Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daffodils: A Magpie Tale

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has come up with a new photo prompt for bloggers on a site called Magpie Tales.  She'll be posting a photo weekly as a prompt for a fictional account or poem telling of its history and/or how the item in the photo came to be in your possession.  This week's prompt is....

What is it about spring flowers that makes me feel so happy?  There's nothing finer than a bouquet of yellow daffodils mixed with a few purple hyacinths and bright red tulips.  But the best part is seeing them blowing in the breeze on a warm spring day.  Coming across a sea of daffodils under the trees at Kew Gardens took my breath away when I was there 25 years ago... one of my favorite memories of that journey.

Two hundred years ago, William Wordsworth wrote these words that speak to the glory of discovering a field of daffodils...

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

And so the daffodils banish the dark days of winter. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Better Late Than Never: I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

I have been remiss in acknowledging a few recent accolades from blogger friends.  I sincerely hope that they haven't taken back their offerings in the time it's taken me to render a formal "Thank You!"

First up is Scotty over at Ergo Humor who gave me the Over the Top Award.  To see my answers to the obligatory questions that go along with this award, please go to this post.

Thanks, Scotty!  You're a bit over the top yourself... which is why I adore you!

Coincidentally, it was Mad Mad Margo over at The Screaming Me-Me who originally awarded me the Over the Top Award.  Me-Me does a mean captioning contest every week and her prize, the Golden Phallus eluded me for some time.   It took me awhile, but I was thrilled to finally be awarded the Golden Phallus two weeks ago....  here's the picture with my winning caption:

"Hmmm... to lube or not to lube?
That is the question."
Yeah, I'm going to hell.... but then what else is new?   Here's what I won:

Now, how could time in hell possibly not be worth such a prize?

Then there was the Holy F-ing Monkey Balls (HFMB) Award from Linda Medrano over at The Good, The Bad, The Worse.  My kind of award!

There aren't any actual requirements for accepting this award, but I would like to pass it along to Moooooog over at Mental Poo... don't know why, but this award somehow reminds me of him.  I also want to pass it along to Summer over at The Circus Has Come to Town, because every circus needs a monkey or two.

And that's not all, folks!  My dear friend Reffie, from Confessions of a Reforming Geek, awarded me the Sunshine Award:

Sweet!  Thanks, Reffie, for bringing sunshine into my day... both with the award and with your posts!

While not obligated to pass on the Sunshine Award, I would like to award it to a few more people who regularly bring sunshine into my life....

Jayne from In Jayne's World
Keith from iDifficult
The recently elusive Quirky from Musings of a Quirkyloon
John from Nonamedufus
Brian from WayStationOne

A day without these folks is definitely like a day without sunshine!   Here's wishing sunny days to all of you out there who are friends of the CatLadyWithoutCats!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photo Meme

This past week a couple of blogger friends, Linda from The Good, The Bad and The Worse, and Lyn over at Once Upon A..., tagged me in a fun foto meme.  The idea is to pull up the first photo file you come to, scroll down to the tenth picture, then post it with a description of what it is and where it was taken.  Sounded like a fun game for a Friday night, so I decided to play along.  Here's what popped up:

These two fine lads happen to be my son, Vlad, and my brother-in-law, Sven.  It was taken at my parents' home in Florida last March.  It was a rather auspicious event as it was the first time my entire family had been together for a meal in 23 years.  Yes, you heard me correctly... 23 years.  During the intervening decades we've been spread out between Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Missouri, Florida and New York.  Consequently, as a group, we never quite made it to the same place at the same time.  My parents were delighted to finally have us all together. 

What was amazing was that we picked up right where we left off.   We were all on our best behavior, (for us,) and we managed to make it through the event without anyone being grounded or sent to their room.  Of course, Vlad and I didn't have a room to go to, so that might explain things.  Nonetheless, we all had a lovely time.

So what are we waiting for?  Let's do it again in another 23 years!  DP, anybody?

*          *          *          *          *          *

As for who to tag next... I hereby award this meme to the first five people to comment who have not already been tagged! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking for Signs

It's time again for Theme Thursday and this week's topic is "Signs".

There are a lot of great writers out there participating in Theme Thursday, so be sure to check them out as well.

