Friday, June 30, 2006
Moosie has some social issues- spending most of her time hiding underneath the covers. I guess those of us (at least the two of us) who are fond of Alex have some similar baggage.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Theo loves to chase Thompson who most of the time can out run him. It's only when Thompson is cornered or Theo can circle him when Thompson's only defense is to drop down on his back and swat at Theo. This is usually when the hissing begins.
But moments after the fight Thompson will go over and start cleaning Theo. Thompson's hygiene is impeccable. He loves to clean the others. He's not one to hold a grudge.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
They probably think it's more odd that I'll spend evenings sitting in front of this big square thing, typing away and listening to a guy's voice coming from out of nowhere (if XM Satellite radio is really coming from nowhere).
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
So what did we do to celebrate? I gave him some "greenies' (the boyz's treats). I bought him a couple of giant crinkly balls. And right before dinner time the three of us sang him "Happy Birthday." (Well I sang and Thompson and Diego sat nearby staring at me).
Happy birthday lil buddy.
Monday, June 26, 2006
After dinner he expects me to be in the bathroom to turn on the faucet a trickle because all three boyz enjoy a sip of water after they are done eating.
He'll wait patiently outside the bathroom door in the morning waiting for me to get out of the shower. Unlike Theo, he never claws at the door or even meows. He'll just sit there, right in the center waiting for me to come out, get dressed, and then get breakfast out. He won't even go downstairs until he knows I'm ready because this would be a deviation from the routine. Once he sees I'm going downstairs he'll tear down as fast as he can.
I love that when I come home and go in the bedroom to change he'll come storming in because he knows that I will open his favorite window.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
First, he's a friendly and affectionate cat but not overly so. He likes to spend a lot of time to himself whether exploring or doing the cat contemplation thing. There are times throughout the day where he'll come find me, do his deep bellow to indicate it's time for me to pet him, or brush him, or hold him.
Second, he's an extremely good looking cat. I've never felt softer fur and his face has a lot of character.
Third- he can be goofy at times, tearing up and down the stairs (usually in an effort to run away from the pesky Theo) or lying on his back underneath the breeze blowing in from the skylights.
I love how he is fascinated by things like running water and bugs floating above him in the air. He's bright, coordinated, and just a joy to have around the house.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The song playing is Paul McCartney's "This Never Happened Before" and it's the perfect song to capture the mood of the moment. (Yet since McCartney released the song in 2005 and this meeting moment is supposed to be occurring in 2004- there seems to be a time/space problem with the song choice that only enhances the movie's message).
Usually I'm not too big a fan of movie and TV scenes where the dialogue ceases and the music swells and we get a montage backed by a song. Often this is a sign of poor writing as if the writer of the scene couldn't find a way to express the emotion necessary so the director uses music- the best emotion expressing art form that exists - to get across what written words and actors acting their hearts out can't. But this particular scene works. It's great to hear McCartney's voice struggling to hit the higher notes. This imperfection underscores the uncertainty the characters are facing- trusting a complete stranger in a random romantic moment.
The mood of the scene reminded me of one of the beginning moments with my favorite person in the world. She told me she used to have a theme song. That song was "I Can See Clearly Now." Once she told me that there was little else I needed to know about her. If you're going to pick a theme song for your life that one might as well be it. It seemed like a far better choice than what was the theme song of my life at that time, Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."
There are other movie and TV musical moments that have over the years stuck inside me like a bad burrito. Remember the scene from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the lesbian couple Tara and Willow break up and other characters in the show have personal crisis' going on leaving much of the cast in a sad place? What did Joss Whedon choose to well up the emotion of the places his characters found themselves in? Michelle Branch's "Goodbye to You."
Now I'm not the biggest Michelle Branch fan in the world. Maybe I should be but I just haven't had the time. But her performance at the Bronze in this Buffy episode makes me cry every time I see it.
"It feels like I'm starting all over again/The last three years were just pretend/And I said goodbye to you/Goodbye to everything that I knew/You were the one I loved/The one thing I tried to hold on to..."
If someone out there was kind enough to put together a soundtrack for my life this song would surely have to be on it. It's time to move on.
Then there's the scene from the movie I've seen more times than any other- The Karate Kid. Daniel finds himself a stranger in a strange place and he's blaming his mom because she didn't exactly give him a choice on whether he wanted to uproot himself from New Jersey to move out west and start all over again. As he struggles to make friends there's a montage where Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" plays in the background. Is there a better song that's ever been sung? A better song that could say all that needs to be said about being lost and alone?
