Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

I got my new job exactly one week before the clothes for Tosca loaded out to the theatre. I applied for the job at Loyola the week I got back from the circus and then I waited.  Nothing happened for almost a month.  I worked on Tosca and kept a low profile.  There had been a regime change at the opera and as is usual in such situations, things were tense.

Also complicated.  I gave up my landline and with it my internet before going to Sacramento for the summer.  I intended to shop around for cheaper internet when I got back but didn’t want to make any commitments until I knew where I was going to be.  Therefore if I needed to use the internet I had to do it at the opera or at a friend’s place.  My cell phone gets lousy reception in my apartment without wifi making phone interviews a bit tricky too.

Once Loyola responded  I began to live a double life. I didn’t want to add to the panic and paranoia at the opera and I wanted to keep my job there if I didn’t have another one to go to.  I excused myself early from work and  raced to my friend’s apartment for the Skype interview.  When Loyola called in the middle of a production meeting, I had a panic attack then snapped my phone off.  Heart pounding for the next couple of hours, I waited until the end of the day, locked myself in the fitting room, and called them back.  Thank you West coast for being 3 hours behind.

It had all the elements of a silent movie farce.  Speculation in the costume shop as to what was going on with me centered around the possibility that I had a new man or a serious illness.

I got the job offer on September 20.  I had to be in LA to start work by October 21. I needed every penny so leaving the opera early was not an option.  I made a timeline.  I made lists. I made a budget.

On the top of the list:  get the car serviced before dress rehearsals for Tosca. It was a good thing too, because that weekend I hit a curb, blew a tire, and discovered that the rubber in all 4 tires was rotten. Only my car was in the shop for 3 days and any plans involving transportation, like getting moving supplies, had to be put on hold.

Next on the list:  Get my emissions checked and renew my Georgia tag  because the current one was going to expire 1 week after I arrived in LA and I knew I wouldn’t have time to get a California one before the end of the semester. The Saturday after getting my car back, my check engine light came on.  Mobility compromised and I can’t get my tag until it’s fixed.  Car in the shop for 3 days, again. I am now in dress rehearsals and have to beg for rides to and from the theatre.

3rd item:  Take the cats to the vet for shots.   I have let them lapse and California has strict rules about animals brought into the state. I make the appointment for the Monday after Tosca opens. I get my car back Friday morning and race around getting moving supplies. After filling my tank for all the necessary errands, my check engine light comes back on. I run the errands anyway.

My plans and budget require a revision.  My contacts have become uncomfortable, my eyes are watery and I can’t see as well as normal.  Detour to eye doctor.  New contact lens required.  Takes a week or more to get them.  If I chewed my nails at this point I wouldn’t have any fingers left.

I take the cats to the vet.  It is less traumatic than I had anticipated for all concerned and what I saved at the vet can go to pay the eye doctor.  The receptionist at the vet, when I explain that I am moving to California, tells me that they can provide health certificates for the cats that will help if I am stopped at the border.  Yes, please.  Only she can’t get her computer to print it and tells me to come back later in the week to pick it up.

The car goes back to the shop.

I get my new contact.  The prescription isn’t quite right- I can’t read street signs. The doctor revises it after a visit I don’t really have time for.  It could take another week.

I am staying late at the opera or hanging out at my friend’s so I can book hotels that are clean, cheap, and allow pets, find some moving men for the short term move to my son’s house, rent a truck, and a dozen other crazy making tasks. I have begun packing and purging but have a long way to go.  My schedule is being compromised by the extra time it takes every day to get around on public transportation. There are too many things in my house I don’t know what to do with.  I am seriously behind in packing.  I have too many people I need to see before I go.  I am inspired.  I will invite them to come over, help pack, and help themselves to the accumulated yarn, fabric, and other stuff I don’t need to hang on to.  This involves another errand, the purchase of party supplies.

My last day at the opera.  I have done everything I need to do there to pass the torch.   My car is fixed.  I buy party supplies.  I stop at the vet’s to get the certificate.  It’s ready but the vet is too busy to sign it.  Come back tomorrow I am told.

My horoscope says:  finish old business.  I’m trying.  What more do you want?

My car needs to be driven at least 100 miles or 2 weeks before it can be tested for emissions.  This is to give the monitors a chance to reset.  I know this but I just don’t have that kind of time so I risk it and take to the emission place.  It doesn’t pass.  The technician advises me to drive it around the perimeter expressway a couple of times and then bring it back.  I don’t  have that kind of time either but I don’t have a lot of options.  I drive it around the perimeter, 68 miles takes about 1 1/2 hours in Atlanta traffic.

