Communiqué from Coco, the Community Cat

I is being watching the snow go from this …

Snowing again

… to this

One last snow-shower

… to this …

That’s just sad

… Now, is mah job …

… to watch the rain fall

 

***

For the newcomers to my blog, (Welcome!) Coco the Community cat adopted us after Widdercat died a few year ago. Actually Coco wanted to adopt us the minute we moved in but Widdercat would have none of it. Two fluffy Grande Dames going at it hammer-and-tongs, fur a-flying, all hissy and spitty, is a sight to behold, but not to be repeated, so Coco was hugged and cuddled when we went for walks, but studiously ignored when we were at home.

After Widdercat , we decided our lives were too transient (and dealing with the home owners association politics as lowly renters too futile) to give another cat a forever home. (we intend to have gazillions of them when we next move to our forever home. It’s been Mrs Widds and my experience that our cat companions have always found us at the right time)

In the absence of fur-fights Coco decided that, as absurd as our decision was, she would respect it and invited herself into our lives for cuddles, pats, and ‘now let me out’ visits.

We’re not the only cat-orphans she’s adopted. The four houses at our end of the driveway are all blessed by her Most High Fluffyness.

So, my finest Winter, to date, (3 months of snow on the ground) is now done and we are back to our usual Spring, Autumn, and Winter, rainforest-y climate – rain.

Teh Pawz of Doom

 

Pawz of Doom

Pawz of Doom

No, we haven’t gained another household member, this is Coco, the neighbourhood cat Widdercat refused to have anything to do with, and we, being well trained staffpersons, also had nothing to do with. (sneaking cuddles down by the lake doesn’t count)

A few weeks after Widdercat crossed to the Summerlands, Coco decide to drop in for a visit. After thoroughly checking every nook and cranny in the place, (just because someone has vacated the premises physically doesn’t mean they don’t leave ambushes for fluffy interlopers) she decided we would become her adopted staffpersons for a few hours every day.

Teh Fluff of Doom

Teh Fluff of Doom

I dare say she felt it her duty to make sure we didn’t lapse into any un-staffpersonly habits.

This has always been my chair

This has always been my chair

It’s kinda like being cat grandparents. You get the cuddles and playing (and cyoot photo ops) then pack ‘em off back to their parents.

World Domination

World Domination

The Suckitude of Grief and Soggy Toast

It’s been a very ‘interesting’ two weeks-ish. We have Widdercat’s ashes back, (they’re sitting on our altar) and, in the mysterious ways that cats have, although she’s not physically with us anymore, (unless you count the ashes, which is interestingly morbid) the big hole she left in our lives is lessened.

On the other hand, grief sucks. It turns me inside out, gives me headaches when I have big sobbing crys. I feel as though I’m the only one in the entire cosmos who’s feeling this bad. (seriously, the rest of the world ought not to be allowed to just continue turning and have the temerity to look exactly the same when I do eventually surface)

On occasions, it’s also funny.

I don’t know if the ‘baby brain’ of pregnant women and new mothers is a myth, but I can personally attest that the ‘grief brain’ is alive and well. Take breakfast the other day.

I had just turned the dishwasher on. It’s one that connected to the kitchen sink hot water tap. I then set about preparing my breakfast of eggs on toast, one of my comfort foods. We’d recently retired our old frying pan and bought a shiny new ceramic one that was just for the frying of eggs. It takes some time getting used to the whims of new appliances, and after a few not-so-dazzling efforts on previous mornings I was determined this time my eggs would be perfect.

The scene is set. The play begins …

I plop the bread (Mrs Widder’s 1-day-old bread, ‘cos it’s a mortal crime to toast fresh bread the day it’s baked) into the toaster and prepare my plate. Usually I run a bit of hot water over it to warm it up, (there’s nothing worse that your eggs-n-toast cooling too fast on a cold plate) but of course the hot water tap is currently occupied. (by the dishwasher)

There is still some hot water in the kettle from my tea so I pour a bit onto my plate and set it to one side while I cook my eggs in our shiny new frying pan. I sense that this time they’re going to be perfect, and I’m right.

The toast pops up … I throw it on the breadboard … turn the heat off under my eggs … butter the toast and quickly throw it onto my plate before my eggs get too hard …

… with frying pan and eggflip in hand I turn to deposit the eggs on the toast when I realise …

SOGGY TOAST!

By the time I toast some more bread my perfect eggs are somewhat past their former glory.

😦

I told this story, along with other non-funny stories of my journey through my grief, (they did ask first. I was merely being obliging) to a not-quite-an-acquaintance who then commented with the best of intentions that they didn’t really get why I was so upset, after all she was just a cat.

This person is still alive only because it was a public place and I couldn’t immediately think of anywhere to hide the body.

I’m willing to bet if they had an animal in their lives at all, they’d consider themselves to be ‘owners’ of a ‘pet’ rather than sharing their life with companion of a different species.

However, the incident made me realise what a wonderful genre Speculative Fiction (SF, Fantasy, Paranormal, etc) is, and how glad I am it’s my genre of choice for the writing and reading of. I think that more than any other genre, it has raised the awareness of other species as being more than just ‘pets’.

Fare Thee Well, Old Friend

Widdercat had a very bad fall this morning and broke one of her back legs.

Surgery would’ve been too much for her poor body to contend with.

