Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Bottle: Theme Thursday

In the "better late than never" category, here's my Theme Thursday offering two days late...

The Bottle

The bottle was found when we took out the wall between the living room and dining room.  It was poised on a cross brace between studs.  Crusted over with 75 years of dust, the viscous contents had darkened to a deep amber.  Wrapped around the bottle was a yellowed piece of paper, the elegantly penned words faded to a nearly imperceptible gray.  "Forgive me.  I could not bear to see her suffer any longer."   The cork, once removed, released a scent of bitter almonds...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pyromaniacs! A Magpie Tales Extension

The box of matches that served as yesterday's Magpie Tales prompt made me think of a smoky hotel bar.   But it also brought back some memories...

When we were kids we all had chores... dreaded, fun-sapping chores.  But the one chore that we never complained about was trash duty.  Why?  Because it was a pyromaniacs dream!

Imagine, not only being given permission to take all the unwanted items from the home, pile them into an old, rusty, wire mesh barrel and then take a box of matches to them, but being encouraged to do so.  Heaven for the prepubescent child.  It was the one time when playing with matches was actually sanctioned!   My brother Waldo and I could stretch this chore out for an hour.  We were masters at getting the most out of our pile of trash... carefully balancing each piece of paper so that a chain reaction of flames would wend its way through the barrel.

Of particular notice were the new-fangled plastic Wonder Bread bags.  Ahhhhhh, plaaaasssssstic! No more of those flimsy, crackling cellophane bread wrappers.  To watch the heat approach the red, yellow and blue circles and see them collapse into each other.....   It was almost a religious experience.  "Forgive me father for I have sinned...  I lust after melting plastic."  Lucky for us, we weren't Catholic.

Then there was the fun of making UFO's.  In the early 60's, UFO's were all the rage.  Aliens were the creatures that haunted our dreams.  But you could make a respectable facsimile of a UFO by taking a sheet of newspaper, pulling the four corners together, stapling them and then touching a match to the stapled area.  The draft from the flame makes the newspaper rise in the air as the edges glow red.  Totally cool!  Especially after dark!

So, being the budding pyromaniac that I was, imagine my delight when in seventh grade our art teacher announced our new project... a picture made from burnt matchsticks!  Oh, my god, it was orgasmic!  We were actually given boxes of Ohio Blue Tip matches and sent out to the loading dock to ignite them!  By ourselves!  Unattended!  Woo Hoo!   It's truly amazing we didn't burn the school down.  Once sacrificed to Vulcan, the smoldering wooden sticks were then scraped free of any remaining ash, then lined up next to each other and glued to a piece of cardboard in an array of fascinating shapes.  Being the 60's, I went for the guitar and bongo drum motif.  Quite stylish, if I do say so myself.  But the final product never lived up to the thrill of torching those suckers out back of the school!

For many years now, it's been illegal to burn trash within city limits and schools frown upon setting students loose with boxes of matches.  As for sending flaming UFOs up into the atmosphere... well, we won't even go there.  Homeland security frowns upon that kind of thing.  Kids today just don't know what they're missing.  I tell you, there's no modern toy made that can compare a box of matches for an hour of fun!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Meeting: Magpie Tales II

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.  Be sure to check out the other people creating a tale this week.  And now, on with the show...

"Meet me at 9pm in the lobby of the Hotel Forum in Bratislava," the note said.

It's a meeting I'm dreading and longing for at the same time. I smoke nervously, waiting to meet the woman who might be the one who gave birth to me.  Will she show up?  Will I recognize her?   Will it really be her this time?  It's been such a long journey.  Or will I find my dreams shattered?  Will it be another red herring?  Will my search once again go up in smoke?

As I take one last drag on the cigarette, a woman approaches...   It might be her...  Please let it be her...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meaningful Monday: ERGO

Early on in my blogging obsession, I happened upon a young blogger... perhaps my youngest follower... who intrigued me.  Maybe it was the Monty Python theme he had going there.  I had, after all, just played the pivotal role of "the princess with huge tracts of land" in our Middle School's rendition of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Anyway, Scott Free over at ERGO is a blogger to watch.  So watch him for a bit here... 

