Thursday, May 31, 2007

Introducing Miss Gracie!

Gracie is the most recent cat addition to the family. I originally named her Panda Puss, but that didn’t really fit. So she became Gracie. She is a great cat, even though she is still somewhat emotionally scarred from the hard times she experienced before she joined us…

Here is a photo of her the day she arrived:

You can see she does not look well. Her fur is unhealthy looking, she is thin, and her eyes have a haunted look to them. I think she was really still in shock at that point.

And what you can’t see in that top photo is that the tip of her tail has been broken off. Yes, something had happened to her that cost her the end of her tail. Was it caught In a door? Did a dog bite it off? I’ll never know. But when I first took her in it still had some dead material attached and the stump was still very painful to her. She didn’t even want me looking at it.

I first met Gracie one night around midnight as I was on my way to work. I was driving down my own street, about 4 houses down the road from where I live, when I saw her eyes reflecting in my car’s headlights. I stopped and called out to her and she came over to me and let me pick her up. She was thin and waif like… a slight wisp of a kitty, mostly fur. As I was talking to her, holding her and trying to decide if she was lost and if I should take her home and give her a meal and a safe place to stay, she suddenly HISSSSED at something behind me! I turned around, and there was the large Siamese cat I call Winston Churchill (I’ve no idea what his actual name is). I’d only seen him once before, but I knew he lived in the little condo complex I was standing in front of. I thought that the thin kitty knew Winston, And so I put her down and went on to work.

The next morning, I went grocery shopping and then headed home again. As I drove down my street I saw some of the neighborhood children were out, and that the little black & white cat from the night before was there with them! I pulled over and Asked the kids if they knew the cat. They Said she had been hanging around for a few days, but that they had never seen her before then, and that she did not seem to have a home. I took out some cooked chicken I’d bought at the grocery store, and tore off some little pieces and offered them to the cat. She gobbled it all up with great glee. Seeing how hungry she was, I decided to go ahead and bring her home with me. I told the kids that if anyone asked about her to send them down to my house. And that is how Gracie first arrived at my house and joined the family as cat number nine.

In a photo taken a month or so after she arrived, you can see Gracie is looking both healthier and more relaxed:

And, in her most recent photo, you can see how she has filled out and fluffed out, and really begun to show her full beauty. She weighs at least twice as much as when she first arrived! And her tail, though obviously shorter than normal, is all healed up now. She likes to lie on top of me when I'm sleeping.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Unexpected Visions of Beauty

OK... there is a long story behind this that I am not going to go into. Suffice it to say that for certain mysterious reasons I was required today to drive out into the mountains and take some photographs, including, oddly enough, pictures of a none too clean porta-potty! I did what I needed to do, and was surprised when looking at the photos later to find a certain beauty in one of the porta-potty photos. Above the stained porta-potty toilet, reflected in the shiny raised plastic seat top, is the reflection of a rather magnificent puffy cloud that must have been looming behind me. Here, see for yourself:

Kinda cool, huh? The message in this, for me anyway, is that you just never know where you will find visions of beauty. Sometimes they will be where you least expect them!

And just so you don't think I have some weird porta-potty fixation, I'll show you another place of beauty I photographed today, capturing a view of the last bit of snow on some New Mexican mountain peaks:

Click on the photo if you'd like to see it bigger...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Attention Cat Servants...

Does YOUR cat have a Yellow Fish yet? If not, you are not being a very good cat servant! I myself was amiss in my duties until this past Friday, when I purchased a Yellow Fish at my local pet store and brought it home for my 9 cats to enjoy.

And boy oh boy did they ever enjoy it!! I didn't even have time to toss it onto the floor before the fun began. Cats were circling the store bag that held the Yellow Fish while it was on the kitchen table. Tobias, one of the more dominant males, was the first to claim the Yellow Fish as his prize. He'd already been licking, drooling, and chewing on the Yellow Fish by the time I thought to grab my camera so you all could see his joy.

Tobias did finally let some of the other cats play with Yellow Fish, and they had such big fun with it that they needed a serious nap afterwards!

To learn more about Yellow Fish, you can visit
the webpage of DuckyWorld Products.
(this is NOT a paid promotion,
just a really great product!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Killer Tortoise!

Everyone seems to love this YouTube video clip of a very determined tortoise chasing off a cat. So, if you need to see it again, or if you happen to be one of the 12 people on the planet who hasn't seen it yet, here ya go:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dealing With Humans Can Be Challenging...

Remembering Clunker...

When my mother died, in the winter of my eleventh year, I was sent off to a boarding school for kids in 4th - 8th grade. It was up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and was called North Country School. I entered during the sixth grade, and was kicked out at the end of eighth grade for being a bad apple, a bad influence, and just a bad kid.

