I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Living With a Daredevil

In light of all the bad things going on in the world lately, I thought I’d post a light-hearted, crazy story about one of my cats.
Kokopelli Figure 
This is the only way to describe my youngest cat, Kokopelli.  We call her Koki, you can see why.  The reason we gave her this name is that she was born in the desert, so it seemed appropriate.  For those of you who have never heard this word, Kokopelli is from ancient Anasazi Indian mythology and is a prominent figure in Hopi legends.  The images of Kokopelli figures are widespread, usually found as petroglyphs in Indian ruins.  They represent a mischievous trickster, or minstrel, a magical flute player.  I guess we named this little girl right.

Koki - the Daredevil

First, a little background – we found this little creature under my car early one morning when going out to get the newspaper. She had been hit by a car and this little fur ball was a mess with blood all over her face, and so small she could fit in the palm of my hand.

We brought her in; I gently cleaned her up over the kitchen sink.  Upon examination, I discovered that her chin had separated from her teeth.  I felt awful and couldn’t understand how she could stand the pain, but she made no noise of discomfort at all.  I’m always amazed that cats can go through so much pain, if they were humans they’d be screaming.  We are such wimps.

Of course, we took her to the vet as soon as they opened.  Now I must tell you that we already had five cats, so my husband wanted to take her to the local shelter.  I would not hear of it, so thankfully, at that hour, we found a closed sign on the door.

Off to the vet we went who returned the diagnosis of a broken jaw, saying she was about six weeks old.  After sewing her up and wiring her mouth shut, we brought her home and she became the sixth member of our cat family.

That was seven years ago.  Where has the time gone?

Now this little cat never did grow to normal size.  She is still about half the size of the rest of the group, but she is not afraid of anything and astonishes me at her antics.

As you can imagine, it was about impossible to keep her out of the dry cat food, vet’s orders.  This worked for a while, but only until she learned to jump onto things.  Her mouth was open just a crack, I was told to feed her eggs, cheese, canned cat food and other soft things, but no dry food for two months.  This didn’t make her happy.

The vet looked stunned when I asked for this button after he took the wires out of her mouth.  After some protest, he went and fished it out of the trash for me.

Her daredevil nature emerged early on.  She loves to walk on the railing upstairs, hanging over the rail to play with her own tail.  I think she enjoys scaring me to death.  She also does this with the shower stall and will climb to the top of a ladder and roll around on that platform to say, “look at me, I’m so cute.”

Not long after she got the wires out of her mouth, she jumped from the railing and landed on her face, on the tile floor, two stories below.  The results - another trip to the vet to have two teeth pulled.  She broke them off in that escapade.  Thankfully, she got smarter after that and lands on her feet.

Of course, the vet knew what was coming, so he saved the teeth for me.

This cat is always hanging off this and that, but so far no more mishaps, at least not the expensive medical kind.  She is stealthy now as she ventures to places she shouldn’t go.

However, she is always looking for something to get into. 

Lately, she began getting the strainer out of the kitchen sink and bringing it to the bedroom during the night.  I wish I could catch her with a camera, but of course, I’m always sleeping.  I know she must work at it for sometime, but she is tenacious and once a thought enters her head she will not rest until she accomplishes her task.  A few days ago, I woke up with the strainer in bed with me.

What she will do next is anyone’s guess.  She hurls herself over the TV when she gets one of her crazy streaks, so we’ve started closing that cabinet at night.  I caught her in her flying act and the TV was shaking, so I had visions of it crash-landing on the floor.

Perhaps that is why I had a crazy dream about her a few months later.  She put on a walking harness and spread her front arms that turned into wings, enabling her to fly.  She took off flying around, just out of my reach, as she laughed with joy.  She loves me to chase her.

She is just such a dear one and I love her immensely.  I’ll always be grateful she found my house that day she was hurt years ago.  I just have to be ready for anything because she keeps me on my toes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Wonder What the World is Coming To

I know this has nothing at all to do with writing, other than perhaps using it as fodder for a novel, but I have been thinking about this since I read this article yesterday.  I thought I would share this with you, although I usually try to stay away from the subjects of politics, religion, and the daily news going on in our country.