He thinks he's peacocking, but he's really just such a twattlepants!  For some reason, I imagine Indigo and iDifficult were very much like Scotty when they were his age.  The humor, the imagination, the good friends to do stupid stuff with....  it's divine! 

So Scotty, this cat's for you!

Wear it in good health!  Or throw it at your sister... whatever!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's the All-New Larew Biffle Bug Stride or Glide!

Oh, yeah!  It's the all-new Larew Biffle Bug Stride or Glide!

Larew Biffle Bug Stride or Glide
New for 2010!

Somewhere in the late 60's or early 70's my dad's cousin Gene decided to leave the bosom of his family, move south and set up a fishing camp in the Ozarks.  We visited them once at their resort.  All that I really remember of the trip was having to jump into their swimming pool to rescue my mother after the inner tube she was floating on started drifting toward the deep end.  (She couldn't swim and was afraid of water but wanted to cool off anyway.)  Then while I was changing into dry clothes, damned if cousin Gene didn't eat the piece of blueberry pie that I was planning on enjoying for dessert.  That vacation was the last I ever saw of cousin Gene and his family.  I suppose it's about time I forgave him for that slice of pie.

Well, it turns out that cousin Gene wasn't just hanging around fishing.  He was figuring out bigger and better ways to lure those fish onto his hooks.  He had this crazy idea for a fishing lure with salt embedded in the plastic of the lure itself.  Nobody believed it would work, but it turns out it worked pretty well.

"Gene Larew patented the salt impregnation process, so when we say "salt" we're not talking about shaking some in a bag of baits for anglers to see and calling it good. We cook it right in, where it stays for fish to actually taste. That's why salt is added in the first place, for fish to "taste," causing them to hang on longer. While salt in the bags might be good at catching fishermen, we'd rather our baits be known for catching fish."  ~from the Gene Larew website

The Larew Hoo Daddy - New Colors for 2010! 
(The blue is my favorite... very stylish!)

Eventually cousin Gene sold his company to some guy in Oklahoma, but the Gene Larew name is still on the lures.  I hear they're great for bass fishing.  (You hear that, Otie?)

 Biffle Bug Tail View

I mean, wouldn't you want to sink your teeth into that?
Yum... them Larew lures make good eats!  Salty!
Get yours today!
The CatLady receives no monetary compensation for pimping out Gene Larew lures... I think the family's still mad at me for being so bitchy about the whole pie thing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's a Beautiful Morning!

I've been a little under the weather for the past day or two, so it was delightful to wake up this morning to a message from Linda over at The Good, The Bad, The Worse, saying she tagged me for The Beautiful Blogger Award.  To be a blogger is a beautiful thing!

It changed a "bleh" morning into a beautiful morning.

And all I have to do to accept the award is...

1. Thank, then link to the person that gave you the award
2. Pass this award on to 7 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic
3. Contact said Blogs to let them know they've won.
4. State 7 Things about yourself! 


1.  Thank you Linda!  You're a beautiful blogger, yourself!  Consider yourself linked!

2.  Bloggers I've recently, (well, some more recently than others,) discovered who are fantastic:
      ~Lois @ It's Always Something
      ~Michelle @ The Surly Writer
      ~Roschelle @ Inconsequential Logic
      ~KaLynn @ Kacklin' With KaLynn  
      ~Lyn @ Two Ghosts
      ~Baino @ Baino's Banter
      ~Jennifer @ Realia

3.  I'm off to contact them as soon as I post this.

4.  7 things about myself:

     ~ I grew up in Iowa where....
     ~ at one time we had a dog, 17 cats, a guinea pig and a donkey
     ~ I learned to bake bread on a wood stove
     ~ we used to stick rhubarb leaves in our underwear to make tutus... very attractive
     ~ we used to play baby Jesus with the manger that was stored in our barn... could be why I have trouble taking organized religion seriously to this day
     ~ we had a dirt basement where our cats had their babies... I'll always remember the smell of newborn kitties on a dirt floor.  Now, aren't you so glad I shared that?  Maybe that's why I don't have cats
     ~ I was the daughter of a preacher man.  Now, if only I'd been born a boy child... take it away, Dusty...


