So much

There is so  much to see and hear. There is so  much to touch.

There are so  many books with words and pictures.

There’s music, videos, paintings, drawings, real and virtual.

We have plasma screens, tv screens computer screens, and of course bulletin boards with fliers stacked one on top of the other.

Then there are blogs like this one, and wikis, and all of those social networking sites.

We have so much, too much  information.

So what do I do? I add more.

I can’t seem to stop  producing artifacts. But why do I feel the need to do so?  Perhaps I crave attention. Maybe I’m just trying to prove that I’m here and that my existence means something.

A piece I'm working on

A piece I’m working on. Acrylics, and misc. ephemera

Life is all about doing stuff isn’t it? At the very least you have to eat, breathe, and go to the bathroom. And then if you want to continue to live, you have to work, or find some other way to obtain money so you can have food and shelter, so that you can continue to breathe.

So I don’t know exactly why I’m here, and I can’t even be certain that any of this even exists.

I think I am doomed  to keep doing and creating, because it’s in my nature. If the rest of the world ignores me, that’s okay.

Bulletin board at Wells Library

Bulletin board at Wells Library

Brain in t he Wells Library

Part of Brain Extravaganza exhibit in Bloomington, IN.

More on the Brain Extravaganza

Screen at Wells Library

Screen at Wells Library

Art on a  person

Art on a person

This day is lovely

I have to appreciate the beauty of the day, despite my bad mood. This morning I awoke from a dream in which I was researching the tumor that I thought I had.  Also in the dream were paintings that somehow represented serial killers. This was all unpleasant, and yet I wanted to close my eyes and sleep some more. But alas, I had to go to work. Also, I weighed myself this morning. I was not happy with the number I saw.

At work…

So after a few hours of sitting at my desk, I decide it’s time to get up and take a little walk. The temperature outside is warm, just as I like it. Here’s some of what I saw on my little walk.

E buildings used to be here

They tore down the building I used to work in

Northeast corner of CIB

Northeast corner of CIB

Flowers by the Data Center

Flowers by the Data Center

The Cats, Part 2: Pericles

The previous post was about OJ. This one is for Pericles.

Poignant Pericles

Pericles is special. The day after my Mom passed away, I went to the store to get something or the other. When I got back to the house, there was a box on the front porch. I looked at it and thought jokingly, did Dad get a kitten? I went inside, and Dad was standing in the kitchen next to the glass sliding door of the sun room. I put the packages down on the kitchen table and probably asked him, “What’s that box out front?” I can’t remember if he answered my question, but what I do remember is looking at the glass door and seeing an orange, striped kitten standing on his hind legs with his paws on the glass. He meowed; I squealed and fell in love.

I asked Dad where the kitten came from. He said it was in the front yard so he decided to bring it in. Just a few days before, I was remarking to Dad that one didn’t see any cats wondering around the neighborhood. Dad remembered this conversation and thought that this kitten must be some kind of miracle. I believe that to be true. I believe that my Mom’s spirit found Pericles wandering around without anyone to take care of him, and she nudged him in the direction of our house so that he could be with me. The only other explanation is that the kitten sensed that I was going through something difficult so he decided to come over and take care of me. Those explanations are for those who believe in the mysterious and the magical. I’m one of those people.

Me and Pericles in our first week together

Me and Pericles in our first week together

Pericles up Close

Young Pericles

The next few days were busy with visitors to the house. The doorbell rang frequently and every time it did, Pericles would go running to the door. I would chase him, yelling “kitten, kitten!” He didn’t have a name yet.

He made those first few days without Mom more bearable. Sure my mother was gone, but I had this cute little bundle of fur to take care of. It was fun to watch him dart around the house and try and climb things that should not be climbed (like kittens are wont to do).

One day when he and I were in the living room playing kitten games, his name came to me. I looked at him and thought, Pericles, that’s his name. He didn’t seem to mind the name, so we stuck with it.

Historically Pericles was a statesman in ancient Greece. He’s referred to as the first citizen. There’s a Wikipedia article about him. The word Pericles means surrounded by glory, and I think that he is.

