A Rant from Strider the Cat  – My Human is Despicable

I am a reasonable cat, but lately I have been feeling frustrated.  She is a horrible person, and there is nothing I can do about it.    I know that in my previous postings I seemed optimistic and even happy, but that was just a front.  My life is bleak.  She is awful.  Since I can no longer determine any pattern to her comings and goings, I am going to start right in describing the terrible things she is doing to me.  Please, save this.  It may be needed as evidence.

Let me start off with the worst. She has put me on a diet.  My food allowance was never overly generous, but in the last month she has seriously cut back. I am a cat, a member of the Felis genus, and by nature a carnivore and fierce hunter.  A great human would provide me with live prey for food. A good human would make sure I had bowls full of freshly butchered meat.  My human feeds me kibbles that taste like dry, meat-flavored pebbles.   Not only is my food substandard, but now it is meted out in overly small amounts.

I am willing to admit that I have put on a bit of weight, but so has she and that is what makes me so angry.  We could have gone on the diet together.   Instead, she stands in the kitchen having a late-night snack while my food bowl remains empty.  I glare at her fiercely but it has no effect. Her willingness to withhold food from me while stuffing herself is despicable, but not the only example of her complete lack of decency.

She has no sense of humor, none what so ever.  Mine is delightfully sly. For just one example, a few years ago she purchased a rather expensive upholstered chair.  Since the day that chair was set down, I have gone out of my way to claw and scratch it whenever she is around.  It drives her nuts!  There is nothing funnier than watching her race towards me when I start in on the chair.  I can run it around or under it and she cannot catch me.  She has purchased any number of products that are supposed to make me stop scratching that chair, and of course none of them worked. If she had even the slightest appreciation of a good joke she would applaud my efforts.  I will not stop until she either gets the joke or that chair is in tatters.  Either way, I win.

Some time ago I wrote about the game we played called “Hallway Escape”, and how much I enjoyed it.   There is another game we occasionally play in which I chase a most exquisitely fascinating red light that moves up and down walls and through every room in the house.  That light compels me as no other thing can.  Just when I think I have caught it, the light dances up a wall or zips past me.  It vanishes without a trace, and then suddenly reappears.  I love that light.

Well, my horrible human found a way to combine my two favorite activities into a single disappointing and infuriating game I am calling “Wretched human”.  It starts when she is clearly about to leave.  I’ll run up, excitedly thinking we are going to play Hallway Escape, and hide near the door.  Just as though we were going to play that fun game, she will find me and toss me away, and I sneak back.  We do that a few times and then the red light appears! It flickers and dances near my paw and while I try to ignore it, I start reaching and lunging for it.  The light races off into another room, and I jump away and run after it.  Next thing I know, the light is off, the door has opened and shut, and I am alone in the house.  Tricked, shamed, angry.  With nothing to do but write this plea to all of you out there.  Please, help me.  She is cruel and terrible.  Wait a minute; I hear a key unlocking the door.  Sorry, but I must start clawing the chair so that is the first thing she sees when coming home.  Goodbye for now, I remain as always, Strider the Cat.

Where’s My Reality Show?

How often have you found yourself stranded on a desert island with no food, 15 sociopaths, and a full television crew?  Or what about that one time you lived for 3 months in a gorgeous penthouse apartment shared with 10 other people, all of whom were delusional, suicidal, homicidal or all three?

I love reality shows, but I want one that’s more, well, reality-based.  Lots of people work in offices, and I’m one of them.  The closest thing to a reality show we’ve had was The Office. Neither the British nor American versions made anything up; they just took what was actually there and exaggerated a bit.  There are millions and millions of us who spend the majority of our week days working in an office environment, and I think we deserve a reality show that depicts our life.  So I’ve created one.  Here’s my pitch for a new, guaranteed to be a success show.  If you are an executive producer, please contact me and we can discuss terms.

Project Survivor

Elevator pitch: The Office meets Survivor.  A competitive quasi-reality show in which contestants are forced to work their way through office politics and shenanigans until one person emerges successfully as the winner. 

Description:  Teams compete weekly to achieve meaningless goals.  The losers nominate 2 people each to go to Human Resources (HR), where one or more people are selected for right-sizing.

