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{February 15, 2016}   A Story of a Life through Jewelry

I inherited my grandmother’s jewelry, and there was quite a bit. My grandmother was not a rich woman, so it was mostly costume jewelry. But I love vintage jewelry so I have been wearing some of the pieces I particularly like. I have also been trying to sort through things that need repair, and the things I should just toss.

She had a lot of pins, which I have put in a beading box. One of those pins was a sword with a fake-looking “jewel” on it. To be honest, I didn’t think it was very attractive and it was clearly not expensive, so I was considering getting rid of it. Then I noticed that on the back it said, “Broadcast, NY.” I decided to do a search on Google, and it came right up! People are selling them on Etsy.

vintage brooch

WWII Victory Sword

It is called a World War II Victory Sword, and it was made in the 1940s, produced to celebrate the end of World War II. Suddenly it no longer looked so ugly to me…it had meaning. Especially because my father, her only child, was stationed overseas in WWII. I decided to keep it.

My grandmother also had many tiny lapel pins from the different community groups to which she belonged. Amongst them, and still in the box, I found a tiny Telephone Pioneers pin. My grandmother worked as an operator for many years. I left me her small pension, so this is meaningful as well.

Vintage pins

Telephone Pioneers pin

It made me think: what would someone learn from my jewelry? Hmmm…that I liked cats? Now I know why people collect Alex and Ani bracelets and Pandora charm bracelets!

Cat Jewelry

Cat Jewelry

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{March 28, 2015}   The Things We Do For Our Pets

Homemade Cat Toy

A Close-up of Zoee’s New Toy

I have written before about making toys for my cats. They always seem to like them better than the ones I buy. My latest creation was a modified version of a toy I read about in the January/February Humane Society magazine, “allanimals.”

The article by Emily Smith suggested that you glue toilet paper rolls together in a “wall or pyramid.” It also suggested you could cover them with non-toxic paint or fabric (which seemed like too much time and work to me when I didn’t know if they would like it). I modified the suggestion; I collected some toilet paper rolls and put a rubber band around them. Then, Emily instructed, use tissue paper to close some of the tubes with treats inside. I checked around my apartment and found a piece of tissue paper from a breakable item I had bought at the store. Hmmm…a friend had recently given me a small gift buried in shredded paper…maybe that would work too?

Oh-oh. This is what my living room floor looked like when I came home one day.

cat toys

Cats…Pick up your Toys!

And then I managed to make it worse by tracking the shredded paper around the house. And this toy has to be remade every time you use it! (Translation: reloaded with treats and paper.) I don’t know about this…

But she played with it! That’s a success!

So…I went around and gathered up my paper shreds to stuff them back in and loaded in some treats…and I watched her. Smart Zoee…She flipped it over on its ends to see if the treats would just “fall” out — less work. Hmm…the shredded paper didn’t hold the treats in that well. It might have appealed to her mischievous nature, but wasn’t practical.

I decided maybe it would be better to go out and buy some tissue paper…and let Zoee do her own shredding. Maybe it would keep her busy for just a little bit longer…:-)

 



{May 17, 2014}   Daily Post: First Sight

Just this morning I was telling my beautiful cat, Aimee “her” story, then this prompt came through and I said, “Well…that would be Aimee’s story, of course!”

All the cats that have shared my life were adopted in some way: whether they turned up on the doorstep like my first cat, Breeze, or “formally” adopted like my present cats, Aimee and Zoee. In every situation, I felt an instant bond with them, that it was somehow meant to be. But with Aimee, I would have to say, I fell in love.

I love looking at the cats for adoption every time I visit PetSmart; I love to read their stories and simply look at them. On one of our trips my husband and I thought we saw the double for the wonderful cat we knew we were going to lose soon (you can read about Simone here). She looked just like our baby from behind, but when she turned around, she had a completely different face. We thought her beautiful, but we weren’t ready to adopt yet.  After a  few more visits to the store, the beautiful calico was gone.

A couple of months later, when we knew we were going to lose our beloved Simone any day, we went to the local PetSmart to look at the cats for adoption to cheer ourselves up. We were amazed to find the beautiful calico back! We read the notes on her…she had been to a foster home because she had an allergy to the cat litter being used in the shelter and had developed red eyes that made her unadoptable. But she was back with a note that she needed special cat litter. That didn’t bother us.

We had decided though, that this time we would get two cats. We had somewhere to be, so we decided to come back the next day.

