Archive for March, 2012


Los Gatos

I am a cat person. Cats who generally don’t like people seem to like me. I can spot an excellent cat at thirty paces and I can pick the kittens that will make the best lap kitties every. time. This is not bragging, it’s just truth acknowledgment.

Aravis. Super Awesome. Lived to 19. Secret to longevity: look both ways before crossing the street. True Story.

***The secret with cats is to let them pick you.

There was this local pet store that took in kitty litters from the local shelter, had them checked over by a vet and given their initial rounds of shots and then sold them. They had a room about 10′ by 10′ covered with kitty climbing areas from floor to ceiling. I had been wanting a kitten for a while and went in on a whim and sat down in the middle of the floor. I wanted an orange tabby that was solid orange with eyes to match (not picky at all).

Of course, most of the kittens immediately bounded over to me. I spent some time petting and cooing and picking a kitty up here and there. I had my eye on a particular orange kitty and had held him and petted him,

Biggus Sithicus

but he kept popping away only to sneak back over and attack a nearby kitten. He let me hold him, but only in the most aggrieved sort of way.

After a while, I noticed that this little, scrawny black thing was curled up on my leg and pressing his face into my stomach. I petted him and picked him up and talked to him. I turned him onto his back and rubbed his tummy then I set him on the floor and played with other kitties. Invariably he ended up right back on me; asleep. I decided he was the keeper because he so obviously just wanted to be with me.

Well, that was 12 and a half years ago, and he is no longer little or scrawny. Although, he is still definitely black. In fact, he’s huge. He’s bound to be, at least partly, Maine Coon. His name is Sith, although it has morphed into Biggus Sithicus because Sith isn’t very fitting for him anymore…unless Hutt’s were known to be Sith, too?

***Best. Cat. Ever.

Sebo. 19 years old.

It was spring and I was sixteen. My friend, Raye Donnovan, had a farm cat (that’s a cat that works for a living and isn’t a pet) that had kittens. The litters of cats on this farm always had one kitten that looked siamese, and this litter was no different. There was one, and I fell in love with his little face with the sealed shut eyes, who looked siamese. Seal point. I named him Sebastian (after the lead singer of Skid Row, not the composer (WHAT?!? I was 16!)).

A few weeks later I was spending the night at Raye’s house and it was raining. There was Sebastian, plastered to the back glass door wanting in with the peoples so, so badly. Raye assured me her dad would have kittens if I let Sebastian inside the house. I assured Raye that I would keep hold of him. Raye wasn’t so convinced that Sebastian would stay where I wanted him once inside, but he just curled up in my lap and purred loudly.

The next morning I called my dad and asked if I could have another cat. He consented and Sebastian moved to my house where my dad promptly renamed him Bingo. Only my dad and occasionally my brothers called him Bingo, but eventually he would earn the nickname Sebo as kind of a  hybrid of Sebastian and Bingo.

Sebastian: wow, cameras DO add 10 lbs.

Sebastian is super cuddly and will let you hold him any ole’ which way you want (er, well, he did until he got OLD and arthritis ridden). He talks. A lot. (Well, not so much anymore due to the deafness). But he used to have conversations with me. I could just talk and he would respond. He was the awesome uncle kitty who never had kids of his own, but loved to hang out with yours. That rule applies to human kids, kittens, puppies…not so much with the snakes or rodent pets. He tried to eat those.

Hubs and I rescued a dog right after we were married. He was a cute terrier-ish type mutt of a puppy and only as big as Sebastian. Sebo let Grendel (that’s the dog) carry him around in his mouth. He let Grendel roll him around on the floor and Sebastian didn’t do that whole cat thing of attacking you when he’s done playing. He regretted letting Grendel man-handle him as Grendel got bigger, though. Grendel made a habit of just laying on Sebastian. That, Sebastian didn’t care for.

***Cats will always pick the lap of the one person in the room who wants to have absolutely nothing to do with them.

My maternal grandparents were visiting. Grandad is notoriously NOT an animal person, and it’s only notorious because one of my mom’s older sisters WAS so very DEVOUTLY an animal person. Anyway.

Grandad was sitting in my living room and Sith, of course, decided Grandad needed to pay him some attention. So Sith jumped up into Grandad’s lap. Grandad began petting Sith as I made sputtering noises about how Grandad should just push Sith down. Grandad smiled, continuing to pet Sith from tail to ears over and over, and said, “It’s okay, if he doesn’t like it, he’ll get down.” I just shook my head.

Sith? He didn’t appreciate being petted in the wrong direction so he stood up in Grandad’s lap turned to face the opposite direction and laid back down again. Thus, making Grandad’s repeated tail to head stroke, a head to tail one.

***Oh, right. ALL cats DON’T like me. Especially ones inhabited by demons.

I have a friend, Shanny, who had a cat that was part bobcat. True Story. She was beautiful. She was bigger than average. She was MEAN. And SCARY. She stalked the front door and would attack any who weren’t her people whenever they walked in the door. (Heck, she may have attacked them, too.) She hid under things and randomly growled that wild bobcat thing she could do and she would lash out for no discernible reason.

Never have I been so scared of a cat. And I slept in that house. On the living room floor.

I woke up in the middle of the night with that mean ass cat standing on my chest, growling into my face. I don’t remember what happened next, but I walked away unscathed so my petrified imitation of a rock must’ve fooled her.

Her name was Isis. Moral of the story? Never name your pets after deities. Or maybe, bobcats, even diluted ones, make scary pets.

