Monday, November 23, 2009


I don’t like music.

Well, maybe that is probably too harsh of a statement. Music makes me nervous.

I rarely listen to music anymore. I used to, a lot. When I was a kid, or to be more accurate a teenager I can remember my father telling me to turn down the music, of course, he had to tell me over the top of the music I was listening to at the time, so he told me very loudly to “TURN DOWN THAT MUSIC!”

But even when I was a teenager, I was a bit different, preferring to listen to the bagpipe record my grandmother brought from Scotland to the Beatles, the record Mom got me one birthday of the 1900 ditties to the Rolling Stones. I like simple songs and music. The movies I pick out to watch are generally musicals. If Ray and I go to a play it is usually a musical and we will spend the next few days singing the songs around the house. I like jazz from the 20’s and 30’s but hate the jazz of today, I see it as sharp lightening bolts of colored pain. I love the old Negro ballads of yester year, but can’t stand the rap of today’s music. I love the country western songs of the pre 60’s or 70’s era, but will only listen to the current country western songs on the radio for a short time for short jaunts around town, usually preferring to listen to an audio book or nothing rather than music. I can not listen to music while I read. On several people’s blogs or their My Space accounts they have picked out several songs that mean something to them and put the songs on the sites to enhance it. I cannot listen to the music and read what they have written. I mute it. At work while I type I listen to audio books.

Several years ago at church the Bishop called me in to offer a calling to me. Relief Society Chorister. I laughed, and continued laughing. Ray, said nothing. The bishop looked at me for quite some time, concern blooming on his face. I laughed harder. The concerned look increased and he glanced from me to Ray, wondering, I am sure, if he should call the men with the white coat to come get me. Finally I was able to stop laughing long enough to explain to him that I just didn’t like music. I don’t listen to music, I don’t play music, I don’t sing. Nothing. I don’t like music. I also had to explain to him I had been thinking of our old chorister in our ward in Denver when I was a kid and had known that I would be getting this calling. Now was his turn to look shocked, since I accepted the calling. One would think that getting up in front of a group of women to lead music would not be that hard. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I lead the music for about a year, and finally released to do another calling I liked much better, planning the ward parties. Did I mention I don’t like parties either?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dumb stuff

I get these e-mails all the time telling stories on what dingbats old folks are. One such story portrayed an older woman with a suppository sticking out of her ear exclaiming, "Oh, now I know what I did with my hearing aid."

I have decided that the problem for older folks, of which I am realizing either I am one at almost 60 or it is guilt by association with Ray who is almost 74; that we need to be creatures of habit for the simple reason, if it is done by rote then it is not as easily forgotten. Once one deviates from that habit is when the problem begins.

For example, in the morning, after putting it off as long as I possibly can I get in the shower. Starting at my head, I shampoo my hair, rinse and put conditioner on it, then start on my face and continue on down to my toes and finish with rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. However, this morning I got way to much shampoo and had tons of bubbles in my hair. Not wanting to waste the shampoo or bubbles I just used them to clean the rest of my body. When I was finished with my toes I rinsed off and got some conditioner to put on my hair, deciding to let it sit while I washed my face. The problem arrived when without thinking further my body said “You have just rinsed off your hair and it is now time to wash your face”. It was not until after I felt this cold slimy stuff I was rubbing into my cheeks that I realized what I had done. Conditioner is hard to get off your face and it gives the same feeling on ones hand as that yucky stuff that congested babies smear all over their faces. Luckily it didn’t dry like that yucky stuff congested babies smear all over their faces and I was able to scrap it off and use rather than waste it.

See I am getting old, if I had been younger, I probably would have just washed my face off and gotten more conditioner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ghosts and unusual happenings

Halloween has come and gone. The haunting time of year always brings to mind the different times that things have gone bump in the night and made me think we had a ghost in our house. Well, to be perfectly honest some of the time the occurrences were not at night, nor were the occurrences at home. Most of the occurrences happened to family members, friends or me, since Ray does not believe in ghosts, he does not believe they happened to him, yet there are times things that happened, he cannot explain. For example:

We had recently moved into our single wide manufactured home, I was working in the garden, laying landscape blocks with a couple neighbor kids who happened by and decided to help. Ray was lying on the bed resting.

