Ahh the joys of living alone…

When my wife passed away, I was devastated. I knew it was coming, of course, and had known for years that the outcome was inevitable. I had even considered what it would be like to live alone, after living as a twosome or more for fifty years. I miss her tremendously, but over the ensuing months, my cat and I are getting more and more adapted to living the bachelor life. I’ve even tried a couple of “Let’s meet over burgers and get to know each other.” with single people of the female persuasion. In my age bracket, it seems that anyone I didn’t know in my younger days is really old. I am not old. I am seasoned, and I’m not gonna waste any more time, gasoline or money on these “dates”.

Living alone has it’s advantages. Cat and I have little victories here and there. We invent ways to do things more efficiently. Take coffee for example. I am too darn lazy to get up and create a pot of coffee every day. Fortunately, I like refrigerated coffee as well as hot coffee. I don’t like to drink an entire pot every day. My nerves are jangled enough. I like hazelnut creamer, and enough creamer to properly flavor an entire pot can get into some heavy calories. And unlike Cat, (See previous blog)  I do not wish to conserve calories.  I want to get rid of them.  OrI have to burn them off, and that takes the “E” word.  Something I like to avoid.

ImageHere’s what I do: When it’s time, I make a full pot of coffee, some 64 ounces. Then I pour it into a cup that I have already added 5.5 ounces of coffee creamer. I put the whole pot in the cup. Now you’re probably saying something like “BS. How can you put so much fluid into one cup?

Easy. Have you been inside a gas station store? Of course you have. Ever notice the non-disposable hot and cold cups that are stacked by the soda and coffee area? The station I go to has containers up to 64 ounces for sale.

So if you make a full pot of coffee, and you use the drip method like I do, the coffee grounds themselves soak up enough water to allow the coffee and creamer to fit. On day one I have a steaming gigantic mug of coffee. I know from previous weigh-in that this thing weighs about 2150 grams, filled and capped. I drink out of it like anyone would. Sipping, enjoying, while creating these little essays. Around eleven o’clock, I’ve had enough coffee and move on to something else. I’m “coffeed out” for the day. I weigh the mug on a digital scale I have next to the fridge, then put the mug into the fridge. Why do I weigh the coffee? Because I’m counting calories.

ImageThe next day, I’ll go to the fridge and get the mug of now refer-cold coffee. I can sip and enjoy that until I’ve had my fill. Weigh the mug again, and put it into the refer. Repeat daily until empty. In the vertical pic above, did you notice the dry-erase board? In the upper left corner, one can see where I save my various weights.

An aside… As many of you know, I have dry macular degeneration, pretty heavy in one eye (my right) and light to moderate in the other. Four days after a laser eye surgery bout on both eyes to correct fogging capsules, (the part of eye anatomy that holds the cataract-replacement lens) in my good eye, a tiny blind spot appeared in the dead-center of my left eye. To me it appears to be just about the size of a letter in a word. So to read I have to flick my eyes just slightly from side to side to see the word. My other alternative is to zoom my screen image in so I can see bigger print.

Zoomed inBecause my vision no longer allows me to enjoy my TV from across the room, I sometimes go into my palatial bedroom to watch the evening and prime-time programs. My set-up is a simple slave operation, where the TV only shows what the main living room is showing. So I have the entire night pre-rogrammed. My bedroom TV situation some would call a bit strange. Quite possibly, lazy. I call it having the ultimate comfort while enjoying TV. The necessary parts to this scenario are a “hospital table”, a 24 inch flat-screen TV, a pair of vice grips, Something like a four inch segment of a two by four and counter-weighting material. I have a nice 20 lb sandbag on order.

20140510_095229I hate watching TV between my feet. Because of a slight permanent physical problem, sitting up in bed is uncomfortable. Ergo, I have my set on the side of my bed. To watch, I place the TV over the edge of the portable table, resting on one side on the mattress. The vice grips serve as kind of a fulcrum, or maybe an axle. The sand bag weighing down on the vice grips is a safety measure to keep it from flopping over on me or Cat. So when I get into bed, I can prop myself very comfortably on my side, and the TV is oriented to the plane of my vision. But not exactly, My head actually reposes at an angle, around fifteen degrees from horizontal. So I use the two by four block to prop the set on one corner. Tilted TVThe table and sandbag hold it safely in place. I used semi strong reading glasses to get the image crisp, I can plug in a set of over- the-ear phones for great sound, and I’m a happy camper. Living alone, I can even leave the set-up in place, if I want.

Onto another item:  If you enjoy reading this rather eclectic blog,  I need you to follow it, or at least sign up for emails.  Right now, I have to put filthy lucre into “boosting” it on Facebook.  And if you appreciate my style of writing, please visit http://www.amansart.com/TCPI/TCPI-index.html .  You might even consider purchasing one of my fiction novels, available in e-book form or paperback.


