Category Archives: pets

Good Deals

Our grey cat has decided that her favorite cat toy is a crumpled up piece of yellow, 5 X 7 note paper. It has just the right heft and battability.  She swats the balls back to me when I toss them to her, and they are easy for her to carry around the house in her mouth.  She loves the sound as I crumple up the paper, and positions herself in ready position to shag the balls I throw. Who needs fancy cat toys? What a good deal!

Tell about some good deals you have found lately. What do your animals like to play with?


Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a straight up-homage to the day. Not the turkey and football filled day, not the sweet potatoes and pilgrim hat day.  For those of us who don’t practice thankfulness as often as we should (including me), today is a day to help us do just that – practice thankfulness.

You’ve heard it before – what are you grateful for?


Cleaning Up

I don’t like cleaning. Organizing yes but cleaning no.  When I was living in Milwaukee I audited a class at the University of Wisconsin called “The Politics of Housework”. This was a LONG time ago but one of the things I remember about the class material was that housework is deeply dissatisfying for almost everybody due to its repetitive nature.  The housework never stays done.  No matter how earnestly you mop the floor, the dogs are going to wipe their muddy paws on it, probably within an hour.  This theory was very validating to me.

When YA was little, a co-worker asked me once how I get everything done and I replied “my house is dirty”. She laughed until she realized I was serious.  Then she laughed some more.  Any time I have a list of things to do, I can guarantee that cleaning is at the very bottom.  One of the upsides of entertaining a lot is that I’m forced to face the cleaning so my house doesn’t become a reality tv series.

With Nonny arriving on Monday, we’re in the last couple of days of getting the house clean (again). YA and I have a pretty good catalog of chores and luckily she likes to clean more than I do.  But mopping is still at the bottom of the list.

How do you get yourself to do the housework?

Haunted House

My mother is extremely pragmatic. When I was growing up, some of this manifested itself in not having many decorations around the house for holidays.  It was a waste of money and time to put stuff up just to have to take it down in a short while.  We did have a tree and stockings at Christmas but the rest of the holidays came and went without any seasonal knick-knacks or gewgaws.

I went the opposite direction – I have boxes and boxes of holiday décor in the attic: Spring/Easter, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Fourth of July – you name it. But not as much comes out these days, since we got a naughty tabby.  Nimue is a terror on décor.  Nothing glass can go out.  Easter grass is a no-no.  Plastic Easter eggs hit the floor and then become dog toys.  So over the last 8 years I have put out less and less.  And now I find myself becoming my mother.  Seems like a lot of fuss when I have to guard it from the cat and then just put it away in a couple of weeks.

I did put out a few things last night for trick-or-treaters – a large ceramic pumpkin with our name carved out as the teeth, some tin can luminaries that I made years ago when YA was a toddler and the big orange candy bowl. I do have some pumpkins and corn stalk on the front porch as well.  Not quite the over the top haunted house that I used to have for Halloween, but it will have to do.

Here is one of my favorite haunted house poems:

Haunted Houses

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What makes a good haunted house in your mind?

I Enjoy Being a Cat

Husband and I often spend our evenings pondering deep subjects, like our cats.  Here is what we came up with last night.  We were thinking mainly about our youngest cat, Millie,  who loves her life and is so joyous.  Think I Enjoy Being a Girl.

I’m a cat and by me that is only great!  I am proud that my tail is swishy.  That I walk with a panther-like grace and charm, and my cat toys are soft and squishy.

When I have a brand new grocery bag, that I hide in and lie real flat,  Then I swipe at their feet and bite their toes.  I enjoy being a cat. 

I  sharpen my claws on Mom’s new purse, Then she tells me to run and scat. So I knock all the pens down on the floor. I enjoy being a cat.

I’m strictly a long haired tortoiseshell,  and my future I hope will be,  on a cushion upon the window seat, with some nice cat nip to smell, cat nip to chew, catnip to eat, for me. 

Who have you  known who totally enjoyed being themselves. Tell some stories about animals or people you have known.


Ice Cream Chronicles Part I

My favorite Twin Cities ice cream shop is not an ice cream shop. It’s a drugstore. It’s called St. Paul Corner Drug, located on the corner of Snelling and St. Clair Avenues. I remember when their ice cream cones cost 35 cents, but it’s been awhile since the price was that low. A single scoop cone is now an exorbitant $1.75. A cup of coffee, however, is still a nickel.

The store has a traditional soda fountain counter that dates to the 1920’s. There are always four flavors of ice cream. Traditional vanilla, chocolate or some variation on chocolate, and a fruit flavor of some kind. The fourth is anybody’s guess. Might be butter pecan or salted caramel, peppermint bon-bon, or some novelty flavor like bubblegum.

The counter sports several racks of magnets with humorous sayings, which you can peruse while enjoying your ice cream.

On the outside of the building, there is a water faucet. Beneath it you’ll find two stainless steel bowls filled with water for the neighborhood dogs, in the warm weather months. There’s also a table if you feel inclined to bring your ice cream outside so you can hang out with your pooch.

There is, of course, a pharmacy counter, but IMHO, the ice cream is the best medicine.

What’s your medicine of choice?