Tag Archives: cats

Way Back in the Woods

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It’s been so long since I posted. I’ve been painting instead of writing. Got into a semi-abstract painting phase and I love it. I have an interesting show in Baker City, Oregon right now at the Short Term Gallery. Baker City is a small town with lots of art and truly creative people. Since I got home from the opening of the show I’ve been reading, walking my dog Cody, wrangling cats and doing a lot of thinking.
I like having a break. I’ve lived in the woods for a long time and am used to being alone. Timber Valley is totally different from Portland, Seattle, The Dalles or Hood River. Sometimes it can seem really lonely when you are fourteen miles up from the Columbia River Gorge and you aren’t a windsurfer, kayaker or fisherman.  The woods and mountain are beautiful.  Lots of places to hike and hang out on the Klickitat River or the Columbia. But if we want to go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner it involvesmaking a plan“. There are no meals to buy within walking distance. The closest actual business  is the Appleton Post Office…with an outhouse and a tiny woodstove. Even it is only open four half-days per week.  There is no Starbucks or even a Taco Bell (my favorite) in Timber Valley.  It’s a 50 minute drive to get to the nearest place to have a meal out.  When we moved up here from Portland years ago I’m sure some of our friends thought we had disappeared into the wild. We are out of sight, unreachable by car especially in the winter, invisible, gone but not forgotten. Everyone is busy.  I know.  I don’t often leave home for Portland to visit either.  Our lives are too fast and complicated even though we would like to keep in touch with everyone. Living this far away from civilization is even harder when you have the curse of slow dial up on your computer.  Because of that most of my life is off line. I know that not being “connected” is unheard of these days.  I have totally accepted it. I try to keep up with what everyone is doing. Believe it our not I am on Facebook. I am on S- L- O- W  Facebook.  For me to write a simple post it takes at least ten times longer than anyone else. The computer keeps timing out. Often it freezes. Any unwanted advertising, or “Like this Page” notifications get so complicated that my computer will sit forever before it downloads anything and usually will just turn off. I’m “timed out”. I must “refresh”. I spend most of my on-line time just waiting for something to happen. But I love to see what my friends are doing…they are so amazing.  I’m beginning to accept the wait just for the news.  Sometimes I feel weird putting my life into short posts for everyone in the universe to read…or  not read but just respond. Facebook sometimes makes me sad for the silliest reasons.  I don’t have a better connection. I don’t have more online friends (I guess over 200 isn’t enough for me).   I don’t get enough likes. Am I crazy? I never know what to post. I have some odd interests that don’t seem to be anything most people want to chat about or share. I guess I’ll have to learn patience, wait, and accept my own slow cyberspace or perhaps get up out of my chair and take a hike!
Bear Wakes Up (acrylic on canvas) 14 x18 175.00
It is bear season in Timber Valley. It’s always bear season in Timber Valley but this year there are more than usual. They have been clearcutting lots of the properties on SDS lands. Log trucks, chain saws, mud and old found tires litter the roads. Think beautiful Doug Firs, tall and elegant, ripped down, cut and stacked on now barren properties. Much land that used to be green and lush is now brown. The lupine is gone, the vetch is gone and all of the ground cover is gone. The animals are all confused. They have to move into new territory, rebuild nests, hives and other homes. Logging companies leave enough green to make it seem “not so bad”. They re-plant baby trees…usually pine instead of Doug Fir…and line many of them up near the highway hoping no one will notice how many are missing. This year our favorite pond, Disappearing Pond, has been so disrupted we only have one nesting pair of ducks and only three ducklings there.  More bears are around this spring. Mother bears and baby bears. Bears up trees and bears climbing up phone poles are seen early in the morning. I haven’t seen our usual bear who steals our crabapples yet. Who knows where he is hanging out now? Maybe he’s thinking of moving to Portland or Seattle.
I’m going to post a couple of my new acrylic pieces for anyone that wants to see them. Remember these are at Short Term Gallery in Baker City if you want to buy one. Hope you “like” this post. I don’t get lots of hits on my website but it is certainly a good place for me to ramble.

