A Syncing Event

Funny life is. All these constraints we put upon it. January 1 is the day before January 2 and so on. But it’s another good excuse to have a party. And, apparently, parties are good for us. Why, one might even meet the next love of their life there because parties sync people together, they say.

Being synced would be nice but it isn’t essential. All anyone really needs is what is essential but still, being synced must be nice. Certainly there are enough opportunities for celebration worked into our culture to indicate that most of us would like a syncing event to increase our chances.

There was a year when my mother and her best friend were sitting in and telling me to not tell anyone that they didn’t have dates for New Year’s Eve. It’s hard to imagine who, being told, would have mattered. Maybe the neighbors. She was probably somewhere in her mid fifties and I was probably off to the the Airman’s Club to dance my feet off with some cute young men — maybe hoping to find a love of my life. Dancing was what we all did to meet each other then. There was a party every Friday night at the Airman’s Club with a live band and often more boys than girls — at least just as many.

For some reason the two older women were embarrassed that they were alone for New Year’s Eve. That registered something profoundly in a young impressionable mind. It wasn’t quite clear what they meant then, but the implication was that there was something wonderful about being young and something not so great about not being so young anymore. They must have said something like, “It’s hard to find dates when you get older.” The implication was also that, if you didn’t have a beau, your weren’t as valuable and should hide in shame.

It is much easier to see, once one isn’t so very young and dates for New Year’s Eve are hard to come by, that the passing of time is not a thing that can be put on hold and that as it passes, things do change.

New Year’s Eve is always a poignant reminder about time’s passing. Documenting the minute that the clock registers going from the end of one year into another is it’s express purpose. It is our worldwide culture’s inclination to make a big deal about it. It’s a little hard sometimes to understand why unless there is just a need for another party.

Most of the aspects of it are for commercial reasons — taxes, funding, appropriations, sales, bonuses, profits and losses.

But then there is the somber aspect of documenting the passing of a year in the life of an individual and the culture collectively and of accounting for accomplishments and defeats as if that should be done on a regular bases — say once a year on Dec. 31 and that the somber event should not be done while sober.

I was watching one of the two main strays that visit my yards lately. He’s a big, woolly black cat that has a full face and a fur coat — not hair. He and the other main cat got into a giant row lately and I noticed blood on him when I tried to break them up. They went off in the same direction after I shooed them and it took several days before I saw either one of them again. Both of them have eased their way back to visiting. Mr. Shire is very skittish and the black woolly one less so when he shows up — so, I’m not quite sure which one thinks he won. The black one now has a flaming pink patch near his ear and I worry that it may get infected. There is not much that I can do, because he scats the minute he hears me and goes over the fence.

What I find so soothing about watching them both is how calm they are about their daily lives. They come, eat food, lie in the sun, groom, lollygag around scouting, sniffing, scratching wood and neither one ever seems to be wondering what day of the week or what month it is. They might be thinking about getting synced and that may very well have been behind the row. Woolly shakes his head like his ear is hurting, but he takes his pain like a trooper, while soaking in the sun, curled up on the mound of sticks or a soft chair.

So cats and humans have syncing in common, but cats don’t seem to like to dance or have a party as a means to do it. They don’t care about paying taxes either. Lucky cats.

This year, as I sit in like my mother and her friend, without a date for New Year’s Eve, but as content as a happy cat — it seems more fitting to put off accounting accomplishments or defeats for another day because sitting her thinking about syncing is a lot more fun than that. And also like a cat, I don’t need to worry about paying taxes either.

Happy New Year!


