Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yesterday . . .

. . . I said good-bye to my cherished cat Jordy. He lived a good life (16 years). Yesterday, was a crappy day all around. I just knew when I got up that something was wrong. Boy, was I right on that count. I made the painful – trust me, I kept Kleenex in business this morning – decision to have him put down. He’s just not been doing well, arthritis was setting in, and he was just having a really hard time of it lately.

Jordy was the best cat ever. Not that his sisters Tasmyn and Squeaky aren’t good cats, they just have an attitude most of the time. Jordy, on the other paw, was just Mr. Laid Back. He accepted life (the addition of Tasmyn to the household, then Spanky and Arthur when Frank and I moved in together, then Squeaky after Arthur passed away, and finally Jesse and James once Spanky had journeyed forth into the great beyond) as just another day.

I went to the pound sixteen years ago looking for the most adorable kitten ever. They had no kittens that day and kept showing me cat after cat. None of them seemed “right”. I’d finally settled on a cute cat, when all of a sudden I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was Jordy – cute as could be, just looking at me with those big green eyes saying “Uh, excuse me, excuse me, but I’m the best there is!!!” Truer words could not have been spoken. He melted my heart with that simple tap on my shoulder. I took him home that day and despite the neutering two weeks later, oh, and then the declawing incident two weeks after that, he was my little sack of flour that I could carry around like a baby . . . for sixteen great years. Okay, there was the diabetes in 1999 and two shots a day, but he took the shots like a trooper and showed up in the kitchen every night around the same time to take his medicine. I rarely had to hunt him down to give him his shots, though there were twenty or forty such occasions where he made me look for him. He was a cat after all, and had to remind me that I was at his beck and call, and not the other way around.

I went to the vet alone yesterday morning, just Jordy and me, kind of like the beginning of our lives together. Frank offered to go, but we had a contractor due at the house, and I think I just needed some “me” time with Jordy. Frank said his good-byes at the house, giving Jordy a ton of treats and petting him while he ate them. I said my final good-byes at the vet, just Jordy and me!

No one ever tells you when you adopt a pet, that the final day just sucks big time. Trust me, it does. Still, he brought joy to my life for a good long time. I miss him terribly. I’m still keeping Kleenex in business. He was the best!

There are so many good memories of Jordy . . .

  • The Closet Incident - okay, there were many times when this sneaky cat of mine snuck into the closet without either Frank or I knowing. We would only learn of his closet presence when he woke up from his nap and began to bang on the door to be let out.

  • The Scratching at the Door Incident - Jordy was an indoor cat who just loved to go outside. I would take him out every now and then and sit with him while he prowled around the yard. At one point, after finally adjusting to Spanky and Arthur (the dogs), Frank would take Jordy and the dogs out together. The three of them would run side by side across the driveway to the fenced in backyard. Jordy, at least for a time, was one of the dogs. Well, when Jordy wanted out, he would scratch at the door in the den. No, Jordy, you're not going out - was my normal response. One night, he was scratching at the door, and I made my usual response without even looking. It wasn't until the next morning, when I couldn't find Jordy to give him his shot, that I realized he was not in the house. I went outside, shouted for him, and here he came from the deeps of the wilds of the backyard. He was not a happy camper. Little did I know when I said No, Jordy, you're not going out, that he was scratching from outside wanting to get in. Boy, did Frank get a talking to that morning about not bringing Jordy back in . . . and not for the first time, I might add.

  • The OMG What Did You Bring Home Incident - this was when, after only having Jordy a few months, I brought Tasmyn home to join the family. Jordy went up to the carrier, sniffed at Tasmyn, turned his back and walked away. If you think I'm having anything to do with her, you're out of your mind. Jordy stuck to his word. He would have nothing to do with Tasmyn at all. He ignored her. If he was on the bed and she clawed her way up, he got down. If he was in a chair and she leaped over to sleep with him, he got down. He wanted nothing to do with her. Nothing at all. So, months go by and I come home from work early one day. What do I find? Jordy and Tasmyn curled up in a chair together. Jordy looks up in surprise and leaps out of the chair. After I stopped laughing, I told him that his secret was out. From that day forward, they were pretty much inseparable.