Timber Valley in Moonlight

Moon 1

Moon 1

It has been snowing in Timber Valley almost every night for a week.  It snows during the day and stops at night. Late in the evening the sky clears and a bright moon can be seen off the back deck of the cabin through dense Douglas fir trees.  The sight of the moon through those trees reminds me of why I choose to live here.  I went out on to the deck last night, barefoot in snow, at about midnight to look at the moon.  Even Cody had gone to bed and it was quiet and clear and the air smelled of fir.  I thought about a painting I once painted called “We Share the Moon”.  I did it when I was traveling almost all of the time and missed Timber Valley and Ron and all of our animals.  I had almost forgotten about that painting.  I thought about how the moon is feminine in Spanish…la luna.  Why feminine?  Is it because of the changing nature of the moon, the fullness of the moon?   I remembered the places I’ve lived before and how I saw the exact same moon then and now.

Moon from the deck

Moon 2

Cody likes the moon.  I know all wise scientists say that a dog never looks back over his shoulder but Cody does.  He does this when he looks up at the moon.  I can hear coyotes during all phases of the moon.  I notice it more during a full moon.  Wolves too sing to the moon.  My cats like a dark moon, the moon you can’t see.  It keeps them hidden from juicy night prey.  I read somewhere that a dark moon is a good time to light a candle and burn it until it goes out. That will rid your life of anything that needs to be gone.  Kind of like smudging a house with sage, it will purify.   I don’t know if it’s true.

I watched a documentary on the artist Ai Weiwei last night.  I’m fascinated with him.  He is a brave man and a stellar artist.  He puts himself in danger with each piece of art and each statement he posts on the internet.  He’s not just a flavor of the month as an artist.  His studio is in China, but he finds a way to let the entire world know about the way the Chinese Government lies to everyone.  They tell lies that are outright and lies of omission.  Take a look at his art.  Google him.  Give him a chance. By the way, he sees the same moon as we do.

We Share the Moon

We Share the Moon watercolor by Jerry Fenter

My shoulder is still injured.  I go in for my second cortisone shot tomorrow.  Hopefully that and one next month will keep me from surgery.  Since I can’t paint, I’ve been reading and watching lots of TV.  High point:  The Oscars.  Why? The clothes, the silliness of it and the fact I don’t think I’ve ever missed the awards as far back as I can remember.  I love movies.  They are real.  Low point:  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Yep, I used to watch Beverly Hills 90210 in its heyday, too.  Why? The puffy lips, glass refrigerators, ugly tasteless art and clothing and my never-ending  search for how can they be so unhappy when they have so many shoes in their closet.  Hot shoes too.

Moon 3

Moon 3

I also watched a mini-series called Generation Kill.  It’s based on an article from Rolling Stone by Evan Wright called “The Killer Elite”.  I give it five stars.  Don’t forget to watch the extras on the DVD.  They are worth it.  Also it stars Alexander Skarsgard….always a feast for the eyes.

Now I’m off to read Sanctuary by William Faulkner.  I’m about halfway through.  It’s dark and disturbing.  This is a book that takes some focus to read.

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” Mark Twain

 

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Checkov

What are your favorite movies?  Best dressed nominees?  Ideas and thoughts on the moon?  Make a comment!!

Good luck on Wednesday Jeremy.

 

 

 

 

IN MY FAR COUNTRY… LIVING WITH CABIN FEVER

 

I’ve been curled up in front of our giant TV (Thanks again, Bill) watching movies and old re-runs of Law and Order Criminal intent.  With Cody by my side and the kitties coming and going, I’ve been sitting, wrapped in a quilt in my big…and I mean BIG…chair near the fireplace for about two months now. No, I’m not painting or drawing or doing any important writing. I’m confused but accepting. (By the way did you know you can watch any episode of any Law and Order and still be surprised by the ending). It’s the truth.

 

Some of you know it’s been a rough few months for us. Ron’s mom, Patty,  passed on a few weeks ago and my mom is now on the Hospice program at St. Anthony Village. Things seem to be ending all around me. So I guess I’m quietly waiting for what’s next.

I’m sure I fit all of the classic symptoms of “Cabin Fever”. I’ve looked them up and added my own symptoms to the list.

1. Excessive sleeping

2. Moodiness

3. Waiting for the next Netflix to arrive

4. Restlessness

5. Irrationality

6. Reading and ordering tons of novels from “mail order” library.

7. Crankiness

8. Forgetfulness

9. Sudden bursts of laughter or tears and distrust of other individuals

 

But instead of the the often predicted feeling of a desperate need to escape,  my version of cabin fever has morphed into an “I want to stay in my chair”. Let me warn you that “individuals suffering from the fever can become so frustrated while working or living in a remote situation that they dip to the emotional extreme of appearing crazy or acting in a crazed manner”. From Cabin Fever-Wikipedia. (Remember The Shining)

 

But I’m not feeling crazy. I think my  brain (right AND left) has been so full of creative ideas combined with sorrow,  problem solving, worry and restlessness that it has taken a break on me. SURPRISE…My brain has overloaded. So I’m being easy on myself. I’m just letting the fever run its course.

