The 50 Year Old Cat Butt

I thought that turning 50 deserved a well-written, well thought-out blog post. My intention was to share 10 pithy nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned in my 50 years of life on this earth. I was well on my way to posting these little nuggets of knowledge when I got caught up in a memory – more like an epiphany – from the very distant past that has stuck with me all my life.

Ye Old Cat Butt

Ye Old Cat Butt

I think I might have been around 10 or 11 years old when this thought crept into my head. It was the notion that everyone (every single individual on this earth) has some sort of God-given talent that is unique to them. Some of the talents are very overt and widely appreciated, like singing, dancing, acting, drawing, and so on. Other talents are a little subtler and barely noticed by others, but they still exist and are important. For instance, what sort of talent does an old lady, nearly toothless, with no education to speak of, living in the swamplands of Louisiana have? It is hard to say, but it could be something like being a phenomenal cook who can whip up a water moccasin stew to rival anything Wolfgang Puck can make.

One Bitch'n Cook

One Bitch’n Cook

Ever since I had this thought, I’ve been trying to discover everyone’s talents. Sometimes people’s talents are readily apparent and other times, they are somewhat hidden, but I always manage to figure them out. Well, all except for one – my own.

It isn’t for a lack of trying – I just can’t seem to figure it out. I know it isn’t singing. When I was in choir in grade school, the choir director said, “Karen, just move your lips. You don’t actually need to sing.” This wasn’t a suggestion; it was an order.cat sing

I’ve tried arts, sports, academics, crafts…. You name it, I’ve tried it. Some things I just plain suck at, and others I’m OK with, but never really achieve more than an average level of accomplishment. I think my quest to find my talent might be the reason why I try so many different things. “One of these days, I will find my God-given talent,” said the old lady signing up for classes on woodworking, archery, paddle boarding, and glass blowing.

Bruce has the same agenda. Should I be worried?

Bruce has the same agenda. Should I be worried?

Although, sometimes I wonder if a grand imagination can be a talent. That is something I certainly have, almost to excess. I think I might have to count that as a possibility, because if I don’t, I might be Shit-out-of-Luck in the talent department. Still, trying to find my talent gives me good excuses to keep trying new things. The fun will never end.

Hey. I’m curious. What is your talent? I know you have one. Everyone does.talentcat

What’s life without yet another cat butt?

Opposites Attract – A Cat Butt Valentine’s Day Story

Today is Valentine’s Day and more importantly, a Saturday. This means John and I can enjoy a leisurely morning together reading before we start our day. Here’s how this morning went:

John and I are sitting on the love seat in our sunroom, each with an iPad in hand. Our little gray cat, Zoey, is wedged between us purring like she is extremely pleased with life.

I’m absorbed in the story I’m reading when John starts cussing. He is jabbing his finger on the iPad screen. He yells at the iPad, “I can’t get his goddamned thing to work!”

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

Frustrated, he shoves the iPad in my lap. He says, “I am trying to login so I can finish reading The Bible, but it won’t accept my password.”

bible

The Bible

He harrumphed and continued to poke at the screen. John subscribes to a site that takes him through daily Bible passages and offers insightful tips. He rarely misses a day, and being such a creature of habit, it irks him when something goes awry.

He continued to jab at the screen for a minute or so, muttering intermittent curse words to himself. Finally, he gives up and exclaims, “I can’t get it to work. I guess I won’t read The Bible today. Screw you, Jesus!”

angry

Yes, he makes the hand gestures

At this, I look up and say, “Really?” I pause. “Screw you, Jesus? That seems a bit harsh, don’t you think?”

Most of his anger abates and he smiles. “That is a bit harsh. But I can’t get this website to work.”

I say, “Perhaps it isn’t you, maybe it is the website. They have glitches from time to time. Just try later.”

He thinks about if a second, picks up the iPad and tries again.

A pleased look comes over his face and he declares, “I got in.”

“Good,” I say and return to my book. But a few seconds later, I hear cursing again.

“Son of a Bitch!” I’m 98% through The Bible and I can’t find my place! This is fucked!” he exclaims.

Without missing a beat, I deadpan, “And you don’t think the ‘Screw you, Jesus’ comment had anything to do with you losing your place?”

At this, he burst out laughing. “Perhaps it did,” he agrees. “By the way, what are you reading?”

Limbus, Inc.,” I reply. It is about monsters, demons, serial killers, Satanic cults…. You know, the usual stuff I read.” Then I add, “And my iPad is working just fine.”

Limbus, Inc

Excellent book. You should check it out.

He gives me a kiss on the forehead and says, “This only goes to prove that opposites really attract.”

