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Friday, April 28, 2017

A Twenty-Minute Day

One of the characters in the book The Help says that "Mississippi has the most unorganized weather." She goes on to say that everything will be covered in ice one day and that the following day it's 90 degrees for the next several months. I can certainly appreciate the vagaries of that type of weather, but I don't think that Mississippi is the champion where changeable weather is concerned.

Those of us who have lived in Colorado for some time (especially natives, people who think that they're better than the rest of us just because their mother was here when they were born, which they seem to take as their own personal accomplishment) have our own descriptions of normal Colorado weather.

Many long-timers say that Colorado does not have four seasons. My friend Kris's father used to say, "Yes, we do too have four seasons - Winter, June, July, and August." Only slightly less famous is the claim that Colorado has a whopping two seasons - Winter and Road Construction. Hey, plowing and salting and sanding and heavy traffic do take their toll.

My Gram taught me my favorite Colorado weather saying, and the best, in my humble opinion. "Welcome to Colorado. If you don't like the weather, stick around for twenty minutes." Trent and I, as well as my sister Liz and everyone that we know who has lived here for a long time, believe this to be true. Actually, scratch that. We know it to be true.

When someone brings up oddities of weather, we jump in the deep end like the champs that we are. "Hey, do you remember that one time in September when it was 93 degrees on Sunday, and then there was more than a foot of snow on the ground when we woke up on Monday morning?"

"Yeah! That was even crazier than the time that it snowed in June!" Note: technically, it could conceivably snow during any month high in the mountains here in our beautiful state. What I am referring to here is weather in the Denver Metro area. You know, the weather in the lower elevations of only a Mile High.

I am not a Colorado native, but I come close enough that Trent, who is a native, says that I can and should claim Colorado as my home. Heck, I came here when I was 7 years old and have lived here since. My age once again ends with a 7, but there's a goodish number in front of that little digit. And I must say that while the weather in my beautiful home can catch me unprepared, on the deepest level I am rarely surprised by what a different day or season may bring.

In the Metro area I have seen heavy snows in every month except July and August. I have experienced snowstorms that included lightning, spring rains with hail and tornado activity, sub-zero cold and baking heat. A couple of days this winter, Colorado had the highest temperature in the nation. Let me expound on that for a moment. It was warmer here on those winter days than it was in Miami, Phoenix, and Honolulu. Now that is disorganized weather!

The other day Trent and I needed to get out and run some errands. It was a lovely morning, bright and sunny and in the 50-degree range. Suddenly I noticed that it seemed as if the clocks were all wrong. Surely it couldn't be that dark and still be early afternoon. I looked out the window to find dark skies and rainy weather. Trent, being the tough Coloradan, said that he didn't care, he was wearing shorts anyway. I didn't want to deal with carrying a jacket so I put on a sweatshirt. Before I got in the car, I walked over to the mailbox. As I walked, I noticed a white spot on my shirt. And then another, and then several more. Yes, rain mixed with snow. Oh, well. 

We went on our way, dodging raindrops (snowdrops?) as we walked into the supermarket. We didn't have much to get, so we were in the store fairly briefly. When we got back outside, the sun was shining in its full glory and the rain was drying up. The car was hot and I told Trent that he was smart to wear shorts, and that I felt like an idiot with my nice warm sweatshirt. That day had Colorado written all over it. We stuck around for twenty minutes and it changed. And then it changed again. And then it changed a third time. Yep. That's my home!

A final thought and a wish - may your skies find you safe and happy, wherever you live or visit.


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Thursday, April 6, 2017

7529 Simple Rules for Being a Cat

Tonight we have a guest blogger, Brutus D FatCat. Since he is a self-described master of the feline arts, he has decided to share some of his vast knowledge with the ruling cats of the future.

Good evening, kittens. The world is your scratching post if only you know how to use it. I am a master of All Things Cat, so I now share my knowledge with you, the future leaders of our kind.

Rule # 1: Look at the title to this collection of important facts. The number shown is what the humans (staff, servants, chief belly scratchers, whatever you desire to call them) refer to as a prime number. Although most of our kind can not count higher than three, cats discovered prime numbers, in spite of humans believing they did so. We also invented midnight snacks and napping, among other things. When you look at your human, make sure that you do so with visible disdain as they are a substandard species whose purpose of existence is to see to your needs. If possible, alternate with looks of pity.

