it’s that. Still, I remain grateful for overall good health and wounds that will heal.

The kitties haven’t left my side. I swear, we must secrete something when we’re in pain because cats and dogs always know when they need to take care of you.

And I’m well taken care of.


Image Credits: (Fallen Elephant) © maxbol — stock.adobe.com; (Leaves) © graphicstock.com

 

How Cesar Got His Name

Last week, I received a long-dreaded text from my friend Deb.

“Cesar had another seizure. I took him to the vet, and it was time to let go. This has been a bad week.”

Cesar the Cat was her second pet to die in two days. She had had to say good-bye to her beloved terrier Daisy earlier that week.

Cesar
The late great Cesar.

Cesar was 20 years old, and had first entered her life at the age of six weeks. When I met Deb two years ago, she was afraid his time had come then, and a visit to the vet revealed he did, indeed, have kidney disease. However, cats can live a long time after that initial diagnosis, and Cesar continued to function in a healthy manner.

A few months ago she sent me this agonizing text: “Cesar just had his second seizure in two days. I’m afraid it’s time. I will miss him so much. He is the best cat EVER.”

It wasn’t time yet.


Deb taught high school English for decades, and 20 years ago, she told one of her students she’d name her kitten after him if he got an “A” on his paper. He got the grade, and Cesar got his name.

I wonder what former student Cesar is doing now. Assuming he’s alive (and we’ll assume that), he’d be in his mid- to late-30s. Does he remember his one-time teacher named her cat after him? Did it matter to him? Has he ever owned a cat, does he have children, was he successful in his life?

We influence the world around us, and never know it. Student Cesar would likely never imagine that today, a woman he’s never met is musing about his life. Because of a dead cat. To say I care what happened to him is perhaps a stretch, but in a way, I do. I want success for him.

About the time I met Deb and learned about Cesar the Cat, I was in the middle of drawing a cartoon cat for one of my posts. I named him Cesar. When I showed Deb the drawing, she said, “Yep, that looks like him.”

Cesarlg
Cartoon Cesar.

I had no idea. I had simply liked the name. For some reason, I’d thought CtC was a Siamese, but he was a Maine Coon. The cat I’d drawn did resemble him. Eventually I made some “limited edition” t-shirts featuring the cartoon Cesar, and a couple of months ago I gave one to Deb.

Rest in peace, Cesar Kitty and Daisy Doo. You are missed.


Image Credits: (Paws and Heart) © Bigstock.com

Equal Time for Mimi! (It’s Caturday)

A few weeks ago, two consecutive posts featured my adorable cat, Walter.

But I have two precious kitties, and Mimi is every bit as loving and sweet as her brother. It’s just not as easy to capture cute pictures of her. Here are a few I particularly like.

 


 

Carry a What?

I fully appreciate my God-given talents. I was born, it would seem, with an ability to write well, something I’ve tried over the years to cultivate and focus. I’m an excellent knitter, decent seamstress, and have a creative eye for decorating. Nothing I’ve turned into a career, nor would I want to do so, but it makes my home a happy place to be.

One thing I cannot do, no way, no how,  is carry a tune. I am one of the tiny percent of people who simply have not an ounce of musical talent. It makes church services a little long sometimes, because I rarely even try to hum along or mouth the words. Yes, I have my favorite hymns, and I do chime in with those, under my breathe. If you start playing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” I will be compelled to pretend I’m singing along with you.

And my cats put up with me around the house. What choice do they have? Each has his or her own song. For Walter, it’s “Walter Kitty, You’re the One” sung to the tune of “Rubber Ducky, You’re the One,” and for Mimi, it is “You are My Sunshine.” I can almost get by with that one, and she knows it’s her song. She’ll sit closer to me and snuggle in.

For the late great Paco, I had a handful of old country classics I’d sing as I held him, and he burrowed into my shoulder and purred as I would murmur, “You Don’t Know Me” so softly, only he could hear it. I think the tune comforted him, as did being held.

