Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Zombie Eyez!

Well, I did it again!  I managed to show up at work looking so disgusting that I made small children cry out in fear.  I seem to have a special talent for this stuff.  I have no idea how these things happen to me.  It's a mystery.
This time it was with... 
Zombie Eyez!

Who needs rose colored glasses when you have this beauty?  The first thing a child said to me was, "Paula, you need to get some paper right away and put it on your glasses so we can't see your eye!"  And good morning to you, too, my dear! 

Yeah... I think I'm getting a little peckish for some brainzzzz...   (I hear young brainz are very tender.)

Speaking of brainz... if you haven't yet been introduced to him, go check out Gumley over at Robbie's Bubbles.  He's developing a collection of Zombtees that are to die for!  He's a bit wonky (in a good way) from hanging out with Indigo and iDifficult.  Those boys have spent WAY too much time playing D & D together over the years!  

Now... where did I put those sun glasses?  I've frightened enough small children for one day...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Clothes of the Dead

So, now that Mom's dead and unburied, I'm finally getting back to my normal routine.  But, before that could happen, there were a few things to sort out down in Florida.  One of the delights of dealing with death is the disposal of the deceased's worldly goods.  Never a pleasant task, even in the most agreeable of families.  Personally, I always thought Inheritance Smack Down would make a great reality show. 

You know... put a bunch of relatives of some poor deceased rich slob in a room together with a shit load of booty and let them duke it out over who gets what while some scrawny attorney looks on and wrings his or her hands in dismay.  Screaming, yelling, punching and hair pulling excess at its finest!  The winner gets to take all the good stuff and cash, while the losers get to split a time share in a condo on a flood plain overlooking the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I'm really amazed that no one has come up with a show like that yet. 

While in Florida, my sisters and I got to go through Mom's stuff and choose what we wanted before shipping off the rest to the Hospice Thrift Shop.  Yay!  Clothes of the Dead!  We had a good time, dressing up just like we did when we were kids.  We let my niece come along to take her pick of the finest in women's jettisoned clothing, hats and costume jewelry.

Number One Daughter, Ilsa & Eowyn looking their finest.

A good time was had by all.  We packed up the Clint Eastwood outfit to send to Waldo, since he couldn't be there to get his share.  I let the rest of them take all of the jewelry except for one rhinestone necklace, which I kept for sentimental reasons.  I used to love to play dress up with it as a little girl.

The only bone of contention was my mother's mink coat.  She bought it in London about twenty years ago and wore it to the Queen's birthday celebration where they trooped out the royals onto the balcony of the palace.  None of us were really keen on having a mink coat.  After all, my female siblings live in Florida for cryin' out loud and I have far too many friends who are members of PETA to be able to wear it in public.  But once when we were visiting, Vlad dressed up in it and called it his pimp coat and asked his grandma if he could have it.  Once he added a fedora, he looked quite fetching!  Mom was horrified at the thought of her grandson wearing her beloved coat as a Halloween costume, so she said no way! 

But in the end, guess who got it?  Good thing she was cremated instead of buried, 'cause otherwise Mom would be rolling over in her grave right about now!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How to Host a Funeral... CatLady Style

First, let's just say that there will be no actual funerals involved in this post.  Cat ladies don't do funerals... they just wither away.  Although, a Viking funeral would be a fitting way to remove all the useless crap from my house.  You could load it all up into an ancient rowboat and then torch it as you send it out to sea.

The number one trick to hosting a funeral is to have the deceased not want a funeral.  Thanks, Mom!  Then it's also handy to have a father who is uber-organized so that there's not much to do when you arrive on scene.  Thanks, Dad!  Then there are the two uber-organized sisters who already had the picnic basket packed by the time I got there.  Thanks, Number One Daughter and Eowyn.  (And yes, in case you were wondering, the mad organizational skills of my family have always left me wondering if I was adopted or something.) 

So, ix-nay on the funeral... let's have a party at the beach instead!  My mom missed her 60th wedding anniversary by eight days, so we decided to have an anniversary celebration instead of a funeral.   

Complete with Mom's Haviland china and silver.

Sadly, Mom's ashes weren't ready yet, so we weren't able to bring her in the silver chafing dish that Eowyn set aside for the occasion.  Oh, well... nothing ever goes according to plan.  But Dad did bring their wedding photos, so we still got to see her.

Vlad and Waldo couldn't make it, but Eowyn, Ilsa (my niece) and I came decked out in Mom's finest jewelry, which we had raided the day before.


One must always look one's best!  Number One Daughter forgot to wear her jewels, so we were going to make her sit at her own table but then relented. (When one is in mourning, one must be forgiven these serious lapses in fashion judgment.)

Looking the most dapper, was Dad...  all decked out in his beach gear.  Now, there's a guy who knows how to have a good time!

My brother in law, Sven, provided the music... songs of the forties and fifties.  We toasted Mom with gin and tonics and Dr Pepper while enjoying the breezes off the Gulf of Mexico.  All in all, it was a happy way to provide closure on a life well-lived.

After all, Mom would have wanted it that way!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And When I Die...

