Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

coffee and smokes

she really only wants the milk in my coffee, but it looks like she is in love with me. she is lying on the desk, about 2 inches from my left arm, her gaze going between my face and the cup of coffee sitting in front of me - between my nose and the keyboard. A deeply resonant purring and an occasional arm nuzzle to remind me that she is there; Smokey is my company on this rainy morning.

Smokey is the gray long haired offspring of Alice, the best cat in the world. Alice was a mountain girl, born and bred in the wilds of Big Creek, the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was the epitomy of a good momma. She took care of everyone- Boyd, Andrew, Laura, me and her kittens, and sometimes even the dog. She would warn us of danger, guide us on walks, groom us when we were a mess and referee loud arguements. One time, just a week after the birth of her kttens, I saw her in battle with a racoon (twice her size) over the cat food on the wood shed. Initially the racoon tossed her out of the way like a rag doll. She came back with a feline strength that eventually got the racoon to leave. Her strength and ferocity was amazing! Later that evening Laura dressed her in doll clothes and wheeled her about the house. Her ultimate gift was her life to a coyote so that her daughter Smokey could get out of danger and be safe. I wish all mommas were like that.

Smokey is now 16 years old and lives in the wilds of our home in northern San Diego County. An indoor cat now, she haunts the space under the stairs with regularity. Deaf as a rock and with severe memory problems, she is often seen lying in the dark facing the wall. About half of the time she is ill with some unknown old age disease. Boyd and I enjoy her while we can. She is very opinionated and since she can no longer hear herself, she is quite loud and raspy sounding. She does not seem to have control of her claw retraction susytem, but I suspect it is actually an old lady trick. She always uses her claws when she wants to be picked up. She did not do that when she was younger.

My coffee cup refilled, Smokey is up and walking on the keyboard, aggressivly seeking the hot milk ...ahkk! Stop it cat!!

Ah, nothing like cat slobber and hair in your coffee cup. Glad I made more coffee.

Cat on caffeine. 16 human years x 7per year for cat age = 114 years old. Maybe it isn't just the milk. Maybe the old lady wants the caffeine!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

4years old in kindergarten

When I was 4 we lived in Fair Oaks, California. Our rented house was on a gravel road off of a main Boulevard. There were three houses on that road. The one that was on the boulevard, us in the middle and a large "mansion" at the top of the hill and the end of the gravel road. Our house was also on another road that led to a newer neighborhood that was hilly and there was a river at the bottom of the hill. Our house was on flat ground and the hill up to the mansion began just west of that other road. There was alot of open land between us and the mansion. Our house was small and had lots of different kinds of dark wallpaper; era 1940 I think. The garage was a seperate building to the side and set back from the road a bit. The driveway was gravel. the front yard had a tree, a grassy lawn and 3 cement circles where flowers had been planted. It was pretty and quaint. Across the street was lined in pink oleander that was very tall and very bushy.

My sister Gigi was 2 years old and Momma was pregnant with Sigrid. My Dad worked at Aerojet as a chemist. We lived close to my Grandparents house on Heather Road. My aunt Karen still lived at home with Grandma and Grandpa.

We had a black standard poodle that like to run away. I remember little about him, except that we were looking for him alot. And that Dad said if he ran away one more time we would not look for him anymore... and one day - he was gone for good. Later that night I had a stuffed gray poodle on my pillow.

I learned to ride a two wheel bike there. Daddy had me on the bike riding on the paved streets in the new neighborhood. As I recall Daddy pushed me off and I went down the hill and landed into a rose bush just near the river. Dad says I took off on my own towards the river, for reasons unclear to him. Funny how memories are - and the hows and whys of young reasoning is a hoot! After that I could ride a two wheel bike though.

The mansion neighbors on the hill had horses. I could see them riding their horses on the weekends and one day I decided I really wanted to ride their horses. So - I went out and stood on the road where I knew they would pass by. I waited, trying to look cute so that they would offer me a ride. They never did offer. I never would ask - I thought I needed them to offer...I did not want to impose; that would be embarassing.

I remember noticing all the kids in the new neighborhood catching the bus to go to school. I decided I wanted to go to school - so I got in line with them, got on the bus, and went to school! Momma came and got me when they realized I did not belong there. But not to long after that I began kindergarten at San Juan Elementary School. I was 4 years old.

One time in that house I brought my mom some flowers...beautiful pink oleanders. They are a poisonous flower. She grabbed them from my little hands and drug me quickly to the bathroom and scrubbed my hands, explaining that I was never to touch those flowers again! I could have been killed because they were poisonous! I don't think I've ever touched them since.

