Three Stripes

One morning the cat came home with three stripes across his back, where there was no fur at all.

The skin had not been broken and the cat cheerfully wolfed down a bowl of food and retired to his favourite sunny spot for a nap.

Mom and I were extremely puzzled by this. We checked the cat over thoroughly, much to his chagrin as he tried to nap, but he was not hurt in anyway that we could discern, other than the three bare skin stripes.

Dad had gone off to work but came home shortly afterwards and burst through the door yelling “Where’s the cat?! Where’s the cat?!” He was absolutely freaking out.

My Mom told him the cat was in his sleeping spot, and that something unusual had happened, but she didn’t get to say what. Dad rushed to the see the cat. Much relieved he told us the story.

On the way to work, Dad’s car overheated and steam was pouring out of the radiator.

When he opened the hood, a huge mass of cat hair floated out.

The cat had been sleeping on the engine, and when Dad turned the car on, the fan belt assaulted the poor kitty and both were flung off. We can’t even imagine how this happened.

Cats really do have 9 lives.


My cat has a homing device for pens, pencils and most anything else resembling these things. Like plastic pipettes, ink bottle droppers, makeup brushes, tweezers, you name it.

The more expensive it is the better.

All artist supplies are expensive. If he can’t haul them away, he’ll chew them on the spot.

I have some very expensive pencils. I have to keep them in drawers and hidden away or suffer the consequences. I’ve watched him on occasion, he will carefully select the pencil he desires from my pencil holders. Not just any pencil will do.

Then he runs off with it and hides it. I don’t always find them, even when I give chase. He is quick and clever!

He professes innocence when I do find the pencil much later but he can’t hide the evidence; the pencil end sports many puncture wounds.

Some people don’t believe it is the cat, they say it is me chewing them.

But it is the cat, I swear.

He never eats them, thank goodness – I can’t imagine the lead or ink would be too healthy, and what a mess it’d make!

So he is not totally destructive. Just mischievous!


Writing about my adventure with crutches, reminded me of an adventure with casts. A cat in a cast that is.

We had a tabby cat, one of many while I was growing up, and in those days, pets were free to explore the neighborhood and do whatever they pleased. Occasionally a dog might get loose too. No one was upset about it, usually.

Anyhow, our cat had an unfortunate encounter with a dog. Fortunately my Mom saw it and saved the cat. But the dog had broken the cats hind leg.

My Mom was only 4 feet 5 inches tall, but man, you did not mess with her. And when she wanted something, you were going to comply, or die.

The cat sported a cast for a long while, which kept us awake at nights. As we all know, cats love to torture their owners (they have a diabolical streak) and he would run up and down the stairs and across the kitchen floor, all night long. Thump, thump, thumpety, thump!

Now, back to Mom. She wasted no time finding out whose dog that was that committed this crime and the owners were going to pay the vet bill. And get a piece of her mind too.

The dog belonged to a world famous photographer that lived by the river near us.

With me in tow, we marched straight over there.

The woman, I presume it was the photographers wife, tried very, very hard not to part with any money for any vet bill. At first she invited us into her home and immediately regretted it, as Mom was not going to take any shit from her!

It was an awesome home. I’ll admit that.

I don’t know if Mom got the money but the cat got better. Eventually we all got some sleep.


Over the 2020 Christmas holidays I sprained my foot and had to dust off some crutches I got several years ago. Many times I thought I should get rid of those crutches, but was awfully glad I hadn’t.

It was a memorable Christmas, as was most of 2020, not in a totally good way, as my bathtub was also backed up from December 22nd into the New Year, as no one wants to come and deal with that during the holidays. Sigh. So I took a shower and afterwards, sat on the toilet and bailed my bath water from tub to sink. Picture that.

2020 had it all man.


As I hobbled around my house, I remembered my ill fated introduction to these crutches.

