Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why I Prefer Cats...

I said something witty about this is class the other day, and I feel compelled to write about it.

A cat will never try to be what it is not. It will not be a dog (though cats can growl). It will not seek attention unless it wants it. A cat will leave you alone until it deigns to acknowledge your presence and will suffer your attention until its had enough. A cat will not turn out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is what it is.

A cat will not tell you it's off catnip when it's not. Cats don't hide their addictions or fascinations. If they catch something--a bird, a mouse, a rat--they will proudly drop it at your feet, alive or dead. They do not hoard or hide things from you.

A cat will not tell you where it has been, even if you ask. So you don't have to hear all the sordid details about what it did last night or where it went or who it was with. A cat will come in, eat something, then stretch out on the sofa for a nap.

A cat will not borrow the car, get drunk, and wreck it. It will not borrow the car to go visit its other caretaker. It won't take your car and run off to California with someone it just met yesterday.

When a cat gets sick, it doesn't whine. It will let you schlep it to the vet's office and will sleep until it recovers. It does not expect you to wait on it hand and foot.

Cats don't pretend to listen to you. They don't listen. A cat will do what it wants to do and make no pretense of caring what you think. Cats only pay attention if you pick up a spray bottle full of water and threaten to wet them if they don't cease and desist. But, the minute your back is turned, they'll do exactly what they want.

You can leave a cat alone for a week, as long as you leave it plenty of food and water and a clean litter box. It won't invite the gang in for a party because it doesn't know how to dial the phone on purpose. A cat won't run up your phone bill and will only send email accidentally.

If a cat is mad at you, it will let you know--really--in messy and obvious ways.

I'm sure I haven't covered everything. If you read this and think of something to add, leave a comment!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weather Weirdness...

Yesterday, in my office, I nearly froze.  Today, I'm at home with the windows opened.  What's up with that?  Is it global warming, or just Louisiana weather?

Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be the same, with some rain added.  Saturday, the temperature's supposed to go down to the 40s with rain.  I'm getting tired of the yo-yoing temperatures.

I may have to go outside for a while and sit in the sun.  I filled up the bird feeders today; they usually feed early in the morning and about five-ish or so.  I put out black-oiled sunflower seeds--the Cardinals like those, so I'm hoping to see my usual flock this afternoon.

As for me, I have a sinus headache because the weather is about to change--again.  Maybe the chili I'm cooking will help knock it out!


I picked up a copy of The Reader by Bernhard Schlink yesterday (for my book group; yes, the one the movie is based on), as well as a copy of two of Charlaine Harris' vampire novels, Dead Until Dark and Living Dead in Dallas (the basis for True Blood on HBO).  I've resisted reading the vampire books because everyone seems to be on the bandwagon because of Stephanie Meyers' books.  I like these types of books, but I'm resisting the temptation to get out my red pen to correct the punctuation.  It's driving me crazy, especially the comma use.  Gack!  I'm such a comma geek!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hwy 1 Blues

I had a long day today. I was in my office at the college before 9:30am, kept my office hours, taught my two classes, and then headed to the bookstore to help with reducing inventory (sending books back to publishers).

After I put in about three hours packing books, I made the mistake of going into the grocery store for "just cat food." Hah! When have I ever been able to get out of the store with "just one thing"? After staring at the wine, debating over which bread to buy for my lunch sandwiches, and sifting through the egg cartons to find a whole unbroken carton, I checked out, loaded my groceries, and headed down the road, a half-hour later than I should have.

Which was fine, really, until I hit the Caddo/Red River Parish line and sat in traffic for another half-hour. Seems that a dump truck burned up on the road (I hope the driver wasn't hurt), and the state police were trying to gather as much evidence as they could and move the dump truck on a large flatbed trailer.

Hwy 1 doesn't seem that busy most of the time. But when a half-hour's worth of traffic backs up, one begins to see just how many people travel that road. And, of course, all those people who were slowed down because of the accident then became aggressive drivers, speeding to make up for lost time. The whole thing was nuts.

I love driving a two-lane road, really. When I go to Austin to visit my kids, I always take the "back roads." They are busy, but not as frantic as the interstate. But accidents clog up a back road. It's hard to clear wrecks and harder to get rescue vehicles around all those stopped cars. Patience is the mantra during those times. I just turned off the engine and sat in the glow of all the cars behind me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Semester Looms...

I'm ready for at least the first two months! And, of course, I have all kinds of projects in the works that I need to hop on.

But this is the last weekend of the break. The good news is that I only teach on campus on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I have a semester of four-day weekends. Maybe I can squeeze in a couple of trips to Austin--I might be able to go to SXS, which takes place the week before our spring break. That would be great, since I've never been.

My students have already begun signing on to the course sites, so I'm hoping some of them will be prepared Monday and will understand the mechanics of the class. This might fall into the category of "wishful thinking," but I can hope, at least.

Course-wise, I'm ready. Mentally? I'm not sure.

The paperwhites are blooming, as is the Japonica (Flowering Quince). Weird weather!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Letting Go

I'm not the kind of person who makes New Year's resolutions, for a number of reasons.  Primarily, I just don't think that resolving to do something means that I will do it.  If I want to change, I have to commit to it, and making a resolution does not equal commitment.  If I'm going to make a change, I make the commitment, then do it.  No fanfare required, no teary "confession" regarding the error of my ways.  As the Nike commercial exhorts, "Just do it."

Do I need to make changes in my life?  Oh, yeah.  I need to exercise, quit smoking, eat healthier (cut out refined sugar!)--the list extends out the front door.  But until I'm ready to do these things, they just remain items on a list.  Knowing I need to do these things doesn't equal committing to them.  I beat myself over the head with them until I give in or learn to ignore them.  And I'm an expert in ignoring things!

I do sneaky things to make myself aware of my needs--keep the weights out where I can see them, replace the white sugar with raw sugar (I can't stand that artificial stuff), drink water as much as possible (cut off the caffeine after the morning dose), walk around my yard to pick up sticks.  If I do these subtle things, I can trick myself into getting healthier without consciously knowing that's what I'm doing.  I know--I should just face up to it.  But it's easier for me to make these as "unconscious" as possible.  The changes need to seem natural and painless.  If I gradually sneak these things into my routine, they become a natural part of the day instead of things I have to "make time for."

If you need to make changes, "Just Do It."  Don't agonize.  Make the commitment and move on.