I did venture out for St. Patrick’s Day with our friends Sara, Jeff, Patty and John. Ron looked great in his totally green clothing. We had a great time at The Sunshine Winery and The Clocktower Pub in The Dalles. But…as soon as I got home. Back in the big chair swaddled with soft quilts and surrounded by my animals.

I’m not mad at myself. I’m not going to try and hurry my brain back into creativity. I’m just going to wait. Until the end of this maliase I’m going to be totally content  just helping Gorin and Eames solve horrible crimes, MAJOR CRIMES and cheering for Mondo to win big on Project Runway Masters.

 “Nothing can be rushed. It must grow, it should grow of itself…” —Paul Klee 1879-1940

Late Summer in the Mountains

It’s morning. There is a fingernail moon in the blue sky above the fir trees. I’ve just come in from an hour of drinking coffee with my cats, Berry and Arlo. It’s become a daily routine of ours that I make coffee, put Cody out back to soak up the sun and take a few minutes to enjoy my kitties. Berry and Arlo are in Snapple boxes (the kind you get from a huge Costco buy). I put nip in both boxes. They love it. Berry is wild and wants up on my lap. Arlo is aged, slow and squinty. He won’t stray far from me because he’s old. I think he’s almost 16 but I wouldn’t swear to it. He was given to me by Maria from The Attic Gallery. He was best pals with Woody my “excellent” cat who died last year. My third cat, Holly, is up in our bedroom closet, still nervous from a traumatic run in with a raccoon about two weeks ago. She’s staying inside. Each day she spends a little bit more time on the front porch but she’s taking NO chances. Raccoons are BAD.

 

Berry enjoying our morning

 Sitting outside in the late summer is the best therapy ever. I’ve had a busy month. I’d planned to complete all sorts of projects, do lots of writing and painting, and work on our yard. I did a few things. Some will wait until later. I’m ok with that. Instead of finishing my list of shoulds, we drove to Renton to play with our grandchildren. It was so much fun seeing them with my son and daughter-in-law who are the best parents ever. Tavish (who’s eight) also spent a week up here with Ron and me. Nothing special was planned (except a trip to the Goldendale Observatory…a story I mentioned  in my previous post). We hung out. We ate. We had treats. We played with aliens and space invaders. We even secretly watched “Ghost Whisperer” on TV in the afternoon. (A show Tavish called PG 13!) T is an avid reader. He spent time with Harry Potter, stayed up late, and played keep away with Cody, Ron and me in the front yard. We walked a lot. Ron and T set up a tent and then got too busy loading wood into the barn to use it.

 

Monsters vs. Aliens

 

 Later in the month I took a trip to Walla Walla. I went with my painter friend Sue Martin who is thinking of moving there in the near future. My daughter went to Whitman so I’d been to the campus before but only for a short period of time. Sue and I tasted lots of wine, found a thriving art scene, painted up at Bennington Lake (she used oils, I used crayons), and had wonderful food. The best meal we had was at my friends’ small farm. My friends, Brian and Cindy, are a couple who have about 10 acres, 3 huskies, some chickens, a kitty and a huge garden. Cindy is a gourmet cook. The dinner was delicious. It was made with food right from the garden. Anthony Bourdain and Alice Waters would be proud. Sue and I brought wine from The Foundry Tasting Room to share. Everything was delicious.

 

American Gothic Walla Walla Style

 We also spent a day at Night Song Husky Rescue in Dayton where I was again tempted to bring home another husky. I controlled myself. It was great seeing Susan who owns and operates the rescue. Susan is the closest thing to a Saint that I’ll ever meet. Night Song is the rescue that connected us with Cody. Susan cares for over 40 huskies who have been abused, abandoned or who just can’t be placed anywhere else. Check out her rescue on Google.

 

Almost Our Dog

 My evil deer hasn’t been seen for the past few days…but I know she’s around. About a week ago she came up to the front gate and stared directly into my eyes with her own round saucer-like ones. I made noise to chase her away but she stood firm until I went inside. I’m amazed at the people who have asked me about that deer. She’s almost famous.