Conversations with my cat…

First of all, we have to believe that Misty Blue, heretofor known as “Cat”, had to be born on the University of California at Berkeley campus.  That’s where the center of the social protests began in the late fifties, early sixties. She is an expert protester and her favorite form is the passive lay-in. Or is it lie-in?  Whatever…

She will intentionally lay down in the middle of human traffic, inside the mansion and refuse to get out of the way. She actually tripped my wife, late in her MS battle.  I do not kick animals.  I have however, been known to ease my foot under her body and propel her to the side with enough effort to lift and replace her about three feet away.  Most of the time, she just looks around, blinks a few times, yawns,  and (imagine “Thought Balloons” appearing over her head), “WTF just happened?” then she’ll probably put her head on the floor and go back to what she does best.  Close her eyes and conserve calories.

Wait. Did U say Food?I can’t count the times I’ve asked her to do the dishes.  She refuses.  Just lays there and stares at me aloofly.  Or I can talk to her about what needs to be done around the mansion.  She’ doesn’t seem to care.  She won’t volunteer to do anything.  She’ll lift her head, yawn, and go back to calorie-caching.  When she steps out of the cat box, I have asked her to do a simple little thing for me, like shake her feet and wipe them off on the towel provided just for that purpose. She’ll TB me, “What’s the point?  They’ll just get KL on them next time.”  Have you ever stepped barefoot on a couple of grains of kitty litter (KL) on a hard floor?

For something smaller than a sixteenth of an inch across, those little suckers sure hurt the bottom of shower-tenderized feet. And to top that off, she’ll leave the bathroom (where else would you put the cat’s potty?) and jump right onto the bed.  So we have grains of KL infused in the cover.  I have drawn the line on her attempts to get on the sheets.  One time she TBed me, “What?  You expect me to sleep on a blanket with KL in it?”

Cat likes to go outside and explore, of course.  She’s a big cat, probably the biggest in the enclosed complex. She eats like a bird … (no no, she doesn’t eat a bird, she eats like a bird… and not a vulture, either).  Shes 19 pounds, and gets a third of a cup of dry food in the AM, maybe a tablespoon more in the afternoon when I have my snack, and a single pouch of Whiskas cat food in the evening, right at happy hour. When we got her she weighed 20 pounds.  So she’s lost a whole pound in a fifteen-month period.

When K was alive, we grounded Cat for a few months because she was spending more and more time out.  When she didn’t come home until after dark, she was locked in.  Being inside for several months during the winter didn’t make any difference, weight-wise.  So I don’t think she was cadging meals off a neighbor.  But who knows? Again, she is mum on the issue.

We have a friend who has a cat just as big.  She says the breed, an English Shorthair, is a big breed.  Supposedly predominantly black and white with an identifying white tail-tip.  She has a white tail tip.  She’s black and white.  She has a little dark rust color in her black section, especially on the top of her head.  Doesn’t matter that she TBs, “But I’ve got big bones.”  In her case, the calorie conservation has worked conspicuously well.

One of the good things about having a Bobcat-sized feline is that people with small apartment dogs, lthose annoying iittle tiny yappers, go to the other side of the street when she’s out.  Specially if I’m wearing my “My cat eats small dogs” t-shirt.  Makes cat proud when I wear it.

How do I know?  She lays down in the middle of the mansion and smirks when she sleepsconserves calories.

What do you do with all the time you save?

In today’s society, we strive to save time. We want to be more efficient. “What’s a quicker way to do this?” We shorten words like “web log” into “blog”. Why not “wog”? Even shorter. With “wog,” we saved the trauma of having to make or think  an “el” sound. That’s probably worth a whole twentieth of a second.  Such a bother…

Maybe it actually started back in  World War 2, when GIs, (Short of Government Issue (soldier)) were saying things like SANFU,  “Situation normal, all effed up”. and FUBAR  stood for  “Effed up beyond all belief.”  Like when two fighter planes were in battle it was a “dogfight.”  When a whole bunch of planes were in a battle, it was a “Furball”.  Those were descriptive phrases, born of necessity, because to stay on a radio for even an extra second could cost lives.

Did that lead to the shorthand kids use in texting? Or was it laziness? Sure, some of the shorthand is designed to baffle adults, especially parents and/or teachers. “POS” for example equals Parent over shoulder”, which actually means, “Nosey mom (or dad) looking at my screen so I can’t say what I really want to say.”

Or LOL.  I hate lol.  It’s gone mainstream so much its used sarcastically in TV commercials.  For the guy who lives in that desert cabin 30 miles out of Las Vegas, lol means “laughing out loud”. Well, so does “Ha ha”.  Would it really hurt to type “laughing”? I would even accept “laffing”

Let’s face it. All the time , and then some, you save short-handing is probably used up used correcting typos. (Oops… I used a shorthand word.)  But in this case its ok (another shorthand).  Most people can’t spell “typographical error”.

ROFLMFAO, is short for “I’m really laughing at that.”  Actually its the acronym “Rolling on the floor, laughing my effing ass off.”  Even that’s become mainstream.   A rocker has taken part of this acronym and given himself the name LMFAO.  Never heard of him?  His music is the soundtrack for many Kia car commercials and for something called Kiss.  Not only that, he just appeared on DWTS… oops, I mean “Dancing With The Stars” as a guest judge. Brought his own score paddles. Now, if that ain’t mainstream, I don’t know what is.

