Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dapper Dan... A Magpie Tale

On the street, he was known as Dapper Dan.  An elderly gentleman, Daniel Haversham was the king of the underground cavern known as "The Station".  His stately walk and ever so proper speech made the other transients treat him with respect... something rare in the school of hard knocks. 

If anyone else came into the old subway bed spouting flowery language, they would be jumped, beaten and robbed of all their meager possessions.   But not so, Daniel.  There was something about him that made people keep their distance.  A look, a sideways glance made even the most jaded street tough think twice before approaching him. 

Daniel carved out his own niche in the underground maze and furnished it with rusted, yet sophisticated flotsam from the dumpsters behind the mansions lining the shaded streets leading away from the urban blight.  His wardrobe consisted of a threadbare three piece suit, a remnant from Saville Row.  His white beard was kept neat and trim with a small pair of scissors, which he kept polished and free of rust with sand from between the old rails of the long defunct underground train. 

His most prized possession was the ebony walking cane he carried wherever he went.  The top was black with tarnish.  Rumor had it that it was pure silver.  Only once did anyone try to take it from him.  Daniel Haversham made quick work of the interloper, leaving him with a scar from the stiletto blade hidden within the ebony shaft of the cane.

Eventually, time caught up with Daniel.  They found him on a cold morning in January, with frost encrusting his papery skin.  Out of respect, the denizens of the subway bed allowed police to remove Daniel Haversham's body and belongings, including his cane. 

They buried Dapper Dan in a pauper's grave, his Saville Row suit embracing his withered body.  The cane was relegated to the police department and found a place in their collection of unusual weapons.  No one ever noticed that beneath the tarnish was the family crest of the Earl of Haversham.

* * * * *

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!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The One Armed Bandit is Just Beyond My Reach

I was looking forward to going to a conference later this week and then the shit hit the fan at work and we're short staffed, so I had to cancel the trip.  Which is really too bad, because it could have provided me with a new retirement plan.

You see, the New York Association for the Education of Young Children, (or NYAEYC for short,) is holding its annual conference at Turning Stone Resort and Conference Center... which also happens to be a casino!

 Yay!  Gambling!

Now, let's review....


Is it just me, or does that strike you as a strange combination?  Then again, I might pick up some tips on how to teach the wee ones about money, odds and percentages.  Just sayin'...

 Come on, Kids!  Let's Go Gambling!

Anyway, I figured I could put my "Let's Go To Prison" retirement plan on hold while I try to get rich quick on games of chance.  I even hear that they have penny slot machines there... my kind of gambling!  Break out the spare change!

Having never gambled before, except for the occasional rousing game of dreidel, it might take me a short time to get the hang of the whole thing.  But, I'm sure it could prove to be an intellectually stimulating and lucrative pastime.

But, alas, it's not to be.  Damn work!

Maybe I'll get lucky next year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Waiting... A Magpie Tale

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.  This week's prompt is....


He sat next to the bed, holding her hand.  Sedated, she moved restlessly, unable to communicate.  It had been nearly sixty years that they'd been together.  After a lifetime together that included children, friends, work, travel, joy and heartache, her journey was nearly at an end.  The pocket watch ticked as she struggled to breathe, her lungs ravaged by cigarettes and time.  The purple wrist band on her arm said "Do not resuscitate."  As the pocket watch wound down the years, the months, the days, the hours, the minutes, he held her hand.  There was nothing more he could do for her... except continue to love her.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Which I Am Abducted by Aliens

Back in the 60's, alien abductions were all the rage.  UFO sightings were frequent and only later we became aware of the secret installation for the storage and study of alien memorabilia, (cleverly disguised as a military base with restricted air space,) at Area 51 in Nevada. 

Much has been made of this secret enclave.  Books have been written and movies and even video games have been created based on Area 51.  There's just too much mystery surrounding it to avoid giving some credence to the rumors.

These scholarly writings are still available today from amazon.com, where I can make vast sums of money by luring you into purchasing them via the CatLady.   (Yeah... I think I'll stick with my "Let's Go to Prison" retirement plan instead.)

But enough of my get rich quick scheme....