The season begins with 3 teams of 8 people each.  Teams include these types of members:

  • Aging Boomers who complain about everyone younger except when they need help accessing emails
  • Someone who never seems to do anything but still gets the credit for other people’s work 
  • A few people who gossip and trash talk everything and everyone
  • At least one person whose main skill is derailing every effort at organization and competence
  • A few Millenialls with loads of enthusiasm and energy coupled with a complete lack of people skills and knowledge
  • Several people with mad skills in one area only, and no interest in doing anything else
  • A sociopath who wants to take over every everything and doesn’t care who gets destroyed
  • A nurturer who spends all their time planning parties and pot lucks

Each week consists of 2 challenges. The first is at the individual level, with scores ranked by team.  The winning team will receive a reward or be given an advantage in the final team-based challenge. 

Individual challenges are based on office skills and situations.  For example, a memo-writing challenge would have each person handed a new, 2-page policy with 90 minutes to understand it and write a memo explaining it to staff.  Judging is done by a panel of office experts looking to see who can write in the most boring and unreadable style, and for the ability to white-wash negative information.  Other individual challenges could focus on stealing office supplies, staying awake during HR training, or creative back-stabbing.

The main challenge each week pits the teams against each other as they try and accomplish a strategic initiative.  Teams have 2 days to complete each challenge, and can divide up that time between planning and execution in any way they want.  There are some defined milestone deliverables where points can be won or lost, but the majority of points are earned at the end when the project is complete. 

It is exciting to watch as one team may spend a day and half arguing over project scope and roles, and then have only a few hours to actually do what was requested.  Another team may jump right into executing the project, and discover at the very end that they’ve successfully completed the wrong work.

What makes Project Survivor stand out is that the teams change every week.  After HR has decided on the right-sizing, remaining participants are reshuffled with a weekly reorganization into new teams based on no logic or rationale discernible by anyone outside of HR.  This upending makes the game new every week, and will keep viewers on the edge of their ergonomically designed office chairs. 

The core audience is expected to be the millions of people that work every day in an office environment.  A strong secondary audience will consist of telecommuters watching streamed versions of the show from their home offices while they are pretend to work. This show is bound to be a hit.   Please, contact me as soon as possible to discuss terms.  I desperately want out of office work, and am hoping this is my ticket out.

A generic ‘Open Letter’ for use by all those open letter bloggers

It’s 2am and I am wide awake. You, I am sure, are fast asleep. I know this to be a fact because your behavior towards me during our 2 minute interaction was so callous as to prove, definitively, that you are a deranged sociopath.

I have cried for hours, replaying the incident between us.  You, of course, walked off without any concern or awareness of how your cruelty would affect me.   I am a sensitive, caring individual – unlike you – which is why I am writing this blog post to inform the entire world of the grievous wrong you did.  I know that the entire world will be interested in what I have to say because I am an extremely important person, far more so than you.

Earlier this evening, we were both at a location where groups of people go to interact with each other in public.  Clearly my group of people had the right to do whatever we wanted regardless of its impact on anyone else.  I mean, it is a public place, right?  Therefore no rules of conduct exist.

Apparently you were not happy with the behavior of individuals within my group.  Instead of recognizing our superiority to you, and therefore our innate right to disrupt everyone else, you decided to ask me to do something about it.  I was so shocked that someone might think their rights are equal to mine that I was unable respond.  All my life I have been treated as the most special person in every situation, and your action towards me was incomprehensible.  You actually thought it was acceptable to ask for the behavior to stop.  You did this unaware of the year’s long history and issues of every single person in my group, and how that causal relationship made us blameless for the results of behaviors we knew would occur.  If you had even an ounce of compassion or humanity, you would have realized that we counted for more than you.  I have no idea why you felt the need to speak up; and I do not care.  The personal histories of people in your group are of no concern to me.

In closing, I am hoping you see this open letter, and realize how very wrong you were to expect rights equal to mine.  I hope that the entire online world takes my side in understanding that some of us, mostly young and privileged, always White, and generally with higher incomes, count more than everyone else.

Thank you.

The Age of Anger

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From the Collection of the Artist.”

A hundred years from now, a major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was during our current historical period. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?