As we walked across the store to the adoption area the next day, I saw her. The cutest tiger kitten I had ever seen (in my opinion of course). I exclaimed out loud, “Look at the little tiger!” The moment I saw her, I knew I had to have her in my life. The final test was for us each to hold the two cats and make sure they liked us. They were both loving and purred when each of us held them, so we filled out the adoption papers.

Turns out, someone else asked for our little tiger an hour after we filled out the papers. When we came back to get the cats a couple of days later, the people were there trying to convince us to take another cat. Nope…it was love at first sight…something about the big ears and the black nose…

Happy Kitties

Happy Kitties



{April 7, 2014}   Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile

This daily prompt could be answered by some of the same things that I listed in the Singing the Blues post. But because it is spring, and I love to hear the birds sing…here’s a cheery song for today that makes me smile:

In case that doesn’t work,  how could I NOT smile looking at my relaxed and trusting kitty??

cat sleeping

Relaxed and Content Cat




 

The cats know when I need them...

The cats know when I need them…

This prompt is timely. I am having one of those days today when I feel like a cartoon character hanging off the cliff by that one skinny little branch…

I usually have to do a LOT of different things to get out of it. A combination of activities usually does the trick.

My number one tactic is to pet and play with my cats. They always know when I need them.

Another tool is to read uplifting materials…and yet sometimes the opposite helps: singing the “blues” as the title says. I listen to sad music, cry and get it out of my system. A couple of songs that are guaranteed to make me cry: “Sparrow” by Simon & Garfunkel or Lyle Lovett singing “Texas Trilogy.” (Below is the original version…couldn’t find a YouTube video of Lyle Lovett performing it. The last song in the trilogy, Bosque County Romance, is the one that sets me off.) A sad movie can do the trick as well.

Walking is always good or yoga, or meditation using a positive message like “God loves me” or “Serenity” or “Abundance” can help.

Writing about it: blogging and knowing that others feel the same makes me feel less alone. Writing/reading a gratitude list. I still haven’t completed the whole alphabet but I work on it periodically.

Sometimes looking at old pictures of happier times can make me smile. Taking new pictures is sure to get my attention off of myself and my life and onto an activity I enjoy.

Finally, just going about my day and being present during simple tasks can sweep the blues away and allow me to toss them in the bucket and look forward to tomorrow.

It IS Friday after all. 🙂



{February 10, 2014}   One Lucky Cat…That’s Me

calico cat

I got a wonderful gift yesterday; I felt like my cat Zoee, all warm and happy.

The author of one of my favorite web sites: The Creative Cat held a giveaway for her blogging anniversary and I won! I’m very excited about it and wanted to share it with all of you. If I could reblog it, I would, but not sure how so I will just link to it here.

If you aren’t familiar with The Creative Cat and you love cats, check it out. Bernadette is a cat rescuer, artist, photographer and poet. I have the utmost admiration for her and enjoy her daily blogs of sketches, pictures and stories of her cats, so this is a wonderful gift for me.

It definitely made my week!




Cat in bookcase

My favorite things…

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
― Maya Angelou

What a great topic. Music played a huge part in my life when I was between 20 and 40 (pun intended). The picture above summarizes my life at that time: books, backstage passes (in the frame), and my beloved cat, Simone. (Excuse the quality…I had to take it out of the frame and scan it.)

I have written a lot about my club-hopping days and only begun to write about the 15 years I worked at concert venues. While I was working concerts I was also working full-time. During 5 years of that time, I was also going to college at night getting my MA. The concerts were my social life, and the music helped me keep my sanity. Although when I finally stopped working concerts to concentrate on “real life,” it took years for music to stop playing constantly in my head, even when I was asleep. The feeling of having a constant soundtrack inspired me to write this poem:

When all was dark

a catchy chorus sometimes woke me

urgently with pounding heart,

“go away” I almost said aloud,

“allow me peaceful sleep”

tomorrow I must work.

Now days of silent boredom my reward

for pushing the music away, pressing down,

imprisoning someone else’s song inside myself,

or so I thought.

One day it will come no more;

then my voice will hoarsely whisper,

“how desperate are the droning days,

how pathetically peaceful the empty nights:

how deaf is my life.”



{October 26, 2013}   I Love My Landlady

Peter Pan and WendyHer name is Wendy. Not Wendy, as in caretaker of the Lost Boys, but Wendy as in caretaker of the Lonely Middle-Aged Cat Ladies.

