The curse of the cat people

Hello

On a recent rainy Sunday I had the occasion to drop by the International Cat show appearing at a local motor hotel.

This wasn’t my first time at this particular Holiday Inn.  It’s the place this crazy city chooses to put on some of the cheaper and more tacky events. I had last been here several years ago, for a bad art show and this day, this rainy Sunday reminded me of bad art.

M.M and I with teenage daughter in tow arrived about noon or so.  The parking lot was packed, but by the grace of the good parking lot fairy, a miracle in the form of a departing minivan left a gap and MM masterfully grabbed it.  I took this as a sign of good fortune in this year of the dragon and as soon as we landed I hydroplaned across the slick parking lot and almost ran right into a red VW bus full of hippies and cat people.

This I took as a sign of my utter stupidity and it wasn’t until I heard the frantic mewing that I stopped in my tracks….what was that?  I listened, MM listened and so did our daughter…The parking lot was full of frantic cat cries…”Is that where the losers go?”  Back to a locked car and who knows what?

After passing several nervous smokers we finally hit the front gate and into the show proper.  We received our ballots with instructions on the voting.  The winning cat gets 1000 bucks.. what does a cat do with 1000 dollars? I did not know until I saw it…..

What is it?  Good question.  It is a scene of utter foolishness and fools parting with their money.  Rows upon rows of kitty condo cages crammed together, all customized I guess, according to each cat’s personality. Some of the cages proudly displayed an elaborate ribbon or two declaring their superiority. In each deluxe luxury unit lie a cat, flaked out and asleep surrounded by an array of cat accessories the likes I have never seen.  These cats were tired and worn-out like overdone starlets sleeping it off in the lap of luxury. Who knows how long before they end up frantically mewing in a locked car in the parking lot out there with the others.

 Just keep those ribbons coming Fluffy…… 

The owners of the cats seemed to be living quite a different life. Many of them hovered around their charge, eyeing each other and everyone who came near, seeing them as a potential threat. Don’t even think about trying to pet a cat.  That is a strict no-no to the nth degree.

Never under any circumstances should you ever attempt to make any physical contact with any of the cat contestants.

This is the supreme sin in cat shows and we were reminded of that constantly.

Most of the cat owners were middle-aged women wearing ugly cat shirts and nervous stressed out faces.  Many of them were eating foul-smelling chinese takeout that seemed to mix with the odor of cats to create an atmosphere I will never quite get over or explain.

Every few minutes or so an annoying man with a microphone and a raspy voice would cut through the roar of the crowd and shout out a number, calling up the next contestant.  A harried backstage mother/owner would then jump up, frantically brush the cat and rush up to the stage while warning the onlookers out of the way by repeating over and over:

 “Make room for people holding cats, make room for people holding cats.”

Pity the poor spectator who got in the way; these women meant business. I hate to admit it but some of them made me a wee bit nervous, especially the big ones.

I made my way past the harried and through the endless rows of cages to view and perhaps meet with a few contestants.  Some of the more ambitious ones were out stirring up the crowd and posing for pictures.

We toured the entire circuit and I was afraid that I wouldn’t find a cat worthy of my vote for the 1000 dollar prize.

It was the high-pitched squeals that first alerted me, the kind some little girls and some bigger ones make upon presentation of something so unbelievably cute, and how…I joined the chorus of girly oohs and aahs as soon as I spied the cutest kitten there has ever been in all kittenkind. I realize the seriousness in that statement and I’m telling you cat lovers out there that it’s true and anyone in attendance would definitely agree.  This kitten in all its kitten glory with its soft fuzzy spotted fur let out a silent mew that literally drove one woman to tears.

“I wasn’t ready for such cuteness.” she exclaimed as her wary boyfriend looked on.

This was one of the more surreal moments that will stick in my mind for some time to come. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it strange, I did. It was that I completely understood and was feeling a bit overwhelmed myself. The kitten was that cute. It was so cute that I neglected to take a picture of it. It was at that very moment that confirmed what I have really known all along…

These are my people..I am one of these cat people…..

I broke out of the crowd and made my way to the very back.  Littered along the edges were tables with various vendors selling their various cat trinkets for various sums of money that seemed all too much for me.  I visited each table and exhibit feigning interest and looking like a potential sap.

I stopped and watched a woman spinning yarn out of cat fur.  She seemed nice and quite normal except for the fact that she was making cat yarn.  She told me about the ups and downs of the day and how no one seemed to be buying her sweaters…

 yes… cat fur sweaters….

