Posts Tagged ‘cats’




Alphabet Soup cat


I think this every time I see a talking head trying to explain our president’s latest gaff. I really need to stay away from the internet for awhile. Too much stooooopid. I think the asylum has finally been overrun by the inmates. Okay, that actually happened back in November, but I kept holding out hope. Man, am I a sucker.

I’m gonna need a bigger bottle of bourbon…


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Wasted Days

Yeah, I got nothin’.

I need minions.  Oh, wait…


Maybe I can get them to clean the cat boxes…


I’ll let you know how it goes.





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Sleep. Oh, you elusive vixen, you.

It’s inevitable, it seems. Those days when I try to be a responsible adult are the ones that blow up in my face. We were informed of a recall with our truck for the driver-side air bag. Nice of them to let us know – over three years after it failed to deploy in a freeway tangle with an eighteen-wheeler (I ranted about that in “Hope”). So we figured what the hell, we’ll get a couple other things checked out while it’s at the dealership, including why the check engine light came on a couple weeks ago. Appointment is scheduled, plans are made. I even went to bed at a “reasonable” (read: too damn early for me) time. I was actually tired, having spent most of the day killing goblins and hoarding treasure in one of my computer games. (Hey, YOU try keeping a target on those little bastards when your eyes don’t want to cooperate.)

Anyhoo, I drift off to sleep, cat purring in my ear and husband sounding like Darth Vader with a bad head cold (his face mask for the sleep apnea machine wasn’t properly sealed), and looking forward to breakfast at one of my favorite places while waiting for the truck.

A little over two hours later I’m ordered to the little room down the hall. Most nights I can sleep all the way through. Not this one. Of course. I take care of business. I get back to bed. I wrestle the cat for my spot. How the hell does one thirteen-pound feline entirely fill the space meant for a six-foot tall human? I get under the covers. I throw off the covers. I roll onto my left side. My left hip hurts. I roll onto my right side. My right shoulder hurts. I lay on my back. I have heartburn. I get up and retrieve some Tums. I go through the ritual with the cat again. I play Solitaire on my iPhone. The cat is annoyed I’m not petting him. I finally get us both sort-of comfortable. I’m drifting back to sleep…

Fun fact: my feet move when I’m sleeping. Nothing major, just a little back-and-forth of the toes, similar to a kitten kneading when it’s content. Been doing it as long as I can remember, and it’s not something I have conscious control over. It’s also nothing any of my previous animals have bothered to notice. At least, not to the level that I noticed they noticed. But, for the first time in decades, I have cats that were strays. Cats that had to hunt to survive. Cats that think something wiggling under the blanket must be pounced upon.

I’m jolted back to full wakefulness with two sets of claws embedded in my big toe. Roan is looking mighty pleased with himself, and continues a relentless pursuit across the foot of the bed as I try to extricate my feet from his attention. It’s zero-fucking-dark-thirty and the cats are rarin’ for playtime.

Thankfully, our activity garners the rapt interest of Pip. She’s not sleeping on the bed with us yet, but she’s usually not far, and her sudden appearance merits a celebratory chase around the house. Off the two of them go, the Flying Wallendas crossed with WrestleMania.

I try to get back to sleep, but now I’m having a power surge and sweating despite the fan. More flippity-floppity. More aches and pains. More sweating. And then my husband’s alarm goes off.

I’ve managed to get a whole two hours of sleep. On a day when I need to be driving SoCal freeways, dealing with auto service guys, running errands, buying groceries, retrieving the husband-unit from work, cooking dinner, and cleaning cat boxes. There was a time when I could to that for days on end with no ill affects. But now – firmly in my middle years – the world will be lucky if I don’t leave the husband at the auto shop, drive the groceries to work, and cook the cat boxes.

Naps aren’t just for toddlers anymore.

Scientists have long known about the detriments of sleep-deprivation. Problems can include mood and cognitive issues, depressed immune system, hallucinations, as well as heart attack and stroke (The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Body). Additionally, sleep apnea and insomnia are more common as we age, with men suffering more from the former and women more from the latter. It’s no wonder old people are cranky and forgetful – they’re laying awake worrying about all the stuff that’s going to kill them because they can’t sleep!

And the visit to auto service only gave us more fun news. Recall done – that’s okay, and no charge, thank you, ma’am. But, oh by the way, that check engine code says your transmission is about to crap out. You want it fixed, it’ll cost you $3,000. At least.