Introduction to the Age of Anger exhibit
Welcome to the Museum of the People. This special exhibit focuses on late 20th century and early 21st century American culture. Historians call these “The Angry Years”. This introduction will attempt to provide some context to what you are about to view.

Section 1 focuses on home life. The first thing you’ll notice is the noise; sound mufflers are available if needed, but we really urge you to try and last as long as possible before using them. That ongoing, never ending persistent background noise is from a television, or TV (a sales and entertainment machine displaying 2-dimensional moving content that was ubiquitous starting in the mid-20th century). During The Angry Years, most American homes contained multiple televisions, distributed between common areas and sleeping chambers.

The kitchen area looks stark; can you tell what is missing? If you guessed the lack of a garden and composting area, you are correct. Also missing is solar panels; in fact you will notice a lot less light in all areas of the house than what we are used to.

The idea of generating power through movement, and the positive affect of exercising on attitude, was only just beginning to be understood during this time period. People spent most of their time at home being immobile. What little movement they did was physically isolated from the other parts of their lives. In most cases, Americans sat on couches and watched TV.
There is lots more to see in this section of the exhibit. Be sure and visit the gender defined sleeping chambers for children, which give a good example of the constricting roles assigned at birth based on presumed gender. Take a look at the large garage, and the number of vehicles stored inside. To answer the question that almost everyone asks, yes, it was considered normal for each adult to have their own pollution causing large automated vehicle (or “car” as they were called then).

Section 2 contains a display of a variety of work environments. The Angry Years were the final period of what historians call The Machine Ages. This time period started with the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s and ended around the middle of the 21st century. This was the one and only time in recorded human history when the it was generally believed that people should create a separate environment for focused activities. In addition, the type of activities each person did had a direct connection to their level of power and prestige in society, and even to their ability to procure basic necessities such as food and shelter.

During The Angry Years, in fact during the entire Machine Age time period, most people earned income from “work”, as these activities were called, and that income was required to pay for every facet of their life. Most settings in this section of the exhibit look familiar to us. What you need to envision is that people were required to spend a pre-defined amount of time in these settings with the expectation of being focused solely on work activities.

What does not look normal to our eyes is the “office” work area exhibit. The small square rooms (or “cubicles” to use the parlance of the time) were areas in which people were expected to spend 40 or more hours per week, focusing only on tasks assigned to them. We urge all visitors to sit one of the interactive cubicles to experience a few minutes of what this was like. Now, imagine being in this environment 5 days a week, for 8 straight hours, and doing this year after year. Historians universally agree this environment was a cause of much of the anger and hostility that affected this time period.

Section 3 covers entertainment and activities, with lots of interactive areas. Everything shown here is labeled with the date it was created. It all seems very primitive by our standards, but keep in mind that these items were considered state of the art at the time.

About the Age of Anger exhibit

The big question historians ask about this time period is why there was so much anger. As shown in this display, the average American had a good life. Food and potable water were in abundance, and the environmental crises we experience on a constant basis were infrequent and viewed as unusual weather events. Despite what appears to us as an oasis of plenty and good fortune, the average American during this time period was in a constant state of anger. People formed into self-defined groups based on race, ethnicity, religion or even political affiliations, and focused intense hatred at other self-defined groups. Every activity had the potential to degenerate into an angry confrontation. The number of violent interactions between people seems staggering to us today. Murder was an everyday occurrence. Mass shootings happened weekly. Smaller examples of rage can be found in section 3 by viewing examples of actual comments that people posted on the internet (please note that due to the graphic content, only adults can view this part of the exhibit).

There are no easy answers to why people were so angry. Years of study by academicians in multiple disciplines have resulted in two main theories, which can be very broadly summarized as:

Too much stimulation – this theory presumes that the constant, ever-present level of noise and marketing experienced during this time period was just too much for many people;

The work and life dichotomy – we know, now, that human beings did not evolve to be mono-focused on a single activity for hours at a time. Adherents of this view point to the rise in violence that occurred during the entire Machine Age as proof.

The goal of this exhibit is to provide people with a chance to learn about and experience, just a bit, what life was like 100 years ago. We hope you enjoy this look into the past.

A new career as a winter consultant for films – or my desperate attempt to escape to warm weather

IMG_12911200972753462  1593297401333

Ah, winter.  No time of year looks so different from its actual reality.  For those of us living in Northern climes, the end to this season cannot come soon enough.  In honor of it being March, I daringly unsnapped the hood from my parka this morning, using only earmuffs and a scarf.  Walking proud, I was.

