A battle of wills


The single bark that has wakened me at 3 am five mornings in the last week sounded again this morning.  I never hesitate when I hear it and roll from bed, feel around in the dark for my sweater and pull it over my head just before heading down the stairs, feeling my way against the wall as I go.  I say nothing as I open the door of Wanda’s crate and hear her snuffling behind me as I head out to the chilly patio so she can take care of her business.  The night is quiet.  Stars glimmer in their places in a clear sky.  Even in winter, I can hear crickets in the distance.  I will admit I enjoy this aspect of a routine I want to keep from going any farther.  Getting up this early is not something I want to look forward to on a regular basis.

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Cats and morning routines on cold days

Last month when the rest of the country began to complain about the seemingly endless amount of snow they’d been buried beneath this winter, we were basking in sunny days, warm breezes and average temps hovering at 70. I had a suspicion we’d get hammered in February, and although the hammering may not be quite like that of others — say Fargo — it’s all relative.  When it drops below 50 here, it’s cold.

At just over 18 months, and with outside privileges still reasonably new, Lizzie our fierce kitty hasn’t factored weather into her day, which begins about 6:30.  She waits quietly for the MoH to make it downstairs, exercising even more restraint until I appear to take care of the morning cat meal.  Precious, the old one, waits by the stairs, and I brace myself with a cautionary grip on the handrail knowing Lizzie will launch herself down the stairs, hitting only one of six in her flight to her dish thereby letting everyone know her day is wasting away.  She preens past the old one’s dish as I spoon the wet food over the dry, and has finished licking the juice off the plate before Precious arrives at her dish, casting Lizzie a look that confirms her patience is all an act and that she has no manners.

Lizzie could care less.

I can hear her yeowling and know she’s perched on the big chair near the patio door, a wild look in her eyes and ears set in anxious impatience — up and back.  She wants out.  She wants out now.  We ignore her for the most part while making toast and tea or coffee,  mimicking her cries consolingly and reminding her to wait until the MoH leaves for work.  This made complete sense at one point, because I imagined she’d hear him go out the front door, follow him to the car, then risk being in the wrong place at the wrong time when it seems the entire neighborhood is headed to school or work each morning.

I’ve had to remove a few cats from the road in my life, so the decision to let one go outside comes with much thought, caution, and worry.

In the past few days, we’ve had rain and are expecting more this weekend.  It’s always welcomed as far as I’m concerned, but Lizzie isn’t thrilled to have puddles to avoid on her way out the door.  Focused on the hummingbird that seems to have been taunting her lately, she inadvertently steps in one and recoils, shaking her paw as if in pain, then darts back to the door which I’ve already closed.  Of course I get up from the cup of coffee cooling too quickly on this chilly morning and let her in, knowing she’ll want out in a few minutes.

Yesterday, I caught her trying to scale the back wall.  I’ve always been thankful that as feisty as she is, she’s also a bit skittish, startled by loud noises. She, like Precious and sweet  Blackitty before her, had never been curious about that wall, so I was surprised to see her leap nearly to the top.  It borders our patio from a two-lane street which is busy with traffic at a few points during the day.  The one I’ve seen other cats use as a sort of path in the evening when they’re headed for whatever nocturnal mischief our cats are never allowed to find out about.  I yelled at her just as she was ready to pull herself up over  the top and she fell back to the ground, running from me, knowing that I’d put her back in the house while I stayed outside without her.

She’s been in and out probably 15 times since I’ve been sitting here, or puttering about the kitchen this morning,  Sometimes, she’ll call to me from the door, and when I go to look out at her, motioning to open it, will run to flop on the dusty flagstones, wanting me to come outside with her.  It works, of course, and I’m distracted from this, from the fougasse finally ready for the oven after being forgotten last night, and from other things I said I’d get done today.

I rub her belly noticing the warmth of the sun on my back, and eye the pile of rocks waiting to be cemented to the planters.  I should be out here, not sitting in the house.  I should bring some more rocks up from the garage.  Should mix another batch of cement.  Get another six feet or so finished.

Lizzie is distracted  by yet another bird and darts away, leaving me to return to the house, to this, and to the mess in the kitchen left from the fougasse. If I hurry, the mess will be clean and maybe I’ll be able to spend some time out there with Lizzie in the sun before the clouds roll in.

I can see her out there now, waiting for me.

Time for a Remodel

I’m truly in a quandry.  As I look back over the past year, so much has changed that no one would notice but me.  I’m speaking of my blog world, and not the real world, which is so chaotic right now.  I’d like to say that I believe I can impact change on the latter, but for as much as I harp, I’m not close to being a blip on the radar of change. With respect to cyberspace, that’s different.