 

Unflattering Rock Sleeping Exercise

 Yesterday Ron, Cody and I spent a whirlwind day at the beach. We dropped off 26 pieces of art at the Ryan Gallery. Cody even got to go in for visit with Emily the owner. The rest of the day was spent on the beach, running with Cody and Ron. It was a perfect day, partly cloudy but warm. I took time out for a nap on the rocks. Ron says I REALLY fell asleep (and this unflattering picture is his evidence). We got home late, tired and a little bit sunburned. 

 

 Coming events will be listed here on the post soon. I hope to have a class at The Dalles Art Center in October.

Richard and I in San Sebastion

A sad goodbye to my friend Richard Lennie who passed away in Melaque, Mexico last month.  He was a wonderful person, good friend, family man, loved animals and will be very much missed.  I’m thankful for all the fun he and Nancy and I have had over the years at La Paloma and traveling to other great places in Mexico.  Keep traveling, Richard. My thoughts are with you Nancy.

Curiouser and Curiouser

The Real Queens of Romania

“To the Looking-glass world it was Alice that said, I’ve a scepter in hand, I’ve   a crown on my head; Let the Looking-glass creatures, whatever they be Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!”

Yes, it’s been a queen’s week for me. I participated in the show at Maryhill Art Museum and showed for the first time my watercolor/collages of the Queens of Maryhill. They were a big hit and I think “Royalty for Everyone” will now be my motto. All of us want to be Queens or Kings in our heart and rightly so. The weather out on the eastern gorge was beautiful and cool. We passed lots and lots of wineries on the drive out. The whole of highway 14 after the Dalles exit seems to be grapes, grapes and more grapes. The art at the show was high quality and all in all it was an excellent weekend. There was an astronomy booth filled with the guys from the Observatory in Goldendale. (If you know nothing about this you must Google it and you’re in for a big surprise). There was also a Three-D art booth that of course I loved. I bought two cards, one Three-D card of Multnomah Falls that I will send to my friend in Liverpool, Maureen. She’s in love with Multnomah Falls as am I. The other three-D card was one of a painting of Van Gogh’s made into a viewer so it looks like it pops right out at you!  This will go to my friend Bill who needs a little laughter right now.    

This is dangerous

 “Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran;Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea–And welcome Queen Alice with thirty times three!”

This Queen Alice (aka me) spent Wednesday trying to wrangle three squirrelly black cats to the vet on her own. First the problem was finding the kitties that seem to hide when their carriers come anywhere near them. They find impossible places and seem to disappear into thin air as easy as the Cheshire Cat. I finally got the two little ones into one carrier. Since they are both about 10 pounds a piece I had to strain to get them into the back seat of the car. Then I tried to find Arlo. Arlo, being very smart and awfully sneaky, ran past me, up the stairs to the bedroom and flew under the King size bed, stopping and lying down right in the exact center spot so I couldn’t reach him. Of course Arlo knows about my fake knees (long story) and the fact that I cannot crawl under the bed to reach him so he just grinned at me as I tried to figure a way to chase him out. I went downstairs and left him there. I got the treats. I shook the treats. I could see his head pop out at the top of the stairs. I went after him. He ran into the closet and I dived (YES I dived) and grabbed him, finally putting him into his carrier and getting in the car. They whined and cried all the way as we drove to Bingen. My kitties hate not being at home. We get to the vet. Holly and Berry run out of their carrier and proceed to jump up on to everything in the exam room, knocking down soap and solutions and exploring everything. They finally open all of the cupboards and decide to shut themselves up in one deep space  under the exam table. Then there was Arlo. I had to shake him upside down out of his carrier and then he went straight to the corner of the room, under a little ledge and flattened himself out like a pancake. He figured if he made himself very small and flat no one would notice him. He would be invisible.  When Dr. Craig Vance (our hero) came in he and the nurses laughed at the two girls hidden away in the cupboard, by now playing with anything they could get their hands on. Arlo, I swear, looked like a small piece of lint by that time.  And so it goes.

 ‘You are old,’ said the youth, ‘and your jaws are too weak For anything tougher than suet; Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak— Pray, how did you manage to do it?’

I found out my diabetes is worse and now I’m trying to take meds for it. The meds make me sick and I feel like my body is turning against me. So…I’m trying to change my old lunch-mouth habits and going on a low carb diet and learning to take my blood sugar. For a long time I was in denial, but now I can’t ignore it any more. My blood sugar is a mystery to me but I have classes at good old Kaiser next month that should help change all that. I swear when I die they’re going to chisel that Kaiser number on my grave. Anyway, I crave all sweets, cookies, gallons of real Coke, potatoes, fries, and all that good stuff. Never to be enjoyed again. Splenda is my new friend and I don’t like her so much.

