Friday, April 30, 2010

Fearless Man

It is rare to find a truly fearless man...I think I watched one in action on Thursday.  That tiny figure above the roof line of a very tall house is Ron Bland...The Tree Man. I have a pair of oak trees that grow right next to my back deck and upper story porch. In the 25 years that the house has been there, they have grown considerably, due in part to the rain run off from the house. They have grown so much in fact that they seemed to want to come into the house with me.  So, I opted to give them a little "hair cut". 
Ron is an older fellow, who can climb a tree very much like a monkey. He had the limbs I pointed out cut off and lowered safely to the ground in less than an hour. The tree seems happy, I am happy and The Tree Man only wanted $75 for the job; I made him take $100 because good help if hard to find.
His slogan is: Don't Be a Fool...Hire One! 
Ron Bland is nobody's fool, but he is one hell of a Tree Man.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There is a Picture I Still Keep

There is a song by Toby Keith called "We Were In Love". It is a very nice song, I don't know if he wrote it or not, but he sings it really well. There is one line in it that never fails to make me "tear up". "I can still see you when I sleep; there is a picture I still keep..." Those words: There is a picture I still keep.

It reminds me of a very kind, gentle, loving man, my father. I remember something he did for my mother once that touched me deeply. You see, my mother was and is a very pretty woman. And although she is also witty and smart and accomplished, she grew up being recognized for her "prettiness". She was a cheerleader, a "dish", a "looker", so she could hardly help feeling that her main reason for being valued was being pretty.

When she was about the age I am now, early 50's, she began to feel she was losing her looks, and though she didn't make a big deal of it, my father, being the sensitive man that he was, could tell it was bothering her. So one day, when I was there, and she was in the kitchen within hearing distance, he started talking to me. He said, "Ann, I think your mother thinks she isn't attractive to me anymore. But you know, she couldn't be more wrong. Because you see, when I look at her, this is what I see." And he pulled out his wallet and showed me a dog-eared old photograph of Mother when she was twenty-two years old, with the sun on her face and a dazzling smile.  That was what he saw when he looked at her. His heart looked beyond the age in her eyes, and the wrinkles, and the thicker waistline and saw that beautiful young girl that he had married.
She was standing in the doorway of the kitchen and looked at him with such love, I had to look away. It was their moment alone.

When he died, and we were going through his things, we looked in his wallet and there was that picture...still.

                                                  There is a picture I still keep..

Here is the link to the song...

The Band-Aid Cat

(Written some time ago; but will share again here)

                                                                                                      Winnie... 1986-April 25, 2005

I sometimes refer to Prissy as the Imperial cat, but in truth, she is a "Band-Aid Cat", the real Imperial Cat was named Winnie. She was my friend for 19, almost 20 years. She was that special pet who becomes more than a pet; the one who becomes a friend, a confidant, a part of your heart. And when they die, you feel as if a part of you has died with them and no amount of grief seems to make the emptiness go away. The silence they leave in your life is deafening.
That was Winnie, my friend who purred me to sleep and made sure I never read anything that might upset me in the newspaper because she was always lying on it. She tested the tuna to make sure it was tasty enough for me, and she kept my lap warm and cozy every time I read a book. And I was the only thing in the world that she loved...that is quite a gift.

So, when she died, she left an awful hole in my life. I said that I was not going to do it again, Never another cat, but that silence kept getting louder and louder until I had to have something to ease the pain. It was either get a kitten or turn to drugs. So I got online and started "just looking" at the shelter sites. "If I happen to see one that catches my eye...well, maybe." And there she was, this tiny, fluffy kitten so much like Winnie I could hardly believe it. I called the shelter and they said, yes, she was still there, "waiting for me to come for her." So that is what I did, I brought her home and she put a Band-Aid on my heart. Her bright eyes and soft fur gave me comfort. Her endless antics made me laugh out loud. She is the funniest cat I have ever met!                                           Miss Prissy! Yes, I'm fierce!

I thought for a while that she must have tiny concealed wings as she seemed able to get to the top of any obstacle. Leap tall sofas with a single bound, landing squarely on any passing creature, canine or human...didn't matter. We were all play things to her.