I politely excused myself by mumbling something about the world’s tallest cat and how I must find it. After all it was the headliner….

The world’s tallest cat! Wow!

I wandered around until I found the biggest crowd. It took some doing to get inside the circle and see what all the fuss was about. I ended up crawling under everyone but it was worth it because there it was!  The world’s tallest cat!  It resembled a smallish cheetah and it looked bored.  I couldn’t fully appreciate its incredible tallness because it was sitting down.  I crawled along the very ugly carpet and snapped a few pics… I’m glad I did because then suddenly my camera went buggy and refused to take anymore pictures.  This was terrible…At a cat show?!

I must admit now that I came here not exclusively because of my love for cats.  I came here to find weird-looking cats and take pictures of them so I could write about the weirdness. Now fate forced me to slow down and realize that I had yet to find a really strange-looking cat, most appeared pretty normal and even the one’s with the squished faces were sort of appealing.

We had about exhausted the place anyway and we all admitted that we were eager to leave to get home to our own cats…Mario, the black and white  and Sunny, the Calico.  They are the winners in my book and I give my vote to the both of them.  Too bad that doesn’t win the $1000………

Mario catnapping

Have a purrfect day full of catnip and naps.

Strawberryindigo.

Happiness is a warm teacher

School

I am fresh from a round of parent teacher conferences, between my two wonderful teenagers, I have now attended 19 of them during my continuing career as involved parent.  The last few have been “arena style”.  This style has come into vogue as of the last few years and I believe it adds to the surrealism of the event.

Imagine a large space, perhaps a cafeteria or gymnasium.  You are in the middle, surrounded by rows and rows of tiny desks.  At each one is seated a teacher.  Most are engaged in discussions with worry-faced parents.  There is an air or solemn soberness.  Most voices are hushed and not a wisp of laughter or small talk that usually accompanies large groups.  No, this is not a social event, like Back to School Night.  Like war, this is serious business and like war it is filled with short bursts of excitement mixed with long stretches of anxiety and boredom.

Every conference is unique unto itself and as the years pile on I have come to expect one thing; the unexpected. It is interesting to see your child, your beloved “perfect” child through the eyes of another.  It can surprise you and as one who has been surprised a number of times, I can attest to that wholeheartedly.

These surprise have been varied and thankfully never life-threatening.  Some in fact, a good number of them have been pleasant surprises.  I am blessed with  fantastic kids who have  given me many occasions to swell with parental pride.  However, I have experienced a time or two when I wanted to just sink right through the chair and  disappear into the  freshly polished checkerboard floor.

 It is on these occasions that the past gets the bite on me and I am transported back to the 80’s, back to the days of big hair and bad taste.  Back when I was a punky teen with an attitude and poor grades.  It feels like I am getting “busted” for something and all I want to do is run.

But I cannot run, I am a “responsible” adult and I must face the fire.  The fire being a stressed teacher with legitimate gripes about my child.  I smile.   I say all the right things, seemingly passing an untold test on the proper reaction to the given circumstances.  I have always been cooperative and I have tried to not take any of this too personally but, at times I have felt the sting of the hot lights of interrogation which upon reflection, seemed a bit much.

I try to put things in perspective but it is at these worst of times that stick in my worried mind and anxiety tends to creep in every year at conference time.  I have tried many methods to calm my nerves but really, all I can do at this point is to hold my breath, cross my fingers and hope for the best, and help pick up the pieces later.

 I vowed to make this year different.  I have found myself a bit more reflective since I have been writing in this blog these last few months and I’m realising that perhaps I have been projecting my old latent fears and struggles with school and authority figures from the past into now.  This is coloring my attitudes with regard to my role in these conferences.

Usually one’s unfounded fears never materialise they way they are expected and this current round of conferences proved to be no exception to that.   I took them for what they were, which was not so bad, really.  I guess that holding my breath and crossing my fingers paid off, not to mention the hard work by my kids with a lot of nagging by me.

 Number 18 went as smooth as can be.  No interrogation or hot lights.  The arena  had been abandoned for a more intimate setting in indivdual classrooms.  The report went well with progress made and hope for the future with an actual “A” mixed in….I was walking on air all the way to the next school and my date with number 19.