There goes the trip to Arizona we had planned, because – even though we’ve noticed no issues with the transmission – my luck just wouldn’t allow us to drive it 300 miles while fully-loaded and not have a problem. And, no, we didn’t leave it at the dealership. I may have boobs, but I’m certainly not one, and the husband is a serious motor head from childhood. We got a second opinion (yes, there is a problem, but not $3K’s worth of a problem), and we’re without wheels for a couple days while it’s taken care of. There went THAT tax refund.

So all the other stuff we were hoping to do (like have a cushion for emergencies) is out the window. Again. And here we are back to living by the penny. I guess I should be used to it by now, since it’s been that way my whole life. But it pisses me off.

And maybe that’s why I’m having trouble sleeping. An angry writer is never a good thing. They lie awake at night and plot your demise…

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This is Pip.


No, it’s my blanket now.

She is entirely black. I named her Pip as sort of a double joke: 1) she’s good at being a little black dot in the great white world, and 2) she has a really tiny, high, squeaky voice (not to mention a very tribble-like chirp she makes much use of), so Pip Squeak was shortened to Pip. She likes flopping down on the floor right in front of you as you walk, begging for belly rubs. A habit this not-so-graceful human is trying to get her out of, as she also tends to do this on the stairs. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen.


Belly rub time!

She’s been with us since the middle of December. Another rescue from the cat colony in the neighborhood. I had seen glimpses of her when Roan was still outside and I was working with him (you can read about that here), but she never came anywhere close to the house while I was around. A couple of times I spotted her on the back patio at zero-dark-thirty, taking advantage of the food bowl I had out there for Roan. But she would poof into the darkness the instant she noticed I was watching. Once Roan was entirely an inside cat, I took up the food bowl outside. I’m desperately trying to avoid being the crazy cat lady in the weird old house, so – reluctantly – I had to cut off the rest of them (there are at least three others out there).

Getting Roan back into decent shape (he was very thin and dirty) and adapting to his new home kept me occupied for a while. The first couple weeks he would sit by the door and politely ask out. Usually in the middle of the night, so that didn’t happen. But after that he seemed to settle into being a housecat just fine. He’d sit in a window or at the back patio doors and watch whatever was on the channel outside. Occasionally at night one of the other cats would come around and he would get excited and rush around the house marking his territory. We didn’t have the money right away to get him neutered, so I followed him around with an enzymatic cleaner and Febreeze, but it still left my house reeking like a giant cat box. I’d forgotten how strong tomcats smelled.

Over the next few weeks I began to notice he was actually talking to someone outside. That little chirpy thing cats do when they’re curious, not hostile. It took me a bit of patience, but I finally managed to catch a glimpse of the mystery guest. Just a flash of shadow as it disappeared into the night, but I realized it was the little black cat I’d seen before.

A few more weeks and she finally relaxed to the point of merely sauntering away when she saw me, as opposed to teleporting. It became pretty obvious the two of them were developing a relationship (or perhaps had one already? Hey, Joe – whatcha doin’ in there? Jane, you wouldn’t believe it – I get food all day and don’t have to run from dogs!). By this point, it was getting pretty cool at night, and I began to see her in the back yard during the day, curled up in a nest of pine needles in a corner of the fence. When the weather report said temps were going to drop into the twenties (F) at night the next week, I decided it was time to at least try to get her into a cat trap so I could get her to the animal shelter. None of the other cats seemed to be coming around anymore, so I put out the food bowl again.

The second or third day of filling the dish, I realized she was watching me from her spot by the fence. I talked to her a little and slowly made my way back into the house. A couple days later she was hunkered down behind one of the doghouses when I came out, wide-eyed but not running. I backed off and sat on the patio and talked to her while she ate. A couple more days of that and she actually came up to me, and allowed me to pet her. That sealed our doom.

She spent the next couple of nights alternating between the back door and the patio door (which is where the office is, and where I spend most of my time) letting loose with the plaintive little cry she has, begging to be let in. Roan seemed to be seconding the motion, as he would look at me, do that cutesy cat eye blink thing, and meow.

What the hell was I supposed to do? I’m a witch and there’s a black cat at the door.

