Tuesday, March 24, 2020

#BLOGGING #AMWRITING – CURSES AND CATS, AMONG OTHER OBSERVATIONS


May you live in interesting times...” is a curse that has been attributed widely, from the Chinese to the Arabs, to Robert F. Kennedy, of all people. Originally thought to be a beneficence to the person it was bestowed upon, when parsed down, that “interesting” was definitely NOT meant for good times ahead. Good times are generally uplifting, giddy, and stamped with a tinge of amorality, if you think of the good ol' roaring 20s, prior to the Depression, but “interesting” is not high on the list of adjectives I would ascribe to that era.

For me, the “interesting” part in the 20th Century begins in Western Europe in about say, 1933, when Hitler begins his climb to power and the really interesting geo-political things begin to happen. Russia had already been “interesting” when Lenin showed up, and brought a feudal country into the 20th Century and greatness. Their more “interesting” times were ahead of them, in the form of fighting off the Nazis, which they did in epic style and with their typical heroism and grit.

At any rate, I'm not here to take a trip down memory lane, as much as I adore history and continue to learn new and more salient things about the parties who all participated in WW II. I'm here to talk about this “interesting” time we're in now, and why we all need to ignore the gibbering fool, who appears to be the Ringmaster of this Circus and stay hunkered down, until the CDC and/or Dr. Fauci says it's all okay to come back out from under our rocks.

Trump cares about one thing only: himself. He cares that the stock market is rising, that he appears to be in charge and that he's right about EVERYTHING. COVID19 is like Honey Badger (if you've seen that silly video). COVID don't care about a little cobra biting it in the neck. COVID don't care about a Big Leader of the Free? World telling us that if we go back to work sick with a mask on, it'll be okay (it won't; it'll just add to mortality. That's how disease vectors work, and this is not as bad as measles, but worse than SARS). We could kill 2.2 million Americans, by doing what we're currently doing. WHERE would we bury all these people and what about the sick ones?

They will absolutely overload the currently bad state of our medical system. This means that people with heart conditions, strokes, cancer care, dialysis and diabetes will be pushed back and ever-higher mortality rates will occur. The ability to look at the long picture has completely over-shot this administration and this joke of a President for too long and this really should be his Waterloo.

I had to make the terrible decision to bypass an infusion for the osteoporosis that I have in my right neck and shoulder and my lumbar, from all those many years of playing viola, but both my husband and I are high-risk. This can wait; I'm gonna hurt for a few months, but it's preferable than contracting some illness that I'm pretty sure is gonna take me out.

So, with that said, I truly wouldn't be surprised if the Pinheads of America elect this dolt once again. There seems to be truly nothing that will stop him. Had I been head of the DOJ back in 2016, when the first of the Russian collusion issues came to the fore? I woulda clapped those teeny hands in irons and frog-marched his ass off to gaol. He never had any business being on the GOP ticket. My ASS!

Now that I've vented my spleen, I can move on to much more pleasant topics. My babies. My dear, dear friend sent my an insane video of cats having a fashion show and it's every bit as kooky as it sounds. Let me show you some snaps.

 courtesy: krsvideos/facebook.com                                        

courtesy: krsvideos/facebook.com                                         


courtesy: krsvideos/facebook.com                                       

So, right away, my husband said "N.O. No!" to any hare-brained idea I might have about a feline fashion show, although I think it would be hella fun! I could dress up the little tykes and after 3 hours of them trying to walk backwards and hopping, being entertaining and all and then, lying around like lumps and just being generally awful, they might be persuaded to walk in a straight line for a few seconds. Long enough for me to record them, swap out cute little pope outfits, a nurse outfit, and a John Lennon get-up, edit it all with some stupid music and throw it out there on YouTube. You just can never have enough idiocy on the internet in these trying times and I'm full of it.

Although, I'd probably have to sew outfits, and I can just about manage a hem and a button, in an emergency. I tried to make a pair of pants once when I was a girl and I sewed the legs together; I ended up with a really messed-up evening gown. My mother thought that was hilarious. 