It was the end of a long morning, the sun shone through the cafeteria window drawing a bright beam of light across the stained linoleum.  The teacher smiles and offers me a seat.  We  exchange pleasantries. He tells me that my daughter is self-directed and motivated and that she too, has shown  progress.  We spent the rest of the time having a pleasant conversation about books.  Just two people; an energetic enthusiastic teacher and an involved parent having a talk about a mutually beloved subject.

  It will be these conferences I will endevor to remember  when it’s time for the next round.   (with some finger crossing too.)

 Wishing you blue skies and a happy day!

Strawberryindigo.

Love Thy Neighbor?

Love
Image by aftab. via Flickr

I saw a scene today.   It was a small moment, a common everyday boring kind of moment but it changed me and the way I will view people and life in general from now on.

The woman down the street, my neighbor and “Nemesis”, Mrs. Wheatgrass. A person I have written of before. A neurotic, stressed out person who reminds me of sun-baked straw.   If you have not yet heard of Mrs. Wheatgrass, you will.  She is a story and a half unto herself.

Today though I saw Mrs. Wheatgrass in a different light…

A pest control truck in the neighborhood is a dreaded sight indeed and when I saw the sight earlier today, I felt a small panic.  YIKES! Pests!  The bright green truck, with the environmental message on the side looked nice, and responsibly green and expensive. It was parked in front of the Wheatgrass house.

I laughed a little laugh as I imagined high-strung and snooty Mrs. Wheatgrass on a chair screaming down at a mouse. Or worse.

..And speak of the Devil…there she was.  She was walking the pest guy to his pest truck.  She did not look happy. She looked majorly stressed out.  Her straw-colored hair was practically standing on end as she listened to the pest guy talk.  He kept pointing to her roof and every time he did she looked sicker and sicker.

By the time he got to the shoulder shrugging portion at the end, she appeared frantically frazzled.  For a moment I felt glee.  A little part of me felt happy at her misfortune.  I hate to admit it but that is what happened. 

It didn’t feel right and as I said it lasted but a moment but that was enough. I started to think back…where had we gone wrong?  I remember when we first spied each other, the day she moved in 6 years ago.  It was like a scene out of a spaghetti western, I could swear I heard the music genius of Ennio Morricone in the background.   She walked past and we just stared at each other, not a word was uttered. We just stared. 

I guess I should have welcomed her to the neighborhood. I really have no excuse. I could say that I suffer from social phobia or that it’s not wise to talk to strangers; both are true but honestly, I think it was because of the way she looked at me.  She made me feel uncomfortable standing on my own front porch.  Her thin lips curled up in a sneer.  I couldn’t help but feel that I had wronged her in some way.

We eventually spoke and over the years and have had some strange conversations.  She likes to approach me with her odd and neurotic household problems and I think she expects me to have all the answers.

When I don’t have the insight she wants she turns on me and a whole new round of snubs and snide remarks begin.  I know this sounds paranoid, but once in a while I get these strange looks from her family.  I think she talks about me to them, I just get these vibes.

All this makes me feel bad.  I don’t want to be her friend.   I am Strawberryindgo, she is Mrs. Wheatgrass.  We have nothing in common…..I do however hate the mean looks she gives me.  I have feelings.

It’s easy to be nice to someone who likes you….on the other hand…it’s not difficult at all to hate someone back who hates you first.  It’s natural, its human nature.  I tried to justify how I felt.

Why should I care if she has something nesting in her roof? So what?  If her roof is falling apart and I know she needs a new one and can’t afford it. She has never been nice to me and makes snide remarks to me whenever she can.

I know if she saw me in the same situation as she is now, she would have no sympathy for me. I know she would use the occasion to come over and grill me, she is that type. It seems more and more people these days are that type.  It’s like they are waiting for an excuse to “take it out on someone else.”  They take pleasure in others misfortune and feed on negativity.  I don’t want to be like them. I refuse to be like them!

It was at that moment I realised that I must be stronger than any negativity that Mrs. Wheatgrass or anyone else could throw at me. Maybe if I look deep inside myself I can find some sympathy for one such as she although she has none for me.

Niceness begets niceness and hatred begets hatred.  It is difficult to turn the tide, but now I see the importance in trying. If I can’t get along with my bitchy neighbor, who can get along in this world?  

Although she doesn’t know it, Mrs. Wheatgrass taught me a lesson today.  I don’t think I could actually ever “love” her nor do I think I could even like her, she is after all, Mrs. Wheatgrass.  But I will try my damnest…..