I made the appropriate appointments at the vet’s and quarantined her in the upstairs bathroom. She and Roan talked to each other all night through the door like a couple of teenagers. The next day they both went in for shots, micro-chipping, and surgery. Turns out Pip had already been spayed, which means someone cared at some point. Given how easily she and Roan adapted to the house and their litter boxes, they likely had been “pets” at some point and then abandoned. I hope Karma makes good use of the creeps who would do that to an animal.


Pip and Roan, feline overlords extraordinaire

The two of them are doing wonderfully now. They chase each other around the house and wrestle, and both are playing more and more with the toys and me. And I’m doing better, too. My husband has noticed the difference and claims that’s the only reason he tolerates them, but I’ve caught him playing with them, too.

Sometimes it only takes a little thing like a cat’s purr to make all the big, bad things of the world go away. And that same little purr can also serve as a reminder that the little things in life which feed your soul are also the most important. Best you feed it when you can.

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Driving Miss Lazy

WriterMe: You should write.

Me: Yeah, I know.

WriterMe: Anything. Just go write anything.

Me: I will. I have to take care of a couple things first.

WriterMe: Like what?

Me: Like the litter boxes.

WriterMe: They’ll be there later.

Me: They’re overdue. The cats are giving me the stink eye.

WriterMe: They’re cats. That’s what they do.

Me: And there’s litter all over the floor. I hate litter on the floor.

WriterMe: I hate blank pages.

Me: Blank pages don’t smell.

WriterMe: Yes, they do. You just never pay attention to them.

Me: What the hell do blank pages smell like?

WriterMe: Freedom. Adventures. Promises.

Me: Those aren’t smells. Stinky is a smell. Fetid. Rank. Sour. Those are smells.

WriterMe: Made you think.

Me: Bastard! I’m cleaning the cat boxes.



WriterMe: So, writing now?

Me: Not yet.

WriterMe: Lemme guess – still taking care of litter boxes?

Me: Those are done. Have to take care of the toilet now.

WriterMe: Didn’t you just do that?

Me: That was the cat toilet. Now I’m doing the human toilet.

WriterMe: There seems to be a theme here.

Me: Yeah, my life is shit.

WriterMe: You could be writing instead.

Me: That wouldn’t clean the toilet.

WriterMe: You’re the only who uses it. What does it matter?

Me: I’m tired of looking at it.

WriterMe: I’m tired of looking at blank pages.

Me: Just pretend you’re watching a polar bear dancing in a blizzard.

WriterMe: Ooo, there’s that imagination again!

Me: Fuck off. Where’s the toilet brush?


Still later:

WriterMe: The polar bear got tired. Need something else. Writing, maybe?

Me: Not done with chores.

WriterMe: You should write first, chores later. That’s what normal writers do.

Me: I’m not normal.

WriterMe: No shit, Sherlock. All the more reason to be writing.

Me: Need to balance the checkbook.

WriterMe: Why bother? It’s not like there’s money in the account.

Me: It’s more important to stay on top of it when you’re living to the penny.

WriterMe: Planning on buying something? Like more nice writing paper?

Me: Have to pay the phone bill.

WriterMe: Why? You never talk to anyone.

Me: I like keeping my options open.

WriterMe: You want options? I have plenty of room on my nice blank pages.

Me: Consider them a quantum field of dreams.

WriterMe: Nice analogy. Very creative. Like maybe you’re a writer or something.

Me: Nice try. Hand over the checkbook.


Yet even later:

WriterMe: Blank pages! Get your blank pages right here!

Me: I’m working on our taxes.

WriterMe: Seriously? It’s not even the end of January.

Me: We have all the info. Might as well get it out of the way.

WriterMe: You’re failing in the time-honored writerly tradition of procrastination.

Me: Don’t worry. I make up for it in other areas.

WriterMe: Yeah. Like not writing.

Me: I’m already in the middle of this. I’ll write later.

WriterMe: You don’t have anything to write about, do you?

Me: I have plenty of ideas. Just need to focus on math right now.

WriterMe: You’re choosing accounting over adventure?

Me: I’m choosing order over chaos.

WriterMe: That sounds really fascist.

Me: Oh, so now I’m Hitler?

WriterMe: Well, if the mustache fits…

Me: Go play with your blank pages. I need to find the W-2.


So very much later:

WriterMe: *snore*

Me: Hey, wake up. We need to work on the blog.

WriterMe: I’m busy.

Me: You’re snoring.

