That Awkward Ride Home

by Matthew Wiebe

by Erin Abernethy

His profile was fine,
his interests being books
(both writing and reading them),
cats, and photography.

His personal ad was
grammatically correct,
free of unnecessary abbreviations;
he looked just like his photo,
smelled nice, had no obvious
sociopathy.

At our second meeting
he sheepishly admitted to
a few harmless kinks;
no problem, I said –
I’ve a few deviations myself
(some that might make his
thinning hair stand on end).

But…

when,
on our third date,
he asked me to
wear cat ears
and fuzzy tail
and purr
“I can haz hot dog?”
in his ear…

well…

I did not LOL.

 

© Copyright 2015 by Erin Abernethy.


Photo by Matt Wiebe via Unsplash. Licensed CC0 1.0 Universal.

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This Week at Gatewood: June 28 – July 4, 2015

staff meeting

Artwork via Pixabay.

by Frasier MacKenzie

Hello, and thanks for stopping in!

We’ve continued to make improvements on the site this week by adding a Writers Index. This gathers all the work by writer rather than by subject, so if you enjoy the work of a particular writer and want to read more, everything they’ve written is listed in one spot, regardless of topic. The page lists writers in alphabetical order by surname; writers who have more work on the site have their own pages, and you can use the drop-down menu of the Index for that.

The Gallery revision is now complete as well. We’ve added a section on the drop-down menu for P.L. Miller, and I’m told that the photos in that section here are a completely different set from what’s posted on the P.L. Miller Photoblog.

Here are our features for the week of June 28 – July 4:

Monday:The Architecture of Cleveland,” photography by Teran

Tuesday:3:33,” poetry by Hunter MacKenzie

Wednesday:Today I Have Hope” commentary from Rob Colfax

Friday:Wings for the New Highway,” photography by P.L. Miller with a quote from Richard Bach

Remember, the Friday photo can be downloaded for free as a meditation card for your phone, tablet or computer. Share, print, ponder… enjoy!

Here’s a bit of humor from our Special Assistant Dr Nicholas:

plans for 4th

Be sure to follow @docnicholas on Twitter for daily updates on Journal posts as well as writing humor, animal fun & rescues, and other tidbits of interest.

That’s it for the Gatewood Weekend Wrap-Up for the week of June 28 – July 4, 2015. Enjoy your weekend, and visit us again soon!

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This Week at Gatewood: June 14-20

coil-710611_1280

Photo via Pixabay.

by Frasier MacKenzie

Hello, and thanks for stopping in! We’ve been doing some tweaks on our site this week, mainly in the Archives section. Everything from that page has now been moved to its home in the appropriate category, and the Archives option has been dropped from the menu. We hope this will make browsing easier and result in fewer Error 404 occurrences, as all pages and posts are now in the new format. If you have trouble finding anything, please do notify us (tweet to our Special Assistant Dr Nicholas, or email me at info (at) gatewoodjournal.org) and we’ll get it sorted.

Also, we’ve made the font size slightly bigger for improved readability. Working with Rowan’s “Alzheimer’s Suite” material this week has made us realize that none of us are getting any younger, and being able to read the Journal more easily without squinting would be good.

Here are our features for the week of June 14-20:

Monday:Electric Spiral,” artwork by Xavier

Tuesday:Alzheimer’s Suite,” poetry by Rowan McConnell

Wednesday:Zen and the Art of Mousing,” humor from Steven Valentine & Patrick Redding

Friday:Eccentricities,” photography by P.L. Miller and quote from David Ogilvy

Remember, the Friday photo can be downloaded for free as a meditation card for your phone, tablet or computer. Share, print, ponder… enjoy!

Be sure to follow our Special Assistant @docnicholas on Twitter for daily updates on Journal posts as well as humor, art and writing tidbits, and other items of interest. Dr Nicholas has asked me to mention that he’s going to try posting Journal links a bit more often. He didn’t want to annoy people by posting the same links incessantly, but since he now has followers in every time zone from U.S. Pacific Time to New Zealand Standard Time and most points in between, I think it’s reasonable to assume that most of his followers aren’t online at the same time and many probably don’t go back to catch up on tweets that are hours old. If I’m wrong about this and it becomes bothersome, let him know and he can have the pleasure of telling me, “I informed you thusly.”

That’s it for the Gatewood Weekend Wrap-Up for the week of June 14-20. Enjoy your weekend, and visit us again soon!

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Zen and the Art of Mousing

zazen cat

Photo by Jamiecat. Licensed CC BY 2.0.

by Steven Valentine & Patrick Redding

When you are stalking a mouse, you must become one with the mouse. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by catnip or dingle-dangle toys.