….and so this brings me to a quote by “Tricky Dick” and how fitting….

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

Richard M. Nixon (1974)

Have a great day!   Strawberryindigo.

  

Goodbye Summer

Goodbye summer. It was nice to get to know you during the time we had together.  I always look forward to your visits and I’m reluctant to let you go.  It has always been that way with us.  You blowing into town and me eagerly anticipating your arrival.  We have such a short time together and then you are gone just like that. I am left alone by the telephone and I know you won’t call me, or even send me an e-mail.

I know  by now I should expect this but every time you leave it seems a bit abrupt and I’m left with the feeling that I’m being used.  You breeze in and you stick around never paying a dime in rent.  Then you leave again.  You say; “It’s business baby.”

But why all the way across the world?  Are you spreading your sunshine all over someplace else? Is some other hemisphere going to get your love?  Say it isn’t so, summer.  I thought we meant something to each other.   Those long walks we’d have along the beach, the plans and dreams we had for the future.

This time I thought it would be different, but there you go again….

GOODBYE SUMMER.

Strawberryindigo.

And here’s to you, Mr. Starbucks

I must confess; at one time I was a latte whore.  I didn’t care where I got it or how I got It, as long as I got my Chai latte.  It is a weakness of mine that I enjoy, this love for Chai latte; it was love at first sip and its been going strong for a few years.

At first it was a no-brainer; there was no question as to where to get this coveted drink of mine..Starbucks.  This is the place for me, I decided.  It’s a bit corporate, but so what? I know what I’m getting there.

At Starbucks everyone seems so upwardly mobile, so cute in their colorful new clothes..people with jobs and busy lives.  Even the slackers types were busy clicking away with the free Wi Fi.  Everyone was happy and smiled and were friendly.  I guess that is easy to do when you have a job and extra money for fancy coffees.

I like the music in Starbucks, they play all types.  It is the only place where I will hear old jazz tunes from the 40’s my eclectic taste perks to attention on that….Billie Holiday and caffeine?  What more do you want?

We started to frequent a particular one, M.M. and I.  It seemed the lattes were extra good over there.   Frothy and creamy with a swirl of spicy…I am in Latte heaven!

One bright late summer morning last year something happened that at first didn’t seem so bad but then as time went on it got worse.  What I am talking about here doesn’t  sound so bad until you’ve lived it…I really don’t want to offend anyone by what I say.  Especially this group of people but in order I tell my story I must…

I can’t put it any other way than this; It was the cops.  We would walk in and there they were, a pack of them. At first I thought; cool, I have always thought of the police as people too, and I have always appreciated the risks they take everyday for us.  I am not a criminal, I have no record and I should have nothing to fear from the police. They are brave men and women who serve and protect……….but quite the suspicious bunch.

 I felt it right away.  I looked at them as people, they looked at me like a criminal.  I am really very harmless looking, I bet most of them could take me in a fight.  It’s obvious.  So I am surprised when one looks at me like a potential threat.  I suppose they are trained to  be like that, and it’s probably necessary in their book.  But I can’t help but be uncomfortable. 

It is this reason why they are a “they” and everyone else, including the criminals and me are: “We.”  It is also the reason we tried a new place down the street; A laid-back appearing hippie type establishment by the name of Tom and Mary’s.  A picture of Tom and Mary graced the sign out front, they looked so nice.. I liked them instantly, even before we met.  There was tie-dye everywhere and plastic chairs to sit on.  The inside looked like the outside but I thought; so what. 

No more cops and no more corporate guilt.  I am on the edge now, part of the anti establishment crowd …. A latte revolutionist!  Aha!

It was a bit downhill after that though; Tom appeared at least twenty years older in person than he did on the sign.  He didn’t smile or even look at us at all.  He muttered at us while Mary made the lattes.  She wasn’t much friendlier.  M.M.’s attempts at some sort of witty banter with her fell flat.  We could tell she didn’t take fools gladly. Mary was not the laid back hippie princess on the sign, she was a mean old witch.  Yikes!  The lines on her face told the story.

The place was empty and silent as a tomb.   A pimply toucan faced man with a tiny little dog walked in and chatted it up with Tom and Mary who, apparently liked him better than us.  I got the impression that this place didn’t cotton to outsiders who looked like Starbucks people.  I think it was my purple lipstick and Prada bag but I didn’t feel a part of the whole groove anymore.. My dreams of being a revolutionist dashed, I sighed and tried the drink.  It was good, I wanted it to be damn awful, I wanted to spit it out and run back to Starbucks. right then and there. 

