Saturday, March 30, 2013

Noxious weeds and thoughts

Catching the wild mustard at its peak is  a feat I have yet to accomplish, though I have been trying this past week. Finding a spot to pull off and photograph is a challenge. Whish, and the chance is gone. One waits for the next curve of beauty, but the cars behind show no leniency.

I see I should have started a week earlier, as the growth is already turning to green.  At first blush it is stunning in the vineyards, but very soon the farmers use sheep to weed the rows of the noxious growth and I miss my opportunity.
At any rate my mind has been torn between the wild mustard and the Supreme Court hearings. I surmise they have nothing in common, except the conservative jurors are noxious, too.
"Skim-milk marriage" is a perfect description of the federal benefits denied same sex couples.  Bless Ginsberg, and I hope this comment from an 80 year old weighing less than 100 pounds who can do 20 push-ups lives on in history. Sadly. when I asked the question yesterday at my current events group here, (a pretty astute group) how many thought the court would throw it back to the states in June, two thirds raised their hands.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cat Tales 2

Leaving the VW bug at the top of the hill by the mailbox, I shuffled slowly down the steep asphalt driveway, clutching him to my upper chest. His purring continued.Once in the kitchen, I placed him softly on the linoleum floor. Without hesitation he jumped to the right end of the counter where a bowl of Friskies always sat, out of the dogs' reach. Once there he laid down flat on his belly and began munching steadily. This continued for several minutes, after which he lay his head right on top of the kibble and went soundly to sleep. There he remained for several hours. When I brought the dogs and Thin Kit in that night to feed them, none of them paid him any heed: not so much as a questioning bark or a feline hiss. "How peculiar" I thought.
As days turned into weeks the rescued stray turned into a chubby and magnificent yellow tabby, with coat and eyes the same color as the missing Fat Cat. I began to question if he could indeed BE Fat Cat. Others visiting the house who had known Fat Cat said "Of course, he is Fat Cat."
About that time a new vet, Dr. Braun, set up practice in the neighborhood. When I made the appointment I did not know him. He was a kindly young man, quite formal, with a significant stutter when nervous. I filled out the papers stating the patient was female, 2years old, spayed, all followed by a question mark. I thought it odd that Dr. Braun wished to examine my cat in private, leaving me in the waiting room.  After about ten minutes he emerged holding the cat spread out in his arms, tummy upward.
"M-M-Miss Crosse" he said. This cat is a m-m-male, about ten years old." Moving closer he said "This is his p-p-penis, atrophied, but his penis. I blushed deeply, and I'm sure he worked hard to maintain his own composure.
I drove home shaking my head. So Fat Cat got renamed the Imposter, and lived out the end of his life (another three years) at #2 Cathy Lane.
I came to believe that it must have been the great horned owl that lived in the driveway that kidnapped Fat Cat #1. He must have weighed 15 pounds. A mighty feat, but then they are incredible predators.
Curiously, now, about 35 years later, there are many dogs on leash in my new neighborhood, mostly fancy small breeds. The only cat I have ever seen is a large yellow stray, mostly feral,  that looks just like Fat Cat. Occasionally it goes missing for three or four days and folks in my block grow concerned, but it always seems to turn up.
Here is another photo of Jazzy, the posing cat. Beth calls this one "Martini, please."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cat Tales

Missed writing my blog on Friday as I was in the bay area attending to "matters of consequence" as St. Exupery says. While there I had dinner with friends Beth and Barb and got to meet their two new kitties, which are already half-grown. Jennie is quiet and a tad shy, but Jazzy steals every scene anyway.  This cat thinks he is a dog, for he retrieves his cloth mousie when thrown and returns in a second or two, dropping it sometimes right into Beth or Barb's hand for another throw. He also poses like a paid model, often in a sit position, one leg splayed out. How adorable is this!
Once upon a time, maybe twenty five years ago, Lee and I found ourselves out of kitties, that is to say we usually had both cats and dogs as pets, and even once had a rabbit and a big turtle and a little frog.  On this occasion we adopted two yellow females from a friend's litter. They looked identical, except one was thin and one was fat. Seen in silhouette, I could tell them apart, but otherwise not. We named them Fat Cat and Thin Kit. We had them spayed, etc. and they became one with our family. One hot summer night as the cats slept right outside our bedroom door on a raised platform, we heard a giant blood curdling scream of an animal. I rose and walked to the patio. Nothing was stirring. It seemed like the three dogs were conked out. There was no wind or other sign of disturbance. How puzzling?
But the next morning we could not find Fat Cat. This was unlike her; her habits were calm, lazy and predictable. But nothing else was amiss. One, two, three days went by. Fat Cat had disappeared. After a couple of weeks we gave up hunting for her. No trace could be found.
About two years later as I was coming home from work in my '64 VW bug, I stopped at the mailbox at the top of the driveway to get the mail.  And there in the bushes, about four feet to my right, was a bedraggled yellow cat. He or she was skin and bones, with puss oozing from many open wounds. The hair was matted, and eyes almost closed. The cat appeared wild and would not let me any closer. I went on down the driveway but later that evening walked up with a bowl of water and a bowl of dry kibble, which I placed by the mailbox. I repeated this pattern for about a week. The cat was always waiting for me.

But what of the wounds? The cat came a little closer, maybe two and a half feet. Eventually I got some antibiotic ointment, put it in a turkey baster, and daily squirted it at his wounds. sometimes hitting the target, sometimes not. After about three weeks of this the cat was looking healthier and he or she came even closer. On impulse one afternoon I reached down quickly and grabbed the cat, clutching it to my chest, expecting to be mauled to death. Instead he/she went limp, and I heard this giant deep purring.  So that is the first chapter of the story, but certainly not the best. Stay tuned for next week.
Meanwhile, the pictures above are of Jazzy stealing the show.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Saluting All Women

Although International Women's Day has been celebrated since the early 1900's I was not aware of it until about forty years ago.  I remember the day so profoundly. My best friend, Eva, (Catherine's mother) asked me if I would attend an all day workshop for women at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek. I was ambivalent, apprehensive, and curious, but how could I say no to my best friend? We were instructed to eat nothing for breakfast because healthy juices and foods would be provided as we cleansed our bodies and souls. During the day, we were advised, several women would lead us in physical and spiritual practices.
Eva and I cheated and stopped for coffee, never confessing our early on breaking of the rules. It turned out to be a day that changed both of our lives. For Eva, introduced that day to running, she became a dedicated runner, eventually competing in half marathons. I flunked at running but it was my first introduction to yoga, and within a couple of months I was studying at ACT with the leader, Bonita Bradley, a practice I continued for many years and still enriches my life.
When Eva died her daughter became my daughter. Catherine today is my anchor, my inspiration, and my advocate. She loved Lee equally.  Catherine has seen me through so many journeys, both physical and emotional, the latest being surviving a broken hip. Of course Cath is not alone in that; so many loved ones helped in such diverse ways, including the many volunteers who sat shifts with me in the hospital when things were spooky, and the other volunteers who packed up my house for the move to Oakmont. I am blessed and humbled.
So today, I toast all women.  I even toast myself! Aren't we incredible! Here's a picture I took of Catherine last year. Her blue eyes always inspire.