Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Archive for the month “April, 2020”

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.

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 ( ) 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!



The times we are currently in has given me writer’s block so I thought I’d write love-letters to my favorite podcasts.
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


Artwork by Robin Galante

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