It seems that so many of the states are going broke and looking for a way to cut expenses, not being smart enough to start at the top with all the wasteful spending done by the departments set up to manage state affairs.

I was appalled to read that Lane County in Oregon has decided it cost too much to house the prisoners, so have set 100 convicted murderers, thieves and rapists loose on the streets.  Now doesn’t this just show how much common sense they have.  Why bother to pay police officials, the court system, etc, to even arrest and process these prisoners in the first place, if this is the result?  I guess it must be to keep these officials employed.  After all these felons commit more crimes against society, these authorities will be called in again to arrest and send these people back through the judicial system at the taxpayer’s expense.

This also happened in Josephine County in Oregon the end of May when 39 convicted prisoners walked free because of budget woes.  Would you want to live here when you don’t know who could be lurking about?  How safe are your kids and grandkids playing in the yard, or going to school?

Today’s prisoners are treated very well and in some regards have it better than the people who are trying to make an honest living, keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.  With the lack of jobs in this economy, of course these released people will commit more crimes in order to survive.  There are no jobs waiting for them.  What do the officials think will happen?  Law abiding, honest people can’t even find work these days.

What is wrong with throwing people in the dungeons as they used to do years ago?  Why do prisoners deserve all these amenities: three meals a day, a recreation yard, TV and other services?  What kind of discipline is that?  Now turning them lose will certainly not deter others from taking up a life of crime when there is no punishment at all for your deeds.

Do I see the return of vigilante justice coming?  I’m not so sure the old shoot-out is the way to take care of things, but we may soon find ourselves back in the days of the Wild West.  It matters not to me if citizens find the need to own guns as long as it is for the protection of themselves and their families, and they know how to use them.  We all still have our freedoms – for now – and with that, we have the right to protect ourselves.  However, that begs the question, what do we need the police and other officials for?  I thought we paid them to look after us and to come when we are in need of their services.  They trained in such matters where the average citizen did not.

This current direction of the United States makes me wonder.  This is probably just the tip of the iceberg.  If we see more states following this path, we’ll soon have more criminals in the streets than honest citizens.

We would all do well to prepare ourselves in case this is an eventuality.  We should be prepared and not totally without any defenses.  After all, we want to provide for and to protect our families.  Although I have a neutral stance on owning firearms, it may be worth some more thought because criminals will always have guns, or the means to get them, and they know how to use them.  No one wants to be a sitting duck.

To read this article click here:
Lane County, Oregon, Releasing Nearly 100 Inmates, Some Killers, Amxd Budget Woes

Where do you stand on this?  Could this happen where you live?  If it did, how would you feel about it?

Note – I don’t live in Oregon, but my husband’s family does.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Writing Prompt – Called in the Middle of the Night – Part Two

