Hump Bear and Bleak Days

I wanted to kick about two unrelated topics with you this week. Both are of a personal nature. Neither one has anything to do with the other.

Here goes…


Hump Bear

Hump Bear

Marble is our one male cat inside. You can read more about his past here. Being fixed, it would stand to reason that some of his desires no longer exist. At least, that’s been my logic. After all, if you don’t have the equipment to do the job, you aren’t going to be spending a whole lot of time think about that activity. Right?

Well, I guess Marble is different. He still spends time contemplating sexual activities despite having the surgery done. No wonder Miya and Nutty run from him all the time.

Back this last fall, the teddy bear husband bought me when we lived in Cookeville [one town west of us] ended up on the floor. Neither husband or I thought much of it at the time. It was dusty and I hadn’t thought about it sentimentally for years. After all, husband and I have a good relationship without the materialistic attachments.

Marble eyed it laying in the middle of the floor and decided to latch on to it. A-okay by me.

That’s how it started out, but I think he might have gotten too fond of it.

He’s been humping the silly thing.

At first, it was a sporadic occurrence. Then it became a daily activity. I would just shake my head as I walked by this spectacle. So I’ve got a strange cat. What else is knew? However, as of late, this cat is humping that poor bear several times each day. Does he need a therapist?

My poor little teddy bear has become Hump Bear.


Bleak Days
Image provided by Stuart Anthony

Bleak Days

Most people around the globe peek at the weather, online, on TV, or in the newspaper. I consider it an obsession our society has had for a while. The same can probably be said about how we keep track of time too.

Here in the U.S., we’re having our cold months right now. In Tennessee, this time usually isn’t all that cold, though. Especially if you compare it to the northern states. The highs were reaching up into the fifties [Fahrenheit] until right before New Year’s Day. Yes, jacket weather but not cold enough to bring out the wool.

When the colder weather finally hit these mountains I live in, I felt a little apprehensive, although not about the temperature. I had been going through so melancholy and the thought of it turning into actual depression wasn’t something I wanted to deal with in any shape or form.

I started making plans that would, hopefully, keep the deep dark blues away. All this is, is preparing to do spring housecleaning in January. I’d forgo any intentions of getting serious writing done on my WiP in exchange for a clean house with a fresh clean springtime smell to it to chase away any depressing moods.

Believe it or not, this activity works for depression. At least it does for me. I remove everything from sight that reminds me of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Anything with black, rich orange, roasted brown, rich green, or rich red gets tucked away where I can’t see it.

I take a damp sponge to all of the walls, making sure I get the base boards. I spray Windex all over the windows, wiping them with a paper town. I deep polish wood furniture. I move furniture to vacuum and, with some pieces, rearrange so the rooms look a little different.

I even buy air freshener in one of the tea fragrances and spray the rooms afterward.

I made all these plans two days before New Year’s Day in preparation to ward off that nasty mood of despondency I thought sure would hit me January 2nd.

Although, it didn’t hit. It didn’t touch me. In fact, I don’t think it even put one foot in my yard outside. I woke up, greeted with a mood of smiles and wellbeing even though, looking out the window, it was clear that the days hadn’t changed. It was still gray and dismal out there.

As I waited for the coffee to brew, I gazed out onto the backyard, really not paying attention to anything that was out there because I was trying to figure out why I felt so good.

Did a giant-sized brick wall of gloom crumble for me in the middle of the night while I slumbered? Did I receive some divine wisdom that put all things right for me during one of those dreams I never remember?

Is it that the other shoe hasn’t dropped?

While I wait for the answers to these questions, I’m going to enjoy my days.


How are your first days of the new year going?

“When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.” ― Shannon L. Alder


What’s With My Laptop?!

What's With My Laptop?!

Two weeks ago I stated I was going to go beyond this corner in what I call “the computer room” where my ugly orange pressboard desk and my comfortable padded chair sits. I didn’t think it would be this hard to think of other things to write about. It’s clear that I’m obsessed with writing.

Back in July, my husband bought me a laptop saying it was my birthday present, which, at the time, was two months away. We went to Walmart thinking I could get one relatively cheap there.

There it sat, first in the line of many others, an Acer. The first computer I ever bought was an Acer, way back in 1996. At the time, I wasn’t online. I guess I could have been but I was oblivious to the idea. Chances are it would have been quite a hassle back then anyway. Anyway, I thought it was duly appropriate that my first laptop would also be an Acer. Walmart isn’t what it’s cracked up to be though. It didn’t have any in stock and they wouldn’t let me take the one on display. They didn’t even give me a rain check. Walmart sucks.

We went to Staples. All of their laptops were actually tablets with the keyboard you can attach. I wanted a laptop. Besides, their tablets are way out of my price range. Can you imagine paying over $800 for something that wasn’t really what you wanted anyway? I couldn’t.

I ended up calling Dell. I should have done this in the first place because my current PC is a Dell. By buying another device from them, I got a few bonuses in services. I was an idiot for wasting time at Walmart and Staples.

