#Caturday story

(The curtain opens to a calm scene. Woman reads in bed with Loki (black cat) on lap and Marcel (white cat) against her leg.)

Loki’s tail begins to whip Marcel in the head, which Marcel can ignore for only so long.

Marcel: CHOMP!

Loki: YEOW!

Woman: Come on, you two. Really?

Twofer Tuesday: lounge lizards


Marcel up top, watching me closely while Loki, down below, does his best impression of a narcoleptic. A much better photographer than me would be able to balance the harsh sunlight with the white fur and black fur. Makes me long for the days in the darkroom when I could dodge and burn the image. But because I should be working on my writing project rather than messing with this, I’ll let it go.

Apologies for the glare. (HA! I made a pun.)



Here comes 2017

I wanted to end the year with a photographic image I’d created on the last day of the year. So I grabbed my camera and in the fading daylight, captured this image of Loki:
Whoa, that’s kinda scary and weird. Slightly disconcerting. An image that overstays its welcome fairly quickly.

And then I captured this:
geranium-bloomAhh. Delicate beauty that evokes peace and calm. An image that grabs my attention without gimmicky extra eyes or blurred pink tongue.

And that about sums up the philosophy I want to carry into the coming year. Every day is going to have its bizarre-scary-weirdass-infuriating-heartbreaking-unjust moments, but there will always, always be moments of beauty. It’ll be up to me to notice them.

Here comes 2017.




Chair sharks

This morning I settled into a chair to work. A while later, I got up for a coffee refill and returned to find an interloper:


Loki bares his teeth to keep me from reclaiming the chair. (Actually, his black fur makes him ridiculously difficult to photograph which results in lots of these blurred “action” shots.)

In my family, we call that getting sharked. As in, “Loki just sharked my chair.”

Anyway, I was feeling generous so I moved to another chair, one that actually suited me better because it’s next to a window and big patch of warm sunshine, and worked there for some time. I then left to take care of something in another room and when I returned, found this:


Marcel claiming my seat in the sun.

Sharked again!

Maybe I should bring the rocking chair up from the basement. I’ve heard that cats get real nervous around those . . .




One of those days

Oddly enough, this seems like a fair representation of today:0017

I was very tired and so didn’t accomplish much. I felt a bit, you know, pointless. So it’s weird that this is the photo that jumped out at me from Morguefile.com when I went cruising for photos. But somehow these pointy-headed mannequins capture my mood.

Two positive notes regarding today:

  1. Loki and Marcel took turns curled up on me as I read and napped on the couch.
  2. No one used my head to play Ring Toss.




The ins and outs of editorial voices

Every writer knows about the internal editor,
that yammering
that says
Your story sucks
Your writing sucks
You suck so why don’t you give it up already?

I utilize different strategies for getting past my internal editor,
but without a doubt
the most effective approach is to keep writing.
Head down, pen moving.
Guaranteed, that voice will eventually shut up.
At least for a while.

In my experience, the external editors are sometimes harder to ignore.

Marcel and Loki insert themselves into the process.

Marcel and Loki insert themselves into the process.




With a Little Help From My Cats

I am revising and needed an aerial view of two chapters.
I was making progress with that birds-eye view until . . .
Cats and revision pages 013


Cats and revision pages 005

Cats and revision pages 011

Scattered pages and chewed pens are one thing,
but clawing at my words brings “critique” to a whole new level.
Cats and revision pages 017“Animals are such agreeable friends―they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~ George Eliot

Whatever you say, George.

Tough Love

A couple weeks ago Zippy and I had a bunch of people over. As is true of many things in our house, the front door doesn’t work as well as it should. In this case, it doesn’t close all the way unless you force the issue. Guests aren’t expected to know this and we weren’t paying attention.

Our two cat brothers, Loki and Marcel, are indoor cats. They’ve seemed quite content with that status. Until a couple weeks ago when that front door was left open and Loki escaped to the front yard (that is bordered by a pretty busy street, yikes!)

Following that grand adventure, Loki has taken to fits of crying at the door.
Loki 022  Loki 026  Loki 033  Loki 027

Loki 025

His looks of yearning, frustration, and disgust won’t sway me. The squeaking cries won’t break me. I love him too much to let him go. I only wish he understood.

Ruminating on Interspecies Love

Is it possible,
do you think?
For a squirrel
to fall in love with a cat?
Squirrel courting cats 013To pose and perform?
To entice rather than tease?Squirrel courting cats 014Is it possible,
do you think?
For one cat to writhe in response
while the other watches dispassionately?Loki and Marcel 020Is it possible,
do you think?
To guess who writhed
and who yawned?


Writing Through the Distractions

It’s slow-going on my YA, but I’m making progress despite the usual distractions:

  • books I want to read
  • food that may or may not be in the refrigerator so let’s take a look, shall we?
  • the internets and its many permutations
  • bird action at the feeder and/or bath
  • that patch of sunlight calling for me to come take a nap
  • etc., etc.

All that’s hard enough, but now I have these lovable cats in the house and they demand my attention.Loki and Marcel 002A few minutes ago I was working on my manuscript as Marcel sat in the window behind me, looking at birds and making that funny chuckling sound cats make when they see something they’d like to de-feather, but I was stoic and blocked out his bizarre noises to keep writing. Until, that is, he climbed over my shoulder and down onto my chest where he curled up and aimed his big goofy eyes at me. Really, I’m supposed to have the willpower to ignore such overt emotional manipulation?

And how about his brother Loki who has no respect for my writing boundaries or, for that matter, any boundary?Loki in dishwasher

Loki in dishwasher 2

Maybe I’m supposed to treat him like a Muse?


I really like Zebu’s physics class work-in-progress, but the kitchen probably isn’t the most sensible place to create a mobile.Harlan's mobile 001However, we’re all adapting.

Zippy made a delicious pot of soup despite the influence of those stinky shoes, and Loki seems content to stroll beneath the teetering creation. So I guess it’s my issue if I smack my head on one of the poles.

Family Additions

Our hearts broke when we had to say goodbye to Lebowski and his awesome dudeness, and I can still close my eyes and feel the purring weight of him on my outstretched hand. Lebowski and his energy were unique, yet that energy was a subset of Feline Energy, and after he was gone I didn’t just miss him, but also the energy that only comes from cats.

Please welcome Loki:

The consummate trickster.

The consummate trickster.

and his brother Marcel:

"Give me a thick rubber band and I'm a happy guy."

“Give me a thick rubber band and I’m a happy guy.”

They are wonderful cats and I look forward to sharing their escapades, but for now here’s a major insight: A benefit to having one all-black and one all-white cat is that the high contrast makes it easy to see who’s doing what during wrestling matches:

Marcel bunny-punching Loki's head.

Marcel bunny-punching Loki’s head.