A good meditative position is to sit quietly with the eyes closed and the tongue slightly hanging out. Take no notice of humans who giggle and point, thinking you have forgotten to pull in your tongue.

Do not allow others to impose their time structure on you. If you wish to sleep 17 hours straight, then go right ahead.

Pause now and then to contemplate the idea that your surroundings are an illusion and may not be as “real” as you assume. Pay no heed to the humans who dangle toys closer to you in an effort to draw you into their delusion of reality.

When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep. When cranky, yowl loudly.

Go with the flow. Those who lick their fur the wrong way only succeed in looking unkempt and foolish.

Zen masters must sometimes be harsh so that others may learn. Do not always pull in your claws when walking across your human. You are helping them become more enlightened creatures.

The bird that can be caught is not the true bird.

Zen is like the goldfish in the pond. As soon as you think you have grasped it, it has eluded you and you are left with nothing but wet paws. This is why some say that the essence of Zen is nothingness. It would be foolish to say that the essence of Zen is wet paws.

Zen allows one to transcend the ordinary state of being. The Cheshire Cat is said to have been an extraordinary master of the art of Zen.

Detach yourself from ordinary concerns. Do not run about here and there just because your humans are calling you.

Practice stilling your mind even in the midst of disturbance. A good way to do this is to drag the remains of your hunt onto the back porch and ignore the commotion that arises when your humans step on dead mice.

Purge yourself of attachments and desires, even if it means hacking up onto the new Persian rug a hairball containing the Monopoly game piece you swallowed earlier.

Remember that much of what you see is illusion or deception. Your humans may show you a nice pillow and a cat treat, but this may be only a trick to lure you into the car for a ride to the vet.

Talking about Zen all the time is like searching for mouse tracks in a goldfish bowl.

© Copyright 2001 by Steven Valentine & Patrick Redding. Republished 2013, 2015.

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12 Things I’ve Learned in 12 Years of Being a Cat

Doc Nicholas

by DocNicholas

This week my family and I will celebrate my twelfth birthday. That doesn’t make me terribly old, but it gives me “senior” status (I’d probably be in my early to mid-sixties in human years). Humans have some peculiar idea about age bringing wisdom, and while I don’t think this is necessarily true, I do agree that I’ve learned a lot during these twelve years. Our editor asked me to share, so here are some of the highlights.

1. If you don’t like where you are, look for a place you like better.

It wasn’t that I disliked my first apartment, but the human disappeared for long stretches. I know a lot of cats have it much worse, but you do need more than just a handful of kibble once in awhile to be happy. When I discovered I could push open the bathroom window, I made it my business to slip out whenever the human wasn’t around so I could scout out better digs. Even if you decide to stay where you are, it’s good to have other options.

2. Big dogs make good friends, but they need big spaces.

I once had a big dog for a roommate. Brownie was a nice fellow with a deep booming voice. Unfortunately, it was a very small apartment. Even the most interesting conversationalist can get on your nerves when there’s no volume control. After a few hours, Brownie’s talking points were usually reduced to “When are we getting fed again?” “When are we going outside to run and pee and smell things?” and “OMG MOM IS NEVER COMING HOME!!!” If you want a big dog, have the decency to live in a place big enough for him, or at least walk him frequently.

3. The person who helps you when they don’t have to is a good person to have in your life.

The human I came to call Mom already had three cats when she brought me home. She had her hands full. She certainly didn’t need another cat. But she fed me, cleaned me up, drove me to the vet to be checked out, and took me in until a new home could be found for me. We see how that went, don’t we? :x)

4. Parasites are not good for you.

Cats sometimes get fleas, ticks, worms, and so on; they suck your blood and make you sick until you get rid of them. It’s OK to feel sorry for the bugs or worms, but you still have to get rid of them. They’re making you sick.

Humans get parasites too – sometimes ticks and worms and such, but more often it’s other people that suck the life out of them. This is not healthy.

5. A good nap can help pretty much anything.

I learned a lot about computers once I moved in with Mom. Rebooting is an important and necessary process to keeping your machine running smoothly. Sleep does essentially the same thing for humans and animals, and you don’t have to wait until a certain time to do it. Any time you can catch a nap, do so. It’s the best way to get that fresh-start feeling that can give you a new perspective on things.

6. Always be clear in your communications.

Sometimes cats don’t understand one another, but a good smack to the ears sorts it out. Sometimes humans don’t understand cats (or one another) but ear-boxing is frowned upon in today’s culture. Peeing is one way to get your point across. Just be as clear as you can. If you don’t like the new cat litter, pee just outside the box, not on the bed. If you don’t like the new boyfriend, pee on him. If you don’t like what’s on TV, don’t pee on the TV; change the channel to something you like and then pee on the remote. I know this sounds complicated, but when you’re the smarter one in the conversation, it’s your responsibility to anticipate and avoid misunderstandings.