I think the reason I had the name in mind is because of a character on an episode of Bullwinkle and Rocky called Pericles Parnassus. I’ve got a few seasons of Bullwinkle, and I’ve watched a lot. I guess the name was just floating around in my subconscious.

The day after Mom’s funeral, I packed up the car (including Pericles and his litter box) and headed back to Bloomington. When we arrived at my apartment, OJ was waiting, and he had a few surprises for me. He had decided to use my bed as a litter box, and he left a dead mouse in the living room.

I was happy that he killed the mouse and I understood the poop in the bed thing. I found out that Mom was not going to last very long late in the evening about a week before. I had time to pack a few things and get OJ’s food and water dispensers filled before I left. OJ didn’t get any warning that he was to be left alone for the week. When I  think about this now, I realize that OJ probably couldn’t have prepared for my departure. He’s a cat, not a person. But still I cut him some slack for his misdeed. After all, I was bringing home a new kitten for him to get used to.

To make a long story shorter, the two cats finally got to know each other, and settled into a solid feline friendship.

They did have their spats. Here’s a video of one.

And that is the story of Pericles. I could go on, but I won’t.

The Cats, Part 1: OJ

These posts are all about my two cats, orange tabbies named OJ and Pericles.

I got OJ in the fall of 2001 after a boyfriend breakup. I needed someone to keep me company, and not be a big stupid jerk. So I went to the Monroe County Humane Association animal shelter and told them that I was interested in a cat. Someone showed me to the cat area, and I browsed the kitty cages. I was looking at one to my right when I felt a tap on my left shoulder from the next cage. It was OJ picking me. If an animal picks you, he’s meant to be yours, so I filled out the adoption paperwork and picked him up the next day. But, they gave me the wrong cat. It was orange and had short hair. I thought maybe I didn’t remember quite what OJ, who has medium length fur, looked like. I brought the cat home, and took it out of the carrier. It was very shy, but I thought it would come around eventually. The phone rang not too long after we got home. It was the shelter telling me that I had the wrong cat  and that they would send someone over to make the exchange. A woman arrived with the real OJ and the rest is history.

OJ smooshes the futon

OJ smooshes the futon

By the way, OJ was his name when I got him. I wasn’t crazy about the name given the whole double-murder thing, but he was almost a year old so I figure it was too late too rename him. I tell people he’s bringing respect back to the name.

OJ has gone through different personality phases over the years. He has never been a lap cat, but he shows affection in other ways. He would always follow me around the apartment (when I lived in an apartment) and meow for me when I wasn’t in the same room with him. Now that we have Sadie (the puppy), his movement around the house is limited. He and Sadie are not exactly friends.

If I’m in the shower and OJ is in the bathroom with me, he meows constantly, stopping only when I peek around the curtain and look at him. He has gotten into he shower with me a couple of times, standing at the end so as not to get wet.

There were times when he would go a little nuts and attack me. Once, he jumped up from the floor and bit me on the shoulder. It was a pretty spectacular jump. The only way to calm him down when he got like that was to throw a blanket over him. Now he’s more mellow.  He sometimes sits on my lap or lies on my chest when I’m in bed.

That’s OJ in a nutshell. He’s a pretty good cat all-in-all. If only he wouldn’t shed so much. Perhaps a haircut is in order.

Next post, Pericles!

OJ in Basket

Taking care

I found out that my Mom was not going to survive Pancreatic Cancer on a night when I was in Indianapolis eating at a steakhouse with participants in a user group meeting about a telephone switch. It was the day of her MRI to see if  the four weeks of chemotherapy had worked.

Elsa G. McCain

My Mom, Elsa. (Photo by William S. McCain)

I stepped out of  the restaurant before the main course arrived, to call home and find out the test results. As  I stood on the sidewalk talking on the phone and crying, night was closing in, and my life  was changing.

That was probably the last time I spoke to my Mom. She told me not to cry and she told me to take care of myself.She wasn’t going to be there anymore to take care of me, so I was supposed to take care of myself.

