Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923, Swiss) was an Art Nouveau print maker, illustrator, painter and sculptor best known for his prolific portfolio of cat depictions.

Steinlen had a love of art from an early age and attended art school in his native Lausanne.In 1881, he moved to Paris.

Living in Montmartre allowed him to meet the leading artists and writers of the day who often frequented the club Chat Noir.

In Paris he began to illustrate various magazines and books by Guy de Maupassant and Anatole Frances.

His love of cats and their world inspired marvelous artwork circling the aloof creature, much to our enjoyment.More of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen‘s work can be found across the Internet, includinghttps://www.thegreatcat.org/the-cat-in-art-and-photos-2/cats-in-art-20th-century/theophile-alexandre-steinlen-1859-1923-swiss/.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Vladimir Rumyantsev

St. Petersburg-based artist Vladimir Rumyantsev was born in 1957 in Cherepovets, Russia.

They are so expressive and painted with a sense of humor that can hardly leave anyone indifferent.

Vladimir paints mainly in watercolor, and his works are full of fun. He has become popular for his “St. Petersburg cats.”

His paintings are well-known and appreciated all over Russia, and many of them found their place in museums across Europe, USA, Britain and other countries.

The specialty of his works is the humorous representation of cats’ lives, often in human roles, which still makes them loved pets.

Perhaps one of his cats are based on yours!

Vladimir Rumyantsev‘s work can be seen around the Internet.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 5

My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.

I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)

Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)

 

 

 

 

 

Katzenworld (https://katzenworld.co.uk/)

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Chemistry Cat

Chemistry Cat, also known as Science Cat, is a series of puns and science jokes appearing as captions around a cat behind some chemistry glassware wearing black rimmed glasses and a red bow tie.

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While the source of the image remains a mystery, it is likely a stock photograph, possibly of Russian origin.

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This wonderfully serious cat with a quick wit has changed the face of Chemistry.

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Chemistry Cat puts a smile on scientists and non-scientists alike.

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And isn’t that the purpose of Art?

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To bring enjoyment and a smile into your life?

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Cat’s Eyes

20081221134735180My life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I’ve taken off to North Carolina and visited my bff and a city that was fun and busy and full of Southern charm, went to work for two days, then took off to Northern Wisconsin and noshed and laughed and cackled with friends while we hid from the rain.

It seems everyone had fun these past few weeks except for one.

Mysty.

My Cat.

Do you ever get punished by your pets for going away?  I have two cats, a toughy, lovey boy tuxedo named Tom, and a once-tiny-now-balloony girl Mysty.

Tom could care less when I come and go. He sleeps with whomever is around, including sometimes the dogs. Mysty is another story.

Everytime I go away and then return she makes eye contact, barely acknowledging my return, then gives me the cold shoulder for the day.

I didn’t think cats held grudges. But this one does.

When I’m home she’s on my computer, twisting her cute little head sideways, insisting on pets. She sleeps by my head, climbs all over me when I watch TV, all that cute little cat stuff.

But when I’ve been gone a few days — worse, when the whole family has been away and the cats have been left alone — well, hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned.

Of course, things are back to normal after a long day. I don’t think cats have that long of a memory span, and besides, they want to be fed. And pet. But for those few first hours, I swear my cat pouts and looks forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where her master momma stayed home and played with her every day.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t leave my first born until he was 2 or 3. Just think of the dramatic sigh a toddler would make, looking forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where his momma stayed home and played with him every day.

That is, until grandma or grandpa gave him popcorn or a Butterfinger or took him to the park. Which was instantly after I drove away.

Maybe I should offer a Butterfinger to Mysty…

 

My Obligatory Kids and Kittens Blog

They say posts with kids and kittens get the most responses.

That’s because it’s easier to smile at laugh and kids and kittens when you’re not directly responsible for them.

I adore my grandkids. What grandparent doesn’t feel the same towards theirs? Yet mine exhaust me to the point of see-ya-later-maybe-much-later. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, yet it does create a guilt trip in this bubble mind of mine.

I have been blessed in ways others have not. My GKs have always lived within an hour’s drive. I still talk to my son (although I sometimes think he think’s I AM the bubble head queen), and I love my daughter-in-law. It’s a win/win thing.

Yet when I get the kids overnight it’s like I’ve never moved or babysat in my life.

