~Guest Post from The Gray One~

She doesn’t know this, but I have been in secret training to challenge the human to a marathon Scrabble match. Winner takes all. (I have yet to figure out what “all” means, except that the human will succumb to my demands when I win.) Ziva has not been involved in training, as she prefers to nap her lazy lump into oblivion. Therefore, I must train alone and strategize against the female who knows how to use the letter “Q” in a triple word score.

During recent training, I managed an entire game of Scrabble using cat words and terms. I rock! I did such a good job that I turned the Scrabble board into a rough-like-my-tongue crossword puzzle (because my inquisitive mind loves puzzles). I hope you will be enticed to solve part or all of this puzzle in preparedness for a Scrabble challenge with your cat or dog (easy win) or fellow human. I filled in some of the letters because I’m also a fan of Wheel of Fortune. If I were a human male, I’d be in love with Vanna.

The answers will be posted in a day or two.

PS: Do not use felt marker or ballpoint pen on your computer screen.

Cat Cross 2 photo
If this is hard to look at because you don’t have my keen feline vision, you can click on the following link for a human Word version that is easy to read: Cat Cross 2


  1. Queen Ziva tells me she’s part of this group of crowned heads
  2. What all respectable felines wear to bed
  3. The activity that Ziva engages in for 20 hours of the day
  4. Me plus a rodent
  5. My most distinguished feature. No, it’s not the beautiful line of my backside.
  6. You see them in the snow or in the litter box or in the dusty film on the hood of your car.
  7. Fancy word for a cat
  8. It’s the thing we have too much of. They are scattered on the floor and sometimes hide between the sheets of the human’s bed
  9. I’m not telling. You can guess.
  10. One of those baby rug rats. Disgusting.
  11. What Ziva and I engage in when we argue over the nip.
  12. What humans hear when we talk
  13. My hair or the appliance repairman’s navel
  14. It’s what I am in my primal state, especially when birds are near
  15. Nope, it wasn’t the cat


  1. It has not killed me yet, I have more questions
  2. Ziva can tell how fat she is with these and if she’ll fit through the door
  3. The lion, tiger, leopard. This is who they are to me, the domestic cat
  4. I will stab you and the couch with these lovelies
  5. I have used two of these so far. Human has threatened to take another one if I keep waking her up at 4 am for food.
  6. You do this to bread and Ziva draws blood as she does this on your leg
  7. I mentioned this critter a few clues up. You can guess.
  8. Telling someone a super duper secret when you’re not supposed to – like telling the human that her cat is in Scrabble training when you really need to shut up.
  9. Youth canth taughk too well cuth I got holdth of thumthing
  10. He grins and grins and grins and grins
  11. What Ziva and I do when the big yellow obelisk is shining through the windows
  12. Their oval-ness can see in the dark
  13. Alternative spelling of flawless
  14. Sheldon and Penny sing this song (for fans of the Big Bang Theory)
  15. If I’m on this, it’s summertime and my paws are burning
  16. Well, kitty poo, I duplicated 12 down. Duh. Oh well, easy one for you
  17. What is present in cats when they face down the odds, much like a human. For instance, when Natasha catches me up on the counter, I must find this in order to make my escape.
  18. What Ziva does to the human every time the human clips her nails
  19. Four across, without the cat

Thanks for playing! I can see I have much work to do in spelling out single words on the Scrabble board and formulating a crossword puzzle that actually looks like a crossword puzzle. Which means, I must return to my training. Smell you later.

Love and Purrs, Gibbs



From the exciting insipid beginning of this blog, I have chosen to moderate comments.

No more.

I am over my fear of internet trolls, evil stalkers and annoying spammers.

I have encountered nothing but friendly, respectful, humorous and witty comments, with only the occasional blatant attempt to lure me to another’s “I’m making money by blogging!” blog.

You are free to comment at will and view your clever text immediately.

As much and as often as you’d like.

You can even talk amongst yourselves while I’m lifting weights at the gym or acting busy at work.

