Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Light your candles at 5:15pm"

My weeks are getting busier and harder.....the silent auction is just three weeks away and I have over 100 items to organize, summarize, fancy up and haul to a downtown hotel.

The auction itself would be enough of a vise but I'm taking a couple of classes....and it seems from the moment I open my eyes till I try and close them....I am over-scheduled.

So when the text arrived around noon on Friday to light the Sabbath candles at 5:15pm....I stopped....and thought ....I have to do this...I have to rest, recharge and regain my composure.

I phoned my husband and told him to be home before 5:15pm. I ran to the bakery to get a warm buttery soft
challah loaf....I dashed into the grocery store for the makings of a dinner salad.....I sped home....cleaned off the table.....opened the wine.....chopped the veggies up.....grabbed a new tablecloth from the closet.....opened my grandfather's special wooden box to retrieve the shabbat candles....lighter.....glasses.......loaded up the coffee pot....cleaned up the kitchen....all with my eyes glued on the clock.

It was almost like a game....could I get everything done before 5:15pm?

5:12..hubby walks in.

5:13 ...hurry put a cover on the
challah.

5:14...hurry hurry and get hubby to sit down.

5:15....amen ...I made it. I lite the candles...said the prayer quietly to myself.....sigh and sit down.

My hub and I looked at each startled. Our meals have been so fast and quick this week...half of them I didn't even eat with the men folks but here we are.....face to face over the dinner table.

We clinked our wine glasses. My phone made it's little messages-and-texts-are-here-noises which I ignored. We put on some music.....I reminded myself I could eat slowly....I had no place to dash off to.....I would eat...digest....chat...read....but generally be still...maybe we would watch a movie together later.

It felt so wonderful to regain myself..... I decided to miss my morning class and even services on Saturday. I tried to keep calm......I did a little studying....and again we sat down to a quiet dinner. I didn't do the
Havdahla service...the service which ends the Sabbath.... because I actually did not want to the day to end....I decided to continue for a few more hours.....and I plan to hit the sack early and get up early on Sunday to start the day fresh.....classes first....then get started organizing and writing up the auction items.

The next weeks will be very intense.

Thank G-d for the Sabbath.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, January 21, 2011

To touch, to tame, to connect.




For 4-5 weeks....a skinny ragged little kitten has made her home in the bushes in our front yard.

I don't know how she found us, perhaps, some invisible sign written in cat language is staked in our front yard...."these people are nice to strays."

Whatever, she was a small streak of gray meowing in the bushes.... obviously hungry and I have cat food.

I
hesitated for only a few seconds before placing the bowl under the bushes.... I don't want another cat.

I have two cats, two dogs, two sons living with me....and one husband.

The Inn is full.

My last cat,
Fancypants, was a stray but I'm not an animal hoarder or someone that takes in every animal that wanders our way.

Still...I could not not feed this small cat. I would figure out what to do with her later.

To my surprise....the
little kitty hissed and arched her back trying to look ferocious when I placed the bowl down.

I wondered if she was feral....but her little ribs were sticking out and whatever she was....she was under my bush, in front of my house meowing pitifully.

I fed her the next day and the next day.

She wouldn't come to me and always kept a couple of feet distance.... each time I got down on my knees and peered under the bushes... she would sink further back into the greenery and hiss.

I tried to catch her as the weather grew colder....put out a cat carrier with food in it...but once she was inside... she flung herself so hard against the grate her nose starting bleeding...so I let her go.

And so we continued our little dance.....

"Kitty are you there?"

Meow Meow.

"Here's some food"

Hiss. Hiss.

With snow and below freezing temperatures coming, I worried for the little thing but I wasn't sure what to do.

One day when I opened our front door on a very cold morning, kitty was sitting on our doorstep...but she zipped away the minute I bent over and tried to touch her.

So I placed a bowl of food on our front porch and waited......she peeked out of the bushes and cautiously stepped onto the porch to eat....she had one eye on her food and one eye on me. If I moved....she ran away.

So the dance moved to our front porch.