Listening now "Cruel Summer" takes me all the way back to 1984. I'm soaking my hands in pickle juice to make them tougher for all the karate chops that are needed. Of course I couldn't soak my head in the same juice and it would be a long time before I could pickle my heart leaving me to ask a question I'm still asking. Where do I go from here?
Friday, June 23, 2006
There's an occasional trespassing kitty or two as well.
Anyhoo there have been two times in the past week and a half where I've gone out in the backyard only to find a pile of cat doo doo. Since my boyz never get to go out, I knew it wasn't any of them responsible for the mess leftover in the yard.
Upon my return home one evening I scolded Thompson. "So you're just gonna allow any old cat to come do his business in our yard?" I said looking into his sad, soulful eyes. He seemed to take my words to heart, (probably due to the tone of my voice). He looked up at me as if he had let me down. So I patted him on the head and thanked him for being so understanding of his own species. Thompson knows when a fellow has to go, a fellow has to go.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
This morning it wasn't his towel fetish that got Theo into trouble. I was awoken by the sound of him scratching the window screen next to my bed. No matter what I did he wouldn't stop this activity. I pulled him away from the window, scolded him and minutes later I would hear his tiny lil mew, the one he does when he knows he's about to do something that will get him into trouble.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
But really who can't learn something from all the things my boyz do?
I had an all day training session today. I'm not exactly the type that enjoys getting up in front of a large group of people and speaking for hours. And my sense of humor often draws silence and blank looks much like I'm used to getting from my boyz.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
When I got home I found that one of the boyz had thrown up on the carpet upstairs- a large quantity of food. Since Diego hadn't eaten I'm not entirely sure it was him- but the other two seem to be feeling fine.
This morning I found more vomit downstairs.
Ah, the life of a cat owner.
Monday, June 19, 2006
I told Diego-san that I thought he was incredibly smart. This was based on his ability to walk into a room where I've moved something (a box, a bag, any small object) and the first thing he'll do is notice that something has changed and meander over to check it out.
I told Theo he wasn't so smart (although in his defense I think this is based on that big old blank look on his face more than anything else).
I told Thompson he needed to work on his sense of humor. He doesn't like to be teased in any way and he always acts so serious.
The first thing Diego-san did was go over and scratch the sofa like a big nimnal.
Immediately Theo followed by going over to the scratching post as if to show Diego what the right thing to do was.
Thompson went and climbed in one of our cat trees so only his little face was sticking out. It was quite funny.
Thus all three boyz responded to their reviews by showing me I may not know so much after all.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I mucked up that friendship mighty fine but her love and friendship will never leave me. She was the one following my hospitalization for head problems, when all seemed lost, who did the one thing no one else in my life seemed capable of doing anymore: she made me smile. Just as importantly I found a long lost side of me through our friendship. I found my sense of humor again. In a time it seemed impossible, whenever I was around her I felt like myself again for the first time in a long time. I don't know a bigger compliment that I'll ever be able to give to another person.
Thus the timing of meeting her was important to what she came to mean to me. Likewise if my head had been where my heart was (in a better place) at the time I think our relationship might have lasted a whole lot longer.
I tried to put the Duluth seamstress behind me by fictionalizing her. She was a major character in the great unpublished novel that has only gathered dust in my bedroom closet. There were times that tact was successful- I wasn't entirely sure I hadn't made her up in some desperate dream.
But it was through some real fiction that the "she's only a character" strategy dissolved into the watery stuff that flows from the eye ducts. When I saw Sandra Bullock play a bit part in a Sylvester Stallone sci-fi movie I was immediately struck at how much she somehow reminded me deeply of the Duluth seamstress. I wasn't exactly sure what it was about Bullock that made that watery stuff start flowing uncontrollably during the unintentionally comedic Demolition Man. Was it her eyes? Her eyebrows? Her smile? Her face? Her voice? Her down to earth sense of humor? I've never been able to answer that.
Since Bullock became a star with Speed, I've made it a point to try and see each and every one of her movies if not on opening day, then shortly after. I'll be the first to confess it is a pathetic effort to feel like I'm going to a movie again with my all time favorite movie going partner. During our chat in 2001 I asked the Duluth seamstress if anyone had ever told her she reminded him/her of Sandra Bullock. "Only about a thousand times," she said. "In fact this guy carding me at the liquor store this morning said that." I couldn't help but think throughout this last conversation that she not only seemed a bit freaked that I called, but she also seemed a little sad about what happened between us.