It took me a while to figure out how to get the wireless to work. I still am having problems syncing it with my PC. Again, it’s my own fault. I changed how verification is done before I thought it all the way through. Trying to find a time when I’m extremely calm and alert so I can get this done has been impossible lately. The verification comes by way of a phone call giving me a random four-digit number. This wouldn’t be hard at all if I had two hands to use or I didn’t have short-term memory loss. Even getting rid of one of the assets and I could still handle it, no problem–I think. As it is though, I must be at my very best mentally. However, there’s no such thing these days. Therefore, I can’t sync my two devices. In addition, I think I’m going to have to call Dell anyway on this because I can’t see all files at DropBox when on my laptop. I dread the thought. Me and virtual help get rather confusing, both for me and the technician on the other end.

I’m still stuck in my little corner when I write on my WiP. I keep on wondering if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Would I be more inclined to write more if I could go outside on the carport to write? Out there I know I’d have old Jake, our oldest “outdoor” cat keeping me company. There’s a possibility that I’d probably have Wilma, Ashes, and Ciders there too. In my little corner, I have Miya, our oldest “indoor” cat snoozing away on the floor just in reason for a love pat every once in a while.

Where would I get the most inspired writing done?

To tell the truth, I think I might be better staying where I am. I don’t have to move anything to get set up. My hot coffee and bottled water are just a room away. My books on writing sit in a weaved bin on my ugly desk where I can reach them with ease. I just need to get husband moving on helping me make my corner a more desirable place to be.

This doesn’t mean my laptop was a dumb buy. I do use it. There are times when husband is home and yet I want to be absolutely certain I’m completely alone while I write. This is usually when I’m adding to my private journal. I go to the back bedroom where my laptop sits under the bed. I pull it out and place it on a stadium blanket that’s been folded several times. I stuff pillows behind my back while sitting on the bed half Indian-style, and hammer at the keys.

Maybe my hassles are because I’m not thinking outside the box.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath


Many Felines / #5

[Many Felines / #1] [Many Felines / #2] [Many Felines / #3] [Many Felines / #4]

Charley the Protector and Miss Piggy Clarisse

Jake’s and Mama’s second litter included three babies. However, the only one looking like Mama wandered too far and was ultimately ran over less than two blocks away from home. The two white kittens flourished with the help of their older brothers Stubs and Henry, the babysitters.


Many Felines / #5
Charley the Protector

Charley takes more after Jake with his sleek white coat, sturdy build, and the stubbed tail. Because of Mama’s genes, his tail really exists, just shorter.

Charley is standoffish; chances are he’s more feral like Mama. He will tolerate being petted, but only by those he trusts, and more often than not, when he’s eating. Maybe he feels he has to pay for his meals. Once in a while, I’ll notice that he’s brought a dead mouse to the sliding glass door. I assume that those are the times when he thoroughly enjoyed his last meal on the deck. I let it be for a couple of days before swiping it off into the small rose garden just below the deck on the other side. I don’t want him thinking I hate his gifts after all.

He doesn’t hang around on the deck often. He seems to prefer the woods beyond our backyard. During the height of the summer though, he’ll come out of hiding to lay in the shaded grass close to the shed. Somehow he keeps a watchful eye on the deck, whether he’s out in the yard or burrowed someplace amongst the trees. When an uninvited animal, including other cats come visiting, he’s more than willing to help Jake drive them away.

Usually when the deck has an intruder, Jake takes the first stand, forcing the animal out into the yard. He’ll bully the animal (usually a cat looking for Clarisse) close to the property line. That’s where Charley takes over luring the male into the woodland and, then, scrapping it out with the cat. So far he’s only had a scratch on him twice during the four years of his life thus far.

Despite his shyness, he cares about the other in the “pride” and will do battle to protect them.


Many Felines / #5
Miss Piggy Clarisse

Clarisse is a spoiled brat. She knows she’s beautiful and thinks all of the other cats, including her offspring, should treat her as if she’s the queen. I haven’t figured out how she got the fluffy fur. Mama’s coat was medium-length. Jake’s covering is two layers of short fur. Still, there she is in all her glory, and with a long luscious tail.

Her older half-sister is Nutty. Sometime in the middle of the morning and/or the middle of the afternoon, I’ll see Clarisse sitting on the bricks next to the sliding door and Nutty doing the same on the tile inside. I imagine that they’re having a gossip session like most sisters do.

The nickname, Miss Piggy, first belonged to Clarisse’s mother. Mama would shoo all the other cats away when she wanted to eat. Yes, her daughter does the same thing, or tries to at least. She will even head-butt in attempts to have all the food even though she’ll eat only a small portion and leave to go to the other side of the deck to clean. She’s this way with her son and daughter, Wilber and Wilma. Jake has gotten so he just head-butts back. Is he trying to teach his daughter manners? If so, I think he might be too late.

This little girl isn’t shy. The squeaking of the door sliding open makes her jump back, but once it is open she’s bouncing in a few steps to say hello to everyone. She scurries back out, of course, because she prefers the freedom out there.


Any questions?

Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of.” – Sir Walter Scott


Many Felines / #4

[Many Felines / #1] [Many Felines / #2] [Many Felines / #3]

Grandpa Jake
Grandpa Jake

Grandpa Jake

Jake is the oldest of the outdoor cats. He’s also the one who has been around the longest. As a pure Manx, he’s tailless and only a hump exists were there would be a tail. He must have been a run-away or an abandoned cat. His solidly white coat is extremely rare, not to mention he’s a Manx, which are popular. The first time I got a glimpse of him was sometime during the first winter we were in this house. He was strolling towards the woods beyond our backyard with another Manx that was smaller but still the white fur. Neither husband or I tried to catch the two, figuring they belonged to someone around here.

It wasn’t until the spring of the following year that he made his appearance on our back deck. He gobbled down the food we put out for him and left for parts unknown. He showed up the next day about the same time, peering in from outside the sliding door. This time he stayed on the deck for a while before scurrying into the brush and trees. Soon he was at the door every day when I’d walk into the kitchen to start the first pot of coffee for the day.

He’s made himself right at home during these past six years. Until we got him fixed, a dark gray cat that we named Mama after she had her first litter (that we knew of) was his “mate”. They had two litters together, with both having two tailless or stump-tailed kittens and one kitten with a full tail.

During the warmer months, I try to get outside every day, if only for a short while. I have a lawn chair set on the car port cement slab so I can look at what’s going on up and down the street. It’s a great way to unwind. For the past three years, Jake has waddled his way around the house and will spend those moments with me, insisting I pet him. When I decide it’s time to go back inside and I stand up to head for the door that is at the back of the car port, he totters back around and meets me at the sliding door.

Including Jake, we have five outdoor cats. The other four are all related to our oldest stubby-tailed feline. He really does act like he’s the head of the family out there. If one gets too rough while playing with another one, Jake will slap him or her with his paw. If a stray cat from somewhere else in the neighborhood comes onto the deck, he’s willing to fight the cat to persuade it leave. He looks like he’s all flab and laziness, but when he goes after one of those cats, he’s as agile as his son, Charley.

If we didn’t already have three cats inside, Jake would be the one I’d want to bring in. This guy did not deserve to be abandoned or lost. Still, he’s a strong-willed cat, which is to his benefit. He’s stayed through snow storms and ice storms. He’s been trapped under the house by cable and utility workers. Yet he survives.


Are there any questions?

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” ― Robertson Davies


Many Felines / #3

[Many Felines / #1] [Many Felines / #2]

Many Felines / #3
Nutty Fuzzbottom

Nutty Fuzzbottom

The youngest of our indoor cats was a feral kitten of one of the outdoor cats we used to have visiting the back deck. The mother (known as Mama) disappeared about a year after Nutty’s little half-sister and brother were born. Our guess is that she was getting old for a feral cat and passed away someplace in the woods behind our property.

Mama only had this one in that litter. She bring the kitten with her onto the deck for the morning and evening feasts. We would put a small plastic bowl of milk out for Mama while she was still nursing Nutty. After the mother’s fill of food and drink, she’d saunter to the far side of the deck to nurse her kitten. As the months went by, Nutty got so she wasn’t frightened by the giants (husband and me) who kept offering the meals to her, and she would even let them pet her. Soon she was venturing past the sliding glass door, finding herself inside where two other cats lived. She’d stay for a few minutes and wander back out to be with Mama and her half brothers.

One day Mama went gallivanting off somewhere and left her baby on the deck where she felt the kitten would be safe. I peeked out at her several times during the course of that day to find her sitting or laying near one of her older half brothers, Henry or Stubbs. When nighttime fell and the mother didn’t come back, husband and I became concerned. We opened the sliding door and Nutty walk right in and made her way to the master bedroom.

I let her back outside the next morning. Her mother was still nowhere to be seen. Henry and Stubbs checked on her periodically during that day. That night I let her come again and she did the same thing only hopped onto the bed instead of sliding under the dresser.

It was then that we decided we couldn’t let her outside again. Chances were she wouldn’t survive out there like the others because of her young age despite her just being weaned. She still needed her mother, who had vanished, to teach her how to live out there. Her mother did return a few days later hungry and worn out, but it was too late to put Nutty back out there.

Her name was derived from my nick name for her, Nutty, and the name husband called her, Fuzzbottom. She isn’t all that fond of me but she’s tolerant. She still likes to get on the bed so husband will pet her for a longer period of time. Once he falls asleep and starts to snore, she leaves for the ottoman in the living room.

Miya has her trained to do her begging for her when she wants milk. I’ll see them conspiring in the hall. Then Nutty will come into the room where I am and start squeaking. (She doesn’t seem to have a meow.) Miya is waiting at the entrance to the kitchen while Nutty tries to get my attention. She’ll give up after a while and go trotting off in Miya’s direction. Miya brings her back into the room and the show starts all over again. Once I either get the milk for Miya or tell Miya it isn’t time for milk yet, Nutty goes in to the bedroom or to the ottoman.

I wish we could have left Nutty outside with the outdoor cats. I think she would have been happier. However, we feel we did the right for her. Husband and I don’t plan to adopt any more cats. Nutty will probably still be around when we’re in our seventies. Both of us have physical limitations so we know that pets would be a bad idea after that.


Do you have any questions?

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” – Hippolyte Taine