Recently I started watching a Syfy channel show called “Helix”.  It is about an outbreak of a mutant killer virus at a research station, and the CDC team sent to fix the problem. Of course, turns out there are far more nefarious things going on, and the plot twists come so fast and furious. The show isn’t great but it is great fun. 

The locale for this research station is supposed to be in the Arctic, and there are frequent references to the -40 degree temperatures that exist outside.  Despite that, the scenes shot outside the station are among the most laughably lame attempts to show cold I’ve ever seen. 

A typical outside scene in Helix features a wind machine going full tilt, spraying soap flakes in all directions with a great howling wind sound.  The people, however, appear like they are experiencing a balmy late fall day.   No one is shown with a scarf wound around their hood to muffle their neck and provide a way to warm air before breathing it.  Nope, these folks spend their time outside with an uncovered face having long conversations.  Their noses never run and their eyelashes don’t freeze.  When they finally go back inside, we never see anyone dripping snow onto the floor or see them trying to warm cold fingers.

Watching this has made me realize there’s money to be made as a winter weather consultant for the film industry, and I’m ready to be that person.  My shingle is out.  For a reasonable sum and a plane ticket to warm SoCal (or even just for the plane ticket) I will work with the set designers, costumers and directors to ensure that portrayals of cold weather are done correctly.

Among the services I will provide:

Snot wrangler

The all-pervasive, but seldom discussed byproduct of cold weather is over-productive mucus glands.  Nothing ruins the perceived realism of a winter scene than seeing characters without this telltale sign of a truly cold day.

As snot wrangler, I’ll work with makeup artists to ensure that actors are given the right amount of snot at the right time.  Anytime a character goes inside after being outdoors they should be shown with weepy eyes and red cheeks. Directors will receive a snot check-list to follow that includes direction on which character types would carry tissues, and which would use whatever item of clothing was handy.  I’ll do extensive work with costumers to make sure that scarves, mittens and coat sleeves all bear the telltale marks of dried snot wipes.  Finally, I’ll work with the Foley engineers until the absolute right noise is found for snot-snuffling.

Snow-melt surveillance

Newsflash for people raised in SoCal: snow is made of water, and easily reverts to a liquid state.

In this role, I will make sure that, despite the use of Styrofoam and soap flakes, an adequate and appropriate use of puddles and drips is used in winter scenes.  Never again will you see an actor go from outside to inside and remain perfectly dry.  Set designs will be tweaked to add realistic looking puddles and wet spots to all entry ways.   Actors shown in falling snow will be lightly sprayed to portray what happens when cold snow meets warm skin. 

Schmutz coordinator

Winter’s dirty little secret is that it is the dirtiest season of the year.  Cars are covered with a salt rime and coats are spotted with a mix of mud and salt.  Scarves and gloves are stiff with snot.  Go inside and it gets worse; carpeting is gritty with salt and stained from tracked in frozen dirt.  Floors come in two types; wet dirty puddles or dried with crusted salt and dirt. 

I will make sure that the grimy side of winter is shown in set design and costumes.

Social interaction evaluator

When the temperature is -20 (f), people walk with their hands in their pockets and hunched over to minimize exposure.  Standing is never still; people hop from foot to foot or sway back and forth to generate some heat.  No one wants to stand outside and have a conversation.

I’ll review the script and make sure there are no obvious misses, such as long conversations held in subzero weather. Any conversations that are left in will be edited to match the environment. 

For example, the script may contain this:

Sarah: Sam, we need to talk.  I’ve been thinking about you, and what we fought about.  I realize how wrong I was to let you go.  I love you, and I want you back in my life just as you are, not as I think you should be.  If you still want to start that restaurant, I’ll support you 100%”

Sam: I knew you’d be back.  Welcome to “Sarah’s Diner” (said while pulling down tarp hiding sign on building).

Sarah: Oh Sam, we can finally rekindle our relationship (cut to distance scene showing couple embracing).

