At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mopsy Was A Good Cat

She was more than that. She was a fine lady.

I adopted her when I was still “living in sin” some seventeen years ago or so. She’s traveled a long, long way with me.

I don’t even know why I traipsed into Petsmart that day and walked straight to the adoption center. It was just something I had to do.
I had lost my pets, my other dear friends, a few years earlier. I guess it was Fate that led me to Mopsy.

She was curled up in a corner, and I was immediately drawn to her long hair. I had never had a longhaired cat before. Not a one had ever crossed my path before. Now, here was this ball of fluff…with personality.

Beautiful as her fur was, the rest of Mopsy left a bit to be desired. She was sway-backed, like some broken farm mare. Her legs were short and stubby, terminating in impressively large paws. She was the personification of a dainty battering ram.

She was every inch a 21st century gal in her demeanor and spirit.
She was smart. Probably the smartest cat I’d ever known…definitely wilier than I. She had an independent spirit, an inquisitive, playful, courageous fire. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and knew exactly how to get it.

She had more than just a streak of feral killer inside of her. When we began our long-term love affair, she was apt to bite me hard when she wanted to get my attention or warn me to quit while I was ahead. Not one to take reprimands lightly, I would nip her ear. Never hard enough to hurt, mind you, just firmly enough to get her attention. Cats don’t “do” humiliation well.

We nipped back and forth for a few years. She was stubborn that way. In due course, we reached an accommodation. She took to simply mouthing me as a means of communicating, and I, in turn, would kiss her ear. We’ve lived together harmoniously ever since.

Mopsy was always on the “fluffy” side (if you know what I mean). When in full bloom, her stomach swayed at floor level. She carried it off well, though. The lady had “attitude” and style.

She had a long life. A full life. She was loved and she knew it. In return, she taught me her feline ways. I speak truth when I say she made me a better person.

* * *

Mopsy’s come to the end of her ninth life. I doubt she will survive the night. We’ve been comforting each other all day.

Mopsy was a good cat.

* * *

Calendar Woes

Certain dates of the year fill me with melancholy.

Just sayin'...

* * *

(The photograph is of the Tomb of Pope Gregory XIII celebrating the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Romance Languages

Funny how a casual comment can worm its way into my head and keep my brain cells preoccupied for weeks on end.

An acquaintance mentioned she had read a book, long ago, that described people's "love language." The author’s thesis was that we communicate love in four distinct ways: through physical expression, words of affirmation, actions and gifts. She explained that people who speak “physically” feel loved, and offer love, through touch…hugs, pats, handholding, snuggling and caressing. The physical expression goes way beyond sex, although sex is very important to physical people. Affirmation people need to hear/offer verbal words of support and praise. Action “speakers” feel loved when someone does something for them, and they express their love by “doing” for the other. Gifts people want gifts, they want tangible evidence of love and they, in turn, give gifts to express their feelings for the other.

My friend explained that most people are “multi-lingual” to one degree or another. She said that children communicate in all four ways until they sort out what works best for them…often influenced by their parents’ modes of expression.

As a consequence, when people feel unloved or under-appreciated, it may be because their lover is communicating in a language they barely understand. Words of affirmation may not mean much to someone who wants/needs gifts. If someone needs their lover's touch to feel truly loved, or if they need to hear just how much they are appreciated, but what they get is a recitation of how hard the other works on their behalf…well, it's simply not enough. Love gets lost in the communication.

Some relationships are simply Towers of Babel.

* * *

Well, me being me, these notions kept me up quite a few nights. The author’s postulate makes sense. It feels true at gut level.

My knee-jerk reaction was that I’m an “action” person. But, in truth I relish all forms of expression (I’m still a child at heart, I guess).
I further confused myself by reflecting that I am an action person due more to necessity and a sense of obligation/responsibility, rather than as a primary means of communicating love. If work and money were not an issue, I'd lean heavily on the other three forms. The actions that mean the most to me are the simplest ones. I’ve touched on this before, in this entry.