One is almost 6, and wants to run around outside, which is the best thing in the world for him. But he wants to cut vegetables, saw wood, drive the tractor, dig with the shovel — things way above his talent (and height). My husband encourages Mr. Little Farmer (it’s not a farm but we all call it that)  in other directions (often with adult supervision), yet lets him sit on his lap in the tractor driver’s seat and drive down our long country driveway.

Yikes.

The baby, 8 months old, can’t tell me if he prefers cereal or puffs or spaghetti or a bottle. So I give them all to him between his crawling adventures. He’s no longer in the “hold me on your lap” phase — he’s more into the “put me on the floor!” state of demand. Off he goes, crawling over the dog, the cat, picking up weird things that hide under the chairs…crabbing one minute, laughing the next.

Somehow I don’t remember my kids being this pumped up.

Of course, that was 30 years ago. I was 30 years younger. (Ack!! Don’t say that!) My view of the world and my place in it, was much different. Back then I thought I could make a difference. That I could have it all — great job, great kids, a house out of Architectural Digest — all the things that motivate young people to work hard and study hard.

Now, at the age of 60+, I’m in the job I’m going to be in for the long run, and Wall Street it isn’t. Nor is my house the ones dreams are made of. Nor is my beat up 2005 Sable or 2004 KIA van. I have succeeded with the great kid part, but I am still learning to let them live their own lives, too.

My energy level has wandered away down some long forgotten path, too. I’m working on finding that path again — I figured if I want to live long enough to see my GKs get married, I’d better start walking those paths again soon.

Babysitting the kids fits that bill of exercise, too. Not wanting to look like the old, falling apart granny, I do my best to climb the hills, dig the holes, and ride the bikes. That, too, I believe, keeps the Reaper away.

But dang, kids — my pace and yours is not nor ever will be the same.

Maybe that’s a good thing — after all, if I had all that energy, what would be left for my own kids have to do?

Singing Cats

tumblr_lmndk2YwcA1qfoh4tI think of myself as an (pretty much) independent person; loving, kind, funny, quirky, smart (in different ways). Self confidence was a long time in coming, but now that I’m a wee bit older, it is finally beginning to be a way of life.

Imagine my chagrin, then, when my husband told me that my cats are training ME!

For all you cat lovers out there (and I know there’s alot), cats are independent, affectionate, and vocal. Vocal to the point of nagging, sometimes.

Such is the case of my two darlings…Tom and Mysty.

Mysty is one of those squirrel-furred types who is as big as Dick Butkus. Tom is a gray and white tuxedo with a smaller girth but solid as a punching bag.

My hubby feeds them when he comes home from work (4 a.m.) and before I get home from work (4 p.m.) It obviously is not often enough, though, according to my dears, because they follow me and meow and scream and needle me from the time hubby leaves the house until I go to bed.

I once suggested hubby didn’t feed them enough at mealtime. His response was an incredulous eyeball popper. He, indeed, fed them plenty at both meals.

Well, not according to Tom and Mysty.

That’s when he told me that the cats are conditioning me. Training me to give them tidbits all night long.

Not me, I assured him. He MUST not be feeding them enough!

Hubby showed me how much food each should be getting each day, and how he slips a tad bit more into their bowls. It’s their eating habits that are out of hand when I’m around.

Well, when you are home alone evening after evening, putzing with laundry and dishes and working on your computer, and every time you stand up, they come meowing, and follow you into the kitchen and bathroom still meowing, well, it sounds like they are starving to me.

So I give them itsy bitsy extras just to shut them up.

I suppose it’s my fault that Mysty is Tanky and Tom is Wide Buff. They chase each other around the house at night all the time, so I figured they were burning off some of those calories.

Tom gets kidney problems now and then, so the vet has me change to canned food now and then. This change turns him into a cannibal and Mysty into a scavenger. Tom’s habit is eating three or four bites, then play, sleep, then come back for the rest.

Mysty’s habit is devour everything in sight.

Hubby says I should ignore them when they meow at me. That they know what gets to me and are controlling me.

I say pfffish…no one controls me. I am my own person.

Of course, it’s always easy to boast my bravado when I’m sitting at a computer miles away from the choir…and I hear n.u.t.i.n…..

Get Past the Black Cat Thing

black-cat-946162872Let’s get this out of the way first.

I know this doesn’t apply to my readers, but get the message out:

DON’T HURT ANY BLACK CATS THIS HALLOWEEN! IF YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE PLANNING SOMETHING NASTY, CALL THE POLICE!! THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS CATS TURNING INTO WITCHES AND VICE VERSA. Cats can’t help the color of their fur, no more than people their skin.

