Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Scribbles going about things

I’m writing this in a small notebook I keep in my bag, in the queue in the supermarket as we inch forward towards the checkouts. People are still unused to bagging their own groceries after three months. My knee is burning, and I’m glad I decided against trying the frozen yoghurt.
Only one person per family allowed in at a time; no elderly, no pregnant women, no kids. I quite like the absence of screaming kids running around and chasing each other, and no wailing babies.

As I added the things we need to the trolley, I am forever reminded of dad, and blink the tears away. It is scant comfort that he is – in this moment – safe and gets his groceries delivered. I miss him so much, and this year there’ll be no flying around the world to visit.

Like countless times before I glance around, hoping against hope to see someone, bump into a dear or at least familiar-in-a-good-way face, or make a new acquaintance. In 13 years that’s never happened but I keep hoping. Followed by a split-second daydream that a friend has come over to surprise me against all odds. Silly me. And this year, right now, with C19, the odds have dropped into negative figures.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that just refuses to shift, so I feel it and breathe deeply behind my face mask, and try not to cry. Not that anyone can see me behind the steamed up glasses.
I feel it in all supermarkets, have done for years. Right now the fear that spiked before xmas and again with C19 has dropped somewhat but it’s still there.
Then I wonder if that desperation and hopelessness I’m feeling is me or this place. If it is my vibrational discord or an undercurrent outside of me.
I’ve felt it for years, and the best I can describe it is imagine continuously throwing a basket ball and only ever hitting the hoop. Never ever getting one in.
It’s a good metaphor for my life, and I wonder what tethers me to this world at all, I feel so lost and lonely in it.

The endless regeton pumped out through various speakers, seemingly to indoctrinate people – as if they needed to be reminded – that life is all about sex. That misogyny is alive and well in this ugly city. Reminding me that I will never fit in.

I berate myself for being seemingly unable to keep my focus on something positive; here and now. That there is food available even if the prices have escalated, and I have enough to feed and keep us.

But I come back to what feels like a wasted life. Mine.
Like people through the ages, I just keep pushing, hoping to push through, and find that break that will make it worth while. Push on, because I don’t know what else to do.

I wonder if it is me, some underlying undiagnosed PTSD or what, that my life seems so not worth living. Like wtf is wrong with me? Besides depression, chronic pain, no local friends, no work, and the general state of the world I mean. I’ve lived with that for years, it’s nothing new. Don’t bother others. No one wants to hear about it. Your problems are petty and you need to snap out of it.

It feels like an eternity when I finally reach the check-out, but when I look at my watch walking towards the exit it’s been about 45 minutes.

On towards the electricity board where the queue snakes out the door and around the corner of the concrete and glass building. Another long goosestep wait to pay the bill at the automates, as usual only half are working. The bill is a 100pesos less than the last one – grateful for small mercies.
I think I can hear a kitten meowing, but I can’t see one. I guess that’s…what…lucky? For what can I do? I can get some catfood from the car and feed it, if it is old enough to eat solids, but it will only prolong the inevitable for an other day. Life as a stray is hash and often short. I wonder why they choose to incarnate into circumstances like that, and what kind of existence would be worse? I don’t go there. It breaks my heart. I want to feed and find shelter for every stray in the whole f’kin world.


In the car going home, stopping to get water.
I wonder if it is I who haven’t got what it takes; enough sticking power or stamina for this world.

It used to be us, a tiny unit of togetherness, metaphorically back to back in the world. Not so any more.
Neither of us are made for this world, and by the look of things
we may not make it to some new one either.
It’s closing in on us. Breaking us apart. It doesn’t feel like any “us” these days. We’re just trying to survive, but no clear motivation why. And I don’t know what to do.

Calling the ancestors

I want to ask my great grandma, who lived through the introduction of electricity, hunger strikes, semi revolution, the 1918 flu pandemic, women’s rights and suffrage, two world wars, and lost her husband to tb in 1944; not to mention the children she buried, and friends and family; how did you do that? Where did you find the strength? Did it feel as overwhelming and surreal as it does right now, and for the past months? Years?
What was your life like? How do you keep going when your tank is empty? I don’t want the ugliness to win.
Where did you and your generation find faith and hope that the future would be better?

I look forward to seeing you, I have so many questions.
The world is such an ugly place right now, perhaps it always was. I don’t want to wake up every morning feeling punched in the gut to be back in this world, wondering what horrors today will bring, and if this is the day my “luck” runs out.
I also want to share a hug. I never got to meet you, and still I miss you.