Saturday morning, I do it again.  Then I stop at the vet’s where my certificates are ready.  Finally some progress.

By Saturday afternoon I am mostly packed, thanks primarily to my friend Diana.  So when my party guest arrive they cart some things to the curb, take away a few things for themselves, and leave me some much appreciated and unexpected gift cards for my trip. After they leave, I drive around the perimeter, again.

Sunday the stuff I plan to keep is moved into my son’s house where I also will be staying until I can get everything cleaned up in my apt., pick up my contact lens, and ideally pass my emissions.  Since he has 2 dogs, my cats are staying in my apartment until I leave town.  They are completely freaked out, hovering on top of the kitchen cabinets, since all the usual hiding places went with the movers.

Once everything is moved, I drive half way  around the perimeter.  I just can’t face the whole thing.

My apartment still has way too much stuff in it.  It will take too many trips in my car to take it to a thrift store plus there are 4 boxes of old taxes and receipts that need to be shredded and after filling the trash cans at my building I still have several big bags of trash.  I also have a TV to dispose of.  I do some research and discover that I can get the shredding done at Office Max and Best Buy will recycle the TV.  Only I can’t lift it by myself. A friend with an SUV comes to my rescue and we get the stuff to the Salvation Army in one trip.  She takes the TV with her and I take my 20lbs of paper to Office Max for shredding.

My contact is ready and this time it’s right and I can see.  Victory! I run by the emissions place.  The pretest shows it still won’t pass.  I drive around the perimeter again.

Tuesday is the day I would really like to leave but alas my car still won’t pass and I haven’t been able to finish cleaning my apartment.  I am shipping 7 boxes of tools, research books, clothes and patterns to LA so a trip to the post office is also on the agenda. I have clothes that still need to be packed for the trip along with the cat stuff and I still need to drive around the perimeter. My son and his girlfriend take me out to dinner.  There are exotic cocktails involved.  I skip the trip around the perimeter.

Wednesday has to be the day. I won’t be able to get to LA in time if I don’t leave by then.  I take my car to the emission place. No go. My landlord wants to know when I will be out so he can get in to paint.  The apartment still needs to be swept, I haven’t really cleaned it sufficiently, there’s still stuff that needs to go to the trash, I need to get the cats calmed down enough to get them into the carriers.  I just don’t have  the time for another circle around Atlanta. I race over to my mechanic.  His test indicates that the monitors have reset and it should pass.  Emissions guy says not.  I say damn the results, run the test.  If it doesn’t pass I’ll have to deal with in California.  It passes.  I leave emissions guy with his mouth hanging open.

It’s now almost 3 pm. My urgent need to get on the road today trumps everything.  My cleaning agenda is reduced to removing all the rest of the trash.  I load my car and trick the cats into their carriers.  They let me know how they feel about this but eventually the felaway kicks in and they zen out. I stop at my son’s house long enough to fill out the forms for my car tag, gather the rest of my belongs, and say a very poignant and teary farewell.  I toss the tag form into the box at the post office on my way out of town and head west into the setting sun.

Next:  A Cat’s Guide to Cross Country Travel


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I am on vacation.  That is, I have a bit of time off between my summer job and the opera.  I am spending it by cleaning up the cat hair and cat gack that accumulated in my apartment over the summer.  That and napping.

Yesterday I accomplished part of my to do list by cleaning and mopping the bedroom and hallway.  Then I set out to run a few errands, kitchen restocking and whatnot.  I also planned to stop by the opera and check on some things and use the internet since I cancelled mine before I left and I needed to print out some receipts and that’s not possible at the other places where I can get online.  Then I was going to meet up with the Friday night knitters.

At the opera, my key would not turn in the lock.  This is not unusual because the door is out of whack.  But, it wouldn’t work in the other door either.  No access for me.  It is now past 5pm and if people are still there I don’t want to disturb them since I am not on contract yet anyway.

I head to knitting instead.  The coffee place we meet at is empty of knitters and there is no reserved sign on our table.  I am hot and bothered.  I order a smoothie and check Facebook on my phone.  Knitting cancelled.  I also attempt to check my opera email but either the password has been changed or I simply can’t type it in correctly on my teeny tiny phone keyboard.  Another fail.