Several years ago, when Brandy was about 12, she found some small lamps that she wanted to give me for Mother’s day. She picked them out and Dad paid for them as things like that usually happen, or it could be that Dad picked them out, paid for them and had Brandy sign the card, who knows. The lamps are small; maybe about 15 inches tall, goldish colored trim, with curved glass insets with a small flower decal in the middle of each glass pane. This is a touch lamp, meaning if you want to turn it on you just touch someplace on the metal part of the lamp and it will blink on, touch it again and it will glow brighter, a third touch it will glow brightly, touch it a fourth time and the light will blink off.

While I was busy rearranging the dirt of the front yard Ray suddenly popped out of the house and asked if I had turned off the electricity and turned it back on. He seemed quite flustered to me, rather strange I thought, since electricity usually doesn’t fluster me that way, and besides, I hadn’t been in the house which is where the fuse box is. If I had turned the power on or off, he would have heard me moving around in the house. No, was my answer. He started to go back in the house, then stopped and turned around and came back and told me that while he was lying on the bed, all the sudden the lamps had come one, bright, brighter, brightest and off. He could not figure out why it would have done that as he had never known them to do that before. I told him that it was probably the ghost of the house.

The single wide we purchased was previously owned by a couple, she passed away right after they moved in and he passed away about six months later. I am pretty sure they had at least a dog and a cat; I don’t know why I think they had a dog, but when we took out the stove to clean behind it we did find cat toys hiding there. Well, perhaps the reason I think they had a dog was because there was a large urine spot right in the middle of the living room floor. I would prefer to think a dog piddled there than to think the man had fallen and died there. I have had the feeling ever since we purchased it and moved the house to its present location that we have had an unseen visitor. Cremesickle, our orange tabby, was walking by the front door one day, shortly after we moved in, I believe he was coming down the hall next to the door, when he turned, looked over his shoulder, jumped and turned so he was facing the hall, raised his hackles, hair and tail and hissed. He ran through the living room, kitchen and into the bedroom to hide under the bed, not to come out for a couple hours. Ray and I were sitting in the living room at the time and saw nothing and we had no other pets. What scared Cremesickle so bad, I can’t say.

The summer after we moved in Ray decided to take the camper up to the campground to go fishing. He left on Wednesday and one of the last things he said to me was “Don’t forget to wake up and go to work.” I am notorious as a person who can sleep through alarm clocks, turning the buzzing irritation off without even opening my eyes or my conscience enough to even realize I had done so.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry about me, I’ll get up.”

The next morning, I was vaguely aware that the alarm had gone off, but I turned it off, several times and rolled back over and went back to sleep. From the corner of the room I felt an almost physical movement of air, a shock wave, a tidal wave of a blast that I could feel vibrating throughout my entire body with the words “LYN, GET UP NOW!” Though I couldn’t see anything, the voice and the mental image was of an older man. I got up. Verbally stating that was what I was doing.

When Ray called me at work later that day I told him about my wake up call.

A couple months ago we were watching television, I was crocheting in my chair and Ray was sitting in his chair on the other side of the room. Mia had been sitting on my lap as I crocheted, then she had hopped down to go sit in Ray’s lap for a while. She is an equal oppertunity cuddler. As I was crocheting I saw a small dark head pop up and look over the left arm of the love seat at the yarn. I thought Mia had been sitting in Ray’s lap so I was surprised to see the cat in the corner, then I realized I had a bag holding several balls of yarn in that corner, she could not have been on those balls of yarn because that bag crackled every time it was touched, I would have heard her if she had climbed up on it. I noticed the cat was still looking over at the yarn I was crocheting with; I sharply turned my head to Ray who was oblivious to me, no cat in his lap. I turned to look back at the cat in the corner. No cat. I turned back and looked around the room and saw Mia asleep with her back toward me on the hassock, as my head turned back to look at the corner I could still see the cat looking over the arm of the loveseat with one outstretched paw almost touching my yarn.

This, of course, brings us up to last night.

Mia passed away at midnight Oct. 31st. Last night Ray was dozing in his chair when he felt a weight on his lap, like when Mia used to lay on his lap as he watched television. So, Ray, do you still not believe in ghosts?