The night before the first snow storm, I looked out the door's window and saw her sitting on our steps. Cold, small...a little spit of a thing....I knew I had to do to provide some sort of shelter for her or she might not make it. But anything that reeked of human....like a towel...a box....she jumped away from.

Since she occasionally sat on our doormat.... I found an old heating pad and slipped it under our mat and plugged it in to our outdoor lights. Within minutes, after I shut the front door, she curled up in a tight knot over the doormat. Next trip outside, I placed a small square of wood in front of the front step to provide a little wind screen.

Heating blankets don't stay on
continuously....people were injured or burned when pads were left on so most heating pads have a two hour timer....which meant someone in our household would have to open the front door and reactivate the heater for our wild cat.

We all took turns ...anyone who was passed the front door looked out the side window to see if the red heating light was still on. Each time someone reactivated the pad.... she jumped away quick as lightening but jumped back just as quickly.

She survived the first snow storm and the ensuing bitter cold nights after. I would reactivate the blanket at about 1am before I went to bed....and my son, who leaves for work at 5am, would be the first in the morning to turn the thing back on...which meant she only had a two hour window to keep warm on her own.

Since she survived the cold tough week, I thought I would try a different approach. I sat down on the front step and waited. Sure enough....she'd peek out of the bushes...cautiously jump onto the front porch...dance around....stretch...rub herself against my flower pots....but she always kept the two foot distance between her and my outstretched hand.

"Come here kitty kitty" I would say softly to her.

"Meow" she'd answer...dancing around in a circle but still keeping her distance.

And then yesterday.....the usual routine....I gave her some food....went about my day....and opened the door around noon to sit on the front step for a few minutes.

Out she popped from her little home in the bushes.....and then she carefully....walked closer to me....I reached out my hand.....I could see the hesitancy in her body.......all her muscles seemed ready to spring ....and then she moved her head towards my fingers...paused.... then bent her head down for a few seconds....allowing me to scratch her..... behind her cold little ears.

We both jumped apart after contact.

She looked as surprised as I was.

What happened today? Why today? After a month of shying away from me....what had changed? Why did she decide to trust me for three seconds...to offer me her neck to touch...to connect?

I don't know.

She came up to me later in the day and allowed me another
scratchie then darted off.

Now I'm wondering if she is really feral or is she simply an abandoned kitty who's never been touched or petted.

A couple hours ago I saw a preview for the movie "No Strings Attached" and I found myself smiling because I can guess the plot.....girl asks guy for sex// no strings attached....touch touch kiss kiss...but somehow the same door that opened today between my wild cat and I is opened on a bigger scale when a man and a woman are involved.....the touch...the skin contact creates a connection.


Touching an animal or another person....changes you....some neural pathway is altered....some synapse which was unconnected is connected and caring...concern....attention...flows easier.....and the more we touch.....the more the bond strengthens.......which is why "No Strings" doesn't work often in life....and why I am now worried about a little wild cat sitting somewhere under my bushes.

I opened my front door a few hours ago and wild kitty is not there....the doormat is heated...the board in place....and it's very cold....hopefully she has found another spot which is warmer ...safer than my front door.

So now I am more concerned for her and for her safety....now....that she trusts me a little....I've
reciprocated by caring a little more about her. I've even thought of giving of her name.

You touch...you connect....and then there are consequences.

Where are you little wild cat?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pretty nipple pasties that I don't sell.

I admit they're pretty.....I'm sure they would be fun to wear .....but unfortunately I don't sell them.



In the strange world of the Internet....somehow ...somewhere in the galaxy someone has incorrectly swapped my blog address with Gina's Gems.....a blog that highlights...a different
Gina's unique pasties.

In the last couple weeks I've received about a dozen emails about her products....inquiring on cost, on adhesive, and wondering about custom designs.

Huh? I didn't know I was in the pasties business....so a quick check of the net and a few replies and hopefully I have sent customers back to the right Gina.


All these questions about pasties had me wondering though.....can you get them off quickly? do they leave an adhesive residue?

And one more BIG question...do they hurt when you take them off....because there's nothing like setting a sexy scene then shrieking ouch ouch ouch!

Inquiring minds I guess.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowmen happen in the South.....