Maybe acronyming [word?] came about because until Steve Jobs and Bill Gates came along, we wrote things out in longhand. Longhand was a pain in the south-end, so making a little easier was considered just fine.  We had typewriters of course, but now I doubt that a kid in high school or middle school would see one and wonder were the screen was. Do you remember how hard you had to push on a typewriter key to make is strike the paper properly? Do you remember the revolutionary electric typewriter?  All you had to do was touch the key.  Startled the older secretaries in the industry…

My grand-neice, a college student in the arts, can “thumb out” text messages in milliseconds.  Texts fly in and out of her phone so fast the NSA can’t keep up with her.  At the end of the day though, I doubt she has saved enough time to stand up, go to the fridge, get a coke, and return. Betcha that if she had texted in normal English, she’d still have time to go grab that coke… and maybe even a cookie.

We’ve saved time, though. Nowadays all you have to do is type a few letters to convey a message.


C U,


Have You Ever Wondered?


Even as a kid, just beginning to realized that boys and girls were different, the first time I heard the phrase, “She’s built like a brick s___house”, I wondered how in the world a human Have You Ever Wondered?with soft curves and a giggle could be compared to an out building.  The thing of it was that I was raised in the mountains in the summertime, and all houses in Pinecrest has outhouses.  Indoor plumbing was a rarity, leastwise in the oldest residential section.  Our house was built in 1914.  A “new” outhouse was built in 1948-49. It was a nice one. Had a shower and sink plus a smelly chemical toilet. And a doorlock.

A lot of my work is creating cartoons. I use a combination of programs, including Poser, Daz Studio, Bryce 3D, and Photoshop. Bryce on my computer is my own little world. What’s neat about it is that most physical laws are suspended. If I wanted to hang Captain Hook’s Galleon in the sky, I can, and make it pretty realistic.

With that in mind, I like to posit strange imagery depiction a saying, a quote, or a weird situation, and most of all, really rotten puns… Flying hillsides, or five hundred mile, 300 foot wide oil tanker (VLCCs) ship channels and so on. A WW 1 Biplane cutting off a 747 landing in San Francisco. Women counting horses. So when I come down with a case of Writer’s Block, I can go to one of my toons, post it and write a bit about it, and hopefully entertain you for a while.

So it’s all good.

As seen on TV

A currently running commercial on television says, “No one ever takes the second biggest cookie.”  Whoever wrote that stupid line never considered wives or mothers.  I cannot count the number of times  my wife or I would bring out a cookie for ourself and one for the other person.   Invariably, if I went into the kitchen and came out with and offered her a choice of two cookies, she would take the smaller of the two.  I knew she would, she knew she would, but I never didn’t offer her first choice.  Or there’s two cookies left in the cookie jar.  She would always give whatever child was in the kitchen the bigger one. So to the writer of that like.  Apologize to your Mama!

54 vb  (My cat typed that getting off my lap.I don’t know what it means.Maybe it’s cat code.)

If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said I was  dog person.  Dogs do things.  They run after anything that’s been propelled from it’s human companions hand.  They follow commands from their owners.  Roll over.  Fetch. Help the blind.  Guard military stuff. Capture crooks. Find drugs. They do all this so they can play with a squeaky toy. Dogs have no sense of worth.   There are thousands of names for dogs, unless they’re bird hunting dogs.  They they all have the same name. “No, over there. you Dummy!”

Cats are far too aloof for this kind of behavior.  My cat will come when I call her, but at her leisure  Other than being fastidious, she has no other attributes. Cats don’t do tricks.  No guard duty, no picking up dead wet birds in a cold miserable marsh.  They’ll play with a squeaky toy, but they ain’t gonna work all day for the honor.  Most of the time, cats practice killing things. Like squeaky toys, shadows, lasers, etc. My cat is welcome because she is something I can talk to.  If I talk to a dog, the critter’s butt, hindquarters and tail go into an uncontrolled high speed mayhem setting, knocking kids down, rapping adult’s shins, sweeping everything off the coffee table.  His tongue comes out, slopping dog spit all over everything.  A dog does not know the meaning of the word halitosis. They think you’re inviting them to become a human, on the couch, and they have a difficult time distinguishing between you and said couch.

But if you talk to a cat, she’ll look at you with the expression that says, “Do you really think I can understand any of the noises coming out of your mouth except the names for meals?  I also understand ‘Get down’, something that stoopid dog doesn’t.”  When I talk to my cat though, even with her superior attitude, it helps me to remember the mechanics of talking.  When to move my jaw up and down, what to do with my tongue, you know, that kind of talky stuff. What I say to her doesn’t matter, but it seems to make more sense to me that I’m talking to a quiet adult cat, instead of a wiggily, bouncy, utterly immature canine..

Maybe that’s the difference.  Cats grow up, Dogs don’t.