Tag: cat

a day off

roxiannoyedA few days ago, i called a friend and begged her to help me out today. i should have been in a gallery in Southwest Harbor, but knew if i didn’t have a day off to heal, decompress and rest, i would be creating a world of pain for myself.

She agreed, bless her heart, and here i am on the couch with the computer on my lap, heating pad (another gift from a friend) behind my back, my softest work dress on and very little work – other than writing and some gentle computerized toil for clients – getting done. Laundry chugs in the washer, but that is about as ambitious as i feel right at this moment. Having the whole day to myself feels luxurious. i don’t want to make too many impositions.

As a result, mostly, i am breathing slowly and with intent. Last night, i had a vivid dream about starting a meditation group at my new 9-5 employment which reminded me, i have been too exhausted to do my normal centering, healing meditation. So, as soon as i crawled out of bed, i mediated for the first half hour of wakefulness. Then, after a few poems and a small nap, i went back to it. i curled up here, on the couch, took that first deep breath, and was immediately beset upon by cats.

For weeks my female cat, Roxanne, has been angry with me. After Darwin died, she fell into deep grief. She stopped sleeping on the bed. Her pugilistic attitude toward her younger cat brother has not improved – if anything it has escalated. The only time where this lifted was when her favorite human in the world visited, but when he left again, she fell right back into her grumpy melancholy. Most of all, she still seems to be grieving Darwin – just as i am.

However, as soon as i sat down for tonglen this morning, she wrapped herself around my thigh. Her soft fur rubbed over my leg while she purred with ecstasy. Perhaps, she is not just grieving our beloved dog, but the changes that have come upon our life – transformations over which she had no control. If she could mandate the intricacies universe, she would have her bipedal slave around a lot more often. And have a minimum of 8 cans of wet food a day that she could stare at, eat two nibbles of, and then abandon. Failing that, she suffers.

As i pet her side, vibrating with purrs of sweet comfort, i am a bit surprised at how easy it was to give her joy.

Indeed, the same is true for me. Little things have been filling me with happiness. i have been surprising myself. In some ways, i am coping with this transition much better than expected.

However, there are a few fascinating little developments. After all these years working as an artist, letting my entire life revolve around the creation of novel, poem, painting and pottery, i had forgotten how strangely out of step i can be with other people. This is different than the loneliness over which i have written thousands of pages – this is being the one person drumming out a syncopated rhythm while the rest of the band is playing a march.

i am remembering all the years of my schooling, the years in the traditional work force during my youth. i always felt on the outside, but the past few years had driven the memory from my mind. Frankly, those i was normally around wanted to buy art or made it themselves. As an artist, i was focused and professional, but typically alone and self-driven. All education, training and help i received had to be sought out on some level. Being in a structured, large business environment – one to which i have adapted with some facility – drives home that my heart beats for different things than a lot of people, my thoughts come in at a different angle, and that the speed and grace of my gait as i walk through this world are not typicalIMG_0213

Also, i am being reminded that this body needs gentle, loving care. Working at home, i could vary my tasks frequently, nap if necessary, basically live as though i were a cat. When my health crashed over the past two years, i became more and more overwhelmed because it all landed on my shoulders, but i never quite surrendered – or at least not for more than a day or two at a time. Mountains were created and then studiously moved teaspoon by teaspoon. While i enjoyed this workflow, but that is not possible at this new job. i have to be able to sit still, focus and learn at high speed. My compassion will be tested, for myself if not others. i can see the pain of back and limb as a failure, as a judgment. But, these limitations are not condemnations of me – they are realities i have to face and to which i must adapt.

Part of that was asking – begging – for help today. i could sense i had reached a limit, and i needed to be gentle with myself. It is also governing my behavior today. Oh, there is so much art i want to make, so many chores that need to get done. For weeks, i have been treating myself with kid gloves when i come home from work – resting, trying to ease my pain, letting myself sleep when i need to regardless of how badly my to-do list stomps around. (It can act like Godzilla, thrashing around, tearing down my plans.) For the first time in my life, i have been fully accepting the messages my body sends me and obeying.

i would love to tell you that the dishes and all the laundry will be done, put a way and the floors swept and scrubbed today, while i still managed to get all the clients’ jobs done and finished the three paintings that i started last week all while airing out the studio and getting it ready to reopen. Oh, how i would adore it if i could confidently say that today will become the pivot upon which my life will turn and everything will be magically stable and glorious. But, if all i can do is sleep, or write, or rest here on the couch like a large drooling lump, curled up with a smaller purring, drooling lump, then that is alright. This is about what my body and spirit need more than my ambitions and dreams.

