Sunday, April 18, 2010

And Around Me Waist A Belt

Behold: tiny Drusy, nestled into a pale blue microfleece, patiently enduring the usual adoration. She is used to having us go all googly when she does something small, like rest her cheek against Pete's or curl up in my arms like an infant. It's not easy to be so beautiful, but Drusy never complains. Here, we have exhausted her with tuna treats, playing with the gray mousie finger puppet and our very attentions. Though she loves us, she would just like to gently close her eyes.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So Wonderfully Wonderfully Wonderfully

The seed potatoes arrived. Hooray! Pete's off researching how to plant them just in case "place compost in bag, place seeds on compost, cover with four inches of compost, moisten and wait" isn't everything a prospective potato farmer needs to know. Upstairs somewhere, I hear him shouting on the phone to his father, who grew up on a farm in Ohio. At least, I hope that's they're talking about. When two men who refuse to get hearing aids wax marble-mouthed on the phone it can be hard to tell if they're having the same conversation.

We've had some successes and failures with Topaz's medication. The drug store promised Topaz would love the tuna flavored medicine, but Topaz wouldn't touch it. Fortunately, flavoring wasn't expensive, and when the prescription refilled, out went the tuna flavor. We discovered that if Topaz was getting tuna water with medicine, Sweetpea and eventually Drusy also wanted a treat, so after further successes and failures, we found we could get each cat to eat at least an ounce of tuna. That was great news. When Topaz got sick, Sweetpea was guarding the food bowl from all comers and both Topaz and Drusy lost at least a pound each. Seven pound cats cannot afford to lose weight, so when they started putting on a few ounces at a time, hooray! Likewise, every Sunday, the vet and I chatted about details. He wanted to reduce her medication to once a week, but when we tried Wednesday/Sunday, Topaz spent her evenings lying on my lap, making a blinky face. After two weeks of limp Topaz, we went back to medicating her Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday, and Topaz is her old cranky self.

So every day around dinnertime, three cats run around in circles, chittering. Topaz leaps onto the counter, complaining about the service in this joint and running around my arms. Sweetpea, stands on the counter, too, protesting that Topaz might be closer to food than Sweetpea. Drusy sits on the kitchen island, waiting for her sisters to act more mature, shaaaa. I pour a teaspoon of tuna water into a custard cup and put it on the floor for Sweetpea at a safe distance from Topaz; then a second teaspoon for Topaz and put that on the floor far from Sweetpea. Finally, a tablespoon of tuna in a custard cup makes Drusy very happy. At just about that moment, Sweetpea and Topaz finish their tuna water and get a tablespoon of tuna each. The remainder of the can is divided between the three cats, and then I chase Drusy across the dining room with her custard cup. Sometimes she finishes the tuna, but more frequently Topaz does.

This takes about 15 minutes and at the end of it, the cats lap up water and I want to lie down. Crap, I'm tired, but Topaz looks great, Drusy's fur is sleek and shiny and Sweetpea purrs dreamily - every day!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Still At Last Your Love

Sweetpea, self-plated.

On Sunday, my brother Todd ran the L.A. Marathon. This is really annoying. What about my needs, hmm? I had no idea he could run a marathon. Neither did he: it was 14 miles farther than he'd trained. You're supposed to run 26 miles at least once before you line up at the starting line. Also really annoying: Daria's high school cross country buddies talked her into doing a triathlon, though Daria hadn't run a step in twenty-five years, but it involved shopping, so one pair of running shoes and three hot athletic outfits later, Daria's determined. She called me up and asked if I wanted to do the triathlon as a relay - apparently this is a thing, and people do this thing, if you can believe that - and take the cycling leg. While I can pedal until the cows come home on the stationary bike in my attic, that is a distinctly different pursuit than painting on skin-tight togs and elbowing my way through a 15-mile crowd. But that's not why I'm the teensiest bit testy. No. As a Jersey chick, I was born to elbow my way through crowds in form-fitting clothes. That's nothing. I'm perturbed because Todd ran a marathon, and Daria's planning a race, and I cannot picture myself as an athletic spectator. No, my new cartoon goal is a photograph* of an in-shape yours truly holding my barbell captioned THE BITCH IS BACK. What the hell! A year and a half ago, I was soft and fat, but not anymore. I stamp my tiny New Balance cross trainers and insist: if not this summer then next.

