Dec 15 2010

five minutes.
{reverb10 – day 15}


Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes.
Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most
want to remember about 2010.

I feel like I did exactly that in the way I answered the wisdom prompt.
But here is today’s five minute synopsis.


I fell in love. With a kitten.

I felt the sun on my face as sweat poured off my body,
taking stress and frustration with it.

I spent a weekend giggling in the Thousand islands,
most notably when my niece dropped her glasses
in the toilet.

I held my husband’s hand many times.

I whispered my secrets to the moon.

I got rained on, a lot, but I did not melt.

I sat in my garden once and wrote about everything
directly in front of me. It was life.

I gave out a lot of hugs. This is new,
I never used to be a hugger.

I started two blogs. I wrote every day.
Every day.

I counseled my children. Sometimes they listened,
sometimes they did not.

I spent time at the hospital with my mom. She spent
most of her time asking questions of her caretakers,
remembering the names of their children.

I stopped my car by the side of the road,
more than once, to take pictures.

I drove for two hours to find the base of a windmill.
It was like finding the end of the rainbow.

Then I fell in love again, with the other kitten.

And it all went by in exactly five minutes.

{reverb10} check it out here

Nov 30 2010


Today I am over at Vision & Verb

talking to the animals…

but not this one, because she’s asleep.

Oct 1 2010

gray is my favorite color…

Well, it’s not really, purple is, but that’s how the song goes, and yesterday when I woke up, it was dreary and rainy and misty and foggy and everywhere I looked, there was gray.

So I wrote about that grayness, over at the blue muse, wrote about questions with no answers, and all the things I’m not afraid of, and the one thing that I am. Which is not gray.

And then later in the day, I found out that I will have to work all weekend if I want to go away with my family next weekend, even though I was supposed to be taking a jewelry class from a metal clay master on Saturday as a gift from a friend.

That is the way my life works (tiny violins playing in background).

And that is the way it worked yesterday, as gray poured from the sky, for hours. I don’t think it rained steadily, all day long, even once this summer. But yesterday was that day. And along with all that gray came the feeling sorry for myself and the melancholy mood and the wishing I were anywhere but here, and then also, this:

I went to check on the outdoor kitties, who don’t wish to stay inside even when it’s raining, and there was Brett, standing on two legs, peeking in the window of the back door in that cute little way he does, front paws up on the sill, meowing his cute little let-me-in meow that makes his nose wrinkle.


Just then, when I looked out at him looking in, he had a big, fat chipmunk in his mouth. And even still I could see his little nose wrinkling, still see that somehow he was trying to meow around a mouth full of chipmunk fur, and was asking me to let him in.

Well now, I couldn’t tell if the chipmunk was still alive or not, but either way, I was not opening that door. So I walked away in the hopes that he would get tired of the game and take his prey elsewhere. I came back five minutes later, but he was still there, peering in the window, still meowing with his mouth full.

So, I waited five more minutes and went back again. This time, the chipmunk was, um, clearly dead. Ugh. And by this time it was raining so hard that the back entryway was starting to flood, which meant that I was going to have to do something about the chipmunk before he starting floating his way toward the door.

Off I went, in search of my rain boots, and just then, the mail lady came by to drop off a package, which she had to set down right next to Mr. Chipmunk’s remains, as it was the only dry spot left. Double Ugh. Poor mail lady. Poor chipmunk. Poor me who now had to go out and find the shovel in the pouring rain and clean up this mess.

A mess that was made by my sweet little kitten, who, ten minutes later, was dry and happy and purring in my lap.

And this kitten, well, he’s gray, too.

What a coincidence.

Jul 30 2010

spreading some sunshine

Last Friday, at the end of a long crazy week that was filled with its share of doubts, I received a lovely surprise. Jennifer Morrison, from realia, bestowed upon me the Sunshine Award: I was touched and honored and it came at such a perfect time, after one of those days when insecurities about my writing had reared their ugly head.

So first of all, I must say thank you, Jennifer, from the bottom of my heart. This really means a lot to me. I love the tag line over at realia: Pay attention – there’s a story wherever you go. So true.

