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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 15

The banditos stopped by. Mo and Joe they say their names are, but I doubt it. They always wear masks and I think they go around stealing things in the neighborhood late at night. It’s 3 a.m. and I just noticed them prowling around our deck.
“Hey, let us in,” they ask. That’s what they always want.
“I can’t,” I tell them. I can’t reach the latch, and even if I did there’s no way I could move the door.”
“Too bad,” Mo says. “So how did Bucks get out?”
“I think one of the servants left a window open. Have you seen him?”
“Yeah. We saw him last night trying to catch a mouse under your neighbor’s deck. He wasn’t doing very well at it,” Joe tells me.
“House cat,” Mo adds. “Doesn’t have the killer instinct.”
This is true. I worry for him so. He must be cold and hungry. It’s been days now.
“Please tell him to come home next time you see him.”
“Okay, we’ll do that. Don’t see why he left,” Mo says. “Seems like he had it pretty good here, but I guess the grass is always greener. . . .
“Maybe so.” I watch the bandits shuffle off into the shadows. There's so much going on outside these dark nights, and there's danger . . . the coyote. Where is Bucks I wonder. I feel so alone. I miss him so. It’s been three days now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two More From Sri Lanka

                                                   Sleeping Buddha from Shrine Cave

Monday, November 26, 2012

More from Sri Lanka - 1985

I’ve been going though old slides I’ve taken in Sri Lanka and India - mid eighties.
Sorting them out and converting to digital. Tedious at best, but some times . . . after not having seen these slides in 30 years . . .
Check the expression on this man.
I can’t remember much about the place. It was in Lanka, near Kandy. A hand carved cave adorned with fantastic wall carvings, alters and a sleeping Buddha. Shrine was not that big, about as wide as a suburban house.
Just look at this guy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 14

I didn’t count on rain.

It rains a lot here in Seattle. Sun’s out, then it rains. The sun comes out again, and then it rains again—like that all day. It poured down all last night. I slept under a car and got grease on my back . . . no way that I can lick that off.

I wonder where boots goes to get out of the rain. There he is now, with a mouse in his mouth. Yuk! He trots between two houses and then disappears.
I’m hungry!
Minutes pass. He’s back again. “What’s up?” I ask.
“The same ole same ole, Pussy. That expensive coat of yours don’t look so good today.”
“Yeah. Where did you sleep last night?”
“At home of course. Inside,” he says.
“Your servants let you come and go?” I ask him.
“Sure. Got my own door,” he says. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
His own door? Boots has got my curiosity, which isn’t all that difficult. I follow him. He jumps inside and then peeks out. Some kind of floppy thing . . .”

“Come on inside,” he says. “I’ll show you around.”
It looks a little like the laundry room where I escaped, but what’s drawn my attention is a bowl of dried food. Boots has seen me looking.
“Hungry? Be my guest,” he says. “I’m not that in to dried food. Real males need red meat—blood fresh,” he adds.
“I got red meat when I was home,” I tell him.
“Probably canned,” he says. But I don’t pay him much attention, busy crunching down the dried food. There’s a nice fresh water bowl right next to it.
“Don’t even think of making this a habit,” Boots says. “Go find yourself some mice. Of course they’re fast. Are you fast, Pussy?”
“Fast enough,” I tell him.
“Then you should be looking under decks . . . like the one in back of the house where you used to live with your girl friend. That’s where they hang out. But stay away from your place. Servants have been looking for you. They were all around the yard this morning—looking under bushes for you.”
“Right. I’ll catch you later,” I say as I’m jumping out.
“You couldn’t catch me on a bet,” he says.
I feel him watching me as I head back toward the street. Not sure what’s next.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 14

He’s gone.
I’m so alone. I can’t believe he’s left me, but I knew that there was something going on. I worry so. It's been two days now. Bucks is so naive and not the sharpest claw on the paw.
I know it’s been hard on him these last month . . . and his fear of flying.
I keep watching the back door, thinking he might show up when it gets dark outside . . .
Thinking he might return. Where is he now?
What is he thinking?
Does he think of me . . . alone?
No one to talk to or to chase around the house.

Monday, November 19, 2012

On leaving America - Part 30

If you have to get up early in the morning and not be late for work. If you get a paycheck. If you need this job. If you commute to get to it . . . If you have to be there. You are the working class--the vast majority of people on this planet . . . been that way since time began. Only the scenery changes . . . the acts remain the same.