“Yes they do,” I say.  “Yes they do.”

Happy Cat Butt Valentine’s Day!

Karen

“Supposed To” Cat Butts

I was supposed to post my New Year’s resolutions agenda at the beginning of the year. I was supposed to do a lot of things. Yet, I didn’t. But that isn’t failure; it’s just a change. It seems that I’ve started the past few years with all the best intentions only to get sidetracked by uncontrollable events. Thus, my momentum wanes; I get angry at my imperfections; I beat myself up for not being all I can be. This year was about to start that way again, but SCREW THAT!New Year

No, I am not giving up. I am just going to go about things a little differently. You might ask, “Why the change?” Well, it isn’t anything life altering, or even one of my famous (infamous) epiphanies. It is more of an observation of several events that led to a slow realization. I doubt you would want to read about all of these observations, so I will expand on one such event. Here’s how it went:

I came home to find my husband sitting in his office drinking a very potent vodka martini. When I walked in, he didn’t look up; he just sat there staring off into the corner with a strange look on his face. His handsome brow was crossed with anger, frustration, disappointment, and, dare I say – a faint touch of mirth.

Maybe it wasn't quite like this

Maybe it wasn’t quite like this

“What happened to you?” I asked

“I didn’t get to yoga practice,” he scowled and took a long sip from his drink.

“I can see that,” I replied. After a pause he didn’t continue, so I asked, “So why didn’t you get to yoga?”

I was a little afraid of the answer, but I knew I had to ask (was expected to ask).

He didn’t answer right away. He took another sip from his drink and I saw the anger fade a little as he launched into the past events that led to his vodka martini pity party.

He sighed heavily and said “When I got home, I had plenty of time to change for yoga. I was getting everything together when I noticed that Cally had gotten sick all over the floor.”

Cally is the oldest of our three cats. She has been very ill lately and prone to vomiting and diarrhea. In this particular instance, it had been some pretty fierce projectile vomiting.

My husband continued. “By the time I cleaned it up, I really had to get going. I was loading my yoga gear into the trunk of the car and realized I forgot my towel. I went to run back inside the house, but the door was locked. So I reached into my pocket to get my keys, but they were not there. I figured they must be in the car. I looked in the driver’s seat, the ignition, and inside the trunk, which was still wide open from loading the yoga gear. Nothing!” He paused for another drink. I could tell his anger was dissipating by now and the tone of his voice foretold of his annoyance, not with what happened but his reaction to what had happened.

“Go on,” I prompted.

“Well, I couldn’t find the hidden spare key when I looked the first time. I was cussing so much I missed it. I finally found it and got into the house. My keys were nowhere to be found. I was so @!#$%!#* pissed. I knew I would never make it to yoga, so I went outside to retrieve my stuff. As I shut the trunk door, guess what I found?” he said with a slight upward glance in my direction. I could see a little shame flushing up his neck and his anger was entirely gone, replaced by a little self-loathing mixed with the kind of humor that comes from realizing he was acting irrationally.

“Your keys were in the trunk lock, weren’t they,” I stated rather than asking. Our old Honda is exhibiting some wear and tear; recently the auto locks have been fading in and out of working condition. Sometimes the key fob works, and other times, we have to use the actual key.homer-simpson-doh-400x288

This is a funny story, but it is a good metaphor for the way my New Year’s resolutions tend to work out. I end up throwing my hands up and not doing what I really want to do.

I can’t stop the obstacles, but I can find ways around them. One way is to not make grand declarations at the beginning of the year. Instead, I am approaching this from a side angle. I am just going to improve a little each day. Nothing specific, just improve on one thing each day. In all likelihood, no one will notice except me. It doesn’t matter what it is either. It can be giving an extra effort to listen to someone, or giving the cashier at the grocery store a genuine smile instead of the obligatory one. If I keep improving the little things in my life, I am pretty sure it will transfer to the bigger things, like writing my novel or learning to play the guitar.cat_upsidedown-512

 

So far, it seems to be working out. The best part is, there are so many things to improve upon. I don’t think I will ever run out.

I kind of like this Cat Butt idea.

14522188006_40da90513c_cGo get’m!

Karen

Stan Lee, Nuns and a Box of Chocolates


When you were young, did you look at old people and automatically assume they were:

  • Boring
  • Slow
  • Passé
  • Uninteresting

I have to admit, when I was young, I thought this way. But holy wrinkles, Batman! Was I wrong!  If you doubt it, just look at Stan Lee. He’s got it going on.  He is loving life and having fun. He is one of those people who may look old on the outside, but has more imagination and heart than some 20 year olds I know.