There’s been a shift of my interests there,  and when I think carefully about that shift, it seems that it’s been coerced by the group that loves to look at, think about, and cook great food.  It’s compelling, and I imagine at times that I have some small shop with a large window in front that people can walk by each day, gazing at what I’ve put out for them, to tempt them to stop and look a bit longer, or perhaps even walk inside and stay for a while.  The key word would be imagine.

I once imagined or even longed for a shop of my own one day, but I’ve decided that having an imaginary shop is much less expensive, and perhaps just as rewarding considering I do get to decide what to prepare, and enjoy it myself.

But as I’ve said before, it’s quite time consuming keeping that shop, and so this place is pushed aside.  And when I have time for neither, this is the space I want to fill.  Often the other is more of a compulsion, a responsibility, a job.

Writing here has never felt that way.

I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I find it all very interesting — interesting enough to wonder about something.  What if the two were combined?  Others have done it.  And as I read through the many food blogs I enjoy, I notice that because their writers only keep one blog, they are more inclined to write about other facets of life and living.  It’s nice. 

But I was thinking of something different.  Certainly it’s been done before, and a perfect example of someone who does it very well is Pioneer Woman.  I’ve always thought that having a single place that contains a space for everything that keeps my brain occupied would be perfect, but have always been limited by my knowledge of how all of this website business works.  Finding time to write, cook, photograph, and learn how to set up and manage an involved website would be quite daunting for me, but I think I could do it. The only aspect of it all that’s holding me back is being unsure about whether the two can actually coexist.

In the long run, I think it would help me be a bit more humane to my readers here.  It must seem at times as if I’m schizophrenic, ranting about politics, moaning over my pets, or snarking about whatever unfortunate person is being lambasted in the press.  Somehow, I think that if each of those personalities could fit into its own box, it would be so much more neat and orderly.

Labeled.  You know how I crave labels…

So think about that.  You know, give it a good three or four seconds of your valuable time and let me know what you think.

In the mean time, I have to get my real world shaped up.  I may not be building a lodge like Pioneer Woman, but this place certainly needs some attention.  I’ve long complained about the damage our pets have done to the carpet, and have finally decided to have someone come out to give an estimate on floors.  I want to get rid of all the carpet so I can enjoy my aging pets who will continue to leak, drip, and drop their various and assorted bodily unmentionables regardless of how much I dab and complain about it.  No more carpet would mean no more dust, fuss, or muss.

The challenging part of this is that our bathrooms need to be done as well.  Needing to be done can be defined as taking out all the early ’80’s fake burnished gold metal that seems to be covering everything, ripping out the shower since it’s feeble at best, and the tile since it’s really good at growing mold that I don’t want to know the scientific name for or what it’s doing to us.

So if we have the floors done first, then have the bathrooms done, the work on the bathrooms will mess up the floors.  If we wait to do the bathrooms first, then the carpet continues to be the disgusting eyesore it’s become. 

In a nut shell, I don’t want to have another blog about being any kind of a weekend warrior when it comes to remodeling or redecorating on a budget.  But it’s one of the things my brain spends time on, so it could have its very own space for you, kind reader, to skip if you’re not into the Martha side of life.

Just thinking, that’s all.

Good thing it’s free, right?

Okay, back to work.

It would be so nice if it was all free!

Does My Rear Look Big Like This?

The Yackstar has to be nearly twelve.  I should know, but I don’t, and each time I wonder, I have to count.  That wouldn’t be easy either, but the day I use is the one I met with the RTR’s principal.  He was going to be in the first grade, and I was going to enroll him in our neighborhood school.  It was April Fool’s Day and we’d just had to put our dear old cat Holis down.

You don’t forget things like that.

Her name isn’t really the Yackstar.  It’s Precious, but you’d never know that because in much the same way that our dog’s name changes, hers does as well.  But I only really called her the Yackstar when I was referring to her and her proclivity for yacking on the rug near the laundry room, which is now beyond all possible methods of repair.

Right now, I call her Fresh Nuts.  Yes, I know she’s a female, and no, she’s not crazy.  It’s more of a deriviative:  Precious, Freshness, Fresh Nuts.

Get it?

Probably not, but I think it’s hilarious.

But when she’s finally decided to venture outside in what seems like weeks, and then decides to sneak into the cranky neighbor’s yard, and then yeowl loudly about not being able to figure out how to get back into our patio, I don’t think it’s hilarious at all.