Here’s how I would fix this scene:

Sarah: Sam? Is that you?  Great Russian winter hat, it looks really warm.  It’s so fucking cold I can’t stand it.  My eyelashes are freezing shut and I can’t feel my feet, so I’ll make this quick.  My apartment is freezing and I remember how warm you were.  Want to hook up again?  I need a good night’s sleep.

Sam: Sarah!   Yes, it’s me.  I hardly recognized you with the scarf wound around your face.   Sounds good to me, there’s a pile of snow in front of my place I don’t want to shovel.  

So, in conclusion, if you are a Hollywood movie producer reading this blog post, I would love to come out to LA to work on your movie.  Or even for an interview.  In the meantime, I’ll start packing my summer clothes.

A year in review – the honest way

I really meant to create an end of year post for 2014.  It would have gone over the highs and lows of the year, capturing what I’d learned and giving an overall sense of the year.  And, of course, it would been so well written as to seem universal, with anyone reading it smiling and nodding in appreciation.

Instead, as the temperatures plummeted and the amount of sunlight shrank, I spent my time drinking Tom & Jerry’s and binge watching TV.  January, on the other hand, is the perfect month for deep introspection.  January exists as  the hangover to December, the Jiminy Cricket of months when you face up to everything wrong that needs to be fixed. 

Therefore, I am going to do my 2015 year in review now.  Why wait?  This will ensure me of completing it, and I can smugly sit back in realization that I will be the first person to have completed it. 


This year I resolve to fix up my house and myself.  Joined a gym and spent $300 dollars on a gym bag, shoes and clothes.  The first week I went 4 times, proving what a good idea it was to buy all those clothes.  Since I’ll be looking great in just a few months, I signed up for a 6-month membership to an online dating site; I fully expect to meet someone wonderful within the first month or two, but 6 months was a better deal. I’ve also cleaned and vacuumed the entire house and brought 3 bags to Goodwill. 

2015 will be my year!


Going to the gym 2 – 3 times a week; 4 times a week was just nuts.   I plan on waking up at 5am to do yoga; spent $200 on yoga pants and DVDs.     I’m bringing healthy lunches to work every day.  Have been busy contacting likely looking single men from the dating site – 4 meet and greets this month!

This is my year!


Decided it was too hard to get to the gym after work, so am going on weekends only, when I can spend a lot  longer exercising.  Also, it turned out that  the cat thought Yoga was an invitation to jump on my back, and 5am is way too early to do anything but sleep.  But that’s Okay, because I’m still exercising once or twice a week.  The dating site meets were a disappointment.  All the men I met were kind of blah, except for one – I really liked him.  He didn’t like me. 

I hope this will be my year. 


Something smelled weird in the fridge, realized all the vegetables I bought  had turned to green slime. Made it to the gym twice this month, yay for me!  Stopped bringing lunches to work, instead I’m just eating chips from the vending machines –only 220 calories per bag, so having 1 or 2 per day is fine.   House is a mess, but there is no point cleaning until winter is finally over.


Warm weather finally arrives!  No reason to go to the gym because I can exercise outside.  Signed up for a tennis class and plan to go jogging on the days when I don’t play tennis.  Spent $300 on a tennis racket, clothes and shoes for these new activities.    Really excited about this, I plan on playing nightly after work and weekends.  


Tennis is hard, and it hurts my knees.  I need at least 2 days rest after playing a game.  Jogging is okay, but so far I haven’t gone more than a few blocks. Have given up on eating healthy lunches at work – the job is stressful enough without having to obsess over lunch. 


Remembered I had joined the stupid dating web site when I saw the automated renewal on my credit card bill.  All the men who look good to me want to find women 10 – 20 years younger than they are.  The house is a mess.  


Too hot to do anything outside.  Went to try yoga again, but couldn’t find the DVDs anywhere.  The cat had ripped a hole in my yoga pants.  Went to a farmer’s market and spent a lot of money on health, fresh vegetables.    


Decided to start going back to the gym, but couldn’t find my clothes.  I spent another $300 on a new gym bags, shoes and clothes.  Went once, but it was crowded.   House looks dusty and dirty, did some cleaning.  Found the old gym bag, shoes and clothes.  Cleaned out the refrigerator; more slimy vegetables.


Bought 10 pounds of candy for Halloween.  Ate 10 pounds of candy.  Bought 10 more.   Went to the gym twice, but didn’t see any weight loss. 