Lately, I've been starting to feel my age, which happens to be 56.  Most of the time I feel pretty young, especially working with kids, but the signs are there.  I forget that I'm not quite as spry as I used to be... and that can lead to disaster, like falling down stairs.     

So, here are my top signs of aging:

 1.  Like Nora Ephron, I'm beginning to feel bad about my neck... or rather the jowls that are starting to sag beyond my chin.  The bulging chicken neck can only be so far behind.

2.  I sometimes suffer from insomnia, miscellaneous thoughts rattling around in my head.  The only thing that helps is sitting up and doing crossword puzzles in bed until the thoughts are banished.

3.  I can no longer run... a torn MCL and ACL have taken care of that.  When the kids want me to chase them, I just hobble along.  Lucky for me, Hickory the Wonder Dog is older than me in dog years, so I don't have to chase after him any more.

4.  I'm starting to ask, "What?" a lot.  Especially in rooms full of extraneous background noise... like classrooms. 

5.  For many years I've walked into rooms and then wondered why I was there.  The older I get, the more often this happens.  My memory's just not what it used to be.

6.  I'm beginning to walk like Walter Brennan from The Real McCoys, hitching up my shoulders and sticking my elbows out, as I mosey along.

7.  I'm old enough to remember Walter Brennan as Grandpa Amos in The Real McCoys.

8.  I had to resort to one of those medicine boxes that have compartments for every day of the week.  Even with that, it's still difficult to remember if I took my meds or not.  It's also difficult to remember to get the prescriptions refilled before I run out.

9.  I can't see worth shit.  Every year my glasses prescription changes.  (Too bad I'm not fashionable enough to look forward to getting a new look every year.)

10.  I can't remember if I've seen a movie before.  It's not unusual for me to get halfway through a movie before I realize I've already seen it.   The same is true of books.  Several times I've bought books only to find I already have a copy sitting on my shelf at home.

This list could go on and on, but I think I've given you a clear picture here.  There's no avoiding it... sooner or later we all start seeing the signs.   Guess I'll just mosey on out to the kitchen to make myself another cup of coffee to go with the one already sitting next to me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nails: A Magpie Tale

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has come up with a new photo prompt for bloggers on a site called Magpie Tales.  She'll be posting a photo weekly as a prompt for a fictional account or poem telling of its history and/or how the item in the photo came to be in your possession.  This week's prompt is....


It was an old fashioned country hardware store... straight out of the early 20th century.  Wooden floors creaked as we moved down the aisles.  Schoolhouse lights dropped on long chains from the pressed tin ceiling.  A small rake rested in the bins of nails which were weighed in a white enamel bowl dangling from a scale. 

The counter was also made of wood... polished to a satiny glow.  A roll of brown paper was attached to one end of the counter for wrapping up packages.  At the other end was an old brass cash register. 

But the thing that drew us to the hardware store was under the counter... encased in glass.  It was the penny candy, which old Mr. Harding kept for the children of his customers.  Gum drops, peppermints, Mary Jane, butterscotch, Bit o' Honey, Neapolitan coconut candies and salt water taffy.  That's what made a trip to the hardware store special.

So whenever dad said he needed to pick up a few nails, we'd all rush to pile into the back seat of the car for the three mile drive into town.  Mom didn't really want us eating candy but dad had a sweet tooth and we were happy to be his partners in crime.

Off we'd go, each coming away with a small paper wrapper filled with candies.  Heaven for a child of the 50's.  Mom would just roll her eyes when she'd see us rolling back down the driveway.

Funny thing is... it wasn't often that we actually picked up any nails.  Go figure.

Please be sure to stop over at Magpie Tales to check out the other people creating a tale this week. You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Motivate THIS! Homage to a BadAss Blogger

I've been a bit of a slacker lately... my posts are getting fewer and farther between.  That dastardly work has been taking up more and more of my time.  If only I could find a patron so I could stay home and be creative all the time.  I could get into that.   Do you think Bill Gates would be interested in supporting me?  Probably not, since I'm a Mac person. 