Bullock's latest film, The Lake House, reunites her with her Speed co-star, Keanu Reeves. The Lake House couldn't be anymore different than Speed. It doesn't have any flying buses or wild chase scenes or wall to wall action. Most of the movie takes place with Bullock or Reeves' character reading a letter to the other. (This latter film does have a couple of references to the earlier film- there's a bus accident that plays a major role in the plot; both characters' dog is named "Jack"- the name of Reeves character in Speed. Indeed The Lake House's plot reaffirms what Bullock's character repeated over and over to Jack in Speed: that relationships that begin under extreme circumstances seldom last.)
The Lake House is a remake of a Korean movie called Il Mare and its complicated (and almost fairy tale like) storyline seem foreign to an American movie and almost standard for films made in other countries. Both characters live in the same house only two years apart. Through the magic of a mail box, the characters are able to communicate with one another.
Not much happens in the movie other than two people fall in love. The beauty of The Lake House is that the movie well understands that two people falling in love happens every day but it still doesn't happen nearly often enough.
Given the story's unique plot device one has to suspend logic in order to be able to enjoy The Lake House. I'm not even sure given the rules of the world in the movie that the ending makes sense. But still this isn't a movie like any I've seen before and by the end I was blubbering, a sniffling wreck of a human being. And this time around I don't even think this emotional state had anything to do with my odd affection to Sandra Bullock. By the end of the movie I truly cared what happened to the two characters, wishing despite the odds and the circumstances that they would end up together.
The Lake House tells a convincing (albeit odd) story about how timing has as much to do if not more, with our place in the world in whether a relationship will succeed or not. The movie contains my favorite Keanu Reeves performance. He hits all the right notes as a decent, yet damaged architect. There's a scene where Bullock's character gives Reeves' character a gift, a book from the future that contains a very personal photograph, and given some difficult circumstances, Reeves begins to weep. It's a perfect scene. All the right emotions are expressed through his acting and verbal cues and not a word, and no music are needed to make it all work.
Likewise in many ways this is Bullock's best movie yet. Her character is sad and lonely, quite aware of how her withdrawal from the world into her work and how her relationship with Reeves only adds to what is in a way wrong with the woman she has become. Bullock has shown in every one of her movies (except for the dreadful Miss Congeniality duo) that she understands that playing a role understated is often more effective than going over the top with something flashier. The Lake House features her most understated performance to date. She is sad and it isn't the absence of her smile that she uses to convey it. It's her body language. She looks weary here and even the events from a magic mail box doesn't seem capable of shaking her back to life.
The day before I saw The Lake House I happened to watch Charlie Chaplin's last silent film, the brilliant Modern Times for the first time. There isn't a whole lot of similarities between the two movies yet both left me with a similar feeling of a re-energized, if still reserved hope of going out and facing the world again.
Modern Times has a lot of great things going for it. There's Chaplin's sheer genius for physical comedy. (There's a scene where Charlie's character has accidentally ingested some cocaine while in prison and as he tries to march back to his cell with the rest of the prisoners after dinner, he does these snappy little twirls that are a delight.) There's also a spellbinding performance by Paulette Goddard (as the "gamin") whose joy and energy simply radiate off the screen. My favorite moment of the film though is when Charlie's character is coerced into accepting a job as a waiter and part of that job requires him to do a song for the restaurant patrons. Since talking movies were the wave of the future and Chaplin's silent skills all of a sudden were a thing of the past- the challenge for the character seem to be Chaplin's way of answering anyone skeptical of his ability to survive in the movies if he chose to do so (he didn't). The character is shy and nervous about singing in public for the first time and Chaplin plays this for all it's worth. And yet when he does finally sing it's a wonderful performance. It's the greatest cinematic middle finger gleefully ever given.
Ironically Modern Times has proven to be timeless. It's the story of the might and weakness of labor unions and the corruption of power in a world devoted no matter what to technological advances despite the human costs. Watching the movie is like having the ability to reach into a magical movie mail box to another time to not only appreciate the history of what once was but also understand how what once was has made this world a better place after all.
