A Black Heart

I live with cats.

Three cats.

But I wouldn’t call myself a cat person. I am firmly in camp dog. Why you ask?

This is why:

For those who cannot see or understand what they are looking at let me explain. This is a photo of a cat laying in a crate of potatoes. The potatoes are the last of the harvest I’ve just pulled in from the garden. The cat is laying directly on the cold lumpy potatoes and looks as uncomfortable as one would expect to be laying on cold lumpy potatoes. There is no reason for her to shed all over my fresh produce other than that cats are, essentially, jerks.

But, my cat loving husband says, your dogs would probably pee on them if given an opportunity. And I can’t disagree. My boys will pee on anything they deem necessary to claim as their own. And if it were at dog peeing level and they didn’t pee on the potatoes they would probably steal them and play with them like I had just provided them with the best toys ever. But the difference is they would be happy. Joyfully marking their territory, proudly showing me the new thing they “own” ecstatically asking me to join a game with their new “toys”. Oh, they would be in trouble but hidden beneath their rotten choices are hearts of gold.

Look at this cat. She’s not even happy to be laying on the potatoes. She, like all cats, does not have a heart of gold but something much more sinister and dark. Cats are known for covering the coziest, warmest spots around. There is no reason to lay on my cold, lumpy potatoes other than to prove that as a cat you can.

And that is why I am a dog person.

Before The Traditions Come Out

It’s been almost a month now of daily photos and posts following along with gratitude prompts. And perhaps it’s because I feel like the month of gratitude is starting to make me feel like I’m bragging or that my life is full of swimmingly fantastic things when we are just as much of a mess as everyone else. Or maybe, actually, probably, it’s because I didn’t take a single picture until tonight and nothing following the prompt “traditions” seems to want to be photographed. Either way I feel compelled to share this picture.

The cat with the crazy eyes, the dirty underwear, the random school paper, a rock, some garbage – Is that Jane’s missing toothbrush I see? – a belt from a Halloween costume, birthday decorations from the beginning of October and a drum mysteriously draped in a blanket too small to be used on anything but a newborn. I look at this picture and think, ” Ahhh yes. This. This is my life. “

Traditionally (it’s the prompt, it’s a challenge, I can’t help myself) I clean the house before letting the Christmas decorations out of their boxes. Since we are being all honest here tonight, I’ll tell you that means that I’ll for sure take those birthday decorations down because I walked up these stairs just a bit ago and thought “Wow, this is all picked up”.

Okay, fine.

I’ll handle the toothbrush too.

Do you have any “must do’s” before the Christmas decorations go up?

Rescued From Draftland: Cat Problem

I have a problem with the cats.

In general I rather like cats, which is good, we have three.

(Well she’s a year and a half older now so she only is willing to be smothered in love for so long and then she bites Jane on the nose. But that’s a whole ‘nother problem.)

There is this one that is still young and cute and willing to be smothered in Jane’s love on a daily basis.

There is this one that is aloof and completely uninterested in me but causes minimal trouble and loves Ivy.

There is this one, my favorite one, that comes every night and crawls in bed with me and purrs for an hour while I read.

For all I like cats I’ll admit that they come with a pile of unsavory things. Litter boxes, food stealing, hair that sticks to everything, kittens that climb legs as though they were trees, tripping you as you walk down stairs and their continued insistence on seeing if Louie the Dove might taste as good as he looks.

I’ll forgive them for all those things because of the purrs and the snuggles and the way they love the kids.

But there is one thing, I’m just not sure I can get over. Sometimes, when they meow it sounds uncannily like “Mom.”

This is not okay.



Three girls calling, sighing, yelling, screaming, sobbing, demanding, pleading, and asking “Mom!” all day is plenty.

I’m quite sure the cats are smarter than they let on (for instance, I know that they know that they aren’t supposed to jump on the counter, they just don’t care that I know that they know.  Got that?).

So when a cat meows, “Mom!” at me it shouldn’t act so surprised and affronted when I round on it with a giant, fed up, “WHAT?!?”

Yes, I have a problem with the cats.

I just haven’t decided if it’s because they are demanding me by name now too or that I’m demanding answers of them.

Either way, it’s a problem.

My Water

I had a glass of water until a cat took it.

Unlike a dog there were no liquid eyes begging for a drink.

The cat just claimed my water glass and dared me to oppose her.

Brazenly, sitting on the table, repeatedly dunking her paw and licking it off. 

As if there weren’t multiple bowls of water for the cats and dogs scattered around the house.

I had a glass of water. 

And then a cat took it.

All I Want For Christmas…

Is it too late?

Can I still ask Santa for something special?

All I want for Christmas is an oven mitt, or even a nice pot holder.

Picture the scene.

It’s late evening, the kids are packing their bags and getting ready for the last day of school before Christmas break. We have been blessed with an early Christmas miracle and they are all getting along. John is in the back of the house wrapping presents and I am in the kitchen baking cookies. Christmas carols are cheerfully playing, the tree is lit, the animals are peacefully snoozing on their respective couches. The timer beeps and I reach into the oven to remove another pan of cheerful looking holiday cookies for Jane’s birthday snack and then…

“@!%$*# CATS!!!”

Pans crash, cats scatter under my gaze of fury, dogs jump up, kids and John come running as a stream of language that probably landed me on the naughty list for good runs out of me as I cool my burned thumb under running water.