And second of all, I want to say thank you to you, yes YOU, the one being kind enough to read this. Your comments and encouragement and kindness continue to amaze me, every day. It means so much to me, truly.

And thirdly, I thought that I should pay it forward a bit, and pass it on to a few of the people who add sunshine to my day. There are many more than I can list here, but these women were among the first people to comment here, to make me feel welcome, to make me feel that perhaps I do have something to say.

Debi, over at emma tree. She paints pictures with words, always. Her writing is poetry, pure and simple. She is the artist and writer that I imagined I might become way back when I was 13.

Beth, over at be yourself, everyone else is taken. The name of Beth’s blog captures her spirit exactly. I always leave there with a little smile on my face, she views life through rose-colored glasses.

Graciel, at evenstar art. She has encouraged me from the very beginning, she has a heart of gold, and I love her view of the world. I find peace and inspiration with her, always.

Julochka, from moments of perfect clarity. Early on, she featured me as a blog crush, and I was so surprised and honored, and I also love her way of looking at the world, profound and honest.

Thanks, to all of you. I am not setting any rules here, you may pass this along or not, I just wanted you to know how much you have meant to me on this journey.

There are so many others who have touched my heart, each in a different way. I appreciate you all, more than you can know.

:  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  : :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :  :

And I just discovered the pet parade over at red or gray today, so I thought that perhaps I should join in the fun, being a certified crazy cat lady and all. So here is “My Handsome Man,” my sweet Pepe, a truly gentle soul that came to us injured and starving and looking like a completely different cat three years ago…

I’m so glad he found us. He, also, has brought sunshine into my life.

Jun 28 2010

it comes and it goes

A moment of clarity so much clearer than I would have liked.

Seeing things that I could have done without seeing. Speaking words that make no sense to anyone but me. Laughing at bad jokes and hard comments and all this party banter. It makes my face hurt.

I would much rather be home, sitting in my garden, even if that means there are mosquitoes.

And then, later, I am home, in my garden, and there are mosquitoes, and black flies, and my funny little kitten who keeps rooting in my heart, growing deep into a place I did not know was there.

There is that risk, again. We take it, all of us, each time we love. Knowing what could happen.

It cannot be helped.

Like these damned mosquitoes. I just want to sit here. They just want to eat. But I am not in the mood for compromise.

There is another cat here, the neighbor’s. I’d like to adopt her, too.
I know she is hungry. I feed her, sometimes. But no more cats, no more. And she is theirs, not ours, although so was my Pepe, when he showed up here, half-dead. I didn’t feel like compromise then, either, although I sort of got permission before I brought him inside. At least I told them he was here. They did not ask for him back.

My mockingbird has learned duck. It is hysterical. Quack quack.
A big cosmic joke, the mockingbird. One of my favorites. Evolution is supposed to happen for a reason. But what is the reason for the mockingbird’s talent? And what about fireflies? What is the reason for the glow, is there one? Or are they just pretty?

Songs float through my mind these days. Lines I remember and don’t know why. Just now, “This is not my beautiful life.” Well, this can’t be anything but my life, I am the only one in it. This is my life. And it is beautiful.

The cats are playing: hide and seek, you can’t catch me, this is my house. Once survival is taken care of, something else kicks in: the need to be entertained.

I just want to sit here and listen. This mockingbird that has learned to quack. It makes me smile, I sit here by myself with a silly grin on my face. The air is oppressive. Humidity 100%. There is no breeze.

Nature doesn’t care what I think, or say or do or observe. She just marches on, in one direction. Nature never asks why.

But still, these cats.

They play.

Jun 12 2010

lessons I’ve learned from
{cats} about life

Sunbeams make the best mattresses.

Being top dog isn’t all that.

Claws come in really handy sometimes.

You can make a toy out of almost anything.

There is nothing like a fireplace in winter.

Curiosity doesn’t usually kill you,
but it will get you in trouble sometimes.

Speed is underrated.

It is better to be the cat than the mouse.

A warm lap is a worthwhile quest.

A nice bath right before bed helps you sleep.

It’s better to eat small meals throughout the day.