Thanks again, Linda!  You're a beautiful friend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ding Dong School: Theme Thursday

It's time again for Theme Thursday and this week's theme is "Bell."  Pop on over to Theme Thursday to see who else is participating this week.  There are some great writers over there!  But before you go, here's my offering...


About the time I was born a new show began called Ding Dong School.  The show always began with Miss Frances, the hostess of the show, ringing her school bell to call the children to the piece of rug in front of the newfangled television.  I pulled up a segment of the show on YouTube and I swear Miss Frances must have been on quaaludes or something.  She was so calm and mellow and spoke so slowly, I can't believe she kept my attention as a toddler.   Seriously... 30 seconds of watching Miss Frances and you'll be begging for a commercial. 


As a pre-school teacher myself, I'm sure the kids in my class would eat her alive.  I mean, she just spent four whole minutes blowing freakin' bubbles in this clip.  (I certainly don't expect you to watch the entire thing... that would be cruel and unusual punishment.) 

And yet, her method of madness has its value.  She's the consummate listener, despite the fact that she can't hear a damn thing any of the kiddies are saying at home.  She takes time to listen, to hear children's fears about the dentist and thoughtfully show the children how the bubbles work.  She makes sure the children have been heard and understand before she moves on.  Maybe that comes from that fact that Miss Frances's first career was as a child psychologist.

Nowadays, it seems you need all sorts of bells and whistles to get kids' attention.  We really do live in a different world than Miss Frances's.  That's one of the reasons I've chosen a path that has taken me to alternative educational settings.  It allows me to take time to listen to children, to let them have a choice in the things they want to explore, to help them learn how to listen to their friends and to develop empathy.  It also gives me the opportunity to sit back and observe the children, to watch them make exciting discoveries on their own.  

As Plato said, "...the beginning is the most important part of the work."  To work with very young children is a challenge worth taking.  So Miss Frances, you may be a bit of a snore, but this toast is for you.  *raises glass of wine*

Just one question... do you suppose Miss Frances is the one who put the ram in the ramma lamma ding dong?  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Magpie Tales: The Loving Cup

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.  Be sure to check out the other people creating a tale this week.  And now, on with the show...

The Loving Cup

The silver creamer had been a wedding gift.  We always laughed about it as it was much fancier than anything else we owned.  For more than 20 years it sat in a box in the attic. 

It wasn't until he left that he let me know what it was he had done six months before.  He had polished the creamer as a symbol of his renewed dedication to our union.  In his mind he had turned it into a loving cup.  He just didn't tell me about it.  I never noticed and he never told until it was too late.  

So he was bitter and made me feel it was my fault that we didn't last.

A loving cup is to be shared, not hidden... or else it is just a creamer, left to tarnish in the dust.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Monday, February 15, 2010

No, I Did NOT Slit My Wrists Just Because I Didn't Get a Valentine...

Despite all my moaning and groaning because my dog was the only one in the house who got a valentine this year, I ended up having a lovely Valentine's Day.  Vlad came home from college and we went out for a delightful meal, stopping for a cup of tea on the way home. 

In typical CatLady fashion, though, the day was not without incident.  I happened to be watching a friend's dog for a couple of days... a teacup chihuahua weighing in at about 4 pounds, compared to the Wonder Dog's 120 pounds.  It was kind of fun having a lap dog around for a change of pace.  She wasn't too thrilled about sharing the house with a big lump of a dog, though.  There were a few snarls before everyone got settled down.
Little Dog

Big Dog*

When Vlad arrived, he was delighted to see Ariel the Rat Dog, (as her owners lovingly call her.)  So while he was busy saying hello to her, I decided to take the opportunity to let the Wonder Dog out to do his thing.  Unfortunately, in my excitement to see my child, I wasn't paying close enough attention to what I was doing with my dog.