  • The I'll Protect You Incident - when Frank and I first moved in together we had the pleasant task of introducing the cats to the dogs (Spanky and Arthur). Let me tell you, Tasmyn drew blood from the dogs on many occasions. Finally, a truce was called . . . or so I thought. One night, the dogs are on the sofa with Frank, sleeping soundly, and Tasmyn struts by, reaches out, smacks the hell out of Spanky, and keeps on walking. Well, next day, payback time and Spanky corners Tasmyn. He barks. She hisses. From behind me a hear a low growl. Here comes Jordy, tail puffed up big as can be, eyes, wide, and coming across the room toward Spanky. Nobody, not nobody, messes with my sister, BUD!!! He might have disliked her to begin with, but she somehow wormed his way into his heart, and nobody was going to bother her, not even Spanky.

The memories go on and on, and the tears continue to flow. The picture above is of Jordy in one of his favorite places - on the dining room chairs beneath the table cloth. He always thought no one could find him there. His only problem - he always let his tail dangle out from beneath the table cloth. Still, when in doubt, no cat about, look beneath the tablecloth!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who knew . . .

. . . that ironing could provide inspiration??? Picture it - Sophia Petrillo, standing in front of the ironing board, the steam rising up (cheap facial), and her brow furrowed in thought!! Okay, so it wasn't Sophia Petrillo. It was me. I'm ironing, the steam rising up (cheap facial), and thinking about the fact that I have written very little lately. Suddenly - inspiration, the Orm, the Muses singing loudly and clearly - the ideas begin to gel together into some coherent form. I love it when that happens. Lately, coherence and writing did not seem to go together. Today - perhaps the steam reached deep into my brain and caused the synapses to start synapsing - the coherence slowly began to emerge. Whew!

I just haven't felt the desire in my writing lately. There are brief, transitory, moments of feeling, but nothing that lasts beyond a chapter or two. I want the feeling, the passion, the drive, and the obsession! I want the DESIRE to write - here, there, and everywhere, in a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse, in a train, in the rain, with green eggs and ham, Sam I am (not). I feel lost and bereft on the days (weeks, months . . . or so it seems) when I don't write. Try as I might (and trust me, I've tried . . . again and again, to the moon and back), I have not been able to write, to feel, to experience the driving passion. I get an idea, brilliance in motion, and the brilliance quickly fades like the semi-permanent dye I might one day (soon) use to cover the grey in my hair.

So, I'm ironing, thinking, ironing, thinking, and . . . what if I combine this, with that, and add a little bit of something-something . . . whoa!!!!, is that brilliance beginning to emerge??? How long will it last? Am I, like Maria in the convent, chasing moonbeams on the sand? Will this idea work? Will the DESIRE explode from within and become an obsession? Will I think constantly about the project, dreading the fact that I owe, I owe, so off to work I go??? Will the ideas slowly wane like the full moon until they disappear, so it seems, all together?

I have no clue. I'm grasping at proverbial straws and hoping beyond hope, that this time the idea will stick, the words will flow, and the obsession can begin.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sing Them Home

Stephanie Kallos' (Broken for You) new book Sing them Home has been released. The first chapter made me cry. Heck, I sobbed through the last third of Broken for You. I'd better stock up on tissues before I immerse myself fully in the book. From what I've read so far - EXCELLENT! Oh, well, there was the one typo on Page 30 . . .

Did I ever mention I cannot stand finding errors? What are editor's for in the first place? Okay, it was a small typo, easily missed, and I've made similar mistakes with my writing as well. It happens. Everybody makes mistakes. The mistakes, however, should not end up in the final version of the book . . . which is why I read through my drafts constantly to find any tiny little errors that might stop the flow of a potential reader once I am published.

Now, does the little error take away from the brilliance of her writing? No. Does the error take away from my reading flow? Yes. Will I stop reading because of the one little error? No. It just sort of grates on my nerves when such a little error is not caught somewhere between the rough draft and the final publication process. Have computers made us far too lazy? Yes. Should someone have caught the error? Yes. Am I going to tell the readers of this blog what the error was? No. I gave you the page number (30). Now, if you're reading carefully, before you finish page 31 you'll find the error. I'm just saying . . .

Also, please, please, please don't take this post as detrimental toward the brilliance of Stephanie Kallos. I absolutely adore her writing style. As I mentioned, I make mistakes with names, with words (there vs their - not intentional, of course, just the fevered pitch of brains and fingers), and other things. I normally find these mistakes as I do the various read throughs of my projects. I just think that someone should have caught this error before the book went to print.