Sometimes pigs do fly.

*I am shallow and require flattering gifts from me.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

My Little Home On the Hundredth Floor

Take it from a mean old bat: some of the coolest words in the English language are My sisters have a toy store! Pete loves the Angry Little Girl dolls and adds them to all the displays. We now have an Angry Kim doll in our living room Pete swears he hears running around at night. I sit on the toy store floor and read the books. When I find five or six I love, I pop them into an envelope and mail them to my grandson Panky. He's a smart boy. He's gonna read if it's the last thing I do - unless the last thing I do is push Miss Sasha's mother-in-law over the Reichenbach Falls and make an accidental swan dive. Our cats love the finger puppets we've casually dropped all over the house. Drusy brings tiny Peter Rabbit to us like a gift every morning. At least: we think it's a present. It could be a warning to Grover and Stuart Little.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One Step Beyond

These are my friends Smarty and Ben. They're rescue greyhounds sharing a domecile with my boss Gianna and her husband, the gent at the other end of the leashes. When Gianna's family goes on vacation, I sometimes see my friends Smarty and Ben out walking with other humans. Usually I recognize the dogs first. Once Smarty walked up to me in town and mentioned he liked my shoes. I thanked him before I realized I was talking to a dog who would never need shoes, and that was some incredible abstract thinking on his part.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Down From These Heights

Beautiful Sweetpea. She would nibble on the squirrels if she could. From here, the neighbors look so tasty.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Collar To the Cold

Here at Poor Impulse Control, we're all about It, whatever It is, so long as It is funny, and nothing is funnier than talking about food. Why? Because I get stage fright making rice pudding and half my family went to cooking school without so much as sending a postcard. To recap somewhat, then, I have several different projects going and your bag's packed.

1. Dad died and left cookbooks to study, mysterious gear and problems to solve;

2. Dagnabbit: jarring, canning and preserving;

3. Inspired by Pete's wonky digestive tract, he and I are exploring better food for better health including organics, reducing meat consumption and expanding our vegetable and grain options;

4. Gardening. It's better to grow one's own food than to rely on outside sources wherever possible;

5. Affordable, nutritious eating. If we can get dinner on the table every night for $10, we might have enough money to pay our fucking bills.

These topics overlap somewhat. For instance: remember our friend, Dad's dehydrator? Instructions for the mothership here are hard to come by in book form and online recipes are full of slippery adjustments. Example: every direction I found ended with store in a cool, dry place and last summer, New Jersey did not provide any of those; in time, everything I dehydrated and stored in the basement turned a lovely blue. Pete and I picked up a vacuum sealer, thereafter sealed everything and stored it in the fridge. This degree of caution still did not guarantee success: sometimes dehydrated vegetables are sharp and pierce the plastic and appear sealed anyhow. They are not and will turn a lovely blue in the fridge, which like the rest of New Jersey is slightly damp.

Ta, dahhhhhlink, you're saying, Can we take a connecting flight to the point? How about you return your tray to the upright and locked position and not be so critical, hmm? As lessons in home economics go, learning dehydrating without a teacher proved tricky, expensive and frustrating. In practice, dehydrating works best for us with fruit like peaches, pears and apples. Reconstituted, these sturdy fruit add nice flavor and the texture is familiar if you, as I did, grew up eating dried apples; I also learned the hard way that peeling apples and pears before drying is worth it. A second preparation has been very successful: combinations of leeks, young carrots and fennel - loosely speaking, a form of mirepois. Rehydrated and minced, one of these packages adds a jolt of kickass richness to soups, stews and sauces.