Anyway, in lieu of finding someone to support me in the style to which I have never become accustomed, I decided to buy my way into being motivated.  From now on, Moooooog is going to be held personally responsible for whether or not I post regularly.  How?  By luring me into spending actual money for some of his motivational paraphernalia at the Mental Poo shop.  Here's Vlad mugging with my new motivational mug:

 I even splurged and got myself a t-shirt from the Mental Poo store:

Yeah... The Midget Man of Steel from Mental Poo is outrageous!  He's about as politically incorrect as you can possibly get.  So why am I laughing?  I really shouldn't be, but I am.  Stop that, CatLady!  I mean it!  I guess you could say Moooooog is one of my guilty pleasures of the blogging world.  He's the one who turned me on to motivational posters.  So much fun!  So because I want to pay it forward... here's a BadAss Blogger award for Moooooog.  Wear it in good health!

Now to put on my Mental Poo t-shirt and top off that mug with some java...

CatLady out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hands: A Magpie Tale

Sophie had always loved her hands from the time she was a little girl.  They were long and slender, without a single blemish to mar their beauty.  At age 8, Sophie started playing the piano.  Her teacher, Mrs. Bergdahl, drilled her for hours on scales.  Most students despised the dreaded scales but Sophie loved them because lightly skimming her fingers over the 88 keys showed off the fluid elegance of her hands. 

As she became a young woman Sophie continued to exhibit grace and style, but the thing people remarked on most frequently were her hands.  Not for her, the gloves that everyone else wore... they would cover her best asset.  She was animated whenever she spoke, moving her hands to emphasize each thought.  All eyes were drawn to the slender fingers dancing in the air.

And then one day, it all came to an end.  Sophie was out for a drive with her beau, when the Packard in which they were riding was struck by an oncoming truck.  In an instant, the hands that had once been the center of Sophie's world were crushed, never again to dance across piano keys or to grace a thought.   Her beau, distraught at the pain he had caused, moved away.  She never saw him again.

As the years passed, Sophie withdrew into herself.  She seldom left home.  The whispers at the club were full of pity for the girl of the elegant and eloquent hands, now silenced forever.  Or were they?   

After a time, Sophie began to listen once again to the rhythm of the world around her.  She began to long for human contact, for conversation.  She began going to concerts, her mangled hands now encased in the finest of kid gloves.  Slowly, so slowly, she began to reanimate, to rejoin the world that she had lost.

A gentleman approached her one evening at the theater.  His name was Matthew.  He had been watching her from afar and asked if he could join her after the concert.  They went for coffee and talked into the wee hours.  It turned out he was an artist who worked in wood.  They talked of their lives, their passions and their hopes.  The longer they talked, the more animated Sophie became, but she never spoke of her hands.  She never removed her gloves, her armor against broken dreams.  But the hands themselves began to move again, to punctuate thoughts with a gesture, a subtle movement that brought home a point as Sophie spoke.

Sophie and the woodworker began to meet more frequently and one day they met in the park.  Spring had just arrived and the world seemed full of possibilities.  Her gentleman guided Sophie to a bench where he knelt before her.  He opened a box which he had been carrying under his arm.  There was no ring inside, no diamond to profess his love for Sophie.  Instead there was something much more precious... a hand.  An elegant hand, carved of the finest cherry wood.

Matthew had discerned that which was most important to Sophie, that which she thought she had lost.  In it, he had captured her essence.  And her answer was, "Yes."

 * * * * * * * * * * * *

Please visit Magpie Tales to see how other writers have interpreted this week's photo prompt!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Which Hat Would YOU Choose?: Theme Thursday

It's that time again... this week's Theme Thursday topic is "Hats".  There are lots of great Theme Thursday players out there, so be sure to check them out!

One of my favorite places to go in RochesterLa-Tea-Da Tea Room, Rochester is La-Tea-Da.  This is an old fashioned tea shop where you can go for an afternoon cream tea with scones and clotted cream.   True, it can't compare to an actual Devonshire cream tea but around here you take what you can get!

La-Tea-Da is heaven for the five-year-old set and I think half their business on weekends is birthday parties for little princesses.  You don't see too many guys there, unless it's a sensitive new age guy taking his beloved daughter out for a special treat.

But I digress...