Okay, I'm done for now. I am thoroughly enjoying the book.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Still alive . . .

. . . just busy with the hectic holiday life. I'm still writing - little bursts of energy. Perhaps things will calm down later this week and I'll have more time to post a witty (and/or snarky, perhaps a little bit of both) entry to my blog. Then again . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monday night . . .

. . . I did not write. Surely there is a reason for such madness. Surely the world has come to an end for me to forgo the journey - the absolute pleasure, except on the days when I'm blocked (boy, that sounds wrong) - of writing.

Alas, no such calamity - world ending event - has occurred. I did not write because my mind was soaring across the boundaries of music. Song after song - at quite a high volume, I might add - issued forth from the speakers and I, as off key as my mother, sang right along with the music. Linda Eder - Man of La Mancha (boy, can she belt 'em out or what????). Glen Carter - Gethsemane (from Jesus Christ Superstar 2001 - I absolutely adore this version of the musical, the best vision ever). Then there were songs from Chess, Jekyll & Hyde (yes, more Linda Eder), The Scarlett Pimpernel, oh, and some Christmas music as well - Josh Groban, Bare Naked Ladies, Lorrie Morgan, Celtic Woman, Il Divo . . .). Ahh, the joys of music. In fact, it was a feast of music.

In music . . . there is inspiration. With music . . . my fingers fly faster across the keyboard and my imagination soars to unimaginable heights.

So, I did not write Monday night, but in no way did my creative juices sit idle. In no way did I slack off and - heaven forfend - do nothing. I sang, my friends (again, quite off key, it is an inherited trait - we don't allow Mom to even sing in Church, so sad, so sad indeed), and I let the music surround me, encompass (yes, pretty much the same as surround, but I like the word) me, caress me, and carry me to far away places.

I was . . . the music of the night (sorry, couldn't resist)!


Note: As I've mentioned, dear Mother cannot sing. Do you know that she was president of the glee club in high school? I kid you not. My sisters and I were absolutely stunned when we discovered that intriguing little fact about dear old Mom. Then again, there were only 13 people in her graduating class, and she might have been the best of the singers!! Seriously, we love Mom to death, but you really don't want to hear her sing. There was one time in Church when Mom started - quite loudly, and definitely off key - singing. My sister elbowed my mother, which I happened to see. All three of us began to laugh in Church. I'm sure the priest didn't appreciate it, but we sure did. I'm just saying . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Act of Kindness

First - this entry has absolutely nothing to do with writing. This entry is in response to something that happened to me on the way to work this morning, and that I posted on my other blog.

Second - this entry is of such importance to me, and it is my blog after all, that I am also posting it on this blog. So, here goes it . . .

What is a random act of kindness? Well, it's pretty self defining, don't you think? I was the victim of a random act of kindness on the way into work this morning. No, not a victim, but rather the surprised recipient! I'm in the drive-thru line at Starbucks - waiting, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more - and I finally get to the window to pay. I was informed that the woman in the car in front of me paid for my order as, her words, a random act of kindness.

I was surprised. The Starbucks employee was surprised. A stranger - total, complete - bought my peppermint mocha twist grande and apple fritter. She did not know me. For all she knew, I could be a serial killer. I'm not, btw! She just - randomly - paid for my order.

Now, I know you're wondering whether I paid for the order of the person in line behind me. No. Why? It is not a random act of kindness, though I'm sure it would have been appreciated, to automatically buy the person in line behind you something because something was bought for you. To do so, in my opinion, cheapens the act in itself. I would have been reacting out of instinct and a sense of obligation, and not out randomness. I will perform a random act of kindness at some point . . . today, tomorrow, this week, next week, and maybe quite often at that.

My challenge to any who read this blog: Sometime, today, tomorrow, next week, next month, maybe quite often, perform a random act of kindness. Buy some one's coffee, tea, Big Mac, whatever. Hold the door open for somebody. Say good-morning. Smile. Perform a Random Act of Kindness.

Lastly, I must say, the random act of kindness had a profound effect on me. I'm still slightly dazed. In a world of chaos, a time when the simplest things - a smile, a nod of the head, a thank-you - are pointedly ignored, a stranger bought my coffee. I hate to say it, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'm just saying . . .