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Late summer bbq

Late summer bbq, new creepy short story podcast episode available to listen free on

https://soundcloud.com/elisse-rosales/late-summer-bbq-by-catpaw-rosales

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-pfsi3-ddade4

Enjoy

New podcast episode: The new life starts here (or simply Caragh; a short story by – and read by – me)

Finally got the code from NCH yesterday so today I edited another short story podcast for you. I would have preferred it read by an androgynous voice-actor, but you’ll have to make do with me. 
You do not need to download any app to listen, just listen online. I hope you like it 🐾

https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-kcbng-db298a

Smoke (and fear)

Woken up in the night by smoke. This is not unusual; out of the ordinary smells wakes me up. Sometimes I question if it is my migraine brain making it up. Most of the time it is cigarette-smoke (neighbors), or cooking smoke (neighbors again), and it dissipates after half’n hour.
This didn’t. So I went out and up on the roof to see what I could detect. A blanket of smoke covering the whole ‘hood as far as I could see, with no discernible point of origin.

I lay awake for an hour and a half, throat getting increasingly raw. I tried to calm myself with the facts that I was still thinking clearly, and the smoke was not making me drowsy, it couldn’t be bad bad, as in lethally bad. Every time I nearly dropped off to sleep the Danger Danger would go off in my body once more.

This morning Mario found out it was jungle fires around, the wind bringing the smoke to blanket the city. I could hardly speak. 
Lucky for us, the wind has turned and blowing the smoke away. It hasn’t rained for months, unless you count the few drops we just got, minutes ago, and I mean drops. I went outside and I didn’t even get damp. 
Scary, but I’m fine.

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh 💚


At this time….there’s a lot of grief and anxiety floating around in the ether. Feel it, cry if you want to. You do not need a “story” or to know why. Most of us have unprocessed grief, from this or other lifetimes. BREATHE. Let go. Let the tears flow, they are nature’s cleanser, almost like having a shower for your insides.

Feel
Observe
Accept
Love yourself.

an exercise known as FOAL, brought to us by Nora Herold and the Pleiadians. 

99% Invisible

Next up in my “love letters to favorite podcasts to break the writer’s block” – is 99% Invisible.

There’s the podcast itself – which is terrific – and can be found on most podcatchers, and there’ the supporting website ( https://99percentinvisible.org/ ) with so much more than illustrations of what you are hearing. A ton of interesting articles for example to keep you – and me – entertained for weeks, and rekindle one’s curiosity for the world. It’s warm. Engaging. Fascinating. Humane. It reels you in and hugs you reassuringly, a fantastic thing in stressful times.

It says Here! Look! Isn’t this amazing? And it is.
Whether you can’t leave the house right now, need something to do on a long journey, while commuting, gardening, or going for a run, listening to 99% Invisible you can discover the world through a new lens – that of your ears – and add to your bucket list for an other time.

99% Invisible’s fresh take on things you thought you knew keeps it interesting,  they’ve even managed to make some aspects of sports palatable.
It’s the kind of “radio” I wanted to make when I was trying my damnedest to break into radio during the 80s and early 90s. Now I don’t have to do anything but kick back and enjoy it, but yeah, it makes me wonder where I’d have been, on an other timeline. Instead I’m here fan-personing :O

With my phone ceasing I can’t access my highlighted favorites, so I’ve added some episodes I remember in no particular order. Just dive in and see what you like the sound of. Enjoy!

https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/gander-international-airport/
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/managed-retreat/
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/depave-paradise/
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/hero-props-graphic-design-film-television/
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/lights-out/
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/uptown-squirrel/
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/mexico-68/

Crossover:
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/ways-of-hearing/

Nocturne

The times we are currently in has given me writer’s block so I thought I’d write love-letters to my favorite podcasts.
nocturne-kcrw-vanessa-lowe-tiATnY-y1ug.1400x1400
There is something about the NOCTURNE podcast, that makes it perfect. Not every episode, but often enough for it to be remarkable. I don’t remember where I found it, but I’m guessing a writer friend may have mentioned it. That’s how it usually happens. 

When the few introductory notes of Nocturne plays and the crickets in the background join in, it plucks at my souls strings, makes my stomach contract, and tear up in recognition of a kindred spirit, somewhere out there, are others like me. It connects with something deep inside, as if a beacon has just called out, and like a homing pigeon the compass within rights itself towards it. 
It makes me long for some undefined togetherness; that moment feeling more like home than any place I’ve ever been.