Stan Lee, my hero

Stan Lee, my hero

My mistake was that I assumed all old people were the same. However, my experience with older folks was a little limited. My “elderly” world was comprised of distant relatives and the Catholic nuns at school. (I did eight years of parochial education, nine if you count kindergarten.) Even the young nuns seemed old. Of course, all the nuns, young, old and ancient, lived together in the same house, so that may have had something to do with it. Nobody really knows what goes on in a nunnery.

nuns

I am not sure why I formed my opinion about all old people being afraid of change or why I perceived them as sedentary.  It certainly wasn’t from being around my relatives. No matter what their ages, they were always up to something.  Well, when in doubt, blame the nuns. I don’t mean that as harshly as it sounds, but I did pick up that they were a bit immovable in their attitudes toward the evolving world and I think I equated this with age. I found this to be somewhat of an unattractive lifestyle and vowed never to grow old.  How is that for a youthful know-it-all declaration?nun

Ha! That declaration came back to bite me in the ass! Well, the physical part did anyway. Aging is inevitable. I saw first-hand evidence when I looked (really looked) in the mirror recently. My face has permanent laugh lines, which aren’t all that funny. My eyes have so many crow’s feet that I’m considering calling the National Audubon Society to have them studied. I believe I’ve discovered a new crow species that treks across my face when I sleep.  Even though I exercise daily and eat good food, parts of me are doing the “shake, sag, and roll” no matter how hard I target them. But that isn’t the worst part….CrowsFeet copy2

The younger people are judging me based on my appearance. Ah, Karma, you got me, didn’t you. They don’t see me as someone who is actually drawing breath. Just recently, I was at a function with a mixed crowd, young and old. Even though I was sitting directly across from a 22 year-old, his gaze passed straight through me. He considered me pretty much nonexistent in the span of a nanosecond and I subsequently became invisible to him. Whenever I spoke, he looked annoyed as if his mother had just told him to take out the trash. Too bad,  I might have told him that he had cheese on his chin, but I had to find some entertainment somewhere, so I didn’t. He got to wear that little glob of queso all the way home, curtesy of yours truly.

I can’t really blame the younger crowd. After all, I did the same thing until I realized that older people are pretty interesting. They may look old on the outside, but they are still young on the inside, like me. They’ve done things, been places and have great stories that are quite extraordinary. I guess I’m going to sum it up this way:

Old people are like a box of chocolates. Some of them may look a little old, but the inside is still fresh; you will be glad you sampled them. Some of them may look old and tired, and they are, so you lose on those. And some of them are just mysterious; they are well preserved, but it is a crap shoot on what you get (hard and crunchy, gooey and moldy, sweet and spicy – you just never know.my_momma_used_to_say_life_is_like_a_box_of_chocolates_you_ll_never_know_which_one_you_ll_get-976173

I have to say that my shine has worn off a little and I might be a little squishy around the edges, but the inside is still prime stuff. When I look out of my eyes and see the world, I am still looking at it with excitement and wonder. You may not see me, but I see you and I don’t miss a beat.

So, if you happen to look into the mirror and see and old person peering back at you, remember, you aren’t past your expiration date unless you believe you are. It is what’s on the inside that counts so do something with it.

It also helps to stay away from mirrors when possible.

You are never too old to kick some cat butt.

Karen

 

 

 

Audio

Hidden Gems in a Cat Butt

This is truly accurate

This is truly accurate

I know this post is a bit late. For some reason, I don’t like anything I write lately. I’ve actually finished this blog post three times already, only to delete it because it lacked anything interesting. Let’s start with the title of this blog, “Hidden Gems in a Cat Butt”. The title is the most exciting thing about this page of words. It conjures up all kinds of images, right? Nuggets of smelly wisdom to be sure. Of course, I didn’t mean it literally. I was alluding to my running injury and some unexpected byproducts of that injury. My inability to trek across the neighborhood in Brooks shoes, a Nike Running Watch, and a no-brand visor left me seeking out alternate forms of exercise. So I tried yoga. Who knew I would like it so much? I never considered yoga because I didn’t think anybody could possibly get a good workout by twisting around like a schizophrenic pretzel. But, you can… or at least I can. There it is…a twisty Gem in a Cat Butt.

Pity Kitty

Pity Kitty

Even though I’ve been practicing yoga for a few weeks now, I still don’t quite fit in with the yoga crowd yet. My yoga outfit consists of a t-shirt, usually with a zombie reference on it, and some stretchy shorts. Everyone else has fitted yoga pants and crazy looking tops with holes, straps and strings twisting strategically around the boobs. Let me take this opportunity to say this only goes for the women. The men are generally shirtless, which is fine, because they would look extremely odd in a pink string thongy shirt thing. I think you have to be a black belt in yoga before you are allowed to wear such things.