Ate the 9 pounds of candy left over after Halloween.  Thought about going to the gym, but was too depressed because it now gets dark at 5pm.  This year sucks.


What a shitty year this has been.  Next year will be different.  Next year I will exercise on a regular basis, learn yoga, meet a nice guy and keep my house looking gorgeous. 

I can’t wait for 2016.

Chapter 5 – Dropping the Veil

victorian widow

Congratulation, Ms. Widow; you’ve made it through the first year and then some! In the 19th century, this would be the big moment to switch from heavy, concealing black dresses to heavy, concealing navy blue dresses.  Of course, if it were the 19th century and you were me, you’d be stuck somewhere in Czarist Russia worrying about Cossacks coming to rape and pillage your schtetl, and choosing the right clothes would be the last thing on your mind.  However, I digress.  It’s been over a year, and time for the widow’s guide to provide that gentle push to the next stage of your life.

It’s now time to drop that grieving attitude and march smartly into YOUR NEW LIFE.  Perhaps you are unsure what to do next, or how to act.  Never fear, I, your guide to all things widow, am here to help.  While you’ve spent the past year grieving, I’ve been busy researching the vast multitude of culturally acceptable archetypes for widows. 

After exhaustive research I’ve determined there are very few categories :  Sexy, Not-sexy, and Stuck.  However, don’t despair!  Whichever archetype you select, it’s still up to you to personalize it and make it your own.  Just like those paint sample cards, you can create a whole world of different shades of the same color.  I’ll review the 3 archetypes and even provide a few subtypes for each. 

Sexy Widows

black widow person

Choosing a sexy widow persona means you will still be wearing black, but in a whole new way. 

The sexy widow has been a staple of male imaginations for ages. She’s part of the time-honored misogynistic myth that women fall into three roles: mother, virgin, or whore. The genesis of this role is that once married and introduced to the arts of love by a manly man, some women become so unhinged when their man goes away they still have to have that manly love.   

Black Widow

black widow

No, not that kind – this kind!

dangerous widow

Closely related to the Sexy Widow, the Black Widow is her darker, more dangerous sister.   The Black Widow feeds off men and then destroys them, much as her arachnid namesake does.     

If you want to be a sexy widow, the most important thing is your age.  Don’t even consider this archetype if you are over 50 years of age.  Do not indulge in ice cream and pizza for months on end, as the sexy widow needs to conform to standard ideas of female beauty.

Perhaps becoming a Sexy Widow seems to difficult, or perhaps you have interests in things that don’t involve fulfilling standard stereotypes about women.  If that is the case, you might be interested in the next archetype…

Not-Sexy Widows

Not-sexy is mandatory for anyone over the age of 60.  Of course, this only applies to women; as we all know, the attractiveness of men over 60 is calculable by the equation of income times power, minus age divided by 2.  As a simple check of any media outlet will prove, the outlook for women is considerably grimmer.  Hugh Hefner, who looks more and more like a horror film extra, is married to a 20-something woman; but a woman dating a man 5 years younger is considered a “cougar”. 

If you decide to go the not-sexy route, Grandma or Dowager are both good role models.


Satisfied senior woman with eyeglasses

Adopting the grandma persona frees you from ever having to think about weight.  Think Mrs. Claus, but in in more comfortable clothing.   Grandma-widows get to wear fleece every day, and dressing up means choosing the outfit with a row of small ducks across the front.  Your focus will be on family, and you’ll devote the rest of your life to doting on them. 

Your life will be filled with such exciting hobbies as baking cookies and re-posting treacly bits of homespun wisdom and cat videos on Facebook.

For those without grandkids, a “favorite Aunt” version can be used with relatives and neighbors.



Similar to grandma but with sharper edges, the matron becomes the guardian of all that is correct and proper.   Matrons share a lack of any romantic life with Grandmas, but their clothes are less comfortable, which may be why they tend to be cranky. Perhaps the strongest aspect of the Matron role is a general dissatisfaction with anything that occurred since becoming a widow.

