Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Life as it is

Sitting on the roof and I’m so homesick. Thankfully it’s a very rare occurrence and when it hits it is usually on an evening like this. It’s balmy with the merest hint of a breeze after a hot day, and the crickets are grinding away.
The kind that on the Isle of Wight are precious and rare, to be treasured and made the most of.
When you don’t want to cook, but meet up with good friends at the Crab n lobster for dinner with a glass of wine or a beer or two.
Precious friends, where the atmosphere is relaxed, you know each other so well there’s no pretense to keep up.  Where you can be your self unabashedly, and both silence and interesting depth is equally comfortable.

Watching the sea side by side with no need for words as evening turns into night, and dew gathers on the grass and garden furniture. Pulling my legs up and hugging my knees, not quite ready to go back home just yet.  Boats and container ships winking pinpricks in the distance, competing with the stars above.
Precious moments to treasure forever more.

Here , in the minutes its taken me to write this and
for a single sad tear to glide down my cheek
Darkness has fallen too.
Tonight the stars are out in an inky sky.
In contrast with home, here after a blistering hot day
nightfall does not bring much relief
only the suffocating humidity of tropical summer.

Here there’s no slow drive to a favorite pub with the windows down, and there are no friends to hang out with. Only food to be prepared and cooked as my stomach not so subtly reminded me.
Beam me up, please.

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For the love of books

I love to read!  I also love writing and sharing my love of books with others.

Readers of English books like myself have come to take for granted how inexpensive the huge selection of books available to us have become.

When I was growing up this wasn’t the case. There was however a small library near the village where we lived that opened up for a couple of hours every week. My mother acquired a library card and since I was the only reader in the house, I got the whole family’s allowance of eight books per week, least my brother wanted something now and again.

When I visited the library where we live now it was in many ways like stepping back in time. It mostly had romance novels, a selection of encyclopedias and the kind of books my high-school library offered to help with homework and assignments. Equally/also/likewise bookshops are rare because books here are Expensive, especially those translated into Spanish.

A few years ago I bought two books for my husband (who also loves to read) that cost 450pesos and 600 pesos! Now ask yourself this: Would you save and spend almost a weeks earnings on a book? Probably not if you have a family to feed.

For the love of books introduce your friends and relatives to the joy of reading! Reading is like discovering whole new universes at your fingertips. The choices are endless! Now with smartphones and tablets becoming less expensive, people are discovering ebooks as an alternative to playing games. Feed your mind!

 

 

Happy Birthday


-Morning Beautiful! Congratulations on being on this planet for half a century. Here’s a coffee – just the way you like it – and a gluten free croissant, good quality imported butter on the side, French Brie and avocado.
-Eh, wow!
-Now, how’s that body of yours doing? Need a bit of tune up or adjustments?
-Please!
-There you go! General tone up, slender legs and arms, flat belly, firm boobs. New spine and neck, new ligaments and tendons where missing. No more migraines or insomnia. No more allergies or food intolerances. Done.
-Wow! My word!  (flexing an unrecognisable ankle).
-Now, what would you like to do today? Anything!
-Eh, can I have endless inspiration to write, please? And better grammar…
-Consider it done. Let’s throw in a five book contract, an editor, and an agent who loves your work at the same time. What else?  This is your day, no time to be bashful. Go for it!
(insert Gulp and nervous laughter)
-Can you arrange for a granny annex for us and work for hubby that he enjoys in BC? Beam us, the cat, and our stuff there?
-Would you like to dress and shower first?
-I think so. Probably best. And feed the cats.

-There you are then! Rent’s paid for a year to get you started. Ready?
-Ready as I’ll ever be.
-Done! Here we are! Want us to unpack?
-Holy carp! Please, since you seem so good at it.
-Ok. What’s next?
-Can I have a little tea party with my celestial mates in the garden this evening?
-Of course. Can’t see why not. Sushi? Strawberries and coconut cream?
-Perfect! Look forward to it. A new journal and fountain pen? A writing desk and bookcase?
-Have a look around, I think you’ll find them in the study.
There is a study?
-Indeed.  There’s also a new queen memory foam mattress in the bedroom, and a set of bedding to fit too. It must be comfortable coz your husband seem to have fallen asleep on it already, and the cat’s are playing chase in the kitchen. As well as your own books we added a few we thought you’ll enjoy. Anything else?
-A few local friends would be wonderful.
-They’ll text you tomorrow. Here’s your keys.
-Oh, for the house?
-For the house and the car in the driveway. Though you might need one. It’s insured and taxed.  Happy birthday love! There’s one downtown, in Field street.
-Uh?
-An excellent tattooist. For that cattoo you’ve been wanting to get. And you have an appointment with the P’s at 3pm tomorrow. Enjoy!
I am speechless. I don’t know what to say. I really don’t. Flabbergasted.
-Don’t go! I haven’t even begun to thank you yet!  I don’t even know your name…