We went back a couple of times but could no longer stand it. I am glad to say we returned to  the corporate giant and then I understood the reason for some of their success.  A Smile. The people at Starbucks seemed friendlier and happier. We told those kind people of our ordeal and they welcomed us back with open arms.

And the cops?  They seemed friendlier and happier too.  And different.  Two lady cops at the back booth last time.  I secretly drank a toast to justice and lattes and the two ladies in blue totally ignored us.

Have an excellent day!

Strawberryindigo.

 

Crazy Neighbor Stomp Down

Idealized mixed nuts, USDA
Image via Wikipedia

Oh what a crazy day in my little neck of the woods..Yikes!  My crazy drunken neighbor was in rare form, he had his car radio turned up and it was blasting the top 40 by 7 a.m.

That man is spirited I must tell you; he started yelling around noon.  The usual “Yeah!” and “Whooah!”.. the music got louder and louder.  As strange as this sounds; I like the guy’s taste in music, so I am enjoying myself out in the front, doing some light weeding and some casual seed harvesting, when the  dried out wheat straw  neurotic from next door shows up.

She asks me about the crazy drunken neighbor, as if I am responsible for the man’s behavior.   “I don’t know why he’s like that, I guess he is crazy.”  She asks me if I have called the cops on him and then asks  “What is my take on this?”   She has this notion that somehow I can resolve this for her because “I have lived here longer.” ( me,11 years her, 6 years)

I informed her of a time I called the cops, only to have them show up at my house, talk to me in right in front and all the while pointing directly at the guy before they talk to him for 2 minutes, then leave.  I tell her that I have an uneasy truce with the guy and I don’t want to ruin it. 

She looks at me like I am crazy.  I suggest that she, Mrs wheat straw call the cops.  She doesn’t like it, she mentions my dying tree in a snide manner, I tell her I’m trying to save the poor thing.  Just then like if on cue; We hear a “Yeah!”  She sighs and scampers off and I am left to my seed heads.

I was busy for most of the day; doing Mom stuff and gardening.  I could hear the party getting louder and louder.  Crazy drunken guy drumming on something and then he starting yelling out words but I couldn’t make out what they were, through all the slur.  I crept up closer and listened..It was “America!”  “God bless America!”  How touching and how patriotic.  This got a laugh out of me and the day progressed and eventually everything became quiet.

He must be napping, I mused and went to make dinner.

I am almost ready to put everything on the table when Act Two begins; It starts with a flurry of loud explosions (Fireworks) and ends a few minutes later with “You dirty F***ing Whore!”  over and over..Then bottles break and the roar of an engine, someone has driven off, I don’t want to look.

We turn up the music (Beatles, Abbey Road) and eat our dinner (chicken and rice, Yum)  I notice that it’s getting dark as the sounds of a click clicking of someone running in high heels tells me the party isn’t quite over yet.

 The night plays out without further incidents, or so I thought….I stayed up late writing about my “Unblinking eye of truth” post and chatting online.  It was about 1:30a.m. when I heard a noise, I didn’t know what it was and opened my front door and looked out.  There was the crazy neighbor’s adult son, I’ll call him Pudgy, kicking over my trash can!  He looks right at me and says with glee; “Call the cops.”

My stupid temper makes me run out and tell him to “Pick that up right now!”  He keeps going.  M.M. drags me inside…I am totally worked up by now and I stay up and drink coffee till I pass out……and then…Good Morning: it’s time to start the day and I’m off on a new adventure!  Have a great day!    Strawberryindigo.

Saturday night fight: Kirk VS. Picard.

Kirk vs. Picard (2/365)
Image by JD Hancock via Flickr

There’s something I must confess; I am a Star Trek fan from way back, I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of Star Trek, there are many others better versed in The Star Trek Universe. I am but a humble appreciator of quality Science Fiction.

Two of the most well-known of the Star Trek characters are among some of my favorites.  One is James T. Kirk.  Captain of the Enterprise in the orignal series and Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Come on, who wouldn’t be a fan of either one of those guys?  I can’t help but wonder:

Who would win in a match up between the two?

Kirk Vs. Picard…..Let’s do this thing!

James Tiberius Kirk  Captain of The Enterprise in the original series.  What can I say about this swashbuckling Romeo with illusions of grandeur.  A tin plated hero adored by his crew.  A man so devoted to his ship, he had no woman before her.  It was almost sexual between Kirk and his girl.