My knee slipped out of joint... (remember me falling down the stairs at Thanksgiving?)... and I fell forward down the two steps leading to the back door.  Putting out my hand to stop my fall, I managed to put my hand through the glass of the door...

Crash!  Bang!

Fortunately it did not necessitate yet another trip to the emergency room... but it came close.  Another smidgen deeper and I'm afraid I would have sliced open something rather important.

But even though I avoided the hospital this time, I have to tell you... people look at you very suspiciously when you walk around with your wrist all bandaged up.   Especially on Valentine's Day.

I wonder why these things happen to me on holiday weekends?  I'm beginning to think I need a keeper.  

Meanwhile, St. Patrick's Day is only a month away.  Uh oh...   I'll keep you posted!

*One of these days I'll have to clue you in to why my dog looks like he's wearing a bad toupee. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Valentine? For Me?

So, remember how a while back I told you the sad tale about my pitiful love life... how the only valentine I ever got from a boy arrived a day late and postage due?  I told you it was pitiful!

Well, on Wednesday, I arrived home to find a bright red envelope in my mailbox!  I wasn't expecting much since there's no love interest in my life and hasn't been for some time.  But a girl can always hope, can't she?

Oh, goody!  A pretty red envelope!  It must be a valentine!

So I grabbed the mail, came in the house and took off my coat.  I looked at the card more closely, wondering if maybe my parents or a friend sent me a card.  But NOOOOOO.....

This is what I saw:

Hickory?  WTF?  The freakin' DOG got a valentine?  I mean, I know he's the Wonder Dog and all and I don't begrudge him any of his girlfriends, but come on!  Is there no justice?

Sorry the photos are a little blurry... it's just so hard to focus through the tears...


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall.... Who's that in the Arnolfini Portrait? Theme Thursday

It's time again for Theme Thursday and this week's theme is "Mirror."  Pop on over to Theme Thursday to see who else is participating this week.  There are some great writers over there!  But before you go, here's my offering...

Back in 1434, Jan van Eyck painted a picture of some newlyweds.  Little did the Arnolfinis know that while they were standing there forever, bored out of their minds posing for him, van Eyck was busy painting himself into the mirror in the background.  What a card!  I guess the joke was on them.

After all, it's not like today, where there are so many options for family portraits.  Cell phones, digital cameras... getting your picture taken only takes a second and it can be sent instantly to family and friends around the world.  Back then, only the very wealthy had portraits made of themselves.  It was the ultimate status symbol to have a family portrait done.

Even a hundred years ago, family portraits were fairly scarce.  My parents have a photo of the Larew clan back on the farm from the early 20th century.  Turns out the hired woman wanted to have a photo taken of herself as well.... so she hauled a chair out onto the porch roof to sit on while they were taking the photo of the family in front of the house.  Yep... she made her way into our family history by sneaking into the photo.

Me, I could care less about being in photos.  I barely like looking at myself in the mirror.  So while I have tons of pictures of Vlad and all my friends, I have very few of myself.  (Vlad's dad has a Master's degree in Photographic History, but I'm the one who took all the family photos.)  But a friend sent this to me a while back.  It's a picture of me from 40 years ago...

You know... from back in the old days.  But not quite as old as the Arnolfini portrait.  And there's no mirror image of the photographer reflected in the glass of the hearse, so no one was immortalized alongside me.  Guess they lost their chance to be famous!  Oh, well.  Maybe next time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vote for Mike!

It's down to the wire, folks!  Its the final week of Blog-Off 2010 over at Knucklehead's place.  For the past several weeks, a group of bloggers have been competing to be named King or Queen of the Bloggers.  There have been lots of great posts, but I'm here today to root for my friend MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings.

But don't take it from me... see for yourself.  Go over to Too Many Mornings and read Michael's post, I'm Leaving Las Vegas, But It's Not Leaving Me.  He'll give you the inside poop on where the phrase "What Happens In Vegas..." comes from.