That was six years ago, and for much of that time I’ve been able to take care of myself because my life was all about me. I have other priorities now; my husband, my father, the dogs and the cats.

Every day after work I go see my Dad, who lives just around the corner. I’m glad that I can have my Dad so close, but in the old days, when I came home from work I could do yoga or one of my workout DVDs. These days, when I get home from Dad’s place, I have to share the tv with my husband so there’s not much chance to do a workout DVD.  If I decide to lie on the floor and do some crunches and leg lifts I can’t do very many because Sadie thinks my time should be spent playing with her. I’m just not getting the exercise I need to be happy and healthy. I’m not taking care of myself the way I should be. I have permission to take care of myself because my Mom told me to.

I’ve gained a few pounds in the last couple of months and my legs nearly gave out from our day at Nashville, IN. It’s time to admit that I’m out of shape. It’s time to use that gym membership that I pay for every month.

Today I’m going to the gym after work. I’ll do a warm-up with some walking, and maybe the rowing machine. I’ll do  strength work focusing on the lower body and then I’ll stretch (I love to stretch). It will be my time and I will do it at least twice a week, hopefully more often.

I want to be healthy and stay healthy. I’ve seen what the passing years can do to those who haven’t stayed physically active and I don’t want that to be my future. My grandmother lived to be 102, so I may be looking at 60 more years of life. I want those years to be good ones!

And here’s Sadie! Oh, and thanks for the advice Mom.

Sadie

A Day Out

Me and the hubby spent Saturday in Nashville, Indiana (little Nashville as they call it). What you do when you go to Little Nashville is visit the shops and maybe buy some things. That is what we did. It was a fun but long day.

The highlight for me I think was a toy store called The Toy Chest.

Toy Chest sign

The store just delighted me.  There was something about being in that store that made me happy. I felt like a little girl again, or maybe I just remembered what it was like to be a little girl -when life was simple.

We went into stores that sold sports memorabilia, t-shirts, art, jewelery, socks, hats, and even scrapbooking supplies. I loved the scrapbooking stores and made a few purchases that I’m likely not to use for a long time, but I wanted to support the merchants, and I just can’t resist that stuff.

We stopped in at the Spring Blossom Arts Festival and saw my co-worker and his wife Rosey of Rosey’s Uncommon Gourd. She makes beautiful art out of real gourds. I especially liked the Halloween tree with gourd ornaments that reminded me of something from a Tim Burton movie. I wanted to buy one of her pieces, but I couldn’t afford it. Things weren’t super expensive, but I’m definitely on a budget.  After seeing  her booth I wanted  to sell my own art. Maybe someday I will.

So I had a lovely, but tiring day. The stamina of my leg muscles needs improvement, but that’s the topic of another post.

I took some pictures with the trusty iPhone too. I’d like to go to Nashville one day solely for the purpose of taking pictures.

Tepot/Coffee pot art

Horse

Bearwallow Gifts

Muddy Boots Cafe

I didn’t write today

I didn’t write today. I thought and thought about writing. I thought about what to write, but in the end I didn’t write.

I let myself down. I had given myself the task of writing something everyday, but I didn’t write today so I feel bad.

I slept late and dreamed strange dreams, dreams that I can’t remember, dreams that didn’t make sense.

I ate toast that almost burned, with vegetable spread and marmalade. I made and drank coffee and later bought and drank coffee.

I went to WalMart and I went to Sam’s Club. I bought a new skillet and some Cheerios for my Dad. I ruined his old skillet a couple of weeks ago by letting the noodles burn.

But today I didn’t write.

I’m supposed to write everyday.

I thought about writing a poem or finding a photograph from the Flickr Commons and writing a really short story about it, but I didn’t.

The picture could have been this one. I wonder what I would have written about this picture?  Maybe that the actress was thinking of quitting show business while she was  performing this movie scene, or that the car was on loan from a wealthy banker from Sacramento. Maybe the banker was the actress’ father and that’s how she got the job. I might have written any number of things, but I didn’t, because I didn’t write today.

Motion picture scene (1916)