My mom flying (EGAD) an airplane. Both of my folks flew. I can barely stand to get in the death-traps, but if I had my preference, I'd fly with my father. My mother was an amazing woman, but not so much, a pilot. She'd crab and yaw down a runway. My father was an artist in a plane.

All the kitties and the dog and the birds are thriving; it helps that the cats aren't too sure what the birds are. We got most of them when they were so young, they didn't have mothers to teach them to hunt. Misty is just an enigma. I suspect she was with an animal hoarder and had very little attention as a kitten. She seems frail at six years old, but gets on well with the others. Being toothless, she needs soft food, so the three black-and-white tuxedos have learned that she eats by herself and don't bother her. 


It's hard to tell how small Misty is here; and I take lousy pictures. My essential tremor gets in the way. At least you can tell it's an animal.

Other than that, she's healthy and joins in their little games of "Viet Nam" and mouse hunts. Glenn is the smart one; I caught him getting into my cupboards underneath the sink and I yelled at him. The second time I saw him making a run at them, I shouted "Glenn! No!" He made a sharp right turn and ran head-long into the cabinet that was at a 90° angle to that cabinet, then sat down and licked his paw like "Uh-huh; I meant to do that." Cats. Just great.


Here's Glenn; an entire 3 feet of cat sprawled out on my bed. He's at least 4 feet long. He's got long whiskers, legs, toes, body. I'm not even sure he's all cat.

Eddifer is the supervisor of the kitchen. He very politely comes up and watches everything anyone does in the kitchen, like he's taking notes and will get back to you. He was my 2-month old foster and is just the sweetest, most biddable cat. He's just there for the company and is happy on his own, or sleeping on my chest.


For some reason, Eddifer is resistant to having his picture taken; so here is a picture of a couple of cats, who either got into the catnip, or are re-enacting a scene from "The Purrates of Penzance". All they lack are little tri-corn hats. I laughed like a goon for half-an-hour when I ran across this. God Bless the corners of the innerwebz!

Allie, or "Kitten McGrabbyPaws" is my husband's cat and she waits all day for him to come home and she just loves, loves, loves him. She is by nature, a very, loving and happy cat. She is the one who makes up weird games and invites you along for a Magical, Mystery Tour. She's also frolicsome and just a kick to watch, when she starts some wild game of her own devising in a box. Cats and boxes are the best!


This is Allie, with the most bewitching eyes ever! Still, she is a whole lot of fun and she loves my husband to death. She is a good and happy kitty, who will try to hold your hand!

I have to say that I never expected my life to take this turn and I am immensely grateful for the quality of my life. I was doing okay before and had the things I needed, but it's certainly ramped up in my opinion. Gratitude is something we can never express too frequently, nor is love. I want to know how all of your Apocalypses are going, as a friend asked me last night. Yes, we all still play Runescape. I'm leading a clan, with two others, (SpiritZ) that is now 15 years old and I've been there for 14 of those years, as have most of the members. To say, we're richly bonded, is to paint that faintly indeed. We're another branch of the family. Stay safe, stay happy, and remember, this too, shall pass. All my love to (almost) anyone reading! 


P. S. Don't forget! The #a-to-z-challenge starts 4.1.2020! This is going to be a great year!

Friday, March 20, 2020

#A-TO-Z-CHALLENGE THEME REVEAL KIND OF



Well... shit. Here I was going along, having survived stupid mopes invading my home. Beating up two muggers, getting past essential tremors and burying a companion who was one of the best people I ever knew. I had generally just stopped writing, because my viola playing had more or less taken off again, and I was getting to play challenging things in orchestras like the Tampa Bay Symphony. I was also getting out and about again; I'd recently become an Inspector for the Clerk of Elections of Hillsborough County and was working all of the General, Primary and Special elections, when one of my online viola students, whom I'd been teaching for several years, thought we'd make a pretty good team in life together. I wasn't averse to this idea; I'm not someone who wants to spend the rest of my life alone, but I'm not looking for just any old body either; we share much of the same outlooks and values and have the same quirky sense of humor. Since irl match-ups have been so horrible, I thought this might worth a shot.