Now that that’s over…

All Hallow’s Eve.

That magical time of the year that embraces too much candy, Midwest rain, and follow-up visits to the dentist. How can you not love a day like that?

According to http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween, Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

Okay, I see where the death part comes in. Cold weather, not much fire, working in the fields 18 hours a day — not a happy recipe for long life.

But then empty heads turned to black cats and witches and things they couldn’t explain. Black cats used to rule. They were held in high esteem in early Egyptian times, dating back as far as 3000 BC. I mean, who doesn’t know Bastet? bastet_statue

It wasn’t until  the middle-ages in Europe that the black cat’s rock star status started to go downhill as they began to be associated with so-called witches. The hysteria of witches practicing black magic had just hit Europe and alley cats were often cared for and fed by the poor lonely old ladies (funny how some things never change) later accused of witchery.

So all this nonsense of sacrificing black cats and dark magic and hibbery jibbery came from the fear of cat ladies. Can you imagine? Imagination is one thing, nonsense is another.

I say let’s take this ghostly, spooky, totally Americanized holiday and bring it back to its ancient roots in Egypt. You don’t have to like cats to respect them. Worship you cat. At least let him sit and type with you on your laptop. Embrace the millennium in which you exist and embrace life. Get rid of the fear of the hokus pokus associated with this really delightful celebration of candy and pumpkin pie and the Monster Mash. And knock the nonsense out of anyone who says different.

They say the border between worlds is thinnest at Samhain. I’m going to go out and check the communication between worlds tomorrow night.  Who knows? Maybe my mom will stop by. Or dad. Or my dog Rennie.  Maybe I can catch up on the gossip from the other side. Who’s hanging with who. Who’s doing the Irish Jig on the table and who’s sleeping under it. Who’s got the best bonies in the neighborhood. Which cat is hangin’ with which dog.

There’s always a story somewhere. Whether you’re looking for it or not, it’s there, waiting for you.  Find one this Halloween. Write it. Live it. Sing it.

Who knows — maybe your black cat will sing with you!

 

 

8 (more) Granny Rules

CAM00835 (2)I want to start this off by saying how lucky — and I mean lucky — I am to have my oldest son, his pregnant wife, and my 4-year-old grandbaby living with us for a few months. I will never have this opportunity again, so I don’t want to blow it.

Having said that, I have found that when family stays with you (even if it’s for a week or two), the rules as a Granny change. I find I’m not as freebird-ish as I want to be. I have learned that, much to MY chagrin, you have to be respectful of the parents’ wishes, thoughts, and actions.

So for you other present or future grannies and grandpas, here are some rules you should think about.

1.  Bed Time is Bed Time.

Oh, you may be able to squeeze an extra hour out on the weekends, but during the week, there is no watching TV in bed with Granny while eating an ice cream bar or jumping on the bed with the dogs. They need to calm down before sleep time. (So do you!)

2. Bed Time Snacks Are Different.

No more chips and soda before bed; no more cheese sticks and slices of salami, no more Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch cocktails. Pull that apple out from the back of the frig shelf, or pour a bowl of cereal. Act responsible. (Leave the ice cream bars for before YOU go to bed..)

3.  Ask your Mom/Dad

My grandson used to come over and get just about anything he wanted any time he wanted. Now that he’s under closer supervision, I can’t sneak him string cheese or pretzels and peanut butter  instead of dinner. I find myself saying, “Ask your Mother.” I feel like I’m shirking my Granny duties, but it’s better if the stomach aches come from them, not me.

4.  Kids and Pets

I tend to yell at my 3 stupid dogs a lot. I now have to clean up my language and not sound like a truck driver every time the dog pees or poops inside or wraps the leash around my ankle. My grandbaby adds to the furor by picking up my cats around the neck and parading around with them. When the cats have finally had enough, he takes it personally and starts to antagonize them. My language AND my reprimands are a little stronger now days. Not the Granny Way.

5.  Play Age-Approriate Games

Teaching a grandbaby how to use an axe to cut the string on firewood or mowing the lawn with a riding tractor (although grandpa rode on the tractor too) is not what a mother wants to hear. I am always honest with her — much to HER chagrin. While riding down the little hill on a Big Wheels looks as scary as a runaway train, a vigilant grandparent will be there every step of the way. Trust me — past times like coloring and playing with cars don’t hold a candle to a big squirt gun fight.

