3.09.2012

Grateful for the Small Strong Stuff and other stories

It's good to be grateful for the small things, so I am grateful for having given up alcohol rather than coffee for Lent.

Right now I'm overtired and looking forward to a fun but busy weekend involving two dinner parties and a chili cookoff. Also, I'm grumpy and about ready to block a few Facebook friends (none of the offenders have ever claimed to read my blog, so probably not you) until the elections are over this fall (as Mom always said, it's not necessarily what you say, it's how you say it... and how many times you post about it in the space of ten minutes...) All of which adds up to a great deal of gratitude for the comforting hot cup in my hands and the energy boost it offers. And possibly even the ensuing jitters.

P.S. I live an hour and a half's drive from Seattle, where it's possible to get all kinds of excellent coffee—but my sister-in-law down in California makes the best. :)

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All right, cat people: what do you do with a bored kitty?

Her toys include socks, little balls with bells, little balls without bells, an indestructible rubber strap, a cardboard box, and two humans with hands and feet and shoelaces. She's allowed in every room of the house but the laundry room. But still, she'll have evenings where none of this is good enough, and we'll hear her reaching for small items on the high shelves in the study, then yowling at the laundry room door, and then clawing at cabinet doors trying to get in, which she's discovered she can sometimes do. Next thing I know, she's digging up my greenery.

This week she got into the recipe box, of all things, spreading the contents all over the counter, and played in the pots of two plants, including the one with the pot taped and cardboarded over. How she got into that is a mystery to me.

It's a good thing cats are so cute. Sometimes they're especially cute when they're naughty. But when she digs in my plants, the cuteness loses its effect on me and she faces getting restricted to one room at night again. If we did that, though, she'd yowl and find a way to climb the curtains.

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Writers' link of the week: Alicia over at EditTorrent asks whether writing voice can be taught.

Also, last week I linked Tim Parks' NYBooks post about writing as a career. That turned into a fascinating email conversation between some friends and I about creative writing school, Eliot, and the state of literature. Hogwarts professor John Granger, one of the participants in that conversation, just posted the whole thread. If that interests you, enjoy.

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Music of the week: We've had several days of snow and sleet alternating with lovely clear skies and leaves just on the point of bursting out, which makes this likable little song and video seem fitting.



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Random amusement of the week: TheHairPin.com's The Comment Section for Every Article Ever Written about PETA. Utterly hilarious. Via Rod Dreher.

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House to clean! Cat to amuse! Clam chowder to make! Better do it while the coffee's still acting on my energy levels.

Take care, and happy weekend!

14 comments:

  1. Uh, I thought you didn't drink alcohol all that much, so how is giving it up a hardship? :)

    Cats. They're an unstoppable force of nature. They're also proof that evolution is not true, because only a benevolent creator God would've made them without opposable thumbs so that they don't rule the world. Any more than they already do that is.

    I read your blog & I also post lots of political stuff on Facebook. Hopefully you're not blocking me! I'd better go check... ;)

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    1. HAHA, George! I miss my PBR or glass of wine with dinner, though. A lot. But if I had one tonight, I'd just sleep through the opera we're going to after dinner. :)

      You are SO right about cats.

      Also, you are not one of the FB offenders. I put that disclaimer in there on purpose because I didn't want you to think it was you! There are a few people just flooding my feed with political posts at certain times of day. At least you spread yours out. It helps, too, that I mostly agree with yours... believe me, none of the real offenders are cheering for Ron Paul. ;)

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    2. I know. Just kidding. :)

      Which opera will you be seeing?

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    3. OK, now I just posted something political on FB. :P (This, for anyone who wants to know and doesn't have me Friended.)

      Don Giovanni, which a friend of ours is performing in up at the university. Nice cheerful subject and all, like most opera. :D But the music should be awesome.

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  2. Have you seen the "Cats with Thumbs" ad? Prepare for a giggle; I love the Jets sequence: http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/16/9473451-cat-with-thumbs-tops-tbs-review-of-the-funniest-commercials-of-2011

    As T.S.Elliot wrote, "A cat's a cat and that is that." It takes young ones a couple years to calm down a bit. But you have my sympathy; Maia is an incredibly determined cat!

    That was an interesting article on writing. I was a bit florid in high school and think working in publications and being forced to small word counts was very helpful, also having my stuff edited, and learning to edit myselef and others. I think we find our voice as we go. I like to write and read clean, unfussy prose that's strong on metaphor. Others may not find that literary or poetic enough. Still, I'm a poet and songwriter, in pretty much the same way. So go figure.

    Happy opera!

    --Arabella

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    1. HAHAHA! Nice. Cats with thumbs... there's the stuff of night terrors. :P

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  3. Hahahaha--learning to edit "myslef' and others. Too rich!

    --Arabella

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  4. Of COURSE Maia is upset. You're DENYING her access to MOST of HER stuff! Remember, cat's have very simple property laws. What's hers is hers and what's yours is hers*. See? Very simple. This is why cats don't have lawyers.



    *This may include Lou and you. I don't believe the Kitty Constitution has ever provided for the abolition of human slavery.

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  5. Ah, Don Giovanni! A brilliant opera...in a depressing sort of way. But as Bugs Bunny said, "What do you expect in an opera? A happy ending?"

    I think I found the solution to your issue with Maia. Get another cat. And once you've got another cat, there's nothing to stop you from getting more. And once you've got a dozen or so cats getting in your way, demanding your attention, destroying your stuff, & making noise at all hours of the day, then you won't be so fixated on what Maia's doing. Problem solved!

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  6. David, LOL. You're absolutely right. A human who brings home a cat has made a voluntary slave of themselves.

    George, to my utter surprise, Don G was hilarious. The libretto had been very well translated into English, and the acting and voices were brilliant. It was completely awesome. :D

    And the thought of getting another cat, well... AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

    Also, we had company last night, pre-opera. Maia chose to punish us by scrabbling under the bed as we were trying to go to sleep (at 1 AM) and again at 6 AM and again at 8:30. And digging in a plant during the night. And playing with one of her little balls with bells sometime in there.

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  7. Do you know Dan Nichols?? I don't, but a friend of mine knows him really well, she's outside of Portland, OR..! I was excited to see him linked. Facebook politics are the worst! Especially people who post constantly about how they don't post politics and wish other people would. I'm also tempted to unfriend often, but then I wouldn't be able to facebook-stalk anyone!

    I know nothing about cats, but bored and destructive dogs can be entertained by sacrificing gifts you hate, so long as they don't know you really do want the gift destroyed. We got rid of about a dozen hideous christmas ornaments that way!

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    1. Nope, he's a total stranger! I just thought his article was incredibly brilliant and meaningful and I could sympathize with just about every word. Probably should've left him a comment saying so, but I came to it late.

      Funny, but Maia can sometimes be tricked into taking interest in her pair of socks if I leave it on the coffee table or something, where she thinks they might be mine. If I leave mine on the coffee table, she doesn't hesitate to steal them. :D

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  8. You're going to dine out on this cat for years. What a hairy handful! Our first cat was a character and into everything, but Maia has her beat.

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