"Wolf" was the unwitting matchmaker

Since we were very familiar with one another and talked several times a week, I thought “why the hell not”; I packed up my computers and my viola, “Wolf” and headed to South Carolina, to live with a man, I'd never met irl. Being legally blind, I was having trouble getting rides to the TBSO, and fed up with all of that, I quit. My newly-minted fiancé assured me that all the rides I ever could need would be provided happily and he's been great with that. We set up house in the country, filled it full of cats, with a dog for security and three birds, just for the hell of it. We run a sort of half-assed cat rescue for tuxedos, in memory of my poor Bootsie, ("Bootsie's Retreat") who was so cruelly treated by my ex-husband, that he died of starvation, less than a month after I got him out of the house that I was forbidden to enter, when we divorced.


My ridiculous dog, Ripley, wallowing on the bed, I just spent 20 minutes making. He's also a riot.

The cats are a hoot; tuxedos HAVE to be the clowns of the cat world. We fostered one tiny two-month old kitten, named “Eddie”, or “Eddifur” as I call him. The night we brought him home, he was introduced to our husky-hound mix, “Ripley”. Eddie looked at Ripley and did the puff-up-walk-sideways and backed into his little kitten house. He was so tiny, he couldn't figure out how to un-puff himself, so he circled around backward about three times, before he figured that shit out. Later on that night, after James had fallen asleep, this tiny creature proceeded to cavort all over James and turn somersaults, when his itty-bitty claws got caught in the blankets. James slept on, and I cackled much like Muttley in delight, as quietly as I could; it was so funny.


Eddifur, in front, photo-bombing Allie. Eddie is the sweetest boy and I call him "son". He's really a gentle cat. His favorite pastime is to "supervise" in the kitchen.

A week later, we adopted another tuxedo, named Allie, for “Allie Cat”. She too, puffed up and walked sideways when she saw Ripley. The most notable thing that she and Eddie did together, other than multiply exponentially in the mischief department, is they showed me the meaning of good housekeeping, and by that, I mean, unplugging appliances, when you are through using them. One calm evening, when all was quiet, James, Ripley and I were all tucked up nice and snug in the bed, snoozing away, when HOLYMOSESONACRACKER! SOMEONE DROPPED A 747 ENGINE IN MY HALLWAY!


"Allie", alias "KittenMcGrabbyPaws". This is the squirmiest, grabbiest kitten I've ever had. She tries to stand up and walk on her hind legs like a little person, and she made up this game one day, where she grabbed my hand, walked me over to a box (sorta on her hind legs), sit down, and then grabbed my hand and led me away from it, only to repeat said action. I know not what the object of the "game" was. She looks like she has wool on her hind legs, so naturally, all of our little darlings suffer terribly from "catwool", whatever that is...

Nope; it was just two tiny kittens assing around the vacuum cleaner and they turned it on. This is one of those big ones, that will suck up the entire living room, if you're not careful. The kittens, of course became ghosts. My hilarious friend, Alex, asked, “Did you turn the kittens into ghosts for that, or did they just evaporate?” Ha ha. “They just evaporated”, I answered. James observed “At least this is different than them Singing The Song Of Their People at 3 am!” Sort of, I guess?

A short time after that, James came home from work, and as he opened the front door, he says “Mary! How did the kitten get out of the house?”, and he was bent down picking up a tuxedo kitten, about the same size and configuration of our two. I hadn't been outside the house all day, so I at first thought “Hmmm, this is James' sneaky way of getting another kitten in the house!” I said, “Look behind me, here are our two chuckleheads!” and he looked. He was probably thinking, “Hmmm, this is Mary's sneaky way of getting another kitten in the house!”, but he brought this kitten in, who was about the same age as the other two. The kitten was in distress; hot and frazzled. James gave him a bath and we called our county's ASPCA. Both of our kittens had been vaccinated, but this one had not, so we weren't worried that this new kitten would make them sick. When it was apparent that the shelter had no room for him, we figured we were in for a penny; in for a pound and added him to our brood. James named him after my father, “Glenn Wallace”. The exponential quality of mischief-like behavior continued, only instead of four, we now had nine little busy-bodies and boy, are they something.