I heard the grating sound of gravel next to my car door as I was fishing for the flashlight I kept in the glove box.  I jumped, startled, peered into the darkness, saw nothing and decided it was my imagination.  Maybe my roommate, Claudia, was right and I had been watching too many of “those” movies.
Claudia was okay, just more serious than me, but it was a good move when we decided to move in together a year ago and share expenses.  Nothing was cheap anymore.
Where is that darn flashlight?  I always keep one in here.  I knocked a few things out while fishing around.  There is that pen I was looking for last week.  Hmmm ...must have grabbed it in a hurry when I went to get the paper and go through the job ads.
There was the scratching sound again.  This place was giving me the creeps.  Where is that flashlight?  If only the moon was brighter.  There is no way I’m going in that barn without the flashlight.
I looked around - that rasping sound was getting on my nerves.  I needed a drink.
“Screw it!”  I mumbled.  I’d just see if I could find Robert and get out of here.
I looked around and then cracked open the car door and checked outside on the ground.  Nothing.  I eased myself out, slipped my keys and cell phone in my pocket.
“Robert!”  I called.  “Robert, get your butt out here now.  I’m not coming in.”  My words almost echoed in the darkness.
I walked slowly toward the barn, looking around as I went.  The moon overhead cast shadows all around, giving an eerie glow to the barn and bushes nearby.
“Robert, I mean it...” my voice brought to a halt in mid-sentence.  A shadowy figure was emerging from the barn.
“Robert?”  I ran to him as he shuffled along in the gravel, holding his side.  I grabbed hold of his arm and helped him toward my car.
“You came,” he whispered, his voice scratchy.
“And you thought I wouldn’t?”  I tired to keep it light-hearted.  I knew we were facing a bad situation here when I saw the blood leaking through his fingers.
He tried to smile at that, but it came out as a grimace and then he collapsed.
I scrambled to his side.  “Robert, please tell me what happened?  Who did this to you and why?”
He mumbled something about a man, but I could not understand him.  I rummaged in my pocket for my cell and called 911.
“Just hang on Robert, I’m calling for help,” I said to him and hoped he could as the operator came on the line.
She wanted to know where I was.  How do I know?  I had no idea how far I was from town.  This was not good at all.  I tired to explain as I searched my memory for any landmarks I may have noticed, as I was looking for the gravel road.  Meanwhile, Robert was becoming lifeless before my very eyes.  How could this be happening?  My life was truly one big nightmare.
“Please hurry,” I urged her, “surely you must know of some gravel roads that run off the main road north of town.”  I listened as she mumbled something.  “That’s right; there are fields out here and an old barn.”
I reached over to let Robert know I was still there.  When I pulled my hand away, blood dripped onto the gravel.  Not thinking, I wiped it on my shirt as I screamed and looked around with wide eyes.  I hoped the perpetrator had long gone.  This was nerve-racking.  I began to wonder if Robert would make it.
“Yes, I’m alright,” I assured the operator, “but please hurry.  My friend is badly injured and I have no idea who did this to him, or where they are.”
After I hung up, I went to my car to look for an old towel I usually keep in the trunk.  It was for washing the car, but I need anything at this point to stop the bleeding.
I moved his arm and tried to squelch the blood flow with the towel, but that quickly became saturated.  He let out a groan, but was not moving much at all.  Where is that ambulance?  Even in the dim light, I could see that Robert had gone ashen.  Don’t let him die.
I brought some water from my car and poured some in my hand to sponge his face.  I settled in beside him in the gravel, to wait, not wanting to move him much.  I leaned down and asked him again who did this, but he could only gurgle as blood filled his mouth and dripped out of the corner.
“I’m so very sorry, Robert,” I whispered and squeezed his arm.

Thank You for the Blog Award

I would like to thank http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/  for this blog award that she bestowed on me July 9th.  I'll follow up on this soon and nominate some blogs for this award.

Meanwhile, here is part two of Called in the Middle of the Night.  Enjoy.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Writing Prompt – Called in the middle of the night

The phone roused me from of my thoughts about the dilemma I was in.  I had been contemplating what to do about the other night.

“Hullo,” I answered in a slurred voice.  Sure, I had been drinking.  What else could I do in my situation?  Yes, it didn’t solve the problem I had, but it took the edge off.

“Ellie, I need you to do me a favor,” Robert’s voice came from the end of the receiver.  Robert was a good friend I met in college, but I hadn’t spoken to him in awhile.

“What’s the matter, Robert?  You sound upset.”

“I’ll explain everything when you get here.  Can you come and pick me up?”  Robert spoke in hushed tones with a touch of panic in his voice.

“Well yeah, I guess,” I mumbled and tried to sit up, groping around for the shoes I had tossed off earlier.  I wondered if I should even get on the road, but I felt compelled to help if I could.

I rummaged around on the cluttered coffee table, knocking things on the floor, as I searched for the notepad and pen I knew was there – somewhere.

I could feel Roberts’s angst as he sighed into the phone and waited, then proceeded to give me directions that I scribbled down, hoping I could read my own writing.

I managed to find my purse and car keys, grabbed my jacket off the chair, and stumbled to the door.  I needed to shake off this woozy feeling and wake up.  All I needed was more trouble.

I grabbed a bottle and splashed some on my face before locking the door.

Moments later, I was in the car and traveling out of town looking for the road Robert told me to take.  Luckily, most everyone was in bed so there was no traffic.  However, I was still aware of my drunken state and tried to manage the car as best I could so as not to draw any attention to myself.