There are certain rules that must be followed when one is going out for tea.  Number One is that you must always dress for the occasion.   If you are gauche enough to forget your chapeau, there are several walls of hats and boas available for your pleasure. We're talking everything from cloches to straw sun hats to veiled pillboxes to the flapper headbands shown in their promo picture above.   My friend, Sondra Stinglash, looks spectacular in her choice... note the fashionable boa added to her ensemble.

The CatLady goes for a slightly wider brim in a fashionable white felt to contrast with her black turtleneck and silver neckwear.

So spill... what would you wear for afternoon tea?  Inquiring minds are dying to know!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ten Years From Now...

My friend Linda over at The Good, The Bad, The Worse, tagged me for this little meme.  You're supposed to tell what you hope life will hold for you ten years from now, then tag ten more people to do the same.

In ten years I hope to:

~ be able to kick back a bit and maybe work part time
~ have my mortgage paid off
~ see my son settled in a life he enjoys
~ enjoy good friendships, both old and new
~ be active and engaged in the world
~ be healthy enough to enjoy life to the fullest
~ still be having fun

Now... who to tag next?  

~Jayne @ InJaynesWorld 
~Dufus @ nonamedufus  
~Ms. Petite @ Eolist Petite
~KaLynn @ Kacklin' with KaLynn
~Me-Me @ The Screaming Me-Me!!!
~Moooooog @ Mental Poo 
~Subby @ basstuna
~Indigo @ IndigoWrath
~Keith @ iDifficult

There... that's equal time for the men and women of the blogosphere!

See you in ten years to discover whether this all works out!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Late Night Adventures of Tilly, the One-Eyed Cat

Well, it's our second day here in the country.  After a sleepless night due to roaming critters who think that 2am is play time, the sun is shining.  The snow isn't as deep as was expected but it's still a challenge to maneuver my way to the chicken chalet...

Then there are the bird feeders to get to... 
These two rascals decided to come empty the bird feeders yesterday afternoon as I watched them from the window.  I could have sent the dogs out to run them off, but the Wonder Dog and his Valentine-sending girlfriend Sadie are getting on in years and don't have the ambition anymore for that task.

Of course, that's not to say they don't have the energy for shenanigans at other times.  I sleep on the couch downstairs when I'm out here in the country, what with my bum knee and canines who keep wanting to go out to play in the middle of the night.  It's just easier that way.  I can let them out and fall back to sleep for a few moments until they bark to let me know they want to come back in.  At home Hickory normally sleeps through the night but when we're out here Sadie's nocturnal movements make him want to join in the fun.  He sleeps next to me on floor, with Sadie sleeping at on my feet on the couch.

 But here's the main culprit keeping me awake at night...

Tilly the One-Eyed Cat and her sister, Two-Eyed Willa are new since I was last here.  I haven't seen that much of Willa, but Tilly just gets revved up once the sun goes down. 

One-Eyed Tilly has those sharp little kitty teeth and claws... perfect for gnawing on me in the middle of the night.  And she's particularly fond of eating my pony tail.  I've found the best protection is wearing a hoody to bed.  Between Sadie sleeping on my feet between romps outside and Tilly doing her best to use me for a scratching post, it makes for a short night.  Not really a problem since today's Sunday and I can take as many cat naps as I want. 

But tomorrow is a work day... which means I'd better wear ear plugs and body armor to bed tonight.  Otherwise, I can't be held responsible for what might happen to the kidlets at school...  it's not pretty when I haven't gotten my beauty sanity rest.  

Saturday, March 6, 2010

We're Off to See the Critters...

Well, it's not quite Oz, but it is a wonderfully quiet place to spend a few days... if you discount the dogs barking, rooster crowing, hens cackling, cats meowing and birds chirping.  At least the fish are fairly quiet.  Hickory the Wonder Dog and I will be busy looking for new things to tell you about...

 Chicken Chalet... just add 18 inches of snow and we'll be up to date.

But, damn I hate commuting from the country... if I didn't have to take time off to go to work, it would be almost like a vacation.

See you in a few days...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's the Funny not Slutty Big Blog Book!

The Funny not Slutty network just published its first online book and guess who's in it?  My dear friend Jayne and me, along with a bunch of other awesome women writers!

You can download your FREE copy by going to Funny not Slutty Network.  Get yours today!
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