Sometimes you have to share, and sometimes
you can get away with taking what you want.

Emotions can be understood in any language.

It’s okay to expose your belly to those you trust.

When you are happy, sing, when you are mad, grumble.

Life is one long series of meals and naps.

A little catnip every now and then never hurt anyone.

When you are scared and you want to look tough,
give yourself big hair.


P.S. Doesn’t he look like he is posing for a school portait?

May 14 2010

the food chain

So yesterday, I let Brett, Number 4, most often known as Puddin’ Pie, outside for the first time in three days, and later, I look out the kitchen window and I see him carrying a huge bird in his tiny kitten mouth. And I thought it was a mockingbird, my mockingbird, the one that likes to tell me lots of stories, and I was oh, so not happy with Brett.

So I sent my husband a text that said, “Brett just killed the mockingbird,” and he called me and said, “No, that bird was out there when I mowed the lawn last night.” And Brett was not.

Pause. Okay….

And I was glad, oh so glad, that Brett didn’t kill it, and then, just a few minutes later, I heard the mockingbird, my mockingbird, singing his tune, and I was glad, oh so glad about that. But still, I had to wonder, who or what killed this bird, and why, knowing that we have six, yes, six! cats, did my husband just leave it out there?

Because then I couldn’t find Brett to get it away from him, and when he finally did come back, he was licking his chops, so I know, just know, that he had himself an I-have-no-idea-how-long-this-bird-has-been-dead snack.

But I can’t blame him, he’s a cat, for crying out loud. That’s his job in life. To kill birds and mice and those mice in clown’s costumes, the chipmunk. And then eat them.

And still it made me sad, because I love my birds and we have spent so much time and bird seed and bird baths and bird houses trying to attract them to our yard, and now we have these cats that I want to kill the mice and even the cute little chipmunks, but I definitely don’t want them killing birds.

But that is not the way nature works, not the way instinct works, and why did I think it would be, could be otherwise?

And then Brett, he comes inside and he climbs into my lap and he is just so stinkin’ cute and he is all cuddly, all purrs and kisses and sweet tiny meows in his funny little squeaky kitten voice. And I am in love with this kitten and his sweet cuddly kitten ways. But. I have seen, several times now, what he can do.

What he is capable of.

Food for thought, that.

May 5 2010

i am thinking
i could use a friend

But it is late, too late and it is just me, here, with the moon and all these cats, who are usually enough but tonight, another night in a rough week, a tough week, a week of too much work, and too much conflict, and too much not enough quiet, these cats and this moon are not quite enough to soothe me.

Most of the time during a week like this, which seems like more weeks than not, lately, all I want is to be by myself, alone, to unwind, decompress, listen to silence.

But every once in a while, on a warm, windows open kind of night like tonight, a night that would be a porch night if I had a porch, I find myself wishing I had a girlfriend, a neighbor maybe, who would stop by, late and unannounced, and sit across from me at the kitchen table and drink tea, no, whiskey and lemonade because it is too warm for tea, and talk me through it, around it, over it.

And we would complain about the heat, and laugh about silly things like dresses and movies and bad hair days and old boyfriends and sappy poetry and endless hours of folding laundry. And then move on to deeper subjects, life and living, love and heartache, tragedy and mystery. We would solve all the problems of the world. And suddenly, it would be 3:00 a.m. and we would say, both at once, “I haven’t stayed up this late in years.”

But now the moment has passed and it’s no big deal, and I wasn’t really in a poor me kind of mood, it was just a little late night reminiscence brought on by this warmth, already a little too warm, reminding me of summers when I was a young girl. My mom always had girlfriends like that, although she never drank anything stronger than coffee. It was one of those moments, a possibility of perhaps… something I might be doing if I had that life.

But in reality, my reality, most of the time I like to be alone, or at least the kind of alone that is my husband sleeping in the next room. And I barely have time for the friends I have now. And tomorrow, it will be fine, I will call one of those friends, and we will laugh.

Anyway, it was just a thought, and it is late

and there’s just me, here.

Besides, I have all these cats,

and the moon, she knows my name.