Friday Cat Blogging: Still My Light’s On Edition

Topaz, lovely Topaz, my dear little bear, has a pet peeve: things should not be on top of other things. Still, madame is not unreasonable and has come around to the possible necessity of the cookbooks remaining atop the buffet. The objet to which she objects is a screw from I know not where, which makes me nervous. I keep finding them but that’s not really true, is it? Topaz plainly finds them first. So I am the Christopher Columbus of pre-found screws, and do turkeys get seasick?

In recent weeks, the kittens have become more definitely teenage. The evidence for this is that they seem to be flying past my head quite often and since kittens as a group seldom develop wings I accept that they are leaping prodigiously. While Drusy is no slouch, Topaz’s favorite living room perch is atop my bicycle seat, staring at me – unless Pete’s taller bike is parked next to mine. In that case, my seat is no longer gloriously elevated above all perch-worthy surfaces and will not do! Last night, Pete and I were talking and there was a sudden WHOOSH! Out of the corners of our eyes, we saw the tiny kitten leap panther-like. In a blink, the sweet little nutcase magically transformed into the giant jungle cat. The bicycle wiggled for a moment, then became still. The expression on Topaz’s delicate furry face reminded us we were made of meat.

Topaz: Mrrrrow.
Us: Yes, ma’am!

For her part, Drusy is an enthusiastic cheerleader. The kittens follow me everywhere, as kittens will. When I stand in the kitchen, I hear a small whoosh! as Drusy leaps to the windowsill, crosses the radiator and bounds to the top of the washing machine in an instant. I turn around and we are face to face. Miss likes to kiss, so we do. When I turn back to the sink, ingenious Topaz will be standing on the counter, hoping for yummy fish, on her way to sitting on top of the coffee machine, the highest point in the kitchen on which a cat might perch and issue demands, so she does. Drusy, on the other hand, is very easy to love.

Check out the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

In other news: Bob the actual Corgi nibbles no more. Please show Suzette some love.

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My Back Against the Record Machine

I haven’t checked my phone messages in over a week but I can feel my popularity pulsing at the internet phone message center like concentrated evil. Well, maybe not so concentrated. I doubt my popularity has much of an attention span, since Dom’s birthday present languishes in Siobhan’s living room and I haven’t seen Sharkey in over a month. Fortunately, Trout and I are spending some quality time together on Wednesday afternoons. We’re taking a three-week course of private yoga classes with a teacher who almost certainly served in the Israeli Army. I enjoy meditating while trying not to imagine all the ways she could kill me armed only with her bare hands and a stick of gum.

In his own way, Pete is just as much an obsessive fussbudget as I am. He is always mulling things over and thinking up another way or another project, which drives me mad. The words, “You know what we could do?” are my cue to plug my ears and yodel, “I’m not liiiiiistening!” Of course, I am listening. I’m also keenly aware that we both work two jobs and our time together is very limited. One foot in front of the other is the only way we’re embarking on our Iron March to Global Domination, so tap dancing is right out!

It’s Thursday, the day every week when I consider giving up the struggle but don’t. Which struggle? Pick one, I think of it. First thing this morning, I had a talk with me about the litter boxes and admitted I’d been doing a – forgive me! – crappy job of keeping them tidy. Madame Topaz and Mam’selle Drusy have been exceedingly patient with my lapses. Days ago, I walked into the bathroom and realized I was standing in goo and darkness, which I partially fixed by flipping the light switch. Aha! One of the pussycats had barfed up breakfast just inside the threshold. I stuck my foot under the tub faucet and turned on the water full blast. I did not at all hop up and down muttering, “Ew ew ew ew ew” because that would be childish. Then I cleaned it up. Now that I have kittens who knock glass objects off elevated surfaces and yak on my bathroom floor, Swiffer Wet is my best friend.

Sorry, Siobhan!

To Me In Darkness Not In Light

Image: Suspect Device

Scout Prime at First Draft:

The last count of those missing in Louisiana is 135. The number who lost their lives due to the immediate direct result of Katrina is 1723. However a new study looked at the number of people who have died over the course of time yet related to “Katrina” and this would place the toll at 4081 people as of March 2007. More info on this and above figures is available at Robert Lindsay ‘s blog.

You’ll find remembrances all over the blogosphere today, but nobody ties it together like Jill. President Bush visits New Orleans today. I don’t want to sully my karma with futile wishes for poetic justice, but let’s say I wouldn’t be unhappy to see news footage tonight involving a voodoo doll and a backed-up Superdome toilet.