They are beautiful, extremely light weight aluminum, as light as a feather. But crutches, I have discovered, could weigh 500 pounds, because it is not so much the weight of them to consider, as the effort required to use them to propel yourself.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to use them one day at work, replacing the cane I normally employ for a hurt leg. Typical me, whatever works in a small situation is bound to work in a grander circumstance. So just shuffling from my office chair to the bathroom a couple of times convinced me I could do greater things.

I launched myself to the library at lunch, because when I was well I had no trouble going the few blocks there, a mere 5 to 10 minute walk. I swung merrily along like those mechanical monkeys on bars I’d seen as a kid.

When I got to the library, I had one of those moments where I was sure I was about to die.

I collapsed on the nearest bench in the foyer, sweat bursting from my every pore, my heart pounding like tribal drums. I desperately needed to lie down on the floor and wanted to moan, loudly, like those professional wailers at funerals. All I could do was put my face in my hands and cry.

Using crutches demands that you be in some kind of decent physical shape before you try to go miles with them. The physical exertion is unbelievable!

At least I forgot about my hurt leg for a while.

And, I still had to go back to work. How the hell was I going to carry library books anyhow? Duh! I was just so enthusiastic about going to the place I love.

I opted to drag my poor leg back to the office and carry the darn crutches.

Bare Face

It has now been 10 months since I’ve worn makeup.

Not that I miss it.

When I was young, I wore makeup to enhance my looks. When I was older, I wore it to cover up my looks.

But now, who cares.

I’ve been out of work since we closed the office in mid March 2020, so I put away the mascara and blush and concealer and whatnot.

No more poisons on my face. Just look at the ingredients in those things! I tried at one time to make my own cosmetics from natural stuff and failed miserably.

My cat could care less what I look like, as long as the food dish is full and the litter box pooh free.

I have no idea how to do skype or zoom so no worries about what I look like. And I’m a senior, no matter what you plaster on my face. I don’t get asked for ID at the store on Seniors day. Mascara, concealer and blush ain’t gonna fool them 20 somethings at the cash.

Makeup won’t catch me a 20 year old for a fling. It’d kill me anyways.

A Beacon

The tallest building, and by far, the ugliest in our city has finally completed installing the windows, which does not beautify it in the least. It is hideous from any angle, with any embellishment.

However, I digress. What redeems it, in an unusual way, is that the sun hits it in the mornings and sets it on fire, like a blazing monolith to the heavens and lights up my entire apartment!

I don’t get any morning light, only late afternoon, so it is kind of neat.

But that building is one UGLY piece of work.

A Man in Himself

I read a post last year by a very angry man looking for work.

He was pissed because it seemed to him no one read his resume in detail or appreciated all of his achievements. They would contact him but then ask him what he considered to be a stupid question, that reflected the fact they had not read his resume.

His response to this was breathtaking.

He said he would end the conversation on the next person who did that! Wow! That’ll be sure to get you hired! He went on to say that anyone who wouldn’t take the time to examine all his marvellous achievements wasn’t worth talking to. That their opinions were irrelevant. He ended this rant with “don’t waste my time.”

What is more dazzling was that some people applauded his rant!

Okay. What I see is a very frustrated individual who needed to vent. Times are hard. We work so f’in hard and long and do wondrous, important things and no one notices or cares. We rack up achievement after achievement, plaster our walls with awards and certificates, and whoa. It means nothing.

Well, welcome to the real world.

We all have moments like this man. Where we are so incredibly immature and inwardly focused, vain and egoic and we lash out. I think however, a private journal would be more appropriate.

What he overlooked was the fact people were contacting him to find out more.

So obviously, something caught their interest. They wanted to talk to this person.

Do you know how many people can’t even get that? They get no response at all.

What an attitude!

Everyone comes searching for employment with the same package. Skills, experience, education, awards, references and a lot of external validations. There is more competition than ever for less work. So you can’t rely on your successes to sell yourself. People are not impressed by that, despite what you are led to believe. That is why we have interviews. To get to know the person. Truth be told, you can have no skill, experience, education, awards or a thousand other things and still get the job. Because you have the right personality. You can learn anything with the right attitude.