The mosquitoes pull me out of my reverie.
I love our roof, but damn, I wish this had been real.

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Catharsis

I haven’t posted anything on this blog in what feels like forever. Occasionally I have ideas; after all I’m a writer and that’s what I do. Or I do write something, but by the time I get around to typing it up, I have sort of moved on….?

I have however written quite a lot. I intend to look through it and see if anything still feels relevant enough to share. This is from today, sparked by a video-clip someone shared.

Catharsis

I should be happy
and all the other shoulds in life
is what’s actually ruining lives
The constant pressure to ‘be happy’
or at least put on a happy face
to be acceptable.
We could learn from our ancestors
their stern faces in early photographs
there is nothing wrong with not putting a happy sticker on.

It comes with immense pressure
and invisible fingers pointing out
not happy.
Not being happy
suggests
no implies
you’ve failed
as a person
and at life.
Denying what we feel is perpetuating it
allowing to feel can be the first step towards
feeling better.
When it comes to depression
‘fake it till you make it’
really is the worst piece of ‘advice’ and
one of the cliches I hate indiscriminately
with a passion that’s completely disproportionate tells me
it’s the worst thing I could do to a best friend
-and thereby also to myself.
We were given a range of emotions
all as valid as the others.
The stigma surrounding depression and other related states of being
prevents us from being able to be open about it
perpetuates it
prevents us from seeking and receiving help.
Nobody wants
that label,
and yet it is part of who we are
every last one of us.
Sometimes it takes chemicals to redress the balance
Other times all it takes is to be heard
really listened to.
Think about that all you habitual chatters
who can’t get enough of hearing your own babbling voices.
When was the last time you said
no really, how are you? and meant it.
Allowed the other person to reply with something aside from
Fine thanks.
But don’t push.
They may not want to.
They may not want to be seen as
a undesirable state however temporary.
They may not want you to know
or want any unsolicited advice,
or allow them selves to be that vulnerable
fearing comebacks
in a world so inclined to judge
anyone who isn’t happy
a write-off
a failure.
May be judging themselves
just like I judge me.
I should be happy
I should be grateful
I have no reason to -fill in the blank
Hot on the heels of should is guilt
I’m not grateful enough
I’m a bad ungrateful person
I’m not enough.
I haven’t tried hard enough
because if I had
I’d have got this
done that
been
happy
successful
and I’m not so I clearly have not
must try harder.
And like a punctured balloon
or every spoon
drains out of my being
faster than physics would say is possible
but it is
because it’s letting me know
I’m on the wrong track.
Not that I know what do do with it
in that moment
or the next one
or the next day
the next week
month…
The feeling of letting myself down
judging myself by the lack of outward signs of success
is my hamster wheel.
I know what I want and
I haven’t got a f-kin clue how to get there from here.
I refuse to accept maybe I never will
refuse to lower my standards for myself
setting myself up for more failure
Not allowing myself to recharge and regroup
sufficiently fortified with rest and care
because I’m not worth that
because I have not tried hard enough…
No rest for the one who has nothing to show for it
who has not accomplished enough
for their own liking.
I know what I want damn it
or not.
And I plain refuse to kill myself trying to prove just one thing.

To give up my entire existence for one goal
when I want realize so many more.
Even I recognize the madness in that.
Still I refuse to give up trying
because then I’d be lazy too
another unforgivable trait in my programming.

Sorry for taking your time
I have to go now
and pursue that holy grail once more
the one of joy and happiness.
It’s what I say
when I don’t want you to see how much I am really hurting
being a failure in my own eyes
longing
for what I thought was a given
craving
what I clearly can’t have.
Not in this life, buddy.
Get over it.
Take one for the team, loser.
Who the hell would want you as a friend?
Freak.

