September 28, 2011
Catmover, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 39
Dog whisperers, horse whisperers, I’ve never heard of such thing as a cat whisperer.
However, I discovered a way to at least somewhat get a cat to do what I want it to do. I am now a Cat Traffic Controller, and you can be one, too.
Suppose you’ve got a big cat (9 years old) blocking the way to the pantry where there’s food and water and a litter box.
Now, suppose you’ve got a little cat (aka a kitten) who is pitifully trying and retrying to get past the one moaning like a near-dead zombie.
Now, suppose also you’re smart enough not to want to get between them – their cat-stack relationship is their business, right?
Simply take your handy dandy laser mouse and proceed as follows:
Point the laser to attract the little guy’s attention. Use the laser to sweep him into the living room and kill the light. As soon as he’s immobile and confused…
Aim the laser to attract the old lady’s attention. Use the laser to move her to the dining room area and kill the light. As soon as she’s immobile and confused…
Turn your attention back to the kitten: use the laser to move him from the living room into the kitchen, and viola!
You are now an official cat mover, and you never even left the comfort of your favorite comforter or the favorite chair where you’ve cat-napping in between chapters of a good book.
Good luck, and you're very welcome for the sound advice.
September 19, 2011
Pre-flight, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 38
Two pre-thoughts. When you read my intros, they are usually a week or two behind my reality. I will be in the air on my way to Ireland as you read this, and I'm very very happy to be going! I am going to attempt to send next week's newsletter to you from Ireland - I'm hoping to be able to. In four years, I've never missed sending a newsletter yet...
Post 9/11, pre-flight: as I mentioned last week, I’ve got a few things to be really happy about right now.
At least I’m trying to be happy; I should be happy. But when you’re doing monumental things alone, it’s sort of sad. I cry a lot. I cry easily. I have a toothache that I know will take the last chewing surface I have left. I can’t stand to lose that right now. I can’t to lose my composure either. I’ve pretty much aced the act. I exercise that sort of methodical skill a lot, to quell others’ fears. I can see who they want me to be. I can see who I want to be, and I read it to myself, silently, over and over. Like the best part of a book, it’s the one line that stands out and makes you understand, finally, what it’s really about.
“But Lou Anne, she understood the point of the book before she even read it. The one who was missing the point this time was me.” Kathryn Stockett, The Help.
I must still be missing the point. If anybody could tell me what it is, I’d really like to know. What is the point of crossing Ireland off my bucket list? Because right now, I’m just second guessing my sanity. Really? I’ve signed up to do this alone? What was I thinking? What will I dream about after this? Where will I find another star to follow? How am I going to make it through without tears? How am I going to explain them to colleagues and strangers if they show up despite my determination not to be sad about not sharing the experience immediately with a flesh-and-blood someone to my left or right?
I don’t know how this is going to play out.
But, I’ve stocked up on notebooks, and fast writing pens.
September 11, 2011
9/11, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 37
I have so many fun and good things to tell you about: cats and plans…
But last Thursday night, I found something that changed my course for this week. In a box, the same one in which I found some pictures I had thought lost was a stack of folded papers clipped together with a dull paper-clip. On top, was an email. I glanced over it quickly at first, and then stopped and started again. I checked the date and stopped breathing.
On September, 11, 2001, I was at work. Without a TV, and only getting occasional radio reports from co-worker’s who had desk radios, it took me a while to find out and figure out what was really going on. I remember swinging into crisis mode, sending off frantic email, trying to place calls that never went through. I couldn’t even get through to my husband, who was working just across the street from me. Traffic was lined up as far as the eye could see on the two lane road between us. Everyone was trying to get home to somewhere. We drove straight to the bank, took out as much cash as allowed. It was 7:00 PM by the time I was finally able to sit by a TV. I was in shock and shaking, but on September 11, 2001, the tears never came. We shifted from channel to channel hearing that, for our own good, much had been edited out as too graphic or too scary. In an uneasy way, I felt cheated by that. In a easier way, I now feel a bit blessed by the limited and filtered information.