I haven’t quite gotten the knack of the poses yet. My Downward Facing Dog is more like Mutt in the Mud, and my Half Moon Warrior is more like Jerky Scarecrow. At least I make the instructor laugh.funny-yoga

I am also slowly learning yoga etiquette too. For instance, during the cool off phase at the end of practice, we usually lie quietly on our mats with our eyes closed while meditating on our stretched muscles. It’s actually kind of nice…. until the guy next to you starts to snore. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do, but tossing a wet towel in his face was how I chose to handle it. Did I mention that I have a hard time making yoga friends?

Also, another thing to keep in mind while in a yoga class is if you hear a fart-like sound, it’s always caused by something sliding on the mat. ALWAYS. No one ever really farts in yoga. Oh, and don’t laugh (out loud anyway).Funny-Yoga-05

All and all, I think I’m going to stick with yoga even after I get better and can run again. I can’t say I will give up my zombie t-shirts though. Some things are sacred.

I wish you inner peace and may these cat butt gems bring you enlightenment….. (I am trying to be Zen here, if you could not tell).yoga-cat-funny

 

Keep kicking the cat butts out of your way!

Karen

Cat Butts, Bug Butts and Elvis!

I love summer. I like spring and fall too, but summer is the bomb! Why? Swimming, beach bumming, biking, hiking, gardening, etc., and it can all be done wearing shorts or less. Oops, I forgot to mention winter. This is what I think about winter: Being cold sucks.

Here's looking at you, Charlotte, NC. Photo by Chris Austin

Here’s looking at you, Charlotte, NC.  Here comes the storm. Photo by Chris Austin

I also like the sudden summer storms. Have you ever experienced one in the South? The sensation is like being transported to the other world of Fae, or as Jim Butcher would put it, the Nevernever. At one moment it is hot, and the sweat is running down your back like water from an over used dishtowel; and the next, you are shivering because the wind has suddenly picked up and the temperature has dropped at least 10°F . The sun starts to fade as the dark clouds rush in. All this takes just a couple of minutes. Then the rain starts. First in little, thin bits of spittle, but then fully formed fat droplets start to bomb the earth. Something about such a sudden change in weather is extremely exhilarating. Maybe it is the power of the weather, a touch of something that is untamed and will remain that way forever.

One thing that I don’t quite love about summer is the bug onslaught. I know all those gnawing, chewing, biting, stinging insects are necessary to the ecological balance of nature (blah, blah) and I try to do the right thing by gardening with organic methods. However, the insects don’t appreciate my efforts. They still try to make a meal out of me every chance they get.blog pic, scaaary spider

Assailant #1: The mosquito. I don’t care what the experts say; mosquitoes are pack hunters capable of stalking prey (me). I think they have surveillance set up so they know when I am in range. It’s no joke; from the time I open the patio door to the time I begin drenching myself in bug spray, I’ve already accumulated at least three more new bites. It can’t be by chance. THEY KNOW.

A week's worth of combat supplies.  Running low, it looks like.

A week’s worth of combat supplies. Running low, it looks like.

Assailant #2: Spiders. I actually started out liking spiders because they are tremendously helpful in an organic garden. They eat all sorts of bugs that would otherwise mess with my veggies. Alas, they don’t appreciate the fact that I appreciate them. It never fails; no matter how careful I am, some spider decides I look like an aphid and takes a bite out of me. Spider bites don’t hurt much more than mosquito bites, but they take a lot longer to heal. I swear my legs look like they are in a constant state of leprosy recovery.spider_attack_by_theevilcam-d5jpy03

Assailant #3: Ants. For the most part, ants don’t bother me unless they happen to be fire ants. I can’t seem to kill them, but by continuously treating their mounds (with organic methods of course) I’ve convinced them to move over to the neighbor’s yard. (Shhhhhhh).fireants_mainPhoto

Assailant #4: Hornets. For the longest time, I was deathly afraid of any sort of buzzing bee: honey bees, dirt daubers, bumble bees, carpenter bees, you name it. However, over the years, I’ve mellowed out and can tolerate being around them. It’s the hornets I still have a problem with. They are just flat out mean. Even if you aren’t bothering them, they want a piece of you. That is one species that is in serious need of anger management. Sorry hornets, and screw organic methods, if I find your nest I am blasting you with nuclear waste.