The problem you see is that the cats – specifically this cute monster –

… have eaten holes in the thumbs of all our oven mitts.

Holes that make it seem like you should still be able to use the oven mitt – but you shouldn’t, you really, really shouldn’t.

Unfortunately after I burned my thumb and our kids’ ears, I doubt Santa is going to deliver.

But I wonder… do you think he’d trade for a cat?

Be The Person Your Cat Thinks You Are

I saw a sign today that said “Be the person your cat thinks you are.”

We have three cats that live in our house so I feel as though I can say, with some authority, that this is a terrible idea.

You might suspect the cats think I am their jailer (they are indoor cats) and, since I hold them hostage, I am also obligated to clean up after them, feed them and provide them with a safe environment to live in.

This is not the kind of person I’ve ever endeavored to be. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s how my cats see me either. Unfortunately, if you polled the cats I’m pretty sure you would find they actually think they are the warring queens of the household where they deign to live because, with nothing more than a swish of their tail and a well timed purr, me, their royal slave, will provide them with all their needs.

This includes (but is not limited to) meals with not only their own food but other choice tidbits as well (Translation: I feed them and they steal people food whenever the chance arises). Royal slaves are, as a matter of course, also expected to keep the castle clean enough or the queens will show their displeasure in a royal tantrum (Translation: If I don’t keep the litter boxes clean they’ll use my closet). All the catty queens must surely be treated as such and will only sleep in the warmest coziest areas (Translation: If there is no sunbeam on my bed on a cold day they’ll sleep on the computer’s keyboard and with a few well placed paws lock things up so it’ll take me three days to fix it). Finally it goes without saying that an out right order from slave to queen is out of the question and even a mild suggestion as to behavior is likely to be met with utter disdain (Translation: I have never managed to teach a cat manners).

I really, don’t ever, want to actively try to be the person my cats think I am and despite the sign urging me to do so, I can’t imagine why anyone else would want to either. My only conclusion is that cats are behind the creation of these signs in their never ending quest to take over the world.


I’m going to let this girl under the covers to snuggle with me tonight when she comes asking…

…their plan is totally working.


The Lion in the Living Room by Abigail Tucker

I live with three cats. Or perhaps it’s that I provide housing and food for three cats and also manage to have a life on the side – it’s hard to say with cats.

Since the newest one just climbed, claws out, up my back over my shoulder only to come to rest on my lap and arm and is now impeding my typing, it seems safe to point out that while I love my cats, I’m not always sure why I love my cats. 

The woman who wrote this book also loves cats but wasn’t really sure why, as whole, we love cats either. She researched the conundrum from ancient Egypt to the Internet with forays into parasitology and ecology and still isn’t quite sure.

Would I recommend it? Yes! Because even if you don’t like cats (possibly particularly if you don’t like cats) you want to know how they were used in medieval torture, the ecological devastation they have wrought around the world and how they affect our health.

Which Sarah?

I’m not the kind of person who is willing to let my kids name animals without my help. If that was the case we’d have a goose named Fluffy, a cat named Sparkle Kitty and a rooster named Roosty.

Actually we do have a rooster named Roosty and he has been a most excellent rooster for many years. Many years, as in almost five years, which in case you are wondering is a lot of years to be using a ridiculous name for a barnyard animal that you call by name far more often than you ever suspected you would.

And this is why I now have veto power when it comes to pet names. Veto power that has prevented the new kitten from being named Sparkle Kitty or Lestia or Falasha or Sarah.

Now Sarah might sound like a fine name compared to the others but that’s because you’ve not heard the follow up question asked in my household every time anyone utters the name Sarah. And it’s not something easy like “Which Sarah?” Oh no, it’s, “Sarah your friend or Sarah Jonas’s mom or Sarah Wren’s mom or Sarah the cat?”

The kitten came to us with the name Sarah but it only took about twelve hours for the name Sarah Cat to be vetoed by the mom who was losing her sanity trying to differentiate between all the Sarahs in her children’s lives.

Sadly, Baroness Sarah McCutiePie Von Stuffington of Sunshine Manor didn’t really work out as her new name because the kids just called her Sarah for short… “Wait… do you mean Sarah your friend or Sarah Jonas’s mom or Sarah Wren’s mom or Sarah the cat?”

After much debate and a brilliant intervention by Sarah (Sarah my friend, not Sarah Jonas’s mom or Sarah Wren’s mom or Sarah the cat) the new kitten has been named Simone.Simone

Otherwise known as:

-“The kitten… umm …what’s her name again?

– “Sarah”

-“Not Sarah… Oh! Simone!”

– “No Sarah!”

-“No! It’s Simone now.”

-“But she was responding to Sarah!” (She is a cat, she wasn’t responding.)

-“Well Sarah, I mean Simone (insert cute kitten activity here) it was so cute!!!.”

-“Sarah the cat or Sarah mom’s friend or Sarah Jonas’s mom or Sarah Wren’s mom?”

It’s going to happen though. The power of the veto is going to hold and the cat is not going to be called Sarah. And my children are going to learn to use context to answer their questions because I don’t care what my fourth grade teacher said, there are all sorts of stupid questions a person can ask. Already in our family of five at least two people call the kitten Simone at all times and can determine which Sarah is being referred to using nothing but the context of conversation at least 90% of the time. The other, shorter, three are getting there – kind of.

But please, please, for the love of Pete, if your name is Simone, though I’m sure you are a fantastic person, don’t introduce yourself to my children!