Is There A House Of Hope For Me And You?

The current soap opera on Italian TV – Un medico in famiglia – opened recently with a picture of our sometimes comical patriarch holding a sign: Nonno Libero. Of course, my Italian is for crap so I was left with a problem of interpretation. Did that mean “Free Grandpa!” like, “Attica! Attica!” or, “Grandpa, free to a good home”? In this dark and economically uncertain time, when we’re inexplicably using parent as a verb, we may soon face packs of oldsters on streetcorners bearing signs: Will Grandparent For Food. It’s funny. But it’s not.

A few weeks ago, Daria, shouting at the tops of her lungs so Grandpa could hear her, asked about his new arrangement with Meals On Wheels. This was news to me.

Daria: HOW ARE YOU GETTING ALONG WITH THE MEALS ON WHEELS?
Grandpa: Fine, fine.
Daria: WHAT DO THEY FEED YOU?
Grandpa: A hot meal, three times a week. Those aren’t my favorite nights.

I stiffened. I’ve never heard Grandpa say a bad word about anything, let alone people who take care of him so I was confused. This morning, Daria had answers.

Tata: Promise me no one’s bringing Grandpa baloney sandwiches on white bread.
Daria: No, it’s nothing like that!
Tata: No baloney? No matter how it’s spelled?
Daria: They bring him a hot meal three nights a week. It’s good food. It’s just not his favorite.
Tata: What?
Daria: He says the meatloaf is good, but it’s not his friend Hoagy’s meatloaf.
Tata: You’re saying they don’t specialize in Thai, Italian and Moroccan dishes?
Daria: Yeah. It’s different when we’re there but we can’t always be there.
Tata: This is a veritable bouquet of good news/bad news pairings. It’s good news that someone feeds Grandpa but bad news that he’s not wild about the food. It’s good news that he goes out to the Vets every day but bad news that he goes home alone. It’s good news that he takes care of himself but bad news that we can’t anyway from hundreds of miles away. Christ, I’m depressing myself with this happy news.
Daria: That’s your special charm.

I’m grateful. Somehow gratitude is not enough.

At Midnight, It’s Never Too Soon

He’s patient, but yesterday, he smoked what he says was his last cigarette. He smoked this last cigarette after he bought a pack of gum he planned to chew with extreme prejudice. I tell him, “Dahhhhhhlink, it will be your last cigarette if it is, but if it isn’t you’ll quit when you’re ready.” He’s sure. He’s ready. He won’t hear of it any other way!

Well, okay. While I enjoy the company of a minty-fresh man as much as the next perfumed dame, I’m not applying pressure. He’ll quit when cigarettes taste nasty, feel like an obligation and become a stupid expense – or he’ll buy another pack. In my opinion, he’s not addicted to cigarettes in the first place. Nope. He might smoke three or four a day, and not on any schedule. It’s not a habit. This event’s more like the day an office-holding moron breaks out the dictionary and discovers the pronunciation key. “You mean it’s noo klee r? I hope nobody heard me,” sez our prize-winning twit. For a little while after this satori, the speaker will stumble over the practiced noo ku ler until noo klee r feels natural. And so it can be with quitting for people who are not really addicted. One day, as I did, the not-actually-addicted smoker might simply not light another one. Siobhan, for instance, only smokes when she’s wearing her blue suede shoes to taunt Elvis impersonators. A girl’s got to have her standards.

For actual nicotine addicts, I have no advice. Even I know that a two-pack-a-day habit represents a personal boogie man, boogie man, and I should zip it.

He’s patient with my tantrums, exhaustion, my dumb soap operas and echolalia. He’s pleasant first thing in the morning and pleasant last thing at night. In between, this week, I might try this Be Nice thing people talk so much about.

It’s Too Hot, Too Hot, Babe

Wednesday evening, RAI International News showed images of wildfires in Sicily, where the situation looked bad to me. I don’t understand Italian, but when hillside villages are going up in vivid flames, I can follow the story. So when the report went to the national map and a generous handful of flashing symbols lent the impression that half of Italy and Sicily were en flambe, I was horrified. Still, I am wary of getting emotionally involved in situations where my hovercraft may be full of eels, so I hoped everything would be okay and forgot about it.