Not that Kirk didn’t like a little, well a lot on the side with every humanoid female in the galaxy.  But no matter how strong the pull, Kirk always returned to his beloved.  The Enterprise.  

Kirk was as loyal as you can get and the bestest friend anyone could have.  Sure he was hung up on himself and all that.  And he wasn’t the brightest bulb.. so what.  He had Spock for that.

Kirk had spirit and that boy sure was plucky.  He loved a good fight and I love watching him in action, especially when he gets that little dribble of blood on his lip and his shirt gets torn.  Wow!  Now that is quality television right there.

Kirk never let a little thing like the Prime Directive get in the way of a good time.  Dammit, Jim had his priorities straight.  If I still drank,  I’d go have a beer with the dude, maybe several, and some Klingon Ale too.  

As captains go, Kirk was O.K., but as your roommate in college…totally amazing!  Kirk’s the man! 

Jean-Luc Picard  When I first met Jean-Luc back on Farpoint station I have to admit, I had my doubts.  I didn’t know what to think..A bald Frenchman with an english accent?  He sure was no Kirk, but who could be? Right?  So I gave him a chance, he had no Spock.  He needed all the help he could get.

Jean-luc was a little off-putting and stuffy.  As I mentioned, I didn’t know what to think….until Wesley Crusher, Picard hated children: Wesley included.  I hated Wesley.  We were united in our hatred of Wesley Crusher!

This endeared Picard to me.  As the seasons went by, I thought more and more of Picard.   His calm reasoned approach was reassuring.  Maybe I needed a Dad, not a boyfriend.  I don’t think Picard was in a hurry to get in a conflict, he tried to think his way out, instead of fighting.  (We need leaders like this in the real world)

I’ve done much thinking on this vitally important question, I go over and over it again. Some of the greatest minds have pondered this and how can I, little me, even begin to answer it?

I guess Picard was the better Captain, Kirk was the better all around guy and Spock….he’s the best of all in my book.

….Besides I like Spock!  All that logic and emotion rolled up in one.  Totally conflicted, just like me!  Haha.  He is, in my opinion; light years above the rest. He should have been Captain.

Live Long and ProsperStrawberryindigo.

Friday Afternoon Sounds

The following is a true story; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent… 20 minutes ago…The rustling of leaves in the overhead trees, birdsong, barking and a faint radio.  The neighbor screams, a vicious “No!”, followed by two more, A “yeah!, more birdsong, then a lone crow. Another scream and…ahhhh… the air conditioner kicks in and drowns out my crazy neighbors…..

It’s just your typical Friday in my neighborhood.

I hear Florence and the Machine..It’s a surreal tune and I go to the front to investigate.  My neighbor, The head of the clan of crazies is getting drunk on his front porch.  His dusty black car sitting in the driveway, sans a driver, with the radio blasting.  I don’t mind, I like the song.

He screams a “Yeah!” again and points across the street to a stop sign lying in the grass.  apparently he has seen me and he wants me to know about it.  He yells, I think, “Three Times!”,  I half-smile and wave the peace sign at him and scoot on back to the studio.

I have many “interesting” and noisy neighbors.  The three dogs, Fletcher, Jimmy and the new one,The Moaner.  The cute little girl next door who plays the violin almost constantly, the same tune that sounds like the theme to “The Exorcist“.  The Giggler on the other side and his friend, the doughfaced punk with the fluffy dog. They watch their dogs play and giggle until all hours of the night.

It is the night when it truly gets “interesting” around here.   Many times the police are called on the neighbors with the ironic name, who report many “crimes”.  Once the police showed up at our door looking for one of them who had been reported kidnapped, later he’s screaming as he’s been taken away by the bald cop.

The radio plays all night.  It’s not so bad since again I like the drunken crazy guys taste in music.  It drowns out the creepy flute music and reedy voiced woman who sometimes sings like her heart has been broken.

You can see why a visit from raccoons would be a welcome distraction.  Did I mention?  Those rascals showed up again last night and they made quite a  racket.  This morning I discovered a sunflower head missing, just a stem left. I think one of them took off with it.  Who knows.?  Just another day in the neighborhood.

Wishing you a quiet evening–Strawberryindigo.