Image credit: Safe Haven For Cats





Parade Of Critters

Once upon a time there was a lady who lived in a house with two cats and sometimes a mouse or two or three — depending on how lazy the cats were or however clever the mice became.
In a stove that was seldom used, (because most of it was broken), one of the mice made a home. The stove was removed to remove the mouse but the mouse jumped out without being seen and didn’t go out with the stove. It was captured later in a bin with a spinning pop-bottle wheel laced with peanut butter so that when the mouse crawled out to get the peanut butter off the wheel, the wheel spun and dropped him in the bin.
The mouse was transferred to a field to find his friends or to be eaten by a snake or another kind of mouse-eating critter. She didn’t want to do a dirty deed but she also didn’t want to have him running around, dribbling pee every where he went.
Mice pee as they run you know.
Bugs crawled in and bugs crawled out and sometimes snakes and lizards. There were lots of holes close to ground under doors where people entered too. Sometimes the bugs were tarantulas but most of the time the snakes were only kingsnakes coming in for warmth to hibernate under a chair or blanket.
Kingsnakes are good snakes because they love to eat rattlesnakes and mice — so, you don’t have to worry about being bitten by a kingsnake — but they can have a rattle.
The cats were good at telling the lady of the house where the mice, snakes, lizards and bugs were for the most part — but sometimes she had to find them on her own when lifting up a blanket or moving out a chair for cleaning. She would almost always scream and then the cats would know where she was and come to see the snake, lizard, bug or mouse.
“You’re fired!” the lady would tell the cats, “What good are you for hire?”
The cats were good for cuddling and keeping legs and feet warm in the middle of a cold night so they could stay and didn’t have to eat the dirty peeing mice or tell her where the snakes were if they didn’t want to but it was good if they would be so inclined.
Cats and mice, bugs and lizards, bees and flies and giant fury tarantulas — oh and snake and any other critter that seems to want to come in — it’s a revolving door it seems. The lady of the house could fit things to keep all things out but that would mean that air would have to stay out too. Sometimes seeping holes are good and sometimes a parade of critters is fairly entertaining.

How To Remember

It’s a little bit windy and more leaves are falling — golden flickers in the lovely bright and beautiful sunlit, almost always blue skies of southeastern USA. There are a few gray and white clouds, suggesting a little more rain, floating lowly. It’s the last of the leaves and it’s starting to make me crave going home — with all that that might mean. Don’t ask me why. It might be Christmas-magic conjuring spells that call for lonely.

I’m reaching out, in my soul, for those I’ve known that brought that magic to me at the first of my being. I miss them — those who’ve mostly gone — one way or another. I wonder if he’s still alive — that boy I knew when I was seventeen. I want to go and find him or visit the city where I knew him just to see if that old magic can be brought back to feel another time. That city I made my own to visit when I felt I missed him more than I could stand — but I’m afraid to know the truth now even though I know my time is moving on and there might not be many chances.  For years he twinkled when he saw me if I showed myself or when he came to see me on his own — he missed me some too.

Home again, home again — where was or is that home?

I have barrels of tears from those days. They seem to make cycles. His friend’s father was a music man and his friend’s father’s girlfriend made sticky buns that smelled yummy in a little house made for squirrels under a big tree and we were among the drums speaking — it all made the falling in love easy. I wanted to live like that forever.

I never have known how to let a thing go gracefully. Sticky buns are sticky. It isn’t easy for me to make those happy moments so I store them for remembering like how to remember roses in December so December isn’t too bleak.

More leaves fall and rush off in wind to go wherever they go. I try to make the longing thoughts go with them but my feet are far too itchy. What to do with the cats and where to get a car that can make the trip is a trouble. Maybe I should just move there where the trillion memories live that were good enough to store for December. Maybe it won’t be December when I get there, but, after all, it comes again every year. I can be there waiting for the Christmas-magic that always seems to call for being lonely.

The Other Side

What’s behind
preferring longing
picking unavailable
Is the state of crushing
too good
to let go
Letting go is falling
maybe failing
Falling up
never happens
The cats and I are
at the window looking out
wanting out
but it’s raining
It seems that something better’s
on the other side
better than in here
We’re never happy
Once commitment’s made
the mystery fades
magic goes the way
of dancing on the moon
not as likely
as just staring at it
The outside cat
likes anything he’s given
Does freedom
makes everything
taste good.



