Unintended Consequences

I was so upset by my friends’ recent misfortunes, I took refuge in a little shopping therapy. Trying to persuade myself that this splendid cat tree was actually a necessary purchase.

change1 002-crop A year or so ago, the house had seven functioning cat beds.  That’s right, seven.

I relocated the one bed nobody ever used. (Why it was unacceptable in the former location and just fine in the new location has never been explained.) Anyway, Relocated Bed makes eight.

Refrigerator Bed brought the tally to nine.

Despite the plethora, however, the boys still feel it necessary to fight over East Bed.  This house has only one window with eastern exposure for the morning sun. That’s probably why the boys fight over East Bed. I got sick of the wrangling and went on the shop-therapy mission. What I intended was that both boys would get to enjoy the eastern exposure in peace.

See how this went.

First, Bugs turned his back on the eastern exposure altogether, preferring the cave instead. He looks fetching in it.

change2 002-crop However, this is pretty much the opposite of what I had intended. I dialogued, explaining my intention to Bugs. As No. One Cat, I offered him the penthouse.  Bugs declined. Maybe it’s his dislike of change. See what happened with the first bed I bought for him, here. Bugs will get up on the penthouse only if I bodily deposit him there, or if I lure him up there with a treat.

change1 001 Barney arrives.

change1 003 What do you suppose Barney might be thinking?

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Right. Of course. Here’s what happened after the fisticuffs.

change1 004-crop Certainly not what I intended. Let’s just call this a work in progress.

Also a work in progress is Heather’s situation.

change3 001-crop She has been removed from the shelter to the foster-mom lady, from whom I got Barney. Foster-mom is wonderful. Here she is saying bye to Barney when I got him. Heather is waiting at foster-mom’s to see where she will go next. She is in good hands.

change3 002-crop It is still spring here. Season of hope, cruel though it may also be.

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Not Necessarily So

This is not-Barney.

barney-notPhoto by Howcheng.

This is Barney.

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This looks like a lovely day in the Ozarks spring.

spring3-a 003Deep waters, though.

spring3-a 007Last year I met a couple with whom I fell in love.  Their first-born baby was born eight weeks ago.  Today, on the anniversary of their wedding, the husband is who knows where, and the wife and new baby have left town and they have moved in with her mother in a neighboring state.

Barbed wire in the quince.

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Bugs wonders why.

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I am desolated with loss and vexation. I try not to imagine the stress and difficulty of what the future holds, for this unraveling knot of people I care so much about.  It’s a sad, sad thing.

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These friends adopted a stray cat. They named her Heather.   Here is Heather:


As you can see, she is the most adorable, sweet-natured lady you can imagine. Yesterday, at the very last possible moment, we squeaked Heather in to the Pets In Crisis program at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter. The Shelter will hold her for ten days, free of charge, while we see whether she is chipped and in what state of health she is. She is currently in quarantine. I plan on visiting her tomorrow.


Love’s flowers. But what fruit?


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The Cruelty of Spring

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I wonder if I just might finally get what T.S. Eliot may have meant, when he wrote that April is the cruellest month.  Or let’s say March, given that we here in the Southern USA are about three weeks ahead of the rest of the country. Spring, cruel?

When Spring looks like this?

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Or this:

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When, at the dawn of Spring, Bugsy looks like this?

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Or Barney like this?

spring2 004-cropSpring, cruel?

But sorrow needs know no special season. The other day I wrote something that stimulated pain in a dear friend. I walked straight into a wall of special sensitivity, to pain so great it is unbearable.

It is tough to walk the line of empathy, in a situation like that.

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Fearing that the next thing said will catapult the situation into the abyss.

spring2 009-cropIt’s a long way down.

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You don’t want to make a single wrong move.

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Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk says that one of the worst things about overwhelming pain is the isolation. The feeling that what is most dear to us, that which we cherish the most, can be a matter of carelessness to another. That we are alone in feeling the way we do.

We are lucky, my friend and I, that we share empathy. Thanks go out to Brené Brown, again and again, for this charming video honoring the life-saving character of empathy. I remember it often.

What can be Spring to one can be cruelty to another.

We must hold each other with great care.

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March Forth!

Nobody should ever forget my birthday. It’s today, March 4th. So if the memory-aide “March Forth!” sounds a little like something a Roman legion commander might bawl at the grunts to get them moving, I can’t help that. March 4th it is.

And also today is about as far away from marching forth as I’d ever care to get. At time of writing, the MidSouth is becoming inundated with freezing water, moving into black ice, sleet, and eventually snow. That’s all she wrote as far as marching forth goes anywhere today.  The cupcake with my good friend Pattie will have to wait.


And as far as the martial flavor goes, I’m extremely pleased to tell you that’s not happening either. Barney greeted me this morning with his customary cuddle under the covers, but with birthday value-added.