6.  Give your kids and grandkids space.

It’s fairly easy to trip over each other in one household. Fortunately my husband is gone in the evening and I’m gone during the day, so our 25 minutes of shared daylight doesn’t get in anyone’s way. But once grandpa is gone and I’m home alone with everybody, I tend to start feeling like a sticky note. I believe that evening times are Dad and Mom times, with a little Granny sprinkled in now and then for color. I usually wind up going into my room and writing/watch TV/fold laundry anyway, giving them plenty of time to cuddle as a threesome and talk about me if they want.

7.  No Hands.

And who better to teach a 4-year-old no hands on the roller coaster? Momma and I get sick just looking at them; then there’s Grandpa. And Dad. But Grandpa is the Instigator who looks fear in the eye and laughs at it. (He has a great laugh). If trying something off-center, try and pull one of the parents into it. It’s easier in the long run.

8.  Be honest.

Grannies are always honest…it just doesn’t always seem like it. Most times we are relegated to seeing our grandkids every other weekend, or, sadly, every month or every year. We have to make the most of our time together; after all, we don’t want our grandkids to forget about us once we’re gone. That’s why I tell my grandbaby (and my kids, but to a lesser degree), how much I love them, how much I miss them when they’re gone, how much I can’t wait to see them the next time. We plan things that might not come to fruition, but it’s the fun and love in planning that makes the difference.  I wear my love on my sleeve. And don’t regret the shredded mess at all.

 

We’re going to have another addition to our family in a few months. I have found as a mother myself that it’s easier to let go (to grandparents) by the time the second one comes along. Parents realize that their parents aren’t one step from the looney bin, they’re not Charles Manson followers, and the craziness that occurs is more in the mind than in reality.

Soon we will have TWO kids to spoil. My kids won’t be living with us by then.

Momma — watch out. Granny’s coming —

 

The TRUTH Behind Cats and the Strawberry Moon

hdAlright. Now that the Strawberry Moon thing is over, I can tell you the real story of my last blog.

You see, I was walking down the tractor trail along this huge, long cornfield. It happened that sunset and moonrise were at the same time that night, and with MR — I mean Mercury Retrograde (I can say it now) in full swing, I was prepared for anything.

Or so I thought.

As the huge moon crested over a barn in the far distance (a real Kodak moment), I started to hear strange sounds from the center of the cornfield. Now, mind you, the corn is really only stubble; 4-5 inches max. So I should have noticed something strange down the row from the get-go. But you know me — into the Goddess “thing” and blah blah blah-ing to the moon about writing and getting published and all that, I just didn’t notice.

I didn’t notice a gathering of moving things dancing in a circle.

Now, you know me. I’m more pretzel than logic, and my creativity takes me to places I’ve never been before. But I was standing on a dirt road all by myself a quarter mile from home, so I instantly switched to my logic gear (also known as survival mode).

I stood very still, trying to figure out what the commotion was. If it was a band of gypsies or satan worshipers, I was gonna take off faster than Dale Earnhardt. But the “gathering” wasn’t tall at all. Not like human beings. Not even tall enough to be kids.

No — the noise was coming from something no bigger than a cat.

Wolves, I thought. Coyotes. Eating, devouring their prey. Howling and growling and sacrificing to the Strawberry Moon. I felt adrenelin flush my whole body. Yet I had to know. Curiosity was suddenly my deadly companion. So C and I tip-toed closer to the group making all the noise.

All I could hear was, “Mrrrro brrrreeerrr Mrrrrro! Mrrrrro breeerrrr Mrrrro!” Over and over. Chanting. A mantra. Surely they were calling up the spirits of the Strawberry! I would be a gonner if I wandered any closer. But, you know me. I couldn’t resist.

Louder and louder they chanted. The moon kept rising, bigger, fuller, flushed with red, not unlike the Strawberry it was named after. The cold wind blew around me, bringing goosebumps to my under-dressed body. But the chanting got louder and louder.

What in the #($*#@ was going on?

Suddenly the chanting reached its pinnacle, and all in one voice they screamed, “MRRRRO BEEERRRRZZZ MRRRROOOOO!” The moon shook, the wind swirled in a final tornado, and suddenly 7 or 8 cats ran off into the night!

They had been dancing around something half buried between two corn stubs. I was terrified. But I had wandered this far — what could it have been?? Stumbling over the last few rows of corn, smashing a stalk or two (sorry, farmer John), I saw what the commotion had been about.