The Earth’s Cores

The morning jumping of cats off the highest shelves that they can access so that they can then pounce on their human like they are practicing gymnastics and trying to stick a landing, seems to exert enough pressure that it could force the change of the direction of one of the Earth’s cores — unless, of course, the Earth is hollow — then they may just effect a China Syndrome.

“Get up human, I’m bored or tired of seeking your attention or I’m just hungry. That’s for me to know and you to find out.”

“I’m up, I’m up!” exclaims the human. “Wait a minute, five more minutes…Pleeease?” The intonation going up on the last syllable, as if begging. “Who are you to boss me? Oh, yeah, right, you’re the cat’s meow. How’d I forget that!? You are the roost’s ruler — the Queen of Sheba — and  you, Mr. Mouser are the King of Siam, aren’t you?”

The cats didn’t even bother to look back smirking as they trotted off, leading the way to the kitchen.

It might be nice to be like a cat and have so little regard for other people’s feelings. Dogs seem to care. She was thinking how nice it would be to have a little dog again. Not that she didn’t love the cats — they are just so nonchalant. Cats always seem to be wanting to get away. Dogs, well, dogs seem to want to stay. Then she remembers how impossible it is to dislodge the weight of two cuddled cats from her feet each night she tries to sleep in winter or impossible to turn and no matter how she tries to scat them, they come back like rubber bands.

She then starts to wonder how anyone can know what’s at the center of the Earth. What’s the farthest ever drilled? What would it take to change the directional spinning —  or if it is hollow, is there a city in there? How come a cat hasn’t found it and come back to smirk and then not tell about it? Maybe one has, she thinks — cats are good at keeping secrets but they don’t seem to favor cold and isn’t the entrance at the north pole — or is it south? Maybe both and elsewhere, like Germany or Sweden? Again, ticking up at the end of a syllable for appearing to ask a question or intimating going further in the discussion — the way Australians speak in generAL — as obnoxious as a cat can be — sometimes.

The girl cat comes to cuddle on the crook of her elbow, mushing the spot she wants while purring. She whispers little words to make the cat’s paws curl and her whiskers tickle. She can tell that the little kitty likes it. So much for cats not responding — is that caring?

The cat jumps off once she’s had enough or doesn’t like the kiss upon her forehead.

Yes, it would be nice to not care about much else other than where one gets one’s food or whatever else they want. Someone says it’s hollow, someone says it’s not — then fighting, fighting, fighting who’s the rightest. It is fun to think about, without the fighting.

Then the cats bat each other and go off in equal and opposite action. They’ll come back again a little later for a cuddle and to rest upon a human’s feet assisted by the Earth’s cores — their little mass felt greater by its gravity. There will certainly be more gymnastics practice in the morning.


the cat's meow



Her Favorite Room

There’s a little room on one side of the house that was added on by other owners somewhere along the line. It’s just under 70 square feet total — 7’6″ one way and 9’3″ the other — just a little bigger than a prison cell which is 6 feet by 8 feet as a standard. It has two doors that can let the prisoner free at any time though — one that opens to the outside right under a huge scraggly tree and the other into the living room — which was as big as the house was before adding this wing on and there is no barbed wire except for a barbed-wire heart hanging on the scraggly tree. The add-on goes the full depth of the house so, past the feet that makes the little prison room is what they divided for doing laundry and it’s somewhat bigger than the 7’6″ of the mudroom — but not much and comes off the kitchen and then goes out to the back.

She calls the little prison-sized room the mudroom because she imagines the other people made it as a way of coming in without landing right in the living room and a place to kick off dirty shoes because the door that leads outside is on the front of the house. Visitors have a lot of trouble trying to figure out where to go because, beside the two front doors, there is a studio.

She gave up on kicking off dirty shoes because she traipses in and out all day long and mostly for gardening reasons, so what she does now is keeps extra flips at the door and exchanges wet, dirty ones for less than wet and dirty ones, but still manages to bring in lots of silt, sand and organic stuffs that the kitties love — outside stuff to sniff, sniff, sniff.