Go ahead, people.

I dare you to comment unabated.

Moderation be damned!

In order to get the non-moderated party started, I would like you to answer at least one of the following five questions in the comment section:

  1. Why are you here?
  2. How many minutes/hours/days have you gone without chocolate?
  3. What’s your favorite leisure time activity and why?
  4. If money were no object, what place in the world would you like to visit?
  5. What is the meaning of life?

(Pretend we are conversing over coffee or tea or a beer and don’t be shy.)

Tell me like it is.

PS: Gibbs has been hounding me incessantly to guest post again. He’s been working on an idea, but progression is slow since he’d rather sleep or play than give thought to his writing. I’ll give him a boot in the rear this coming weekend to finish up before I change my mind and send him back to the cat tree.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.

~Hal Borland~

Amaryllis 029

Nineteen days and counting.

As I snapped this photo of a bench at Fritse Park, on the shores of Little Lake Butte des Morts, I had thoughts of the comings days: Temperatures slowly warming (*fingers crossed*), snow melting (after this Tuesday’s predicted snowstorm), grass growing (once the snow melts), the promise of daffodils (if it warms up) and the maiden 2015 voyage of a mountain bike (when the grass turns green after the snow melts and it warms up).

It’s that time of year when winter is no longer welcome and I type lengthy, run-on, nonsensical sentences due to the cabin fever invading my brain cells.

I’m waiting patiently for winter to say goodbye and for spring to take its turn.

Hurry up.

Photo challenge: Today’s word is “Reward.” How do I show reward in a photo? The response is two amaryllis bulbs that rewarded me with beautiful flowers…just when I needed a taste of spring. I posted this on Thursday, but it is so appropriate to the Friday challenge, don’t you think?

My brother’s girlfriend shipped a couple of amaryllis bulbs (in a pot) to me before Christmas. Wonderful gesture and gift, but I didn’t know what to do with them…I was lacking the space or proper sunny window where they could grow, and the bulbs are extremely toxic to cats. What to do?

Girlfriend Red to the rescue! She has grown amaryllis before and offered to get them started and keep them safe for a couple of weeks. After which, I forgot about them until the end of January, when the light bulb came on! Red laughed when I called, she had been wondering when I would come back to claim them. They were both growing, straight and sure.

The amaryllis plants then made a trip to two sunny windows in my office and cheerfully grew up over the next few weeks until magic happened. Over this past weekend, flowers began to bloom. Beautiful, glorious flowers! The color of spring in the season of winter and a reminder to hang on, warmth is around the corner.


Amaryllis3  Amaryllis5


Are we done yet? Almost, dear readers. I’m starting to hit a wall, my mind is turning a poetic mush. Bear with me a little while longer, if you can.

Today, I share with you some of the contents of a drawer in my office. There is more “junk” in that drawer than what is noted below. If you have a curious mind, leave a comment with your best guess of what else the drawer might hold. If you guess correctly, I’ll work to post a link to your blog or re-blog one of your posts or mail a piece of junk to you. Thanks for reading!

Poetry Day 8: Drawer/Ode/Apostrophe


The drawer opens to delight,

my existence you see!

Melange of color and tint


Scissors, toothpicks, tape, bulldog clips

Join me in its splendor,

the mess of all, plus some lint


You can squeeze the blue ball,

sort through the box of staples,

and forge a Rose’s name


Three black lanyards present!

A cough drop or two

are here for your rummage game


Keys to unknown locks of past,

a whistle that lays silent,

a highlight of pink and green


So much for you to discover,

junk that deserves to be tossed aside

Does your head swirl and careen?


You are in luck, then,

For in the drawer of enchantment,

a bottle of aspirin finds a hole.


Take one or two or three

And shut the drawer good friend

Put to rest the mishmash, the hodgepodge of this drawer’s soul.