It’s like the best drink when you’ve been crawling through the desert for days; I want to reach out; to pick it up and drink it down, absorb it, breathlessly, before it evaporates or turns into a mirage. It is a drop of an elixir from a home I have yet to define. A handwritten letter from your best friend from another world.

I too have felt that hour, the ones during the night; that belongs to me, where the world has no claims on my beingness. The hour when my being relaxes, and mind does not race. Such a rare break from everything, and it is always too short, never long enough to be restorative; Not in a world where you have to keep in step with humanity.
It is the hour of being, of beingness, when no one is going to interrupt and accuse me of not doing enough by their definition; enough to find the next gig-job, keeping house, or in other ways try to make claims on my time.. When the veil is at it’s thinnest, and everything else…is near but not quite possible.

The darkness is a fuzzy blanket I wrap my soul in to stay sane. Which in itself is bizarre, given the dastardly deeds that take place under it’s cover.
Whatever I do at that hour, is for me, and me alone. It does not require justification. It is to nourish my soul. Not thinking of ways to improve my situation, life, or being; my mind forever searching for whatever clue I might have missed, crossroads where I took a wrong turn.

A reluctant city-dweller, I long for the darkness you never get in a city, a place where the herds gather for false safety in numbers, to earn their pennies to pay for the cost of living. There is no going for a walk after dark where I live if you want to stay alive. But we have a roof, and if I sit down I am shielded from the floodlights. Often accompanied by a cat – or two – sometimes by one of the neighborhood opossums. There I stay, sometimes for hours; watch the sky and the stars, planes and bats, trees lit up from afar, a strange reverse silhouette effect, trees that have managed to grow in this concrete jungle. Sometimes their leaves rustle at the hint of a breeze. Never still enough for a real candle, and always the traffic in the distance.

To listen for yourself, here are two of my favorite episodes.

Candle Hour

you-are-a-candle-150x150

Artwork by Robin Galante


https://nocturnepodcast.org/the-dark-revolt/
https://nocturnepodcast.org/the-weight-of-the-river/

Hello?

I don’t pub much here anymore. I write stuff, and by the time I’ve edited and typed it up (yes I’m one of those dinosaurs that likes to use pen and paper) three days later, life has moved on and what was once so urgent feels way too far in the past to bother posting here. Time in itself feels unreal. I feel unmotivated for the most part. I know somewhere inside there’s something smoldering and waiting to come out, but it appears to be behind some time lock. So I try to show up – just in case – and sometimes there’s a string of more or less coherent words.
I guess what I’m searching for is some version of Ikigai, a Japanese concept meaning reason for being, but it’s more than that. It’s calculus with too many unknown elements. I wish there was someone I could ask, or some answers to be found.

Anyway, I’m still here.

ikigai

Solstice and 2020

We don’t celebrate xmas, haven’t for many years. This year we’re not even doing anything for the Solstice. Hubby’s got his works do this evening, and I’ve been sick for a month (spent in bed) and energy is at a premium, so no big clean, no special dinner.
Bought two red candles for my yet-to-be new shrine the other day and right now they are sitting each side of my computer. I mopped the floor and put a new string of Buddhist prayer flags my sistar gave me ages ago up yesterday and hung a wreath of tinsel across the computer and one by the faery lights – decorating done.
I’ll make fresh apple sauce to go with my yoghurt later, and perhaps try my hand at making shortbread since I can’t find it here except in a big 2.1kg box. I wanted like…a dozen?
I’m the grinch who wishes the festive season was over already, I sick of parties competing who can play the loudest samey and monotonous music and go on for the longest; random fireworks or really just bangers. For everyone in the tourist industry work trucks on as normal, no extra days off and no double pay, just more work and longer days. So yeah, roll on January, I’ve had enough of 2019.
Merry whatever you’re celebrating and a happier new calendar year

Creating from a earth-friendly point of view

I make a lot of stuff, and while not being exactly zero waste, Love is in the Details certainly comes close. A lot of re-use, re-purposing, and everything is made to last. Unlike the fashion industry. Lucky me my taste is classic. I share my ideas with anyone who asks.

Yesterday I listened to a podcast recommended by Avery Trufelman on Twitter about the rarity of zero waste in the fashion industry. About the waste of fabric to facilitate speed in the production of inexpensive clothes, giving dirty clothes to charity, and the amount of landfill and burning of branded new clothes that the fashion industry does.). It was called “Pants on fire” and made me feel angry and sick in equal measures. Find it here http://outsideinradio.org/shows/ep-xw3dk

I had no idea the clothing industry was this bad. Sure, I saw burning or destruction of clothing as well as interior design objects whilst working at International Fairs after exhibitions, which shocked and made me despair, but this…and on this scale?!?
That people wear something 5-7 times before getting rid of it…I’ve never lived in that kind of world.

