Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Joker is Wild!

Don't be fooled. Inside this quiet, smooth, gorgeous mackerel tabby beats the heart of a prankster. Cuddles is his name and sneakiness is his game. He loves to play, especially relishing the element of surprise. Anything can become his target - a blowing leaf, a feather toy, even the dog or another cat (usually Sunny, who wins most of the time).

Cuddles, also known as Mr. Smooth, or Long John Silver, came to us as a kitten, as have so many of our cats. From where, we will never know. My mother took him in, and he stayed with mom and dad until mom passed away, then became exclusively my father's companion. Isn't it funny how animals gravitate to a certain person? He is definitely daddy's little boy.

Answering to the names of Buttmunch, Buttinsky (for his habit of GETTINGTHISCLOSE if you aren't paying enough attention to him), and Buttmuddles, Cuddles doesn't really care what you call him as long as you don't call him late to dinner. He never asks for much. As long as he has his daddy, his blankie, his food bowl, and a toy (not even really the latter; he will chase a dust bunny any day), he is content. Cuddlebutt (another moniker) loves to peek around a corner in the house and play hide-and-seek with a person, or a toy, or Sunny.

Long and lean (note the extra length on his tail!), Cuddles is a mischeivous little feline. The joker is indeed wild!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Jack

Happy is as happy does. Simba, a rescued tabby from Port Lavaca, came to live with us about 11 years ago as a kitten full of vim and vigor. He has mellowed out as the years have gone by, turning into a sweet, placid feline that has kept my grandmother company for many years now.

I was not looking for another cat, but he found me while I was working at Memorial Medical Center. The night security guard, an old ex of mine, knew I was a sucker for animals and met me coming off work one night with a ball of orange fur in his hand. He told me that they would have to call animal control to come pick up this little kitten that had been hanging out by the hospital if someone didn't take him home. He knew he had a sucker audience. I tried my best to resist, as I had two cats and grandmother, one (we were living together at the time). Well, you can see how that worked out. He rode all the way home in my back seat with nary a peep. He immediately got along with the other cats, and kept us laughing with hilarious kitten antics. When I moved a couple years later, I left Simba with grandma and her other cat, Missy, since they had grown quite attached to each other, and my two cats, KitKat and Caesar, were enough for me.

Simba has morphed into a tranquil, unassuming, mellow cat who, despite getting insulin injections twice a day and undergoing a radical change in diet for his diabetes, never complains or fusses, and takes everything in stride. He has never fought or raised a paw to any other cats around here, and even hangs out around the dog, although he was never around dogs until he moved here with grandma about a year and a half ago. He is grandma's companion and friend, and keeps her lap warm during the day and her feet warm at night. He is doing wonderful, with his diabetes well controlled, and our little MelloYello continues to add happiness to our lives. Simba is indeed a "Happy Jack".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Queen of Hearts

Is it possible to heal a heart that has been shattered into a thousand pieces? I didn't think so, but then along came C.C. (Christmas Cat). After the death of my beloved Caesar, a cat who had accompanied me for many years, of cancer, I was left with a great big hole in my heart. I still had KitKat, a cat who came into my life about a year before Caesar, and I loved her very much (she has since died, too), and Sunny, but I missed Caesar very much, and wished he were still around. Close to Christmas in 2005, a mystery cat appeared on the hood of my car, just like she belonged there. I went to investigate, and she, being skittish, started to run off, but then just stopped and looked at me. I went to get her a small bowl of food, and she ate all of it right away, as if she hadn't eaten in a long time. Well, long story short, she stayed, I fell in love, and she is now a very healthy, loving, long-haired beauty that somehow always belonged with me. I will never know how she found her way here, but I do believe that there are unknowable ways of the Universe that bind entities together in ways we will never understand.

She, the sweetest cat alive, is my baby. She was there when my mom died just a couple months later, and must have known I needed her. She walks with me in the pasture, just like a puppy dog, trailing along, "talking" all the way, and she always has so much to say. She is very vocal, and very loving. She stays by my side all the time, and we are practically inseparable. I have had cats all my life, but this one truly has ME, and I have never been so attached in my life. She sleeps with me when I sleep, even though my hours have always been crazy, and she goes wherever I go, at least around here. A perfect feline, she has healed me with her unconditional love and sweetness.