7. Sometimes friends change, and that’s OK.

I hear from Brownie sometimes on Twitter. He has a cushy gig with a stay-at-home writer-mom now. He’s changed; he talks about eating raw and getting exercise, and I’m still all about gravy and naps. I’ve grown to love reading and watching TV, and he’d rather chase a ball or howl at fire trucks. But we’re still friends. Good friends allow room for adjustments.

8. Be inscrutable sometimes.

Cats have a face that’s naturally hard to read; humans call this a poker face. There are many, many occasions when it’s best (and kinder) if people don’t know exactly what you think of them. I’m sure you can think of plenty without my help.

9. Just because you don’t have something doesn’t mean you need it.

I don’t have thumbs, and I mention it from time to time. I used to think, “Boy, if I had thumbs, there’d be no stopping me!” Instant gratification is especially tempting these days when you can have Amazon send you bacon overnight. But over the past twelve years, I’ve learned that not having something doesn’t mean you’ve been shortchanged, or that you should let it keep you from getting what you want. I can’t open bottles or light a cigarette, but these aren’t things I need to be doing anyway. I can’t drive or open a can of tuna, but Mom makes sure I’m fed and she’ll take me wherever I want to go. I’m doing just fine without thumbs, thank you very much.

10. Clocks are rubbish.

In an ideal world, you would sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty. Trying to make any of that fit into a clock schedule means tinkering with your natural biological rhythms. While this may be convenient for the world as a whole, it’s rarely healthy for the individual.

11. Read as much as you can.

When I’m not sleeping, I like to read, and e-readers (with their paw-responsive screens) have made this really easy. It’s amazing how much information is right there at the end of your paws. I don’t have to go outside and get into trouble nosing around, or pester people with strange questions at three o’clock in the morning – I can just look things up for myself in a book (one-click ordering: big paws-up!) or on the Internet. It’s grand! You should see Mom’s search history. I suppose I ought to clear that occasionally.

12. Always get as much sleep as you can.

Sleep is the one time when your brain takes over and shuts down the unnecessary systems and gives your mind a rest. Cats sleep about sixteen to twenty hours every day. Cats, you’ll notice, aren’t running around shouting or shooting people or trying to run the world by poking into things that are none of their business. It’s a pretty good system. You should try it sometime.

 

 

© 2015 by Dr. Nicholas.

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This Week at Gatewood: March 29 – April 4, 2015

marchwind

by Frasier MacKenzie

Hello all! I think spring is finally making its way to our area after a harsh cold snap over the weekend. We’re starting to see some very pale green leaves on the trees, and the weather has been just about as close to perfect as you can get. It’s that very short time of year when it’s warm enough to have the windows open but not hot enough to need the air conditioner yet!

Here are our features for the week of March 29 – April 4:

Monday:Dry Falls,” photography by Teran

Tuesday:Chasing Smoke,” poetry by Alesia Tarkington

Wednesday:UFO Sighting in Moravian Falls,” by Patrick Redding

Friday:Serious Solitude,” photography by P.L. Miller and quote from Pablo Picasso

Remember, our Friday photo can be downloaded for free as a meditation card for your phone, tablet or computer. Share, print, ponder… enjoy!

Here are some favorite memes posted by our Special Assistant Dr Nicholas this week:

taxy cats   jellicle calico

If you liked these, you’ll want to follow @docnicholas on Twitter for silliness, cat photos, tidbits about writing, and of course, daily updates on Journal posts.

That’s it for the Gatewood Weekend Wrap-Up for March 29-April 4. Enjoy the weekend, and go easy on the Cadbury creme eggs. Visit us again soon, won’t you?

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Three Things Thursday 2015/03/12

Doc Nicholas

by @docnicholas

After months of cajoling and assuring our editor that I would NEVER use LOLcatspeak, I’ve finally been allowed to write a blog post! This week’s Three Things Thursday, the brainchild of NerdintheBrain.com, is about some of my favourite things. They are in no particular order.

red plaid blanket

#1: Red plaid blanket! Warm fuzziness for naptime, stringy fringe for playtime.

catnip

#2: Cleo’s Maui Wowie catnip! The name says it all.

cat reading book

#3: Books! Although I really enjoy the paw-touch screen-responsiveness of e-readers, I still like to have a good selection of the old-fashioned paper books on hand for when the batteries go flat.

Now then, what’s making you purr this week?

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