The next thing I wanted to road test was fingerling potatoes. I know. No, really. I know. You can buy potatoes all year round, there's no point in drying them, right? There is, actually. I bought these potatoes from local organic farmers with excellent tattoos. When I bought them in September, I parboiled them, sliced them lengthwise and dehydrated them overnight at the highest setting on the dehydrator: 175 degrees. Two nights ago, I opened the package and poured boiling water over the potatoes, and when they cooled, I refrigerated them until this morning, when I drained off the water, mixed in about a cup and a half of homemade yogurt, half a cup of grated cheddar, salt, pepper, cumin, dried sage and minced rosemary. I poured this into two small casseroles, dotted the surfaces with a bit of butter, covered with foil and baked at 425 for an aromatic eternity. For the last fifteen minutes, the potatoes baked with foil off to develop a nice crust. Result: a filling breakfast gratin that tasted like summer.

Pete was hesitant before the first bite but enthusiastic thereafter. He offered that the potato flavor was good but next time, instead of long rehydration, we might try boiling the potatoes. It will save time. We decided that in the future we wouldn't dehydrate other kinds of potatoes, just fingerlings, and the initial storage failures, while discouraging, had taught us enough to be worth the price.

This is a picture of dinner at our house: Pete makes something almost miraculously delicious, I make a yogurt or a fruit sauce, and Drusy drinks water out of a plastic goblet. We have all accepted that at dinnertime, Drusy will be joining us for drinks. Believe me, this is a civilized alternative to what might have become our routine had the other two cats decided they wanted to fight us for our dinners. Pete and I are okay, though, until one of the cats learns how to operate a spatula.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Out To Capture A Moment Everyone Knows

Lovely Drusy on the mantel, beneath the Picasso print dated 2.14.58.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Two Kinds Of Ice Cream

We were all so cozy. If you can believe it, outside a horn honked twice and Drusy, dressed like Audrey Hepburn, sailed down the stairs and sweetly warned us all not to wait up.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Instead I Pour the Milk

Never in my life have I personally been so frigging happy. Let's deal with that, shall we? Maybe it's the man, the food, the cats, the neighborhood, the job, the people - I can't say because I'm writing for shit and it's the middle of winter - but I am very happy, generally. Last week, I went to town meeting about sustainable living. One committee member said the schools aren't going to do something just because it's the right thing to do and I didn't punch her in the face because I've fucking matured. I take things in stride now. My hip is kicking my ass, making it tough to put on socks. I bought scuffs on sale for more than 50% off, causing me to do a cautious Happy Dance. Drusy got a box just the right size for a 6 lb. cat. Halle-freaking-lujah.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Path Before Me Lies

Lovely Topaz, her arms around my hand, falls asleep.

The vet diagnosed Topaz's smelly breath and seeming fever as a painful gum condition that causes inflammation and makes veterinarians weepy. I listened to him talk about treatments, feeling like I'd been punched in the gut. I took the prescription to the drug store near my house, where times have changed. For years, I tricked the departed Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, into taking stinky medicine because the fish flavorings were ungodly expensive. Now, flavoring is $3 and the medicine is not even all that expensive. For about a week, we've mostly tricked Topaz into taking medicine mixed with tuna water - but it has to be fresh. Yesterday's chilled tuna water will not do. Because Topaz is getting tuna water, Sweetpea must have it, so now it's a treat and Topaz wants more.

In other news: tuna salad on crackers, tuna sandwiches, tomatoey tuna surprise.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Shadow Of the Valley Behind Me

Last week, Topaz seemed to be running a fever, so we trundled off to the vet's office, where the vet was very patient with 6.5 pounds of seething, hissing and shivering pussycat. I don't want to get into humiliating specifics, but let's just say that if the six and a half foot vet is intent on taking the temperature of the tiny angry kitty, LET THEM FIGHT IT OUT. Got that mental picture? Got it? Awesome.

In the evenings now, Topaz has taken to curling up on a velveteen pillow while I type a stirring missive or work on the family store's website. Sometimes she stands on the keyboard and insists I admire her beauty, and how could I not? Though she will on occasion go so far as to nod off on my lap, Topaz is no lap cat. She is in her heart a panther, lounging in a tree, watching, always watching.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Quiet the Chamber Is

First thing every weekend morning, I feel my way downstairs and refill the cats' dishes. Because it's winter, I put on scuffs and feed the outside cats, but that's not as simple as it sounds because Topaz is always at my heel, trying to get outside. This morning, it was 29 degrees and an icy rain had just begun falling, Topaz wanted out and suddenly the door was locked behind me. Fortunately, Pete was upstairs in the shower and the tenants were all still in bed, so I discovered that I could actually stand up for 45 minutes. Naturally I was thinking about outdoor stuff.

