Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cats I've Known

We had three cats when I was growing up.  Pocohantis or Poki was a black and white outdoor cat.  He was scared of people and lived under the house.  Malahini or Mali was a female Siamese.  I have a picture of her with a baby bonnet on her head and intense glaring eyes.  She raised three litters of kittens.  If a dog wandered into our yard, she would chase it off.

We kept one of the male kittens out of Mali’s first litter.  Nebbechadnezer or Nebbie had a kink in his tail.  We sold the other kittens, but no one wanted a kinky cat.

Cats have distinct personalities.  One of the cats we had in Boulder, Opus, would all of a sudden charge around the house like his synapses were misfiring.  Tammy, was very motherly.  When we yelled at one of our kids, Tammy would get worried and come sit with the disgraced child.  When one of us was sick, Tammy would be on the bed, consoling the invalid.  She purred so loudly you could hear it from the next room.  She liked people and wasn’t phased by any party or gathering.  She’d saunter through the house undaunted by any commotion.

Our current cat, Athena, is just the opposite.  For fifteen years, she only accepted three people in the world:  My wife, my daughter and me.  If anyone else approached or entered the house, she streaked off whatever perch she was on and hid under one of the beds.  When the plumber replaced the furnace, Athena stayed under the bed all day for two days, only venturing out after he had left.

Athena purrs, but has it set on vibrate.  You can’t hear a sound, but can feel it if you place your hand on her throat.

Athena is very self-centered.  She’s out for herself.  She used to try to eat all of Tammy’s food as well as her own.

But she likes to sleep on legs.  The moment I lie on my back in bed, she jumps up on the bed and snuggles down on my legs.  I can’t image that that would be comfortable, but that’s her place.

Athena likes to chase string, bat around play mice, toss them in the air and do flips.  Then she’ll get wild-eyed and streak across the rug.

When we lived in Colorado, she only ventured outside when it was dark for a brief foray before charging back to hide in the garage as if a pack of wolves were after her.  As soon as the door was opened she shot inside with her afterburners blazing.  She is the original wussy pussy.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Threats on Both Ends of the Political Spectrum

You have to hand it to both political parties this election year. The followers of both extremes exhibit a tendency to issue threats. Rather than listening to opposing views, the reaction is to drown out or threaten someone who expresses a different opinion. What happened to the perspective of listening to a different viewpoint, discussing the issues and then making a decision? True believers on the left and the right have all the answers and aren’t open to civilized exchange of differences. It must be reassuring to have all the answers, but it’s not reality. Too many issues have shades of gray. I have no problem with people changing their position if it is based on thoughtful consideration. We can all learn as we gather more information. But let’s hope we can openly debate issues and not resort to personal attacks and threats.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Decisions Made at the Federal, State or Local Level

In this political season, I’ve been intrigued by various issues that have been debated at the federal, state or local level. I’ve always held by the saying of think globally and act locally. In the United States, powers are defined for the federal government and remaining powers go to the states. This in itself leads to many different interpretations. Added to this we have cities now passing statutes that go against state mandates. Whether the topic is fracking or the use of bathrooms we currently have much discussion and dissent on where these issues should be decided. What do you think?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kids and Other Intriguing Challenges

Being an only child, I was often lonely as a kid.  Consequently, when I grew up and when my wife and I had children of our own, I enjoyed the background hum and chaos of having three kids in our home.

The birth of each was a momentous occasion.  I was at work when I got the call to head to the hospital the first time.  In those days, fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room so I had to wait until the nurse announced to me that our first son had arrived.

I was present for our second son’s birth which happened to be on our first son’s first day of kindergarten.  He drew a picture of his family that day with three stick figures and a blob.

The early morning our daughter was born, we dropped the boys off at a friend’s house, dashed off to the hospital, barely making it in time.  Our daughter was anxious to get out into the world.

I have fond memories of the kids growing up.

In a restaurant in Santa Barbara, our four-year-old son was acting up, and we were contemplating mayhem when an older couple came over, and the woman said, “Isn’t he cute.  He reminds us of our grandson.”

When we were considering moving to San Jose with IBM and were discussing where to raise our kids, our second son piped up to announce, “I don’t want to be raised.”  And the expression on his face at the reception after my mom and stepfather were married when he put a pad of butter in his mouth thinking it was cheese.

One time the kids and I went camping and drove on the four-wheel drive road above Peaceful Valley in Colorado.  After a rough Jeep trip, I made a comment that our daughter had cried a little.  She said, “Cried a little.  I was crying my guts out.”

Along the way all the concerts, plays, swim meets, soccer games, Bolder Boulder 10K runs, vacations, ice cream socials, scout trips, Indian Guide/Princess events, hikes, homework assignments, school projects, birthday parties, minor emergencies, lost sun glasses and swim goggles.  My wife and I wonder how we did it.  We must have been younger and had more energy then.

So now we’re into the grandparent era.  This is the world of rent-a-kid.  We can spend time with our grandkids, spoil them and then return them to their parents for the hard part.