Saturday, June 27, 2020

Remembering the past

This time we're living in has gotten me down:  Covid-19 has cast a shadow on the present, and nobody knows when it will end.  It's pretty obvious it'll still be infecting people through the end of this year.  There is a debate going on in the general population:  Should we take the precautions doctors want us to put in place, or is this an evil plot to take control of us?  Folks, I have let this drive me to distraction to such an extent that I don't want to be on Facebook.  That has never happened before.  In fact, in my "normal" state, I'd be forcing myself to sign off Facebook for a few days because I'm addicted.  

Maybe this is a good solution to my Facebook addiction.  If so, I hope it lasts.  I'd never get off Facebook entirely, because it's how I stay in touch with relatives, some of whom I wouldn't even know well if not for Facebook.  Not to mention friends I will never see again in person, but we can keep in touch because Facebook exists.

It finally occurred to me this morning that Facebook may not be the problem here.  There are issues in the current "real world" that have me off-kilter; I think maybe I've transferred my feelings about those issues onto Facebook.  In fact, I'm sure of it.  The same thing happened last fall... a happening in my real world had me upset, and suddenly I could not stand social media.  I began deleting friends, most of them for no good reason.  

I learned in my ninth grade psychology class about transference: the redirection to a substitute, usually a therapist, of emotions that were originally felt in childhood (in a phase of analysis called transference neurosis ).  I don't have a shrink, although I could probably use one, so I've been transferring my feelings to a silly website instead.  (You could take the words "in childhood" out of that, because my childhood was great.) 

What I wish I could do in these perilous times is go to Grandma's house.  Unfortunately, she died in the 1960's and her house was torn down long ago.  But in my mind I do go back to that part of my life, closing my eyes and imagining myself walking through that little house.  I see the african violets on the closed-in porch.  Then as I step up into the kitchen, the refrigerator is straight ahead of me, the porcelain kitchen table to the left of it against the wall.  Straight to the left of me as I stand in the doorway is the Hoosier cupboard, looking very similar to this:

There's the surface where Grandma rolled out noodles and sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls.  She sat on a tall stool when she did that, either because she wore out easily or perhaps because her knees or legs ached; kids never think  old people they love might be hurting, unless they complain.  Grandma didn't.  But I digress.  For many years Grandma had a kerosene range, so when you entered the house there was sometimes the faint smell of coal oil in the air.

In my musings, I leave the kitchen and walk on into the living room, knowing exactly where everything is.  Things in Grandma's house didn't change much.  With parents who moved often, I loved having three locations on God's green earth where things were constant:  Grandma's house, Uncle Leo's house down the road from her, and my sister's house.  Those were the most stable places I knew, where change was slow to come.

Sometimes I remininisce about the years my parents and I lived in Iowa.  What a wonderful world it was.  Hot summer nights sitting on the front porch listening on the radio to Joe Lewis becoming the heavyweight champion of the world while daddy threw punches and dodged blows as if it would help Joe win.  Winters when I longed for snowfall.  Summers when the world was my oyster because I could play outside as long as I wanted.  Fourth of July everyone in the Guss, Iowa, community who bought fireworks pooled their resources, coming together so we children had a great show to watch when we gathered in front of Hampel's store.

It wasn't a perfect world, but I thought it was then.  Guss, Iowa and Eagleville, Missouri are my favorite places to think about when times are difficult for whatever reason.  And don't forget Grandma's house for the holidays.  

The act of putting these words on a page makes me feel safe and serene.  Everyone should have such good childhood memories as I do, with parents who sang often around the house and in the car; recently a lady from Eagleville named Velda (now a Facebook friend) told me about a time when she was riding somewhere with my parents and me in our car.  I would have been no older than twelve; Velda said we were singing together as we rode, and she thought it the neatest thing at the time, that people would cut loose singing like that in the car.  We did it all the time, it's how I learned to sing alto.  I never thought it was unusual.  But you know, having someone else recall it 65 years later is pretty special. 