She is a treat. I came home one afternoon and she had attacked the stuffed teddy bear that was twice her size at the time and tried to drag him into the basement though the "mouse hole" (a hole I put in the door at the top of the basement stairs for Winnie).

She drowns her mice. She has about two dozen toy mice and she rounds them up and drowns them in her water bowl. I once found a real one in there. I am not sure whether she drown it, or it committed suicide to get away from her. I suspect the latter as she is not much of a mouser.

Now, I introduce you to my friend Tutt. Tutt has been my friend and companion for 16 years. We don't live together, but he spends and awful lot of time here. When we first started dating, I had a grand total of five cats, all indoor cats. Tutt is not a cat person. I would go so far as to say he was an 'anti-cat" person. But as he wanted to stay on the good side of Ann, he became a "Cat Tolerant" person. It was a bit of a stand off as the cats were not so Tutt Friendly either. And so it went until all the old cats were gone and the new star arrived on the horizon...Miss Prissy! Who expected the entire world to worship at her paws and adore her for the Imperial Cat she is. Picture Tutt with raised eye brows...

Prissy is crazy about water. She loves it. She loves to play in it. She loves the sound of it. She comes running if she hears water running. Always has, from the time she was very tiny.
I came home one afternoon from work to find Tutt sitting at the kitchen island with "a look" on his face. He said, "Well, the good news is...I didn't kill her." To which I replied, "Oh...?" as I waited for the other shoe to drop.

He proceeded to tell me about his experience with the water-loving kitten, Prissy. He had gone into the bathroom to relieve himself...ahem...okay, he had to pee, and being the "guy!" that he is, he didn't close the door. He said he had just started when he heard her coming down the hall at a dead run. He said she leapt full throttle, all four legs spread out like a cartoon cat into the toilet bowl...he was still peeing folks, guys generally can't stop once they start, consequently, he was peeing on the cat. But, having the super powers of an Imperial Cat, she levitated out of the toilet bowl and took off running though the house. Tutt explained that by the time he was able to "pull himself together" and get after her, she had managed to run across every piece of furniture in the house.

At this point my friends, I was hopelessly gasping for air on the floor of my kitchen as I was laughing so hard. Tutt was not amused...

He said, " I just dried her off with a towel. I didn't wash her off, I just dried her off. But I didn't kill her. She's kind of cute and she sort of grows on you."

                                                   How could you not love this cat?

So, in spite of himself and years of cat loathing...Tutt has become a subject of the Imperial Cat.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

You Can't Take It With You

I know that wise folks tell you that you can't take it with you, but it would be nice to be able to hang on to some of it while you are still here.
Aside from having a gourmet for a cat...Miss Prissy will only eat the most exclusive cat food on the market...I own a home.
Home ownership is a double-edged, it cuts both ways.  My home is a joy, a sanctuary, and as far as I am concerned, paradise on earth. That is also a money pit!
I made no less than three money out-lay phone calls this morning before breakfast. We had a monsoon rain last night and I noticed that the guttering on my house is worse than useless, it is a menace. Funneling water toward the house on all sides. #1 to Gutter Guard people for an estimate on new gutters. $$$
While inspecting the gutters, I was reminded that I needed to get in touch with my "tree guy"; very nice fellow who keeps my yard full of trees under control. (I live in Christopher Robin's 40 acre wood.) I have a lovely old oak tree growing right next to the back deck and over my upstairs porch. It has decided to come inside. Much as I love it, it is an outside tree. Must have some limbs trimmed back. $$$
Then! and this is the cruelest cut of satellite dish from Hughesnet started taking on water and refused to work. Tech help tells me that their diagnostic tells them it needs new parts. Major $$$$
Oh well, the good news is I am gainfully employed and its only money. I wish all problems were as easy to solve. I wish throwing money at a broken heart could fix it. Or that is could bring back the people we have lost. Time and courage are the only things that come close to "fixing" those things.
So, all things considered. I'm doin' okay. Hope everyone out there is too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jack's Mean Mom