But I really am sorry for wasting your time.
I love you.
Remember that.
If you remember nothing else

remember that.

And never tell anyone to ‘smile!”
or ‘fake it till you make it’.
Or I will make it a point to haunt you when I’m gone.
You will not like it.

Birthday weekend special offer!

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Because it’s my birthday this weekend YOU get the presents! All weekend my book The Spirit of Flying is $0.99 as an ebook on Amazon. And as Amazon have not found a way to pay me  it’s going to charity, to The Cats House on the Kings. Here’s the link for the USA but it’s available on ALL their sites.

https://smile.amazon.com/Spirit-Flying-Softspoken-realit…/…/
If you like it please leave an honest review.
And if you are on facebook head over to my writers page and check that too:
https://www.facebook.com/gatotepress/?fref=ts

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Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

Red’ed, Rojito update

Red is doing very well, he’s got his appetite back (and then some!) but he is still very skinny. I guess putting some meat back on the bones needs to happen slowly rather than fat.IMG_20160420_171125

He’s such a writer’s cat: he sleeps when I work and only ever interrupts if I’m late with their dinner.

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Being greeted with his sweet little face (and Milou and Tabita) in the morning reminds me that every day together is a bonus, a gift of allowing us to love them.

Rojito, our miracle cat

Red

Tabi and Rojito, a few months ago.

This is our Miracle cat, Red’ed or Rojito, meaning little red in spanish.

Red and Blondi were left behind when their family moved away. For approx. six months living the indoor life, the next fending for themselves on the street.

Little by little they began to trust us, and found our kitchen a safe place to sleep, hang out, and get a little food. Blondi was the shyer or the two: never wanting to be touched but happy to play with Tabita. Needless to say, they’ve been my saving grace being stuck in the house providing me entertainment and company.
Then about a month ago Blondi was gone and and a week later Red disappeared too. And most cats in the ‘hood, a neighbourhood dominated by cats. We were left coming to terms with not expecting to see either of them again.

Sweet Blondi

This is Blondi, Red’s brother, a month before he disappeared.  Gentle, shy and a picture of health.  How anyone can consider such beautiful beings vermin and kill them is beyond comprehension.

Thus I was overjoyed to see Red come through the door but it quickly turned to heartbreak seeing his condition. He can only be described as a skeleton with fur. He was weak but he’d come to us for help. Make no mistake, we are his furever home for as long as he wants it to be.

So why didn’t I rush him to a vet? It was Sunday evening. I got one leg in a cast and need help to get out – but who and where? My husband have been working for four weeks without a day off. The language barrier were I to go on my own in taxi etc. And of course lack of money. Red did not appear to be in any acute pain, though I know cats have a very high pain tolerance level. I don’t know where he’d been or come from or how he’d made it back. He was very weak and coughing blood. Frankly, we didn’t think he’d make it through the night and didn’t want to break his trust by putting him in a box, in a taxi, to spend it in a steel cage surrounded by fear and strangers. If he was going to make it he’d pull through, and if he didn’t, he would die at home surrounded by love and friends. He picked his spot – my floor cushion by the back door – opposite the bedroom.

I sponge bathe him when too weak to groom, scratched when it looks like he’s got an itch. Fed him scraped fish mixed with water every two hours and whatever else he’d eat. Sometimes a teaspoon, sometimes a tablespoon. One day at a time.

The basics; Red is approximately a year and a half. Now if someone told me he was 15 I’d believe it. That is how much he has aged in the week he was missing thanx to human cruelty. He eats very little but he eats. He drinks. Goes to the sandbox. He coughs but he’s stopped coughing blood. From a healthy and well muscled young male to an affectionate ghost of his former self.  I can only presume that the newest cat-hating neighbour followed up on his threat to put out food laced with rat poison “to get rid of the kittens” he called vermin.

Red is such a little fighter. He’s come so far. I’d like to take him to a vet still to be checked over and get whatever extras he needs to help recover his health. Without it there’s no knowing what internal damage has been done. He finally started grooming again last night so after two weeks of round the clock watching and worry, I’m beginning to relax a little.

