Ghost cat

 Back in December Frankie was fading slowly and inexorably towards death but still with us, still yelling at us, still eating like a little hoover, sometimes; still wanting to be petted but mostly sleeping in our bed, only leaving the bedroom to eat and use the litter box.

I would occasionally see, out of the corner of my eye, and even when I turned to look full on, a cat, or rather just the rear of a cat, tail in the air, going around a corner of the room heading down the hallway, or turning the corner into the kitchen. I’d do a double take and get up to check if that was Frankie, needing something. 

It never was. There was no cat. And besides, this cat looked almost black and Frankie was a brown striped tabby. Tho there seemed to be some brown mixed in with the black on that tail.

This happened frequently and after Frankie died, I mentioned it to my husband. The man who believes in nothing, certainly not ghosts or visiting spirits tho over the years of living me and having to deal with my ability to see and hear ghosts and spirits he is fairly accepting of the concept. My husband did kind of a head-snap thing, and said, very quietly “I’ve seen it too”.

We rationally discussed the matter, deciding that it was just an omen, a manifestation of the fact that Frankie was fading fast and would soon be gone. We thought that we would just get up one morning and find Frankie had left. We didn’t think at that point that we would actively have to let her go. 

Thing is, after Frankie had died we were both still seeing that cat, turning a corner into the kitchen or down the hall. There seems to be more brown in the tail now, I don’t know what to make of it.

The day after Frankie’s ashes came home, I saw her sitting in the hall, as she did. Figment of my imagination? Wishful thinking or just remembering? Don’t know. But I’m still seeing the ghost cat. 

And I don’t know what to make of it. 

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Soup is NOT food or a meal.

 What is it with people and soup? Soup is not food, or a meal. A meal is something which, at the very least, one eats with a fork. It is solid and substantial. Anything not served on a plate with a fork is something else. A snack.  Dessert. Something one eats to assuage one’s hunger until one can eat a meal.

Food and eating is psychological for me. I don’t feel like I’ve ‘eaten’ unless I’ve a fork in my hand. Sandwiches, some of which I enjoy, are also not a meal, they are a stop-gap. 

If it’s a liquid then it’s a drink, not a meal. Not food. It’s something else and not satisfying. Psychologically I don’t feel like I’ve eaten. Thankfully I’m aware that, on the rare occasions when a meal has consisted of soup and a sandwich, I have eaten and I’m no longer physically hungry. Else I would continue to seek out ‘food’ and a ‘meal’. 

Grilled cheese sandwich and soup – not a meal. Yet hunger assuaged therefore no looking for lamb chops and a nice veg.  

Spoons are for eating ice cream. I was never much of a cereal eater because that usually involved milk and I don’t drink milk (lactose intolerant). So I’ve never associated any kind of meal with liquids and spoons. 

I didn’t grow up eating a lot of soup – Campbell’s tomato soup – made with milk – ugh. Made with water – double ugh. Either way it always upset my stomach and yet it was the only soup I remember as a kid. 

Being Italian and all, sometimes lunch would be like an antipasto – sopressata, provolone, pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, chunks of lovely Italian bread – still some of that eaten with forks and some with one’s hands. A meal? Yes and no, it was still a sort-of antipasto and therefore not a whole meal.

But soup? No – soup is not a meal, I don’t even consider it food. It’s just a bowl of liquid with a hodge-podge of stuff floating in it.

Lately I’ve seen recipes for soup that have leafy vegetables in it. Seriously? Soggy leafy vegetables floating in a bowl of liquid? This you eat and say “Yum”? And then the leafy vegetable of choice being kale? Anyone who says they like kale is lying. No one with active taste buds likes kale. Plus it will do a number on your digestive system, and not a number you will like. Oh my lord, NO to effin’ kale. I don’t think even garlic and olive oil would make kale palatable. Kale is like the old prank joke no soap, radio. But I digress, as  I usually do.

It seems I have reached the end of what I had to say – soup is not a meal, or really any part of a meal. If anyone wants to try and convince me otherwise, don’t bother. And kale was invented by the devil and he laughs his ass off every time someone buys into it being something edible.

It just crossed my mind that there is something called Devil’s Food Cake – which is chocolate and chocolate is the invention of angels. So why do they call Angel’s Food Cake, which is NOT chocolate, angel’s food? Makes no sense.

Send chocolate – but dark chocolate, not milk chocolate because I don’t like milk. 

Chocolate – I need chocolate! 

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Sometimes procrastination is a good thing

 When Frankie died I asked that she be cremated and her ashes returned to me. While waiting for her return I looked at various urns and boxes to keep her in but hadn’t ordered any. It was just too hard.

Her ashes finally got here today and I was very surprised because I was expecting them in a bag of some sort instead they came in a beautiful wooden box – 

I didn’t order this, as far as I know I didn’t pay extra for this but it is lovely.

We also received a certificate with a lovely poem on it – 

“Farewell, Master, yet not farewell. 

 Where I go, ye too shall dwell. 
 I am gone, before your face, 
 A moment’s time, a little space. 
 When ye come where I have stepped 
 Ye will wonder why ye wept.”
Until I can find a more permanent plaque I printed Frankie’s photo and glued it to a label to put on the front of her box – 

She’s sitting on the low bookcase in the living room that holds the tv. I don’t know how long she will stay there because we both were crying a lot and it might be too hard to see her every day when in fact, we can’t see her every day. 
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Words with no meaning

 Have you ever experienced reading something, or being told something, and while you understand the words, thay have no meaning? The words do not conjure up anything in your mind – they are just words – sitting there, doing nothing, making no impression. 