My mom died a week ago and today I'm headed down to Florida to spend some time with my family.  Despite being in poor health for close to 20 years, my mom always insisted on having things "just right".   Whether it was designing tasteful decor for her home, planning the perfect party, or using correct syntax in her speech, mom wanted things done properly.  That included dying on her own terms.  So much so, she was supremely pissed when Dad called 911 instead of letting her expire last month.  She even threatened to call a divorce lawyer over that one.  Classic Mom... snarky to the end! 

In the last few weeks, Mom was ready to go and just wanted to get on with it, dying only three days after being moved to hospice care.  She wanted to be cremated right away and insisted that we dispense with the usual funeral or memorial service.  After all, Mom hated it when people got all teary at funerals... she thought it was undignified.  And I'm sure she didn't want anyone staring at her when she was dead and obviously not looking her best. 

So we're not having any sort of ceremony.  Instead, we'll head to the beach tomorrow for a picnic to celebrate what would have been my parent's 60th wedding anniversary.  But we'll use real dishes and silverware... Mom wouldn't want us using tacky paper plates and plastic forks on her anniversary.  I think we should bring her box of ashes with us, but we'd have to find her a tasteful urn first... the cardboard box that cremains come in just isn't going to cut it!  It will probably be bittersweet, but it will also be a happy time, with lots of memories and lots of laughter.  After all, what else would you expect from the Cat Lady and her family?

I figure Mom's out there somewhere enjoying her grand adventure.  After all, she did love to travel.  So I'm dispensing with the traditional dirge and carrying on with life while having Laura Nyro sing Mom out in style....

Monday, June 7, 2010

That Look of Surprise: A Magpie Tale

Things had gotten out of hand.  The noise of drunken debauchery filled the streets night after night.  So many poor souls had succumbed to temptation.  Eventually, even the most chaste were being dragged into the depths of moral turpitude.  It was time for someone to step in and put an end to the depravity.

One night, two mysterious strangers knocked on a door in the town, entreating the occupants of the house to join them and flee the city.  But why should we, the family asked?  Because doom and destruction will rain down upon you if you stay, was the answer.  Come away now and don't look back, they cried.

The father, mother and two daughters were dragged from their house by the strangers.  They had no time to gather their belongings.  Where were they going?  Could they trust these strangers?  What would they use to begin a new life when they were taking nothing with them?

Little did they realize that their most precious possessions were already with them.  Had anyone told them that, they would have been surprised.  They had no clue that their earthly possessions were like nothing compared to their bond with each other.

But, as so often happens, we don't realize what we have until it is lost.  Which is why the mother had such a look of surprise on her face when she turned to look back on their home one last time. 

Salt was one of the most precious commodities in those days, but it was one Lot could have lived without.

* * * * * * *

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has been providing inspiration for bloggers on a site called Magpie Tales.  A photo of an artifact is posted each week as a writing prompt.  Participants write a story or poem of its history and/or how the item in the photo came to be in their possession.  Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers participating in Magpie Tales this week.  You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Adventures of Boom Boom Larew and Patti Poo Foo

Last week I regaled you with some bald faced lies.  Interspersed with the lies were a few truths.  I did, in fact, learn how to cook on a wood stove, but I never worked detassling corn.  (Hey, I don't like to sweat in the hot sun!)  My friend, Glennda, did come to Rochester to study at the Eastman School, but I did not.

However, I did once share the stage with Laura Nyro.  It was back at the University of Iowa, when some friends and I jumped up on the stage during her concert... I sat right next to the piano bench and it was magical evening, watching her face as she played.  Ms. Nyro was quite lovely and gracious about the entire thing... never complained at all when we joined her up close and personal.

And although my good friend, Susan, was arrested with the Top Free Seven, I was too much of a wuss to join her.  Besides, I'd already been in jail twice before and didn't need to go through all that hassle again.

Nonetheless, I did have a colorful career as a stripper in high school.  As a Roosevelt Rough Rider pom pom girl, (a "Riderette",) I tripped the light fantastic with the school band at football games.  One of the favorite tunes played by the band was David Rose's The Stripper.  My sister-out-law and I were quick to volunteer to dance to the tune, with our fellow Riderettes doing a Rockette style dance in the background.  We dubbed ourselves Boom Boom Larew and Patti Poo Foo. 

Yep, that's me out front doing my thing.  Poo Foo and I would throw away our pom poms, hats, gloves and Riderette vests.  Our big finish was mooning the crowd at the end... well, maybe not mooning, but bending over and flipping up our skirts to show our Roosevelt blue undies.   Through the fall of 1969, we entertained the masses.  After Patti Poo Foo graduated, I continued the tradition, but it just wasn't the same without her.  Good times!  Good times! 

So that's the scoop on my bald faced lies and honest truths.  Hope I didn't disappoint too much! I'll let David Rose and his band play me out on this one....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

White Lies: Theme Thursday

This week the gang over at Theme Thursday chose "White" as the prompt du jour.  Pop over to see who else is playing.  You'll be glad you did!

