Poetry

Ode to a Nocturnal Cat

Our distinguished Socks

By: Jana Greene

Things have been so heavy lately, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote for our elderly cat who – for 18 years – has run through the house batsh*t insane in the middle of the night, most every night. It’s a little Dr. Suessical, but a light reprieve from the usually heavy blog fare. Hope you enjoy!

That Old Man Socks! That Old Man Socks!
He’s up all night, that Old Man Socks!
Socks, do you like good sleep and peace?
“I do not like them” Socks decrees.
“Unless it comes as mid-day nap,
Sleeping at all is utter crap.”
Socks, would you sleep instead of mew
When the moon is nice and new?
Would you please sleep all night through?
Is this something you can do?
I know you don’t like night time peace.
But humans need a few hours, at least.
Would you sleep at night on a sheet?
Would you sleep at night for a treat?
You do not like to let us sleep
So please count mice (or please count sheep!)
When we don our sleeping frocks,
It’s not your cue to go wild, Socks.
Would you pipe down in the night?
Would you, could you, please….alright?
Sleep in a box. Sleep with a fox.
Sleep in a house. Sleep with a mouse.
At nighttime, sleep either here or there.
For the love of God, sleep SOMEWHERE.

Cats, humor

Learning to Love the Common Cat

It’s true that The Beggar’s Bakery is a blog heavy on the substance abuse recovery material. That’s my passion. But through the ages (the nearly three years I’ve been blogging) I like to mix things up a little on occasion. I am also a “recovering” cat hater. Truly.

Recovery is my passion, but it’s not my ONLY passion. There is also my family, and the kitty cats – animals of all kinds, really – and chocolate, and music, and clothes with elastic waistbands.

Here is one from a blog I maintained for, um….about two posts. But I’m re-posting it because sometimes you just need to write a little, er….FLUFF to go along with the heavier issues.

What’s fluffier than kitties?

This is Catsby, the first cat I've ever heard that is truly mine, a Mama's Boy through-and-through.
This is Catsby, the first cat I’ve ever had that is truly mine (Bob claims him, too, but he is a  Mama’s Boy through-and-through!)

I used to have a funny little blog about cat appreciation, but from the perspective of a person who grew up as a life-long cat hater. (Please, no hate mail! Remember that this blog is satire – or dare I say, “catire?”  – and all in fun!)
Yes…
My name is Jana and I am a recovering Cat Hater. I come from a long line of cat-haters, and honestly, cat hating was all I knew growing up.
As a matter of fact, many in my family would equate penning this blog with signing my own commitment papers. But if there is anything being in my forties has taught me, it is this: We all own some degree of crazy. Own your crazy, without apology.
Really. “Normal” is just a setting on the clothes dryer.
And my love for cats?
I blame My Beloved  husband. He started it.
 Into our blended marriage, he brought one daughter and two cats, and I brought two daughters and The Best Dog Ever. Talk about life in the blender!  I had never been in the same room with a cat, so limited was my experience with them.
All of my life, I’ve had dogs, and I adore them. I’ve always  identified as a Dog Person. I think I will always identify as a Dog Person. I lost my Emmie, my Best Dog Ever, over a year ago. I cannot bring myself to get another. Until I’m ready, there are the kitties.
What I’ve found over the past eight years is that I don’t have to choose to be “either/or.” I can be an animal-lover, and appreciate all of God’s creatures for what they are. It is kind of long story, how this change came about – and it taught me a lot about myself, a lot about tolerance and acceptance.
Mostly, it taught me never to hate a cat for not being a dog, which as it turned out, was my main complaint about them B.C. (before cats.)
I strongly encourage others to expand their animal  “rePEToire.”
Of course, one does not become a Cat Person overnight. Thrust into cat ownership, I went through all of the stages of acceptance:
Denial: “I will just ignore the cats!” and  “The dog and cats will learn to get along.”
Anger: “Is there any surface in this entire house that is NOT covered in cat fur?”  “Go to sleep, kitties!”
Bargaining: “Please, PLEASE sleep at night. Please, I beg of you – SLEEP!”
Depression “This darn cat won’t get out of my pillow….. Hairballs are the most disgusting thing ever….Wet cat food smells like stink and I will never get used to it.  And the cats will never sleep through the night.   NEVERRRRRRR!”
Acceptance: “But I guess the kitties are kind of CUTE, and warm. And I love that purr thing.  And the pouncing … that is adorable.
They DO have so much personality……Yes, the cat hair is everywhere; I will just keep a lint-roller in my car for the fur. And maybe I will learn  to sleep through all of the zooming about at 4 a.m. A cat cannot change its stripes, so to speak. I suppose I must accept them.”
Once cats get under your skin and into your heart, there is NO stopping it. You will make runs to PetSmart for a certain kind of toy mouse. You will find batting at feathers adorable. You will answer your cat’s meows with “Tell me all about it!” You will think internet memes of cats captioned with funny text are the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. You will resign yourself to the fact that you have ‘dropped your basket’ and it is full of kitty cats.
I’ve done a 180, as they say, and I’m grateful for my allergy to the purry ones (as it forces me to a strict limit of two, okay maybe three….and no more.) Catsby greets me at the door every day and mews to be picked up and carried around on my shoulder, and sits on the edge of the bathtub to play in the water. He is kind of a doggish cat, and I love that. I love that he is co-dependent.
Hey, recovery is a process, right? Own your crazy, without apology.
Here’s looking at mew, kid.
Spiritual