Around the corner from our house, this sign is taped to a dumpster on a street wide enough for parking on one side and anxiety on the other. Certainly homeowners have every right to inconvenience neighbors with mid-winter renovations and unsightly scrap materials, but it seems likely canine enthusiasts have demonstrated their displeasure. Further: protest poop is a not unfamiliar sight upstairs in the attic here at Handmade House: an aggrieved party will leave a deposit located where it cannot be ignored, even if it can be stepped in. So it goes: point-making is a messy business and neither cats nor dog owners care for strategy. They are big thinkers! My advice: wear boots.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ink Stains That Have Dried Upon Some Line

Dahhhlink, my head - she aches. My joints - they complain. I've spent the day lying down with feet up and eyes closed, offline and out of touch.

No one is happier than my trio of opinionated pussycats, in whose view my lying still is like happy birthday to them.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nothing I Can Take To Relieve This

Lovely Drusy stares so hard at the finger puppet you'd think it would burst into flames.

Pete's baking bread. We had long, busy days at the family stores, which is actually good. When we're busy, time passes faster. It's all a blur of festive tissue and wrapping paper and - POOF! - we're home with our feet propped up while the bread machine whirs and squawks. The cats are curled up where they can touch us or at least keep watch: Topaz at my elbow, Drusy over my left shoulder and Sweetpea on an ottoman at our feet. They do not trust us. They dream of fishy treats and catnip mousies, but always sleep with one eye on us.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyone's Raging Everyone's Roaring

Our recent rescue kitten roaming the kitchen, after stumbling face first into the cat food bowl.

I am so tired I spent three hours this afternoon staring into space. That's not like me. I usually get up and go do something the moment my train of thought derails. Who knows what tragedy might occur if I let it crash into the tiny Alpine village below?


Friday, October 30, 2009

I Can't Say the Mark Is Mine

Three weeks ago, Pete brought in a wee stray kitten covered with fleas and starving. The raucous fuzzball was so tiny he seemed to come to a point and we weren't entirely sure he'd survive the night. He was a mess. He was smaller and younger than any cat I'd ever seen. Fortunately, Trout had some experience with wee stray kittens and took the little guy home, where he took up residence in her upstairs bathroom and exception to her shower routine. On Wednesday, Trout brought the still tiny but now healthy, vaccinated and totally well-adjusted kitty to the house, where new humans waited to take him home. He is curious, happy and fearless because Trout did wonderful work with him. This morning, the new humans sent me this picture of one tiny cat and one giant man. In the full-size picture, the nearly three-pound pussycat looks like a surly boutonniere.

This is a very good day.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Whose Shirts You Wear

A few years ago, Lupe visited Ikea and after that odyssey brought me a set of ten finger puppets. A king, queen, prince, princess, magician, knight and others.

A few weeks ago, we started finding bodies; some hostages are still missing. Obviously, a plot's afoot.

Topaz, Drusy and Sweetpea aren't talking.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Get Up Off Your Knees

Lovely Drusy. Every which way is up.

Tomorrow, cross your fingers: I want to make and jar tomatillo sauce. Last year, Pete and I made tart and refreshing tomatillo sauce as the basis for bloody mary mix, but we never made drinks with it. Instead, we tossed pasta in it, broiled fish with it and generally ran out of tomatillo sauce before we ran out of ingredients with which to combine it. Also: the last jar was better than the first, so we decided the sauce improved after about four months in the jar. Since we have no sauce on the shelf now, and if I jar tomorrow, by February, we will have outrageous green sauce, and I really, really want that. Really, really.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Few Of the Secrets Are Yours

Drusy, actual size.

I have a story I'm not ready to tell.

The past two days have been an unbelievable shitstorm, but it's almost over.

Locate your poncho. Brush off your boots. Don your goggles.