I drive home.  It is hot and I have been in California all summer where it is hot but not so unbearably muggy.  My car works better if I don’t use the air conditioning in city traffic so I have the windows down, sweltering and breathing in car exhaust from the other vehicles.

Once at home, all I want to do is lie down in my cool apartment.  I proceed to the bedroom with it’s newly clean floor and behold:  fresh cat gack.

Clearly I was just supposed to stay home and nap.

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Ahh… spring in the south, flowers, light breezes, going without a coat for the first time in months… then…  after a few pleasantly warm days the trees burst out and spewed pollen on everything.  But Nature is sneaky.  It’s going to rain all weekend.  Which means I may not have to wash all the green dust off my car just yet.

Then again, it’s not just a little spring rain.  No, this is the full fledged, gully washer, take no prisoners rain.  The monsoons are here, head for higher ground.   Last night the water rushing along the curb outside was up to the axle of my car.  I worked 2 hours longer than I intended to yesterday because I didn’t want to drive home until there was a chance I could make it all the way without having to pull over until:

A.  I could see the road

B. The other drivers could see me.

C.  I wasn’t likely to encounter water too deep to drive through-  like the bridge near the golf course where no matter how many times they “improve” things it is still underwater when it rains.

Later, as I lay sleeping, I was jolted awake by a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning that was so loud and so bright I thought it had hit the building.  The cat next to me jumped straight up in to the air and made a noise as if she had been struck.  The other cat came running into the bedroom, full speed, jumped on the bed and huddled next to me shaking.  I spent the rest of the night with a cat pushing against me on either side.

It’s touching to know they have such faith in me- even if it is a bit misplaced.  Really, girls, what do think I can do about the lightning?  It’s not likely I could save myself.

I finished my beret and it is a lovely thing.  I found the pattern to be very well written and easy to follow as well as being interesting enough to hold my interest.

Not so much my next project:  Adia.   There isn’t a chart, just written instructions.  I cast on and started it 3 times last night.  I kept having the same problem.  Not enough stitches at the end of row 1, too many at the end of row 2.  I, of course, assumed the problem was knitter error so I decided to make my own chart in an effort to see what I was doing wrong.  I got 4 rows along and behold,  there seems to be a error in the 1st 2 rows of the pattern.  I’m going to chart out the entire repeat and see if I can fix it before I start again.

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Friday when I got home from my knitting group there was a message from the mattress company informing me that the window for my mattress delivery was 7-10am Saturday.

7 am.  Great.

That means  big burly men will be arriving to take away my old bed while I am, more than likely, still in it.

Maybe they could just roll me over onto the new one and slide the old one away?

What about the stuff stored under the bed?

Would meeting them at the door in my Pj’s be so bad?  It would make it so much easier-  I could just get right into the new one and pick up where I left off when I was  cruelly awakened…

When will you be taking the headboard off the old frame then?  Please don’t tell me you actually think it’s safe to use a drill before you have had coffee?   or put your contacts in?

When was the last time you cleaned under the bed?  Aren’t you ashamed to let anyone see those mammoth sized dust balls?  Do you think they are going to stand by patiently, holding the new mattress, while you sweep where the old one was?

I can just get up really early and do all of that.

Because you’ve recently revised your opinion that the alarm is just a suggestion of a good time to get up?

I did not spend the rest of my Friday evening wallowing on the sofa in front of the TV.   I did not work on  the pair of mitts that just needed a few thumb rows to finish.  I did not get on Facebook or Ravelry.

I went into action.  I pulled the stuff out from under the bed, dusted it off and found new homes for it.  I moved the bed and gathered up an entire warren of dust bunnies and swept them into the netherworld.  I flipped the mattress and box springs off, got out the drill and removed the headboard.  I moved furniture and works of art and junk out of the way so the delivery guys would have a straight shot into the bed room.  I was on a roll.  I was focused, driven, nothing could stop me.

Then it became clear that I had completely panicked the cats. Imp was dashing around the room in mad circles, jumping from the top of the armoire to the dresser, knocking things over, clawing whatever she could.  She was prepared to bite off her own tail if the need should arise.  Because in their world when the furniture starts shifting about then the apocalypse must be at hand.  Lilith, whose emotional needs center around food, headed for the kitchen and began to search for something to eat.  She sniffed every dish on the counter.  She investigated the sink.  She stuck her head in the trash. She sniffed over every inch of the floor searching for crumbs.  When she couldn’t find anything she paced the floor and tangled herself between my legs, crying.