Hornet

Don’t be fooled by his cuteness

I’ll be sorry to see summer go. It seems like it went by too fast this year. Although, I do enjoy autumn, not as much as summer, but I still like it. It isn’t so much about the cool mornings or evenings; it’s more about the bugs. They will be dying soon. HA! Take that you little people eaters.

Oh – Just because I feel like this cannot go unshared.  Here is some bonus footage from my mini-vacation in Myrtle Beach, NC.  It’s Elvis! (sort of).

Living the life – with extra cat butt.

Take care out there.

Karen

 

Ignored By My Physician — Say It Isn’t So!

Dr. Evil

Dr. Evil

It’s that time again – my annual physical! I know it is only once a year, but I start dreading it as soon as I make the appointment, which is about four months out. I’ve been going to the same doc since I moved to North Carolina. She has always been very attentive, asked a lot of questions, and spent time with me. After all, I only see her once a year. This visit was a little different; thus, I have a new name for her: Dr. Faster-Than-The-Speed-Of-Light. For whatever reason, she seemed like she was in a really big hurry. She glanced at my chart and proceeded to give me an exam that was quicker than an airport TSA screening . In about three minutes, she was finished, gave a dismissing nod toward my clothes piled on a chair, and pronounced me healthy enough to return to the general population. The problem was that I had a question about a particular pain I am having in my lower back.

I’m a rather healthy person, but from time to time, I get an ache or pain that needs more than Ibuprofen. For instance, a few months ago, I got a really weird bite on my hand. My knuckles swelled up so much it looked like I had Cremini mushrooms on the back of my hand. Not only that, it was painful, almost like getting your hand ground down into the dirt with an army boot, size 15. It turned out to be some weird bacteria that had invaded my hand through the bite wound and was trying to alter my DNA. Ok, maybe the DNA part isn’t true, but I had to take antibiotics and get a penicillin shot to kill it.

Never fun

Never fun

Anyway, the doc was about to leave before I could ask about my back pain, and she was moving fast. She took one step and her latex gloves were off. She took another step and her foot was on the trashcan pedal, the lid opening and her gloves dropping in. Somehow, she also had the water running in the sink and had a soapy lather going. By step three, she had already grabbed a paper towel with one hand and was turning the door handle with the other.

It was all happening too fast. If I wanted my doctor’s opinion on my back pain, I had to act. I launched myself off the table causing my paper skirt to fall to the floor. All I had covering me was the light blue exam gown, which didn’t conceal much more than my shoulder blades.

In mid-flight from the table, I yelled, “Wait! In hindsight, I think I might have said it too loudly, because her eyes, normally friendly and crescent shaped , opened up into large jawbreaker sized orbs in her head. My hair was in my face, so when I pushed it out of the way, I inadvertently got a sideways look at myself in the mirror. Yikes! I was a sight. My long, tangled hair was doing some weird medusa dance around my head; my exam gown was open in the front exposing all of my naughty bits right down to my toes. I was hunched over a bit (duh, my back hurt), and my stomach was growling like a mountain lion from not eating, a necessary evil for the usual blood work yet to come.

crazy

The crazy was showing a little bit.

The doc composed herself and her eyes shifted back to their normal, practiced, compassionate features and asked, “Was there something more?” From her tone, I could tell she wanted me to say “no” so she could go on with her day. This angered me a bit. After all, I was standing on a cold tile floor wearing an ugly blue exam gown that was barely clinging to my shoulders. To say I was a little miffed would be an understatement.

My stomach rumbled out one big ugly growl and I gave her a little smirk. I tend to get somewhat sarcastic when I am hungry. It was tough to fight back the urge to cock my head to one side, smile a big, toothy grin, and say, “I have a strange craving for BRAINS!” and then take a step toward her. But alas, I was able to keep it together. I like my doc, but I don’t think her sense of humor was working that day. Besides, I am pretty sure she could have me committed for 24 hour observation if she wanted to.

So, I calmly pulled the gown closed, straightened up a bit and said, “Yes, I need to ask about my lower back pain.”

She asked me a few questions, pushed around on my back a bit and told me to take some Ibuprofen and keep an eye on it. I was about to tell her that was what I have been doing for the past month, but when I turned around, she was gone. Damn. I should have gone with the brain-craving instead.

Pain

Did this just happen?

The good news is that my lab results came back and I have healthy blood. (Please don’t tell the vampire community.) The bad news is my back still hurts and my opinion of my health insurance is hurting as well. I am not entirely sure what to do now. The pain seems to be getting worse, so I will probably go for a second opinion pretty soon. It looks like I have a new cat butt in my life. Yay me.medium

Watch out this week; the cat butts seem to be on sneak attack.

Karen