A few months after entering North Country, my father died, making me an official orphan. My Aunt Kate (1915 - 2003) brave
ly stepped up and took over as my guardian for the next few years. She decided the task was beyond her when I was kicked out, and the task was passed onto my oldest sister. But during most of my time at North Country, Aunt Kate was my parental figure. She was the one I would call, sobbing into the phone, begging please please PLEASE not to be sent to the summer camp, Camp Treetops. I was sent anyway. It was clear to me that I was a burden that needed to be stuck away out of sight all year round... boarding school and summer camp was just the ticket.

One memory that stands out from that period was my enormous embarrassment when Aunt Kate would come to pick me up in Clunker. She was a wealthy woman, as was typical of the parents of children at North Country, but she loved driving this ANCIENT old car around. It must have been from the 1930s or 1940s. Today I wo
uld think that old car extremely cool, but as a child it just looked shabby and ridiculous to me. I hated riding in it. I remember there was cardboard on the floor, and you had to keep your feet spread to the sides, as the floorboards were starting to corrode away. The original exterior paint was gone, leaving Clunker a dull primer grey.

Clunker vanished into the haze of distant memories long ago, and Aunt Kate herself, while unforgettable, has been gone for 4 years. Now I imagine they might be together again, both of them young and shiny, riding along those mountain roads in some happy afterlife.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Be The Change...

This morning I came across an interesting blog, written by Damian, and titled 'be the change - tread the path'. It's well worth a visit.

One piece of writing on Damian's site that proved especially thought provoking for me was written by Guest Author Kara-Leah Masina. She was invited over from her own blog to write a piece on Damian's site, and you can read it here.

Kara-Leah writes of the need to first change your PERCEPTION of the world in order to create both internal and external change. I absolutely agree with this. Our own individual perception, built up from our belief systems, totally filter and color what we believe to be true and thus what we perceive out there in the world. So any change must begin within ourselves, to change our belief systems, change our perception, and change what we see as we look out at the world around us. Then we respond differently to the changed world we observe, and the cycle of change continues, expanding outward.

Kara-Leah went on to say:

"In practical terms, listen to the words that fall out of your mouth and circle in your mind.

What do you wish other people did?

Then do that.

What do you wish was happening?

Then be that.

If your partner drives you nuts because they are always late... observe yourself and make sure that you are always early.

If other drivers annoy you because they dilly dally and know not where they go... always drive with intention and purpose.

If the service at your favourite restaurant is lacking, ask yourself how you can be of greater service in your life.

See each complaint, each desire, each longing to change another as an impetus to change yourself.

Then watch this change as it is reflected in the world that you perceive."

I have read similar ideas in the past, and nodded my head in agreement, all the while continuing on in my own selfish 'me first' manner. But, time has passed, and I've apparently ripened to just the right point to hear these comments more fully. Today, as I read them, I immediately was aware of a certain situation in my life. There is a person I deal with regularly who has a behavior pattern that irritates me every time. I've been aware that I have a similar pattern, but my behavior is much milder, nobody had complained about it, and it works out to my benefit. That's how I was able to justify my own behavior in my head, while at the same time condemning this other person's similar (though yes, more extreme) behavior. I was a wee bit thoughtless, while she was just plain rude and bad. Of course that line of thought is flawed. In defending my own behavior, I cannot but defend hers as well.

I do not appreciate having selfish, rude people in my life. So, perhaps it is time for me to stop being one in the lives of those around me. And this particular behavior is a great place to begin 'being the change' as Damian writes about on his blog. I hearby commit to changing my behavior in this instance. I'll go first. Who is next?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Face Transformations

I came across this Face Transformer that is fun to play with. You can upload a photo of your face, or anybody's face, and then it will morph it into a number of different versions. Here's an example, using my face, from a photo taken a couple of years ago. This is FUN to play with!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

All is Well

"After dark,
the Devil
plants a garden
in my dream."

That is what someone has spelled out, from the set of magnetic words, on the refrigerator here at the Zombie Free Youth Shelter where I work. I wear different hats here, but one thing I've been doing for the past four plus years is the overnight supervision shift. This involves mostly just being here during the night to ensure that the kids are sleeping alright, and not sleeping with each other or doing anything else they're not supposed to be doing. And then, in the morning, seeing that they get up and get ready for the day ahead. There are periodic room checks throughout the night. And usually, everything is OK during those checks. Or at any rate, things appear to be OK. The kids appear to be sleeping.