Monday, November 2, 2009


Our cat, Cremesickle, disappeared one November. He was a big orange tabby and he was mine. Or was I his? He followed me around like a young child. We would converse, he would listen to what I said, then voice his comments in a mellow meow. Cremesickle, would sit with me while I watched TV, or if I lay on the couch he would stretch out on my stomach, reaching from my chin to my thighs. He was a good and mellow cat allowing Chanz at three to carry him all over the house, of course, she could only lift the front half of him, the bottom half would tip toe along side her. He had been with us over ten years when we let him out one night and never saw him again. I checked all the animal shelters around, put up signs, but we never saw him again. I would find myself crying at seeing a cat cross the road. I would wake from sleep to look out the window, sure I had heard him meowing to be let in. One night I dreamed I heard him meowing outside the window, in the dream, I got out of bed pulled the curtain aside as saw him standing on the bench, patting at the window to be let in. It took a long time for me to mourn Cremesickle.

It took a couple of years then Ray and I talked about getting a dog, a small dog that we could keep easily in our single wide manufactured home. I went back to the same shelters I searched for Cremesickle, this time looking for a small dog. After visiting a few different times I wandered into the cat section. As I walked by one cage the cat inside reached out and tapped me on my shoulder. It was a young Chocolate Point Siamese. She was just what I was looking for, but didn’t know it.

She arrived at our house on March 11th, Ray’s birthday. I wanted a cat for me, but from the moment she saw Ray, she was his cat. He chose her name, after looking up the history of cats on the internet, he decided to call her Mia.

Oh sure, she would come sit on my lap while I watch TV, join me while I work on the computer, usually on the desk directly in front of the monitor, or on my hands while I am trying to type on the keyboard. I would pick her up and put her on the back of the chair where she would watch to see if anything interesting happen on the monitor, then she would hop down for a closer inspection. When I crocheted she would gaze intently at the yarn to make sure I was crocheting the afghan correctly; industrially patting the yarn to be sure it was unwinding at the proper speed, sometimes grabbing the yarn with her teeth and taking it across the room if she felt it needed to be stretched out. Chanz and I spent one day cutting material for her costume for a play. Mia, of course, did her best to help, laying on the material and pattern as we cut around her. After I lugged the sewing machine onto the kitchen table she would gaze at the fabric as it emerged from the needle and presser foot, occasionally patting it to assure herself my seams were straight. When I called her she would look at me with the look that spoke volumes. “Me? You want me to come to you? No, you come to me.”

Mia was Ray’s cat. She would follow him around as he was weeding the garden, occasionally pawing at the dirt as he turned the soil. Safely supervising from the porch or picnic table Mia watched as mowed he the lawn, not really scared of the lawn mower, but smart enough to stay out of the way. She knew when it was best just to let the man do his job. They would play cat n’ mouse, Ray’s fingers emerging from the chair in which he was sitting, she would catch his fingers, then paw back into the hole in which the hand disappeared.
Ray would talk to her like a girlfriend, calling to her, she would answer, but her voice was so quiet he could rarely hear her soft meow. He would wander the house looking in the corners, under the tables, in cupboards, searching for her. She would watch him from her position on top of the entertainment center, meowing each time he called her name so softly he couldn‘t hear her. It was her form of hide and seek.

She watched him from a safe distance as he washed his car, staying well away from the spraying water, if the water sprinkled her she would walk a few feet further back and sit down and continue watching. When Ray cooked dinner she would sit on the counter, carefully observing the preparation and cooking of the food, hoping she would get a taste. She usually did. If she wanted a cuddle she would go to Ray. Rubbing her belly he would tell her she was getting fat. She would wrap her paws around his hand and take a quick nip as if to tell him, ‘Don’t tell me I’m getting fat’.

Mia was Ray’s cat, she would come when he whistled, amazing the neighbors.

When Mia was hungry she would sit on her food rug and patiently wait for her food, she would only eat Meow Mix. If we were not prompt in feeding her she would lean down and closely examine the bowl, to be sure she would know the exact moment when the food would magically appear. She would keep that stance until one of us would pick up the bowl, empty the remainder of last nights dinner into the trash and fill it with fresh Meow Mix. She would join us at the table either sitting to my right on the table or on the chair, our preference, not hers. She would delicately accept small pieces of bacon, ham and chicken Ray and I fed her at dinner time while we ate, but only to be sociable .