We only get snow a couple times a year.....so it's not unusual to see spontaneous snowmen spring up...sometimes in unusual places.

They're not just for kids down here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Early morning 'round my house......

Snow Day

It's quiet in my house....the 5-6 inches of snow created a thick blanket of insulation around us.

Although for most people it's a snow day....my husband is a state employee and is considered "essential personnel." So early this morning....we warmed and moved cars on our driveway....scraped windows and kicked the snow around. He'll go downhill initially to work but then he'll have to drive up "Bale Hill"....also known as "Car Hill."

There's an auto dealership on top of the hill.....but when the rare snow hits us.....Car Hill will be littered on both sides of the road with abandoned or wrecked autos as southern drivers who aren't used to driving in snow flunk the attempt.

Yesterday I had to drive through the snow to get home from a meeting. I felt nervous and panicky. Yes, I had bread and milk at home...but somehow the 2-3 inches of snow was getting under my skin. Drivers were already doing stupid things ...not giving their cars enough gas to get up a hill.....turning sharply and braking.......and then a few idiots who were driving too fast. But I grew up in Chicago and went to college in Omaha were snow drifts rule in winter....surely I wouldn't forget winter driving lessons......but I think that's what made me nervous.....I was losing my confidence. I've lived too long in the south.....and a once or twice a year practice of snow driving doesn't keep your skills honed.

Fortunately, I made it home...safe and sound.....giving my car enough gas to make it up "Car Hill" and giving the finally push to get up my own hill...where my house sits.

I'm a little concerned about a small stray kitty we were feeding....she is, probably half feral, but we put a little food out in this cold weather for her. I found her snuggled up against my front door but as I soon as I opened the door she ran away.....hopefully to a better spot to shelter.

So as far as my snow day goes.....I'll grab one more cup of coffee and start working on the silent auction.....unfortunately or fortunately......email and texts still work.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

An amazing photo....


I am not sure how I stumbled upon this picture on the net....but it has haunted me for the last two days.

The picture is absolutely perfect....the light....the halo effect around the girl's head....the quiet startle effect.....the young in between adult and child huntress....South Africa....the gut reaction to a dead animal on a live animal.

The Visual Blog gives background on the picture:

"This year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery has been awarded to David Chancellor’s photograph Huntress with Buck. In the photograph we can see a young woman sitting on a horse looking down into the camera. The photograph appears to be slightly manipulated, as the area near the head of the main subject seems to be brightened to increase her aura. The low vantage point of the camera and the elevated position of the huntress have the effect that she looks grand and statuesque. In his photograph, Chancellor evokes the iconography of equestrian statues depicting knights, gods and military leaders. The central relationship is not between the huntress and her horse, but between the huntress and the buck lying dead across the horse’s back. The symbolism here is pretty clear: the horse is alive, the buck is dead, their bodies crossing each other where the huntress is sitting. The huntress is portrayed as killer as much as a nurturer.

In a sense, the huntress is at a crossroad herself: she is neither girl nor woman. Without the caption provided, the androgynous looks of the subject also fail to indicate a clear gender identity. It is perhaps an ungendered performance that is possible in the ‘wild’ settings the photograph was taken in. This notion of inbetweeness is further emphasized by the lighting: photographed when the sun was kissing the horizon, it is neither day, nor is it night. The low sunlight has the effect that all elements in the photograph come visually together as, for a brief moment, everything is steeped in a deep red colour."

Although the photograph was taken in South Africa, the girl is American from Alabama and ironically her last name is Slaughter. There's been much chatter on the web about rich girls keeping up the hunting traditions of royalty and the moral consequences of trophy hunting.

One article mentioned an interesting aspect of the picture.....neither animal....dead or alive looks at the camera....it is only the human being, who is capable of making moral decisions, who looks us into the eye and asks us....perhaps defies us to have an opinion.

Amazing.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My New Year's Weekend.....

Friday: pulled a muscle in my back.




Saturday: got a mild case of food poisoning which kicked in exactly two minutes after Midnight..



Sunday: started a fire in the oven....flames...billowing black smoke.





But I still remain optimistic about the coming year.