In a day or two, we're gonna get messy.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Curl Up By the Fire And Sleep For A While

Princess Drusy amid the candy and the flowers.

Many are her admirers.

We are sure she loves them all.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Bigger And Sleeker And Wider And Brighter

On Tuesday, I caught our friend Woym, stuffed him in a cat carrier, took him to the vet, got tests and shots and handed him off to a Woym-approved friend. Wednesday, we had a big windstorm here. A huge tree lost a giant branch onto a garage next door. Yesterday, one of the tenants heard crying and told Pete, who found a tiny kitten shivering under our back porch. Pete brought the tiny thing into the screen porch, fed the kitten and called me at the library, where my mind went blank.

Later, I kind of panicked, because I have zero experience with cats less than six months old. By the time I biked home, Pete had fed the kitten a mess o' wet food, while the tenant scrunched up a soft blanket for warmth. The kitten was still squeaking at top volume, very obviously freaked out to be separated from Mama. The poor thing had a dirty face and watery eyes, but it was so frightened I didn't dare approach. I stood at the other end of the porch and whispered, and for a little while, the kitten was quiet. Later, Pete picked up the kitten, who now snuggled into his hands, so I held it too. It fit in my hands. It nestled into my neck. My icy heart melted.

Sweetpea and friend.

I couldn't help but notice the kitten's resemblance to Sweetpea, who at this moment is the size of a Buick and asleep on my also sleeping leg. Pete and I did the math: two small black cats = one giant orange cat + one miniscule orange baby. For a day, we had achieved cat balance. Today, Trout met the kitten, who immediately curled up under her chin while Trout laughed and laughed. We'd gently washed grime and goo from the kitten's face, but Trout knew immediately something we did not: the kitten was separated from Mama before Mama taught important things like bathing. Trout promised to teach the kitten cat-things. I mean, really. I didn't finish high school. Tonight, the kitten has a bathroom to itself at Trout's house while we find a good home.

Do you have one?


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Powers Keep On Lyin'

On Saturday nights, I now go to bed when I used to go out. For their parts, the cats seem pleased with this arrangement.


Friday, August 21, 2009

At the Top Of the Stairs As

Lovely Topaz

Black Cat Resting In Shadow.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

There Will Have Moved Here

Topaz here. Tonight on Poor Impulse Control Theater: Drusy tries to make her boney body even flatter to combat the heat while Sweetpea snoozes the day away. I've befriended a French-speaking dust whirl and tomorrow, plan to overthrow the municipal Supervisor of Public Works, who smells like cheese, which I like. Don't get me wrong. He may be very nice but he reminds me of a rabid badger. That's tonight on Poor Impulse Control Theater. I'm Topaz. Goodnight!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Let Alone An Egg

Good kitties...good kitties...

Sharkey bought a house that came with concrete outdoor cats.

Anyone know a garden center where I can pick up a concrete ball of yarn?


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dances While Her Father Plays Guitar

Some of the stray cats prowl the yards and gardens, but stop by our backyard for a cautious bite to eat. Others, like this giant tom we call Tom, come around for an amuse buche and repartee. His eyes are green, his movements smooth and fluid like a cougar's. While Pete stood on the back steps with the camera a huge Rottweiler on the other side of the fence barked ferociously. Tom didn't flinch. He's a professional, you see.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Of the Memory Of Late Nights

Indoor Furry Overlords passing notes in French class.

We've been feeding the outside cats because they keep the squirrels and the birds out of our gardens. Sort of. Two bluejays have adopted the tree in our backyard from which they heckle us and the cats. The cats are taking it pretty well. They give the squirrels a run for their money, gnaw the heads off field mice and prowl around the place like a pride of lions - at least until the skunk turns up.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Borrowed Dream Or A Superstar

Miniscule cat and stiff ursine friend.

This morning, I woke up at 4 out of a sound sleep, lying flat on my back. Tiny Drusy was perched on my chest and we were nose to nose. My right hand was petting her. I'd been keeeessing her in my sleep. Because I loooove the Princess Drusy, even in my dreams.