She doesn’t come in through the mudroom because the door is trouble for various assorted reasons, so unless it’s a particularly wonderful day outside and the kitties are in the studio, the door stays locked and things are stuffed under it to keep critters like snakes and tarantulas out — she has both of them living outside and wants to keep it that way even though some have already come in to visit.

She took a shower with a tarantula once — it was a Psycho kind of scene. Another time the whole city police force lined up in front of her house to all come in to find a snake. Every single cop she knows of, working in her city, came through her house that night. One really big policeman came out holding a tiny snake and took it across the street to release it in the schoolyard! Mind you, she had called for animal control.

She painted the mudroom Your Highness — an ACE Hardware muted purple color — a very long time ago and has never looked back. It doesn’t make her feel happy per se, but it doesn’t make her feel sad — just makes her feel like herself since that shade of purple says a lot about herself to herself. She’s thought about changing colors, but never does. It is just the right intensity not to reflect too much light so makes the little room a perfect retreat because of its cocoon like nature. The ceiling is low and can easily be touched and the two-in-one window that takes up most of the width of the wall on the south, sloped side is up high and has glass that slides from bottom to top for letting breezes in through screens.

The little room has a sofa that just makes the fit along one wall. She’s tried every arrangement possible and always goes back to the sofa being there. She uses it like a lounge. There are a total of seven pieces of furniture in the tiny space — the sofa, a round coffee table, a nightstand that acts as a side table for a lamp, a little vintage wooden cigarette stand — that has been in the family forever and gone from her to her sister and back to her with her sister adding more colorful paint embellishments — with a smaller lamp on it for subtler lighting and magazines, a swivel chair in the next corner going round and then a three shelf cart that holds a TV for watching VHS old movies that can be seen from the sofa or the chair. The seventh piece is a wooden stool that just fits behind the TV cart and often has a big dictionary on it for looking up good words.

It’s her favorite room to go to when she really wants to relax throughout the course of the day. And even though it is on the west side and therefore gets the setting sun and even though it is horribly insulated because it was a stick-built add-on with a flat roof, a fan is enough in the summer and a little space heater heats it up real fast in winter because it’s so very small. And there is a curtain at the door to keep heat in or let heat out — depending on which is being the bother.

Her sister came to live with her for a few months many years ago now. She’d give that room up in a heartbeat if she could bring her sister back. The room was just big enough for a twin size mattress and the rest of her stuff spilled out into the living room. Her sister loved to keep the door open so she could look out to the scraggly tree and beyond. They had five dogs between them and two cats so after awhile, it became such a nuisance to be worrying about doors and cats getting out that they just flung it all open and the cats had a free-for-all. One of them ran away. He was 14 years old and very beloved but her thinking was that he had wanted out for all those 14 years so it was a gift she would finally give him since it was all too much for her and her sister to keep up with and her sister had to come first. He stayed around for quite awhile but she watched as he kept creeping farther and farther atop the fence footer looking out into the wild blue yonder. He finally made the decision.

Bye, bye Peter Rabbit. He was such a very good cat and they had loved each other well but he had been sick off and on and she wonders if maybe he left to die. Orphan Annie stuck around for many years thereafter.

The house had carpeting in it when she moved there but she hates carpet so it wasn’t very long before she yanked it all out and started painting the concrete floors.

So, she went in there today because the cats were already out in the studio and the screen door that she has propped up to keep cats out could be moved away and let her come and go freely — and while she was sitting in there this morning, she started thinking about how anyone can stand living in a prison cell without going out of their mind and felt very sorry for any of them if they don’t have doors where they can go freely out to sit underneath a tree.

She did think too though that six feet by eight feet is just about as much space as any one person really needs for feeling rather comfy and except for the control thing, she might be able to make herself happy in a little space like that. She’s often thought that she should get a little travel trailer, park it in the carport and convert the house into a sewing center except for all the city issues. The mudroom has served as a dressing room when she was doing alterations and many, many city workers came and went without asking any questions — a lot of cops wanting patches on their uniforms too — but plenty of city workers that might know lots about any codes that she was breaking. No one ever said a word.