Still shopping for an acceptable archetype?  There is only one left, and that is…

The Stuck Widow


She is the saddest of all.  The stuck widow never progresses.  She remains forever anchored to the past, unwilling or unable to resume a normal life.  Being stuck starts off as the easiest widow persona to adopt.  The gist of it is to never, ever change.  Keep everything in your life exactly the way it was.   Make sure you keep doing the same things over and over again, so the impact of having lost your spouse never goes away.  Focus only on the negative, never on the positive.

Though not technically a widow, Miss Haversham is a great role model for this archetype.

So, there you have the results of my research.   As mentioned, there aren’t a lot of good role models out there.  Personally, I hope to create a new archetype: The Wise Widow.  I want to be someone conversant with the dark side, but who chooses not to live there.  A fully functioning human being capable of being sexy and nurturing, good or bad.  I want the freedom to be any or all of these archetypes but not to be bound by any one of them.  Mostly, I hope to create my own path forward, not adopt one created by someone else.   And I hope you select the same.

Chapter 4: Dating – or how to ruin your mood in a few easy steps 

It’s been almost a year and a half, and I’ve made it through that early period where hope was hard to find and just climbing out of bed was a major accomplishment. I am a survivor. The pain is easing, and I’m starting to feel better; in fact, I was feeling pretty darn good.


So, there I was at the start of 2014, finally feeling whole again. Realizing that I was tired of being alone, that I wanted more. It was time to move forward and start facing the next step in life: reentering the world of dating. I was ready, and fully expected that within a few days the phone would start ringing with invitations and offers. Except that… it didn’t.

On to plan B.

Back in late January, I located a few pictures that didn’t include Rick, wrote my dating profile and hit the upload button to an online dating service. Which means, it’s time for another chapter in the Guide for the Recently Widowed, where in my role as guide to all things widow, I will enlighten you on the wonderful world of online dating.

After joining the site I felt great. I was taking control of my life, choosing a new direction, being active instead of reactive. I was on top of the world.


I had a fantasy, one so dangerous I tried my best to keep it under lock and key. There would be an email or two, then a decision to meet. There would be instant rapport, that sparkly thing that happens when you are attracted to someone and it’s reciprocated. We’d talk and it would be a great conversation, and at the end, there would be that wonderful feeling that happens when you totally click with someone. We’d move forward slowly, but there would be constant, steady movement forward.

That didn’t happen, of course.

Here’s what has.

Right off the bat, I started receiving winks and nudges or whatever the hell they call them. Mostly these were from men that were hundreds of miles away, despite my stating I wasn’t interested in a long-distance relationship. Some contained messages that were a bit creepy.   Others were just sadly off.

I started viewing profiles, and realized there is money to be made in helping people write these. It’s not that dissimilar to a job interview. A few hints, Mr. and Ms. Widow, on what not to do in your online dating profile:

— Don’t put in pictures where you’re topless (this is addressed to Mr. Widow). Especially when sporting a beer gut.
— Nothing says “I’m stupid and lazy” like a profile rife with misspellings, typos and incorrect word usage. If you don’t get the difference between they’re, their and there, have a friend proof read your profile.
— We’re all adults here, so the expectation of a physical aspect to a relationship is completely rational. But don’t start the conversation with it. That’s just not right.
— Pathetic loneliness or seething anger are not real attractive.

There were the men I contacted who were not interested in me, and vice versa. There were the email exchanges that were creepy or just plain hostile. There was the in-person meeting that was pleasant but completely devoid of interest.

And then… there was the one perfect, wonderful meeting that totally met the fantasy.  He was intelligent, and attractive, and we talked and talked.  At the end we both expressed interest in meeting again.  I left excited, looking forward to what might happen.  Instead, it seemed to lead nowhere.  A few weeks in I realized I was the one initiating all contacts, and decided it was time to ask why.  Then we had another great date; a wonderful conversation where we talked about the hesitation and reticence. His  final words to me were “I’ll call you”.  And that was it.  No more calls, no emails, not even a text.  Yeah, dating sure is fun.

And all that positive feeling of taking charge, of making decisions and restarting my life, of being able to look forward to the future… was gone. Completely, utterly, totally, kaput.

tina-fey-internet-quote-gifBut still, I’d rather be trying and losing than doing nothing. So I’m back in, reviewing those profiles, still hoping for some success.  Or at least a decent date.   And keep in mind, Mr. and Ms. Widow, we will make it through.