Half buried in the dirt was a little dark blue football, a big orange “C” facing the Strawberry Moon that now had turned orangy itself. And I knew.

Go Bears Go.

The Chicago Bears needed all the help they could get…

(I told you there was a story there somewhere….)

Cats and the Strawberry Moon

catI had a case of the crabbies today, par for most who have to work a whole week after only have worked 4 days the week before and none the week before that. It seemed a number of people I encountered today were a bit “off” as well. I would blame it on MR (can’t say…I promised), but I think it’s just a case of I-wanna-be-anywhere-but-at-work syndrome.

Tonight is/was the Strawberry Moon. You’ve undoubtedly have heard of it — a full moon, close to Earth, makes for one giant strawberry in the sky. So me and my adventurous self took a walk down a wooded path to the back gate which faces a huge corn field, and waited for the moon to appear.

I always think myself a bit weird to begin with, but pacing up and down the tractor road along side newly sprouted corn, waiting for a moon that could show up anywhere across the horizon was plenty weird, too. I’ve waited for moonrise before — I even blogged about one incident (Moonlight at Sunset, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-4e, if you want to go back that far)  eleventy twenty nine years ago (that’s how my grandson counts).

There was a tractor plowing/planting in the field, and I’m sure he caught sight of me once or twice. I didn’t want to have to explain what I was doing tiptoeing around his field (even though he’s a good guy and wouldn’t mind), so I occasionally ducked in the hedgerow lining the path. What a weirdo, too.

But all my weirdness was well worth it when the moon rose. It was indeed a strawberry color, huge and ripe and round and lovely to behold. It was at that moment that the crabbys disappeared…who could hold a grudge against the world with something so awesome in the night sky?

It’s these moments that make me feel so small, yet so immense. If there is no heaven, I want to be able to absorb these cosmic moments as often as I can. For nothing is as holy as a phenomenon in space.

I used to be an astronomy buff; I took classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and even bought a telescope. My scientific side melded with my fantasy side, and a true appreciation of science fiction was born. I think it’s true for all creative people. Thinking of places you can go, things you can invent, spaces you can fill, all overwhelm the senses. Creativity isn’t pidgeon-holed into science fiction realms — I have seen pottery and jewelry and wire sculpturing that escape all dimensions. And all that creativity makes me wonder — what’s next?

When you see the immensity of the moon, something real and bright and ever changing, how can you hold a grudge with the world? Get out of your house, out of your room, out of your car. Go out and experience the Goddess in her every changing glory. Then bring Her energy into you and let it turn your imagination into reality. Be inspired.  Be creative. Be whole.  If the moon isn’t your thing, try the sun. Let the warm rays fill you with hope and strength. Or Mother Earth. She’s a phenomenon all unto herself.

Let go of the crabbies. They never helped anyone get anywhere anyway.

Since my thought earlier today was of writing a blog about cats, I leave you with the image above. Cats and Strawberry Moons have the makings of a wonderful story. Or necklace. Or painting.

Don’t you think?

Read This Right Now!

10410939_10203578780099885_8715010658202880461_nTo all you current and wannabe bloggers, I came across some interesting statistics the other day, courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics .

As far as us lovers of blab go:

The average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.

The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.

The average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds.

I just imagine the statistics for 2015 are even more mind blowing. What does that hold for us chatterboxes? Are we full of hot  air? Do we think we are Shakespeare when we are merely Rocky?

I tried to think of things you can do in 8 seconds.  You can:

Glance over one’s resume

Count to 8

Delete your Facebook account

Deseed a pomegranate with a spoon

Speed dial Japan

Make a bologna sandwich

So what the article was saying is — keep your message tight, short, to the point.

Right — and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really our president, either.

I looked back at my blogs. I’ve been chatting away since 2011. I must say I have cut back on my rhetoric. Back then, Dinner with the Queen (6/22/11) was 1015 words. Chocolate and the Tuscan Sun (4/23/11) was 1016 words. My last few blogs have been more reasonable. Incredible Edibles (686).  Evidence was 452 words. BFFs was 564 words. Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty was 686 (am I pushing it here?). I am trying to heed the warning that these days it’s really easy to bore people. To numb people. I have them flip past your book/page/article and move onto the next. And the next.

Some articles I’ve read say you should be able to tell your story in two sentences. Anything else is wasted work. (Of course, that particular article was over 1,000 words long). I know we are all used to Yahoo headlines. After all, that’s how many of us get our news these days.

