Vacation Days

on the calendar
 she counts the days one by one
 two-week vacation

I don’t know if it’s because last night was full moon and I’m feeling a bit bold myself, or because this is the first day of “OFF-time” for me and my mind is free to create. But after some exchanging of shifts, I have eighteen days “off.” That is, I won’t have to make a meal at the Villa until nineteen days from now. Needless to say, I have lots of plans — mainly housekeeping, but hopefully some writing, too. I’m clearing my schedule of other tasks so I can devote time to editing the story I have on the go.

Also, I bought some paint brushes and am going to have a go at swirling them around on some art-quality paper. 🙂 I’ve decided that art and blogging will be evening activities during my time off; cleaning the house will be my morning duty. And I’ve blown it already with my four posts in one morning! But tomorrow…when the moon’s not so full…

The cats are indeed squirrelly. Right now Angus and Tuffy are wrestling on the carpet. Angus can join in kittenish fun, but he’s an old cat and when he gets weary of Tuffy’s rough play, he goes and jumps in the bathtub. Tuffy hasn’t figured out how to get into that, so he just peers over the edge and swats in Angus’s direction.

The temperature has come up today; it was -18C this morning and supposed to go all the way up to -12. In the last couple of days I’ve seen several flocks of grouse (8-12 in each) scooting around the prairie, finding what they can. Unless it was just one flock that got around a lot? We saw a small group in our yard one morning, not far from the bird feeder, so probably picking up what the sparrows toss out.

We went to the city yesterday, then I made supper for the folks at the Villa. Later in the evening, here at home, we listened to the family memories from our son-in-law’s uncle Dennis, who died of bone cancer a few days ago. We didn’t know him that well; those who did described him as ambitious, active, dexterous. He’d tackle about anything in the mechanical line and invented a number of things. His family said he was a faithful Christian pastor, a loving and much loved husband and father, always encouraging and supporting them. All in all a wonderful tribute!

Memo from Kitty

The Kitten

Cuddling in my bosom,
purring like a jet plane,
Kitty cracks my shirt buttons
in his sharp little teeth.

The communiqué is clear:
"I'm bored. Get up once!
Leave that fiddly stuff;
come play with me."

If I miss the message,
ever eager to clarify
his next step will be
cleaning off my desk.

Mini-but-Mighty Lion

The lion, tail twitching, silently stalked across the plush savanna. He’s spied a nut-brown orb hidden behind one of the dining room table legs and was approaching it with utmost stealth. His mind had turned it into a young warthog at a water hole and he was the ravenous beast of prey – though really he wasn’t all that hungry. Nevertheless, he was determined to capture and torture this hapless creature that dared to lie around so nonchalantly.

As he crept closer, the orb – actually a hazelnut dropped during the nut-cracking party two evenings ago – seemed to lie there helplessly awaiting its fate. The lion, tabby rather than tawny, reached out a paw and gave the creature a tentative tap with its paw. Did it have sharp fangs? Would it rear up and do battle? No. Not even a squeal. Rather, the hard-shelled thing lumbered under the table and hid in the shadows. Cowardly creature! Tearing it to shred was going to be piece of cake.

His strategy now was simple. With a flying leap his front paws landed on the creature. The blow would have crushed the spine of a true warthog, but this pee-wee brown thing was made of sterner stuff. It skittered away again, and the lion – mini but mighty – gave chase.

With a whack from his huge paw the creature rolled between two shoes. All the better! Here was a challenge. However, while he was wrestling the pee-wee mouse – for it was a baby mouse now – from between the running shoes, gnawing at the laces in his hunger and frustration – or just for fun – along came the Person of the house and ruined his adventure. As he rose into the air he saw his prey escape under the toe of one shoe.

The Person had scooped him up and was cuddling him. “You can’t tear my running shoes to shreds with your sharp little claws. Let’s see what else we can find for you.”

The lion, though he was ever so fierce, knew better than to wrestle with this tall tree of a Person, so he submitted to the indignity of being carried away to a chair and petted. As soon as he was released from captivity he leaped onto the savanna below, remembering his pee-wee mouse and those wiggling shoe laces. A moment later, however, a silvery ball began to move through the plush pile savanna.

Just as a gazelle grazing on the plains of Africa would catch the attention of his lion and tiger cousins, even so the glittering ball caught the mini lion’s attention. Back and forth his eyes flicked. Back and forth his fluffy tail lashed. His back rose in an arch as he slowly stalked the plump creature. When it suddenly made a dash to safety under a footstool, he gave pursuit. And when it darted out again, he was on it!

He’d come back and cuddle later. Right now he was the fierce hunter and there was tantalizing prey about.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: NUT-BROWN
Fandango’s FOWC: STRATEGY

Midnight Tales

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is WREST

One definition, according to M-W, is “to gain with difficulty by or as if by force, violence, or determined labor.” Our newest cat, Tuffy, though he’s only half-grown, doesn’t seem to have such great difficulty wresting small creatures from their hiding places, but I’ll use this word in my response. Since the writing prompt is to be a quick, fun thing I’ll offer my little rhyme.

The temperature has turned quite mild recently, to the delight of our cats. They’re ready to rush off to adventures whenever the door’s open. Yesterday Tuffy raced across the driveway, over the big snowbank on the other side left by the plow, and up into the crotch of a nearby tree. Heaven help the birds come spring! Last night when I let Tuffy out the back door he started nosing along the side of the trailer. Before long he stopped to investigate one spot intently.

 Outside in a flash
 nosing in the tall grass
 surrounding our dwelling,
 Tuff found a small swelling.

 Oh, joy! 'Twas a hole
 smelling strongly of mole – 
 or maybe a mouse
 entry into our house.

 A wee mole was stirring,
 his cat nature spurring
 his talon to wrest
 pipsqueak from its nest.

 That sad little creature
 became the prime feature
 in a game of delight
 for Tuffy last night.

The Small Joys in Our Lives

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is JOY, which is a very fitting word for the season. We’ve been hearing all about joy this past week, as we’ve been listening to Christmas programs put on by various of our parochial schools across North America. Two nights ago we heard the one from Buhl, Idaho; last night we listened to the school program from Lime Springs, Iowa – and after that, Christmas songs by our own school children here.

Though we can’t visit these schools in person to hear the carols and stories told, thanks to the technology of streaming we can get in on the joyful celebration surrounding the birth of Jesus, the hope and light of all the world. We still get a thrill as we hear the children singing the old familiar carols and also enjoy the new ones being introduced each year.

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for , behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

The angel’s message still circles the globe and floods this old world with hope. God has reached down to man in the form of Jesus Christ; we can be reconciled to our Creator. Also, we now have Jesus’ teachings and example of living in peace with our fellow humans.

Naturally speaking, joy may not be the first word that comes to mind. Because the incidence of COVID -19 has been on the rise in our province, restrictions are tightening up more and more. Families won’t be gathering if private homes are limited to five people at a time.

With more restrictions starting Dec 26th, or traditional Boxing Day sales will likely be rather a fizzle this year. According to space-per-person guidelines, only so many people will be allowed into stores at a time – and if it’s cold enough, folks aren’t apt to stand around outside waiting to get in. Most of us, if we’re honest, will admit that we have enough stuff now, but I hope our merchants can weather this storm. All this gives us a special joy to look forward to next year: the time when Covid-19 is a thing of the past.

For us right now, the kitten we found on our doorstep a month ago – such a lively little puffball – has brought many smiles and small joys into our lives. We’re so thankful we discovered him there before Angus could chase him away and/or something awful happened to him.

Tuffy looks quite much like this.
Image by Ben Scherjon at Pixabay