Sunday, January 24, 2010


I didn't think about writing this until I read Neil's post about his cat Zoe. I wanted to share our story, so here's what I sent:

Mom's cat, Jack, recently passed. He was 18 and had been going downhill, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but he was the stronger of the two, the scrapper, so we figured he'd be the last one to go.

Besides the loss of a dear friend that is a common thread, I also wanted to share Jack's story because his coloring was much like Zoe's (I always thought of it as a cross between Siamese & raccoon), but Jack also went blind in the last 6 months of his life.

Jack and his brother Yellow had been found by the woman who sold my parents their land. She was old and ill and only lived in the back two rooms of her house, leaving the rest to whoever chewed their way in. She fed the strays & barncats of the neighborhood and took a liking to the batch of kittens at her door. Unfortunately, her mean Chihuahuas did not. They were so mean to Jack that we loaned a toybox turned rabbit cage for him to stay in.

Spending a bit of his kittenhood (until both he & Yellow came to live with us) in a cage gave Jack a good-sized temper. We've seen him chase deer off the property more than once. When I was a teenager, he liked to launch through the air, landing securely with his claws in my thighs - but only when I was on the phone. Both cats went out as they pleased, less often at night after the coyotes got bad, and hunted and fought quite a bit.

As he aged, Jack mellowed and demanded much lap time and brushing from Mom. It was quite upsetting to see him circle in corners, trying to find his way about, near the end. And though it was not a total surprise, he is quite missed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Holiday crafts

I made a ton of crafty gifts for the holidays - several categories, each gift in a category was different. If I try to do that again, I'll get J to shoot me. Here's a sampling of what I did, though.

Books from scrap paper w/ postcard covers

Purses made from woven wrapping paper

Purses made from books

Bracelets of beads made from catalogue pages

Table made from books

So there it is. What do you think?

Before launching into 2010

I'm approaching 2010 a little late, as is common for me in general. I'm starting my focused "resolution-type" efforts tomorrow - now that CES and a whirlwind visit by J's aunt are past. So, it's appropriate that, on this last day of "2010 denial", I'm writing about my year-end for 2009 (this will be the first of two posts today)

Books - I just got to 24 books last year. Ah, well, some were quite meaty and took a while. I'll shoot for 35 at least in 2010, if not the magic 50.

Book #22 - Haunted Providence: Strange tales from the smallest state by Rory Raven. My brother knows Rory and I've met him - he was a mentalist long before the show existed, and is quite the skeptic. Still he digs up some good tales and I love learning more about the city Sonny lives in. He also makes some great points about storytelling that I will be blogging about on Media Creole in the next week or so.

Book #23 - Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates. A fictionalized retelling of a tragic true story - a Senator leaves a party w/ a young girl, crashes the car in water, and the girl dies. Told from the girl's point of view and for the most part in the moments after the crash, flashback style. Powerful.

Book #24 - On Literature by Umberto Eco. A collection of essays and lectures, this can get quite technical at points and so is not recommended as a whole for the casual reader. Still there are some awesome points in here. Discussion on the search for the perfect language and how it ties to poetic artistry. A powerful essay on the power of falsehood, that, like Foucault's Pendulum, makes you realize how different history would be if one joke hadn't been played. The importance of literature:
...the wretches who roam around aimlessly in gangs and kill people by throwing stones from a highway bridge or setting fire to a child - whoever these people are - turn out this way not because they have been corrupted by computer "new-speak"(they don't even have access to a computer) but rather because they are excluded from the universe of literature and from those places where, through education and discussion, they might be reached by a glimmer from the world of values that stems from and send us back again to books.