I’ve had the feeling we would sell the house on the 3rd week. This week is our third week coming up I think. It will be interesting to see. We must leave the house when people come, but realtors are only asking thirty minutes or less for people to look around. It’s easy to lose that much time, diversions and errands. Shopping, filling station, cleaners. We went to see Lincoln this weekend. One of the most boring movies I have ever sat through. Lou loved it—thought it was wonderful. Being Swedish helped, I think, a much less familiar story for her.

The cats continue to locked away in the small bedroom during our ever more frequent absents. Bucks hates it. Amber likes her place on the tree we’ve stashed by the window. She loves heat . . . to lay in the sun. Her fur is soft and deep and warm. I pet her a just a few strokes, if I risk more she will get up. I want her where she is, on her back, slightly curved, feet in the air, basking in a shaft of sunlight. What a beautiful thing.

Maybe it’s her utter state of peace that so attracts me. I want days when there is nothing to be done. To be at home, a normal life again . . . no stress and no not knowing. Home at last, home at last, Thank God I’m home at last! Maybe it never really gets that good, but our next moves will be made in search of temporary pleasures out of choice and not require new houses. It will be another year at least before I reach that state. Faster for Lou I think. She will be, ‘home at last’ after fourteen years. A major change for her, as was her coming here . . . except she spoke the language long before arrival.

Bucks sits on the other side of the small bedroom's door and pounces like a Dallas linesman when it’s opened, attempting to bolt between the legs of an unwary realtor. He’s made it once, and will again I’m sure. It must be getting like a game to him, the different people looking in—sort of a reverse Jack in the Box. He waits . . .What do his cat-like instincts tell him of this human . . . or that one? What kind of trick will work? The women faun on him, ‘Oh he’s so cute,’ which makes it a problem. They get in the way. Men realtors are more stand-offish and offer a better chance of escape. 

So far the score is: Realtors 6 Bucky 1.

 [Is this bold font easier to read that this last?  

Would bigger be better?]

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 13

It’s early Monday morning and the servants are going nuts, running around the house.
“Bucky,” they’re calling. “Here kitty kitty kitty.”

Bucks hates, kitty kitty. He will never come to that request. He’s probably hiding. He does that a lot, especially after yesterday. We got locked up three times. I don’t mind. Bucks hates it and escaped the small room yesterday when tourists opened the door. I saw a note they left:

From: debby@comcast
To: Home
Subject: Re: Thank you for showing my listing at 1408 S. WA
Sent: Nov 17, 2012 1:25 PM
She liked it but found one she liked better in Edgewood. Yours showed great and it's priced well - I'm sure it will sell soon. We loved the adorable big cat!!

Hmmm. Humans always think Bucks is cuter than me. Go figure.
The servants are still running around the house. “Where could he be?” the house-man asks.
It’s odd I must admit. He always hangs around in the kitchen in the morning, waiting for breakfast. Maybe he’s still sleeping. I’ll go look. He’s probably under the bed.
OMG! A note. He’s left a note!

Amber my love
My furry friend . . . companion all these many days
I’ll miss you so
But I just had to go.
Sweet memories of you
Basking in sunlight will remain
And bring sweet pain
The price of freedom gained.
I’ve always loved you.

By the time you read this I'll be far away.
                          He’s gone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 12


This is it. The woman’s gone and houseman’s left the laundry window open. One of the missing cat trees has been left by beside it an there’s just enough room for me to squeeze through.

I’ve left a note for Amber. This is it. It’s now or never. Just a short drop to the drive way and I’m free. Thank God I’m free at last!

It’s early morning. Grass is wet with dew, an interesting sensation that will be avoided in the future. And there’s Tom—of course. I might as well get this over now. He’s always around, no way of avoiding him, but he ignores me as I’m walking toward him. Now he’s scratching. Fleas! He’s probably got fleas. I stop a foot or so away . . . safe distance.

“Hi. I’m Bucks,” I tell him. “Guess you’re Tom.”
“You talkin’ to me? You callin’ me Tom? You in that bourgeois fur coat. What you doin’ on this street? You lost? I’m gonna’ call you Pussy. You can call me, Boots. I’m a number one killer and the neighborhood thriller. I run this street.”
“I’ve never seen another cat on this street,” I tell him.
“Yeah. That’s right. I’m why, and you’re lucky I don’t run you off.”
He’s looking me over. I’m twice his size, and big enough he doesn’t want to tangle with me, or not now at least. “Whatever,” I say. “See you later.” I saunter off, a graceful cat-like walk. I feel him watching as I leave.
“All the birds in this neighborhood are mine,” he calls after me.
"Whatever." I'm observing houses, trees and lawns. A dog on a leash held by his servant comes by on the sidewalk. Servant holds a plastic poopie bag. I skirt around them, heading west into the woods toward Puget Sound. The scent of ocean carries on a morning breeze, and fish!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Leaving America - Part 29