Poetry Day 7: Fingers, Prose Poetry, Assonance

Stately Fingers Image 

Stately fingers! There are days when I deem you fat and lazy; days when your ways are elegantly long and slender. I lay you across plastic numbers and letters; your favorites are A and eight. Music sways while you drum to the beat of Keith, Adele, Journey and Jason.

Gracious fingers! There are days when I curse the tendons within and wonder how you got this way; days when I’m glad for opposable thumbs and the digital neighbors that grasp the coffee mug. I make you write forget-me-nots on post-its and items on this day’s grocery list. The weight of my thoughts give way to cursive action.

Fated fingers! There are days when you are an angry ass, a trusty crusader, the bane of arthritic age, and the glory of warmth in touch. Feel for me, beige pointers, feel the way through an animal’s fur, a lover’s flesh, dark chocolate melting at your tips.

Celebrated fingers! There are days when I take you for granted, a slave to my incessant demands; days when your dexterity is fluid and faithful and duly noted. I thank you with favored heart for your loyal attachment to me. Without your dangling from two hands, days would be void of planting daisies or pouring fermented grapes or grasping an umbrella’s dance in the rain.

Poetry Day Six: Hero(ine), Ballad, Anaphora/Epistrophe

Have you had enough, my cringing readers, of rhyme and haiku and words you don’t understand? I urge you, come out from behind the hands that cover your angst, for today’s poem is about a hero: My boss. I’ve been yearning to write about her and today’s challenge is a perfect way to share the love, respect and admiration I have for her. I hope you enjoy.

The Red Rose stands as a soul of one

Honored leader of her region’s pack

Not a ruler she, but a marvelous mentor

The Red Rose stands guard at my back


The rose is not a rose in admiring eyes

The rose is a heroine in disguise

The rose is lack of thorns, it smells sincere

The rose never trusts excessive fear


The Red Rose finds upbeat joy in life

While facing trial with calm and cool

Not a prickly sort, but one who is wise

The Red Rose portrays no one’s fool


The rose is not a rose in admiring eyes

The rose is a heroine in disguise

The rose is lack of thorns, it smells sincere

The rose never trusts excessive fear


The Red Rose I honor and respect

She exudes a confidence and care

Her faith is strong, brave will is sure

The Red Rose, her kind is most rare


The rose is not a rose in admiring eyes

The rose is but a hero in disguise

The rose is lack of thorns, it smells sincere

The rose never trusts excessive fear


The Red Rose is an honest friend

My gratitude and love will never end

When I was pre-teen, in the late 60’s, we had a couple of winters in Wisconsin with lots of snow.

Here we are in 1969.

ThrowBack 003

This was the house across the street. Do you see the snowbank at the end of the driveway? My brother and I used to dig a cave or tunnel in them and the parents let us. How safe was that? Of course, we also used to accept caramel apples when we went trick or treating at Halloween.

Nowhere near what Boston has seen this winter, but still pretty epic in the sight of a twelve year old.

The year before, 1968, was almost as snowy.

ThrowBack 005

My apologies for the not-so-clear photos. They were not the best to begin with and because dad secured these photos with Elmer’s glue, I had to take a photo of a photo rather than scanning.

But I digress.

ThrowBack 007

Dig that cool car in the garage. I believe it was a Chevy. Or maybe it was an Oldsmobile. I don’t quite remember.

I have to look at these photos every so often to confirm that we did have epic snow in my youth, that it wasn’t an exaggerated memory of a wide-eyed girl that was a little shorter, a little younger, and a tad bit happier with the abundant mounds of snow.

PS: I wish I had a photo of the rubber zip-up snow boots with the fur on top. Mom would put plastic bags around our shoes, secure them with rubber bands around the ankles, throw on the boots and send us out to makes caves in the snow.