But how do you know if you’re missing anything of substance? How do you know if you’ll enjoy what you read if the story is only 20 words? How do you know what the person(s) is feeling or thinking or doing in less than two sentences? I think eating only one piece of chocolate is easier.

I could shorten my blogs to a couple of sentences:

Evidence: My cat steals things from my purse and leaves them on the dog’s pillow. She is naughty.

Incredible Edibles: Going to a Creative Leftovers School would be fun. You could learn what to do with leftovers.

They just don’t have the same panasche as the thought process of the sneaky fat cat or the  truth behind impulse buying and portion control, do they?

I suppose that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Short, sweet spots of information. Glance and forget. Or glance and send to yourself so you don’t forget it. I have about 15 recipes on FB that I’ve sent myself so I wouldn’t lose them in the plethora of information spinning past me every day. Don’t ask me if I’ve ever gone back to look at them, though.

I think writing, like anything else, is done half way in the middle. Sometimes it takes paragraphs to describe scenery or someone’s evil thoughts. Other times, a few words will do. You will “get it” no matter which you choose. Just be careful the tone in which you convey your message.

You may be describing a decadent desert and someone will mistake it for porn. Worse yet, you may be describing porn and someone will think you’re talking about strawberry shortcake.

 

Evidence!

CAM01055I know this is supposed to be a Goddessy blog, with Goddessy, middle-aged stories. And it is.

Maybe this is just a middle-aged reaction to thieves in the night. Thieves in the cold, crisp dawn. Thieves in the whisper of the early morn.

Last night I went to watch my grandbaby and his swimming lessons. Came home, set my purse on the sofa end table, loved and pet the dogs and cats, and went to bed. Somewhere in the late night I let them come and sleep with me for a couple of hours. (Mistake number 1).  Now, I’m not a sleep-with-the-animals kinda girl, but when I’m overtired and I don’t want to hear the dogs click-click-click across the wood floor, I invite them now and then to sleep on the bed.

Hubby comes home at 4, feeds said cats and dogs, and kicks all animals out of the room, and things are quiet until I get up for work a couple hours later. (Mistake number 2).

I get up this morning to go to work, and look at what I found on the dog’s pillow! My glasses soft case, a bracelet, and my flash drive holder! My first instinct was to blame the dogs…they are big, naughty, lovey chocolate labs. They get into the garbage, run away helter skelter if not watched, and bug me 95% of my waking hours. So who easier to blame for the woes of my domestic tranquility than them?

Later in the day I tell hubby about finding my prized possessions on the dog pillows, and, low and behold, he said it was my cats. My little Tom and my fatty Mysty. I say, “wha?” He says, oh yeah, I hear them playing hockey with things I leave out all the time. Pens, pins, bracelets, all kinds of trinkets find their way off the tables and onto the floor courtesy of my kitties.

Humph!

Now, it’s only the two of us (humans) in the house; it’s babyproofed when my grandbaby comes to visit, but otherwise it’s a kind of pick-up-when-you-feel-like-it place. I lived a long time to be able to live this way.

Now I find I have to kitty-proof my house. Including zipping my purse closed, it seems.

What ever happened to the carefree days of middle age? Those days when your kids are gone and you are free to walk around in your underwear and drink milk straight from the jug? The days when you are free to leave your purse open without fear of some ransacking animal pulling things out of it and seeing if they bounce? Before you know it they’ll be pulling out my toothbrush and brushing their kitty teeth or using a fork to eat their cat food, ordering cat trinkets on HSN and ordering tuna pizza from Pizza Hut.

Now that I think about it, though, it’s actually kinda funny to picture fat cat digging around in my purse, pushing the lipstick and gum aside, just to find the empty cloth glass case, picking it up with her teeth, pulling it out, shaking it around, and fetching it across the room, leaving it on the dog’s pillows, setting them up for the fall.

I guess she’s not such a dumb cat after all.

 

Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty….

Let me start off by saying – I love cats. I love MY cats. They are solace when I am sad, they are loving when I feel empty.

Now.

My cats also drive me up the proverbial wall.

They do the usual “cat” things…they lay on my laptop when I’m typing, sleep by my head when I’m trying to sleep. But they also make more noise than the Park Street Band. Especially Tom.

Tom is my grey and white tuxedo. He is the friendliest, coolest cat I’ve ever owned. He holds his own against my chocolate lab, along with the two other labs that practically live at my house. He allows my grandson to carry him all  around the house, feet dangling near the floor, as his body as long as my grandson is tall. He loves to lay on your lap – anyone’s lap – especially if you are under a blanket.