There are many people that i fail – like my poor realtor who has never had a pristine house to show because i still live here alone, and have to work around both my health and being perpetually exhausted – but today, i am deliberately putting that guilt and shame aside. It flows out of me on my breath.

This is the day for me to be kind to myself.

If i can manage that, then i believe, the rest of those who depend on me will get better results in the end.

And for now, there is really nothing more healing than this moment of contented cuddling.

abusing cats with flea prevention medicine – or, his name is mud.

So, I don’t want my cats getting fleas (again!) so I give them a flea prevention treatment every month.

Let me stress, every month. The same medication for months on end.  None of them are allergic to it, none of them have burst into flames at the thought of it.  Every. single. month. This is not a new situation and they usually whine a little but seem to accept the futility of resistance.

So, realizing that tomorrow might wind up getting away from me quite quickly, I decided to go ahead and give them their treatments.  My female cat, Roxi, wins gold stars for sleeping through the entire process.  But my cat Martin, watching his big sister get the stuff gooed on the back of her head, decided to hide under the bed.  No big deal, I got him out, got about six drops on the nape of his neck when he acted like a vampire in the noonday sun, clawed and darted under the bed.  I sighed, put the remaining flea treatment on top of the chest of drawers, closed the bedroom door and treated the dog.

The dog also wins a gold star for taking his like a champ.

Alas, Martin would not come out from under the bed.  Coaxing did not work.  The water spritzer did not work.  Stripping the bed did not work (that usually agitates him enough to want to leave the room.)  Moving the mattress did not work.  Lifting the box springs and putting them against the wall worked, sort of.  He was out from under the bed, for there was no bed to be under, but he scaled the door and was balancing with his back feet wobblingmud on the top of the door jam and his front claws furiously scratching the joint between the ceiling and the wall, trying to tunnel into the upstairs.  Much screaming accompanied this, and part of it came from the cat.

I got him down from that unstable perch, grabbing his ass until he realized he could let go of his death-grip on the wall.  Alas, he then clawed me and ran into the window, plowing through the plastic weatherproofing like it wasn’t there, his back feet on the joint between window panes, his paws furiously trying to make their way through glass.

I got him, brought him onto the floor, got the flea stuff, got two more drops on (it burns! it burns!) before he clawed me again and ran back into the window. Finally the adrenaline subsided enough for me to realized the hole he made only devastated the bottom of the weatherproofing – the top was intact, holding him like a little shrink wrapped kitty.  I punched a hole through the still firm plastic, right at the nape of his neck and gave him his flea treatment while he was trapped, although he kept screaming for the ASPCA.

Of course, he ran for the hills as soon as it was done, and I started to put the bedroom back together (and my back hurt badly enough to cry BEFORE having to lift the TempurPedic mattress.  Now I feel positively broken.)  Five minutes afterward, though, he crept into the room and stared at me disparagingly.  Five minutes after that, he made contented piggy sounds while he ate the extra gushy food I give them for successful treatment and kept looking at me like – WHAT?  WHAT?? Why are you grumps???

His name is mud.

But on the bright side, I will not have to watch him scratch at fleas.

However, any ideas how to explain the claw marks on the ceiling to the realtor?

poems in snowfall

Written December 15, 2013–

Poems in snowfall

The world has stopped.
Even the busy road
in front of the house
has been tucked underneath
a thick blanket of snow
and gone to sleep.
All the animals snore,
rocked to sleep by the stillness
until they float away
on carpets of dreams.
Exotic sensations of warmth
greet the body
embraced by four layers of clothes
and swaddled tight
by even more quilts.
Poems bend like ribbons
floating through the air,
whirling dervishes of words
reaching out from my heart
twisting and climbing
until they reach you.

about my animals

A picture of my dog, taken today.
A picture of my dog, taken today.

Another poetry blog… This time about my animals.  i have been blessed with some of the best animals in the history of time.  Predictably, they show up in my poetry a lot.

The links below will take you to poems originally podcast between 2009 and 2011.

morning animals

A picture of a hyperactive kitten, during a moment of repose
A picture of a hyperactive kitten, during a moment of repose


darwin the dog

Darwin the dog weighs 60 pounds when this picture was taken, so the cat was named Andre the Giantcat.
Darwin the dog weighs 60 pounds when this picture was taken, so the cat was named Andre the Giantcat.




dog practices zen


animal comforts


feline poetry


cat’s triumph: a doggerel

My Siamese as kittens
My Siamese as kittens