Toothfairy Schmoothfairy

Chi came flying downstairs last night screaming, “MOM! MOM!” I was in the kitchen making dinner when he slid around the corner. There was blood dripping down his arm and off his chin, welling between fingers that were clamped over his mouth (okay, maybe that last part is the result of an inflamed imagination and a severe aversion to blood, especially that which is actively dripping off my kid). I’m sure my eyes were wide and my face pale.

Chi held out his fist and nestled in his palm was a little bloody tooth. I thought I was going to throw up. “I lost a molar.” He’s all bloody and matter of fact and trying to get closer to me, but I keep backing away. Chi starts looking a little freaked out and I realize that I have to change my reaction or Chi is going to lose it.

***NOTE: Teeth are their Daddy’s territory. I don’t do teeth. /shudder

So I hold it together and hand Chi a paper towel with which to clean himself and then I get him a cup of salt water and instruct him to swish and spit until there is no more blood. In between mouthfuls Chi reiterates, “I lost a molar.”

“Yeah, I see that.” –That’s me. Also, me, “Did you pull it or did it fall out?”

Chi says, “I pulled it. It was loose, but when I looked there was an adult tooth and so I took the baby one out. That’s the baby molar. I have an adult molar now.”

Yes. Chi does his own dental work.

SQUEEEEEEE!

Long lost relatives? I think so.

I am a complete nerd! I met my favorite author tonight (a Wednesday night in February, actually), Joshilyn Jackson (who I’m probably related to through the Jacksons (aka Andrew or Stonewall, right?)), and I completely fangirled all over her book signing table. I was unable to speak even (without the fear of maybe revisiting dinner all over her markers) and then when I introduced myself (which I’ve always hated because most people say, “Theresa?” or “Vanessa?” to my utter dismay) she said, “Tenessa… Tenessa… Are YOU the Tenessa from Faster Than Kudzu? (her blog which I follow religiously)” And I about fainted but squealed, “YES!” She says that she loves my posts and that she feels completely lame because she checks her blog eighteen times a day for comments and I commiserated because I, too, check her blog eighteen times a day to check the comments (partly cause I’m hoping she’ll comment on the comments, but mostly because I really enjoy the comments to her blog). She signed my copy “For Tenessa, my best beloved. xxo-J” I think I shall die happy now.

I thoroughly enjoyed her talk about her book and her little readings she did of Big and Mosey from her new book “A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty”. I could listen to her words all night. This woman could make the phone book amazing. True story.

Depression is dark and insidious and it has long, grasping fingers that refuse to let go. I thought I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when I made my last post. I just didn’t realize how long that tunnel was.

So here I am, blinking into the sunlight wondering where to start. With a story, I think. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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~My nephew, Kip, used to wake up and in his cute little 18 month old lisp and language make audible lists. “Cay-yub, Day-ya, Poppa, Gray-ya, Mom-ma, Sissy, Pootner, Chi-ya.” My brother, Kip’s father, used to call it his “systems check.” Like Kip was making sure he could, in fact, remember all the important words in his vocabulary. Kip sort of chanted this list to himself over and over as his brain booted up and started working properly.~

~Hubs told Pieces it was bed time. Pieces hid. Hubs, pretending his inability to locate Pieces sat down on the ottoman and put his feet on Pieces as if on the floor. Pieces giggled and giggled. Hubs, feigning surprise, at the little boy under his feet said, “Are you the boy I’m looking for?” Pieces, in a remarkably low voice, said, “No, I’m not a boy. I’m 16 years old.”~

~Chi, who is shoulder high to me now, sidles up to me and gives me a hug with his arms around my waist nuzzling into my armpit (which is a questionable place to put one’s nose). I hug him back and place my hand on the top of his head causing him to peer up at me. I smile and he says, “I know. I’m getting so big.”~

~On a recent trip to Louisville, my mom took the kids and I to see Seussical the Musical performed in spectacular fashion by a local high school. Pynni fell in love (she is my daughter after all) and really got into the standing, clapping and cheering that happened throughout the show and during the ovation. So my dad thought it would be a great idea to take her with Mom and I when we went to see the Broadway touring Mary Poppins. It turned out to be a really great idea and Pynni was already old hat. She stood and cheered, cupping her hands around her mouth to “WOOOOO!” punctuated by very mature sounding clapping after each number. Cracked me up every time.~

~My niece, Abshie, recently discovered texting via her iPod Touch. Since I have the appropriate equipment she can text me. She sends me strings of pictures, little comments about mundane things, thanks me for piano lessons, and says good-night. Too sweet.~

~At a stoplight at a busy intersection. Heard coming from the back seat, “Uh-oh, someone got copped.” Sure enough there was a cop with his lights on with someone either pulled over or broken down in front of him. It was gloaming and hard to tell. I was struggling not to laugh when I asked, “Copped?” Pynni said, “Yeah, people rob or kill and get copped.” Chi, highly exasperated, said…well yelled really, “NO PYNNI! Police sometimes just cop people because they can! They don’t just cop bad people!” So my kids think police nab the bad guys AND abuse their power. Nice. Oh! And I love the verb “cop”. Something only police do.~

So, as Chris Cornell has been known to say, “I’m gonna break my rusty cage, and run.” That may mean something completely different to him than me, but to me it describes what coming back to my blog has been like. Breaking out of the cage that seemed to stagnate my imagination and unshackle my ability to see the fabulous things that go on around me daily. ❤ you readers. It’s good to be out and free again.

For Becca. ❤