This is another story. From the New York Times, in English:

Greece declared a national state of emergency on Saturday as scores of forest fires that have killed at least 46 people continued to burn out of control, leaving some villages trapped within walls of flames, cut off from firefighters and, in some cases, from firefighting aircraft grounded because of high winds.

Desperate people called television and radio stations pleading for help that they feared would not arrive in time.

“I can hear the flames outside my door,” one caller from the village of Andritsena told a Greek television station, according to Reuters news service. “There is no water anywhere. There is no help. We are alone.”

Hear the flames? Oh. My. God.

Firefighters expect the death toll to rise, because they have not yet been able to search some areas that had been overrun by flames. Hardest hit by the fires were a dozen hamlets tucked into the rural highlands around the town of Zaharo in the western peninsula, where at least 12 people, including some who may have been trying to flee by car, were killed. Charred bodies were found in cars, houses and fields in areas around Zaharo, firefighters said.

At least some of the people there were believed to have been killed or trapped after a collision between a fire truck and a convoy of cars apparently trying to flee the flames. Scores of other residents, including elderly and disabled people, remained trapped in their homes, phoning in to local television and radio stations, crying for help.

“Help! Help! Help!” wailed one resident as he spoke with Mega television from the town of Artemida. “Get some one here fast. We’re losing everything.” Minutes later, another caller pleaded for authorities to help save her two children, one of whom she feared was in shock after having seen their home go up in flames.

South of Zaharo, rescue teams confirmed at least six deaths in the seaside town of Areopolis, in the Mani region, a popular tourist destination known for its rugged cliffs and ravines. Among the victims in the area were a pair of French hikers who were trapped in a flaming ravine. Their charred bodies were found locked in an embrace, the authorities said.

I’m fucking speechless. Not this guy.

Late Saturday, Mr. Karamanlis appeared on national television and declared that he was mobilizing all of the country’s resources to tackle the blazes to “prevail in a battle that must be won.” Mr. Karamanlis also suggested that the recent fires might have been purposely set. “So many fires sparked simultaneously in so many regions is no coincidence,” he said, wearing a black tie and suit in a show of mourning. “We will get to the bottom of this and punish those responsible.”

But political opponents accused the prime minister of shunning responsibility for what the authorities have called a “national tragedy.”

“Rather than deflect attention and lay blame on some anonymous arsonist, the prime minister should take blame for the government’s failure to effectively handle this crisis,” said Nikos Bistis, a opposition socialist lawmaker, on local television.

I don’t give a good goddamn about the politics, but I care a whole lot about the suffering that is and will be for a long time to come, and there’s almost nothing I can do about it. Well, I guess there’s this.

You More Than Anyone, Darling

Here at Casa Con Queso, this is a common sight: a pussycat body partially concealed by fabric, often accompanied the telepathic message, “You can’t see me! I am invisibuls!

While I fear the organza curtains may not be long for this world, they were cheaper than half a prom dress so I’m lucky they don’t tear along the bias in one grand demonstration of kitteny joie de vivre. They’re not my grandmother’s drapes, after all. No, we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.

Everyone’s got a role to play and a job to do. Topaz, seen here takin’ it to Drusy, not at all invisibuls except to the camera. At this point, I’d like to take a moment to excoriate Rodgers and Hart for placing unphotographable in my head while I was a young and impressionable word nerd. They were obviously retcherous human beings, what with their corrupting the language like that.

I took out the camera when Topaz began chirping. This was so unusual a sound I figured whatever came next was bound to be exciting, and it was. The eagle eyes of the six-pound pussycat had spotted a spider, the size of the O on your keyboard, crawling along the crown molding. What followed was a festival of uproarious feline frustration, complete with leaping, flying, chirping and the spider looking unimpressed from her strategic position far from razor-sharp teeth. Audrey will recognize the framed photograph next to said feline. Please know, lovey, I grabbed it before it hit the floor.

Drusy, resting her head on Pete’s feet. They’re nice feet. Drusy taste tests them all the time. I hope it’s a phase. I was on the phone earlier with Mr. Blogenfreude and dancing like Michael Flatley because my toes are evidently delicious and Drusy must eat them! Pictured here, Drusy is not eating toes but guarding them, possibly from the other Kitteny Menace. Either that or she’s sighing and declaring Pete dreeeeeeeeeeamy. She does, you know.

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I shamelessly swiped this infodata from Barry at Enrevanche. He is well-informed, you know. This Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by The Scratching Post, and don’t overlook The Modulator’s Friday Ark. Thank you, Barry. Hello, Mr. Gato!