The rest of my evening was spent nestled on the couch with two nervous kitties and the can of Feelaway.

The actual delivery, scary men and all wasn’t as bad.  Lilith isn’t speaking to me right now because she had planned to hide under the bed when the guys came in and then they took her refuge away but other than that we are now all calm and settled.  At least, I am.   Imp and Lilith aren’t so sure.

This might be where I usually nap, but it just doesn’t feel right.

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Oh you like that do you?  What’s that?  You feel you deserve a new toy?

You know why you  can’t have nice things.  There’s the little matter of the destroyed scratcher.

What’s that?  Oh I see.  That explains everything.  It attacked you.

While you were under the influence of catnip, I believe.

I would be more than happy to get you the deluxe kittie condo with the treat dispenser on the  back porch and the cuddly interior but you can’t seem to take care of the things you already have.

Where are the felt mice I gave you last week?  Batted under the closet door.  I suppose you expect me to get them out for you too, don’t you?

You have the upright sisal scratcher.  Do you ever use it?  Of course not.  Instead you ruin my things.  Knocking the vase off the top of the bookshelf so you can sit there.  Scratching perfectly decent furniture.

What were you thinking?   You have very bad boundaries.  There are limits you know.

Then there’s the whole try to open the cat food with our teeth episode.  Did you have pull everything else off the counter in the process?  Besides you know the rules.  Food in the bedroom is absolutely not allowed even if it’s still in the can.

Then there’s all the cat hair.  Why?  Why is always me who has to clean it up?  Really you should be more responsible.

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Any one person’s attempt to define Art would undoubtably be different from any other person’s.  Since this is not a research paper I did not consult the dictionary or Sister Wendy. It’s just hard to define.   All I can say for sure about it is that someone had to make it.  Which could equally apply to a plastic Parsons Table circa 1970 or a Rodin sculpture.  Then there’s the question about whether or not it has to be designed or executed by a human.  Are the paint spatterings of a chimp art?  Do images randomly generated by a computer count?

Careful- you don’t know how the computer feels about that issue.

The bottom line is that it’s usually about how it makes us feel.  If it ignites something in the beholder.  If it allows one a glimpse into the mind and soul of the artist.  If through the work we can share however remotely in another’s experience of being human.  It makes one feel both a separate individual with unique perceptions and a member of a group with shared experience.

Well, I know how I feel about this:

Since the artist is not human I can only guess what was in her mind when she created this.  I only know that this was accomplished very shortly after I left for California.   This was not a shared experience although I provided the medium- a new scratching pad- before I left.  I don’t normally have to put out  a new one for at least 6 months but this time the muse struck and the damage work was created in a mere 2 weeks.  I am making the assumption that she was bored.

Which makes me wonder:  How much great Art was produced solely because the artist was bored?

I tinker all the time with this and that when I’m bored.  Sometimes something worthwhile comes out of it.  Sometimes it’s just a pastime with nothing to show for it.  Sometimes the result is interesting but I can’t decide on an application for it at the time.  Usually I get tired of looking at it, storing it, feeling guilty that I spent time and materials on something I’ve never used and then it gets tossed or donated or otherwise leaves my possession.

This is one of those things:

That is, the center embroidery is.  I was playing around with cross stitch sometime in the 80’s and this was the result.  I recall that I just started stitching- no plan or chart, completely randomly until I realized there was a pattern forming.  When it got this big I stopped.  Really I stopped because I was tired or had to eat or something. It has sat in my embroidery bag for over 25 years until this week I pulled it out and used it to embellish a silk covered box I was making.  That box has been on my project list for quite a while.  (Though not as long as the embroidery has been waiting to be used.)

I now feel virtuous (it’s recycled) and accomplished (cross that item off the to do list) and oh yeah, artistic.

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How do they do this?

I have maintained for sometime that my cats are really just visiting here from another planet and/or dimension.  I believe that their initial reconnaissance of this planet suggested that cats were a dominate species. Now that they are here, however, this has proved to be a somewhat flawed assumption.

So having neglected to outfit themselves with opposable thumbs and not realizing that the human slave species can only comprehend a few words of feline; they have been unable to get back home.

I have ample evidence that this is true.  They have- on more than one occasion- changed my answering machine message to cat noises.  Trying to phone home, girls?

Tonight I came home to find that they had pulled a can of cat food out of the cupboard, from behind other items, and when they were unable to open it with their teeth, left said can in the hallway.

I want to know just how they figured out it was cat food?  Xray vision?

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