Late Cat-alyzed Posting for Birthday Month

img_3478Yesterday began quite early and I never posted. But what I wanted to post about was how much of a difference animals have made in my life.  The title comes from an aggregate of two words I heard very frequently when my children were small.  I’d call them to some tasking and get the inarguable reply: “I can’t, I’m cat-paralyzed.

We always had cats.  And dogs.  Sometimes a goat, or seagull, or gerbils — or for 20 years, ferrets.  Anytime a pet was asleep in one’s lap?  You were effectively out of action till the nap ended — cats being the most nappable, it was “cat-alyzation”.  Yesterday I was effectively cat-alyzed.  The wee black beastie, Magpie, had her appointment to be spayed.  So worry over her all day, and collecting her home to lap-love her through the evening kept me from posting.

She looked so desolate in the carrier, and went dead silent.  You could see the little furry wheels in her head screeching to a halt with the thought, “Oh, no!  They are taking me back – I do NOT have a home like I thought!”  There is no explaining to a six month old kitty that it is a one day event and she will be home.  When we collected her at 1700?  No purr in greeting, just the same desolate little black huddle at the back of the carrier, not even looking at us.  Not until we got home and I had her out of the carrier in my arms and she recognized the front porch did she perk up a bit.  Then she heard the dogs inside the house and really perked up.

The dogs had sulked and whined all day, missing Magpie.  She likes them and they love her.  They greeted her rapturously, licking her face and wagging their tails off.  She was on the floor at once, cupping faces in her paws!  She was hungry and thirsty and still on pain meds, but purring like a top with joy to realize she was home!

In over 40 years of having pets, we’ve always had comments on how unusual our pets are; it baffles us to no end.  What people seem to mean is that our pets don’t act like stereotypes of their species.  I think this is because we let our pets be who and what they are; no this doesn’t mean they are untrained and rowdy beasts.  But we don’t insist on silly behaviors to amuse humans.  We don’t view pets as amusement, though they often do amuse us.  I view pets as a responsibility, rather like children are — only my pets can’t speak English to tell me what is right or wrong with them.  I taught my children that animals may not have human abilities, but that they do have emotions on par with our own and should be respected in that sense.

When our often dysfunctional family could agree on nothing else, we could agree on our pets — their needs often paramount even in serious arguments.  Our family was sometimes held together by nothing so much as the need to NOT abandon our four legged animals!  We’ve spayed and neutered ALL our pets, no pet of ours ever gave birth to teach my kids the alleged “wonder of life.”  The majority of our pets were rescues or strays we found roadside.

Not every rescue succeeded.  I re-homed a Great Pyr dog that simply was going insane due to his inability to get us all “herded” safely into ONE building.  We returned a fat, grouchy Samoyed that threatened other pets.  We euthanized a cat that couldn’t live outdoors due to some other asshole de-clawing her, and yet we couldn’t stop her peeing on everything in sight because she had grown up in a decrepit out-building that was rain and urine stained top to bottom.  My allergic response to cats goes nuts over the various proteins IN cat urine, so that was making me very ill.  But mostly, once a pet is here, they are here for life.  We care for them, and they care for us.

If this was the Middle Ages, Magpie would get me burnt alive — she sleeps curled around my neck!  So yay, for modern times!

Nearly, And Then Not – This “Spy” For Humanism Cannot Come In From the Cold

LiveI spoke to my best friend amongst the German lunch ladies yesterday.  I have missed two weeks of coffee and lunch with them since the day I shouted at the one loud, bullying, black-lives-matter-detractor and walked out before finishing my soup.   It hurt, walking away, even while angry.  Because from the moment I stood up, I knew I might not ever walk back into a circle of friends.  Sometimes you know a mind is not going to be changed, and to acquiesce is impossible.

I told B. yesterday that I had thought of coming to lunch again — but then two more black men were shot by cops.  And if M. said one freaking smart-assed thing about that, I would do something thermonuclear and that would be bad.  So, no — Thursday will not be spent in a Mexican restaurant so washed out into boringly white flavors that it is not worth the name.   The longer it is before I walk back into that circle of women, the less likely it is that I ever will be amongst them again.

