Sometimes it’s just you and the cat.

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My girlfriend is away.

The talented thing she is, she’s off rehearsing a play, doing what she wants to do, living the dream, etc, etc.  The only unfortunate thing is, it is away.  Some 2,500 miles and two time zones away.  So it’s just me and the cat for about two months.

Sure, we talk on the phone, and we’re texting every day, but alas, her smiling visage no longer graces the capacious rooms of our castle home.

Therefore, I am getting A LOT of work done.

It’s not that I don’t get work done when she’s here, but when she’s not here, boy howdy!  From the time I wake up until my eyes close on my pillow at night, I’m doing something or other:  I’m writing, I’m transferring my writing from my notebook to my computer, I’m corresponding via email about my writing, I’m recording audiobooks, I’m editing audiobooks previously recorded, I’m working on the musical I’m writing, I’m corresponding with my writing partner about said musical, I’m traveling to my day job, or I’m working at my day job.

There are only MINUTES of my waking hours when I’m not doing one of these things, and I usually watch Doctor Who during that time.  I’m a very busy boy.

If Becca was here, there would be less of this, and more of canoodling and general nesting activities with my loved one.  More time spent on eating, sitting together, engaging in conversation, etc.

What’s been nice in this time of separation, however, is the Travel Notebook.

OH YES.  CAPITAL LETTERS.

The Travel Notebook was a BRILLIANT idea I had (thank you very much) the last time she was away.  I bought a small, pretty, hard-backed notebook for her to take with her on her travels.  For every day she was away, I wrote a prompt for her to complete.  “Describe where you are at this exact second.”  “What was the most interesting thing you saw today?”  “If our cat was there, what would she be doing?” and so on.  

Since she had it the last time she was away, I was deemed the notebook-holder this time.  When I visit her in the middle of her time away, we’ll trade, and I’ll give her the notebook.

It’s nice, and it keeps us thinking about each other.  It also provides a fun diary on which we can look back once together and see what the heck we were up to.

Until then, though, it’s just me and the cat.

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Sometimes your cat is a huntress

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It was a normal day.

Oof – what a way to start a story.  So rife with possibilities.  Anyway –

It really was a normal day.

Becca is off being a time traveler for the next couple weeks with her family five hours ahead in the UK, so it’s just me and Franny here at home.

Nothing too major was happening in the afternoon, so I went into the closet to get some audiobook recording knocked out.  A few times during my half-hour or so in there, I heard Franny meow out in the apartment proper.  I thought nothing of it and kept recording.

Then, I was startled by scratching at the closet door.  Oh no, I thought.  What the heck?  The cat was meowing nonstop and scratching at the door, so she obviously wanted my attention.

I opened the door to see the puss sitting on the floor with pride, a dead mouse in front of her.  Using her paw, she pushed it toward me gently.  Giving another purr, she looked into my eyes and waited for a response.

A few things went through my mind:

1. What the hell.

2. That’s a dead mouse.  Where did that come from?

3. Did she really kill this thing?  I mean, she’s killed flies and roaches before, but this is a MOUSE.

4. Oh my god.  She’s so cute.  She’s presenting it to me.  She wants me to have it.

This final thought taking precedence in my head, I praised her.  I mean, heck, she just killed a pest!  Huzzah, little Amazon!  Huzzah!

Out of meat, and with a cat that hates cat treats, I gave her some catnip to occupy her while I went to get paper towels with which to dispose of the catch.

When I came back from the kitchen, Franny was sauntering toward me with the mouse in her mouth.  It may sound weird, but she was ridiculously cute with the thing hanging from her pard.

Then she started to play with it.  She lay down and began throwing the animal up into the air and batting it with her paws.  I politely asked her to stop (also I made her).  Annoyed, but compliant, she set it down on her scratchpad, then turned away.  I picked up the dead animal and wrapped it in paper.  I disposed of the thing, and that’s when the fun started.

Franny had no idea where it went.

She was bereft, to say the least.  She began to meow and circle the scratchpad.  She pawed at the spot where it once was.  She tried to flip the scratchpad over.  This went on for about ten minutes, so I decided I would help the girl out.  I titled the scratchpad on its side so she could see there was nothing under it.  The mouse was gone.  The search continued.  For another hour, she stalked the living room, looking behind items, looking under furniture, pawing at the scratchpad, and meowing up a storm.

Poor thing.

Eventually she gave up the hunt, and resigned to be ready for the next one.

(WHICH I HOPE NEVER HAPPENS.  LET’S NOT FORGET THERE WAS A MOUSE IN MY APARTMENT SOMEWHERE.)