White Lies

Admit it... we all lie sometimes.  Most of us stick to white lies.  But others tell whoppers.  Huge black lies.  Me, I don't lie well.*   Sometimes I wish I could.  Which is why most of the stuff I write about here at the Cat Lady's house has actually happened to me at one time or another.  

Vlad and I were just talking about lying the other night as we sat at Panera, relishing a glass of the goddess's finest nectar, Dr Pepper.  Vlad was contemplating making up a bunch of shit to talk about the next time he's introduced to someone.  His interests don't necessarily mesh with those of others his age, which sometimes makes it difficult for him to connect with the ladies.  (I swear he's an old soul.) But because he's my kid, I have a feeling the whole lying thing isn't going to pan out well for him.

My friend Nanodance is a wonderful liar and I mean that as a compliment.  She can have me believing shit in no time flat.  It's one of the things that makes her so delightful.  But she lies to amuse... not to be deceitful.  

White lies that deceive can become a bad habit that can quickly fade to black.  Before you know it, your lies can put you in deep shit. One of my favorite Carly Simon songs is In a Small Moment... the perfect song to serve as a cautionary tale about white lies. 

All of which reminds me of the prism in the photo for this week's prompt.  A prism takes white light and reveals the colors within.  White lies are fine... so long as nobody around you is looking at you through a prism.

Then all will be revealed.

I think I'd better stick with the truth... most of the time.

 * * * * * * *

*Some people mistakenly believe I lie very well.... as evidenced by my recent award from Nonamedufus.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lies and the Lying Bloggers Who Tell Them... part deux*

One summer vacation, up in the Adirondacks, Vlad and I amused ourselves by reading Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them aloud to each other.  So I was delighted to see that my friend from the other side of Lake Ontario, Nonamedufus (Dufus, for short), was paraphrasing him to announce his latest blog award.  (*For part one of  Lies and the Lying Bloggers Who Tell Them, you'll have to go visit Dufus.)

Guess Dufus thinks I lie like a rug, because he bestowed this award on me, as well as on a couple other more deserving bloggers.  I was delighted to be included in such august company such as Don at Beyond Left Field,  Frank Lee Meidere at I Don't Give a Damn, Quirks at Quirkyloon, Da Old Man at Crochety Old Man Yells at Cars, Chris at Knucklehead, and 00dozo at When I Reach.  These bloggers really know how to shoot the shit as far as I'm concerned.  Here's what we all won:

As with so many other awards, this one comes with some conditions.  To wit,

If you want this award, you must:
- thank the person who gave you the award
- copy the logo and place it on your blog
- link to the person who nominated you
- tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself and at least one outrageous truth, or vice-versa
- nominate seven "creative" writers
- post links to the blogs you nominate
- leave a comment on each blog letting them know they've won the award

So, without further ado, "Thank You, Dufus!"  Now, here are some outrageous lies and incredible truths about the CatLady.   To make things more interesting, I've mixed them up equally... half are are god's honest truth and half are boldfaced lies.   You can decide which is which.

1. I grew up just outside a small village, where I learned to cook on a wood stove.  I knew just how to tell when the stove was hot enough... you spit on it!

2. My first job was detasseling corn, a common summer job for Iowa teens. Sadly, I got my long hair caught in one of the corn stalks one day and was nearly pulled off the wagon.  I freaked out and never went back.

3. I used to be a stripper before I moved out East with the music still in my heart. 

4. I originally came to Rochester to study at the Eastman School of Music, along with my good friend, Glennda.  She now makes a living playing the flute, but I eventually ended up going back to school to get my master's in education.

5. I once had the privilege of sharing the stage with Laura Nyro (see number 4.)

6. In 1992 I was arrested with Rochester's "Top-Free Seven" but not named in the lawsuit against them as I wussed out and plead out.

Let me know when you've figured out which are true and which are false.  (Come on, now... it should be fairly obvious!)

Now, for the lucky recipients of the award...

1. & 2. Definitely the Boy Wonders, IndigoWrath & iDifficult, because they both have such vivid imaginations, I have no idea what's true and what's a total load of crap in their writing.  Well, I have some clue about the total load of crap part.  (Plus, it's Indigo's Blogoversary and I wanted to get him something special.)

3. The Boy Wonders' newest partner in crime, ScottFree at ERGO HUMOR, who does an amazing Flash Fiction Friday.  (And we all know that fiction = liar, liar, pants on fire!)

4.  My long absent friend Nanodance at Callithump Thunderblog.  She's the best liar I know and maybe a super award like this will make her risk pain and suffering of her injured wrist to come back for a quick post after an oh so long hiatus. 

5. That Surly Writer, Michelle Hickman, because she writes a mean story and can do justice to this award while sitting in that rocker in her garden talkin' to the neighbor kids.

6. Seafood Punch, because with the amazing artwork she does she has to be able to lie respectably.

7. Otin, that Wizard of fiction, who had recently foresaken us all for true love.  Focus, Otin!  Focus!

So there you have it.... another meme to add to the collection.  It's been a pleasure, as always... and that's no lie!  

* * * * *

And if you want to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, you can always go to Amazon to buy Al Franken's book...
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