It is hard to be on the outside.  But I cannot be “inside” something if it means silent agreement with something wrong.  I have left jobs over similar things — I quit the German Deli that brought us together over something very much the same.  A beautiful young Moslem woman,  came to work there.  She was a good worker.  But the boss-lady picked on her relentlessly.

I blew up when she was driven back out to the work-floor for the “sin” of daring to take a 20 minute lunch-break, just as all the other women did.  I argued with Frau H.  I told her she was violating Washington State labor law by forbidding this normal lunch time to this single employee.  She blustered.  I persisted.  She told me it was none of my business.  I told her allowing her to abuse that young woman certainly was my business.  She told me she was the boss and could do as she liked.  I took off my apron and told her “Well, if you are going to break the law, I am not going to work for you and thus signal agreement.”  I walked out, with her on my heels asking, “Why can’t we talk about this?”  I turned momentarily and said “We just did talk about this, that is why I am quitting.”

She seemed utterly confused.  That confused me.  What part of  “You are discriminating against this woman, I am calling you on it, stop it!” is unclear?  Was it the idea that just because it wasn’t happening to me, I should have no cause to intervene?  Was it the idea that my skin tone was a shade or two lighter than the picked on younger woman?  Was there a presumption that I was not Moslem, thus should be in agreement with bullying one?

What has happened to humanity – when a person, even with nothing to lose, cannot stand up for someone with everything to lose?  I’m always the one dismissed as an idealistic twit.  Well, that and a “communist damned democrat” in certain circles.  I used to stand and fight bitterly.  Now, I will make my case in a couple lines, delivered with as little heat as possible – and then, when the other side dismisses me, or tries to out-shout me, I simply walk away.  I say to myself “You can’t fix stupid.”  But that is really a dodge, isn’t it?

I don’t believe I can win the fights any more.  Even science seems to find that people don’t want facts, they prefer their comfortable (and often biased) opinions.  It did take the wind out of my sails to find that even allegedly sensible, educated people clung to the death to some pretty horrid, hateful opinions that gave them something psychologically more comfortable than the struggle to deal with facts.

It is cold and lonesome out here on the edges.  Liminality is not nearly so appealing/sexy/edgy in experience as it sounds in stories, you know?  But this is where I will be staying, out here in the cold with the facts.  Luckily?  I know I am not the only one who has fled to the edges.  If I can be as true to the struggle as one of my icons was, if I can, like her, continue “pen still held firmly in her my hands, eyes steadfastly open to the darkness around her me.” – I will find what contentment I can.

Gratitude, 9 and 10 August

FullSizeRenderYesterday…hmmm, what was I grateful for that is not a repeat? Alcoholic pain relief has already been used, I think. Most of my pain issues revolve around old damage in my neck, nerves pinched by stenosis that eventually accompanies all spinal fusion operations. But now and again, my lower back decides to have painful little non-Boston-non-tea parties with my nerve endings.

So yesterday, I was grateful for what we call my “Minoan Bra”. It is actually a spring-loaded black spandex snap-crotched shoulder-strapped sort of modern pull-on corset. It holds my lower back immobile and doesn’t let the muscle spasms pull my spinal column out of whack. At the risk of too much info, I will say, we call it the Minoan Bra because it IS braless and pops my tits out “loud and proud” like a Minoan fresco on an ancient wall! Is it wrong that the Minotaur husband is always a bit more than his usual attentive self when my lower back is acting up?

FullSizeRender 2Today, I am grateful for space. Space to keep all the sundry kitchen stuff for old school cooking. Because that lets me occasionally go nuts with oven stuff on a cloudy summer day. Like today, making little mini-pies of my patent creation: mango-blueberry pies. the mini-pies are SUCH a bother anyhow with pressing in the shortcrust pastry by hand, that I made a mace-cardamom scented crumb topping. These will go, tomorrow, as slightly belated “First Harvest” gifts to my German lady pals! The often tiny kitchens and glass topped cooktops I see in new houses simply don’t have room to store cooking gear to do what I call “real cooking”!