No tickers

Samstag, November 02, 2013

The Cat Alarm

            I have joined the millions of people around the world who have a cat for an alarm clock.  I used to sleep in as long as I wanted on the weekend.  The cats have dry food available all the time, so in the morning they would go eat it.  It was actually a relief, because a cat that is away from the bed cannot continue pummeling its occupants into the most comfortable version of a sleep sack.

            Then Turbo got old.  Her doctor wanted her to eat special, canned cat food.  Of course this meant Che, also, wanted (different) special canned cat food.  Suddenly breakfast is this gourmet experience.  Look at it this way.  If you knew your choices for breakfast were either dry cereal or bacon, would you go eat the dry cereal?  No, you would hold out for bacon or go cook it yourself. 

            This doesn’t work for Turbo because she can’t open cans.  She can, however, open my eyes by clawing at my eyelids repeatedly until I can’t stand it any more.  So I get up in the dark and go around giving anyone who will eat it cat food or dog food or both, depending on who it is and how demanding they are.  Note that I cannot get back in bed after all this, because Turbo only likes her cat food to be served on my bed with a little Turbo plate and a little Turbo tablecloth.  She does not get little Turbo serviettes, but only because I haven’t got any her size.

            This is not the first time in my life that I have had to get up early for animals.  When I was in high school I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m. so that I had time to wash my hair before school after I milked the cow.  This was in the olden days before blow dryers.  I had longish, thick hair and my Sixties-style hair dryer—which I had because it was the Sixties—took about an hour to do the job.

            It could have been worse.  It was only one cow.  It was hand milking, not machine milking, but it gave me well-developed hands.  At 4:00 a.m. in winter the snow sparkled like ten million jewels.  In summer I saw the sunrise. 

I should add that it was my own fault I had to do it.  My dad was willing to milk the cow once a day, in the evening.  Once a day gave us enough milk for the family’s needs.  However, it didn’t give us enough milk to run some through the separator and get cream for our cereal or to cook with.  If we cranked the separator tight enough, it would produce cream so thick it set up in the fridge like butter, and we sometimes used it that way for cookies and cakes, but mostly our mom just made fudge.

Turbo does not produce anything tangibly useful like cream.  She does barf on the floor, but we have not figured out any use for that.  No, getting up while it’s still dark is the price I pay for having a warm, furry white noise machine to purr me to sleep any time I lie down on the bed, day or night.  She has been doing it for eighteen years.  That’s got to be worth a little sacrifice.

Montag, Oktober 25, 2010

Standing up in the boat

In Venice--in Venezia--everyone stands up in the boat. Gondoliers, motor boat drivers, little old ladies using the gondola ferry to cross the Grand Canal. If you're sitting down, you must be a tourist.


It is strange to be in a place where there are no cars. The night is silent.

View from Ponte dei Pietá

In Venice you take a boat to the airport, to the train station, to the hospital--the ambulanza is a boat, too, of course.

Distances in Venice are measured in bridges--"cross three bridges, then take the first street on your left." The streets can be measured in bricks--4 1/2 bricks wide at this end, 7 1/2 bricks wide at that end. Look sharp or you will miss your street entirely. In Venice, the cracks between the houses are the streets.

Sometimes the distinction between the canals and the streets blurs. Given some rain and a high tide, the canals ignore the distinction. *Acqua alta*, they call it in Venice. It's synonymous for winter.

Inside Vecchio Murano in high water

Like the water, the names of Venice roll and flow and pour. The sestieri: Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce. The islands: Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido, Mazzorbo, San Michele, San Giorgio Maggiore. The churches: Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Basilica Cattedrale Patriachale di San Marco, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

Heavy with the weight of great age, solemn in its stillness, dolphin-shaped Venezia floats in and under its lagoon. What race of sea-people dreamed this city of boats and music and glass? Did they, too, stand up in boats?

Freitag, Februar 19, 2010

I survive group lessons

Don't ask me why this stresses me out, but for some reason having 17 kids show up at my house in groups of 5 or 6 over the space of three days fries my brain.

We celebrated Mardi Gras after the fact. At each group, kids improvised along with Thelonius Monk and had a chance to play pieces they're learning. At the Wednesday group, one of the older kids who is a great pop improviser demonstrated how he comes up with a new piece. Then they ate king cake (I made four of them--we ate ours on Mardi Gras day) and I threw Mardi Gras beads and doubloons at them. I think I ordered them from this year.

Everything went fine, and my daughters helped with the groups their kids are in (cousins can get a little silly when together in a group with other kids). So why is my brain fried?

I hope there is enough of it left to go practice the organ for a while.

Freitag, Februar 05, 2010

I keep my head above water . . . barely

Just to let you know what's going on:

I am practicing the organ 4 hours most days and working on transposition, modulation, and harmonization in my spare time.

I am hardly knitting at all.

My mother is going into a nursing home on Monday.

I will let you know when things get better.

Freitag, Jänner 15, 2010

I think about pitching out my ball winder

After struggling for over an hour with my jumbo ball winder, I watched this video and am considering giving up ball winders entirely.