WriterMe: Snoring is an action. Action means doing something. Hence, busy.

Me: That’s just rationalization for avoiding your job.

WriterMe: What the hell do you think you’ve been doing all day?

Me: …

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Busy Signal

Not in Service


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A few weeks ago I posted my to-do list for this year (“Ass Kicking Needed”). Well, I’ve actually accomplished a couple things on that list already. Okay, so they’re not big major things, but, hey, it’s a start, right?

First off, as I’ve become more educated and less paranoid about the Internet and blogs and e-publishing and social media (sometimes my age shows too much), I’ve come to learn that having people share your stuff is not a Bad Thing. On the contrary, you want people to share your stuff. Especially if you’re an artist. Agents, managers, editors, perspective employers, all want to see what you’ve been up to, how you represent yourself, and – most important – how you market yourself. Okay, so I’m still pretty lousy at the marketing part especially, but I’m working on it. So with sharing (and, hence, greater audience, more comments, bigger pool of awesome people) in mind, my original material is now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Share away. I’d really like to break that long-awaited 200 followers mark.

Secondly, I’ve updated my About page and added an e-mail address for those who might want to contact me directly. Since I don’t have the funds yet to develop my own actual website with my own actual domain, I felt adding an e-mail would make me a little more accessible without adding a lot more expense. Please don’t make me regret that decision.

And thirdly, I’ll be returning to lurking at FanStory.com, while also checking out Critique.org. I dabbled on the first site a few years ago and had a mixed experience, but I do think it offers a place for writers of all flavors to get and give feedback and support, as long as you understand that all communities have their issues. The latter is a new venture for me, but gets the stamp of approval from Writer’s Digest, so I thought some exploring was in order. I’ll give you a report on both of these sites at some point in the future.

As for my usual weekly rant, the one I have boiling around in my head is still far too much raging nutball, and not nearly enough reasoned argument supported by evidence, to be allowed out of the box, so you’ll just have to wait until I can calm down. Instead, go back to Ted Talks and watch some more really cool videos. Or go to YouTube and watch some cute animal videos. At the very least, I hear you’re not really legit unless you have cat pictures on your site. So here you go:

IMG_0107 IMG_0535

My two most recent mascots. RIP, boys.

If that doesn’t guarantee success, nothing will…

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It has been three months without an animal in the house. At least, an animal that’s supposed to be in the house. I’m not counting the little finches that live under the tiles in the back, or the morning doves that had a family on the porch (which was cool to watch, hatchling to flying away in about a month), or the lizards in the yard. I mean the usual household animals – cats and dogs.

It’s really weird, not having something under foot. The dogs would always tell me what was going on outside. Their hearing being so much better than mine, I realized just how handy that was after learning I missed someone at the door because I couldn’t hear them knock. Yes, we have a doorbell, but it rings when it wants to, and that’s if whoever’s at the door actually bothers to use it. Most of the time they don’t.

And the cats would tell me how inadequate I am as a servant because I didn’t pet them constantly, or allow them to wander across the kitchen table at will. Nothing like being cussed out by a little black Siamese.

Now there’s just me. Occasionally I’ll hear a noise in the house and the first response is to blame it on an animal. For so long that would have been the correct response, but these days I’m having to figure out other reasons: the house is settling, the noise was really outside somewhere, my imagination, ghosts of animals past. Given that I have five sets of ashes on my altar up stairs, that last one may not be all that far fetched. Especially if the sound in question is identical to something one of those animals commonly released. My husky used to “talk” instead of bark, that yodeling/vocalizing thing huskies are known for; the cattle dog was in constant motion, jingling collar driving all of us batshit as she tried to herd us into some semblance of order; the bully cross was pretty quiet but known for her farts, SBD’s of the deadliest variety, and her brilliant Cujo impersonation if you made the mistake of coming up to the gate; the Siamese offered an incessant commentary of his dissatisfaction in that expressive but whiny voice of his; and the polydactyl ginger cat would come down the stairs sounding like a Viking raiding party after a night of drinking.

Yes, those are our “normal” animals. Why do you ask?

Now, all those noises are just memories. There still seems to be an inordinate amount of animal hair in the house, residuals of twelve years of occupation, I suppose. And there’s still water and food dishes sitting out. I’ve managed to wash them all, but I can’t seem to put them away. I guess there’s a part of me that wants to maintain the illusion that there’s still a cat in a window somewhere, or a dog on their bed, quietly polluting the environment one methane expulsion at a time.