I'm a generous gift-giver, offering presents to others better than anything I would buy for myself. Although I love to give gifts, particularly those I’ve created with my own hands, I’m not overly keen on receiving gifts. I guess that suggests that I’m not a true “gift” person.

I freely (and often) write love letters, and communicate through the sharing of poetry and music. I crave physicality (in all of its manifestations). Often, though, life demands action, and I find myself doing what needs to be done.

In fact, I got really hung up on the “action” concept...ah, yes...more sleepless nights.

* * *

Part I of III
(to be continued...)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Let's Feast!

I tend to see magic, spirituality, and love as the essence of all essential things. Perhaps you remember this excerpt from an earlier entry?

I’m grateful for all living things. The souls that sacrificed their own potential so that I may live. The nuts and seeds that never grew so that I might; the lamb that stretched its neck to Heaven and the blade; the birds that gave up flight so that I may someday fly. I am grateful for all the souls, every one as worthy as my own, that filled my gut that made the blood that fueled my heart and filled my brain that gave me the sense, the wonder and the awe to praise the souls that sacrificed so much.

Preparing food…and breaking bread with others is, at its finest, a spiritual experience.

I am an unrepentant omnivore. I relish sampling the bounty of the earth. We humans (through a great deal of trial and error, no doubt) have identified all that is edible. I want to sample all before I die. I don’t have prejudices when it comes to food. If it’s edible, I’ll eat it (assuming it’s prepared well or, at the very least, passably...and the creature was not someone’s pet). I’m the sort who will invariably order something from the menu that I’ve never tasted before. I want to taste everything! I want to surprise my taste buds whenever I can. I relish the cuisines of all cultures. I enjoy the aromas, textures, spice and exquisite serendipities of flavors.

Life is a banquet. I enjoy feasting.

I love fresh foods…farmers’ markets. I envy the Asians and Europeans, all those who can buy fresh meats, fish, breads, cheeses, fruit and produce in open air markets on their walk home from work.

Oh, how I wish I could live like that!

I have been both a hunter and a fisherman. It’s not that I relish blood sports but, if I am to eat the flesh of another living being, I’d rather do honor to the creature, myself, rather than have my sustenance prepared by machines or faceless laborers and then swaddled in plastic. It’s a matter of respect.

I’m quite adept at feeding myself. When cooking solely for myself, I eat sparingly. I do not use recipes, preferring to experiment with my food (playing, if you will). I love unlikely pairings of ingredients, the magic of spices and, most of all, simplicity. (Give me a succulent peach and I’m happy!)

True joy may be found in cooking for others. On such occasions, I pore over recipes trying to find something that my guest(s) might savor. I don’t mind complex recipes, then. I kinda groove on testing my meager culinary skills for the benefit of my guests. I’ll confess, though, that sharp knives and whirling blades, mandolins and graters scare me. My culinary (ahem) masterpieces often come tinged with a bit of my blood (I dream of, someday, participating in a culinary class in Tuscany or Provence).

Confession: I can’t bake. I don’t have a “feel” for it.

I envy chefs who have an almost a mystical reverence for food. I regard master chefs with absolute awe. Their awareness, creativity and encyclopedic knowledge of foods and food preparation inspire me. I enjoy dining at truly fine restaurants, on select occasions, in order to taste foods and food combinations I could never create on my own.

I’ve had incredible, memorable meals (sometimes in the unlikeliest of places). I will forever savor those memories.

I believe families come to be bound together at the dinner table. The evening dinners in my childhood home melded hearts and sated hungers.

I believe love can blossom over a shared dessert.

* * *

If, perchance, this entry has left you hungering for more, I suggest you run out and rent any one, or (better yet) all of these films:

Babette’s Feast
Like Water for Chocolate
Eat Drink Man Woman
Tortilla Soup
Big Night (thanks, Anna!)

They’ll leave you feeling satisfied. Trust me.

* * *

Please, don’t get me started on the subject of wine…or cheese.

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