People who need People

I need people; not generic run of the mill humans, but “People”; with a capital P.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard had People: all he had to do was utter “Make it so” in that sonorous voice and it would happen.  

If Jean-Luc decided that he wanted to have his stairs upgraded from carpeting to wood, he’d turn to First Officer  Riker and say “Make it so”, and then he could wander off with a cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot.  It was up to Number One to figure out if those pre-made stairs were a better idea than having someone come in and do it from scratch, and whether he should call that guy who advertises in the neighborhood newsletter, how to figure out a way to get it done that wouldn’t require taking a week’s vacation, or maybe that a really good carpet shampooing was all that was needed.

I don’t have People, nor do I drink Earl Grey tea.  I’m still trying to figure out why Picard had a British accent.  I mean, his brother had a French accent.  Was he sent off to an English boarding school at an early age?  Was he a foreign exchange student who never left?  On the bright side, at least Gene Roddenberry didn’t hire Gérard Depardieu.

Anyway, back to the carpet, I still don’t have a clue where to start and what to do, and now I’m wasting time wondering why the role of Captain Picard couldn’t have just been rewritten as a Brit when Patrick Stewart was signed on to play the character.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I need People.

Daily Prompt: The absolute and true story of my recent life (from the cat’s perspective)


This is the absolute and true story of my recent life.

At one time, it was a good life, a great life, actually. Like most of my species, I am hesitant at using superlatives, instead preferring to hold back and observe before praising; but I can say, now that it is over, that indeed my life was wonderful.

I lived with two humans, both of whom adored me. Of course they did, for I was (and am still) perfect, and completely worthy of adoration. I am a tri-color, what humans in this part of the world call “Calico,” and the pattern of black, ginger and white I was born with is quite attractive. Apparently, my personality was a constant source of delight to my human staff, because they fussed and played with me endlessly.


The smaller, female human was gone most days, leaving me to spend time with the male. She was a good staff person, making sure my food supply was adequate, brushing me, and adept at learning the games I enjoyed. However, on occasion she did some things that were not so good; trimming my nails and, worst of all, putting me into the small container and then on those horrible, horrible car rides to the vet. I did my best to train her, but she is not that bright, and no matter how many times I showed my dissatisfaction she never learned. I’d watch her cleaning up my lessons and wonder how she could be so dense; but then, I’ve never fully understood humans and expect I never will.


The larger, male human was home the most. That was a good thing, because he was the more trainable. I am proud of all the games I taught him; there are too many to list here, but I will tell you about one, the door game. If I walked over to the door and looked at it, he would jump up to open it, allowing me to wander out on the balcony. Once I tired of being outside, all I had to do was stare at the door, and he would once again open it for me. He performed very well. I would sometimes test his ability by going in and out repeatedly, and no matter how short of a time period there was between requests, he was always right there to open the door for me.

His obvious worship of me extended beyond the simple tricks I taught him. He got up early every morning to come downstairs and give me fresh food and water. He was always willing to spend time stroking and petting me, and was a great nap companion. During my more active moods, I could get him to play games of touch your nose, hunt your foot, or stalk your hand (my personal favorite). Yes, I had the perfect life. I realize that, now that it has changed.


Slightly over a year ago, there was a very bad morning. The usual routine was for the male to come downstairs and take care of me. The female would follow later, with wet hair and smelling of soap, and be handed a cup of coffee by the male (he took care of her as well as me). This very bad morning, none of that happened. My house was rudely intruded upon by a group of strangers. Not only were they loud and very scary, not one of them showed the slightest interest in me, obviously the most wonderful being in the house. They were only interested in the male, and ended up taking him with them. The female human followed them a few minutes later. I was completely ignored: no food, no fresh water.

It was unforgivable.

For the next month the male was gone, the female was hardly ever home, and my routine was completely disrupted. It was a living hell; let me tell you. The female paid only the most cursory attention to me.

They say you never realize what you have until it’s gone, and I have learned how true a saying that is. It’s been a year now, and my life has changed for the worse. The male never did come back; it is just the female and I now. My food bowl stays empty longer in the morning, and I am alone during the day. She never was as trainable as the male.

I miss him, a lot. I think she does as well, but it’s so hard to tell with humans; they just don’t act in a manner that makes sense.