The first email was from a friend in Massachusetts, “I am still coming to your wedding,” she wrote. “I am not afraid, and if the flight goes, I’ll be there!!!.” Second down was from a military friend stationed in Japan who reported, “In one sense we feel very grateful to be on a military installation where they have the capability to protect us. On the other hand, we feel like a target. As I told the children this morning as we sat in front of the TV, material things don’t matter when you’re facing eternity.” Third was from a friend in Ireland who wrote, “I don’t ever want to lose contact with you!” The fourth was written from New York City. “I was en-route to Midtown during the plane crashes and in the office for the rest of. I did not see, hear or feel anything. I can’t get over this. My father keeps telling me that my room at home is ready, if I want to return.” Next, from Georgia, was the note, “I’ve wanted to cry but the tears just aren’t coming yet. It’s all just so unbelievable.” And sixth, from New Jersey, “I’m fine. Thank you for checking up on me. I’m fine. My sister who works for the Fed Gov got home ok. God Bless and stay safe.”
Re-reading them now, I realize this: 10 years ago, within a short 24 hours of panic, grief, uncertainty, and email, my world suddenly became smaller; closer. In an unbelievably intimate way, from far away, we were able to let out our breath a little as we sent and received notes of assurance and gratitude.
September 05, 2011
The Fall, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 36
Sunday; late day catnaps and a cup of cocoa. It’s the sort of barely sunny afternoon meant for blankets and nothing much, left wondering when the summer left, and thinking I’ll think about that later. I’m enjoying the sure-to-be short-lived success of two sleepers – no moaning, no rocket running – amazingly at peace within three feet of each other.
The big girl wakes up first, comes to nudge my leg and looks up at me in question. “Go for it,” I tell her. She pads a wide berth around the half hidden little guy, halting in wide eyed alarm as he sighs and stretches, only moving forward as he loses the fight to keep his exhausted kitten eyes open. Her purple, heart-shaped tag tinkles against her food dish. In less than a minute, she reappears from around the kitchen corner. She paths the same wide berth with carefully placed near-silent steps, quietly creeping along but without as much hesitation. Headed for her favorite sill, she detours a little to the right and gives me another nudge. I reward her with sweet talk and back scratches. Then she does what she always does - cuts our physical communication just a little shorter than I would like.
Not needing to gauge her launch, she lands with confident familiarity on the narrow ledge and strikes my favorite pose. It’s the one I’ve taken countless pictures of; black silhouette within a white frame, dignified and regal against today’s backdrop of cool green, rain enhanced, leaves. Head and ears tilted in different directions, she studies her tree, sharp eyed and watching.
Commenting precisely on the random breeze, “There it is,” she trills, as if I didn’t know. I answer her accurate melody with a half-breathed mutter. Reaching, resting her front feet on the arm of my chair, her golden emerald gaze comes in closer. Frank eyes blink twice at the sadness in mine. Satisfied with the scrutiny, she backs herself into my arms, and settles in true cat fasion. Slowly, as only an experienced feline can. Together now… we’re waiting, silently, for the fall.
September 01, 2011
Pre-Pre-Flight, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4 Issue 35.5
Fall means back to school. A mercurial time for me, it signals a time to begin preparing to learn. I suppose I’ll be learning a lot about myself in the next few weeks. Some of it before I even travel as I reclaim my love of the journey and the preparation. Both of which come with a bit of stress that I’d like to rename as a challenge; a challenge to my bravery, my determination and my deductive powers of reasoning. I guess I’ve gotten better at staying put. A dozen years in Michigan is the longest run in 32 years. Still, I can’t say I feel more rooted here than anywhere else; I can’t say I feel less rooted either. Complacency vs comfortableness?
Time to defy inertia. Time to start making calls, making arrangements, arm myself with research and knowledge in un-concrete forms, and use my imagination to thwart any foreseeable problems. It’s turned into a good time to arm myself with pens and notebooks, and a new phone which I am trying to master. Supposedly I can edit documents on it. So far, I haven’t figured out how, but I need to soon. Otherwise how will I send my newsletter from Ireland? Yes, that’s important to me. I’ve never missed a week, yet. 4 years worth of weekly announcements coming up in October; 5 years worth of widowhood coming up in October.