C.C. goes by many names: SugarBear, LoveBug, SweetPea, SugarPlum, AngelBaby, and FattyCatty, StubbyChubby (o.k., the last two were bestowed by my dad, who is amused by her short stature and fluffy coat), all a reflection of her special personality. She answers to all of those, as she does to FuzzyButt and Baby Girl. I don't know who could have been so cruel as to just dump her and leave her to fend for herself, but I firmly believe she saw me with other cats on my property and knew that mine would be a good home. She was so right. I was so blessed that she showed up that cold night. By my vet's estimates, she was at least 3 years old when she first came here, and had already borne a litter. She was not spayed, so I got her spayed and all her shots, and now she is treated like a queen. I have never had a cat so spoiled - all my doing, of course. And the love I give her is returned a thousand times a day, by laying on my lap, giving me "good morning" kisses, rubbing against my leg to let me know she is there, and by laying in front of my computer any time I try to get things done, just so that I can pay attention to her. It's a wonder my blogs get completed at all!

For all the love and happiness she has brought me, my wonderful, special SugarPlum is and always will be the queen of my heart. I never thought such a perfect creature could exist. Now I know better.

Friday, September 25, 2009

King of the Jungle

Big and beautiful, strong and lithe, this 17-pound orange striped long-haired tabby is king of all he surveys. Sunny got his name because of the color of his fur, bright like the sun, but mostly because he could always find the sunny spot in the room, and proceed to lay out, fully stretched, in the warmth. Sunny came to us a stray kitten, as have most of our cats; either dumped out or homeless for one reason or another. Our cats are rescue cats, and they have found a haven here in the sticks. Sunny, also called Bunny, and even Honey, is a unique cat who has strived to earn his keep around here. He has brought us many "gifts" over the years; mostly small field mice, moles, frogs, lizards, and other assorted critters. Once he even brought a foot-long copperhead to our front door, dead of course. I would like to know the story behind that, but I suppose it's his secret. He loves being outdoors, stalking prey in the tall grass, and enjoying the sunshine, but he is just as comfortable on my bed or recliner, reveling in the knowledge that he is loved and safe. I would rather he just stay indoors where I know he is not in danger, as my cats were always indoor cats when I lived in the city. But here in the country, cats seem to play by different rules, and there is a certain wildness in them that longs to be indulged. So it is with Sunny, my Little Man. He does stay close, though, never leaving our small couple of acres. I suppose he doesn't want to be too far from his Fancy Feast, just in case his hunting activities turn up nothing. He will always be our Baby Boy, no matter how big or brave an intrepid hunter he fancies himself to be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ace of Spades

So many cats, so little time. Let me start by introducing Harriet Potter, a sweet, fairly feral cat that came into our lives as a kitten about 4 years ago. We were wondering what name would be appropriate for her; "Blackie" or "Midnight" was too obvious. Then we noticed she had an affinity for potted plants; no, she didn't chew on them or dig in the pots. No, she just liked laying in the pots, in the cool soil. Ergo, her name. If you watch an animal long enough, they will "tell" you their name, through their personality. So it was with "Potter". She also goes by "Potsie", or just "Pots", if you will. She doesn't come indoors; she is a cat of the great outdoors, except when she's hanging out in dad's garage. She seems to favor dad, and her black as midnight self is now the self-appointed queen of the garage. She will occassionally hang out on our back porch, but prefers to do her own thing in the pastures. She is her own cat. Dark and mysterious as the night, she keeps her secrets to herself. We love her, though, and respect her place in our "deck of felines".

Enjoy these picture of Potter: then, as a kitten in a pot, and now, as a black beauty.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spelling Lesson for the Day

Well, it seems a "journalist" once again gets it wrong at the Victoria Advocate. Imagine that. To wit: any fourth grader (hell, first grader) knows the difference between "flour" and "flower". And even if they don't, they can consult the dictionary, be it online or in good old-fashioned print. So, once again, I will do your work for you, Gabe. Check it out:

1. the finely ground meal of grain, esp. the finer meal separated by bolting.
2. the finely ground and bolted meal of wheat, as that used in baking.
3. a finely ground, powdery foodstuff, as of dehydrated potatoes, fish, or bananas.
4. a fine, soft powder: flour of emery

