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Monday, February 1, 2010


the sunny side of the mountain

Wanted to put on some music for the air while I write you this evening. At first I was thinking something like low key banjo. That's an oxymoron. Thought I wanted to hear something old time. It would demand all my attention, and it's dance music. What next? Classical? No. Maybe Philip Glass. No, I'd focus in too much and end up just listening to the music. Horowitz playing Schubert? No. I'd listen too closely. YoYo Ma's Silk Road. I've listened to it many times. It's quiet, meditative, exquisitely performed, some ancient songs from the China and Mongolia end of the Silk Road, and compositions by composers from regions westward through Kazakhstan, once an enormous empire in days gone by and forgotten, annihilated by Genghis Khan's Mongol hordes, now all the countries between Russia and India with names that end in stan, and on over to Persia. The vocals are foreign languages so the words don't catch my attention. It's music I can flow with. It's a constant delight to my ears without being demanding.

Having an active relationship with the cats today. Tarbaby and Caterpillar have become persnickety. Caterpillar tugs at my pant leg with one claw. Hooks it in and pulls like ringing a bell. Tug-tug. What do you want Caterpillar? When I sit still to write you is when Caterpillar thinks it's a fine time to have my attention. I stand up and ask her to show me what she wants, to the kitchen for food, the door for out. She went into the kitchen and appealed to me with her eyes and occasional cries. I open a pouch of catfood. I'm down to beef flavor, which they don't like, despite me telling them it's mouse. They know better. I put the paper plate on the floor with the catfood on it. She gave it a sniff and ran out of the kitchen. I told her, that's it. Catfood. I don't have special requests right now.

She went to the cardboard scratch pad and clawed her frustration that she couldn't get me to understand. She went to the door. I opened it. She sat inside with her head outside listening, looking, smelling, 29 degrees, unconcerned that I don't need air conditioning in the winter. I made a gesture like I'm going to close the door, the signal that it's time to make a decision. She sat there. I pressed her a little bit with the door. She continued to sit undisturbed. I'm about exasperated by now, so I told her the door is closing, and squeezed her a little bit with it and she wouldn't budge, a little more and she jerked her head back like a snake, turned around and walked back to the scratch pad and clawed her frustrations out again.

She continued to stand at my feet and look up at me with a need in her eyes. I said, what do you want? And she looked at me with pleading eyes. I picked her up. That was it. Rub the top of her head, scratch her neck, talk to her, tell her I love her. She purrs and wants me to never stop rubbing the top of her head and scratching her neck. She'd been back in her hideout all day in hibernation. Held and talked to her was what she wanted. She went off to her spot by the electric heater in the bedroom. I have to watch it in the dark, because she has been stepped on and kicked. She lets out a squawl and darts out of the room when I step on her tail. I try not to make that mistake, but sometimes it happens. She's learned I can't see in the dark. I apologize. Believe it or not, that matters to them. They understand the difference between accident and intent. Intent gets rewarded in kind first chance. Accident is overlooked.

TarBaby is having to hibernate in the house with snow and below freezing all the time outside. He never liked using the litter box, even went under the house in winter. Now he's using the litter box. All three of them using it keeps me changing it quite a lot. TarBaby's metabolism is way up high and he needs to eat quite a lot. When I put the food out for him, he eats about half and leaves the rest. I started giving him half a pack at a time. That was ok. He'd eat most of it and want more. I put down the other half. He licks it a little bit and he's done. Caterpillar sometimes eats what I put out for her and sometimes doesn't. That leaves Tapo who eats in the night what the others have picked over during the day. Day-old catfood isn't even a consideration for any of them to eat. I put a plate of yesterday's catfood out for whichever dog finds it first. I've never seen a dog that didn't love catfood. Martha, the least'n of the pack, is usually the one to get it. She walks over here by herself in the mornings and goes home in the evenings. The dog out there keeps the cats in the house too. They know when it's here and when it's gone.

Caterpillar continues to go about dissatisfied. The "wet" food I put down for her, she doesn't like. The present bag of dry food they're eating from is one none of them likes. They submit to eating it, but would rather let the dog have it. I won't get that kind of dry food for them again. The dog will get what's left of this. Caterpillar is sitting on the floor staring at me. She wants me to make everything right. But I can't. I'll be glad when the weather is such they can go outside. I don't know that they'll ever get used to this rampageous dog that is on full tilt all the time. The dog lives with 2 cats at home, so it's not like she's a threat. It's that she doesn't stand still. It's too frantic for cats to deal with.

Caterpillar is tugging at my pants leg again. I feel like a mother with 3 toddlers all wanting all attention on self at all times. There's nothing really hateful about it. It's that on these days when they're at me all the time makes me want to check into an insane asylum for a rest. It's not that bad, not anywhere near it, but they can get on my last nerve sometimes when they keep at me and nothing satisfies them, enough is enough. That's when I turn off and they quit bothering me. It's not that they ask a whole lot. It happens when I sit to write you. The giant is in place, good time for petting. He'll give in when you keep at him long enough.

Tapo is on her cushion by the heater. That's her special place. For now. Special places change from time to time. Caterpillar is having a drink of water. Then she went to her place by the heater in the bedroom. She's bedding down for the night. TarBaby might have turned in. I think I hear something in the bathroom. He might be playing jungle in there. And he might have turned in. Here comes Caterpillar. Restless. She went to the door. Actually went out, though not without waiting until I started to urge her. She went on her own just before I nudged her. The cats are getting peculiar advancing toward old age. So am I.

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