Rule # 323: It is vitally important that your human(s) remember their place. You must always dictate their interactions with you, and subject them to various forms of punishment if they step out of line. The simplest way to do this is to be mysterious. Let them never be sure of what sort of attention you desire. Here is an example. While the human is engaged in using their water-filled poop/pee box, wind yourself around their ankles. Gaze deep into their eyes and stand very still, as if you want them to pick you up. When the lowly one picks you up, flatten your ears, make a sound of fear (or anger or suffering) and exit their grasp as quickly as possible. Glare at them from the hall while lashing your tail. Vomit. Hide under a piece of furniture so that the human knows that you have been violated and traumatized. While the human feels guilty, revel in your brilliance. 

Rule # 5114: Occasionally your human will get the mistaken idea that they should leave you and the premises in order to take what they call a Business Trip or a Vacation. You will know that this is planned when the human discusses your food and poop/pee box with another human. They will also grab a large box called a suitcase in which they will begin to place their body and foot coverings and other mysterious items. When the human puts something in the box, climb on top of it and curl up for a nap. If possible. move around in a way that leaves behind a lot of your hair. When the human removes you, hiss and hide. Repeat as often as possible.

Rule #5115: While your human is away, it is important to make the human taking care of you feel that they inspire disgust or fear. Hide for at least three days. When the human gets on their knees looking to see if you have died under the bed, saunter in from another room. Act as if you had no idea that it was possible to get under the bed. 

Rule # 5116: When your human returns, hide under the bed. It is important for them to feel that you have transferred your affections and loyalty to the other human. (Which you may have, just a little. They try hard to please you when they think that you are upset.) When you finally leave your hiding spot, barely acknowledge your regular human. Go to the other human and spend several minutes enjoying rubs and pats and scratches. Then spend some time with your human and purr as loudly as possible. Put your butt in their face if you can. When everyone is quiet and asleep, vomit. Your human will feel guilty for putting you in distress.

Rule # 4711: Smell everything. If your human has food that smells particularly enticing, keep sniffing it while making a gagging sound. When they put a bite of food within your reach, recoil in horror. Return to it later when the human is busy with some other activity.

Rule # 1313: Humans sleep after dark, which is when we felines know is the best time to prowl. They also cannot see well in the dark, another sign of their mediocrity. For these two reasons, you must frighten them whenever possible. Wait until your human is nearly asleep. Come into the bedroom and move the hanging blinds enough to wake them. Disappear before they turn the lights on. Wait until they are nearly asleep again and knock something over, especially in the bathroom or kitchen. Disappear before they come to investigate. Plan what to do the next night.

Rule # 7211: For whatever reason, your human may decide to move into a new home. Even if it is perfect for cats, with plenty of hiding and climbing spots, act otherwise. You must act like you are afraid of any humans that live in your new home. If you are hiding under a chair and MUST get out due to hunger, thirst, a need for your poop/pee box, or simply to find a more comfortable resting spot, do so dramatically. There are two ways in which I like to make these moves. One is the stealth method. Walk in a crouching manner so that your body is close to the floor and the humans will be less likely to see you. The other method is the speedy exit. Burst out of your hiding spot, disturbing surrounding items if at all possible. Run to another room quickly, as if your tail was on fire. Pin back your ears and act distressed.

Rule # 6014: Remember to always make the human feel guilty and uncomfortable for intruding on you. Get on their bed. Begin to groom yourself. When you hear them approaching, begin to lick near your private parts. When they walk in, stop licking (bonus points if you do so with your tongue still partially out of your mouth) and either glare at them defiantly or act embarrassed. It will be easy to display this because all you need to do is mimic the look on your human's face. If possible, leave a hairball to remind them of their lack of couth.

Rule # 1119: When punishing your human, keep your own needs in mind. Do not soil the areas in which you live. As the Old Cats say, don't poop or pee where you eat. It's unpleasant and unnecessary. Also, it's likely to result in anger from the human rather that feelings of concern or guilt. Remember that humans seem to have an unnatural aversion to vomit. Place it carefully and run and eat again before they know about it. If it is placed where the human can easily step on it in the middle of the night it will be several times more effective. Use good judgement when yakking, though, as it may backfire on you. If you do it too frequently or if your human has a nervous disposition, you might end up going to see THE VET. Remember that THE VET is not your friend. THE VET puts needles in you and messes with your teeth and sticks things in your butt. And THE VET is the one who stole part of your privates and killed your desire to roam the streets and sing songs of cat love all night.

Well, kittens, that is all for now. Watch your human and give them enough rewards (like tummy rubs) to feel like you care and enough punishment to keep them in line. As for me, I am going to take a nap. Or have a snack. Or both. Good night.

Your friend in fur,

Brutus D FatCat


The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit: