Archive for May, 2008

Remembering Mom

May 11, 2008

With Mother’s Day upon us here in The Wilds, I find myself reminiscing about my Mother. Since she passed away 6 years ago, I must content myself with wishing her the best in my prayers and memory. I’m not sure, still, what my true purpose on this blog is (other than sharing life’s observations, which is a blast), so ask your patience with this exploration.

I’m thinking that the memories of life observations of Mom may need to be shared as part of my self-therapy (other than the already shared convertible story). I will likely elaborate a bit more in further posts, but a quick summary of her years which most made an impact on me (well, other than that awe inspiring feat of popping out a 10 pound, 12 ounce GnuKid some years ago)–

My father separated from my Mom when I was 16. I grew to appreciate how Mom handled the hurt and being alone.

– Mom, a teacher, started off by taking a sabbatical from school. Not being able to afford to do so really, she took a job teaching in the Virgin Islands (and, being the good son, I forced myself to visit her…twice!).

– After her return and eventual retirement from her ‘home’ school, she still wanted to travel. Still not being able to afford to do so, she took a job teaching at a Foreign School (school for kids attending their business and government parents in country) in South Korea. She spent five years there.

– Retiring for good, she still traveled the country. First because “I want to dig for semi-precious gems”. Then, having a pile of those, traveling elsewhere because “I want to learn to cut and polish gems”. Finally, with an assortment of cut gems, because “I want to learn to make jewelry with my cut and polished gems”.

There is a huge life lesson in her actions that I’m trying to fully grasp. I understand the “emotional logic” of this, but for some reason, cannot fully embrace her beautiful approach to life in my own. [sigh] Perhaps this blog–and all of you wonderful netizens out there–can help me do so.

Blessings to all the Moms out there…and to mine.

Playing with (Fire) Words

May 9, 2008

A couple posts ago, I referred to a brewing cat fight in the office and felt a good picture would help the story.  I happened upon the following tutorial on how to stop a cat fight and was immediately intrigued and humored by how well the story fit if we replaced “cat” with “woman”.  I realize I’m opening myself up to rebuttal and reprisal from the ladies on the blog, but am willing to take that chance – – –

And men?  I’m thinking there are quite a few helpful hints in here for us. 



If you have a multi cat woman household or your outdoor cats women hang out with other cats women, chances are you will encounter cat woman play. Cat Woman play usually involves chasing, swatting, hissing and nipping.

To a human though, cat woman play can often look rough, so how can you tell the difference?

First off if you know that the two cats women in question have never been friendly to each other then chances are what you are witnessing is fighting.

If you are unsure if the cats women are playing or fighting rely on your ears and eyes.

Screaming is a sure sign that the cats women are fighting. One cat woman being overly dominant is another sign of fighting, usually in cat woman play the roles shift.

Hissing a few times from either cat woman is normal but continued hissing suggests a cat woman fight is underway or about to get underway.

Finally and perhaps most importantly in cat woman play, except for accidents, neither of the two cats women gets hurt.

The best way to separate fighting cats women is through distraction. Making a loud noise or drop something heavy on the floor.

That will usually startle the cats women and send them running in opposite directions.

Shaking a can of food treats (if they are used to that sound) [Ed. Note:  Chocolates?] is another great distraction that will stop the fighting.

Remember cat woman play like any type of animal play is normal and you shouldn’t get involved.

Cat Woman fighting is also fairly common but due to the potential that your cat woman may get harmed or injured, you should try to stop it through distraction.

Do not actually try to physically remove one cat woman from another or you too may get harmed.


The Convertible Prologue

May 8, 2008

I recently shared awhile back a morning ride in my convertible.  I got this car as an inheritance when my mother passed away.  Many other stories to share about Mom’s exploits, but I wanted to tell how she ended up with a convertible in the first place. 

My mother became rambunctious in her later years, as people sometimes do.  She would get in her mind that doing something would make her happy, so she did it… just so long as it wasn’t immoral, illegal, or broke her piggy bank.  She was also, for some reason, still concerned about what her kids thought about what she was doing.  Not that it would change her mind, but she still wanted our approval.

So, at a family reunion some time back, Mom sat us kids down and said,

“I’m 70 years old.  I’ve never owned a convertible and have always wanted one.  My next car will likely be my last car.  I’m getting one.”   

With our concerns about affordability satisfied by her, we were very supportive.  So she buys a Chrysler LeBaron convertible.  And she enjoyed the heck out of it. 

But, I’m not driving a Chrysler LeBaron convertible.  Why?  Well, a few years later, Mom sat us kids down and said,

“I’m 75 years old.  I’ve never owned a convertible Mustang and have always wanted one.  My next car will likely be my last car.  I’m getting one.”  