I used to say If you can’t afford to take your charges to the vet, don’t have any. But my vulnerable heart can not turn away a cat in need at my door. I can not close the door and say go away you are not my responsibility. I will do what little I can to help, and right now it isn’t a lot. Clean any wounds, put vegetable oil on ticks and a bit of kibble, and always have clean water available outside for any passing cat or dog.

We struggled to find the money to feed us all at times but somehow we do, we find a way. Now there’s only three left and I desperately want to find somewhere else that is safer for the cats and move. I feed them and keep them in at night because that is all I can do.

I wish I was in a financial situation where I could do more. I wish I had the money to donate to every free clinic there is and sponsor opening ones where there aren’t any. I wish I had the language skills to enthuse locals about trap- spay or neuter – release. I wish I had the energy to volunteer endlessly. I wish I had a car to pick up and bring those who need help to make it to a vet clinic.

Most of all I wish I lived in a world where respect for all life was the norm and sick care and health care was free and available to all everywhere.

If I put this on my fb page I’ll have to deal with “How dare you ask for money and help again – you should be ashamed of yourself” so no gofundme. If you want to help, please help. If you don’t, then don’t. I understand and I won’t judge you. The cats will be very grateful if you do. If you can and want to help go to the top of the page to “Other ways to connect” and then click on Miaowser’s fund. It will take you to paypal. And like the Tesco add says, every little helps.  On behalf of Red and us, thank you for reading.

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Red, now, back for two weeks.

The Pound

(10th March, 2016)

The pound.  Just the words makes dread spread through my body. Red, Blondi, Naranga and Albina are missing from the neighborhood, as well as less frequent cat visitors I have not named in my head. The neighbourhood cats are my friends; we hang out and chat, which is what friends do, right?
I don’t know if they have been rounded up and caught, poisoned or what.
Apparently there is a “pound” in town. Noone I’ve asked knows where. There’s no way of knowing how long they hold onto the furfolk they bring there to give humans a chance to reclaim their furry family members. Or if they are “destroyed” straight away. I don’t want to dwell on it or think about it. To me it is equal to murder, and I want to scream someone is murdering my friends!!!

So many thoughts and feelings running through my head. They’re my friends – what you are doing is a feline holocaust. I’m anthropomorphising I know, but I can’t seem to stop. I’m wondering what they will think of me for not coming to look for them. I feel I have failed my feline brethren even though it is not my obligation for lack of a better word. I can’t keep the whole world safe.

“You should have run, been even more careful!” I cry. ‘Everything is a co-creation’ I tell myself but it is scant comfort. If you want to be a creator you have got to let everyone else be one too. In this instance it’s no comfort at all.

What if we did find out where it is and went there, and were greeted by fifty – a hundred – hopeful or despairing furry faces? And only could bring home one or two? Could my heart bear to walk away from all the others, knowing their fate? Knowing they’ll be murdered? It would feel like it is my fault, I’ve been found lacking when it comes to being able to help our feline and canine sisters and brothers out of their predicament.

I tell our two to be careful every time they step out of the house and not eat anything suspect, to stay out of reach of humans. I make sure there’s always food in the bowl. “It’s not you I don’t trust” I whisper in their ears, “it’s other people I don’t trust any more.”
I detest how so many common people have no respect for other forms of life, unless it is a darned chihuahua.
Who teach their offspring cats are dirty and vermin. Cat’s aren’t dirty! They keep rats, mice and snakes population under control, and Tabita is very talented at killing any cockroach she sees. They are far too small to remove a bag of rubbish from a bin. Here it is the dogs who drag garbage bags into the street and rips them open, but it’s not out of malice, they are just hungry.

Why are there so many? Because people here seem to inherently dislike having their pets fixed, even with free spay and neuter clinics. And because in low season a family may not have enough to feed that dog so let it out in the street to forage for itself as best it can. It’s not a cute little puppy for the kids to play with any more, and thus it joins the feral’s.

I miss our orange boys, their sweet faces greeting me at the door in the morning. They only want a safe place to hang out, a place to sleep and rest, some food and love. Just like you. Just like me. I miss them a lot but probably less than Milou and Tabita.

I can’t get away from feeling I have failed in my self appointed role as their guardian, even though they are their own responsibility and not really mine at all. That my love and softness somehow set them up for perhaps letting their guard down with others. It makes me once more ashamed to be associated with the human race.