I've always loved to eat. One day I "stole" a piece of bread. The bread was in a bread box. I got the package out of the box, a piece out of the bag...and left the bag on the counter. There was a bottle of ant poison on the counter also. When Momma came into the kitchen and saw the bread bag out I knew I was in trouble. She was insanely angry! Over bread? No - because of the poison on the counter AND the bread. But I did not understand that. She asked me if I ate the bread. No - Gigi ate the bread. She grabbed Gigi and went into the bathroom and promptly stuck her fingers down poor sister's throat, making her vomit. I felt so guilty, so bad, that I confessed it was really me. So - I got the vomit treatment. Afterwards she had me drink a glass of milk and then lay on the sofa. She called the doctor and everything was okay, but it was scary for awhile

Daddy drove an old Studebaker that used to belong to my Grandpa. Dad worked on the car himself in the garage. There was a cherry picker in there for awhile that is thought was a swing. somehow I played on it. Eventually Daddy told us to stay out of the garage. I remember seeing big black widows in the garage.

One morning we woke up and it was snowing! It does not snow there usually. We were all so excited. My grandmother was there (my mom's mom). She made us eat cream of wheat before we could go outside and play. It was lumpy and hot with brown sugar. We dressed in the warmest clothes and went out in the whiteness. The neighbors had a sled on the hill and we got to slide a little. I don't think we were out very long - it was wet and cold and the snow melted quickly. But it was a fun time.

When Momma was ready to have Sigrid on Christmas Eve, Gigi and I went to stay with Aunt Karen at Grandma and Granpas house. We were playing and running through the house and I tripped on a rug and fell onto a hot floor furnace. Karen took us to the emergency room where I was treated. The doctor wanted the nurse to scrub the burned skin off with a brush. I was petrified! When the doctor left, the nurse told us we did not have to do it that way. Instead she gently washed me with phisohex soap. Karen was there and she was very much like my mom at the time. very concerned, very loving. I had a scar for a long time. I was never angry about it...but I learned recently that Karen felt guilty for years.

Sigrid was born and came home after Christmas. The baby was set under the tree for Gigi and I to dicover. Very cute pictures - and then Gigi pulled the tree down on us all. Ah, good times, good times. No one was injured - but Daddy made a lot of cursing noises.

I like living in that house.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Being the eldest offspring of an Irish mother and an Italian father, I was baptised a Catholic when I was born. My mother took all of her daughters to mass each Sunday. Sometimes Dad went too. I remember the darkly stained wooden pews were very hard, the mass was in Latin and we were expected to be silent and still.

My best friend was an Italian Catholic whose Dad would round up all the kids in the neighborhood and haul us over to the church on Wednesday afternoons for Catechism. We were all stuffed into the back of a pick up truck. Back then it was legal - and really quite fun. Sometimes he had on the camper shell, sometimes not.

St Ignasius is a collection of large red brick buildings on Arden Way in Sacramento. The cathedral was closest to the street. Behind the cathedral was courtyard guarded by statues of saints, with an assortment of bushes, flowers and grass. Beyond the courtyard was the school building. Each grade had a classroom, so I was never with my sisters, instead I was with my peers; some from different elementary schools than I attended. On the east side of the classroom building, rounding out the U shape of the courtyard, was a building that housed the nuns and the priests. I remember being in awe of the priesthood and service. Nuns were the most worthy of women in my young opinion.

I loved learning about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. I especially loved a new young teacher we had in the 3rd grade. She brought her Collie dog to the classroom with her AND she played the guitar! That was the best! She was an awesome young woman - and I wanted to be just like her. It was that year that I decided I wanted to become a nun.

I think I felt the Holy Spirit way back then. I fell so in love with Jesus Christ. One day though, I remember looking into the sanctuary while no one was around and feeling a strong sad sense about how Christ was not impressed with stained glass windows, jewelry on the Pope and the politics of the church. Interesting thoughts for an eight year old. I cried over it because I felt his sad feelings.

I took my first Holy communion at St Ignasius. What a wonderful day. Wearing a pretty white dress and clean white tennis shoes with white bobby socks and a sweet little white lacy veil on my pixied head. I remember feeling very pretty. We all stood in a line going forward to the front of the church. I was so nervous. As I was able to approach the alter I knelt in place; The priest and the alter boys slowly approaching, giving the sacrament to everyone in turn. I was so afraid I would forget what to say to the priest as he gave me the sacrament. If I recall, I did get the words wrong - but the priest was kind and helped me out of my fear. He put the paper thin wafer on my tongue, I walked back to my seat and prayed. The prayers of an 8 year old girl. I don't remember what I prayed; probably something very idealistic and very loving.

We stopped going to church and to catechism sometime before I reached the 6th grade. My father decided that we should not be forced to go to church; that we should not be forced into religious belief simply because our parents believed. In reality though, my mother and father had been deeply hurt by the comments of an old priest when my mother gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. The priest told Momma that the baby died because of her personal sins. My mother would not accept that. It was a very irresponsible thing for that priest to say to a devastated and loving young woman.