The moral of the story, however, is that I have the best cat in the world, and she is a mighty huntress, and I feel safer knowing she’s guarding us from ferocious rodents.

Sometimes there’s flirting in friendship.

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You guys, I met someone.

And sure, sure, I have a girlfriend.  I get it.

But this isn’t a romantic someone I met.  It may turn into a Friend.  That’s right – with a capital F.

WHAAA???

I’m twenty-eight years old.  I’m inching ever closer to that point where it’s hard to meet new people.

And sure, I work in the arts so I’m constantly meeting new people all the time.  But 99% of those people, although lovely, don’t ever transfer over into “Hey, let’s get together and hang out”-Land.

But there’s this boy.

I won’t go into where and how I know him lest I jinx it.  But things are clicking.  

Isn’t it funny how, most of the time, gaining a new friend is really like flirting?  You say things that may compliment the other person or speak to the other person’s strengths, gauging their reaction.  You laugh at things that might not be all that funny.  You go out of your way to speak to them.  You wonder what they think of you.  You’re flirting.

(Disclaimer – the image above is from the Wikipedia page on “flirting.”  I do not go out of my way to replace my gentleman’s shawl or to kiss his shoulder.  That would be another post altogether.)

Certainly, there are those times when things zap into existence and you find yourself in the middle of a friendship you never knew you were in.  This can happen with a relationship, too.  Oh, you say to yourself one day, I suppose we’re friends.  Or, I suppose we’re a couple now.  Other times, though, you need to break out that charm and flirt your butt off.

I don’t know if this will go anywhere.  Maybe I’ll get further into the trenches and discover and awful secret about him.  Maybe he’ll end up being abusive or doesn’t actually take showers.  Maybe he keeps lawn flamingos filled with urine scattered throughout his apartment.  Maybe he’s just a big jerk.

Who knows?  But who ever knows?  Isn’t that what flirting is all about?  What dating is all about?  Let’s figure this person out; let’s see if they’re a good fit for me.  And then, when they turn out to be a nutjob, dump ’em by the side of life’s road wrapped in a garbage bag and speed away down the highway.

Until I see those flamingos, though, I shall continue to flirt.  

Sometimes you have a night that’s all about MAGIC.

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There are several different kinds of magic in my life today.  Please find them listed below:

1. First and foremost, I discovered that I can post pictures in my weblog posts.  This is magic of the highest degree.  Please note the above picture and be amazed and awed at the twenty-first century’s technology.  This is the world we live in, folks.

2. I figured out how to link my weblog to profiles I have on various sites.  If you go to Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562198.Artie_Sievers) or Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Artie-Sievers/e/B0078N7SH0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1), you will now be able to see RSS Feeds (I don’t even know what that means) of my weblog posts there!  Again, I request that you express enthusiasm and veneration at the things that can be done on the Interweb.  This is magic of the second highest degree.  Goodness gracious!

3. I bought a new pillow today.  It is of the down persuasion.  It was $20, but was marked down to $8.99.  This is magic of the monetary degree.  I tried it out already.  It’s a pretty sweet ride.  For my head.

4. I’m making pizza tonight.  I would be remiss if I wrote a post about magic and did not include my friend and yours: yeast.  Can we give it up a little for yeast, folks?  I mean, he’s just sitting around in its little packet, tucked away in the baking aisle, so nonchalant, so unassuming.  Heck, he usually even comes in packs of threes, with the little perforated edge between he and his compatriots.  Paper packaging, mind you.  Certainly this can’t be anything that important, the uninformed consumer tells herself as she places the trio of yeast brothers into her cart.  Once at home, he asks so little of you.  He agrees to sit ever so politely on your pantry shelf, taking up no room at all.  Perhaps you put him in that little plastic container you have for all of your paper packet-ed pantry items like marinade and taco seasoning.  “Don’t worry about me – I’ll be here whenever you need me,” he says with a grin.  And it could be months.  But as soon as you get him down off the shelf, and let him do its magic, hot dog!  He actually changes the size and shape of dough!  He becomes a veritable David Blaine of the culinary world and creates a whizzbang levitation illusion.  Nothing will ever be the same.  This is magic of the natural degree.  I shall witness this magic this evening, and I will be enthralled.

5. There will be a movie night this evening in The Duncraggen.  The theme?  Magic.  The films?  The Illusionist and The Prestige.  Remember those guys?  Poor things, they came out at the exact same time and had practically the exact same subject matter.  Say what you will, but I believe neither got their fair share of appreciation.  Tonight I will relive the wonder, the drama, and the excitement of seeing world-class magicians in high-tension, life-altering situations that I experienced when I first saw both oh those many years ago.  This is magic of the cinematic degree.  And it shall be spectacular.