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He grabbed my arm in both paws and licked my hand. No claws. Purring all the while.

I was flooded with happiness. I wondered: What if that current looped both ways? What if my happiness fed into Barney’s happiness? And round and round? Wouldn’t that be an incentive to stay happy! I want happy cats!

I think this might be more than a “what if.”

I wonder. If those people whose idea of happiness these days is killing others, in increasingly bizarre and horrible ways, were to experience my kind of happiness, maybe they’d stop?

In that moment with Barney, I was sure of it.

Bugs’s version of “happy birthday” today was: “Where’s my breakfast!” Never mind. I love Bugs too.

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 Birthday present in a box.


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Struvites : Your Story?

Blog-friends, can you help? My bestie Kim asks for your experience in treating dogs or cats suffering from struvites.

Bugs is concerned.

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Barney feels boxed in.

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If you can help, would you please comment? Or re-post this – it would be great to get answers from a wider pool than just this little blog.

Kim is very knowledgeable. She’s used homeopathic treatments; raw diet; and supplements of glucosamine, cranberry, and cider vinegar. Even so, her two beloved companions – Ivy the lab and Stewie the cat – are having urinary-tract troubles.


Ivy and Stewie together

artwork courtesy our good friend HereThereBeSpiders

The guy in the next shot looks so much like Ivy, I bought the card to surprise Kim. But I figure the spoiler here is worth it. Maybe tennis balls are the problem. Except that Stewie doesn’t do tennis balls, and she has struvite trouble too.

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Is it something in the water? Except Stewie’s sister Meezer doesn’t have the problem . . . . .

Your help would be greatly appreciated.


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A Gift For Me, For You, For Us

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A friend and I were noticing the other day how some writers can be so self-centered. About how the reader can be left to wonder what the writer was going for. Was it important just to hear her own voice? Was she getting something off her chest? Sometimes it seems as if the audience just isn’t there, in the writer’s consciousness.

I want not to do that, not with any post in this blog. Though I am aware that the invitation otherwise is all too tempting.

Anyway, it’s mid-February, the groundhog saw his shadow, so winter looks like it could be here awhile. I wanted to share with you a gift Barney gave me the other day.

Cue SFX here.

biscuit-gifThank you, Barney!

biscuit3 001catrun

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We All Need Somebody To Lean On

Poet Miller Williams died not long ago here in town. He wrote this, about compassion:

Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism, is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.

I find a lot to love, or not to love, in that short wonderful poem.

For one thing, google “spirit meets the bone.” You will find that an album of that name, by daughter and country-rock star Lucinda Williams, gets a lot more play than her dad’s poem does.

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Bugs, looking for justice.  He will probably not find it out there.

I love the phrase “no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.” It speaks to that enormous, so-often-unsatisfied need to be understood. Which need can be so neglected, our despair about its lack so great, that we might even end up thinking we don’t want any.

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I will not despair, yea even when the boys are more interested in OutTV than they are in me.

Interestingly, the phrase shows up in Corinthians 2:9.  But best of all, Bottom says it in Midsummer Night’s Dream, IV:1, as he wakes from the dream of himself as donkey and Titania in love with him. He says about that dream, in the goofed-up way with which Shakespeare pokes so much affectionate fun:

“[M]an is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called ‘Bottom’s Dream,’ because it hath no bottom.”

Ah Shakespeare, who hath no bottom.

I was thinking about this because the coat-stand on which I rely, due to insufficient closets, finally gave up the ghost. (The connection may not be immediately apparent.) Those who have followed this blog for a really long time might remember that Bugs had something to do with this giving up of the ghost.

But considering that Bugs did that back in May 2011, I’d say the coat-rack gave good value over its long life. Especially since I scavenged it in the first place. You would never catch me buying base-metal curlicues voluntarily.

The final straw was a new jacket I got for the holidays. Here is the poor old coat-rack in a tangle on its last splayed curlicued legs, propped up to half its height while I shopped for its replacement. You can just see Barney, peeking out from underneath the purple jacket. He appreciated the reduced version because he could jump out onto Bugs from under it, whenever the spirit moved him.

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My point is, even coat-racks need something to lean on.

The boys are learning this.

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Probably it’s the cold weather, rather than any deep philosophical understanding.

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As far as needing someone to lean on goes, for us humans, I like the great Bill Withers’ take of the same name. It is one of the most covered songs ever. Here’s himself, doing a somewhat lugubrious version.

I would offer you this other version, because it’s more upbeat, but for some reason whoever posted it put Al Green’s picture on it.

Bugs concludes there’s just no telling, with humans.

coatstand5 006-cropHe’s going back to OutTV.

coatstand4 001catrun

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