Retro Revert

Ms. Pac Man on Crack
Image by boboroshi via Flickr

The other day I went and tripped around downtown with my teenage son.  He’s 16 and I don’t know how much longer he’ll want to be seen with me, so I take advantage of these situations.

I led the way as I showed him where all “the cool shops” were.  There was just one thing about that; all “the cool shops” I once went to were all gone..they existed twenty years in the past. I felt stupid and old at that point.

If that wasn’t enough; my famously poor sense of direction got us lost.  We started wandering into uncharted territory.  It was a park filled with young “business” people who were selling their “wares” all across the length of the park., it was obvious what was going on.  I was glad that my “Suburban Mom” look deterred them from asking us if we wanted to “score” something from them.

As any good parent would do, I used the situation to preach against drug use.  It was then we found a Starbucks!  After having some caffeine and a realisation that I can be a hypocrite,  we pressed on…

It was starting to get hot and technically we were still lost.  My son is a great guy, I would have to say that because he is my son, but he is  truly a one-of-a-kind special person.  I wish I could take credit for this.  In reality, I got lucky with him. I’m not just bragging him up for nothing.  He has tremendous patience with his sometimes scatter-brained mom….

Now here we are, it’s getting hotter by the second.  My son wants me to ask for directions, I refuse; stating over and over; “I have a good feeling about this, let’s go that way.”  We go on and I’m starting to really feel the heat, all I had to eat was coffee all day and now its starting to take its toll…

I feel like a bad mother, dragging him around like this.  I am sweating and I think I’m about to pass out when I see it.

What is “it”?  you ask.  A glittering oasis in the desert; An old school retro arcade! Yeah!  This town rocks sometimes!  It doesn’t take much to revert me back to kid again and this was no exception.  It reminded me of the old days.  Inside it was dark, hot and packed and I felt eleven all over again.

The change machine was broken but we found a few quarters. This is exciting to someone like me and my son could see it in my eyes, they practically pulsated as they darted from one game to another.  We pass Frogger, Mr. and Ms. Pac- Man, We skirt the pinball machines and pass centipede and right over to the Mortal Kombat! Yes!

Now I will proceed to kick some @$$.. I won the first match. HA!  My yellow guy beat his blue guy!  I can see my son is surprised and a little impressed.  That is almost impossible; A 16-year-old boy being impressed with his mom… watch out son…

Next round, he kills me, blood everywhere.  What a mess.  Next round, more killing.. I am dead, well, yellow guy is dead.  I am looking for more quarters…

My son, being 16, is looking for the lunch I promised.  I vow a re-match and we go and get some bad Chinese food at the mall.. and that is another story…What a great day!

  Strawberryindigo.

Wishing you a great day!

                                                      

Scary Birds

Scary Birds

Here I am in this cage with these birds, these colorful winged monsters flying around and over my head, chirping with their angry little greedy beaks.  One particularly aggressive bird swoops down and steals a tiny white cup of nectar of a chubby fisted toddler, who starts to cry.  I become even more nervous…

I am at the zoo with my daughter, I did my best at hiding my horror when she mentioned wanting to visit the lorikeet’s.  She called them cute little birds, I call them flying demons from hell.  Not wanting to disappoint her and most importantly, not to look like a big chicken in front of my kid, I agreed and came here of my own free will.  I even shelled out a dollar for a cup of nectar.

Once inside the cage, I told myself lies to calm myself.  Lies that rationalized the whole thing.  Why would the zoo people put us in danger?  I look around, lots of families and children.  Everyone else seems O.K. with it.

After all I am an animal lover… And then the carnage begins.

Did I mention the sounds these birds make?  Horrible screeching, their noise echoes throughout the enclosure.  I am going into sensory overload which brings on a panic attack.  My heart races, I start to sweat and all of a sudden, I feel dizzy and sick.  I look around, everyone is having fun, no one notices my white knuckled fear.  It is all I can do to keep up appearances as a calm rational adult human being.  It soon becomes too much as a have to duck incoming artillery.  I don’t want to be stuck walking around with bird shit on my head.

As I said , I am an animal lover.  I have pets. I talk to squirrels and raccoons.  I have even contributed to Greenpeace.  But honestly, this is too much…I have to get out…Right now…

So we leave the nest of the wretched and to my amazement, my daughter never noticed how scared I was in that cage with those scary birds, a big chicken like me.  I smile.

We proceed to the polar bears.  One of my favorites, They seem so soft and cuddily…they would probably maul me if I tried to hug one though.  I know I must keep my affections at a save distance and I admire their awesome strength and grace.

