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Saturday, September 23, 2017

From the ridiculous to the sublime

Back when I was a weaver I had a weaver friend with a house full of kids and husband and friends and noise. It was a nice place to go. The years went on, the kids thinned out and one day it was quiet, except for my friend, and a cat on the sofa. Karen called all the kids, who, she knew, took their cats and dogs, and no one claimed it. They all knew it, but not where it came from. “It just came from the shadows,” Karen said, “got on the sofa and became the house cat.”

Here’s a story about guilt and karma.

One neighbor brought home a kitten for her children, and consigned it outside when fleas were evident. The kitten survived and, according to my neighbor Cathy, who knows all the news, has had two litters. Those kittens have been taken in, or something. They’re gone.

Someone named this cat Gypsy. She is quiet, unassuming, non-demanding. She sits on porches in case a meal is forthcoming. I find her on my deck. She offers to come in. I say “No,” and she sits down again. She is tiny, maybe six pounds. In my mind’s eye she is a corner cat, like the one at Karen’s house.  I try not to get involved. I have a cat, and as my sister pointed out, I will not outlive my cat. I cannot be responsible for another cat.

The original “owner” offered to take Gypsy back if flealess, so I got a dose of medication, which Cathy applied. The cat is flealess, for the time being, but remains homeless. Cathy puts out a plate of food and retrieves it when Gypsy empties it. I’m not reliable enough to do that; my cat gets a fresh bowl of crunchies and a clean bowl of water every morning. Take it or leave it.

The open kitchen seems reduced to Cathy of late, who cannot afford to feed her own cats. I can, but would only be setting up a wild critter feeding station. Winter is coming on. I thought about setting up a house for the cat, but, again am only inviting wildlife. 

Come spring this little cat will be pregnant again. Sometimes I think I’ll just go across the street, kick in the door and tell that person how worthless she is. Fortunately, I have neither the balance nor the strength to take down a door. And, the four little girls are nice little girls.

Cathy and I have talked this to death. Yesterday I gave her my lovely cat carrier, asked her to put in Gypsy when she fed her, and I would take her to the Humane Society. My county is a long oblong; the Humane Society is at the northern border. I called ahead, but in twenty four hours had no return call. I found the building, and was turned away. “Oh, yes. You called. I just didn’t get around to calling back. We don’t have room.”

It was over ninety degrees yesterday. I headed south, for the freeway, and Summit County Animal Control, on, of course, Opportunity Parkway. I don’t know this part of Akron; it was reconstructed from the huge old B.F. Goodrich complex. There is no compass in Kay’s lovely car; I don’t know left from right anyway, and have never fired up my phone’s GPS.

I bet most every cat transported in a car howls. Gypsy said nothing. I apologized for the length of the ride, the cursing at all the detours (downtown Akron is being reconstructed), and the swearing at all the idiots who were as unhappy with construction as I. Gypsy said nothing. After several stops for instructions, we found Opportunity.

Gypsy waited in the car, all windows down. Not allowed inside. I stood in line for close to an hour as the single clerk labored away. At the counter I learned they are at capacity, and couldn’t take her. “But you are a taxpayer funded agency for animal control!” said I. I didn’t spend thirteen years in government for nothing.

They would take her to be euthanized. It would cost me $25. It was so hot; dripping tears were indistinguishable from sweat. I put my debit card on the counter. “We don’t take Visa debit cards; the charge is too high. Do you have a Master Card?” I took back my card and left.

This week we’ll get to the vet and transform her into a proper house cat. She and Toby came to terms in five minutes or less. He must remember being a four week old kitten in a Pittsburgh parking lot. He wants someone to lick his ears, too, like Ryon used to. As for leaving them homeless in the not distant future, I don’t think so. I can make arrangements. But, I’ll be damned if I pay another $50 per month to put a roof over her head. If asked, only one cat lives here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Close call

We’re connected at the hip to our smart phones. Or there over the heart. Or back pocket, though I cannot imagine how that one works. Or just in the hand, and able to remember to pick it up whenever we move.