Jack is home from his Ordeal by Vet; he had to get his rabies vaccination this morning and you would think I had dragged him behind the car to get him there. (insert eye roll here...). The little beast is such a thug when he is at home, but get him in a vet's office and he becomes Super Wimp the Wonder Dog.
He has been out telling all the other dogs what a mean mother he has. Well, aside from the cookies, and the petting, and his own clean "blankie" in his own living room chair...yeh, aside from all that.
Jack is a great dog, all kidding aside. He is an Australian cattle dog, aka: heeler. He is tough, and loyal and smarter than I am. I love him dearly and hope he forgives me soon for his Awful Ordeal! *sigh*

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cecilia Bartoli - Vivaldi - Bajazet - Sposa son disprezzata

The first time I heard this stunning piece of music, I was watching one of the most violent, foul-mouthed programs to ever make it to the small screen...The Sopranos, on HBO. Just goes to show you, there is beauty all around you. You only have to open your eyes and your ears and your heart and let it in. But in this case, close your eyes and go to a perfect place in your mind and let the music wash over you.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Shall All Be Reunited by Patty Griffin

This is the CD I was listening to this morning on the way to work. you are thinking "Who is this freak?" lol...I can understand that. Please know that I love all forms of music. But this music is the music of my childhood. It is the music that first taught my heart to sing...then came Miles Davis and the Rolling Stones and Vivaldi. This music touchs a place in me that is very, very old. It goes back to the mountain people who were "my" people. I hear their voices in the rain. I'll blog about that one of these days, when I can understand it myself.
That post below was a test to see if You Tube would allow me to insert a video. I was driving to work this morning feeling sort of blue and I had Patty Griffin's Downtown Church in the CD player and this song (her version) came on, it lifted me up. Literally. I sat up straighter, and my mouth lifted into a smile and I felt better.
I found Patty's live version of this song on You Tube, but it was lame. So I found this delightful lady's version and decided to share it with whoever is out there.
I am not a religious person by any means; ask some people and you'd hear that I am going to hell in a hand basket. But I am a spiritual person and I believe in positive energy. This song has a lot of positive going for it. I hope you will enjoy it and that it lifts you up as it did me on this blue morning.

Dorothy Love Coates: Strange Man

Friendly Fire??

You know you are going to have a bad day when your own virus scan program attacks your system and shuts down all the computers on the network. LOVELY!
This is what happened to our work computers late yesterday afternoon. Something to do with a false positive on a virus and Wham! Slam dunked all of us. Our fabulous tech staff has worked their collective butts off to get us back up and running today.
But while we were down, I was remembering a time not too long ago when I didn't have a computer. Did not know what email was, let alone, FB, Blogging, Internet Connection etc. And it was a mere ten years ago...seriously! We get so used to being able to Google anything we need information about that we forget that not so long ago, we went to the library and actually took books off the shelves. I still do that. No matter how high tech I get, I still want the feel, the weight and the smell of a book in my hands. Kindle just doesn't cut it with me. But I is almost scary how dependant we have gotten on "Hal". Well, yesterday, Hal said, "I'm sorry Dave...I can't do that."
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Report: The Help

Did you ever read a book you wanted to tell everyone about? Well, I have just finished one that is remarkable. It ranks up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. It is called, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is a look inside the not so subtle caste system of the "Genteel South" and some remarkable women who managed to overcome some of the social barriers to first become allies, and then to become friends.

It is a book with courage and suspense and triumph. But mostly, it is a book with heart. It lifted mine up.

Read it. You won't be sorry.

MIA: Miss Patch

This is very difficult for a first blog, but I must say goodbye to a friend; Miss Patch went missing a week ago today, and I can only assume she is not coming back. I do not know what happened to her and that is the hardest part. I gave her a cookie and let her out and she simply disappeared from my life.
I looked, I asked the neighbors, I called the shelters in the surrounding counties. No trace of her remaines.
She was my good little girl. My friend. I shall miss her. She touched my life and left a place in my heart that will be forever hers.