Man, my subconscious is SO CORNY.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pander To My Taste For Candor

Today, I've been preoccupied with Topaz's labored breathing. The poor darling makes the same face people do when we have headaches. Mostly, she stays upstairs in the attic, where it's warm and she has fresh water. At the moment, she's walking around on the counters in the kitchen like nothing's up. Yesterday, she curled up on my lap for a couple of hours, which she has never done, so things are up and down. Cross your fingers, Madame just has a cold.

So I made pizza for dinner and cut the kinds of corners busy people do. Stop & Shop sells inexpensive 12" whole wheat crusts, two crusts to a package. The crusts do not have much flavor. Think of them as blank canvases that won't kick your digestive tract's ass. I brush each with olive oil, then flavor with garlic, basil and whatever rocks my boat that day. The toppings: chopped spinach, a broccoli crown, half each of a red, orange and yellow pepper, 1-1/3 pieces of turkey sausage, 2/3 cup ricotta, salt, pepper, grated parmesan cheese. I forgot the diced tomato but didn't miss it. If you can operate a pairing knife, you can make this pizza for yourself and - and here's the key - it's actually good for you. If you're a vegetarian, leave off the sausage. Still good for you. You can eat it for breakfast without regrets.

In the meantime, I devoted my time to making special chicken stock for cats. Georg recommended gravy for dogs I've had zero luck finding, but suggestions are still welcome. With boiled chicken and special stock, I'm in grave danger of becoming the Mama Celeste of the cat world.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

They Say When We're Together

Topaz is feeling under the weather and I'm up to my neck in work. At least the protest poop seems to have stopped. Between that and the diarrhea it was a real costume party around here, but only if the theme was "Come As Your Least Favorite Gooey/Stinky Mess, Plus Bleach."


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Gypsy Swore That Our Future Was

This kitty, with her handy false mustache, knows you cannot resist her, yet she remains mysterious! You are lured by her charm, yet you cannot really know her. The beautiful pussycat! With the mustache! Note her taste in lovely velveteen pillows, made more wonderful by her presence! Who is this beauty? Why, it is our lovely Sweetpea!

Did you guess?


Monday, April 27, 2009

And At Keeping Things Vague

Photo of bathroom in darkness, as seen by leaping pussycats whose cameras have a flash.

Last night, an unusual noise woke Pete from a sound sleep. He sat up in a panic, muttering, "What? What?" Then his head cleared and he realized one of the cats had flushed the toilet. We suspect Topaz, whom we often spy figuring out how some contraption contrapts - or maybe the giant kitten made a sloppy leap for the window sill from the toilet tank.

This morning, I'd taken the day of from work to transplant lettuces and tomatoes, to get some rest and bask in the sunshine. During my drive to physical therapy at 7:15 a.m, Matt Pinfield played Guns N' Roses' Used To Love Her. I said, "Fuck you, Matt," and shut off the radio. Just after 9, Pete and I drove to the eye doctor's office in our home town and Matt played Under My Thumb. I said, "Fuck you, Matt, we get it. You hate women. Women get the message." When he lived here, I used to meet Matt Pinfield in that grocery store four blocks from my current house. If I ever see him there again, I will personally fling the first cream pie.

My grandparents had a cat that potty-trained himself. His name was Gato, and he was a genius. He could open doors with his paws. One day, my grandfather opened the bathroom door and found Gato reading the paper and smoking a Lucky. I'm kidding, of course. Gato was doing a crossword.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Every One Of Them And Running Wild

You can't help it. "Oh Ta," you ask, "I love your cats as much as the next Topaz & Drusy Groupie - by the way, we're totally having a Groupie Weekend with matching t-shirts and koi cupcakes because We Heart teh Little Black Catses! - but you're three for three. What gives?"

Princess Drusy in gray, size 7.

About the little things I may never shut my elegant trap, but about big stuff I'm more circumspect. A few weeks ago, a sports medicine doctor stared at my X-rays and went a little pale. On the one hand, I was wildly relieved that whatever was causing my cross-eyed complaining was visible on film. On the other, I wish my problems had been a little more camera-shy. The stupefying outcome of this appointment: apparently, I haven't been complaining enough.

I know. I didn't see that coming.

Side-by-side Drusy-to-Sweetpea size comparison.

