Saturday, April 23, 2011

The staff goes on strike

Most cat owners have heard the phrase

“Dogs have….. Cats have staff.” 

Yeah. Well, our cat has a certain staff woman very well trained, but with the help of her union rep, she is now on strike.

Our cat is an “indoor-outdoor” cat, and we have allowed her to drive us nuts. When she wants in, she crosses the bridge from the porch to the bird-feeding platform in front of the window where I sit at my computer and meows at me to let her in.

And what do I do?

I get up and let her in.

She eats a bite of food, uses the cat box (it seems not to matter that she has 8 acres of land on which she could poop or pee), perhaps plays with one of her toys for a minute or two, and then, within about 10 minutes or so, she wants out again. If the back door is not ajar, she nags at us to let her out by meowing obnoxiously. And we get up and let her out. 

We cannot just leave food out for her and make her a totally outside cat because there are several big tom cats who have decided our property is part of their territory. They torment her enough as it is, and if we left food out, they would simply eat it and the problem would get even worse. Plus she has no sense (one morning very early, I watched her following a fox that was trotting down the driveway).

In the winter, it is not quite as bad because it is COLD outside and she is happier to stay indoors, but as Spring arrives, the problem escalates.

Having already established here in earlier installments that parts of our house are rather crooked, I don’t need to go into a detailed explanation of why the screen door at the other end of the house requires forceful persuasion to shut all the way, and even then, there is a half-inch gap at the top. If left to its own devices, it stays open about an inch. On more than one occasion, I have gotten up to let the cat in the door at my end of house (which does shut all the way) and she has run straight through the house and out the back door at the other end.

After listening to me complain for the umpteenth time about the cat, today Richard finally said.

Look, the back door is open. Just ignore her. She will go around and come in on her own.
So earlier today, I took his advice. She crossed the from the porch to the platform and meowed at me. I got up to make sure the back door was open. She thought I was getting up to let her in, but I did not. I sat back down. She returned to the platform and meowed at me again. I ignored her. She left and came in the back door herself, curled up on the bed, and went to sleep.


And yes, other visitors have occasionally come in the back door as well: lizards, frogs, chipmunks, wrens….

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chaplin revisited

After looking at the Google logo today, which is a clever short film in honor of the anniversary of Charles Chaplin's birthday, I was reminded of a post I wrote about Charles Chaplin in 2006. No point in rewriting the whole thing or reposting the picture, but one never knows what one might come across when going through things after people have died. In this case, it was things that had belonged to my father's mother, who died of a stroke in 1958 when she was 65 years old and I was 9 years old.

After my grandfather died, one of my aunts had taken a box of things home and later we were sent this copy of a picture of my grandmother...

which was taken when she was about 18 years old. Our entire family was certainly surprised to see this picture, because most of the pictures we had of her were when she was much older. And we were even more surprised when the picture of Chaplin was found.

We have just about finished going through our son's clothes. Taking it bit by bit. We were so surprised to find that he a lot of really nice clothes that he had collected in anticipation of -- what we don't know -- but most of them he never wore because he never went anywhere that required him to dress nice -- except for church, and he did have suit for that. Certainly anything he wrote to work at the sawmill was ruined in short order. At any rate, so far, and we are so thankful for this -- there have been no unpleasant surprises in his drawers, amongst his things, or under the bed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“Lucy” puts ‘em on and takes ‘em off

I know that as an adult I am not a very enthusiastic wearer of shoes. Living in the country as we do and on the sort of land that we do have here in the Ozarks, means that going outside barefoot is not a very much fun unless one treads very, very carefully; I mean, mostly rocks here with a little dirt mixed in, dochna’ know.

I definitely prefer going barefoot in the house during the summer and in the winter getting by with thick socks or very soft-soled slippers. In any event, when ever I sit down in front of the computer my shoes end up on the floor under the desk. At the moment I have 3 pairs of shoes and slippers under the desk and another pair of shoes off to the side.

I suspect I was also not a very enthusiastic wearer of shoes when I was a little girl. I think my parents sang the first few lines of the popular tune of the time “Put your shoes on Lucy, don’t you know you’re in the city” to me frequently as away to jolly me into putting my shoes on.

At any rate, that tune has plays in my mind frequently in recent months, the main irony being that it is in the city, where nature has been bullied into submission by concrete and asphalt and lawns are carefully manicured and thick with various types of grass, that it actually is possible to run around quite freely outdoors without worrying about stepping on a rock.

However, sometime during 2010, and as vivid as some memories of 2010 are, I only have a vague recollection about other things, and thus I have no idea when this happened— possibly as late as in November when Nathaniel and I did a lot of schlepping through airports and then additional walking on top of that (mostly with shoes on, I might add)—plantar fasciitis developed in my right foot. What? Huh? What this means is that the bottom of the heel hurts  —  really hurts — and you must wear shoes all the time. Dr Zorba, who I listen to on public radio on Sunday afternoons, says people with plantar fasciitis should even wear rubber flip-flops in the shower. I did not have it bad enough that I required flip-flops for the shower, but I did find it necessary to wear my slippers to negotiate even the 10 steps from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

And then all of a sudden the plantar fasciitis went away. And I have no idea when it stopped hurting like crazy if I did not have something on my feet.