 No new news on the Anita Wolf situation. I have an interview with a close personal friend of hers during the second week of September. Maybe I’ll find out more good stuff then. She is not allowed visitors or correspondence at the Goldendale Jail. Hornets have surpassed murder as the subject of discussion here in Timber Valley for the time being. But Cody and I will be back on the job soon.

 “In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die.” –Lewis Carroll

Saint of the School Bus Drivers

 Happy back to school for some of you! Be kind to your bus drivers. It’s Tavish, my grandson’s first attempt at public school. I wish him to be the best! He’s of course the most gifted and creative.  I’ll be doing the Kings Mountain Fair in California over Labor Day.  All of you pray that I’ll meet Neil Young in a bar in the Redwoods.  I’ll be drinking water of course.

Story Time

woody-warms-upI think it’s time for a little story.  It’s a Sunday and I’d like to share this with all of you.  This is dedicated to my mom, Margaret.  

 

  Cat Grabber

     My mother was a cat grabber.  She thought this was a secret from me but I had known about it for a long time. In reality she was afraid of animals.  Not afraid in the usual way, that they would bite her, scratch her, or injure her in some way, she was afraid that any animal she brought into the house might take ill and die. When I was a small child my parents surprised me with a tiny puppy, a small mixed breed mutt, with big feet and a pinched up face. As soon as I saw him I fell in love.  We played for a few wonderful hours with his rubber bone until the puppy, out of excitement, threw up on the rug. The puppy was gone the next morning.  “Your Dad found him a nice home with

the best kind of people,” she told me, “Lots of room to run around.”

    We had two cats during my childhood.  Jingles was a striped cat who I remember dressing up in doll clothes and driving around in a baby buggy.  Mother thought Jingles was always sick.  “Doesn’t he look a little down in the mouth?  I’m sure he’s swallowed something,” she’d say before we’d get in the car for the fifth trip to the vet that month.  Jingles had just downed a full can of baby food that I had hand fed to him.  I couldn’t imagine a cat with that kind of appetite could be anything but healthy.  But I would always go along with it, thinking everyone’s mother spent 60 percent of her time driving to and from the local animal clinic.  Jingles later became so neurotic that robins would dive at him from our apple tree and actually pick up his tail.  He would sit there bewildered wondering when he’d be grabbed and rescued by my mother.

    After Jingles we had Joey.  He was a pure white cat and deaf in both ears.  I can’t remember where we got him but besides his hearing problem he had an unpredictable bladder. “It’s very common in male kittens,” stated my mom as if she’d graduated first in her class at vet school.  He got the full treatment from my mother.  I don’t remember a day going by when she wasn’t giving poor Joey something to treat his “urinary tract problem”.  She was happiest as she tried diet, pills, injections prayers and incantations.  I think she also hoped for the miracle of hearing for Joey.  She’d run up behind him and clap really loud always walking away disappointed when he didn’t respond.  I tried to not get too attached to Joey because of the past puppy incident.  I learned that animals around my mother could suddenly turn up missing if they got too ill or too messy.  I had nightmares that even I would wake up with a fever and mom and dad would find me a new home with a very “nice” family of course.

    Until I got out of the house, I stuck to parakeets as my only pets.  I could keep them in my room, play with them and become attached to them with little interference from my mother.  Out of sight out of mind was truly her motto.  I kept the birds to myself and trained them for hours with no close medical calls or worrisome sniffles.  I could sometimes get a little rough with them. Treating the tiny things like cats or dogs was hard on them.  I remember a sad loss when I tried to play peek-a-boo with one of my favorites.  I popped up and he fell off his perch dead on the paper of his cage.  I thought of hiding him and doing a private burial in the backyard but mother found the both of us.  She picked up the bird with a dishrag and threw him in the trash.  That was the last of my pets until I was grown and out of my parent’s house.

    As my mother got older and I was out on my own I noticed an odd change in her.  She seemed lonesome and always talked about how nice it would be to have a pet since she was “so” alone.  My mom talked a lot.  My dad had fled the scene a few years before and she was probably talking at him as he went out the door.  So what could I do?  I got her a bird.

    I bought her a beautiful little finch that was welcomed only by her look of horror when his cage was uncovered in her living room.  “I can’t keep him, he’ll cost me a fortune in vet bills,” she complained.  Finally she warmed up to the tiny bird. She filled the bottom of his cage with rolls of toilet paper and shredded tissue.  She encouraged him to talk.  She named him “Charles Peeper” and wouldn’t leave him alone.  When I would visit the bird would actually look like he hadn’t slept in days.  If he napped she had to wake him up to make sure he was still alive.  Charles Peeper lasted about a year until he died of sleep deprivation.

    I was grown now and had children of my own.  Mother was on occasion asked to care for my daughter’s cat while my daughter was out of town.  Mother would ooh and ah and say how wonderful it would be to see the “little sweetie”.  Then she would complain that as long as she was caring for the cat, she couldn’t leave home.   She kept a constant vigil from her living room couch, following the cat up and down the stairs of her big house, even tracking her into the basement where no person or animal was usually allowed.  She had towel beds in every room and any sharp object would be removed and put as far away from the kitty as she could manage.  Mother would worry that pieces of furniture might tip and accidentally flatten the cat.  She would reinforce or remove the “dangerous” items.  When my daughter would pick up her cat, Mother would complain about how neglected the cat must be at my daughter’s home.  “She is so nervous and runs away from me all the time.”

    With no warning, the grabbing started.  My mother started taking an unhealthy interest in her neighbor’s pets.  She knew every pet in every house on her block and could tell me all of their habits and the habits of their owners.  “The girls are neglecting their kitty,” she’d tell me in a whisper, “doesn’t he look thin.  I think he needs a trip to the vet for those fleas!” “The Girls” were two ancient ladies who lived directly across the street from her.  Each day I’d get a report on the health and welfare of their cat.  My mom was obsessed.  She would lecture them on how to improve the care of their cat each day.   They began to keep the cat in the house.  My mother had to find a new victim.

    I thought after the girls’ cat vanished, Mother would find new interests.  I tried to encourage her to get her own cat.  “If I got a cat it would just die and I couldn’t take it,” she’d whine.  I argued the value of love and companionship, two ideals sadly lacking in my family.  “No, no I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t live through that again.”

    I gave up.  Soon, on my infrequent visits to her house I noticed subtle changes.  I’d notice a towel on a chair, a small dish on the porch, catnip in the kitchen were items I hadn’t seen around her house for years.  I knew something was up when she started asking me about the qualities of the major brands of cat food.  I’d ask what her interest was and she’s just smile quietly to herself and walk away. 

    She began complaining that her next door neighbor had a new kitten and they were going to let it stay OUTDOORS.  “There’s no way I’d let a cat so near traffic.  I just went right over there and told them that.  They refused to listen to me.”  She went on and on.  I’d watch her stare out the kitchen window.  She would hide behind the curtains and peep outside.  She knew the schedule of the entire family next door. 
    She was a private eye.  She was a detective, a gumshoe. She began to wait until the family was gone and she’d lure the cat to her porch.  She fed the cat on the driveway. She fed the cat on the porch.  She fed the cat inside of the house.  From the time the family next door went to work until they came home the cat was at the will of my obsessed mother.  She had, without telling the neighbors,  kidnapped their cat.  She had only bad things to say about the family and guarded the cat from them as much as she could. 

    If the cat tried to get off of the porch in the daytime, mother would grab it.  If the cat tried to hunt, mother would grab it.  She took a picture of the cat and put it in a frame next to her bed.  (Something she never did for me or my children).  The cat had effectively been napped!  My mother was a catnapper who wanted no ransom.

    Cat grabbing is not a crime by the way. Napping a cat is only a small offense in the great scheme of things.  Sadly the day came when my mother called me in a panic.  “The neighbors are selling their house, they’re moving,” she said.  There was a long pause. “I never liked them anyway.” She sounded angry and a little confused.  “I bet that cat gets hit by a car before you know it!”

     I didn’t hear from my mother for a while.  About a week later I visited her and noticed that all of the cat toys, towels, beds and treats were gone.

    The picture had disappeared from beside her bed. She seemed anxious and forgetful.  When I asked her what was wrong she turned to me angrily and said, “My new neighbors let their animals just run wild.  Don’t they have any feelings for them?  I guess they just don’t care.” She went into the kitchen and slammed the coffee pot down hard on the stove.  As I followed her into the kitchen she quickly turned away from me but not before I saw the tears welling up in her eyes.