Case in point. I was visiting my brother in Texas and while I was browsing in a store that sold water fountains, something I know absolutely nothing about, the manager offered me a job there. The manager didn’t care about my life. She just liked me. Why, I have no idea.

So if someone can like me enough to hire me on the spot, shit, anyone can get hired!

Just be yourself.

Oh Danny Boy!

I am teaching myself to play piano and am now learning the song Danny Boy, and it instantly reminded me of a incident that was quite hilarious. Whenever I play or hear this song, I have a partner in my head. An old lady at the library.

At lunch when I was working, I would often go to the library. I usually had quite a few books on hold to pick up and an equal amount to return.

One day as I entered the library I spotted a woman I used to know from a previous job at a senior’s center. She had been a member there.

So I approached her to say hello.

It was noon, so the library entrance was filled with patrons and staff.

This lady remembered me, I think, but she had other things on her mind. She asked me if I knew where she could get the lyrics and music score for the song Danny Boy. I pointed to the information desk and suggested she ask them.

She grabbed my arm and said, “Do you know the song Danny Boy?”

Before I could say a word, she launched into singing Danny Boy, at the top of her lungs to a very surprised crowd and a very shocked me.

Everyone stopped what they were doing. I think time stopped. She dug her fingers into my arm so I could not escape.

There were baffled looks. Amused looks. Angry looks. So many looks directed at us.

She sang the WHOLE damn song, full blast, TWICE.

And then she just walked away from me, my bruised arm and audience like it never happened.

Iron Steam

Because my Dad was an Engineer, inventor, handy man and all round creative person, we often had some interesting things in our home.

We had a basement that was really a workshop, an inventors palace. Oh, how I miss that!

One item housed there was a white metal monster, an iron steam roller. Not the kind to flatten your laneway. This flattened your clothes. It was a steam press. It was BIG.

Isn’t it strangely comforting that such weird things as an unwieldly machine can evoke such sweet memories of our youth and home?

It was awesome.

I loved using that machine. I hate ironing, so this thing was a teenagers dream (in those days pressed clothes were a BIG deal), My Mom pressed everything however, and that was a bit overwhelming. Like me, many of my childhood friends had mothers who ironed their underware, some even their shoelaces! Well, my Mom just ran them through the white behemoth in the basement while others slaved and sweated over hot irons.

These beasts still exist, and work! If I were ever to take up domestic engineering (no future plans for that!) I would get a modern steam press. But there is something wonderful lost in the new ones. I’d miss the big cotton cloth roller, the gleaming metal press, those long metal bars to hang your clothes on. The joy of seeing your clothes disappear under the steel cover as they were rolled away to reappear underneath all beautifully pressed.

Something New

It is amazing how good one can feel when you get something new.

I got a new couch cover, thanks to a Christmas gift certificate from my brother and sister-in-law. My couch is done, but I am unemployed, and a good couch costs a month or two of rent. The previous cover was easily 20+ years old and although well taken care of was clearly quite tired.

There was only one time in my life when I was making good money and could afford new things, but I’ve always been frugal and make things last. I repurpose a lot of items and make do. So, foolishly, I did not take advantage of that small window of 8 years in my long life and get myself some nice things. Like a house. A car. All I splurged on was a professional camera, and, oh, how I agonized over that! I did a lot of research before I finally let go of the cash. That was in the 1970’s. I still have that camera!

I am whining a bit too much, because those frugal 8 years afforded me to go to University and get a Bachelor of Arts. So it wasn’t all bad I suppose. But I should have got some nice things too. Had I known I would never make much money again, I would have done things a bit differently. But you just can’t know these things.

I confess this with much shame, and remorse, because I have missed out on a lot of life.

I put on the new cover and my whole spirit lifted. What a difference! Getting something new improves your life. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’ll make a grey day sunny.

Now you know I would never encourage you to spend money you don’t have, but I have said it over and over, get yourself something ‘just because’, and now I say, get yourself something new because it will brighten your whole day.