Two groups came though house today, 11-00 to 12:00 12:30 to 1:30. Got two warning calls at ten this morning, not much warning, but Lou has the place in pretty good shape. Bucky is pissed, meowing and scratching the door from his side of the small bedroom—beginning a three hour stretch. It’s like prison for Bucks, Amber just sleeps. I rush around the house looking for details. What’s laying about? Wet towels, a dish, some papers. Coffee cup, some papers. I leave trails of paper like a comet’s trail. I check the deck. Screen door slides off its track as I go out. Hard to get it back on. There’s a sweater left hanging over a desk chair; I go to stuff it in the hall closet which is already full. When I open the door our vacuum cleaner falls out. It's bigger than a midget. I stuff it back in wondering if the same thing will happen to the prospective buyer.
Potential lawsuit: “Judge, I was inspecting this house I thought I might buy and was attacked by a vacuum cleaner when I opened hallway closet door. It hit me in the knee. I’m in $5000 worth of pain.”
Realtor shows up 20 minutes late. I meet her on the way out—Debi. Make The Most Out Of Every Moment, her business card says. I should be packing tools in the garage today. She’s got an old man with her, my age maybe. He won’t buy, but might be checking things for someone else.
I ask her, “How much time will you be needing?”
“Ten or fifteen minutes,” Debi says.
That’s great, no problem. I make a quick run to the post office which is closed because it’s Veterans’ Day—hard to keep track of these details. The realtor is gone when I get back. I’d like to let Bucks out of the bedroom but don’t want to have to catch him and take him back a half hour later. The cats will probably start to hate me after another day or two of this.
The second realtor wants thirty minutes—comes with a young guy (almost everybody seems young when your my age). He’s carrying a baby and a boy about hip high is at his side.
“We’re just looking at houses,” the kid tells me.
Out of the mouths of babes . . . I go to Barnes and Noble thinking to lounge at Starbucks with my Ipad, but the coffee shop is full. All trying to sell their houses maybe. I browse several tattoo magazines—amazing. Thirty minutes are soon gone, as are the lookers when I have returned back home again. Bucks has hogged Amber out of the cat tree. She’s napping on my bed and in no hurry to leave. Bucks is out of the room in a flash and begging for treats. He gets a few, then I go back to the garage. It never ends.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 11

“Well Bucks, at last we have some peace and quiet and no strangers passing through. Do you feel better?”
“No. I want to see what happens next. This isn’t over. I have cat-like intuition. We’ll be locked inside that little room again.”
“Oh, Bucks, you’re so darn negative. Let’s go and watch the squirrel. The servants put out nuts today.”

I just do this to make Amber happy, but they are amusing, and there’s not much else to do. House woman isn’t home, will probably come back at sundown. House man’s here . . . in the garage. He keeps the door shut. I would love to get out there. It’s like a jungle, giant pyramids of boxes, tunnels, caves and places to explore—places to hide and things that need investigation.  A clever cat could get way lost out there, but it is not to be. I feel so bored and nervous. There is so much going on and at the same time nothing, always more of less. I’ve not been getting much attention and I must admit I like attention even though I’d never show it. I would never rub against a human’s legs, or jump on someone’s lap as some cats do. Forget about it!

“They’re so quick and cute,” says Amber. “Fast. I’d like to chase one, wouldn’t you?”
“I’d like to catch one—twist its tail a time or two. They’re all such show offs.” God, the thought of honest chase . . . pursuit. It makes my heart beat faster and my tail go twitchy. And there’s birding out of doors. What thrill, to catch a bird in flight. I want to be outside!

On Leaving America - Part 28

                                       A Sign of the Times

It’s kind of sad to see the post in our front yard, evoking thoughts of what we’ll leave behind, good neighbors and good friends. We have been very lucky with our choice of neighborhoods.
Things have been quiet here since Monday. I suppose house shopper’s mainly go out on the weekends. It’s been relatively peaceful. House is clean and all that we can pack is packed except for tools and stuff in the garage, a work in progress, but no rush—a few hours every day. It’s much less stressful now, our only worries are how long it’s going to take to sell the place, and who to hire to ship our stuff to Sweden and two vehicles we have to sell.