Holding baby blueYears ago I got trapped into working in the nursery at my church during the Kid’s Christmas Pageant. As you might imagine, a lot of the parents who normally would have taken on that job had older children, or even nieces, nephews and neighborhood friends, performing as sheep and angels and what have you, so they wanted to be in the service, The church was recruiting those of us old enough to have done our share of babysitting, yet young (or unattached) enough not to be too concerned if we missed the children’s performances, to assist with the wee ones.

As soon as a I entered the nursery, I was handed a screaming eight-month-old. Normally the policy was to retrieve the parents if the crying persisted, but the ladies in charge knew this little guy had an older sister making her stage debut, and felt it was best to wait it out. Powerful lungs, he had, and nothing I did helped.

So I started to sing, barely a whisper, and to my shock, it made a difference. “Your mama don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock-and-roll,” I crooned. “Doo, doo, doo. Your mama don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock-and-roll. But when evening comes around and it’s time to hit the town….” The older ladies gave me odd glances, but I didn’t care.

He still cried, but wouldn’t let anyone else take over. This was a conservative church, the kind where you didn’t advertise you’d ever listened to Loggins & Messina, let alone attended movies like Footloose or Dirty Dancing. I didn’t tell his parents what I’d been singing (my guess now is they wouldn’t have cared), but thiry-plus years later, I wonder, what does that little boy, now a grown man, think of if and when he hears that song?

Does it bring him an odd, unidentifiable kind of comfort? Does he sing it to his own kids for reasons he can’t explain? Or has he completely forgotten everything about that evening and being carried for nearly two hours by a college student who felt helpless against his tears?

Songs are powerful, so is a hug. I pray that eternal life brings with it a greater ability to express myself through music, but in the meantime, I’ll keep writing. And humming just a little…



Image Credits: (Birds on a Wire) courtesy of Pixabay;(Holding Baby Blue) © soapysoft — Fotolia

https://giphy.com/embed/xULW8DFrP3KPYL78Rivia GIPHY

Some Things Do Work Out

Home Improvement. Ladder, Paint Can And Paint RollerWow, did I get lucky. This new townhome I’m moving into has everything I want — including an owner who’s putting in new carpet and has re-painted the entire place. Downstairs, the color will work perfectly with my bedroom decor; upstairs matches the living room better than I could have dreamed.

And yes, it has an upstairs and downstairs! My cats are going to be in heaven. So much more room than they’re used to, and great big windows to boot. If I owned the place, I’d screen in the upstairs deck so they could go outside. As it is, there are too many trees they could leap onto and I’m afraid I’d never see them again. So they’ll have to be content staying inside…and they will be.

This situation helps me believe in the future again. I had some setbacks this last week, and it was discouraging, to a point of despair. When your life is not in your control, when others have an inappropriate power, it is a challenge. I have been the victim of vicious people who believed a lie of their own fabrication, and the consequences don’t stop. But many more people know who I am, and believe in me.

All I can do is move forward. I believe God is in control. If the good things are not a coincidence, than the bad things aren’t either. There is a reason and logic for what has happened that is beyond my comprehension.

Counting heartbeats not sheep pe2Right now my kitty Walter is curled up in my lap, purring and cooing his comfort. He and his sister Mimi showed up at the door of my current apartment, lost and lonely, abandoned and needy. They are delightful cats and I never would have met them if the bad things in my life hadn’t happened.

In fact, I probably would be living in a different state,  and I’m happy here. This is where I’m supposed to be.

Now I have to pack and prepare for my move. I’m so excited the new place will be so happily painted, and it reminds me I’ll need to do a little touching up here if I hope to get any part of my deposit back (I actually don’t, but it won’t be for lack of trying). Bring forth the Krylon!


Photo Credit: (painting walls) © Bigstock

 


Paint

I Made Up My Mind … but Forgot What I Decided

Ah, life. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

AdobeStock_100009763 [Converted] c geosapI finally figured out what I was going to do with the next ten years, and what do you know, a few other people had some input into those ideas…people whose input matters. So the figuring is starting all over again.