But what about that Devil, and that garden he is planting? Their Devil is for the most part invisible to me, just as mine is to them. But the difference is that I know that my Devil is just ME, wearing a Devil mask. When it sneaks up on me and says "BOO", it doesn't have the effect that it used to. My Devil has become rather transparent these days, and it doesn't come calling as much anymore.

The youth I supervise, though, their Devils are still solid creatures, breathing down their necks with breath that stinks of earlier terrors and perceived injustices. When they look for it, they can easily spot it all around them. Sometimes they see it in me, or one of the other staff members. Sometimes it's in their family. Sometimes it's in the other kids, or in their boss, or in their probation officer. Their Devil sneaks around, planting gardens and making trouble for them. Their Devil is a hard wall they are banging their heads against. Their problems seem to be that Devil's fault. That's how it usually goes, anyway. But every now and then, a kid begins to get suspicious that the Devil may not be 'out there'. In fact, they begin to see the Devil more easily when they close their eyes, look within, and move towards accepting personal responsibility for what exists in their lives. And that is when their Devil first begins to lose power over them, and the Devil's garden grows less abundantly.

As I wander the halls in the wee hours, while the children sleep, I talk to their clear Inner Beings, and I remind them that all is well. Sometimes I hear their Devil snicker in return, holding fast to the lie, but more often I feel their Wise One, their hidden Wise One, agreeing with me. Yes, no matter what the Devil appears to be planting in the night, in the light of day, in the light of truth, it is known that All Is Well. And so it is. Sweet dreams to us all.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Staff Meeting Scribbles...

We have 2 or 3 staff meetings each month at the Secret Zombie Free Youth Shelter where I'm employed. I usually doodle on a pad during the meetings, as it helps keep me focused and awake. Below are some examples of my staff meeting doodles (click on any image to see it bigger):


Palm Tree Waterfall

Above and Below

Maybe... Maybe Not

To The Sky

Beam Me Up

Stars & Hills

Moving Energy

Bad Affect

In Motion

Boys On The Beach At Night

Neon Blue Elsewhere

Geeky Heart

Flying Pig?

Friday, May 11, 2007


As much as you say
you do NOT
want this pain...

It 'feels' to me
as if you are
at its alter,
tending the
sacred fire,
chanting the
holy words:
"I hurt"
"I hurt"
"I hurt"

And you know,
(you DO know),
that the universe
listens to you,
every time you
say it,
scream it,
weep it,
bleed it:
"I hurt"
"I hurt"
"I hurt"

And every time
you feed this truth,
then *poof* so it IS.

And like a stray cat,
as long as you keep
feeding it, it will stay,
ever your faithful
companion in pain…

Though it would just as soon
join you in pleasure and joy,
if that is what you choose.
Either way, it’s YOUR creation,
your doom or delight,
your agony or ecstasy,
yours, all yours.

So what ARE you choosing?
What ARE you feeding?
What ARE you giving your power to?
Well then, *poof* so it IS.

~ Poem by Jaya, 2006 ~

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Remembering Dr. Gysin

Dr. Gysin was a cat I had the pleasure of being adopted by, after I found him at an animal shelter. When he was a kitten he would sit on my shoulder as I drove around town, often generating large smiles from other drivers we pulled up next to. Dr. Gysin was named after the artist and writer, Brion Gysin and like his namesake, Dr. Gysin was a very unique fellow.

I think this cat may have had some sort of brain damage, or some other abnormality, as he had a number of odd behaviors and didn't seem to learn things the way other cats do. One of his habits that I found most endearing was his reaction to spaghetti noodles. He had quite a passion for them! When he saw that we were eating spaghetti, he would jump up on the counter to go check out the pot the pasta had been cooked in. Spotting noodles, he would reach in with his paw to snag one, and then bring it up to his mouth. Once he had a good grip on it, he would back away from the pot, dragging the spaghetti strand with him as he went. When he had pulled the noodle a
ll the way out, he would begin to eat it, inch by inch, and eat his way back to the pot, where he would find his next noodle and start the process all over again. At the time I was living with three children and another adult, and we all enjoyed watching Dr. Gysin perform his spaghetti ritual. It was an extra bonus on those nights- in addition to a yummy meal, we also got entertainment provided by our pasta loving kitty.