Likewise The Lake House given many critics' scorn and indifference will likely disappear as one of many failed summer movies of 2006. Yet I can foresee a time a couple of years from now when someone discovering this movie will unexpectedly be transported to another time and another place. That's the beauty of a good movie- it can take us to a place where we've never been before and yet still returns us to where we've never been quite able to leave behind.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
It was hot humid and ready to storm all day. Finally this evening the clouds let go. I can relate.
Friday, June 16, 2006
I cleaned out some closets (if moving things from one closet to another qualifies as actual cleaning).
I read two and a half books: Kyle Smith's Love Monkey (I loved the book being about a guy who never gets the girl and listens to Dylan to understand this and console himself at the same time); Sarah Vowell's Assasination Vacation (what a wit and great political humor); and John Grogan's Marley and Me (a terrific little memoir about a couples' love of their world's worst behaved lovable pet dog).
I've seen three movies: Gia, Modern Times, and The Lake House.
I got my tomato plants planted. (Yellow tomatoes. Yum.)
I've bonded more than before with Thelonious- one of the two greatest nappers of all time (Thompson being the other master napper).
Thursday, June 15, 2006
After she was done Dave of course had to say, "Hopefully cat power will allow us to lessen our dependence on foreign oil."
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the 11th inning and then the Twins loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th. Jason Kubel hit a high fly ball that fell just over the baggie in right. Twins win Twins win!
I still love baseball just like when I was a kid. Baseball, kitties, I'm so doggone all American.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Maybe I'll get out of bed this week. Maybe I won't. For me, life is more and more like that great Jim White song: "They say it's better to be blessed than it is to be clever but I don't care./'Cause I got 10 miles to go on a 9 mile road and it's a rocky rough road/but I don't care./For life's nothing if not a blind rambling prayer/You keep your head held high a'walking and a'talking/'til the power of Love delivers you there."
During a normal week if you're lucky (or blessed) enough to live in the Como Park area, or anywhere between Minneapolis and St. Paul, you might open up your drapes and windows one morning and happen to hear the warbling of an aging Asian fellow wearing a great big white helmet scooting by your home.
Those familiar with scooter riding know that the A-number one thing to keep in mind at all times is "safety first." Thus no matter how tempting it might be to plug in one's iPod underneath that great big white helmet, ears, hearing, and listening are needed for other things like keeping track of the traffic around you.
To make up for the lack of music, I've taken to singing. Singing my lungs and heart and spleen out. I don't care what looks I get. I don't care if the car next to me is bouncing up and down from the woofers and bass and blaring rap music. I don't care if there's someone standing waiting for a bus that can in all likelihood hear me. Along with my kitty blog, and this weekly column, and little else, singing on my scooter is my outlet, my forum.
My scooter singing song selection isn't varying much these days. I just watched (and re-watched) the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Every time I see it I marvel at how effectively writer Joss Whedon demonstrates the art and power of music by how well he is able to capture the place each and every cast member was at at that point in time in the series' impressive flowing fluid storyline.
My secret wish is that somewhere in the near future some smart and creative and in tune high school drama teacher will choose "Once More with Feeling" as his/her choice for the fall or spring musical stage presentation. I truly believe that the Buffy musical would make one hell of a terrific high school stage show The music is great and the emotion of the story and music ranks right up there with my favorite plays, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, and West Side Story.
So there I am most mornings scooting down the streets of the Twin Cities, just waiting for an inattentive driver to hit me, and still able to feel a lot of joy and pleasure in all the fresh air and fresh scenes. And I wonder, why is it that I can so relate to Buffy's big songs? In the musical having been pulled by magic down from heaven Buffy is feeling quite dead inside, a feeling only made worse by the cold harsh reality of this world.
"Still I always feel the strangest estrangement/Nothing here is real, nothing here is right..." "I've been going through the motions/Walking through the part/Nothing seems to penetrate my heart..." "I can't even see/If this is really me/And I just want to be alive..."
"Life's a song you don't get to rehearse/and every single verse/can make it that much worse/And still my friends don't know why I ignore/the million things or more/I should be dancing for/All the joy life sends/family and friends/All the twists and bends/Knowing that it ends/Well that depends/on if they let you go..."
I've also featured in my repertoire for my involuntary audience Xander and Anya's risqué retro-ditty (did Rock Hudson and Doris Day ever break into song?) "I'll Never Tell."
"He snores/She wheezes/Say housework and he freezes/She eats these squeazy cheeses that I can't describe/I talk, he breezes/She doesn't know what please is/His penis got diseases from a Shumosh tribe..."
