Thursday, January 17, 2008

Notes on a New Year's Resolution

It has been decades since I even thought of making a New Year's resolution. Too many failures to carry through taught me it was pretty much a bootless effort. Who needs to feel bad about something they invented themselves?

However, this year I spoke up, in public, about something I definitely was making my #1 resolution this year. I recall the feeling of earnest sincerity as I told my three cousins and one sister about this. I can even picture myself saying it, as though I'd sat in that extra chair at our table, watching myself commit to accomplishing something seriously significant to me.

Yesterday, a little more than two weeks since my extravagant pronouncement, I had a thought, to wit: I haven't begun to make that resolution a reality. My next thought was, "What was my resolution?" For the life of me, I cannot recall what I said at that table at HomeTown Buffet. So far, I've checked with my sister, Nancy, but she doesn't remember either. (One would think she would have remembered if for no other reason than to give me a bad time if she saw me slipping! LOL What else are sisters for?) I haven't yet checked with any of the cousins. In the meantime, I'm truly flummoxed at forgetting something that was so clear . . . and clearly important at the time.


Okay, I've been skirting the issue of Guinevere, but today seems like a good time to bare my soul. I have learned the meaning of a love-hate relationship. That term applies to my feelings toward a cat named Guinevere. She lives on the ranch and is the progenitor of all the ranch cats. She is absolutely the most gorgeous feline I've ever seen. (My apologies to the cats I've loved and, sometimes, lost. I'm sorry Yin and Yang and Missy and Princess, but it's true.) Guinevere is so beautiful she seems unreal.

So, you might ask . . . that's the "love" part. Where does "hate" come in?

Well, I'm going to hedge a bit now. I don't exactly, well . . . hate her. Let's just say I try my best to not be in the same place she's in . . . er, anywhere near . . . uh, preferably in the next county, maybe. LOL I know her people-parents won't mind if I recount my experiences with Guinevere.

Guinevere is, I think, not quite right in her pretty little head. She wants to be loved and held and petted. Right? But you'd better be wearing armor or at least a Kevlar vest when you pick her up. She gives a whole new meaning to the word "cling." She twists and turns and grabs and holds with every little claw on every little paw. "Now," she says once she's got you in her clutches, "Pet me!" So, although I've been known to have lapses of consciousness during which I picked her up, it is not something I do when stone cold sober!

This next part, I know, is just cats being cats, so I harbor absolutely no ill will toward Guinnie on this account. Being head honcho (honcha?) of the ranch, Guinevere has come to stake her claim on the little stone house in my back yard which, by extension, includes the entire yard. Makes sense. So what if Princess, who is delicate of build and meek of manner, has had to back off any tentative claim she had for a while. "Dose is da breaks," said the old prize fighter when he lost his crown. So what if I had to rescue Princess out of the pepper tree or off the roof a few times. Dose is also da breaks. Of course, my feelings just might have been slightly less philosophical those times when Guinevere had Princess staked out in the tree . . . way out on a limb and Princess couldn't have answered my call if she'd had a mind to. Or those nights when I had to stand outside holding the lawn chair up to the eaves trying to coax Princess down off the roof. That part wasn't entirely Guinnie's fault, since Princess may have just enjoyed the situation as she purred and rubbed her cheeks against the roofing material while I did everything but scream at her, "Princess, get in the chair!" But I do hold it very much against Guinevere the night she charged at Princess, causing her to fall off the roof into my barely-surviving lilac bush.

Finally, I have to admit that I'm scared witless of Miss Guinevere. If ever Princess talks me into allowing her to accompany me outside, I'll remember the time Guinevere bit me.

You see, once two cats actually SEE one another and the growling begins, that deep belly gnarl that only a cat can generate--once they've reached that stage, there is no such thing as stepping in to separate them. Nevertheless, I tried. With the two cats crouched a foot apart. I knew disaster loomed, but what's a mommy to do? The instant I moved to pick up Princess, Guinevere attacked.

I still have nightmares about the look on her face (well, I would if I had good sense!). If you ever saw the horror film about devil cats attacking people, you'd know exactly what I mean. But the movie people had to use special effects people to create those looks! Anyway, that's how Guinevere looked as she missed Princess and bit down on my hand.

Do you understand now? Do you get how I can love this cat for her beauty and her great survival instincts but "hate" her because she is so scary? I'll try to get her photo . . . when I can locate my Kevlar vest.

I'm trying to work my thoughts about Guinevere into some kind of philosophy of relationship. But for now, I've got to go see about my little birds.


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