What I'm really here for today is to divulge a secret that has been plaguing me for about a week now.

Keeping it bottled up inside has been a source of extreme angst.  People have been wondering, giving me strange looks and whispering behind closed doors.  Spotty blog postings have been commented upon. So I feel I must get it out.  I must admit that I am now a potential specimen, eligible for inclusion in Area 51 lore.

Yes, I have been abducted by aliens.  That's the true reason for my absence from the blogosphere of late.  I had been lamenting my lack of inspiration for blog posts.  Lapses of memory had me dazed and confused.  Melancholy had set in and I was becoming careless in my daily ablutions.  A sudden burning sensation brought me back to reality.

When all was said and done, it finally hit me... those lapses of memory were a result of an alien abduction.  Who knows where I was taken or what experiments were imposed upon my person.  Perhaps a study of the effects of too much Dr Pepper on humanoids.  Or maybe it was a study in why a CatLady would have such an aversion to cats.  We'll probably never know.

All I know for sure is that when it was over, I was left with a peculiar mark on my shoulder.  An alien brand, if you will...

Scientists will probably spend years analyzing the scar and wondering what it might mean.  Is it an alien compass or a calendar of some sort?  Could it be a form of alien writing?  Is it a diagram of a crop circle?   Or, could they have implanted something in my shoulder?  Perhaps a tracking device, or worse... a mind control device?

Only time will tell.   The good news is... if push comes to shove and I become destitute, I can always go live at Area 51.  In the meantime, I think I'll go start working on that crop circle...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We'll Return to our Regularly Scheduled Program in Just a Moment...

Ever feel like you're life is in "test pattern" mode?

Yeah, I'm old enough to remember test patterns...   back in the old days, programming actually ended for the evening around midnight.  They'd play the Star Spangled Banner and then go to the test pattern for the rest of the night until programming resumed around 7 or 8 in the morning.

This weekend the CatLady had to go into test pattern mode while I took care of a few pesky things like taxes, review of a curriculum I was piloting and kid-sitting.  I still have several evening meetings to look forward to, so it could be a few more days before I'm back in the blogging game.  But good news... one of my pleasures this week will be traveling to my son's college for their Honor's Convocation.  Vlad is once again being honored, so I have to be there to cheer him on. 

Yay, Vlad!

Maybe I'll even get out the lipstick... after all, that is the photo prompt for Magpie Tales for this week...

 Be sure to stop by and check out who's writing a Magpie Tale!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Little Boxes: Theme Thursday

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

As somewhat of a clutter hound, I love boxes.  They're so convenient when you need to do an emergency clean-up because someone calls and says they're stopping by unexpectedly. 

Simply insert assorted clutter, fold up the top and carry it to either the basement or the attic.   Voila!  Clean house!  Sadly, my basement and attic are now filled with such boxes.  Occasionally, I decide it's time to sort through some of them and clean things out.  Then there are so many treasures to be found!  

Someday I plan on hiring a dumpster and positioning it directly beneath my attic window so I can just start heaving all the boxes out.  I bet most of the stuff in them would never be missed.  After all, if I can't remember what's in the box, can it be that important?

But, speaking of boxes, this song from my younger years came to mind...

It was Malvina Reynolds who wrote this song, but I'm rather fond of Pete Seeger's version.  I've tried not to let myself be shoved into too many boxes over the years.  (Although there's nothing like an old refrigerator box for making a cool play house!)  I've taken my own circuitous path to get where I am today and I like where I am.  No suburbs or tract houses for me.  No fancy car or posh clothes.  It's a modest, simple life, but it suits me... even if I do resort to hiding things in boxes on occasion!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Egg: A Magpie Tale

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has been providing inspiration 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....

The Egg

In my grandfather's library was a cabinet of curiosities.  Ancient fossils, translucent crystals, tiny skulls from voles and other creatures,  a paper wasp's nest, a turtle shell, several birds' nests, a miniature of a long lost relative, and a painted egg.  Nothing of the Faberge variety, but no less lovingly made and encased in a brass fitting to display the wondrous images painted on it.

"Is it a real egg?" we used to ask.