It’s hard to believe that 1439 words can be written about one room, but since her days of reading Thoughts Of Home in House Beautiful eons ago and that being the main inspiration for her to want to start writing in the first place, she decided today would be a start of paying homage to that guiding force and every once in awhile now, she will put something in the category of Thoughts Of Home. She’ll try to do something better next time.


SpoolTeacher Mudroom



Why Are Men

“Hello sweet Boy Boy. Are you being a cry baby boy today? Cry, cry, cry. Do you want to go out to your room? Is that why you are crying?”

Men don’t cry.

He jumped up on her lap and rolled over so she could pet his tummy. He’s a Tuxedo Cat with a tiny voice and a Got Milk mustache who has to be scrunched up to fit because he is so big. His tummy looks like argyle — diamonds linking in the middle. He’s the sweetest thing, twice the size of the girl cat but a big ball of mush who can be mauled any time and sticks his tongue out to lick her face whenever it gets near. The girl cat puts her paws up to push her face away.

She always thinks of the Squirmy Wormy toy made out of a piece of fuzzy knit with eyes on, that she played with as a child. He moves in undulating waves as her hand smooths over his fir just like the toy did.

Cats are girls and dogs are boys no matter what they really are. For some reason, that is what it seems.

Is it that men are thought of as firm and straight, not sinuous like most girls and undulating cats? Dogs are muscled and not as pliable?

She wonders, “Why are men supposed to make the living?”

Men hunt, women gather. Who decided that divide? No man has ever made her living.

Dogs hunt so do cats.

Oh sure, she signed the paper that year of the law suit that said “Do you believe you have been discriminated against because of your gender” and ended up with several thousands of dollars.

“Thank you men for paying up, a little of that discrepancy.”

Many of the women wouldn’t because they were afraid of the men bosses and thought they might loose their little girly place in the line that the men were forming.

She didn’t care — she’d take the money and run, run, run if she had to.

It’s a man’s world. You need to be beautiful in a man’s world, because men make all the decisions and they like a girl that looks good.” The message she got growing up and men are dogs came with it.

It must be difficult being a man — as she wonders where the term dog pile came from — and have to run over everyone all the time.

dogpile: People commenting at the same time, without realizing others are jumping on the person as well, do not make a dogpile. The requirement is to join in with an angry group to yell at an easy target, or to get popularity points for being seen to agree with the group. They see that everyone else is doing something, and they copy it.

Good old boys, dog piles, if everyone else is doing something…

She won’t call men “dogs” — when they’re behaving badly — because she thinks too much of dogs but it is hard not to think that a dog is a boy whether it is or not and to think of a cat as a girl.

Men don’t cry. Dogs hunt so do cats. It’s a man’s world. men are dogs. Good old boys. dog piles. when they’re behaving badly.

“Men Behaving Badly”

Sexy kitten. Pussy cat. Kitten. Catty.

Dogs are boys and cats are girls — except when one’s a bitch.

She wonders where she got these ideas for identifying genders.










Ten Times Ten

It isn’t writer’s block because there are no end of stories swirling in the brain. It’s possibly because of heat made worse by humidity  — Monsoons tormenting off in the distance — and a little bit of sleepless night.

Ten times ten — one hundred things were written today but none could find itself.

There was one about dogs and boys and another about dogs and boys but in completely unrelated ways — even this won’t come out right. One was that dogs seem like boys and cats like girls and the other was about a boy who hid some puppies and liked to pull wings off flying things and likely became a serial killer. Lots of dogs and cats and puppies and pigs, but none were willing to fulfill their end of the bargain. I especially liked the tales about Sambo and her puppies.

So that’s it for today. The writer is exhausted and wondering if anyone cares anyway — not that it matters one iota because, as it is, someone who likes to write must write whether anyone wants to hear or not.

Ten times ten is still one hundred. Thank God for maths at least.

Just so you know, yesterday was edited to death and might be fun to read again?? Seems much improved to the writer.

ten times ten