Working from home means having very little contact with people, and being able to have some sort of interaction with another living creature was actually very comforting. You don’t realize how important that is until you don’t have it anymore. Sure, I have plenty of stuff to keep me busy, but it’s not the same sitting at the computer without a purring cat tucked into the small of my back, or a snoring dog flopped out on the floor while I’m doing dishes.

And it doesn’t help that most of my friends have animals, and several even have litters of kittens or puppies that will need homes soon. You’re probably wondering why I don’t just adopt one of those, or travel to the local animal shelter and rescue one of them, and under most circumstances I’d be way ahead of you already. But my hubby and I have had several discussions on the matter and we’ve concluded that we have to be without animals for a while. We’re not really sure as to why, just a sense of being on the verge of something that will be easier to handle without that responsibility.

It doesn’t help that my sister just got a cute little ginger kitten and has been sharing pictures. Bitch.

We play with every animal possible, especially when we’re at our historical events. Lots of dogs at those. My husband favors dogs over cats, and has admitted to being in serious dog withdrawal. I, of course, prefer cats and miss having a warm plop of fur in the middle of my latest stitching project. It’s hard to resist the temptation to ply my husband with garlic bread and then run off to the pound as he snoozes through his carb coma. But I’ll be good. For now.

So think of me the next time you’re petting your non-human companion. I’ll just be over in the corner, gibbering to myself and playing with catnip mice.


© 2014   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

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There has been so much negativity in the world these last few years. It’s spilling over everything, creeping into every day and every corner of our lives. The media oozes it at every opportunity, because “if it bleeds, it leads.” They don’t just simply report the facts anymore but put their own flawed spin on things. We are bombarded constantly with religious zealotry, racial bigotry, gender suppression, rights erosion, and all-around-just-‘cuz-hatred. I have reached negative sensory overload. And it’s not like I needed outside help for that, anyway.

I think it’s time we each stopped a moment and took a good hard look at ourselves. We each in our own way have perpetuated this ugliness. I have ranted here endlessly about the problems I see in the world, but often don’t have any solutions. I’ve “liked” a nasty meme on Facebook, or forwarded an email that bashed those groups I love bashing. I sit at home stewing in my depression, and then get mad because nothing changes.

So tonight I’m taking an emotional time out. I’m not going to stew about the things I haven’t done, but be proud of the things I have. Instead of griping about all that’s broken, I’m going to be thankful for all that isn’t. And I’m going to forget the things I hate, and remind myself of the things I love.

Like my hometown of Eureka, CA, with its iconic Carson Mansion, and many other gorgeous Victorian homes.


And the duck pond at Sequoia Park in Eureka. That’s all six feet of me standing among some of the smaller coastal redwoods in the park. It’s always green and cool and peaceful there, and helps me de-stress almost instantly upon arrival. If you want to see more than ducks, go visit the Sequoia Park Zoo – the oldest zoo in California. It is small but mighty.


And string. I love playing with string. I must have been a cat for at least nine of my past lives. Cross stitch and blackwork are my favorite needleworking styles (the German in me must still have order, your know), and I really enjoy tablet weaving, but I’ll play with just about any format, especially if it involves silk.

SCA stuff 145


I also love my home-away-from-home, the medieval tent my husband (that’s all 6’3” of him to the left) and I use for our reenactment events. It’s a bitch to get set up, but once it’s done, we have a comfy retreat that can withstand all sorts of weather.


And my animals bring me great comfort. The dog (my husband’s before our marriage) tolerates me only because I’ve proven I’m the alpha bitch. Jasper the Wonder Mutant (he has six toes on all his paws) was sent to me for comedic relief. He’s about as graceless as any animal I’ve known, makes more noise coming down the stairs than the 50 lb. dog, and has been known to walk on the treadmill with me. We’re convinced he’s an alien in disguise. He’s convinced he’s here to help us by blessing everything we own with cat fur.


Not to forget writing and music. Both have been with me most of my life, and have always given me someplace to go when I didn’t want to face the world. Which is most of the time, but I think that’s more to do with what’s going on out there than what’s going on in here.

That’s why we need to stop and get out of our rages. If we all take a moment to think peaceful, positive thoughts, maybe peaceful, positive things will begin to happen.

© 2013   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

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