She died this afternoon.

She was one hundred years old.

Our hearts are broken.

Her favourite faceplant, in her favourite nest

Her favourite faceplant, in her favourite nest

Old Friend

This summer is hard for Widdercat.

In spite of our efforts to cool the house, the prolonged heat leaves her drained of energy on her best days, and almost comatose on her worst.

The four-legged full arm stretch, with neck extended

The four-legged full arm stretch, with neck extended

She sleeps so deeply that we peer at her tummy hoping we’ll see it rise and fall, hoping she still breathes.

There is no movement for so long that our hearts contract.

At last she breathes, and so do we.

She looks amused to see our hovering concern so she stretches out a paw to acknowledge our attentiveness, to reassure us.

Two paw stretch with delicate head droop

Two paw stretch with delicate head droop

Her time with us is measured in units of unknown length – months, weeks, days, become irrelevant.

Only the next breath counts.

Underneath her favourite tree, before it got too hot

Underneath her favourite tree, before it got too hot

From Inertia to Creativity

To go from inertia to creativity is one of the hardest things an artist can do. I recently did a huge editing job. Because the text was full of technical details I had to play close attention to not only standard editing practices, but the demands of the technical writing too.

After I finished, my brain felt like it had been squeezed too tight for way too long, so I took a break from all sorts of writing except for an occasional comment on the blogs I follow.

I had some major computer hardware challenges during that time which is a strange sort of a way, was a bonus. I had a legitimate reason to take a break. (kinda sad that I felt I needed to legitimise my choice, but that’s another story for another time)

So, I’m staring at the pages of my Works In Progress on their shiny new Scrivener formats, (I’ve finally become comfortable enough with the program to migrate all my major works there) and I have no idea where to begin. I have no desire to begin. Inertia or ennui, I can’t decide which, has me firmly grasped in her tastefully polished claws.

I have story ideas so jammed up inside me, they’re beginning to tempt me to try a metaphorical enema to get ‘em moving.

But I have come to a decision. I shall write a blog post, the shortest form I write in, and I think I’ll call it, ‘From Inertia to Creativity’, and I’ll start it like this, … ‘To go from inertia to creativity is one of the hardest things an artist can do …’ 😀

An elegant leg extension and gratuitous tummy fur

An elegant leg extension and gratuitous tummy fur

No, you should not take pictures of old ladies when they have fallen asleep on their noses.

Kittens and old cats do this.

Kittens and old cats do this.

You should, instead, pay attention to your writing and not procrastinate. You have the next episode of ‘Identical’ to edit, no?

Sitting on Ice

It’s been a while, eh?

I’ve had the flu, several times.

Mrs Widders had bronchitis, and a couple of flu’ses.

Widdercat decided that she really didn’t feel like dying on us, this time, even though she stopped eating and did all the things old cats do to let you know they’re about to pass through the veil to the Summerlands.

Each time, she comes back a little frailer, but her spirit is just as strong as ever. 2013 wasn’t quite as done with any of us as we thought!

Rumours of Our demise have been greatly exaggerated

Rumours of Our demise have been greatly exaggerated

***

Widderlake froze over again a little while ago and some scallywag did this …

 

See that little white thing out in the middle of the lake?

See that little white thing out in the middle of the lake?

... this is what it looks like close-up.

… this is what it looks like close-up.

A funny thing happened on the way to 2014 …

…stomach flu.

And it wasn’t pretty!

WIddercat was singularly unimpressed at her staffperson’s lack of attention and decided to take up residence in our newly acquired sideboard instead.

What wonderful smells!

What wonderful smells!

Normal posts will resume next week.

 

 

Oooh, this one smells the same

Oooh, this one smells the same

*

The quote that begins, ‘… a funny thing happened on the way to …’ comes from a 1962 Broadway show called (funnily enough) ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,’  and in the 1966 movie of the same name. ( the late great Buster Keaton  appeared in one of his last roles as Erronius)

My-One-And-Only-Post-NaNoWriMo Post

Any minute now the blog-o-sphere is going to be swamped with NaNoWriMo posts – what people did, and didn’t do to make their goals, what they learned about themselves, how they would do it differently next time, and what they are going to do next … so I’m going to get ahead of the crowd and do mine first.

What I did: I did make the 50,000 word count, in spite of two weeks off in the middle, and I NEVER want to write like that again!

What I didn’t do: I didn’t do a detailed enough outline. I spent too much time looking out the window, thinking, (out loud) “What the f*** happens next?” and, “Where did that character come from?”

I suspect Widdercat, banished from cuddles for the entire time, partly because of my radiation treatment, and partly because I have not mastered single-handed typing, had a paw in the sudden surprise appearance of characters who wanted the entire story to themselves. Kitty revenge! … If I had the whole month, this might not have been such a problem – the outlining, not Widdercat.

What I learned about myself: I have a writing style that is not suited to the pursuit of quantity only. I edit as I go, not a lot with a first draft, but more than is compatible with ‘the need for speed’.

What I would do differently next time: Apart constructing a more detailed outline and not having two weeks off? If I decide to do it next year, not much else.

What’s next: Finish the story. It’s only half written!

P.S. I forgot this!

P.S. I forgot this!

*

“Art Hurts. Art urges voyages – and it is easier to stay at home” – Gwendolyn Brooks, 1917–2000, poet