Misc 007

I went for a walk in the mall today

For I shall not scream disgust when I weigh

I walked through food court and down the first wing

Past closed stores of clothing and bright, shiny things

I had a partner in tow

Natasha, friend not foe

Her daughter came too

(I wanted to rhyme this with loo)

Behold the muse is ahead

The T-shirt that has been in my head

Every time we walk in the mall

I see this pronouncement, this call

Someone believes it much fun

To celebrate beyond the #1

To glorify a daily poop

Well, big whoop

I do it all the time

I see no need for a sign

On my chest, no less

What a silly way to dress

I sent the photo to my brother

As a joke and a bother

He said, “Awesome, I need an extra large!”

Um, OK, I’ll see what they charge

A late birthday present, I suppose

A shirt the color of a rose

And so, I continued on my merry way

With Natasha, daughter and the beginning of Saturday

Two times around the the mall we went

Passing a cane with an elderly gent

Until it was time to go

No, not that, I meant go

Out to the cars and down the street

For breakfast and coffee we would meet

So, yep I did, in case you ask

I completed a very natural task

I tell you, it is totally true

This day…I took a long and hard…

Walk in the mall

And I ate pancakes

Back in August, 2014, I wrote a poem called Pauline’s Dream. You can read it HERE.

For the Day 5 poetry challenge of Fog/Elegy/Metaphor, I chose to rewrite this poem and the words, but tell the same story. For those of you who are not regular readers, my mom is 95 and suffers from the effects of dementia. When Ben suggested fog as a mental state, this was a natural response.

This is the place of my dreams, but it is not

I do not want to be here, in the fog

I cannot see through the grayish cold mist that clouds my vision

The opaque screen hides clarity

My memories are of mother, father, twelve siblings

And the family home by the tracks

Gathering earth on my shoes as I walk through the garden

Watching mother tend to the beans

Inside, the smell of red grapes emanates in an oakish tint from the basement

The odor of dinner drifts gently

My brothers and sisters claim their favorite places

Are you here, sister Jean?

That is where dreams and reality divide and confuse thoughts

How did I become lost in the cold goose gray?

I want to remember today, but the pea soup makes the spoon stand straight

And I remember only 80 years past

Did you know that my brother pee’d down the snowbank

And my sister sold the house?

I don’t want to be in this haze and forget that I bore Mary

She is daughter, not sister

I want to remember the blue eyes of the skin and bones I called husband

And how long he’s been gone

I want to remember those who visit…Teresa and Paula and Judy

Instead of the atrocities of super glue

But here I am, in the clear murkiness of 15 humans and their home

At times, I don’t remember their names

I ask sister…no, daughter Mary to write them down on paper

So I can confirm their existence as true

I search for my family, in my dreams, and when I wake

I find them

Mother, father, siblings refuse the silent stare of the enveloping fog

And my sister Mary is here

The Kids 011

 The trust of a Queen…perhaps.

Dare you put your hand on my belly, human?

Dare you chance a beheading?

The Kids 013

 The concern of the Court Jester.

Why is the Queen touching my tail?

Make her stop!

Day Four: Animal/Concrete Poetry/Enjambment

Here we go!

Plunging to

the meat of this poem.

Substance and thought,

stepping on the stairs of prose.

Trying not to trip and falter on

a verse or from a cat underfoot. Gibbs!

The turn of your haunches wrangle me.

Has your plan to defeat your human taken shape?

A fall down the concrete steps by the human mom

would certainly aid and abet your furry attempt to take over

the world…but you have not pondered the one consequence.

Who would feed you, Dear Gibbs, when human mom lays motionless

at the bottom of the stairs and the feline dinner bowl bears no kibble?

Go, dear gray one, and take a nap or lay in the window or scratch on the door jamb

as you usually do at 4:00 a.m., when the Queen begs for your food as if a poor goat

Calm yourself Iago, patience Padawan, you shall not send your human sprawling this very day

Instead, you shall sleep and eat and play…for you are cat and we are at the bottom of the steps.


(Thank you, dear readers, for allowing me to indulge in poetic posts this week. I have enjoyed forging into new territory and learning a thing or two about poetry. I hope you have enjoyed as well. Stay tuned! Regular programming will eventually resume and the weekend bodes well for a break from the black beret.)