I’m on my second Motorola android. The phone store folks call them Droids. I had the first one at least five years, and gave it up only because the battery died. Unlike my previous flip phone, there is no replacing the battery of a smart phone. 

The phone world was juggling at the time between several operating systems. Blackberry was popular. My daughter, Beth and my friend Ann would never part with their Blackberries. I think Beth even had hers repaired, just to have that pull out keyboard.

I knew people who had I-Phones at the time, but they were so expensive! I picked a Motorola because it’s an American name that used to be in Chicago, Illinois. That was my rationale. That phone outlasted the Blackberries. “You still using this!” said the salesman, when it went down fighting, its battery deader than dead.

That was three years ago, just about the time Verizon removed the option of owning a phone. No, it had to be purchased on time, over the life of a contract. I circled the store and eventually selected a Samsung, based on cost. It was the cheapest.

How I hated that stupid little phone. Nothing about electronics is intuitive, in my opinion, and Samsung did not follow the protocol I’d memorized for my Motorola. I gave the Samsung to Emily and got the Motorola. End of phone drama, until Laura’s birthday, last year.

Laura had a flip phone to then, and I told her we had a long list of errands for the day and bring her phone, in the event I lost her somewhere. The penny never dropped until I told the sales person  that Laura was there to  get a new phone. The only caveat, a Motorola. It is one of my best surprises. I probably can’t beat it this year.

While she wandered, looking for a smart phone, I was literally drawn by the center store display of Moto Mods. All these catch words were new to me, but I understood one item simply by looking. The pistol grip of a camera. This Moto Mod was a Hasselblad. I thought about an old boss of mine who was also a photography nut, lending me his Nikon camera. It was so expensive, I ended my SLR photography days with my tried and true Minolta.

The Hasselblad was on sale for a hundred dollars. Of course, it involved the phone upgrade to the Motorola that could be Modified for other purposes. It was so tempting; it was like walking through treacle to get out of the store with only a new phone for an excited young lady.

For two weeks now I’ve been looking at an email: “You’re close to an upgrade!” I merely have to pay off the phone I have (which will be accomplished in next month’s billing) and the new Moto Mods are mine for the picking.

Damn, that new Hasselblad is beautiful! The email is still there. I’ve thought about it and researched it. So tempting. Lucky for me, no eyepiece viewfinder conversion. And Hasselblad doesn't appear to make the camera in red. I’ve dodged the bullet. But, what a beautiful piece of equipment.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Small mystery resolved

Remember the glass beads I heard falling, falling and clicking on each other, after the craniotomy, before I was conscious? I found them.

Today I had an EEG, which records brain wave patterns, and looks for, among other things, indications of seizures. My EEG ten or twelve years ago gave no indication of seizure activity and neither will today’s in my opinion. I see today’s test in a continuing pattern of the waste of taxpayer money. And mine, too, considering the cost of my supplemental Medicare insurance. But, …

I was in a recliner in a darkened room, and the technician recorded brain wave patterns on a computer behind me. For whatever reason I was asked to become drowsy over the hour long test. About three quarters through, I became aware of the glass bead clicking noise, back there by the computer. 

Occasionally I heard the sound of the keyboard strokes, but the majority of the sounds were of glass beads. In my mind’s eye there were no beads dropping, but no matter.

When the test was over, I quizzed the technician about the noise, and we got to the bottom of it quickly. It was the rapid clicking of her mouse, recording brain wave patterns. I tried it with my mouse here and had a more muted click, but I understood what was happening. The tech certainly had a task specific mouse that clicked easily and freely, unlike my very old mouse.

How interesting my brain used my curtain of beads to display images I’d seen of the National Mall during that day in March. I wonder how that translated in EEG brain waves.

Now I’m curious about the March readings. “Normal EEG, except connected by little glass beads.”