If you know me you know I’m good with a needle and thread (among other things), and I recycle, up cycle, reuse, re-purpose everything ad nauseum *because I can*. I realise not all have the skills, time, and the eye to do so, but for me it is a mental/creative challenge I enjoy. The only downside is there’s no outlet or market for it here. People don’t care. Not as long as there’s sweatshop produced clothing freely available.

I learnt to sew before I was into double digits, and continued because as a teen I couldn’t afford the clothes I wanted. Simple as that. It’s not something I particularly enjoy, but my perfectionist streak did not allow me not do it well. I’m mostly self taught. A couple of weeks ago I made me a few shirts, not because I’m particularly virtuous, I just can’t find any I like where we live in a size that fits. They will last me years. Why? Because my mother and a fashionista best friend way back when taught me how to look after clothes properly to make them last. I’m fortunate I don’t have the kind of job that requires a lot of presentable clothing. It frees up money to spend on things more interesting to me.

Wearing my PA Design shirt on a trip to Cobá, it has since been dyed blue to disguise the rust-stains it acquired in this rusty climate.

So, I’m not into fashion and my taste could be described as casual and classic. I really lucked out with the oldest shirt in my wardrobe – which I love – it is 31 yrs old. It was bought in a seconds store, and it was love at first sight. The 100% cotton is soft as butter and still feels fresh after countless washes. I recently repaired the collar which was praying and the fabric is starting to break down in this humid climate. When it eventually dies, I will make something else out of it. Perhaps it will live on as book-cloth for a journal, the lining of a bag, and a few pieces may find their way into a quilted cushion cover as a fond reminder.
That’s what you get from choosing quality over quantity.

That said, humidity is a real challenge where we live, and as a result fabric takes a proverbial beating. Mexico is the land of rust, everything rusts and stainless steel is rare to come by. Mexicans also have an unrivaled fondness for white t-shirts to match. Hubby wears his no longer presentable ones to do ‘talatcha’, ie maintenance work on the boat he captains. I sometimes remake them into ‘i-shirts’ or undershirts if it is a particularly good one. Once they’re worn thin or ripped they are saved in a pile to cut into strips to crochet into cushiony bathroom/bedroom mats. If we had a shed there’d be some adorning that floor too, lol. It’s free, functional, and I know it’s not to everyone’s taste.

As Love is in the Detail I created – among the many things – cat/dog baskets; using blackout fabric (for it’s sturdy and waterproof qualities) with a removable, washable cover. Filled with recycled fiber waste, shredded thinly and padded in an ingenious way, it makes a comfortable and hardwearing basis for seat cushions, floor cushions of a futonesque kind. But it takes time, commitment and foresight, and a lot of thought, not to mention skills. It would be much easier to grab something of the shelf in a supermarket for sure. In a year you get to replace it when the cover has worn thin or the seams ripped, and the stuffing flattened into nothing. Fine if you want to redecorate and have the funds. Not so with mine.

So called “waste” fabric is made into reusable shopping bags for sale (and occasionally handed out at the local market for free),  journal covers, pot holders, coasters, and very little is ever thrown away. It would be quicker and easier to make it from new material, but that’s not my game. It is to make you aware of the endless possibilities to landfill or burning. Waste not want not as an old acquaintance used to put it.

Tabi-Cat in a nest of reusable shopping bags!

Book me for a day or more; I’d love to share my skills and ideas with anyone who wants to know.
https://www.facebook.com/Love-is-in-the-detail-662052323931245/

This blogpost was inspired by this short video shared by a friend on facebook  https://www.facebook.com/bbc/videos/383355525644858/

Avery Trufelman created a miniseries for 99% Invisible called Articles of Interest which deservedly went on to win clutch of prestigious podcast awards. You can listen to it here: https://99percentinvisible.org/aoi/  or find it in your podcast app.

Catpaw Rosales is a European transplant residing with their husband and cats in Mexico. A soft-spoken, highly introverted being who avoids socializing, and prefers cozy dinners with a few friends to going out. Passionate about restoring and upcycling furniture.
At one time or another they has been a silver-smith, artist, magazine editor, graphic designer, edited audio-books, worked in repro-graphics and in finance, and a wide variety of insignificant temp-jobs .

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