What’s the problem, then, you ask?

It’s multifold, actually.

First off, his meow is loud and demanding. Not just when he’s hungry, but when he wants a snack. When he wants a bite. When the other cat eats more than her share of breakfast and dinner. He’s not a fat cat – he’s just a slow eater. A bite, a nibble, a nap, another bite. So his eating/lifestyle often leaves his bowl empty, and his meow obnoxious. Relentless. Over the top.

I think Tom must be a vocal kind of cat. For his pestering snacking “meow” doesn’t hold a candle to his…cleaning ritual.

I have never heard a cat be so loud in cleaning himself. Not just a licky here, chewy there. This is a full-blown, groaning, squeaking, icky-sticky ritual. Grunts and groans that would make a sound effects master blush. And he seems to pick the quietest times to take a bath. 2 a.m. 4 a.m. When I just go to bed. An hour before I wake up.  If he can’t lick himself, he licks the dog’s head. Unless I close the bedroom door at night, he is there like clockwork. Cuddling, snuggling, licking and yacking and hacking. If I close him out, he and the other cat play tag from one end of the house to the other. I’m doomed no matter which way I turn.

You say maybe he’s got a mineral deficiency. Or needs more water. Or a bath.  I am of the belief that he is just one big, happy cat, and when he kicks back and relaxes, he thinks, “Hey!  I’m relaxed! Laid back! Let’s get clean!”

My other cat Mysty is the fat cat. I feel bad – I have never overfed either one. It’s just that once she got her plumbing “fixed”, she put on a pound or six. As the joke goes, she never met a meal she didn’t like. Rattle the cat food container and she is all over me like white on rice. So to speak. And once she’s full, she loves to lay and snuggle … on my chest. Ten pounds of kitty makes breathing a little labored. Not that I let her lay around my neck – it’s just that she hasn’t forgotten she used to do that when she was a baby. Three years and ten pounds ago.

Pets are a wonderful thing. Cats and dogs are wonderful companions. They give of themselves 100 percent of the time, wanting nothing more than to be loved in return.

I just wish they’d be a bit more quiet about it.

Top 10 … no, 20 … no, 5 … List

56179-cat-on-keyboard-typing-gif-hI43I have a love/hate relationship with the end of the year. I cannot keep up with all the “best of” or “top ten” lists that collect this time of the year. I’ve already scanned the Top 100 Wines of 2014, Highest Paid Celebrities of 2014, the Most Disappointing Movies of 2014, and 9 Actors That Make Nothing But Bad Movies. Heck — there’s websites full of top ten of anything you ever wanted to keep track of.

There are sad lists (Celebrities we Lost in 2014 ) and obscure lists (10 Fascinating Facts about J.R.R. Tolkien). There are goofy lists (Top 10 Influential People Who Never Lived), and beauty lists (5-, 10-, 25-, 75-Top Beauty Tips). Enough to make your head spin.

So, in the Holiday Head-Spining spirit, I’m going to add my own 3 cents worth of a list. Here are my ___ Favorite Humoring the Goddess Blogs of 2014 (I’ll leave it fill-in-the-blank until I see how many I pick…)

 

 

thFashion No-Nos for Summer (5/28/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-yP

Companion to the original “Fashion No-Nos For Goddesses of All Ages” (3/1/14, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-yP )  or its predecessor, “Goddess Tips for Women and Men!” (6/18/12, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-fr),  this blog  encompasses everything that is wrong with Flair after 50.

 

1950vogueI’m Too Sexy…for my (too small) Shirt  (6/26/14)

(http://wp.me/p1pIBL-zE)

This kinda goes along with my Fashion Nonsense blogs, i.e., getting rid of things I’ve held onto longer than my college graduate has been alive.

 

 

 

cherryWhen is a Cherry Not a Cherry? (8/27/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-AT

My sophomoric mind gone even more childlike when I hear old words that have new meanings.

 

 

 

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034Magic Shoes (10/3/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-Dq)

Who knew that buying a pair of gym shoes could be so stressful?

 

 

 

 

And, okay, last (but not least)….

 

doll Chatty CathyChit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy (6/12/12)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-eQ)

I know it’s from 2012, but I still suffer from Italktoomuchitis. And it hasn’t gotten much better.