But these are people who love me, so not to worry, right?

Yes, I’ve figured out a few things. Life is going to get you, one way or the other. You’re going to have good times, bad times and a lot of everyday, ordinary times.

You’re going to learn and grow (or not). You’ll think you’ve made it, only to find the rug pulled out from underneath you. You’ll think all is lost, only to have it given back to you again.

Those you think are for you will betray you and those you think could not care less about you will save your life.

It’s not all that mixed up, to be sure, or unexpected. But I made up my mind.. and forgot what I decided. And realized, it’s all a process leading to a destination we can’t imagine.

So here I go again.


Image Credit: (Cat) © geosap — Fotolia

in an alternate universe I am Donna Summer

My mother, who loves me, claims I have the worst singing voice she’s ever heard.

I take issue with that. My sister’s is much worse.

stop singing IIIf you want evidence of how bad a singer I am, tell me when your birthday is and wait for a call. When you hear “Happy Birthday” to the tune of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” you’ll know it’s me.

When I sang this jingle for my brother, leaving it on his voice mail, he laughed so hard he could hardly spit out the words “thank you. ” “That’s the funniest – and worst – thing I’ve ever heard,” he told me. He played it for his friends, who were certain I was pretending to be THAT BAD.

I wasn’t. I just am THAT BAD. You’ll never hear me sing in church. If I really like the song, I’ll mime it.

Maybe it’s that complete lack of talent that gives me the freedom to fully appreciate those with true ability. I have friends who can sing beautifully, but claim they can’t hear it in others. It’s not clear to me if it’s competitiveness or a different gauge for quality.

Could it be if you’re gifted, you only recognize those more talented you? I don’t know, and I’m too restless to ponder.

I do know one thing, however. My late great cat Paco was apparently tone deaf, because when I’d hold him and sing the classic tune, “You Don’t Know Me,” he’d lean his head into my shoulder and purr quietly. Until he’d had enough, when he’d let out a yowl like he was in wild pain.

Wait, I just got it. I think he was singing along with me.

Image Credit: (music notes) © Tawat Lamphoosri — Dreamstime.com

no cat in hat, nor cat in cap, has sat in my lap

One day at work, I was grumpily recounting the tale of a tug-of-war with my cat Paco from the night before over a rather expensive skein of yarn (he had good taste).

Two black cats

He wanted to play with it in a big tangled mess, I wanted to make a sweater out of it. We both won our battle but lost the war. It was a big tangled mess by the time I rescued it, and after a few futile hours trying to wind it back, it remained the same. Frustrated, I stashed the yarn away with plans to finish later.

No sympathy from my co-worker. “You took yarn away from a cat?” he asked incredulously.

“It makes a pretty expensive toy!” I shot back.

“You don’t take yarn away from a cat,” he replied, shaking his head.

Cats in HatsYes you do, only now it appears there is a way to appease your kitty. You use the yarn to make a hat for him, with 30 knitting & crochet patterns from the book Cats in Hats, by Sara Thomas (Running Press, May 2015).

Okay, good chance I’ll buy the book, just for the camp value.  However, my time knitting will most likely be spent on other projects. Unless…I mean, these are really cute hats.

If I truly believed I could get Paco to model anything I knit for him, I might make one. On second thought, I don’t want to be one of those pet owners. I understand dog sweaters during freezing weather, but hats for cats? Good grief. Not even if he looked as cute as the cat in this picture…which he would…nope, still not happening.

© Liz Coleman/Running Press/Quarto, Inc. via AP
© Liz Coleman/Running Press/Quarto, Inc. via AP

Regardless, ultimately you can’t take yarn away from a cat. Nothing mine likes more than plotting to nab that little ball of leftover yarn in the bottom of the bag…he can smell it a mile away…wait, it’s just enough to make a cute little cap for him, isn’t it?

A Halloween costume of some sort, perhaps…I’m turning into a true cat lady… but just think how darn adorable he’d be.


Image Credit: (cats and yarn) © © Kamaga — Fotolia