There are concepts that elude me – the words describing them just sit there as individual words, each with its own meaning but the whole of them meaning nothing. Like mindfulness (a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique) – I have no idea what that is or how you are supposed to do that or why. 

Ashley posted about contemplative practices and I didn’t understand a word of it – I know what the words mean individually but as a whole, as a concept – just a blank. 

I don’t know if I have explained this very well or intelligibly but there it is.

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Toys.  Was it just me and that we were poor, or that I was a girl but – I don’t remember any store bought toys for girls in the late 1940’s and 1950’s aside from dolls – which I didn’t have because I didn’t like dolls. 

I had a bike, second-hand clamp on skates (not the fancy kind where the clamps came up over the whole toe of your shoe), jump rope cut from a piece of clothesline. Okay, Spaldeens were bought as were comic books (but are comic books considered toys?) and wait, I had a Duncan yoyo. 

My elder male sibling had Lincoln Logs, an erector set, a real baseball bat not a broomstick, a baseball mitt, probably a real basketball. My 7 years younger brother had a room full of toys but by the time he was 5 or so we were way less poor. 

There were board games, I remember Parcheesi and Chinese checkers (also Monopoly but I rarely played that, never liked the game) but I keep trying to remember if we, as a family owned those games or they belonged to some other kids. I think we had regular checkers and Dominoes but they weren’t mine in particular.

I don’t remember having crayons and coloring books at home, in school of course, crayons were part of your required school supplies. I remember my little brother had coloring books and crayons. Maybe because I was never into coloring? I never asked for them?  (I honestly don’t get the concept of coloring books – coloring someone elses picture? What for? What’s the point?)

Anyway, is there anyone my age who remembers store bought toys specifically for girls? And further, is there anyone my age who can tell me what kind of toys girls played with in those days besides jump ropes, jacks, and a Spaldeen? 

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Turns out I had nothing to worry about

There are many advantages to being Italian. 

When I was a kid I saw the movie “Brides of Dracula (1960) in living color. It scared the bejabbers out of me. I became unnaturally afraid of vampires. I mean really afraid.  So much so that even years later if someone tried to nuzzle or kiss my neck I would recoil, probably still would. To this day I avoid vampire movies – or tv shows – I’ve never seen even 1 second of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (is that was it was called?)

Anyway, here’s why I had/have no reason to fear vampires – 

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This amuses me…

As dear auld Robbie Burns said “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as others see us!”

Rory  said there are times I am remarkably grumpy (bad-tempered and irritable) and I replied that I’m not grumpy, I’m a kvetch (a person who complains a great deal). My defense of kvetchiness is that it is my birthright. That all NYC birth certificates are licenses to kvetch, it’s right there in the fine print. 

I will concede the irritable (having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed or made angry) part of grumpy but take exception to the angry part. I do get irked easily because there is just so much in this world be be irked at (with?)  but y’all have never seen me angry nor do you want to, trust me. 

While kvetching is not really synonomous with grumpy it could also be defined as whining. I absolutely cop to both ketching and whining but Ann doesn’t agree (Bless her heart!)

Now then Ashley contends that “the older one gets, the more cantankerous one is allowed to be.” I’ve often fashioned myself as a curmudgeon but upon looking up the definition or both cantankerous (bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative) and curmudgeon (a bad-tempered person, especially an old one). While I agree with Ashley that cantankerous is a fun word to say, as is curmudgeon, they are not fun things to be. 

“Bad-tempered” carries a very negative connotation for me, in reality it means “easily annoyed or made angry”. I’ve already addressed those words, I accept annoyed, I reject angry. “Bad-tempered has another meaning “characterized by anger or ungraciousness”  and I object to that strenuously – I hope to hell I am never ungraciousness. That’s like being unkind and I consciously try to never be unkind, I don’t always succeed; after all SAINT is just a part of my name, it is not who I am.

I hope Rory and Ashley don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t think they insulted me, or even hurt my feelings. I am not irked, annoyed or irritated. Their comments amused the hell out of me, I truly did LOL 
I love words – as abstract things almost. The meaning of words can be subjective despite there being agreed upon dictionary meanings. I’ve written about connotation before so I won’t rehash that (you can click the link and read it for yourself). And there are cultural meanings for words and geographical – we are all familiar with the differences in Brit-speak and American English – same words, different dictionary meanings, different cultural connotation as well.  We don’t always know the exact meanings of words we use, we use them as what we think they mean, mostly close to the dictionary meaning but a little off sometimes. 
WORDS! I love them. I used to read the dictionary for fun and I could probably get lost for weeks in the OED. 
And aside from all of that, because you know I got sidetracked from my original premise, here’s what I was thinking when I started this – 
I see myself as kvetchy and whiney. I am often irked, annoyed and irritated, oh yes.  The fun question to ask is: How do you see yourself? And how do you think others see you? You can comment how you see yourself but first look up the exact meaning of whatever words you use, you might not be so quick to describe yourself so. And I can reply with how I see you, if you like. Won’t that be fun? Or not.
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