Lazy Cat’s Guide to Restful Faith

By:  Jana Greene

Why is it that I struggle with resting?   I feel like I must be doing something at all times.  I tire, but feel guilty for doing nothing, because there is always something to do. 

To clean.

To work on.

To write.

It is Sunday, the Day of Rest, but before I get out of bed, I am already formulating plans.  With my husband home with me on Sundays, I want him to see how busy I am, how efficient.   I could clean the closet out, write an outline for a book I am working on, wash the rugs, bathe the dog, do fifty sit-ups, work on the family budget, vacuum the cat hair off the bedroom floor.

I am already exhausted, just from the formulating a plan.

While I am still thinking about the endless bounty of cat fur, one of our cats walks into the bedroom.  He is grumpy from the long journey (the garage across the hall) to get to his food in the master bathroom.  He hadn’t eaten in at least an hour….

How do you people expect me to survive?” he seems to be saying, “I should call the SPCA!”

Although he has done absolutely nothing all day long but eat, sleep and poop, he only makes it halfway through the room, collapsing in high-drama.   He rolls upside down with all four legs in the air so that I should be able see his ribs.  Except that nobody has ever seen his ribs.   At 21 pounds, we aren’t sure that this of fat, ill-tempered feline even has bones.  And then he takes an impromptu nap.

He had to stop and rest.  And he doesn’t feel guilty at all…he knows that he will eat, sleep  and poop another day.

The Bible says in Hebrews 4:4 (Message):  “If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting.  But not if we don’t have faith. “

It takes faith to enjoy a state of resting?

I sometimes wonder if work and rest is akin to faith and deeds, in that you can’t have one without the other.    Good deeds without faith is empty, work without rest counterproductive.

In the lost art form of doing nothing, great ideas are conceived;  in rest, energy is stored up for the work of  birthing of those ideas.  I must have  faith that the world will go on without my constant, busy choreographing in order to take the rest I don’t feel guilty for taking.

Somehow, it does go on.

There will always be things to do.

To clean.

To work on.

To write.

But, it’s Sunday, that day of rest, and so I don’t get out of bed right away.   Laying back against my pillows, I try un-formulating my plans.

Today, I most likely will not impress my husband with a whirlwind of  activity. My husband doesn’t expect me to be efficiently busy;  he loves me just the way I am.  I won’t clean the closet out, write an (entire) outline for the book, wash all of the rugs or bathe the dog.  I can almost guarantee that sit-ups will not be a part of this day (as they are not a part of any other), nor will working on bills or vacuuming up the cat hair.

But I will feed the cat.  He has work to do, you know.

Reminding me to have the faith to rest.