So, Mom’s second “last” car was a convertible Mustang; and became my reminder inheritance from her on how to live life. 

But… I often wonder what she would have told us she was going to buy the next time she would’ve sat us down… [wistful smile]

Office conversation

May 7, 2008

Overheard at the office – – –

Woman1: “Boy, I sure get bitchy when I’m tired.”

Woman2 (sotto voce): “Sheesh, she must not get much sleep, then.”

At least I hoped it was said quietly enough…nonetheless, I prepared to run like a (smart?) coward from the likely ensuing cat fight. Too much chance of collateral damage (i.e., me).

…another man’s treasure

May 6, 2008

Realizing the international nature of the blog-o-sphere, I’m sheepish (‘Baaa!!!’) to admit that we U.S.-ians create a lot of trash…no, I’m not talking about our ideas or music or literature or whatever…but I can easily see how you thought so. I’m referring to actual garbage to be hauled away.

In my town, there is a limited amount and size that they (you know – – – “they”) will haul away each week. But, once a year, there is a bulk trash day where you can get rid of the bigger stuff. The street sides become lined with tables with 3-and-a-half legs, vacuum cleaners that have sucked their last, seatless chairs, and much more.

Over the years of this event, I have noticed a ritual also occurring on the days prior to the pickup. The streets become patrolled by slow moving trucks driven by, what appear to be, denizens of the very trailer parks our dear daisyfae escaped from. The trucks are battered, dirty, and emit foul odors – – much like the drivers themselves. It’s like Christmas for them!

This year, I hauled out a 20 year old fireplace rack and a broken heater. I returned to the garage for my next load of bulk trash, only to come back out to find both items already gone–claimed as a prized treasure by one of these trailer park entrepreneurs. Leaving a non-functional coffee pot and corroded rice cooker out next, I took station at a window to see how long they would last…about 5 minutes, with one seeker who drove by sneering at my paltry offering.

In all honesty, I feel good that something I could no longer use will find its way to a loving home…or trailer…where it might find a useful second life of (likely duct tape-bolstered) productivity.

Would that we all have that same opportunity of second chances in life.

The Morning Drive

May 5, 2008

Having inherited a convertible from my mother, I’ve enjoyed the occasional topless adventures (the car, folks…the car is topless) on my drive in to work. Coming outside this morning to achingly blue skies, I got just such an urge to drop the top and enjoy some fresh air.

Well, one small problem confronted me… a healthy pile of “Life Shrapnel” has made its home in the back seat. “Life Shrapnel” are the bits and pieces of things that accumulate over time – unread mail, empty water bottles, gas receipts, and so on. Left there with the top down, that shrapnel would quickly become random projectiles to trailing cars as the wind would whip the back seat into a flurry and whirlpool of air. A none too elegant process of dumping all the shrapnel into a box takes care of that detritus.

As is typical in the Wilds of Ohio, the weather tries to please everyone. Warmth one day gives way to chilly cold the next. Blue skies in the morning pause for afternoon storms, only to return in the evening. It’s something we live with, those of us roughing here on the Midwest Frontier.

What appeared to be a nice, spring May morning of enjoyable convertible riding turned quickly into the “Frigid Ride O’ Hypothermia”. Blue skies? Check. Wind chill factor? Double check. Even with the heater full blast, my eyes quickly glazed over with chill, the muscles ceasing voluntary movement. Other body parts either shriveling in despair or freezing in a happy salute to the cold. “Pull over and put the top up,” you say. A healthy dose of reptilian-brain ego prevented that. I must tell the world, “Yes, I made a stupid choice this morning, but I refuse to admit I made that mistake.” So, I rode on in glacial silence.

But, all in all? Great fun… and let’s do it again tomorrow!

The Etiquette of Lurking

May 3, 2008

I’ve come to realize that the customs of the ‘net are as varied as the customs around the world. What’s expected on one blog site is considered merely okay on another and gasp-worthy-forbidden on yet another.

So my problem is understanding which is which and when is where and why and so forth (got that? good…). Thus the practice of lurking, which in itself seems sort of wrong–kind of like a peeping tom checking out the prom queen’s bedroom window after her shower …not …that …I …uhhh …would know …ummm …anyway ….

So, I lurk at blogs to see what is said and how it is said. And I’m still lost, as a blog newbie, on how to join in. I almost feel like I’m imposing on a family gathering…or the nerdy kid trying to break into that group of the cool kids.

I welcome input from my fellow Range Riders on advice for easing into feeling welcome at your sites. Yep, I’ve jumped in some places already — one I was invited to, the others referenced off of that. But it still doesn’t feel comfortable. I know there are really no “rules”. But it would be nice to have an idea how to go. Ahhh, perhaps practice makes perfect and all.