"Glenn Wallace" or just "Glenn" or "Chucklehead" or "Asshat" (which applies to all 3). Smarter than hell. He knows his name and he bonded quickly with me. His idea of a good time is to snooze in my lap all afternoon, even if I'm practicing.

About this time, I thought up the idea of a “Tuxedo Rescue” and mentioned it to James as we were driving off to the Walmart. He smartly returned with, “Hey, we're really close to the Harris Psychiatric Hospital! Would you like a short stay there?” After a good laugh, he said (being the compassionate soul he is)
“Maybe there's something to this idea....”

We started looking at all the shelters in our area for tuxedos. We found a blue-and-white one recently. Her name is “Misty” and she was in a situation where the people hoarded animals. She has no teeth, and must eat soft food. She's just the sweetest thing and will play if she thinks no one is looking. She and Glenn are the smartest, with Glenn being scary-smart. He knows hand commands and they all know their names. I guess this is my dotage. Not bad, coming from the 'hood and a horrid situation. We look constantly; they are few and far between...


Misty is tiny, tiny, tiny. I'm not sure if she was malnourished when she was young. I do know that she was only spayed a year ago -- she's six years old -- and has had at least one litter of kittens. She's really a good cat, and sneaky fun. You have to catch her at playing. 

My health is better than it's ever been; I've put on fifteen pounds and I feel great. I'm playing well (I'll get to why I'm writing now in a moment), after I fell and cracked my elbow. But, I fell and cracked a rib and I broke my hip and had it replaced in October of 2018. I had the fastest recovery and rehab EVER then, as I lived alone and you cannot show weakness in the jungle of Nebraska Avenue. I can still kick the shit out of people, but have no reason to do that anymore.


Glenn is also the longest cat I've ever had; he's a full four feet, when stretched out. He has really long whiskers, so I sing to him, "Scaramouch! Scaramouch!... CanyoudotheFandango?, in a high voice and he looks at me like I'm an idiot.

Anyway, I joined a new orchestra, here in the Carolinas; the Foothills Philharmonic, conducted by the wonderful Kory Vrieze. we were practicing “Scheherazade”, much to my delight. We did such an awesome job with it in 2015, with Mark Sforzini and the Tampa Bay Symphony, and we were going to do just as fine a job here.

Alas, a thing called a pandemic intervened. Coronavirus shut down the orchestra, along with the rest of the country. I've worked at a tertiary care facility, and did so for four years. Virology always fascinated me and I understand disease vectors. I knew six weeks ago, that I would be in a quarantine of my own making. I'm at high-risk, and I've survived too much awful shit; had so much good luck, that I cannot continue to bank on that happening indefinitely, so I ran right to my doc's office and we did our shorthand discussion: “triage”, “shortages of supplies”, “out-of-date infrastructure”, “lack of leadership” and so on. I was supposed to take a trip out-of-state to meet my fiancé's parents, later on in the summer. Since they are elderly and since I am high-risk, none of this is happening. It's no one's fault; it just is.

However, now that I am blogging again, I can also freely express my total dismay and contempt for what I see happening; not only in our own government, but around the world. I do feel that our so-called President has finally found himself in a position that he cannot possibly lie or backpedal his way out of and his actions, even before his taking of office have been treasonous, illegal and immoral. I will never accept what he has done to our Supreme Court, and his minions within the Senate and Congress, should all be held liable. This is the kind of thing that in times past, would bring about Revolution; line 'em up against the wall, shoot 'em and start over. Lenin had it right.