Pete and I took stock of our situation and did what anyone would do: we went shopping. We obsessively scoured the intertoobz for stationary bicycles and non-skid footwear for yoga and pilates. Then we went out and sat on a score of stationary bikes and finally we bought one, which turned out to be the cheapest one we saw anywhere. I bought two pair of new sneakers with sturdy treads, and that was good news for little black cats who fit perfectly into boxes the size of two of my shoes.

Exercise has always been the answer. I'm going to need non-skid yoga gloves.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

And I Don't Even Know Their Names

A girl and her trebuchet.

Princess Drusy, she of the fawn-like legs and kissy disposition, loves to share a glass of water with her favorite humans. I oblige her by pouring eight to twelve ounces of her preferred potable into widemouth glasses, taking a sip myself and setting them down where she will find them. She sweetly obliges me by drinking, drinking, drinking and wandering off to be wonderful elsewhere - unless I too am on the move. Then Drusy must know where and why, especially if it might involve the bathroom and another drink from the sink.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

And Another Child Grows Up To Be

The giant kitten wants me all to herself. That should come as no surprise to you since all of the cats want me all to themselves. I'm like a rock star to them.

This is not my cat. I lack the fu of Photoshop that everyone in the whole world seems to have now. Even so, every morning, the giant kitten I call Sweetpea and Pete calls Attila the Adorable Hun decides at an indecent hour that it is time for me to wake up. If the bedroom door has been open all night, this decision is delivered in the form of a 14 pound cat landing on my head which, you'll be pleased to hear, is irresistably delicious. If the bedroom door has been closed all night, Sweetpea bashes her head against the door in a manner that suggests I might need a bigger boat.

Or maybe I should quit chumming before bedtime, I can't say. In the old days of tiny Topaz and swift Drusy's heartwrenchingly adorable and terrifying kitteny morning rampages, I could shut the bedroom door and pout that they might miss me. Now I worry that I might be causing a kitty concussion. I bet the Beatles felt the same way.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

When Every Day Your Secrets End

Topaz, Queen of the Jungle.

When everything else goes straight to Hell, Pete and I still have Sundays. Pete's a cyclist and it's finally warm enough for him to spend an hour this morning on the bike trails along the canal. I skipped an exercise class in favor of rowing upstairs in the attic and discovered the cats love the baker's rack by a south-facing window and mid-morning sunbeam naps. Rowing makes a racket on the ancient machine but Drusy dozed the whole half hour. I crept downstairs to retrieve the camera but turned around and found her at my heels. Knowing it is totally irresistible to pussycats, I marched all the way back up to the attic and plunked down on the floor, which was like calling the cats through the anchovy phone.


Monday, March 09, 2009

People Need Some Reason To Believe

Lovely Drusy days ago discovered the scarf Mom knitted for my birthday. Atop the mantle is Drusy's favorite perch, where the company of the ancient, carved bear with guitar does not deter our tiny friend from mewing at invisible companions. The scarf, a recent arrival, seems to comfort her. I cannot say why she might be distressed. She has the happiest life of anyone, human or otherwise, I've ever known. I have a collection of watches that stopped on my wrist because I'm quite magnetic. Drusy's favorite toy is an orange plastic watch with a tiny ball bearing game on its face. She steals it and drags it all over the house. Sometimes, we find it on our bed like a present. Sometimes, the watch rattles piteously in a far corner of the house. She is our queen; we are mere servants.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

My Hands are Cold

Maybe I'm being a big silly but that little guy over there is an absolute mess - and I LOVE IT! He throws things everywhere. He's often covered with doggy snacks just when I want a treat. Oh, who am I kidding? I always want a treat! The cats and I were talking about him and we think he's just delicious, though they're holding out for herring. Anyway anyway anyway, we were all talking and we'd just like you to know that though right now he's eating a lot of macaroni we see progress. For instance, he's finally walking now. That took forever. I mean, I was born and started walking but with this guy it's different, but so he's walking now FINALLY. We think he might scoot a little faster if you feed him more Snausages. And rawhide treats. We all think so. Don't you agree?