Then mosey on over to vote for Mike at Knucklehead's blog!   But don't tarry... voting ends at 9 PM  Wednesday!  This is the final post in the Blog-Off 2010 and Mike needs your vote! Otherwise, you never know... what happens at your place may not stay there.

Just sayin'...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Simple Things

Chris at Enchanted Oak is doing a Simple Things Challenge this weekend. Post about simple things you cherish, link up and for each post or comment on her blog $2 will be donated to a medical clinic in Haiti. Perhaps it will help provide a few simple things.

Here's my Simple Things list to help with the cause and to make me appreciate all that I have:

It's not the big things, but the simple things that give my life meaning:

Vlad, my amazing child
Hickory the Wonder Dog
My cozy home of 25 years
Clean water to drink
Food to sustain me
Indoor plumbing
Meaningful work
A multitude of friends

Vlad once said to me, "You know, Mom, you are really rich because you enjoy what you do."
That about says it all!

Life is Good!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brad is a Cheater!

So... about the mysterious "Brad"...

Ever since my blogger friend Otin explained how the CatLady got her name,  I've been pondering the mythical spouse he assigned to me.   I laughed uproariously when I heard the name Otin gave my spouse.  Don't know why, but the name Brad cracks me up.  For some reason, I imagine Brad as a real noodge.  A spineless, clueless, boring wimp who is pleasant but unimaginative.  Someone who would collect antiques.

That all time favorite nerd...  Brad in Rocky Horror Picture Show

I'm actually spineless and rather boring myself, but I like to imagine that any potential spouse or love interest would have a bit more imagination.  Someone who would investigate a little further if his wife went missing.  Someone who would at least notice that his wife had turned into a cat.  (Hello!  I'm right here, you idiot!)  Someone more like this guy.

"Hmmm... I believe that adorable kitten looks familiar.  Reminds me of Larew. Could it possibly be her reincarnation?"
Picture of more intelligent looking, manly man taken from

Yesterday Otin wrote about Brad again.  Something about an Antiques Treasure Show.  Could this be the same Brad, my cyber spouse, who just gave up eternal life to grow old with another woman?  Cheater!  Doesn't Brad know he's still married to me?  Even if I am in cat form? 

Story of my life, I guess.  I used to have a dream that I was marrying the wrong person.  In this recurring dream, the person I married was my junior high school boyfriend.  I'd always wake up thinking... "but I never married him so why am I having these dreams?"  Turns out it was my actual spouse who I must have been channeling.  Now that I'm divorced, I don't have that dream anymore.  Go figure.  But that's a story for another time.  I've gotta figure out who that rat bastard Brad is cheating on me with.

There must be more to the underlying story going on here.  I'm guessing that the woman Brad is now giving up immortality for is the same wench who I was on my way to see to discuss her marital issues when I was summarily turned into a cat.  Could it be her marital problems were caused by her undying secret love for Brad?   Oh, please!  I just hope that Larew the Lady Cat got a chance to lick up some of that elixir of life so that she can continue to haunt Brad forever! 

Being a vindictive immortal feline bitch could be so much fun!


Note:  For those of you who just joined the party and are wondering what the hell I'm talking about... Otin's original story Cat Lady Larew, in which he explains how I got to be a cat lady without cats, can be found here.
Otin's latest story The Antiques Treasure Show can be found here.
Now go check out Otin... he's pretty awesome!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RED: Theme Thursday

It's time again for Theme Thursday and this week's theme is RED.  Pop on over to Theme Thursday to see who else is participating this week.  There are some great writers over there!  But before you go, here's my offering...

The color red is everywhere, but never has it been as influential as when used in the symbol of the American Red Cross.
Throughout the world, when people see the red cross, they let out a sigh of relief because it means help is on the way.  I can't think of a better way to honor this week's theme than to share this video.

Think RED!   Contribute to the Haitian relief effort through the Red Cross... helping people in need since 1881.  Make Clara proud!

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
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