Come on in, the water's fine.

As the day goes on and we see more and more of what the zoo has to offer, the hellish images of what transpired earlier have vanished from my mind. 

We see the silly penguins march around and watch the playful otters swim to and fro. The tall giraffes seem so lofty and majestic, the elephants look like wrinkled old wise men and the big cats nap in the afternoon sun.  Except one, she paces.

What a striking animal.  Full of beauty and grace but also full of raw animal power.  Watch out!

We visit the apes and the monkey’s too.  I look for my wee buddy, the Pygmy Marmoset, he is nowhere to be found.  And where are the Sun Bears and the Tigers and the Black Rhino?

“They are all sleeping” volunteers the zoo keeper, who amazingly can hear my thoughts.  Sounds like a good idea,  A nice relaxing late afternoon nap.  I could use that after this long but fruitful day.

sunset stripe
A beautiful end to a long day

 Strawberryindigo.

Carnivore Quest

The best burger is a work of art.  Each ingredient plays a part like finely tuned instruments in an epicurean symphony of delight.  I mention this because I am on the hunt for the best burger in my city.   I live in a place with the reputation of being a foodie town.  I don’t know if I agree, you can’t truly be foodie without the best burger.

I have been on this search for years now, if I told you how many years, you’d be shocked, so I won’t.  I will say that during my search I have found only two burgers that could stand up to my ridiculously strict standards.  That was quite some time ago…you know the timing must be perfect, so many factors come in to play and the timing is just as important as anything else.  Time is a river.   We can’t go back.   If I could travel in time, I would visit restaurants I enjoyed in the past and just pig out to my stomach’s delight.  Time seems to be slip, slip, slipping into the future, and I am getting hungry.

Before we make our way to the next contestant, I need to explain my system; I rate burgers on a scale from one to ten.  One being very low, ten being perfect. everything comes into play, and everything must be just right. To me, the best burger consists of the following:

A sesame seed bun  Toasted, the crispy circle of toasty goodness encircling the outer edges.

Mayo  White and nice and essential, also some sort of secret sauce is a major added plus.

Relish  The Dill or Hamburger variety, I can swing both ways on that.

Pickles  I know that seems redundant considering the relish factor, however, those green happy little buddies are needed.

Lettuce  Must be iceberg, crisp, fresh and shredded.

Cheese   Very sharp, it will almost cut you.

….and of course, you are expecting the burger patty itself.  Before I get to the burger patty, I need to mention the importance of the grill.  A good seasoned grill is a must.  I cannot stress this enough.

The Beef  what would a burger be without the meat?  I don’t want to offend veggies and vegans, but this isn’t called Carnivore Quest for nothing.  The beef should be high quality with lots of fat, 20%.  Juicy and tasty, and cooked to perfection.

space cat eating burger funny
Mario my famous cat loves Cheeseburgers!

All the ingredients should fit together nicely and all the flavors should combine just so.  Upon taking a bite tiny droplets of sweet grease should dribble daintily back on the plate.  Pair this with some hot salty fries and I’m starving….

It wouldn’t be a quest if I just simply walked to my neighborhood burger joint, I’ve tried those, so I tried a new part of town.  An interesting part of town, you might say.  The restaurant is a 24 hour diner type place.  We are seated next to a picture window facing a busy city street.  “This is a great place to people watch,” mentions the  waitress as she takes our order.

I can see why as I spy a man with a cat.  A long slinky black cat on a leash.  The man, a deadlocked fellow with obviously lots of time on his hands, was pacing at the bus stop .  The cat, his constant companion, paced with him.  It was a tender scene, the cat adored him and he returned the cat’s affections.

My attention was turned to the Asian woman in blue plastic flip flops and a strained look on her face.  She is pushing a shopping cart full of bottle and cans and almost loses her top bundle as she passes a gesturing buffoon in orange.  He dances a jaunty wee dance as he gestures wildly to a man who resembles M.M.’s brother.  Orange man is full of story and enthusiasm and then just as abruptly as he came…poof.. he leaves, running across the street and into traffic waving his arms like he’s flying.

The sign flyer regards the scene cooly and I just laugh.  The man in orange seemed to be having a good time.  He is gone now and I am left with my cheeseburger, which received a 6.5 by the way.  Orange man, I gave him a 10.

And so it goes on National Cheeseburger Day…