It took us a while to figure out her bathroom routine. We first put her litter box at the far end of the house. That was unacceptable and Mia soon let us know that her preferred bathroom was the one off the master bedroom. Ray put her kitty box in the master bathroom, tucked in the corner behind the toilet. She forgo the use of it to pee in, choosing to pee on the floor under the toilet paper roll, then unrolling the toilet paper onto the mess and neatly gathering it into a nice pile for us to pick up. She now has a Poop box filled with kitty litter and a Pee Box filled with toilet paper.

When I went to work, I could expect to find Mia sitting on the table by the front door waiting for me to return. Ray stated “With all the cars that go by she only perks up when she hears your car pull into the parking spot, then she makes a dash for the door.” I would notice the same behavior when Ray left and I was home with her. As soon as he walked up the porch, and opened the door she was there to greet him.

We thought everything Mia did was cute and took pictures of her like a grandchild.

‘Oh, look, she’s playing with yarn, take a picture.’ ‘Honey look at Mia sitting on the plant, looking out the window, take a picture.’ Her first snow, hiding on top of the cupboard, relaxing on top of the swing, we took pictures of almost everything she did. We have files of pictures of Mia on my computer, so many pictures my daughter, Shea, commented, “You have more pictures of your cat then you do your grandchildren.”

Mia did not like company, whether it was one of my family members from out of state who occasionally would stop for an overnight visit or Shea, Chanz and Chaiz who stopped by to spend time with us. There wasn’t anything we could really put our finger on that let us know why she didn’t like adult company, we just knew. With Chaiz, from the time he first came home from the hospital she resented him. One night while I was watching him, as a newborn, she came over, sniffed him, then proceeded to try to bury him, as she would do to something nasty in her litter box. Her opinion of him didn’t improve as he got older, to keep her safe or at least untraumatized we would put her in the bedroom and close the door, which worked until Chaiz was being potty trained and his potty of choice was Bum-ma and Bump-pa’s potty. Mia resented the imposition.

When Ray and I left town whether to go on vacation or camping we left Mia home. She did not like to be left alone. Having Chanz or Shea come over to feed and pet her just was not good enough as far as she was concerned. We left her free to roam the house until she started peeing in the living room as a display of protest at being left home alone while we went gallivanting around. She was then confined to the bedroom and bath, when we left the next time. The corner next to the bathroom door was her protest spot. From then on when we left she was confined to the bathroom, with the window open so she could watch the world outside. We heard her yowling at us under the bathroom door as soon as we opened the door. Our first order of business was to let her out of the bathroom, pick her up and give her lovings. She ate that up until we put her down to unpack “Yoew, yoew, yoew, yoew, yoew” she would exclaim as she walked back and forth with us as we unloaded the car and trailer. She would comment loudly the entire time about what happened while we were gone, asking why we had abandoned her and why in the world we thought whoever we got to stop by and feed her could be trusted to do such an important job.

We went to South Dakota to visit our son and his family and my parents the first part of July, when we got back, we noticed that Mia was thinner and she was refusing to eat her Meow Mix. She would still eat little bits we feed her from the table, but just to be sociable as before. So we thought perhaps we should try a different type of cat food. We tried a couple another brands as well as various canned foods. She didn’t like salmon or beef. She would accept cubed chicken eating a small bit, but enjoying the gravy. Then she quit eating that. I took her to the vets last Saturday, she weighed 4.8 lbs a full pound less than what she weighed when we first brought her home 4 years ago. We are sure that she had weighed at least 6 lbs before she quit eating.

During this last week Ray noticed that she was getting weaker, observing that she would not stop at her food rug to even sniff at the food. Hiding in dark and unusual places, places she had never hidden before. Previously Mia sit for a brief time Ray’s lap and then up looking for another adventure, now she spent most of her time cuddling on his lap. Only getting up when he set her aside because he needed to move. “Honey, we’re losing her.” were the words he stated when I came home from work on Wednesday.

Mia passed away about midnight. This morning Ray cried as he made our breakfast, Mia was not there to supervise the preparation of the meal. Ray called me to breakfast, as I came in, I looked at the table and realized Mia would not be sitting in her normal place on my right, politely waiting for her piece of bacon. We cried again in each others arms,