She is a widow, a 5-ft tall dynamo who does the hands-on maintenance for her three Victorian apartment buildings. She implements a lot of rules, so she’s certainly not for those with a problem with authority or those who like to “buck the system.” But underneath her Type A exterior, she’s a compassionate nurturer. She’s like that teacher you had in school who was so tough on you…you grumbled about her at the time, but you knew she cared about you and wanted you to succeed. Although she was annoyed at having to totally rehab the apartment upstairs when the woman moved out, she spoke with compassion and understanding about the depression and hoarding issues that dumped that problem in her lap. And she helped the overwhelmed woman with her titanic task by taking some of her discards to a local donation center.

Knowing that I have very little money to live on right now, she has given me clothes (we are close to the same size) and she has left vegetables at my door (grown in the backyard by her and one of the other renters).

I have met two of the other renters in my building, both middle-aged ladies with two cats. (For those who don’t know, it is difficult to find a decent apartment that allows pets, let alone one that doesn’t charge you a fortune to have them.) For Wendy, who has done her share of cat-rescuing, her decision to rent to us is doubly satisfying…she is rescuing cats AND their owners. (I’ll grant you that quiet, middle-aged women probably cause her less trouble than other types of renters, but I really don’t think that is uppermost in her mind.)

This weekend, the aforementioned two ladies are having a yard sale, and they have invited me to contribute and hangout with them. I will likely do that. I have had conversations with both of these caring ladies and we have some similar life-experiences. If nothing else, we can talk about our cats!

But more than likely we will talk about what it is like to have lost your parents or to not have siblings or grown children to depend on; what it is like to be middle-aged women trying to make our way alone and invisible in a difficult world. But thanks to Wendy, we now have each other.

It’s never too late for a new family.




I recently spent some money on the cats to help them adjust to their new surroundings: a new cat tower, new scratching refill, and new toys. I was gratified that they have been using them. But…the favorite toy of the moment is once again a homemade toy. (See my blog about the first homemade toy here.)

A couple of years ago, my husband and I made chocolate lollipops at Christmas time. We had some leftover candy sticks; I find leftover crafting items perfect cat toy components. In this case, I figured if the sticks are safe for humans to chew on, they would likely be safe for the cats. I tied some leftover ribbon on a candy stick and —  VOILA! — a new toy. My cats are very interactive and they definitely prefer toys that bring them in close contact with me. So I sit on the floor and dangle the toys for them. (Please excuse the quality of the pictures in this post…it’s hard to play with the cat with one hand and take decent pictures at the same time!)

cat play

Aimee watching her favorite toy

They like to grab the ribbons, but also they LOVE to chew on the stick!

closeup cat toy

We LOVE to chew on the stick…

The downside is that the ribbons slide right off and I have to keep putting them back on. To the cats — that’s part of the fun (Off–On–Off–On…). To glue the ribbons would be spoiling part of the game (for them). Sometimes they run off with ribbons streaming from their mouths. (I wish I caught a picture of THAT!)

Anyway, I recommend the local craft store as a go-to place for cat toys. 🙂

cat playing

Aimee playing with her present favorite toy



{July 19, 2013}   Home is Where the Cats Are…

My cats and I are country girls, used to quiet and beautiful window views. We are trying to settle into our small new space, which is located in a much noisier and busier area (the trade-off is that it is much more convenient to everything). The heat wave is dictating that we keep our blinds closed; we’re now surrounded by blacktop on the outside, surrounded by boxes on the inside. It feels stifling in more ways than one. I make use of the empty boxes as toys for the cats.

I play the stereo a lot to diminish the “city” noises of traffic and trains and keep the girls (and me) calmer. We all react to every sound…the upstairs neighbor coming down the stairs to leave for work in the morning; the maintenance man going about his business outside; cars passing within feet of our window on the way to the parking lot. But it is cozy and clean, and I can afford it.

It is still a small town, but we’re on a busy street, and the commuter train runs close behind our building. I try not to miss where I came from; I know I must embrace change and learn to love it. I know that though at times I feel like I’m in a big city, that is not reality. It is only when I compare it with the sleepy suburb surrounded by farms where we came from; it’s all relative. Mindset is everything.

We will all get used to it, given time. We’re together…that’s what matters.

cat lying on the floor

Zoee relaxing in her new space…

PS. There is no picture of Aimee because she is still spending most of her time hiding beneath the covers in the bed…but she did that at the old place too. Tabbies don’t change their stripes!!

PPS. It’s weird that I posted this yesterday and the daily prompt for today was about what makes home for you…



et cetera
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