Or how about the relevance of Giles and Tara's duet, "Under Your Spell"?
"Believe me I don't want to go/And it will grieve me because I love you so/But we both know/Wish I could say the right words to lead you through this land..."
It's been a lifelong dream that just once every one around me will break out into song and that life would be like the one I've on occasion witnessed in the dark, on stage with clean resolutions and meanings. Since that doesn't seem to be happening I guess my scooter riding singing will have to suffice. Wouldn't be a kick if once, just once someone would join in the song? If nothing else that spontaneous music would make me feel again and make whatever feelings I should be feeling a shared experience once more.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
It was so noisy I closed my windows but the skylights upstairs were still open and the boyz seemed to think that the guys were working upstairs since that was where the noise was loudest.
Life can be confusing for a kitty. But I guess if that's all that it takes to peak one's interest, being a member of that species may not be so bad after all.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Then he'll turn to me- not wanting me anywhere out of sight. But he wants to be a solitary soul as is the inherent nature of his species. So this all doesn't add up.
But he is so sweet- so trusting- that who among us can ignore his charms? Not any of the three others in this house. That's for sure.
Friday, June 09, 2006
He doesn't like to be held but this is the way we often connect.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Indeed in the case of Theo and Thompson, it's their imperfection that I think makes them dashing. Theo's eyes aren't centered so his face sorta has this lopsided quality to it. The white triangle that goes down from his chin to his chest also isn't perfectly symmetrical, but I think it only makes him a more interesting looking cat.
Thompson has this little brown mark right next to his nose. It gives his face more character- and his face is flowing with character. He has a random black spot on his back leg that is perfect in its imperfection, almost a reminder that he once had parents.
Diego-san with his long silky black fur and his penetrating eyes would probably be the most showy cat of the three. His long tail is very impressive as well. Everything about him is impressive and it's almost like he knows that. His walk is sorta a strut. Visitors are often impressed by his looks. He can be cute (like when he's playfully swatting a ball around a room), handsome (when he's sitting on my chest staring off in the distance), mysterious (when he is lost in thought looking out a window).
So the boyz may not be orchids in the hierarchy of money winning show cats, but at the very least they are the most beautiful of weeds. Or something.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
This time through the rotation Josh Beckett, Mark Buerhle, and Andy Pettite, supposedly the strength of the team, were all rocked.
I'm trying to teach my boyz how to throw because if the Cat's Meow don't start getting better pitching (and fast) the season will be lost. Carlos Marmol anyone?
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
He chases after Thompson and Diego and then looks shocked that they run away or in Thompson's case, hisses at him.
He licks me awake and then looks shocked that I disapprove.
He looks at his empty dinner dish and looks shocked that I don't know enough to keep it full at all times.
He hops up on the sink and looks shocked that the water doesn't just magically appear, that I have to come in and turn the faucet on.
If he truly is living in a state of shock he sure seems happy about it as his natural state seems to be in purring mode.
Monday, June 05, 2006
But as he gets older he's also getting better behaved. He seems to love our "alone" moments together. My favorite Diego-san quirk is how as I'm getting ready for bed, and right after I've combed his long silky fur, he'll lie on his back, content as can be. His position suggests that life can't get any better than this.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
I'm enjoying the fruits of her labor immensely. To look out my windows and see a yard that actually looks nice is a treat. The boyz and all the neighborhood rabbits seem to agree.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Yet whenever I leave my house I leave my place of comfort. Thompson in particular seems to have some form of separation anxiety because he loves his routine. And I love that he loves his routine and that I can provide some of that.
Then there is just the familiarity of all those familiar things.
To see anew or to seek comfort in what I always see? It involves the boyz too.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Of course if I could teach the boyz how to read email then I could stay in touch with them whenever I'm on the road. This probably isn't too realistic in that it would require: a) teaching them how to read; b) teaching them how to use a computer; c) teaching them why we call the device to get around a computer a 'mouse;' d) teaching them to be interested enough in reading my emails to them.
That seems like a lot of work. And a lot of the work likely would entail the use of opposable thumbs. If I did teach them to have that much manual dexterity, they'd also likely learn how to open the refrigerator and get to their food. That would mean coming home to three fifty pound cats.
Besides, I suspect that when I'm gone the boyz miss my warmth more than my warm personality so my emails probably wouldn't mean much to them anyway.