Anyway, I'm back, and while I'm happy in my life and having a great time, I fear for our WAY of life. Looking forward to #a-to-z-challenge!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

#A-TO-Z-CHALLENGE - LETTERS “C” AND “D” - CATS AND DOGS OF NEBRASKA AVENUE

 

Living on and around Nebraska Avenue has been a colorful journey and the denizens here have been sure to bring along their four-footed companions on whatever this all is. We have quite the assortment, and one breed of cat, known as the “Havana Brown” originated right here in V. M. Ybor. The cat is a beauty to behold; dark, small and fierce and so brown as to be almost black. It is related to the Siamese and is a striking animal.


Havana Brown

But, we mostly have an odd breed of cat that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be and they are most typified by my old matriarch, who has since passed on, “Mama”. She was part-calico, part-striped, with patches and colors a-riot. Her progeny are all over this 'hood and have been adopted by the good-hearted folk. When she came to us, she was pregnant with her last litter, and we had her spayed, but her descendants are still here, with all of her colors and patterns. These cats are almost all fixed, and they loll about the streets around Nebraska Avenue, living the lives of kings and queens all. It's fun to walk about the 'hood to see them.


"Mama" standing on my porch, looking for a treat. This animal did not know what she wanted to be, so she was a bunch of everything. Her descendants are still cavorting around here. I miss her, dearly.

There's also a feral colony that I feed and they like to just come in the house and run riot. I'm not too sure where they came from, but I do feed them and they seem to have adopted me. I named one “Chloe” before I discovered he was a male, but he doesn't seem to mind. He enjoys coming in, eating and then sleeping somewhere, until I've forgotten he's in the house and then scaring the hell out of me. He wouldn't let me pet him for the longest time, and now, he likes to make an ass out of himself by rolling all over my feet for treats. So, yeah, his name is “Chloe”. He brought along two younger siblings and they all played “Rodeo” in my kitchen one afternoon, as I was airing out my house on a cool afternoon. Who doesn't love cats romping through the house on a sunny afternoon?


Batch o' newborn kittens. Almost 3 summers ago, I hand-raised 5 newborns up to 5 months, before I toured Japan. I was so exhausted by the 2nd week of feedings. But, I raised and adopted out 5 healthy, beautiful kittens. Their mom had been hit by a car and no one else in the 'hood had ever done this before. Me and my fat mouth.

They may not be that feral; they could be the type of cats that “dine” at several houses and live the life of Riley. This would not be the first time I've been scammed by cats. It's harder for dogs to get away with that kind of nonsense.


All the pitbulls I see around here are happy like this guy. Simba looks like this. He's real happy now that his "family" has been extended. Even if it is just more cats.

Dogs are a lot different anyway, and the dogs of Nebraska Avenue are no different. They are a loyal bunch, and there are many of them here. Because this is the 'hood, the breed of choice is the Pitbull. Or, for some peculiar reason, little tiny anklebiters of indeterminate make. The people who own Pitbulls are very good and kind with them and they are great dogs to have. We had one show up once, when I was at the homeless shelter and he played and romped with several of us, before his panicked owner showed up, looking for him.


The other families that don't have pitbulls have these little dogs, furry and non-furry. There's no in-between or medium-sized dogs here. So, I guess we either go large or small, or go home! Not sure what it says about our demographic here!

The neighbors had a pitbull before they moved and he was such a sweet, biddable dog. I was sad when they moved and he left. The only other dog I currently know, is Simba, who lives upstairs. He's a Pitbull and he's very excited. His sister-cat just had kittens and he is going to help raise them. The mama cat, Maggie, seems fine with this arrangement. Since they all live in an apartment and Simba can't hide the kittens, I'm sure it will be fine.

I just remember growing up, we had a large dog who was very excited when one of our cats had kittens. He “kit-napped” them and we found them all in the garage; he had gathered the kittens inside his giant paws and was guarding them. They were yowling angry, because they were hungry. Simba has no hiding place. He'll have to do his “guarding” right there in front of Mama cat!