I began this blog entry feeling frustrated and angry and didn't know what I'd be writing about.  Now I'm at peace, and God is near.

Be well, my readers.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cat litter, blog mysteries, and whatever else I think of

I've not dealt with cat litter except for one spell when I was single and tried to bring an outdoor cat into my apartment.  She'd had a taste of freedom before I got her, so she let me know how bored she was by knocking over my two scrawny house plants repeatedly while I was at work.  I took her back to my parents in the country.  Then almost four years ago when I brought two kittens onto the property, I had a litter box in Cliff's shop for awhile when the kittens kept using the oil-dry in the pans under his tractor.

Because Blue was so young and tiny, I have been shutting him in our back porch at night to prevent foxes or coyotes getting him.  During the day, I block the outside door of the porch open and he spends most of his time outside, but he can still come in to eat if he gets hungry.  When he thinks he really wants to be inside, he goes around to the front door and starts trying to climb up the metal screen door, which has no screen (because other cats ruined the screen) but only glass.  He makes such a racket doing this, we can't help but hear it, and let him in.  We will not be letting him in when he's grown, unless I can get by with it in bitter cold weather; a cousin of mine in Iowa told me cats don't shed in winter if they are normally outside cats.  Of course, then there's the problem of fleas:  If I'm going to let him in, am I willing to buy the expensive stuff that repels fleas?

Back to the cat litter:  First of all, I winced at the price of the stuff.  Good grief, the prices are so high!  I finally just gritted my teeth and picked up a large box, as well as a tub for a little box.  Blue had no problem using it from the first, and by the third day, when he was inside with us, he'd even go to the inside door of the porch and meow for me to let him out if he needed to go; I go open the door for him, he runs to the box.  This amazes me.

It surprised us that the scented litter in the box made the back porch smell good, even after days of the cat's deposits therein.  I still don't know for sure how long you are supposed to wait to toss all the little deposits over the fence, and I have even less idea of when I should throw out the whole mess and start over.  It's so costly, I want to get as much use out of it as possible.

Yesterday I fixed Blue up with new litter and a cleaned-up box.  When he came in, he had a genuine litter-box party all by himself.  He must have danced around and played in it for half an hour before he finally deposited the biggest poop I ever saw him make.  Even after that, he'd come in from outside, and party again.  At this point, the new batch has been used enough that the partying has ceased.  If any of you, my readers, have cats in the house... is it normal for them to celebrate fresh litter?

Here's a thing that drives me crazy about my blog:  When I go to other folk's Google blogs, there is a way in the comments for me to reply to anybody else's comment directly.  For years, I've looked for a setting that would allow me to do this, because sometimes people ask me questions about an entry and I can't answer back to their comment.  The other day, while Cliff was inside the John Deere dealer's getting a tractor part, I stayed in the car and played on my phone.  I'd done a blog entry that morning and wanted to see if I had comments; there were a couple; I was amazed to see that on my phone, each comment had a place to reply to it!  I don't see this on my MacBook or the iPad, only on my Samsung phone.  I've tried using other browsers, but nothing lets me see that "reply" option.

So I guess I'll keep my phone handy.  As long as someone's comment only needs a brief reply, I'll answer them with my cell phone.  I hate trying to type on that phone, so there will be no lengthy replies.

Enjoy your day.  Yesterday was great here, not awfully hot, with a nice breeze going that managed to dry four loads of laundry.  Take that, Evergy!  (It used to be Kansas City Power and Light, but they sold to Evergy.)

I'm going to add one of my Sunday Singing videos to this entry, for the person who asked me to share another one on my blog.  Many of my blog readers are not facebook friends, so they don't see my videos unless I place one here.  I usually make these videos around 5 AM on Sunday morning, so I'm in my nightgown and house coat and probably didn't comb my hair.  

I'm just keeping it real, folks.