In 1987 Dr. Gysin was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia. While he never acted very sick, he did slow down some, and then one morning I came downstairs and found him dead in the living room. He had died lying in front of a recent painting of mine. In the painting there was an arch, that looked like a doorway or entrance of some kind... into what? Another dimension perhaps. As I was painting it, I thought of it as an entrance into a place of healing. The painting was propped up against the wall, not having been hung up yet. Dr. Gysin lay down right in front of the 'doorway' in the painting. It seemed like he had known where to go to have a good transition into the next realm. He would have looked something l
ike this, before he passed:

After he died, we painted a memorial rock for him, with his name, year of birth and death, and a big heart. We took his body out into a large nearby park, and buried him off in the woods, placing the painted rock on top. A week or so later, we went back, to pay our respects to Dr. Gysin, and also to plant a little rose bush over him. When we got there, we found that someone else had discovered his grave, and piled in front of his painted rock, they had left an offering of a tidy little pile of lush green grass. It touched us to know that some stranger had honored our sweet Dr. Gysin in this way.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Is Google Googling My Thoughts??

A couple of days ago I added a small Google Ads display to this blog, as a way to generate some income. It has interested me to see what they have been displaying. They are supposed to match the products being advertised to the content of my blog. While the ads do switch around, I've noticed that most of the time they are advertising various drug rehab and drug detox programs- 'get over your heroin addiction while going on a wilderness retreat & rafting down the Rio Grande'- that sort of thing.

Now I'm wondering just how that fits in with anything I've been blogging about. Does it? Not as far as I can tell. Why aren't they advertising cat related products, or maybe some good zombie repellent? That would make more sense to me, and heck, everyone should have a can of zombie repellent handy these days.

But no, they're stuck on drug recovery. And at my place of employment, a secret facility buried deep beneath the sands of an undisclosed location in New Mexico, where wayward youth are sent to keep them safe from zombies, drugs DO come up from time to time. Why, just the other day we discovered that one kid has been abusing over the counter cold to get high. Ick. And other kids were caught storing bottles of pee by their beds, presumably to help someone else pass their urine analysis tests ('UA' tests, given to detect drug use). Double ick.

So, certainly I have had recent thoughts of drugs, drug abuse, and recovery (or lack thereof) from drug addiction. But how does Google know this??? Does putting their ads onto my blog also put some sort of Google Thought Monitor into my mind??? I confess I did not read all the fine print in the agreement between Google Ads and myself. Now I feel a little nervous. What other things which I thought were private does Google Ads know about me???? You can be darn sure I'll be watching those little ads VERY closely, to see what they are selling! Am I being paranoid?? Maybe, and maybe not... time will tell.

Update: While Google did begin displaying more relevant ads soon after this post was written, not long afterwards I decided I just didn't like the look of those ads on my blog, regardless of what they were about, and I removed them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Some Recent Blogging Trends...

I came across some nifty graphs, which show recent trends in the blogosphere. For instance, this one below, which shows numbers of mentions of cat people, dog people and horse people over the last 6 months:

It looks as if the cat people are a bit more unstable, with greater ups & downs than the dog people. The cat people had a great day around February 9th, but overall we need to pull ourselves up a bit, as it is obvious (to me and my 9 cats) that CAT people should have the highest levels. Of course, just by posting this, and mentioning cat people, I am boosting our ratings. So I feel I've done my bit, and now I'm encouraging the rest of you cat people to get blogging about your love of felines! As for the low rating of horse people, I think that is just because they are out in the stables and fields with the horses, and not inside blogging about it!

Switching topics, here is another graph, showing how the 'Seven Deadly Sins' are doing in blog mentions. But first, before you look, can you name the seven deadly sins???:

It's easy to see that anger and pride are the front runners by a wide margin. Why are we blogging about those two so much more than the others? I would have thought lust would put in a better showing. And, in my own personal life, I'm certainly pulling for gluttony and sloth.

And, just to show balance between the dark side and the light side, lets take a look at the 'Seven Roman Virtues', and see how they are fairing in the blogosphere:

Clearly, hope is by far the most popular virtue to blog about. Fortitude and temperance, on the other hand, seem to have fallen by the wayside. Or at least we don't have much to say about them these days. I sat here a moment trying to think of something to say about them, but I also am at a loss. But hey, how about all that hope, huh?? It makes me smile. It makes me feel, well, rather hopeful... How about you?

OK, and I couldn't resist this one final graph, comparing blog mentions of ghosts, demons, and zombies. Now this one surprised me. Frankly, I thought the zombies would put in a much better showing. But that might just be my own personal prejudices showing though- I admit I'm kinda into zombies. And what was with that huge spike in people blogging about ghosts around February 9th?? Curious... (insert spooky ghost music here)

These graphs are just some of the cool features available at:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sky Through Skylight

I am caught by the beauty
of the light coming in through
the skylight at work. Ahhhh...

It could also be the end of a tunnel...
Perhaps the exit of a human life,
moving on towards the light.
Keep moving forward
on your journey.