There’s no way I’m hissing, “Here  Fresh Nuts!  Here, kittakittakitta.  Heeeeeeeerrrrrrreeeeeee Fresh Nuts!”  No.  I have to use her proper name so  when the cranky neighbor slams not one, but two of his windows at 11:30pm even though I’m barely making a sound, he won’t think I’m being derogatory.

She slept outside all night, and when I hissed over at her the next morning, she ran from the bushes sporting spider webs and dried leaves, yeowling to get through the fence.  Even the guaranteed to get her complete and undivided attention sound of a catfood can being tantilizingly opened and the droolworthy aroma of Friskies Turkey & cheese Dinner In Gravy waved under her nose couldn’t inspire her to remember how to squeeze through the fence.

So I left her there.

Her appetite must have encouraged her to remember.
Fresh Nuts

Needing Company in Any Form

Fuzz Ball Cat When I’m home, Precious (aka Fresh-ness or The Yack Star) is now rarely far from either myself or the RTR. And if neither of us is available, the doggo seems to do. She’s not howling as much as she was a month ago, but still does, and will respond when one of us howls back at her.Fat Cat We have entire conversations with her and have no idea what we’re talking about, so at some point, she becomes disgusted with us, turns her head away, and saunters in the direction of her food bowl.

Usually, she’s got something to say about having just come in from the patio, or to remind us about food time.

Cute Cat Food time has expanded from once a day to once in the morning, and then again 12 hours later. But she wants more so she can drown her sorrows over her lost companion of ten years.

I understand. I’d probably want to do the same thing.

I’ve thought a little of getting a kitten, but don’t have the energy to make a decision like that right now. Kittens are like babies. They need so much attention, it’s not fair to not be able to provide it, and right now, I can’t provide it.Stretching Fat Cat

Besides, I don’t think the oldsters would appreciate the intrusion in their lives.

But maybe soon…Drowsy Cat

It could help that hitch in the doggo’s giddy-up and mend The Yack Star’s broken heart.


Just perfect, thank you.

6:45 am: Still chipper as hell after such a perfect weekend, I actually got part of this post done before scurrying off to work feeling quite puffy because I just might be getting the hang of not being able to write whenever I want as long as I want…

What a productive, relaxing weekend. My carpet is finally clean — so clean I’m sure one of us is bound to crash into the other considering we stare down in wonder at the unrecognizable dust collector as we drift through the house. Amazing.

Who knew?

Saturday, the soiree was a hit. Turkish, Moroccan, & Greek food sitting on a plate all at one time is a tastebud’s dream. The only problem I have is that when I cook for these little events, the next day, I’m wondering about which dish I enjoyed the most. A couple of them will have to hit the dinner menu a second time just so I can drool over them individually.

IMG_5977.JPG Ahhh, Sunday was lovely. Although there’s something not quite right about getting out of bed at 9:30 on a gorgeous day. I haven’t done that in years. So after dropping the RTR off to war monger with his buddies, the MoH and I went for a long walk around the big bay, smiled at those brave enough to show their winter skin in full style, and admire the patience of someone who can do this. Balanced Rocks Lots of Rock Stacking I’m more someone who would be inclined to throw them instead of artfully stack them.

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Fridays & The Path to Wisdom

OH-EM-GEE (as the RTR would say) OMG!

It’s FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes! And I have so much to feel giddy about I fear it will bowl me over. Or something like that.

The sun is up, the air is bracing (well, I think it is, but I’m not sure because I only cracked the door enough to let Her Fatissima out for her morning constitutional). But you know, cold. Like 48 degrees F. Bwhahahaha! Er…I mean Brrrrrrrrr….!

My first cuppa coffee was swell so I think I’ll have another.

As of this writing, Dubyah will only be in office for 347 days, 1 hour, 38 minutes and 56 seconds according to the countdown clock on my monitor.

American Idol will FINALLY be starting the good shows next week — and I can’t wait — instead of all the up close and personal stuff we forget after all the tweeners start calling and choosing their next heart throb with big hair and the shadow of a mustache not quite ready to be shaved.

Marcos, my colorist did not fire me as feared. I just got the usual lecture about needing for my hair to be lighter so my roots won’t show when they, well…show. Duh.

And Dan, the cutter man pretty much cut most of my hairs off. It grows, yanno?Dan the Hair Man gave me a buzz job.

I’m almost ready for the soiree I’m hosting tomorrow night featuring lip smackin’ Greek-Turkish-Moroccan cuisine prepared by myself and my VBF to celebrate the birthdays of two very dear friends (VGF and She Who Has No Blog Acronym) Oh. And their husbands. 😉

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