The cat’s seem more relaxed. There’s been no wind snake for the last two days, although I’m sure the carpets will be vacuumed once again on Friday. My Ford van is acting up. I think it knows it’s going on the auction block. I bought it new in 1971, so many years, and miles and good times. Used to have a double mattress in the back—those wonton California days. . . . Will take it to the shop today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 10

Buckminster & Amber – 10

It’s happened again! I was minding my own business when I heard the doorbell. Moderately curious I came out from behind the couch to see what was up.
Four bipods came in, two adults, one mid-size and a little one that smelled like poop. I made a dash for the kitchen but the male servant caught me and carried me upstairs while chucking me under the chin at the same time. “Nice kitty, this will just be for a little while,” he says.
Yeah right. He dumped me back into the Halloween room and I made a dash for the door but wasn’t fast enough. I started scratching it and yowling. Sometimes I get lucky, but not this time. Sheesh!

Amber was on the cat tree by the window, napping.“Bucks, you woke me up,” she complains. “I was having a nice dream.”
“I’m sure you will have others, Amber. Lighten up.”
“You’re the one who needs to lighten up,” she says. “I don’t know why you have to make such a big deal out of these bedroom stays. We’ve everything we need.”
“Dried food and water . . . great.” I checked the window, thinking I could do a roof walk like Tom does, but it was closed. I spent a long hour sitting at the door before one of the servants let me out.

What will tomorrow bring I wonder. It can always get worse; I’ve learned that much.

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Leaving America - Part 27

The house is finally as good as it gets and Lou has hurt her back. She’s taking a much needed rest at last. The packing stuff is pretty much done. Now realtors are passing though with clients.  Cats must be shut up in the small bedroom. Bucky doesn’t like it, claws the door, but Amber simply takes a nap. My housework stays about the same. Now doing the garage workbench and tools. 

What tools will work in  metric world? Will I need English tools as well? Should I take drill bits? I must have at least $600 worth if drill buts . . . many cans of paint. A fifteen year collection, some were here when I arrived and never opened. Millions of nuts and bolts and nails must be gotten rid of. Those of you who frequent hardware stores know you pay sixty cents for a single quarter-inch by two inch bolt . . . then forty cents for a nut that fits and a quarter more for the washer. It’s cheaper to forget the washer and just drill a hole in the quarter. I’m sitting on a fortune in nuts and bolts and screws and hooks. Must give it all way. The hermit monks would be so happy. Weights like this there is no need to carry, they would tell me. Of what use?

I've discovered more bones of my father. Packed my his metal hard hat, and my plastic one from when I worked refineries. I’ve unearthed his welding tools, a cutting torch some brazing tips—a pair of double pressure gauges, beautiful in solid brass that glows like gold and sparkling thick glass lenses . . . from the late thirties or early forties—no plastic parts. He was good at what he did, bought fine equipment and took care of it. They’re beautiful. I’ll never have the slightest use for them, but have so little left of him, the hard had and these tools, a ring—his father’s, and the pocket bible that he took to church each Sunday. Memories of course weigh nothing and do not need to be packed and shipped - take up no space and are available when called upon . . . sometimes appear from nowhere and completely unexpected.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On Leaving America - Part 26

I’ve been moaning a lot about being unable to find things as we stash them out of sight and pack for moving. Today I came across this quote from Wallace Stegner who has described my filing system perfectly.

“Some people, I am told have memories like computers, nothing to do but punch the button and wait for the print-out. Mine is more like a Japanese library of the old style, without a card file or indexing system or any systematic shelf plan. Nobody knows where anything is except the old geezer in felt slippers who has been shuffling up and down those stacks for sixty-nine years. When you hand him a problem he doesn’t come back with a cart full and dump it before you, a jackpot of instant retrieval. He finds one thing, which reminds him of another, which leads him off to the annex, which directs him to the east wing, which sends him back two tiers from where he started. Bit by bit he finds you what you want, but like his boss who seems to be under pressure to examine his life, he takes his time.”

From comments I have received there are more than a few of us out there, although I may not be the only old geezer.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Buckminster & Amber - 9

            “Bucks, it’s not that bad,” I tell him. “Look, there’s even carpet in this room, and they have left this scratching thing for us. It’s better to be happy.”
            “Right. I’m so damn happy after spending 3 hours in a locked bedroom for Halloween—what fun. We’ve been living in an ongoing catastrophe since June, and you don’t seem to know it, Amber.”
            MeeYow. You always see the dark side, Bucks. Go have some nip.”
            “I’m out of catnip and the servants are ignoring me. I want things back the way they were.” I want out of here . . . that’s what I really want. Of course I can’t tell her.
            “This too shall pass, Bucks.”
            Right . . . my furry philosopher. Replaced with something worse," I say. "That’s what will happen. Things keep getting worse.”
            “The servants are just busy and confused,” I tell him. Bucks seems so depressed. I don’t know what to do, and worry he might . . . I don’t know . . . do something catastrophic.