"No, it was carved out of wood and then painted," he said.

"Who made it?"

"A wise woman."

"Did you know her?" 

A long pause, then... "Yes, I knew her well."

The crinkles that usually lit up his face when he laughed became slack and a sad look came over his face.

"I knew her back in Romania when I was still a young man.  She was a midwife and used to paint eggs for the new mothers to ward off evil and bring luck to the children they bore.

"But this egg was special.  It was for her sweetheart, to be given to him on their wedding day.  The house she painted on the egg was the one they would share and the egg was to bring good fortune to them in their new life.

"I was a young teacher at the University of Bucharest then and I had gone out with friends to celebrate my new position at the University.  It was April 15, 1944.   As we walked down the street, we heard the sounds of planes.  And then the bombing began. 

"When it was over, the University was in ruins, including her small apartment nearby.  It took two days for my friends and I to pull her from the rubble.   We buried her in a small cemetery in her native village.  Later I went back to the ruins of what had been her home and found the egg.  I've had it ever since."

"But, Grandpa, why didn't her sweetheart ever get the egg?"  we asked.

"He did," our grandfather said sadly, with a vacant look in his eyes.  "He did."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bad Moon (Blood Pressure) Rising

My parents were very successful in raising me to be a "nice" girl.  Sadly, they were a bit too successful.  Why?  Because when it comes to dealing with people, I'm often too nice for my own good.  In fact, I might as well have "SAP" tattooed onto my forehead.

I talk a good line like I'm all badass and shit, but when it comes to standing up for myself, I'm the world's biggest pushover and I have the blood pressure to prove it.  Especially this week.

With my change in jobs came a change in insurance policies.  So when it came time to pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy two weeks ago, one wasn't ready yet they said, because with the new insurance it needed doctor approval.  Okay, I can deal with that.  I said thank you and went away.

A few days later I went back.  Still not ready because now they tell me it needed pre-approval from the insurance company.  Okay, I was seeing my internist in a few days anyway, so I could check it out with him.  I don't understand but I'm still all polite and shit.

So, off I go to the doctor who has a hissy fit because he had called in a substitute prescription that didn't need pre-approval a week ago and they didn't fill the prescription and my blood pressure is elevated because I haven't had the meds.  He sent the prescription over again.  No problem, right?

Wrong... on arriving at the pharmacy I'm told it's STILL not ready because the approval hasn't come through yet for the original prescription or the new one the doctor replaced it with because it turns out the new one needs pre-approval as well.  This time I get all sanctimonious as only a wimpy cat lady can. I firmly (i.e. not smiling) asked the pharmacy to call the doctor right then and there.  And she did...

Finally!  A victory for me!

....only to be put on hold while they went back and forth to see what needed to be done.  Finally she asks if I can come back.  Oh, yeah.  I'll come back... because I'm a wuss.  And people wonder why my blood pressure is high? 

Finally, I go back to the pharmacy for the fourth time and....

drum roll, please....

the prescription is still not ready.  The approval came through, but the insurance will only cover $30 of the cost, so they wanted to be sure I still wanted it.  WTF?  Do I still want it?  Do they know how badly my blood pressure is rising?  Of course I want it... damned the cost at this point.  She asked if I wanted to come back....

HELL NO!  I sat my fat ass on the bench and waited for another 20 minutes while they filled the prescription. 

It took four trips to the pharmacy and one trip to the doctor to get my meds.  And now I have to go back to the doctor for yet another time in a month to make sure the new meds are working properly. GRRRRR!

Just once I'd like to go into battle like these guys:

Yeah... that would be badass.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mellow Yellow: Theme Thursday

This week the gang over at Theme Thursday chose "Yellow" as the prompt of the week.  The painting pictured is by Mark Rothko.  Pop over to see who else is playing this week.  You'll be glad you did!

Every time I think of yellow, I flash back to the sixties when we all thought we were so cool and Donovan was one of our favorite troubadors.


Just listening to this song mellows me out today.  Perhaps because it takes me back to a simpler time when life was fun and full of possibilities.  Thanks, Theme Thursday, for a trip down memory lane!
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