I only know I am very thankful that now that we are temporarily having summer in April that I can charge around the house barefoot without discomfort.

It is just very nice not to deal with that any more. Weaver of Grass wrote in one of her posts about getting old is not for "wimps.” How right she is. And her advice, mostly to "get on with it" and stop complaining is good as well, I think. All sorts of parts of my body seem to be falling apart – here a twinge, there a twinge, everywhere a twinge – but at least the heel of my right foot is one less thing I have to worry about. Now, if I can just figure out what is going on with my left knee….

Monday, April 04, 2011

We have some excitement in the kitchen

Richard was busy multitasking in the kitchen. He had fish baking in the convection oven, and then he decided to whip up a package of the chocolate-raspberry mousse dessert that we had found at the salvage store. (Sunday is eat-whatever-we-want day)

So he dumps the package in a bowl, pours in the milk, and begins beating it with the hand mixer at high speed, which he supposed to do for about 3 minutes. About halfway through the timer goes off for the fish, so he stops beating the dessert, sits the mixer up with the beaters over the bowl, and tends to the fish. About this time I pass through the kitchen and offer to help with finishing the dessert.

He agrees that would be a good idea, because he has to flip the fish and put it back in the oven.

So I plug in the mixer, and immediately the beaters begin to whir around at top speed, spraying chocolate mousse everywhere – on the refrigerator, all over the window, all over Richard who has just arrived at my shout of dismay.

It seems instead of turning the mixer off, he pulled the plug. 

So we stood there, laughing and each blaming the other for the mess, and offering well-chosen opinions about our respective intelligence levels.

The fact that this man I married in 1971 was and still is good looking (well, I think he is) was a plus, but the thing I have come to appreciate and treasure the most over the years has been his amazing sense of humor and his ability to make me laugh. Oh my, what a blessing that is!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Something else to think about

I suddenly have something else  -- and someone else -- to think about.

Sue, who I have known since high school...

(she is the one there on the right in this picture, who is behaving herself)

and who I saw in November when I went to Los Angeles…

has sent an e-mail announcing that early in March she found out that she has breast cancer. Her mother died of breast cancer 20 years ago at age 73.

Sue is a very smart woman and has been faithful about having her yearly mammogram, and they have caught this cancer very early. So early in fact, that they had to do the equivalent of an “E-ticket ride” (if you did not go to Disneyland during its early years of operation you can read an explanation here) to get a biopsy specimen because the spot was so small.

Naturally this is a roller coaster for her – and no doubt there is a battle on-going in her heart not to cave into fear. I understand a little of that fear – I had a breast lump removed in 1990, that I knew they knew wasn’t cancer, but they wouldn’t come right out and tell me for sure it wasn’t cancer until they got it out. I spent some time on pins and needles until we learned it was a fibrocystic lump. 

This is the real deal for her though, not fibrocystic breast disease, and I don’t even want to hint that I know how she feels.

A lot has changed in breast cancer treatment since her mother died, and her prognosis is very good. I am so sorry this is happening to her, but I think she is going to be fine. Praying about someone else’s crises often is just the thing to help divert self-absorption.  

When Sue got married, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. She chose purple and orange for her colors, and at the time I thought, “You have got to be kidding! Purple and orange?” Of course, it was gorgeous.

In the winter of 1981, I received a box at Christmas from friend in Oregon. The two years we spent there changed our lives in ways I can’t even go into, and I have cherished in my heart the relationships I made there. There was a king-sized “friendship quilt” in the box – which we have used every winter since then – and there was also grapevine Christmas wreath. It has hung on various walls in the house, gathering dust, and occasionally getting knocked off, since 1981. It became sadder and more tired looking as each year passed, and finally, a few weeks ago, as Spring began to peak around the corner, I decided I would give the wreath a face lift.

My friend Judy thoughtfully cut out a florist’s advertisement from the local daily paper announcing that she refurbished wreaths and arrangements, so at our last appointment with the grief counselor, I dropped the wreath off at a florist shop. I told her to “fix it up.” I gave her a dollar limit on how much I wanted to spend, and told her I wanted it to be bright and pretty, and then I blurted out that I liked “purple and orange.”

Judy was kind enough to pick it up for me. I think the florist did a great job.

It is now hanging in safe spot on Richard’s office wall,

and every time I look at it, and I can see it easily where I sit at the table to eat, I think about Sue and I say a little prayer that….

she will get the best care possible from the medical team treating her…
she will be strong…
the treatment will work…
she will have peace…
that she will be surrounded by strong and supportive people who will encourage her not to give up… and
her faith will not waver...