Mom


My mom has always been, and always will be, the voice in my head that keeps me on the straight and narrow, especially through times when I couldn’t see two feet in front of me, much less what’s around the bend. She has been the strongest influence on my life, though most times I’d chafe at admitting it.

Throughout her 87 years, she relied on herself to overcome life’s hurdles. Her strength of character and determination saw her through many difficult trials—from the devastating loss of a child to the gauntlet of Alzheimer’s. Yet, she remained strong. It wasn’t in her nature to give up, no matter how difficult the challenge or risky the outcome. She loved an adventure.

Not to say she is the only person who ever told me I’m wrong, but she is the only person who would always tell me when I’m wrong or making a mistake. She was honest, hardworking, and had more character and personal integrity than anyone I’ve ever known. Her love, though quiet and somewhat reserved, was always there for me. It never faltered.

Over the years, Mom and I sometimes didn’t “get along.” Maybe because we were so much alike—I can be as stubborn and determined as she could—that it caused friction. We didn’t talk a lot, finding it difficult to chit-chat. Small talk wasn’t part of our pattern. Scrabble was our thing. We could get into deep conversations over a Scrabble board. We both enjoyed prowling through junk shops and the trips to them always got us talking as well. I learned more about Mom while playing Scrabble and driving to places where we could poke around dust covered bits and pieces than I would’ve dreamed possible. I cherish every game we played and every junk hunt we made.

Mom left us slowly, day by day. She lived with my sister for many years and for that I am truly grateful. I don’t know how she managed, day in and day out, watching Mom fade away, but I know I couldn’t have coped. It was hard enough to see just when I visited. Thank you my dear sister, for all that you did to take care of Mom, for keeping her safe, for making her life better.

Bossy britches


I have a bossy cat.

There, I said it.

The first step is admitting the problem.

The second step is a choice. It can be digging one’s heels in and refusing to be bossed around by a four-legged fur ball. It can be an adventure in feline behavior modification (see Cat Whisperer). Or it can be good old-fashioned whining.

IMG_0828Katie isn’t a bad cat. She’s even quite affectionate from time to time. But mostly, she’s just bossy and very vocal. I mean she meows—a lot.

Some of the time she emits a soft little mew. Other times she lets out an ear-splitting MEOW. In her defense, she usually only caterwauls when I’ve neglected her for more time than she’s willing to be ignored.

You see, one of the things I like most about cats is that they’re very self sufficient. As long as their box is cleaned regularly and their food is where it’s supposed to be when it’s supposed to be, they’re pretty happy critters.

Not Katie.

First of all, she has to be in whatever room I’m in. She follows me everywhere and it’s really annoying. She has learned to not get underfoot (after having her tail stepped on a few times) but wherever I am, there she is. When I go outside, she sits in the window and watches. When I go into the kitchen, she sits in there and watches. When I go to the bathroom, she sits in there and watches. If I shut her out, she sits outside the bathroom door meowing louder and louder until I let her in.

Yes, she’s in here with me right now, watching as I type. It’s kind of creepy.

Back to the caterwauling …

There are three primary reasons why Katie screeches at me …

  1. When her food dish is empty
  2. When her box needs attention
  3. When she wants to play and I’m not taking the hint.

Her ‘food hint’ is to walk back and forth from the kitchen, meowing louder and louder until I go replenish her dish. Now, let’s be clear. It’s not that she’s hungry even. She just doesn’t like for her dish to be empty.

Her ‘potty hint’ is to pace back and forth right in front of me. You guessed it, meowing louder and louder until I get up and tend to her box.

Her ‘playing hint’ is to drag around whatever she wants me to dangle at her as she follows me all over the house. If I’m planted in my favorite reading chair, she sits on the end of the couch, a mere three feet away, with said dangler hanging out of her mouth—staring at me.

I find it very hard to enjoy reading, even a really good book, with a cat staring at me.

She doesn’t blink.

So little time


Where does time go?

It seems to just vanish when I’m not looking.

If I keep an eye glued to the clock, I can see time pass but who has time to watch the clock? Not me. I’m too busy being retired. Yep, I am retired and have been since last summer. But ask me where those 10 months have gone, what I did during that period, what I accomplished, etc. and I’m clueless.

Let’s figure this out.

I still spend mornings on the MAC checking out what’s happening in the world. Then there’s lunch and sometimes a nap. So maybe I’ve just been wasting a lot of time.

Wait just a sec. I’ve read books. A lot of books.

Oddly, my stack of to-be-read books is piled just as high as it was a year ago. Maybe higher. That must be where all my time went. I’ve been buying books online. You’re welcome, Amazon.com.

Could be worse. I could have spent all that time cleaning house.

Yikes!