I pray whatever did or will befall them, it was/is quick and painfree.
“I’m so sorry, so so sorry” I whisper to the night air and tears run down my already wet cheeks. Forgive me for letting you down, please forgive me for not trying hard enough to find out.  Forgive me for not going to look for you.  I just cant do it.

Laundry musings


In my warped little world it be like this…

Behind the scenes :
-It’s election time again, oh goodie. What can we do that hasn’t been done before… what can we do for a bit of fun this time?
All behind the scenes thought really hard which mercifully did not take long.

-Let’s take our old skool politician but in a female body and see how many falls for that one. That should be popular and ‘politically correct’, he he he. Everyone who wants ‘change’ will vote for her and we’ll be all set….

To make sure he, I mean she, wins, let’s put ol’ moneybags to represent the opposition. Surely no one will take that foul-mouthed bigot seriously? And if they do perhaps it’s because they think he will use his moneymaking skills to help this country… deluded sods.

Now we got the voters well and truly confused, let’s throw in an underdog just to make it a bit more interesting. Someone who represents all the things the establishment fear to make it more thrilling, and see how the old activist does…
Then if there is any comeback we can just point and say you had your chance and you still voted for the devil you know…
All in favour? Good. That’ll be a titillating political saga to follow in the news and on TV.

 

Only it’s 2016… Never expected the world really is changing, did ya? Or the media of the masses to be quite as effective in relaying events as they happen?

Here’s me doing my bit cheering on Bernie Sanders, and for Jeremy Corbin – who’d have seen that one coming?

Sometimes the best person for the job simply wears a man’s body.

Now I half expect s’one to knock on the door and there’ll be a washing machine with an anonymous note saying “now shut the fuck up.”  And to that I’ll just say

Feel the Bern!!!

bernie and corbin

(I hate) Being sensitive

IS peace and quiet in your own home a privilege reserved only for the moneyed?
Why? Does not people from all walks of life have the right to a have that choice also?
Do you really think HSP (high sensitivity) is something that only happens when affluent? It’s no blessing, it’s a curse, unless you can afford a secluded cabin when the world around you gets too much.
With a baby howling out back in the neighbours courtyard (and has done for over an hour now), three soundsystems pounding out techno, rap-reggeton and something else I have no name for, the feeling of panic in my body is steadily rising and the impossible need to get away is threatening to suffocate me from within.

Last night I was so sure I could write that last missing chapter in the morning, but waking up to this? How am I supposed to even stay sane with this? How am I supposed to work in this constant bombardment? I’m not a successful author so there’s no money for an office, let alone a soundproof one. I work at the kitchen table. I like working from home because I like the love of our cats around and the comic relief they provide. When I get stuck I can wash up or do the laundry.

Now every nerve feels frayed, my heart is pounding a tattoo in a RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!! and I can’t stop it. I can’t think.  I seriously can’t think.
All my ideas have fled and are out of reach, every last one scrubbed away by the auditory torture and I don’t even know what I was going to do. My hands are shaking and the rest of my body trembling. All I want to do is lock myself in the bathroom and cry. Cover my ears with pillows and and blankets, and rock back and forth in catatonia. So that’s what I’m going to do.
loud people
I’ve come to hate Cancun. I hate how no one gives a shit about being considerate. I hate being sensitive, it’s a fucking curse and I’d happily swap it for being more hardy and be able to live and be more at ease in this loud world that to me feels more like assault every day.
Who the hell wants to be sensitive and feel deeply?
I can’t get away from it because there’s nowhere to go. Everywhere is full of people, and where there’s people there’s always someone who thinks it’s their duty to make as much noise and pump out muzak as loud as the speakers will go. Unless you have a car and can drive and park up in the jungle somewhere.

Now it’s finally stopped – after 3 hours+ for this time. Every muscle in my body is still tense, tighter than a piano string. Every idea I had is gone, Every single idea, every nuance I had to guide the word magic to weave together a story is gone without even leaving as much as a trace. The word notes on the paper from last night means nothing any more. And that makes me cry even more. Now all I feel is empty and crushingly depressed.  12742607_1028001063927972_7883913622580101030_n

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