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Don't Mean Maybe


Miss Sasha sent me two gigantic virtual piles of bucolic winter scenes, if one allows that children slathered in blue frosting might be considered landscapes. In one series, the dog romps in crisp, frozen snowdrifts with what at first appears to be a doll and turns out later to be a wild turkey that of late joined the Choir Invisible. I liked those pictures. It's a stern reminder that your dog is always grocery shopping.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Then You See Things The Size Of Which

You look at that Mexican blanket and you just know it's no match for three cats with claws.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Answer Is Blowin'

Tata: When Drusy goes to the bathroom with you -
Pete: Drusy doesn't go to the bathroom with me.
Tata: What?
Pete: She bats the pee stream.
Tata: ...I can't breathe!
Pete: I had to clean the bathroom walls of your last apartment once and that was enough.
Tata: So - what happens? The cats run to the bathroom with you and file their nails while they wait respectfully outside?
Pete: I don't know what they're doing. I'm inside.
Tata: Okay okay okay then you would not at all know what I was about to ask you if you knew, which is if you've seen the other cats feel around under the bathroom door and when Drusy sees that she leaps through the air. I mean, leaps straight up up up and pounces near but not on the upside-down paw. You haven't seen that?
Pete: Nope.
Tata: It's your turn to clean the bathroom.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

He Does Seems To Come Out Right

Sorry I've been quiet. Bit of a snowstorm beating a path across my brainstem. I considered curling up into a ball on the couch but I didn't actually feel bad - just stupid, and when I say I felt stupid, I think I actually sat at my desk yesterday and stared into space. I'm not sure precisely because I was, you know, stupid. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that sometime this week the kitten here, whom we're now calling by the first common noun that springs to mind despite our settling on Piccolina as a Bugs Bunny-inspired moniker, has taken to waking me up by flopping down on my head, licking my hair and stabbing me with her adorably needle-like kitten claws. This is not the first time a pussycat decided to festively recoif me. You will note the kitten practices what she sees the older cats do, including sharing glasses of water with me. Water is especially delicious if I've taken a few sips from the cup. Pete makes faces, but he forgets he's covered with the spit of adoring kitties. Drink up, girlies!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Next Time I'll See You There

Have you ever in your entire life seen an action photo of tulips? Sunday afternoon, I walked by this color combination, backed up a few steps and said, "Pete, get the camera." Though the flowers appeared still they of course weren't. Nothing is. We are all always in motion, faster than we know and not at all where we appear to be. When Darla was down from Canada for a visit, I opened a jar of Tang to amuse her. "We can pretend we're in space!" she exclaimed. And, of course, we are.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I remembered that our landlord for the house we lived in when I was five had a wooden leg, and I remembered his name, too. Things may be starting to drift out from behind the wall of my memory loss. An example: this obscure Australian song I had on a 1993 NACB sampler and never heard anywhere else. Until yesterday, I hadn't seen this embarrassing video, but somehow that makes it better.
I love this happy, happy song and its drive and energy. I can't figure out why the singer dances about a half a beat off the rhythm but there's no accounting for counting. For all we know, she hears her own distant drummer, as we do at our house, and late at night we call the cops because we are old now, and resent the presence of a bad Portishead cover band next door. I mean, what?

Lovely Princess Drusy likes face-to-face interaction, so when Pete sat down to take pictures, Drusy leapt onto the table and licked his face. Pete grumbled, but he wasn't really angry. How can you be angry when the tiny, beautiful pussycat openly adores you? You cannot. So Pete grumbled, took this one picture including Drusy and she scampered off to play. That stripe of pink skin under black fur looks like Topaz and not Drusy, whose face is all black. It was Drusy, disguised as Topaz, I think. Perhaps this photo provides proof for someone's Unified Cat Theory, but space makes it hard to be certain.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

His Car Is Warm And Dry

Behold! Princess Drusy has subdued the sapphire tissue. It marauds no more! Note that the pink rubber ball cowers in a corner, fearful that the brave hunter will give chase. She is a fury, a blaze of claws and incisors. The ball, observed, doesn't stand a chance, though for now the hunter has other interests. You, for example. You might be delicious.

Are you, in fact, delicious?