Soon I found myself traveling down the gravel road looking for the old barn Robert said would be there.  A half-moon showed dips and ruts in the old road.  I tried to stay in the tracks and not veer off to the side, or to the middle where a ridge of grass grew undisturbed.  I wondered what kind of trouble Robert had gotten himself involved in, and how that would add to my own problems.  I didn’t have a good feeling about this.

I found the whole setting to be on the spooky side and began to wonder why I had agreed to meeting anyone out here in the middle of the night.  The phone call did sound urgent, prompting me off the couch, getting me out of my apartment.

Everything looked abandoned, as you would expect it would be in the middle of the night.  The hoot of an owl brought me back out of ghostly thoughts.  My hand instinctively reached over to lock the doors.  My spine tingled, my nerves were on edge, and I felt cold even though it was a balmy June night.

I drove on, inching along, the gravel crunching under my tires as I made my way down the road.  Bushes flanked the edges in places, the expanse of field stretched on for miles.

At last, the half-moon provided enough light to silhouette an old barn in the distance.  My breath caught, it looked frightening, the only structure around for miles.  I thought of a Halloween party years before and took a deep breath.

I inched closer, the ringing of my cell phone made me jump catching me off-guard.  Who would be calling me now?  I was too afraid to stop, to look at the screen, so I let it go to message and proceeded down the road at a snail’s pace.

The barn loomed dark and ominous in front of me.  I pulled up in front of it and then....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fourth of July

We never did much in the way of activities that took place off the farm as kids.  Growing up on the farm was about farm chores and going to school.  The fourth of July was a highlight in our lives, along with hunting Easter eggs in the hay meadow.

Back then, they had a fireworks extravaganza at the fairgrounds.  There is no other word to describe this spectacle of color.  Daddy would buy bottle rockets and sparklers from the fireworks stand in town and we could enjoy them at home with his guidance, but once in awhile we’d talk him into taking us to the fairgrounds for the fourth of July show.

We would load up the old pink and white station wagon and head out for the fairgrounds, which was on the far side of the little town we lived three miles away from.

All of us kids would be chattering away all the way there, so excited to go.

Once we arrived, we had to jockey for a position with all the other vehicles that had already arrived.  From what I remember of the fairgrounds, the ground was very uneven, a lot of dirt with a few grass sprigs and clumps here and there.  People would park anywhere they could find a spot.

Once that car came to a stop, we couldn’t get out fast enough.  We would climb on the hood, or the top of the car, and get in position before the show started.  Usually the bickering over spots went on until the show was under way.

Then all you could hear was “oooh’s” and “aaah’s” as we all got quiet to watch the display.  This was like magic with a crackle and pop and then the explosion of colors in different shapes that seemed like they were materializing right over our heads.

Each one that went up was prettier than the last.  They would flicker and twinkle until they disappeared, only to have another take its place.

While this was going on, we would be sweating in the summer heat and the mosquitoes would be eating us alive.  However, we paid no never mind to this, slapped the mosquitoes away and went on with our comments to each other about how beautiful the fireworks overhead were.

We relished the finale when they would fill the sky with all the colors of the rainbow.  At the same time, we were sad the display was about over and wished it would go on forever.

Once back in the car, we would talk about it all the way home as well as scratch our mosquito bites and complain how bad the bites were.  Yet, when the fourth rolled around the next year, we couldn’t wait to get in the car to go and watch another fireworks display.

The fourth of July today, as adults, is bittersweet because it’s also a time to remember our daddy who died on this day in 1980, at the ripe old age of 55.  He had many health issues and definitely was gone too soon.

Sure, the fireworks are splendid with all the razzle-dazzle, but it’s also a time for reflection of those good times as innocent children.  I realize that Daddy was so tired all the time from the very long days of hard work he did in the fields, but he knew how certain things were so important to us that he didn’t want to disappoint us.  I know now that we probably couldn’t even afford the few fireworks he would bring home, but I think he wanted us to know that 4 July was something to celebrate.

When I look back on those times today, it also reminds me that life on Earth is too short sometimes and not to take anybody for granted because tomorrow is always a new day and things can change in an instant.