 

 

 

Do go back and take a peek at the world that was 2014 — heaven knows what the New Year will bring! (Maybe I should start writing something like, “20 Things You Can Do With Chalk”..)

 

The Weekend Before Christmas

cats christmas

It was the week before Christmas

And all through the house

The kitties were running

In search of their mouse.

They tore through the kitchen

And under the chair

Then disappeared down the hallway

As if never there

The stockings weren’t hung

I’m nobody’s fool

For all that’d be left

Would be shredded in drool

The doggies were eyeballing

The goodies I baked

They had full intention

of sharing my cake

The tree stood by waiting

For garland and lights

The statues and santas

Were stacked way up tight

Christmas cards were patient

For pen and for stamp

My list just kept growing

There under the lamp

I was cooking, I was cleaning

I was staying up late

Worrying about strudel

And empty Christmas plates

The kitties were wrestling

And howling at night

They were drinking milk from glasses

And causing a fright

Then what to my wondering

eyes should appear

But a Food Network magazine

And a bottle of beer

The recipes flowed

Like snow in the hills

With last minute tips

For stove and for grill

On Candy! On Cookies!

On chocolate pecans!

The holiday planning

Had only begun!

Another beer or two

And I was planning gourmet

Pot-au-feu and remoulades

And salmon pate

After the six pack

The tree decorated itself

The dogs baked a meatloaf

With the elf on the shelf

The cats were all dancing

To Jinglebell Rock

The ornaments were hung

On the dining room clock

The beauty of Christmas

Shown brightly that night

My head did a spinneroonie

But that was all right

The turkey and stuffing

Could wait one more day

I took two more aspirins

And called it a day.

Dogs are just Dogs and Cats are just Cats…Right?

rennieAlright. Sad news first. My yellow labrador Renaissance Faire passed away yesterday. She was 11; a great huntress who was sweet and quirky and always knew when it was 7 p.m. and time for her 7 o’clock B(bonie). I was by her side to help her transition to the land of open fields and T-bone steaks; a daunting task, unnerving to say the least. We buried her under a tree next to my favorite cat Jasmine and my father-in-law’s dog Indy.

(Thanks for the good thoughts, btw)

Now the humorous part.

Here I am, 60 years old, walking through tick-infested grass and doggie mines not yet picked up with bare feet to give Rennie her final, eternal 7 o’clock B. Crying, wiping my snotty nose on my shirt, my mind taking over and remembering all slights and hurts real and imaginary, piling them together on top of my loss, fueling the fire that burned out of control. I was whispering baby doggie talk to the grave, babbling nonsense that only a dog would understand.

To the dog.

Not a child, a family member, friend or distant relative. A dog. Dogs and cats are dogs and cats — lower rungs on the food chain that do such innocuous things as lick their butt or eat other animal’s…well…you get my drift.

How many of you have done this?

I’m not sorry for my over reaction — I can stand back and chuckle at myself. For what is life but knowing who we are? Yet I ask…How do dogs and cats become our 1st or 2nd or 3rd child? And where do they get these…personalities?

I know one person whose cat looks at him and poops right in front of him every time he comes home from a long vacation. Another person’s dog won’t go outside to do her duty when the grass is wet. Another person’s cat talks on the phone along with its owner. My own Rennie had the uncanny ability to know when it was 7 pm no matter where we were and what we were doing. Where do they get these quirks? And why is it us that has to do the adjusting?

I know humans tend to anthropomorphize (give animals human traits). We give them personalities and assume they understand what we are saying. Why else would we talk to them so much? Many stand firm on their belief that animals think and feel and react as humans do. And on many levels that is true. I am not here to debate the validity of such things. What I will say, however, is that it is amazing how one little canine or feline can change your life.  They listen without complaining; they don’t hold a grudge when they come to sleep with you at night, and want to be with you all the time. They listen while you go on and on about your crummy day at work or your overbearing mother-in-law or the barking dog down the street.

I’m also not saying that pets are for everyone. Cleaning out kitty litter boxes and scooping up lincoln logs are not for everyone. Often it’s easier to spoil someone else’s dog or cat. Why not? Their love is universal.  Their devotion and energy should say something about how the world should work. They don’t care about the color of your skin or how fat you are or what religion tickles your fancy. Their needs are basic — love, food, and pets.  Something the world should take note of.

The moral of this little ditty is to just love your pets, or your family’s pets, or the pets at the shelter. Treat your fellow humans that way too, and you’ll never be sorry.

Just make sure you always make time for your 7 o’clock B.