1. the blossom of a plant.
2. Botany.
a. the part of a seed plant comprising the reproductive organs and their envelopes if any, esp. when such envelopes are more or less conspicuous in form and color.
b. an analogous reproductive structure in other plants, as the mosses.
3. a plant, considered with reference to its blossom or cultivated for its floral beauty.
4. state of efflorescence or bloom: Peonies were in flower.
5. an ornament representing a flower.
6. Also called fleuron, floret. Printing. an ornamental piece of type, esp. a stylized floral design, often used in a line to decorate chapter headings, page borders, or bindings.
7. an ornament or adornment.
8. the finest or most flourishing period: Poetic drama was in flower in Elizabethan England.
9. the best or finest member or part of a number, body, or whole: the flower of American youth.
10. the finest or choicest product or example.
11. flowers, (used with a singular verb) Chemistry. a substance in the form of a fine powder, esp. as obtained by sublimation: flowers of sulfur.

As you can see, there IS a difference.

That concludes our lesson for today.

You're welcome.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mr. Peanut

High - Mah nayme is Jimmeh Cahtah.

If I knew back then what I know now, I would have run for the hills, hid in my treehouse, or otherwise have had the sense to recognize a charlatan when I saw one, simply because I was too young to vote at the time. I remember no harder time for our family and the nation than during the Carter administration. Stagflation, gas lines, energy crisis, and Iran hostage situation that was resolved only by the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. Yes, they were the worst of times, and they were the worst of times.

But times pass, and the years impart a sort of burnished glow to some situations, and a person is able to remove themselves from controversy and redefine themselves more in step with current times. Such was the case with Mr. Carter during the 80s and 90s. At least to me. His charitable works with Habitat for Humanity, his kindness and collaboration with both leaders of this land and lands foreign, and his spiritual faith lent a sort of gentlemanly facade to a president I was highly ashamed of. I was not ashamed of the man.

How we are lulled into complacency. Never again will I be deceived. The New Carter sounds an awful like the old Carter. From his reverse-racist rhetoric (of course, everybody must be a racist but him) to his denouncement of any policy that does not meet his bleeding-heart liberal approval, he obviously believes that he holds all the answers. How does this man even think that anything he says now is relevant? It wasn't thirty years ago and it certainly isn't now. It seems the diarrhea-of-the-mouth disease that ran rampant three decades ago has suddenly come back to life, only now it seems more the ramblings of a pretender who can't accept that his time has passed. Some people apparently don't know when to quit, when to gracefully surrender the spotlight.

Move on, Mr. Carter. I have. The world has too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cheating Death

An insightful blog by fellow writer, Pilot, has given me cause to think about how lucky many of us are in spite of the fickle nature of life and death. Risk-taking behaviors can lead some down the path of destruction, while others seem to get off scot-free. Is there any logical rhyme or reason for this? Probably not. If there is, I haven't figured it out yet. Why does one person pay with their life for a moment, or even a lifetime of foolishness, while another avoids paying the ultimate price?

My father, a lifetime smoker, is one of the lucky ones. He has, in essence, cheated death, and thankfully no longer smokes. I came so close to losing him a year and a half ago, it still scares me to think of it. He is the lone cancer survivor in our family, and is now doing so well that I can't hardly keep up with him. It is as if he has been given a new life, and in reality, he has. He is now making up for lost time and is enjoying everything and everyone around him. He, and we, have been truly blessed. The experience has made me realize that some risks just aren't worth it. My mother was not so fortunate, nor my grandfather. Cigarettes have taken away so many of the people that I love. I don't know why my father was spared, but every day I am so glad that he was. A girl needs her daddy, and I just wasn't ready to let him go. Will I ever be? Probably not. I just enjoy every day I have with him now. A year and a half ago, I did not think we would have this time together. Now we are celebrating a year and a half of his cancer-free status.

And there's your rainbow after the rain. Some things are worth fighting for. Love is the best reason to cheat death.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Some Blogs Just Write Themselves


A novel use for a common household item caught my attention the other day and was revived in my memory just last night, after some big shakeups and cross words in the online world of the Victoria Advocate. Suffice to say, this blogger has jumped ship in search for a smarter audience and a publication with more integrity, namely my own blog site. So enjoy this interesting little article here, and I think you'll see what I mean by the relation to the joke of the Crossroads, the Victoria Advocate. It's so nice to know that newspapers can serve a dual function. Happy reading....and whatever else you may decide to do with your edition of the Victoria Advocate.